The NFL’s Week 7 schedule has 3 prime-time games, and the marquee game is this Sunday night in Philadelphia:
- On Monday night, the San Francisco 49ers are also in need of a bounce-back game in Minnesota after blowing a game to the Browns on Sunday.
- On Sunday night, the Miami Dolphins take the fastest offense in the game to Philadelphia after the Eagles blew a game to the Jets for their first loss of the season.
- On Thursday night, the New Orleans Saints will try to end their losing skid against a Jacksonville team that is gaining confidence weekly.
We made our top pick for each prime-time game in Week 7, and you can find the best odds at OddsTrader’s top sportsbooks.
- Vikings Under 19.5 Points (-140) at Bet365
- Dolphins-Eagles Both to Score 1+ Touchdown in Each Half (+100) at Bet365
- Saints Under 20.5 Points (-115) at Bet365
49ers to Rough Up Captain Kirk?
The Vikings won in Chicago last week despite only scoring 19 points. The 49ers lost last week despite only allowing 19 points. However, things are going to get much tougher for the Vikings here and likely easier for the 49ers as they do not have to face that Cleveland defense again.
Kyle Shanahan is not looking to make this a losing streak, and the 49ers are a 7-point road favorite, but we are more interested in seeing if the Vikings can score 20 points or not.
Monday, October 23, 2023 – 08:15 PM EDT at U.S. Bank Stadium
Is Cousins Really That Bad on Monday Nights?
You may have heard that Kirk Cousins hates Monday nights because he is 2-10 as a starter in games played on that day. But is he really that bad?
- In 12 Monday night games, Cousins has completed 63.2% of his passes with an 85.2 passer rating and 6.7 yards per pass attempt.
- In 121 Sunday games, Cousins has completed 67.0% of his passes with a 98.7 passer rating and 7.7 yards per attempt.
Yes, the numbers definitely go down for Cousins on Mondays, but a lot of this can just be an imbalance in sample size as 12 games are not enough to draw big conclusions from. Nevertheless, the numbers as they are are not 2-10 bad. He is even 1-4 in Monday games when his passer rating is over 100, so the record is not that reflective of his performance at all.
A problem for Cousins is he’s 0-8 on Monday night against teams that make the playoffs, which the 2023 49ers are likely to do. In those 8 games, Cousins failed to lead his team to at least 20 points in 5-of-8 games.
In 12 Monday night games, Cousins has been held under 20 points 9 times, so 75% of the time. That’s not good, and his last appearance was a 24-7 loss to the Eagles last season, a game where he threw 3 interceptions.
This is not likely to be a good game for Cousins, who won’t have star receiver Justin Jefferson (hamstring injury) again.
The 49ers Are Still Great on Defense
The 49ers ran into a great defense last week and had a bad game. It happens. They still would have won if a kicker just made a 41-yard field goal, but rookie Jake Moody was a little wide right on his first major test of adversity in the NFL. That’s not good, but hopefully, he learns from it instead of falling apart.
But the 49ers are still a great defense and should have an advantage over a one-dimensional Minnesota offense that is missing its best weapon. Without Jefferson last week, the Vikings only scored 13 points on offense. They won the game because the defense took advantage of Chicago’s backup quarterback by getting a strip-sack returned for a touchdown.
Without Jefferson, Cousins only passed for 181 yards, and the running game was held to 46 yards. The 49ers may not be as elite against the run as they were in 2022, but they are not going to get consistently defeated in that area against this opponent.
The 49ers have not been playing great offenses, but they have held 5-of-6 opponents under 20 points so far. Only the Rams got to 23 points with the experience of Sean McVay and Matthew Stafford facing this defense helping there.
The Vikings are only middle of the road in scoring and still have way too many turnovers on offense. The 49ers should control this game and keep the Vikings in check. Take the Under 19.5 points for Minnesota at one of our top online sportsbooks.
NFL Pick: Vikings Under 19.5 Points (-140) at Bet365
Novel Idea: Sunday Night Football With Multiple Touchdowns in Philly
So far this season, Sunday Night Football has been a massive blowout, a game where neither team can score (Giants-Bills), or a close but low-scoring affair where neither offense looked that great. Since when did it become illegal to have a 27-24 nail-biter in prime time?
Maybe this will change on Sunday night when the Dolphins face the Eagles in a game with a total of 51.5 points. We are looking at a game prop for both teams to score a touchdown in each half.
Sunday, October 22, 2023 – 08:20 PM EDT at Lincoln Financial Field
The Case for Miami’s Offense
In a season where teams are averaging 21.7 points per game (which would be the lowest since 2009), the Dolphins are a breath of fresh air. Miami averages 37.2 points per game and it is fun to watch because of the speed in this offense, led by Tyreek Hill’s incredible season. He is averaging 135.7 yards per game and belongs in the MVP discussion.
It also helps that the Dolphins are not the greatest defensive team as they currently rank 25th in points allowed. The yardage rankings are not much better, and the Dolphins have not even played that many quality offenses yet.
If you put on a Miami game in 2023, you expect touchdowns. In 4-of-6 Miami games so far, both teams scored at least 1 touchdown in each half. The ones who did not are the games you would expect with the lousy offenses (Patriots and Giants).
The Eagles are not lousy. The Eagles also are not as stout defensively as they were in 2022 when they had 70 sacks and cruised to the Super Bowl. It would be surprising if the Miami offense did not score a fair amount in this game.
The Case for Philadelphia’s Offense
The Eagles have played 4 road games and only 2 home games this year, but they had to hold off the Vikings (34-28) and Commanders (34-31 in overtime) in some very high-scoring games at home already. This is not the team we grew used to watching last year that would jump out to a big lead by halftime and salt away the win on the ground.
The Eagles are 16th in points allowed, middle of the pack, and they haven’t forced a takeaway since Week 3. The offense has had to do more this year, but Jalen Hurts has already thrown 7 interceptions after finishing last season with 6 picks. His 3.3% interception rate ranks 27th among passers this year.
Philadelphia may be the team more likely to make this prop pick fail, but the Eagles should enjoy playing this defense after facing a tougher one in the Jets last week. A.J. Brown has been on a roll with over 125 yards in 4 straight games, and he will want to show up with Tyreek Hill in this big matchup.
But we definitely need to see the Eagles play a more consistent game. They were scoreless in the 2nd half against the Jets and they only managed a pair of field goals after halftime against the Rams in Week 5.
We are going to trust these teams to cooperate and play a game more in line with the games the Eagles had against the Vikings and Commanders where touchdowns were scored by both teams in both halves. There is too much speed and talent on this field without enough defensive resistance for this not to be the best and most exciting Sunday night game yet this season.
The bar is so low that a 28-21 game would suffice just fine, but we want to see touchdowns in prime time for a change. Save the defensive battles for the playoffs.
NFL Pick: Both Teams to Score 1+ Touchdown in Each Half (+100) at Bet365
Saints Stuck on Offense
Not a lot of attention has been paid to the Saints this year as they were the preseason favorite to win the NFC South where they are currently stuck in a close battle at 3-3. The Jaguars look good at 4-2, but this is a big road test for a short week.
The Saints are a 3-point home favorite, but we are more interested in seeing if they can beat their team’s scoring total (Over/Under 20.5 points).
Thursday, October 19, 2023 – 08:15 PM EDT at Caesars Superdome
What’s Wrong With the Saints on Offense?
Derek Carr always wanted a defense, and the Saints are giving him exactly that, but he has not kept up his end of the bargain yet.
- Saints on offense: 24th in points, 20th in yards, 22nd in first downs, 20th on 3rd down, and 27th in the red zone.
- Saints on defense: 6th in points, 5th in yards, 3rd in first downs, 4th on 3rd down, and 8th in the red zone.
Carr ranks No. 17 in QBR, which is right in the middle of the pack. His touchdown pass rate (2.5%) has never been lower and his sack rate (7.8%) is aiming to be the 2nd highest of his career. His career sack rate is 5.2%, so Carr has not been pulling the trigger as decisively in his new offense.
Struggles and Missed Opportunities
Alvin Kamara is back at running back and doing about the same as 2022, but Carr has not been effective at throwing to him and allowing the plays to develop there. Kamara has caught 23-of-25 targets but for only 86 yards, a miserable 3.4 yards per target when his career rate is 6.6 yards per target.
The fact is the Saints have scored more than 20 points in 1-of-6 games this season, and that was the 34-0 win in New England that included a pick-6 by the defense, a 31-yard touchdown drive, and a field goal after the offense lost 2 yards on the drive.
The offense had numerous opportunities in last week’s 20-13 loss in Houston, but the Saints were scoreless down the stretch. It was Carr’s first shot at a game-winning drive, which he usually did well with for the Raiders, but he did not deliver Sunday.
Jacksonville’s Improving Defense
The Jaguars may not be a great matchup for the Saints to get right on offense. Jacksonville takes the ball away better than anyone with a league-high 15 takeaways, including 5 games with multiple takeaways. The Jaguars turned the Colts over 4 times on Sunday and 3 times in Week 1 with a different quarterback (Anthony Richardson instead of Gardner Minshew). The Colts have 1 giveaway in their other 4 games combined.
The Jaguars even held Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce to 17 points in Week 2. The only truly bad defensive game so far was in Houston, but the Texans are an improved offense that is running a variant of Kyle Shanahan’s system, which means they protect the ball well. That’s the only offense that the Jaguars were not able to get multiple takeaways from.
Stopping the run is something Jacksonville does well, ranked 3rd in yards and 7th in yards per carry (3.6) against. That could make it a one-dimensional attack with Carr having to throw often again. Josh Allen is having a dominant season with 7 sacks for the Jaguars.
Jacksonville has held 4-of-6 opponents under 21 points, and it would have been 5-of-6 if not for that wild fumble touchdown surrendered in Indy in Week 1. By now, you know the drill on Thursday night has been for one team (usually the favorite) to run away with the game while the other team implodes all night long.
The Jaguars are the better team and this feels like another low-scoring game. Until the Saints prove they can be an effective offense, keep taking the Under 20.5 for them.
NFL Pick: Saints Under 20.5 Points (-115) at Bet365
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