NFL Predictions: Week 7 Bets for Giants vs Jaguars, Falcons vs Bengals, Jets vs Broncos
John McCoy/Getty. Pictured: Marcus Mariota.
- There have been a few teams off to surprising starts this season in the NFL.
- Stuckey says Lady Luck is about to run out for three of them in Week 7.
- Check out his favorite picks for Sunday below.
It's been a wild and crazy first six weeks of the NFL season. Teams many thought would struggle have been racking up wins and a number of playoff teams from last year have struggled out of the gates. For this article, I'm going to focus on a trio of teams in the former group from a betting perspective.
The Falcons have been one of the biggest surprises in the league. Not many would have predicted they would be tied with Tampa Bay atop the NFC South headed into Week 7. Coming into the season, many believed Atlanta had the worst roster in the league and that Tampa had one of the best.
Meanwhile, the Jets and Giants have a combined 9-3 record. If the season ended today, both would make the playoffs. That hasn't happened in the same year since 2006. In fact, both teams haven't been over .500 simultaneously since Week 9 in 2015.
As you might expect, all three teams have treated bettors very well in 2022. The Falcons (6-0 against the spread) are the only team to cover every spread, while the Giants have been the second-most profitable at 5-1 ATS. The Jets aren't too far behind at 4-2 ATS, including a perfect 3-0 ATS when Zach Wilson has started at quarterback.
In total, these teams have a combined 15-3 ATS (83.3%) record. And while the Falcons are perfect against the number, the Jets and Giants have actually been the two most profitable teams to back on the moneyline. A $100 bettor would have netted over $1400 by backing both clubs to win outright in each of its first six games. That's an ROI north of 100%.
The next logical question is how will these teams perform against the spread in the future? Are they now overvalued? Or has the market still not caught up?
All three hit the road this weekend for non-divisional games. Let's take a closer look at each matchup from a betting perspective with my NFL Week 7 predictions and bets.
|Moneyline||+142 / -168|
|Time||Sunday, 1 p.m. ET|
|Odds via FanDuel. Get the latest NFL odds here.|
I'm backing the Jaguars in what sets up as a perfect buy-low/sell-high spot.
The Giants are coming off back-to-back upsets of the Packers and Ravens, but trailed 20-10 in the fourth quarter of both games. Last week, Baltimore outgained New York, 406-238, and had an astronomical 7.0-3.8 yards per play edge.
You have to give a ton of credit to head coach Brian Daboll for the job he has done with this roster. I'm not too surprised the massive upgrades across the entire staff have led to positive results as that was one of the reasons why Giants over 6.5 wins was my favorite season-long win total.
That said, the Giants have been extremely lucky en route to their 5-1 start. Please check out our new Luck Rankings if you haven't yet. Not surprisingly, we have the Giants as the luckiest team in the NFL through six weeks.
Conversely, the Jaguars come in at No. 28. For what it's worth, teams that are 16 or more places more unlucky than their opponent have gone 14-2 ATS since we unveiled these rankings.
To provide additional context on the Giants season, let's take a look at their game-by-game results.
- Beat Titans by one on a two-point conversion (trailed by a touchdown in the 4th)
- Lost at home to Cooper Rush
- Beat Panthers at home by three (tied in 4th before Graham Gano hit two 50-plus yard field goals)
- Defeated Bears at home by eight
- Beat Packers in London by five (trailed 20-10 in 4th)
- Beat Ravens at home by four (trailed 20-10 in 4th)
To summarize, the Giants have five one-possession wins over the Bears, Panthers, Titans, Packers and Ravens. In all five, they were either tied or trailing in fourth quarter.
In the final quarter, they have outscored their opponents 45-10 (if you remove an intentional safety) in those five victories. You can certainly say all of the late-game variance has broken their way.
Plus, not only am I looking to sell high on the Giants, I'm also looking to buy low on the Jaguars after three straight one-possession losses.
- Lost by eight at Philadelphia in a monsoon
- Lost by seven at home against the Texans despite a 422-238 yards advantage. Zero touchdowns on three red zone trips, 0-3 on fourth down and -2 turnover margin.
- Last-second seven-point loss at Indianapolis (-1 turnover margin)
In those three games, the Jaguars had a combined -7 turnover margin and went 1-5 on fourth down attempts. They also outgained the Texans 422-238 in a game in which they failed to score a touchdown on three red zone trips.
20+ passing attempts
3+ total touchdowns
— Ryan Michael (@theryanmichael) October 16, 2022
From a matchup standpoint, the Giants defense has struggled, ranking 30th in DVOA and 22nd in EPA per Play. In comparison, the Jaguars rank 10th and 9th, respectively.
New York also doesn't play much cover 2, which has caused Trevor Lawrence the most problems this season. In 2022, Lawrence has just a 50% on-target rate against Cover 2 compared to 80% against all other looks.
Offensively, the Giants scheme and play-calling has improved significantly, leading to drastically better year-over-year results. They rank 13th in DVOA and 8th in EPA per Play. For reference, Jacksonville ranks 12th and 10th, respectively.
However, Daniel Jones remains under constant pressure (46% pressure rate) when he drops back to pass. To his credit, he hasn't made many mistakes, but that may change in the near future based on some of his turnover-worthy throws.
It's still a run-first Giants offense, but they may struggle to find much success on the ground against a Jacksonville defense that ranks sixth in rush success rate. It's no surprise the Jaguars run defense has improved significantly under new defensive coordinator Mike Caldwell, who's a Todd Bowles disciple.
I'll leave you with one final measure to illustrate difference between these two teams. From a net yards per play perspective, the Jaguars rank eighth in the NFL at +0.4 (5.8-5.4), while the Giants rank 27th at -0.7 (5.3-6.0).
|Moneyline||+245 / -300|
|Time||Sunday, 1 p.m. ET|
|Odds via FanDuel. Get the latest NFL odds here.|
With a victory in Cincinnati on Sunday, the Falcons can get over .500 for the first time since 2017. Atlanta has also been the darling of the betting world as it is only team to cover in every game this season.
Can the market simply not catch up to the 2022 Falcons? Let's take a closer look at their week-by-week results to add context:
- +5.5 vs. Saints: Lost by 1
- +10 at Rams: Lost by 4
- +1 at Seahawks: Won by 4
- +1 vs. Browns: Won by 3
- +11 at Bucs: Lost by 6
- +3.5 vs. 49ers: Won by 14
The Falcons certainly deserved to cover against the Saints in Week 1, but I'd classify the Seahawks and Browns as true coin flips that could've went either way.
On the other end of the spectrum, the Falcons certainly got a very fortunate cover against the Rams after trailing 28-3 in the second half and had the help of a blocked punt touchdown. They also trailed 21-0 in the second half against the Bucs before mounting a comeback to sneak in the backdoor after Tampa lost a few starting defensive backs to injury. If they play both games 100 times, they don't cover more often than they do.
That leaves the 49ers game. Was I overly impressed with that two-possession victory? Not really. San Francisco actually finished with more yards and averaged almost one more yard per play. The 49ers, who were missing over half of their defensive starters, also didn't score on their four final possessions in Atlanta territory.
Atlanta also had a fluke defensive touchdown early in the game. Look, the Falcons deserved to cover as a home underdog, but I didn't come away with a different opinion.
In summary, they had two well-deserved covers, two lucky ones and a pair of coin flips. Plus, the Bucs, Browns and Rams have all looked worse than expected. I don't think the market is missing anything with the Falcons after the initial positive adjustment.
The Falcons have undoubtedly improved this season, but I believe they are getting a bit too much love in the market this week. Before the season, I would've made the Bengals a 10.5-point favorite.
While I no longer have it that high due to those aforementioned improvements, I still project Cincinnati as just over an 8-point favorite. Therefore, I happily laid -6 and would bet the home favorite at anything under a touchdown, especially since I love the matchup.
The Falcons will be shorthanded in the secondary with Casey Hayward going on IR and Dee Alford getting ruled out. That spells trouble against Joe Burrow and the Bengals deep receiving corps, especially since Atlanta gets no pressure.
The Falcons defense ranks dead last in QB Hurry Rate, Adjusted Sack Rate and Pressure Rate There's no reason to believe Burrow can't shred this defense, which also ranks dead last in overall success rate. I also believe the Bengals offense is trending in a positive direction with an improving offensive line and better play-calling.
I'm also not as afraid of another Falcons backdoor if the Bengals build a big lead. For one, this spread is under a touchdown. And two, Cincy has only allowed 27 total points (on nine field goals) in the second half this season (4.5 ppg). Not a single opponent has found pay dirt after half time over six games.
|Moneyline||-102 / -116|
|Time||Sunday, 4:05 p.m. ET|
|Odds via FanDuel. Get the latest NFL odds here.|
I've been wrong plenty of times before and will be wrong plenty more, but I just don't understand this line. I don't care if it's an injured Russell Wilson (who has looked lost) or Brett Rypien (who beat the Jets back in 2020). I believe the Broncos should be at least a three-point favorite in this game.
The Jets are getting way too much love for beating a bunch of backup quarterbacks in flukey fashion. They could easily be a 1-5 team and nobody would want to touch them here.
We'll ignore their two blowout losses at home and just focus on their four wins:
- Beat Jacoby Brissett by one after a miraculous late comeback.
- Beat Mitch Trubisky (who got hurt) and Kenny Pickett (who threw three picks in his NFL debut) by four in another miraculous comeback.
Keep in mind the Jets were trailing by doubler digits in both games against the Browns and Steelers backup quarterbacks before eventually scoring the game-winning touchdowns with under 30 seconds left.
New York is 23rd in success rate and 11th in EPA per play despite facing a number of backups.
- Beat another backup making his NFL debut. This time a third-stringer in Skylar Thompson. The Jets won 40-17, but led only 19-17 in the fourth quarter in a very even game statistically.
- Beat the Packers (and finally a starting quarterback) by 17 in Lambeau. That's impressive on the surface, but I actually graded it as a two-point loss. The Jets scored touchdowns on a pair of offensive trick plays and another on a blocked punt. Each team finished with exactly 278 yards.
Running back Breece Hall has been a revelation for the Jets and looks like a home run draft pick. New York really leaned on him last week in that Green Bay victory, but that came against the worst rated run defense in the NFL. The Jets will not have that kind of success against an elite Denver defense.
With Patrick Surtain locking down one side of the field and Justin Simmons back from injury at safety, this secondary only has one weakness — the second corner spot.
However, the Jets can't really take advantage of that vulnerability. No matter which metric you look at, Wilson has been one of the worst quarterbacks in the league and is not an upgrade over Joe Flacco.
The Denver defense also has an abundance of depth up front. Linebacker Alex Singleton, filling in for Josey Jewell, had 21 tackles last week. That's the fourth-most in a game since tackles have been recorded as an official stat.
The Denver defense, which is a top-three unit this season, can contain Hall. That will force the Jets into clear passing situations where Denver will generate pressure against Wilson. That spells disaster for New York.
For the season, Wilson is just 4-23 (17.4%) under pressure for 49 yards with no touchdowns and two interceptions. Even worse, he has a 16.5% turnover worthy throw % when under pressure, which is by far the highest mark in the league among qualified quarterbacks.
Believe it or not, the Broncos rank fourth in the NFL in net yards per play (+0.8), while the Jets sit at 13th (+0.2) even after facing backup quarterbacks in half of their games.
While the Jets have pulled out a number of close games, the Broncos have lost a pair of games in overtime. They could easily be 5-1 with a few bounces. Even Denver's nine-point loss against the Raiders turned on a fluke fumble return touchdown.
Don't forget the Broncos covered and won at home against a healthy San Francisco team and could’ve easily won on the road against the Chargers or at home vs. the Colts, despite their offense doing nothing all year.
You can likely expect another close, low-scoring affair for the Broncos, who will likely play in many this year. I'll trust the much better defense at home at a bargain price in a great spot between a battle of two limited offenses. The late-game magic runs out for the Jets here.