Week 7 NFL picks and predictions from Adam Burke

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NFL Week 7 best bets and betting odds

The NFL season is chugging along and we’ve got plenty of patterns and trends to evaluate with each and every team. Some teams are a lot more trustworthy than others, especially the teams that pay close attention to the details. The ones that can execute the game-plan are the ones that often succeed and game-plans vary so much from week-to-week based on the matchup and the schemes that the opposition will deploy.

 

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Here in Week 7, we have quite a few interesting matchups that aren’t the most attractive on paper, but feature teams that aren’t that far apart in terms of talent and profile. That means the team that executes better will be the one that prevails and those are the ones that I’m looking to put my trust in.

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Here are my favorite Week 7 NFL picks:

(Odds as of October 19, 6:00 p.m. PT)

Atlanta Falcons at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-2.5, 37)

The Falcons and Bucs meet in a big NFC South showdown here with both teams coming off of losses. Atlanta deserved a better fate, as they outgained Washington 5.1 to 3.9 in yards per play, but it was not the kind of game that the Falcons wanted to play. Desmond Ridder had to throw 47 times, as Atlanta trailed throughout and Washington took away the run game.

This week, the Bucs are a tough opponent. Tampa Bay ranks third in Rush EPA against, trailing only the Falcons and Jaguars. When Atlanta played Jacksonville, the Jaguars won 23-7. It was a “home” game for the Jags in London, but Atlanta mustered nothing offensively. Forcing the Falcons to play left-handed by using way too much Ridder is a good plan and Tampa Bay’s defensive numbers suggest that it is very much possible for them to be able to do just that.

Meanwhile, the Bucs stink at running the ball, so that aforementioned strength with stopping the run doesn’t really help the Falcons much. While Atlanta’s run defense has been outstanding, the pass defense is 24th in Dropback EPA. That should help Baker Mayfield and help the Bucs offense play to its strengths.

Under a field goal, I’ll trust that all of those things happen and the Bucs pick up a huge division win while covering 2.5 in the process.

Pick: Buccaneers -2.5

San Francisco 49ers (-7, 44) at Minnesota Vikings

The 49ers are going to be shorthanded this week, as it appears that Christian McCaffrey and Deebo Samuel won’t play. That puts a lot of pressure on Brock Purdy and the other skill guys, but I think the star of this showdown will be the 49ers defense. Minnesota was not good without Justin Jefferson last week and the star wideout will be out again this week as he sits on the IR.

Minnesota managed just 220 yards of offense against the Bears, who do not have a defense anywhere near San Francisco’s level. Kirk Cousins is not a mobile QB, so the 49ers front four should be able to disrupt the game in a big way and have plenty of success. Without JJ, the Vikings were 2-of-13 on third down last week and managed just 4.0 yards per play. Minnesota failed to score any offensive points in the second half and their only touchdown came on a two-minute drill.

The Vikings blitz at the highest rate in the NFL at 57.9% per Pro-Football-Reference. They have 18 sacks and 55 pressures, but that leaves them exposed on the back end. A coach like Kyle Shanahan should be able to put together the right kind of plan to score enough points for a cover.

This is a play on the San Francisco defense more than anything and I expect that they will perform at a very high level here, which means that the 49ers might only need to get into the low 20s to cover.

Pick: 49ers -7

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