The Sports Editors’ NFL Week 7 Picks


Associated Press/Jacob Kupferman

DARNOLD DEALING: Carolina Panthers QB Sam Darnold is enjoying a career resurgence down South, and looks to continue that hot start in New York.

Notis: Atlanta Falcons (-2.5) at Miami Dolphins

This matchup is so terrible I’m surprised the NFL didn’t make this a London game. Regardless, the Falcons and the Dolphins face off in a potential shootout, as both teams neglect to play defense. Miami proved as much this past week in London, when they lost on a last-second field goal against the Jacksonville Jaguars, making the struggling sophomore quarterback Tua Tagovailoa look somewhat decent. The Falcons are coming off of a bye week after dismantling the Jets at Wembley Stadium. Rookie tight end Kyle Pitts is starting to see his touches rise and if that continues, the Dolphins will not have an answer for this Falcons offense. The Dolphins were without their two starting cornerbacks against Jacksonville, and if they aren’t available against Atlanta, the Falcons will soar to victory over Miami. 

Silverstein:  New England Patriots (-7) at New York Jets

I truly do not remember the last time I got one of these picks correct… So Belichick, please do your thing on Sunday and take care of business. At the end of the day, this matchup comes down to Bill Belichick taking on a rookie quarterback. Bill is 22-6 all-time against rookie gunslingers, and he forced Zach Wilson into four interceptions the last time these two teams met in East Rutherford. This time, the 1-4 Jets will be traveling to Foxborough, and that spells trouble for any team, not just a rebuilding team with a new head coach. After a crazy overtime loss to the Cowboys, New England will play a solid game at home and beat their AFC East rivals. Give me the Pats on Sunday. 

Firment: Chicago Bears (+13.5) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Making this pick honestly hurts me. As a lifelong Green Bay Packers fan, I hate to concede that I think the Bears are better than a 13-and-a-half point dog against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Even in Tampa. With Justin Fields at the helm, Chicago is a team that was an Aaron Rodgers scramble (and a few controversial calls) away from getting a last chance possession to level the game at 17 apiece at Soldier Field over the weekend. Instead, their defense couldn’t stop the run and their offensive line was abysmal in the final possession of the game. However, even with all of their late-game futility, they only lost by 10 points to a Packers team that will be an NFC title contender again. This Bears team is not a joke. And while I think Tom Brady and the Bucs will handle Chicago rather easily, I can see the Bears keeping this game within two touchdowns. 

Cobey: Carolina Panthers (-3) at New York Giants

Here’s a betting tip: Bet against the New York Football Giants. It’s pretty easy. They are not only one of the worst teams in the NFL, but they are just as bad against the spread, among the worst in the league at 2-4. The Giants got thwarted last weekend by a good Rams team, allowing four touchdowns for Matthew Stafford in a game that ended in 38-11. Danny Dimes threw not one, not two, but three interceptions against the Rams, and without Saquon Barkley, the Giants put together an uninspiring performance. On the other hand, the Panthers, who started out 3-0, are on a three-game losing streak, including last week’s loss to the Vikings in devastating fashion. They are still without star RB Christian McCaffery, but playing the New York Giants is a perfect game for these Panthers coming off of their losing streak. They will finally get it going again against a defense that has allowed 103 points in three games (34.3 per game) and blow the G-Men out of the water on Sunday.