Three heavy hitters (and Chicago) are on a bye in Week 7, but that doesn’t mean the NFL slate is without intriguing matchups. While the Bengals, Broncos, Packers, and Bears rest, the Seahawks open the week on the road in San Francisco on Thursday Night Football. New England faces the Jets in a marquee game in the early window on Sunday, while the Cowboys and Giants highlight the late slate. On Sunday night, Carolina hosts Philadelphia, while Baltimore travels to Arizona on the Monday nighter. Let’s take a closer look at each game.
Seattle (2-4) at San Francisco (2-4) – Spread: Seahawks -6.5
What was a heated rivalry for several years has recently been dominated by the Seahawks, who have won three straight and five of six against the Niners. Last year, Seattle won 17-7 at home and 19-3 in the Bay Area. But the team is still looking for its first road win of the year, having lost 34-31 at St. Louis, 27-17 at Green Bay, and 27-24 in Cincinnati. Last year, the Seahawks were 5-3 on the road and 4-4 against the spread. All four of Seattle’s losses have come after holding fourth-quarter leads, including Sunday against the Panthers.
San Francisco is playing a second straight home game after beating the Ravens, 25-20, in Week 6. The 49ers beat Minnesota, 20-3, to open the campaign and fell at home to Green Bay, 17-3, in Week 4. Last season, San Francisco went 4-4 at home and 2-6 for betting purposes.
Buffalo (3-3) vs. Jacksonville (1-5) in London – Spread: Bills -7
The first-ever NFL game available exclusively online pits the Bills against the Jaguars. Both teams will get a bye in Week 8 that will enable them to recover from the trip overseas. Buffalo has won the last two meetings between the teams and has been good away from home this year, winning at Miami and Tennessee. The Bills went 9-7 ATS last season and are 3-2 in 2015. Buffalo lost at home against Cincinnati, 34-21, on Sunday.
The Jaguars lost three straight road games – 51-17 at New England, 16-13 at Indy, and 38-31 at Tampa – before falling at home to Houston, 31-20, this past weekend. They’re technically the “home team” in Week 7 and are 1-2 in Jacksonville. While QB Blake Bortles seems to be progressing, the team, as a whole, is not, going 1-5 against the spread through six weeks (after going 6-9-1 ATS last year).
Minnesota (3-2) at Detroit (1-5) – Spread: Vikings -2.5
The Vikings and Lions meet for the second time this year. In Week 2, Minnesota gained 199 yards on the ground (while only allowing 38) and forced three turnovers in a 26-16 win. But Detroit won both meetings last year.
This is the first of two straight divisional road games for the Vikes, who visit Chicago in Week 8. Minny is 0-2 on the road (1-1 ATS) after falling at San Francisco, 20-3, and Denver, 23-20. Last year, Minnesota was 2-6 away from home but 5-3 ATS. The Vikings handled a Jamaal Charles-less Kansas City last Sunday, 16-10.
This matchup wraps a three-game homestand for the Lions, who got pummeled by the Cardinals (42-17) in Week 5 and earned their first win of the year, knocking off Chicago (37-34) last weekend. Their only other home game this year was a 24-12 loss at the hands of Denver. The Lions were 7-1 at home last year and 5-3 against the number.
Houston (2-4) at Miami (2-3) – Spread: Dolphins -4
The Texans are on the road for a second straight week and the third time in four games. Houston lost road games at Carolina and Atlanta earlier in the year and beat Jacksonville, 31-20, in Week 6. The Texans are 7-0 all-time against Miami, including a 3-0 mark in Florida. Last season, Houston went 4-4 on the road but 5-2-1 for betting purposes.
The Dolphins are 0-2 as the home team and will be playing their first game in Miami since changing coaches. They lost at home to Buffalo (41-14 in Week 3) and then fell as the “home” team in London against the Jets (27-14 in Week 4). Miami was 4-4 at home last year and 3-5 ATS. Miami smoked the Titans, 38-10, on Sunday in Dan Campbell’s head coaching debut.
Tampa Bay (2-3) at Washington (2-4) – Spread: Redskins -3
The Bucs are on the road for the third time this season. They’ll be looking to win consecutive games for the first time this year, following a 38-31 win at home over the Jags on Sunday. Tampa won at New Orleans, 26-19, in Week 2 and dropped a 19-9 battle in Houston during Week 3. In Week 8, the Bucs travel to Atlanta. Tampa Bay went 2-6 SU on the road but 5-3 against the number last season, including a 27-7 win in Washington.
Including last season’s embarrassing loss, Washington has dropped four of its last six to Tampa, but they are 2-1 in DC this season. After a Week 1 loss to Miami (17-10), they beat the Rams (24-10) in Week 2 and the Eagles (23-20) in Week 4. Washington was 3-5 at home last year and 2-6 against the number. The Redskins lost road games to the Falcons and Jets the past two Sundays.
Atlanta (5-1) at Tennessee (1-4) – Spread: Falcons -4
The Falcons have extra time to prepare for their trip to Tennessee after suffering their first loss of the season, 31-21, in New Orleans on Thursday in Week 6. Atlanta won road games against the Giants (24-20) and Cowboys (39-28) in the first two weeks of the season, showing marked improvements from their 3-5 SU and ATS road record in 2014.
The Titans are 0-3 at home on the year. They lost home games sandwiching a bye week, getting clipped by the Colts, 35-33, in Week 3 and the Bills, 14-13, in Week 5. Then the Dolphins came to town in Week 6 and routed the home side, 38-10. This is the same old story for the Titans, who went 1-7 at home last year and were the worst bet in the league, going 1-6-1 ATS. (They are at least 2-3 ATS in 2015, including 1-2 at home.)
New Orleans (2-4) at Indianapolis (3-3) – Spread: Colts -4.5
The Saints are 0-3 on the road so far and 1-2 ATS, losing at Arizona (31-19) in Week 1, Carolina (27-22) in Week 3, and Philadelphia (39-17) in Week 5. They’ll get some extra rest for their Week 7 showdown in Indy after a big 31-21 divisional win against the Falcons on TNF in Week 6 (which essentially kept their playoff hopes alive).
The Colts are playing a second straight home game after falling to New England, 34-27, in a Primetime Week 6 clash. Indy lost to the Jets (20-7) at home in Week 2 but beat the Jags in Week 4 (16-13) without Andrew Luck. The Colts were 6-2 at home in 2014 and 5-2-1 against the number.
Pittsburgh (4-2) at Kansas City (1-5) – Spread: no line due to Ben Roethlisberger’s status
The Steelers are 2-1 on the road and have played some of the most entertaining games of the season on the road. They dropped the first game of the NFL season in New England (28-21), then held on against St. Louis when Roethlisberger was injured (12-6), and walked-off the Chargers (24-20) on a last-second TD by Le’Veon Bell. Last year, Pittsburgh was 5-3 in away games and 4-4 for betting purposes. The Steelers forced three turnovers in a 25-13 win over Arizona on Sunday. Roethlisberger could be back this week. If not, Landry Jones will lead the offense.
The Chiefs have played twice at Arrowhead Stadium this season and both games have been tight. KC lost to the Broncos in a Week 2 game that they appeared to have in hand (31-24), and then gave up a lead to the Bears in Week 5, getting nipped 18-17. They lost a tight game in Minnesota, 16-10, this past weekend without star RB Jamaal Charles, who’s out for the season. Last year, Andy Reid’s team was 6-2 SU and ATS at home. While the Steelers have won three straight in this rivalry, each of the last four matchups has been decided by a single score.
Cleveland (2-4) at St. Louis (2-3) – Spread: Rams -7
The Browns are 1-2 on the road but each effort has gotten better. After getting beaten 31-10 by the Jets in Week 1, Cleveland lost 30-27 in San Diego in Week 4, and then won in Baltimore 33-30 in Week 5. The Browns were 3-5 on the road last year, but 5-2-1 against the spread. Cleveland lost but covered in a 26-23 home loss to unbeaten Denver on Sunday.
St. Louis returns from a Week 7 bye with a 1-1 mark at home (both SU and ATS). They stunned the Seahawks at home, 34-31, to kickoff the year, and then fell to Pittsburgh, 12-6, in Week 3. The Rams were 3-5 straight up and against the spread at the Edward Jones Dome in 2014. These two franchises have split their 22 all-time meetings.
New York Jets (4-4) at New England (5-0) – Spread: Patriots -10
The Jets have played just one true road game so far, beating the Colts, 20-7, in Week 2. (They also beat the Dolphins in London, 27-14, in Week 4.) This is the first of two straight road games for New York with a cross-country venture to Oakland coming next week. Last year, the Jets were 2-6 away from home and 3-4-1 ATS. They also dropped two one-score games to the Pats.
New England has won seven of the last eight meetings against the Jets and are 2-0 at home on the year, with a touchdown win over Pittsburgh, and a whitewash over the Jags. The Patriots will have a short week after this game, hosting the Dolphins on Thursday in Week 8. Last year, Tom Brady and teammates were 7-1 at home and 5-3 against the number. On Sunday Night Football in Week 6, the Pats won but failed to cover in Indianapolis.
Oakland (2-3) at San Diego (2-4) – Spread: Chargers -4
The Raiders come off a bye to play division rival San Diego. Not only will this be a battle for divisional positioning, it’s also a clash between two franchises hoping to move to LA. San Diego has won three straight in this rivalry that dates back to 1960, but Oakland holds the all-time lead, 59-50-2.
Oakland is 1-1 on the road this year, winning a Week 3 game at Cleveland, 27-20, and falling in Chicago, 22-20, in Week 4. The Raiders were 0-8 straight up on the road last year but 4-4 with the point spread.
The Chargers are 2-1 at home, beating Detroit (33-28) and Cleveland (30-27), and falling on the final play of the game against Pittsburgh (24-20). San Diego went 5-3 at home last year but 3-5 against the spread. Despite getting over 500 passing yards from QB Philip Rivers, the Chargers fell at Green Bay, 27-20, on Sunday.
Dallas (2-3) at New York Giants (3-3) – Spread: Giants -3
These squads met in Week 1 with Dallas pulling off a 27-26 comeback victory. But the Cowboys have looked out of sync since losing Tony Romo and Dez Bryant to injuries, dropping three in a row to fall below .500 heading into a Week 6 bye. They are 1-1 on the road so far, winning at Philadelphia, 20-10, in Week 2 but losing at New Orleans, 26-20 in OT, in Week 4.
The Giants have a short week to prepare after losing 27-7 to Philadelphia in Week 6. New York lost to Atlanta, 24-20, at home in Week 2, but beat the Niners, 30-27, in Week 5. Strangely, Dallas was 8-0 on the road last season and 7-1 ATS, while the Giants managed just a 3-5 home mark, going 4-4 against the number.
Philadelphia (3-3) at Carolina (5-0) – Spread: Panthers -3
The Eagles are coming off back-to-back home games and now travel for the fourth time this year. Philly’s first flight resulted in a 26-24 loss at Atlanta, but they bounced back with a 24-17 win in New York against the Jets in Week 3. The following Sunday brought the bad Eagles back to the fore, as they gave up a late lead to division rival Washington, ultimately losing 23-20. Last year, Chip Kelly’s team went 4-4 straight up and against the spread on the road. The Eagles are playing on a short week following a Monday night win over the Giants.
The Panthers have lost six of nine all-time battles with Philly, including a 45-21 beat down last season. Carolina is 2-0 at home (1-1 ATS) after a seven-point win over Houston and a five-point victory against the Saints. Last year, the Panthers were 4-4 SU and ATS in Charlotte. Carolina is one of just two unbeaten teams playing this week, and are coming of of a statement win in Seattle (27-24).
Baltimore (1-5) at Arizona (4-2) – Spread: Cardinals -9
The Ravens have had the worst travel schedule in the NFL this year, which has contributed to their 1-5 start. They began the year with two straight west coast games, losses at Denver and Oakland, and now are playing a second straight NFC West opponent on the road (after a 25-20 setback in San Francisco last week). Their lone win this season came on the road in Pittsburgh in Week 4 (23-20 in OT). John Harbaugh’s team went 4-4 on the road and 3-4-1 ATS in 2014.
Arizona is 2-1 at home with convincing wins over the Saints and 49ers and a tight loss to St. Louis. Arizona fell in Pittsburgh, 25-13, in Week 6 despite holding the lead at half and facing third-string QB Landry Jones. Next week, the Cards play a third straight AFC North opponent when they travel to Cleveland. The team is coming off a very impressive performance at home last season, going 7-1 SU and 6-2 against the spread.
(Photo Credit: Joe Bielawa [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.)