In Week 7 early games, Jared Hackmyer picks Titans vs Steelers, Bills vs Jets, Browns vs Bengals, Falcons vs Lions, Packers vs Texans, more
TITANS (-1) Steelers (51)
Jared’s Pick: Titans
Breakout Player: WR Chase Claypool
Going against one of the best running back‘s in the NFL, Derrick Henry, the elite Steelers rushing defense will have to hold its ground this week. Pittsburgh currently ranks second in the NFL with only about 67 rushing yards allowed per game. With stud OT Taylor Lewan out for the season, QB Ryan Tannehill will definitely be facing some pressure from the Pittsburgh pass rush.
Tennessee’s offense has been an absolute force. They currently rank top five in total yards, rushing yards, and points per game. This won't be a high scoring game, but the Titans may have just enough offense to win it.
FALCONS (-2.5) Lions (55.5)
Jared’s Pick: Falcons
Breakout Player: WR Calvin Ridley
Neither of these teams has been playing well this season and the brightest part of this game is Atlanta‘s offense with star WR Julio Jones back. They will definitely give Detroit’s defense a tough time. Atlanta‘s offense ranks fourth in total yards, and second in passing yards per game. Detroit’s rushing defense has not been impressive at all this season, so I can definitely see RB Todd Gurley having a big game. I think the Falcons have too many weapons.
As Atlanta's defense has been one of the NFL's worst, this should be a high scoring game. Detroit's offense is very healthy, and RB D'Andre Swift was very impressive last week. If Atlanta has a strength on defense it's against the run, so I can see QB Matt Stafford being very aggressive in the air.
Browns (-3) BENGALS (51.0)
Jared’s Pick: Browns
Breakout Player: WR Odell Beckham Jr.
Cleveland got absolutely embarrassed last week against Pittsburgh. The Browns have had one of the best offenses this year, but the Steelers defense held them to only seven points. I can see Cleveland turning things around against a Cincinnati defense that has not been impressive. With all of the weapons Cleveland has right now, I think they can run up the scoreboard. I’d expect a big game from RB Kareem Hunt with Cincinnati’s rushing defense allowing 142 yards per game. QB Baker Mayfield has not looked good recently, but if the ball is in the air, it’s likely going to star WR Odell Beckham Jr.
As Cleveland has also struggled on defense, if Cincinnati is going to win this game, they are going to have to be aggressive on offense.
Panthers (+7.5) SAINTS (51.5)
Jared’s Pick: Panthers
Breakout Player: RB Mike Davis
Carolina has been playing way better than everyone’s expected. They went into the 2020 season with tons of doubt and are on pace to go 8-8. Both teams have been pretty even, stat wise, on both sides of the ball. The thing is, the Saints have been without star WR Michael Thomas all season, who's still out. Carolina's secondary currently ranks seventh in the NFL in the least amount of yards allowed per game. I would not be surprised to see Carolina give New Orleans a tough time when they are on defense.
New Orleans was supposed to be Super Bowl Super Bowl front runner and the Panthers could jump ahead of them in the NFC south with a win on Sunday. RB Alvin Kamara has been the whole offense with QB Drew Brees unable to find a target to replace Thomas. New Orleans might be the better team on paper, but I don’t see Carolina going down easily.
Bills (-12.5) JETS (45.5)
Jared’s Pick: Bills
Breakout Player: QB Josh Allen
Even coming off a two game losing streak, there is no doubt in my mind that the Bills will win this game. Buffalo’s defense hasn’t looked as good as they did last year but going against arguably the worst offense in the NFL, I can definitely see a bounce back week.
The Jets will likely get back quarterback Sam Darnold, but I’m still expecting this offense to struggle. Without RB Le’Veon Bell, they have to rely on ageless veteran RB Frank Gore and La'Mical Perine so I’d expect Donald to try to be aggressive in the air but New York’s offense currently ranks bottom two in total yards, passing yards, and points per game. Buffalo blowout.
Cowboys (-1.5) FOOTBALL TEAM (46.0)
Jared’s Pick: Cowboys
Breakout Player: WR Amari Cooper
Dallas is a completely different team without QB Dak Prescott. A lot of people are unsure if Andy Dalton can lead this team to the playoffs, even with this awful division. last week, Dallas got annihilated by Arizona by 28 points. Dalton threw for 266 yards, 1 touchdown, and 1 interception. Dallas‘s defense has killed them this season, and now their offense is in jeopardy. If Dalton gets things going, he has an office full of weapons to help him succeed. I think Dalton will heavily look to WR Amari Cooper, but Washington's pass defense is perhaps its only strength.
Washington should be aggressive in the pass rush this week with Dallas’ offensive line suffering from a bunch of injuries. Washington‘s offense has been horrendous.
Packers (-3.5) TEXANS (56.5)
Jared’s Pick: Packers
Breakout Player: RB Aaron Jones (if he plays)
Green Bay could be facing a huge loss this week if RB Aaron Jones doesn’t play. Jones is currently listed as questionable with a calf injury. Jones has been a huge part of Aaron Rodgers' offense this year. if Jones is out, I’d expect Rodgers to air it out and I still think the Green Bay offense will dominate. Houston‘s defense has not looked, and I don’t see Rodgers losing two weeks in a row.
Even with the loss of star WR DeAndre Hopkins, Deshaun Watson has been having a terrific year. The problem is the Texans defense which has been letting up an average of 440 yards per game. Going against an offense like Green Bay’s, this won’t slide. Houston is going to have to win this game on offense.
Jared Hackmyer is the founder of GOATNYG on Instagram.