Home / frontnfl / 2022 NFL Game Picks: Week 7
Cameron Faulkner/Tennessee Titans

2022 NFL Game Picks: Week 7

Last week: 10-4

Season: 54-39-1


NO (2-4) @ ARI (2-4)

Thursday, October 20 | 8:15 PM ET | Prime Video


New Orleans and Arizona both had playoff aspirations in 2022, but the season hasn’t started as they’d hope—setting up tonight’s matchup as a crucial game in the NFC to avoid a potentially insurmountable 2-5 start. Kyler Murray and the Cardinals were dominated by the Saints in 2019, but the weaponry will be boosted with DeAndre Hopkins returning from suspension and Robbie Anderson (if he plays) acquired to replace some of the speed lost with Marquise Brown (foot) out, and it’s up to Kliff Kingsbury to piece all the pieces together on a short week. In general, I feel there is much less dysfunction for New Orleans despite the slow start, and they should feature Taysom Hill—who had 63 receiving yards and a touchdown in the aforementioned matchup a few years ago—in a variety of ways to maximize the offense without Michael Thomas (foot) for the fourth week in a row. The main concern for the Saints is the secondary not living up to expectations to begin the year, so they need to limit the downfield plays and tackle Murray and Rondale Moore when they get into space.


Winner: New Orleans Saints


CLE (2-4) @ BAL (3-3)

Sunday, October 23 | 1:00 PM ET | CBS


The vibe is not great in Baltimore right now with various players not really hiding their displeasure for a variety of reasons, but the AFC North remains very tight, and a lot of the offensive struggles in recent weeks might get corrected when Rashod Bateman (foot) is back. It feels like Bateman could be targeting next Thursday night versus Tampa Bay as a return date, though, which would be disappointing after he went over 100 yards in last December’s matchup against the Browns. If so, the addition of veteran speedster DeSean Jackson could be what’s needed to open up the offense, and I’d like to see John Harbaugh make good on his comments about James Proche II seeing increased playing time—as the best strategy for Baltimore might be spreading things out more with 11 personnel (Bateman, Proche, and Devin Duvernay being the wideouts) while mixing in Jackson, rookie tight end Isaiah Likely, and the other weapons. There are also issues with the Browns not playing to their strengths on offense with Nick Chubb handling 12 carries for 56 yards last week, so I’m going with the better quarterback at home.


Winner: Baltimore Ravens


TB (3-3) @ CAR (1-5)

Sunday, October 23 | 1:00 PM ET | FOX


There are some real concerns about the Buccaneers on both sides of the ball with the defense falling off since a dominant start and the offense struggling despite getting healthier; but I’ve seen this movie enough times to know how it ends, and Tom Brady will eventually get on track with a blowout win—possibly this week against the last-place Panthers. Looking at the positives, Chris Godwin had his best game of the season last week with six receptions for 95 yards, and targeting him more deeper down the field by splitting the safeties is something that seems to be there based on how opponents have defended them. Also, the defense ranks third in the NFL in sacks (21), and the Panthers have struggled through the air with a league-low 71.6 combined quarterback rating. Based on how Todd Bowles’ defense has historically contained Christian McCaffrey—who has missed the last three meetings—it’s difficult to imagine Carolina putting up enough points to pull off an upset versus a determined Tampa Bay squad.


Winner: Tampa Bay Buccaneers


ATL (3-3) @ CIN (3-3)

Sunday, October 23 | 1:00 PM ET | FOX


The calls for Marcus Mariota to be benched should be silenced after he completed all but one pass last week, and he’s the perfect quarterback for the current build of the Falcons because of his accuracy, intelligence, and playmaking ability while knowing he doesn’t need to do too much. That being said, a possible shootout versus Cincinnati might result in Atlanta needing to open up the offense some, and it could be a spot where the lack of depth at the skill-positions is exposed with Bengals defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo keying on Drake London and Kyle Pitts—especially with Cordarrelle Patterson (knee) out of the lineup. For those unaware, Cincinnati still hasn’t allowed a touchdown in the second half this year, and they’ve done an excellent job containing mobile quarterbacks. Overall, a resurgent Ja’Marr Chase, healthier Tee Higgins, and fresher Joe Mixon (eight carries last week) could be too much firepower for Arthur Smith’s squad to overcome.


Winner: Cincinnati Bengals


DET (1-4) @ DAL (4-2)

Sunday, October 23 | 1:00 PM ET | CBS


Detroit getting shutout against the Patriots before the bye week should lead to them coming out determined to turn their season around, but it may be a turning point in the other direction if the team comes out flat—draining hope of a turnaround following the confidence built by Dan Campbell during Hard Knocks. Of course, the big storyline of the game is Dak Prescott (hand) returning, and I don’t anticipate a situation like we saw from Russell Wilson last year in Seattle when he returned too soon and the Seahawks were shutout; instead, Dallas will likely roll with a formula similar to what they’ve had under Cooper Rush (and Dak’s rookie season) by leaning on their defense and running game. The difference with Prescott back under center is more fear by opposing defenses and a higher likelihood of hitting on play-action shots to CeeDee Lamb and Michael Gallup, so it’ll be interesting to see what changes were made by the struggling Detroit defense coming off the break.


Winner: Dallas Cowboys


NYG (5-1) @ JAX (2-4)

Sunday, October 23 | 1:00 PM ET | FOX


The winnable pre-Thanksgiving schedule for New York (v BAL, @ JAX, @ SEA, v HOU, v DET) was pointed out last week, and they checked off the toughest challenge by taking down the Ravens with another game-winning touchdown by Saquon Barkley. This week, the Jaguars could finally end the magic if the pass rush gets to Daniel Jones, but I’m sure Brian Daboll will be prepared to offset Josh Allen and Travon Walker with plenty of quick passes, screens, and misdirection to keep them guessing. Plus, the other side of the ball for the Giants shouldn’t go overlooked as a bend-don’t-break defense that ranks among the elite units in the NFL in terms of points per game allowed (No. 8 at 18.8), and they’ll get to play the underdog card with Jacksonville favored by a field goal. As long as a “break” doesn’t happen in the form of a long touchdown run by Travis Etienne Jr.—who has rushed 20 times for 157 yards over the past two weeks—and Daniel Jones continues to take care of the ball, I like the Giants to tie the resting Eagles for the most wins in the league.


Winner: New York Giants


IND (3-2-1) @ TEN (3-2)

Sunday, October 23 | 1:00 PM ET | CBS


The schedule-makers strangely gave Indianapolis all but one of their divisional matchups (the second versus Houston) over the first seven weeks of the season, and Sunday is of extreme importance to the Colts having already lost to the Titans in the first meeting. Because of that, I’d anticipate Jonathan Taylor (ankle) being available after two missed games, and he should benefit from Matt Ryan finding more success through the air and taking more checkdowns to help the shuffled (but improved) offensive line hold up. However, the Titans have shown a more consistent willingness to feed Derrick Henry (25 touches in the Week 4 win), and he’s also seen increased involvement as a pass-catcher with 30+ receiving yards in all three games since an 0-2 start. Simply put, I trust Mike Vrabel and the Tennessee coaching staff more than I do Frank Reich, but maybe Matty Ice will come through again to take over first place in the division.


Winner: Tennessee Titans


GB (3-3) @ WAS (2-4)

Sunday, October 23 | 1:00 PM ET | FOX


Taylor Heinicke is back under center for Washington with Carson Wentz (finger) set to miss four-to-six weeks, and as a guy that went 7-6 in games he started and finished last season—on a less talented offense—it wouldn’t be a surprise if he played well enough to keep the job. It should be noted that Wentz deserves a ton of credit for playing through the injury last week in a needed win, but the players have gone to battle with Heinicke and seem to have more confidence in him than management does. And as a side note, Jake Fromm signing to the practice squad is intriguing as a quarterback that I believe can have success similar to Heinicke if given the opportunity (I don’t know how you can evaluate him fairly based on his time with the Giants under a coaching staff that ran a quarterback sneak on third-and-long), but the Commanders will hope it doesn’t come to that with Heinicke and rookie Sam Howell staying healthy. For Week 7, Heinicke can make it a game based on what he’s shown in his starts, but Green Bay has too many good players on both sides of the ball to not snap their two-game losing streak. Look for the offense to get back to basics by feeding Aaron Jones.


Winner: Green Bay Packers


NYJ (4-2) @ DEN (2-4)

Sunday, October 23 | 4:05 PM ET | CBS


The Jets don’t appear to be the “same old Jets” with a 3-0 record and point differential of +44 in three games since Zach Wilson returned, but history suggests this is an opportunity for Russell Wilson to snap out of his struggles. Not only is he 3-0 with a 9:1 touchdown-interception ratio against New York in his career, but he’s also typically known how to attack the Robert Saleh-style defense, which was carried over from San Francisco (who Wilson is 17-4 against for his career). While the injuries for Wilson—a partially torn lat and a “fairly significant” hamstring issue—need to be considered, Denver being in a bunch of close games (rather than getting blown out) shows they aren’t far away from turning things around despite many looking at them as a joke. A big reason for the team being able to compete is the defense being one of the best in football, and they notably shutout the Jets last season with the younger Wilson throwing for 160 yards and two interceptions—in addition to being sacked five times. The boos might be heard at home once again, but I think the Broncos will score just enough to come out on top in yet another slugfest.


Winner: Denver Broncos


HOU (1-3-1) @ LV (1-4) 

Sunday, October 23 | 4:05 PM ET | CBS


The Raiders are another team that is arguably closer to competing than their record and general perception about them might indicate, but it’s imperative to come out firing following the bye—which can set the tone for the rest of the season. Davante Adams won’t be handed down discipline (including a possible suspension) for pushing a member of gameday personnel on his way to the locker room following a crushing loss to Kansas City two weeks ago until at least next month, and he should be funneled targets—particularly if Darren Waller (hamstring) doesn’t suit up—against a Houston team he stung for a 13/196/2 line in 2020. Aside from Adams, the best offensive player for Las Vegas has been Josh Jacobs, but getting Hunter Renfrow more involved after he was such a key part of the playoff team in 2021 should be a focus for Josh McDaniels and Derek Carr. The Silver and Black jumping out to an early lead would make it more difficult for Dameon Pierce to reach the 20 carries head coach Lovie Smith wants for the rookie, and they also need to keep Brandin Cooks from going off through the air.


Winner: Las Vegas Raiders


SEA (3-3) @ LAC (4-2) 

Sunday, October 23 | 4:25 PM ET | FOX


The passing numbers weren’t there for Geno Smith last week, but he played winning football by doing what was needed for Seattle in a 19-9 victory, including six carries for 48 yards and not turning the ball over—which he’s only done twice in six games. On Sunday, Smith should be able to take advantage of a Los Angeles defense that was lost in coverage at times against Denver and benched high-priced cornerback J.C. Jackson (who will start in Week 7), but rookie runner Ken Walker III should be the offensive engine with 88+ rushing yards and a score in each of the past two games to make up for the loss of Rashaad Penny (leg); only the Giants are allowing more yards per carry then the Chargers this season (5.6), so correcting that is one of the many changes Brandon Staley needs to make. Offensively, LA should feed Mike Williams because he doesn’t need to be “open” to haul in targets thrown in his direction, and I’m excited to see the matchup between the six-foot-four wideout and six-foot-four rookie cornerback Tariq Woolen. At home, I like the Chargers to win if the absence of Week 6 hero Dustin Hopkins (hamstring) doesn’t lead to Staley getting too crazy with the analytics.


Winner: Los Angeles Chargers


KC (4-2) @ SF (3-3)

Sunday, October 23 | 4:25 PM ET | FOX


Travis Kelce versus George Kittle on “National Tight Ends Day” is perfect, and it’s hilarious that Jimmy Garoppolo actually came up with the name a few years ago by jokingly asking, “What is it, like National Tight Ends Day?” after a Brent Celek touchdown. It’s easy to imagine both Kelce and Kittle trading blows in a shootout this weekend, but Isiah Pacheco and Tevin Coleman are the complementary pieces I’m keeping an eye on for each side. The rookie runner for the Chiefs was talked up by Tony Romo on last week’s broadcast, and it doesn’t take long to notice the juice—and hard-charging power—he brings with the ball in his hands; Coleman is similar in that he can rip off yardage when he gets into open space (as shown a couple of weeks ago), and Jeff Wilson Jr. having two costly fumbles over the past four games might lead to more opportunities for him. The result could end up being the same as Super Bowl LIV if Patrick Mahomes rebounds from last week’s game-sealing interception in a battle with Buffalo, but the Niners could get both Trent Williams (ankle) and Nick Bosa (groin) back, and Garoppolo should play well with his pass-catchers facing a shaky secondary.


Winner: San Francisco 49ers


PIT (2-4) @ MIA (3-3)

Sunday, October 23 | 8:20 PM ET | NBC


Anyone questioning Mike Tomlin’s standing as head coach of the Steelers was silenced last week with the Pittsburgh defense—down four-of-five starters in the secondary—flying around in an upset win over the Bucs, and the team now sits just one game back in the AFC North. There is concern about the defense being unable to simply will themselves to another win with Tyreek Hill and the speedy Miami offense awaiting them on Monday night, but Cameron Heyward will have the advantage on the interior to make Tua Tagovailoa uncomfortable with pressure in his face. On the Pittsburgh offense, Kenny Pickett (concussion) is slated to start after Mitchell Trubisky played well in relief last week, and the Dolphins aren’t necessarily an imposing matchup with the fourth-most yards per attempt allowed through the air (7.9) and an NFL-low one interception on the season. If the speed for Mike McDaniel’s attack doesn’t overwhelm the T.J. Watt-less defense, the Steelers can win as a touchdown underdog.


Winner: Pittsburgh Steelers


CHI (2-4) @ NE (3-3)

Monday, October 24 | 8:15 PM ET | ESPN/ESPN2


Mac Jones (ankle) is set to return on Monday night, and any talk of Bailey Zappe remaining the starter is crazy; that’s not at all an indictment on the rookie, but Jones—despite struggles to start Year 2—looked like a future star in 2021, and Zappe has had the benefit of New England finding their identity this month under a new offensive staff. The quarterback situation in Chicago is much bleaker, and I’m glad Amazon analyst Ryan Fitzpatrick pointed out that Justin Fields was late on the throw to Darnell Mooney at the end of last Thursday night’s game, and it also pulled Mooney inside and resulted in what many casual observers might simply call a drop. On a chilly and foggy night, I’d anticipate Bill Belichick forcing Fields to beat his defense through the air, and the outing could get ugly for the young quarterback on the road if he holds onto the ball and doesn’t get off his primary read.


Winner: New England Patriots