NFL picks for Week 7 from Matt Youmans


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It’s early in the NFL season and things can change quickly, but there has not been a lot to like about quarterback Jordan Love and the Green Bay offense.

Love looked lost in the Packers’ last two losses, throwing a total of five interceptions against the Lions and Raiders. Green Bay ranks 28th in total offense (281.6 yards per game) and 27th in rushing (81.6 YPG), and the latter is a problem that has stunted Love’s development. An injury-riddled offensive line has prevented the running attack from getting started, and while the power running of Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon was meant to be the strength of the offense, Jones has missed three games with a hamstring injury. In other words, the run is not setting up the pass, and Love has been put in a tough situation.

Two things should the Packers get back on the right path Sunday — Jones is set to return, and the Denver defense is the league’s worst.

Green Bay, seemingly a healthier team coming off a bye, faces another AFC West opponent on the road after imploding in a 17-13 loss at Las Vegas on Oct. 9. The Raiders did what they could to give the game away, but the Packers were too inept to take it.

This should be a get-right spot for Love against a Broncos defense that ranks last in yards allowed (440.3 per game) and scoring (33.3). Green Bay has the superior defense, and its front is capable of pressuring quarterback Russell Wilson, whose honeymoon in Denver ended a long time ago.

Pick: Packers -1.

My five sides went 2-3 last week, and the season record in this column is 14-15-1. Four more plays for Week 7 (home team in CAPS):

RAVENS (-3) over Lions

Jared Goff is putting up MVP-type numbers for a Detroit offense, scoring 28 points per game, but the Lions have taken advantage of a soft schedule during their four-game winning streak. This is a tough spot, being the tail end of back-to-back road games, and the Baltimore defense ranks No. 2 in yards allowed (260.8 per game) and No. 4 in scoring (15.2). There is a class difference between the AFC North and NFC North that should show in this matchup.

GIANTS (+3) over Commanders

It appears Tyrod Taylor will start again in place of injured Giants quarterback Daniel Jones, but that’s not necessarily bad news. Taylor’s mobility is a plus behind a banged-up offensive line against a strong Washington defensive front. Taylor totaled 224 yards (200 passing, 24 rushing) in a 14-9 loss at Buffalo on Sunday night, when New York had two drives die at the 1-yard line. Saquon Barkley returned from injury to rush for 93 yards. The New York defense is playing well enough to win, and it’s fair to doubt whether Washington deserves to be a 3-point road favorite with a shaky quarterback in Sam Howell.

SEAHAWKS (-7.5) over Cardinals

Expect a much better performance from the Seattle offense after multiple red-zone breakdowns in a frustrating loss at Cincinnati a week ago. Geno Smith, who has only five touchdown passes through five games, is due for a get-right game. Arizona has lost its last three games by margins of 19, 14 and 17 points. The Cardinals are crashing back to reality after a surprising start in September. Seattle is the pick, but for betting purposes, use this as part of a teaser (to -1.5) or moneyline parlay.

EAGLES (-2.5) over Dolphins

Jalen Hurts did more than hurt Philadelphia in its loss to the Jets a week ago. His late interception — his seventh pick in six games — was the reason the Eagles blew the game. Hurts is not playing anywhere near the high level he achieved a year ago, so his motivation will be high. Miami has bullied several bad teams while rolling up impressive offensive numbers. The Philadelphia defense should change the storyline. I will split one unit here and play the Eagles and Over the total of 51.