By Vince Ferrara / @VinceSports
Below is the game schedule with my Week 7 NFL game predictions. Winners straight-up are in bold. The line is my pick against the spread.
You’ll also see some tremendous notes on the games, teams and players provided by NFL Communications.
Listen to The NFL Report with John Wilkerson and two rotating Sports Animal hosts, including myself, every Sunday, 10am to 12:30pm ET on 99.1 The Sports Animal here in Knoxville and streaming here at 991TheSportsAnimal.com, the WNML app or on your smart speakers. We’ll break down all these games, review what’s happened, share injury news, fantasy advice and more. You can call or text the show at 865-656-9900.
2022 Week 6 Straight-Up: 10-4 (71%)
2022 Week 6 Against The Spread: 10-4 (71%)
2022 Season Straight-Up: 56-38 (60%)
2022 Season Against The Spread: 46-48 (49%)
2021 Season Straight-Up: 158-97 (62%)
2021 Season Against The Spread: 140-115 (55%)
WEEK 7 NFL SCHEDULE
(All times Eastern) BOLD = Straight-up winner / ( ) = vs. the spread winner
|Thursday, October 20||New Orleans at Arizona (-2.5)||Prime Video||8:15|
|Sunday, October 23||Cleveland at Baltimore (-6.5)||CBS||1:00|
|Tampa Bay at Carolina (+13)||FOX||1:00|
|(+6.5) Atlanta at Cincinnati||FOX||1:00|
|Detroit at Dallas (-7)||CBS||1:00|
|(+3) New York Giants at Jacksonville||FOX||1:00|
|Indianapolis at Tennessee (-2.5)||CBS||1:00|
|(-4) Green Bay at Washington||FOX||1:00|
|(-2) New York Jets at Denver||CBS||4:05|
|Houston at Las Vegas (-7)||CBS||4:05|
|(+5) Seattle at Los Angeles Chargers||FOX||4:25|
|(-1) Kansas City at San Francisco||FOX||4:25|
|Pittsburgh at Miami (-7.5)||NBC||8:20|
|Monday, October 24||Chicago at New England (-8.5)||ESPN||8:15|
Bye week: Buffalo, L.A. Rams, Minnesota, Philadelphia
Take a peek between shoulder pads into the offensive huddle of the NEW YORK GIANTS, courtesy of running back SAQUON BARKLEY.
Down 20-10 on Sunday with less than 13 minutes on the fourth-quarter clock, the ball at their own 25, what were the Giants thinking at that moment?
“Go score,” said Barkley, who leads the NFL with 771 scrimmage yards. “That’s the only thing we had in our mindset. Go respond. That’s the first thing that we said. There’s no panic in this team at all, not only the offense but defense and special teams. Great complementary football.”
And after New York’s 75-yard touchdown drive cut the lead to 20-17, the great complementary football came from safety JULIAN LOVE, whose interception set up Barkley’s go-ahead touchdown run with 1:43 remaining, and rookie KAYVON THIBODEAUX, whose ensuing sack and forced fumble iced the win.
The Giants (5-1) have erased 10-point deficits in three of their five wins this season – Barkley has the game-winning points in each of those three comebacks – but their comeback mentality isn’t uncommon. In 2022, there have been:
- 19 games won or tied by a team that trailed by 10-or-more points, matching the most through Week 6 all-time.
- 32 games in which a team came back to win or tie after trailing in the fourth quarter, tied with 1989 (32) for the most such games through Week 6 in NFL history.
- 74 games within a one-score margin (eight points) in the fourth quarter, the most such games in league annals at this point in a season.
Rest assured, there’ll be plenty more fantastic finishes this season.
The Starting 11 entering Week 7…
1. CHIEF COMPETITION: KANSAS CITY (4-2) has an intriguing date with SAN FRANCISCO (3-3) on Sunday (4:25 PM ET, FOX). Since they met in Super Bowl LIV to end the 2019 season, the Chiefs lead the NFL in total yards per game (402.4) while the 49ers lead the NFL in fewest yards allowed (303.5).
- In consecutive weeks, the Chiefs have drawn the NFL’s No. 1 offense and No. 1 defense. Buffalo led the league in yards per game entering the Week 6 contest in Kansas City and San Francisco leads the league this season in fewest yards allowed (255.8) entering Week 7.
2. NUMBER OF THE WEEK – 6: The combined wins of ATLANTA and CINCINNATI since Sept. 18. After each club opened 0-2, both teams have won three of their last four. The winner of Sunday’s game (1:00 PM ET, FOX) between the 3-3 clubs could be alone in first place in its division on Monday morning.
3. THREE DEGREES OF SEPARATION: Put the coaching DNA of BILL BELICHICK under a microscope and there’s likely a lot of GEORGE HALAS, whose career-wins mark the Patriots’ head coach could surpass this week. That’s because the person who gave Belichick his first job as an NFL assistant in 1975, TED MARCHIBRODA, spent his formulative years as a coordinator (1971-74) under GEORGE ALLEN. And Allen, no doubt, learned countless lessons from Halas as a Bears assistant and coordinator from 1959-65. With a win when NEW ENGLAND (3-3) hosts CHICAGO (2-4) on Monday Night Football (8:15 PM ET, ESPN), Belichick would surpass Halas (324) for the second-most combined regular-season and postseason wins in NFL history. Only Pro Football Hall of Famer DON SHULA (347) has won more.
4. SPOTLIGHT – INDIVIDUAL MATCHUP: Two of the game’s most exciting young players, rookie wide receiver GARRETT WILSON and second-year cornerback PAT SURTAIN II, will be on opposite sides when the NEW YORK JETS (4-2) meet DENVER (2-4) on Sunday (4:05 PM ET, CBS). Wilson leads all AFC rookies with 290 receiving yards and, since entering the league in 2021, Surtain is tied for third in the AFC with 19 passes defensed. Surtain, who is 99 days older than Wilson, was selected No. 9 overall in the 2021 NFL Draft while Wilson went No. 10 overall in 2022. And both have fathers who excelled in athletics. Surtain is the son of PATRICK SURTAIN, a former All-Pro cornerback. Wilson is the son of Kenny Wilson, a Davidson College Hall of Fame basketball player who once helped the Wildcats beat Mike Krzyzewski’s Duke Blue Devils.
5. SPOTLIGHT – TEAM MATCHUP: CLEVELAND (2-4) visits BALTIMORE (3-3) on Sunday (1:00 PM ET, CBS). The Browns lead the NFL with 172.0 rushing yards per game. The Ravens lead the NFL with 5.95 yards per carry.
6. STREAK SPEAK: Seattle rookie cornerback TARIQ WOOLEN has four interceptions, tied with Buffalo’s JORDAN POYER for the NFL lead. Woolen, the latest on an impressive list of defensive backs drafted by Seattle on Day 3, began his college career as a wide receiver at Texas-San Antonio. Considered among the fastest active NFL players, Woolen clocked a 4.26-second time in the 40-yard dash at the combine in March.
- Woolen has intercepted a pass in four consecutive games. When SEATTLE (3-3) travels to SoFi Stadium to play the LOS ANGELES CHARGERS (4-2) on Sunday (4:25 PM ET, FOX), Woolen could extend his streak of games with an interception to five, longest by an NFL rookie since JAIRUS BYRD had a five-game streak in 2009. … Woolen is also the only rookie since the 1970 merger to record both an interception and opponent fumble recovery in consecutive games.
7. DID YOU KNOW?: When the NEW YORK GIANTS (5-1) visit the JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS (2-4) on Sunday (1:00 PM ET, FOX), DANIEL JONES and TREVOR LAWRENCE will square off for the first time since Nov. 17, 2018, when Clemson defeated Duke during the Tigers’ 15-0 College Football Playoff championship season. Jacksonville running back TRAVIS ETIENNE ran for two touchdowns in that game for Clemson. … After leading the 1996 Jaguars to the AFC Championship Game, former Jacksonville head coach TOM COUGHLIN then guided the Giants to two Super Bowl victories, in 2007 and 2011. Coughlin is one of two individuals ever to win multiple Super Bowls and lead franchises to both the AFC and NFC Championship Games as an NFL head coach. The other is Pro Football Hall of Famer BILL PARCELLS.
8. UNDER-THE-RADAR STORYLINE: Last week, AUSTIN EKELER joined Pro Football Hall of Famer LENNY MOORE as one of two players ever to record 25 rushing touchdowns and 25 receiving touchdowns in their first six NFL seasons. Not only was Ekeler overlooked by every team in the 2017 NFL Draft, he also didn’t get a single Division I scholarship offer. Additionally, only one Division II school wanted him as a running back, Western State (Colo.). His younger brother, Wyett Ekeler, is a sophomore safety at the University of Wyoming, a program that has produced Bills quarterback JOSH ALLEN, Eagles safety MARCUS EPPS, Jaguars linebacker CHAD MUMA and Bengals linebacker LOGAN WILSON, among others. Ekeler and the LOS ANGELES CHARGERS (4-2) host the SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (3-3) on Sunday (4:25 PM ET, FOX).
9. TREND TIME: The TENNESSEE TITANS (3-2) come off their bye to host the INDIANAPOLIS COLTS (3-2-1) on Sunday (1:00 PM ET, CBS). The Titans’ offense leads the league in red-zone efficiency (12 touchdowns in 13 possessions, 92.3 percent). In each of the past three seasons, the NFL’s most efficient red-zone offense during the regular season (Tennessee in 2019, Green Bay in 2020 and San Francisco in 2021) has advanced to the conference championship game.
10. THIS WEEK IN NFL HISTORY: Oct. 22, 2017 (five years ago) – DAK PRESCOTT throws three touchdown passes, including a 72-yard strike to EZEKIEL ELLIOTT, to lead the Cowboys to a 40-10 win at San Francisco. Elliott rushes for 147 yards and two more touchdowns. …This week, Prescott could return from injury to start for DALLAS (4-2) at home against DETROIT (1-4) on Sunday (1:00 PM ET, CBS).
11. AND LAST BUT NOT LEAST: Could a trick play impact the Sunday Night Football game between PITTSBURGH (2-4) and MIAMI (3-3) at Hard Rock Stadium (8:20 PM ET, NBC)? A fake punt made a big difference when the teams met 50 years ago in the 1972 AFC Championship Game. His club needing a spark, Dolphins punter LARRY SEIPLE ran for 37 yards to set up a game-tying touchdown by LARRY CSONKA – one of 17 Pro Football Hall of Famers from that single contest – awakening Miami en route to a 21-17 win over the Steelers. Making the Dolphins’ road to a perfect season even more difficult, Miami had to travel to Three Rivers Stadium because, at the time, the NFL determined conference championship hosts with a rotational system. Pittsburgh had advanced to the game after its Immaculate Reception the week before. The Dolphins will celebrate the 50th anniversary of that perfect season on Sunday.
SURPASSING LEGENDS: Last week, New England head coach BILL BELICHICK recorded his 324th career win, including the postseason, tying Pro Football Hall of Famer GEORGE HALAS (324) for the second-most wins by a head coach in NFL history.
With a Patriots win against Chicago on Monday Night Football (8:15 PM ET, ESPN), Belichick will surpass Halas on the all-time wins list, with only Pro Football Hall of Famer DON SHULA (347) ahead of him.
The head coaches with the most career wins, including the postseason, in NFL history:
|Don ShulaHOF||Baltimore Colts, Miami||347|
|Bill Belichick||Cleveland Browns, New England||324|
|George HalasHOF||Decatur/Chicago Staleys/Chicago Bears||324|
The Bears come into Monday’s game with 785 regular-season wins in franchise history, tied with Green Bay (785) for the most in NFL history. The Bears/Staleys franchise has had the most all-time regular-season wins of any NFL team at the end of each of the league’s first 102 seasons.
— NFL —
(KANSAS) CITY BY THE BAY: Since taking over as Kansas City’s starting quarterback in 2018, PATRICK MAHOMES leads the league with 20,443 passing yards and 168 touchdown passes. Through 69 career regular-season starts, he has compiled a 54-15 record, including a win in his first-career start in Week 17 of the 2017 season.
With a win at San Francisco on Sunday (4:25 PM ET, FOX), Mahomes will tie Pro Football Hall of Famer KEN STABLER (55 wins) for the second-most wins ever by a quarterback through his first 70 career starts. Only Pro Football Hall of Famer OTTO GRAHAM (56) has more.
The quarterbacks with the most wins in their first 70 career starts in NFL history:
|Otto GrahamHOF||Cleveland Browns||56|
|Ken StablerHOF||Oakland Raiders||55|
|Daryle Lamonica||Buffalo, Oakland Raiders||54|
|Patrick Mahomes||Kansas City||54*|
|*In 69 starts|
Mahomes’ top target this season has been tight end TRAVIS KELCE, who leads the league with seven touchdown receptions, leads tight ends with 41 catches and ties for the lead among tight ends with 455 receiving yards.
With nine receptions and 45 receiving yards on Sunday, Kelce will have totaled at least 50 receptions and 500 receiving yards for the ninth-consecutive season, surpassing ANTONIO GATES (eight consecutive seasons) for the third-longest such streak by a tight end in NFL history. Only Pro Football Hall of Famer TONY GONZALEZ (16 consecutive seasons) and JASON WITTEN (15) have longer streaks of 50 receptions and 500 receiving yards.
The tight ends with at least 50 receptions and 500 receiving yards in the most consecutive seasons in NFL history:
|Tony GonzalezHOF||Kansas City, Atlanta||1998-2013||16|
|Antonio Gates||San Diego Chargers||2004-11||8|
|Travis Kelce||Kansas City||2014-21||8*|
Dating back to Week 15 of the 2021 season, Kelce has recorded a touchdown reception in each of his past six road games. With a touchdown reception in San Francisco, Kelce will tie MARCUS POLLARD (seven consecutive road games from 2000-01) for the most consecutive road games with a touchdown reception by a tight end in NFL history.
The tight ends with a touchdown reception in the most consecutive road games in NFL history:
|PLAYER||TEAM||SEASON(S)||CONSECUTIVE ROAD GAMES|
|Rich Caster||N.Y. Jets||1972||6|
|Vernon Davis||San Francisco||2013-14||6|
|Travis Kelce||Kansas City||2021-22||6*|
— NFL —
RUNNING IN THE NORTH: Entering Week 7, Baltimore’s LAMAR JACKSON leads all quarterbacks with 451 rushing yards this season and has surpassed 50 rushing yards in each of his past five games.
With 49 rushing yards against Cleveland on Sunday (1:00 PM ET, CBS), Jackson will join CAM NEWTON as the only quarterbacks in NFL history to record at least 500 rushing yards in each of their first five seasons.
Jackson has totaled 4,124 rushing yards since entering the league in 2018. In 2019, his 1,206 rushing yards were the most-ever by a quarterback in a single season and he is the only quarterback ever to eclipse 1,000 rushing yards in multiple seasons (2019-20).
With 116 rushing yards on Sunday, Jackson will surpass Pro Football Hall of Famer STEVE YOUNG (4,239 rushing yards) for the fifth-most rushing yards ever by a quarterback. Jackson has eclipsed 100 rushing yards in 12 career games, the most ever by a quarterback.
The quarterbacks with the most rushing yards in NFL history:
|Michael Vick||Atlanta, Philadelphia, N.Y. Jets, Pittsburgh||6,109|
|Cam Newton||Carolina, New England||5,628|
|Randall Cunningham||Philadelphia, Minnesota, Dallas, Baltimore Ravens||4,928|
|Russell Wilson||Seattle, Denver||4,785|
|Steve YoungHOF||Tampa Bay, San Francisco||4,239|
The Ravens will be facing a Cleveland offense that enters the week with the league’s top rushing attack, averaging 172 rushing yards per game. Running back NICK CHUBB leads the NFL with 649 rushing yards and seven rushing touchdowns.
With a rushing touchdown on Sunday, Chubb will become the fifth player ever to record at least eight rushing touchdowns in each of his first five seasons, joining Pro Football Hall of Famers JIM BROWN, EMMITT SMITH and LADAINIAN TOMLINSON, as well as ADRIAN PETERSON.
The players with at least eight rushing touchdowns in the most consecutive seasons to begin their careers in NFL history:
|LaDainian TomlinsonHOF||San Diego Chargers||9|
|*Has seven rushing touchdowns in fifth season|
Wide receiver AMARI COOPER leads Cleveland in receptions (31), receiving yards (348) and touchdown receptions (four) and has recorded a touchdown reception in four of the last five games.
With a touchdown catch on Sunday, Cooper will become the sixth player in the Super Bowl era to record at least five touchdown receptions in each of his first eight seasons, joining GARY CLARK, MARQUES COLSTON, LARRY FITZGERALD and Pro Football Hall of Famers MARVIN HARRISON and RANDY MOSS.
— NFL —
PERFECT DUO: Miami wide receiver TYREEK HILL leads the league with 701 receiving yards this season, while teammate JAYLEN WADDLE ranks fifth with 533. Their combined 1,234 receiving yards are the second-most by a pair of teammates through their team’s first six games of a season in the Super Bowl era.
If Hill and Waddle combine for at least 166 receiving yards against Pittsburgh on Sunday Night Football (8:20 PM ET, NBC), they will become the fifth pair of teammates ever and third since the 1970 merger to combine for over 1,400 receiving yards through their team’s first seven games of a season.
The pairs of teammates to combine for the most receiving yards through their team’s first seven games of a season all-time:
|TEAMMATES||TEAM||SEASON||COMBINED REC. YARDS|
|Charlie Hennigan & Bill Groman||Houston Oilers||1961||1,621|
|Isaac BruceHOF & Torry Holt||St. Louis Rams||2000||1,486|
|Lance AlworthHOF & Gary Garrison||San Diego Chargers||1968||1,441|
|Emmanuel Sanders & Demaryius Thomas||Denver||2014||1,401|
|Tyreek Hill & Jaylen Waddle||Miami||2022||1,234*|
|*Through first six games|
Hill totaled 177 receiving yards last week, his third game this season with at least 10 receptions and 150 receiving yards and eighth such game in his career, surpassing Pro Football Hall of Famer CALVIN JOHNSON (seven games) and JULIO JONES (seven) for the most such games by a player in his first seven seasons all-time.
With 150 receiving yards on Sunday night, Hill will become the first player ever to record at least 150 receiving yards in four of his team’s first seven games of a season.
He can also join Pro Football Hall of Famers LANCE ALWORTH (871 receiving yards in 1968) and MARVIN HARRISON (853 in 2000) as the only players in the Super Bowl era with at least 850 receiving yards through their team’s first seven games of the season.
— NFL —
ROOKIE DOMINANCE: New York Jets running back BREECE HALL leads all rookies this season with 609 scrimmage yards (391 rushing, 218 receiving), while Houston running back DAMEON PIERCE ranks second with 469 scrimmage yards (412 rushing, 57 receiving).
Pierce has totaled over 100 scrimmage yards and a touchdown in each of his past three games. With at least 100 scrimmage yards and a touchdown at Las Vegas on Sunday (4:05 PM ET, CBS), he will become the fifth rookie since 2000 to record 100 scrimmage yards and a touchdown in four-or-more consecutive games, joining ALVIN KAMARA (five consecutive games in 2017), SAQUON BARKLEY (four in 2018), ODELL BECKHAM JR. (four in 2014) and KEVIN JONES (four in 2004).
Seattle rookie cornerback TARIQ WOOLEN ties for the league lead with four interceptions this season and has recorded an interception in each of the past four games. With an interception at the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday (4:25 PM ET, FOX), Woolen will join JAIRUS BYRD (2009) as the only rookies in the Super Bowl era to record an interception in five consecutive games.
Woolen can also become the fourth player since 1970 with at least five interceptions in his first seven career games, joining Byrd (five interceptions), KEN LEE (five) and EVERSON WALLS (six).
The players with the most interceptions in their first seven career games since 1970:
|Ken Lee||Detroit, Buffalo||5|
|*Through first six games|