Week 7 of the NFL season is upon us, and the overreactions are loud on the streets. We’re barely over a quarter of the way through the regular season, so we only have some idea about which teams are contenders and which are pretenders.
That said, the small sample size of games that have been played can be dug through and sprinkled with context to become useful. Team-adjusted stats like DVOA have some value, and we also have to be aware of how injuries have affected teams in the early going.
Also, it’s not a huge shock when rookies or new teammates aren’t clicking immediately. As the season goes on, we should expect more cohesion.
With that in mind, let’s dive into some NFL Week 7 upset predictions and best bets. All NFL gameday odds are current as of 11:00 a.m. ET on Thursday, October 21.
NFL Week 7 Upset Predictions
Atlanta Falcons vs. Miami Dolphins
All eyes are on Tua Tagovailoa after the Deshaun Watson rumors began swirling once more. Last week, Tua put up 329 yards, 2 touchdowns, and just 1 interception, and this week his name is linked to several organizations as a trade (dump) candidate.
Luckily, he and the Dolphins go home to face the lowly Falcons after a devastating last-second loss in London to the formerly 0-5 Jaguars.
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The Falcons’ defense ranks 3rd-worst in the NFL, while Miami’s is not much better at 26th-overall. Neither team has much of a rushing attack, but Tua is at least fairly mobile in his own right while Matt Ryan is statuesque and showing his age as much as ever this season.
Atlanta does return Calvin Ridley (personal) from his absence and is looking to unlock more of Kyle Pitts after his eruption two weeks ago in London.
Miami’s strength is the secondary, with a bevy of talent across it that is seemingly healthy after losing Xavien Howard for last week’s game. They should have what it takes to limit Atlanta’s passing attack while Tua, being another week removed from his rib injury, can command the offense as well as he has all season.
Upset Prediction: Dolphins 30, Falcons 20
Falcons vs. Dolphins Upset Picks
Upset Pick: Dolphins Moneyline (+110) at BetMGM
While the Dolphins’ injury report may seem long, there were limited participants galore. DeVante Parker potentially is set to return after missing two games with a shoulder and hamstring issue.
His presence would do wonders for a team that was forced to lean on WR5 Mack Hollins heavily this past week.
Jaylen Waddle and Mike Gesicki have been productive in Parker’s absence but would probably love a little more space to operate as defenses shade towards the athletic Miami WR1.
Miami’s offense should take advantage of arguably the worst pass-rush in the NFL and come away with a victory.
Upset Pick: Over 47.5 (-110) at BetMGM
Miami plays at the 5th-fastest pace while Atlanta is 15th. Not having a real run game does wonders for stats like these, along with typically playing from behind.
Neither offense is that good overall, but when facing each other’s defenses, there will be enough noise made to hit the over.
New York Jets vs. New England Patriots
The Jets essentially thrashed themselves the last time these division rivals met. Zach Wilson threw 4 picks and saw his fair share of ghosts while fellow rookie Mac Jones hit cruise control and managed what was necessary for a 19-point win.
This next game in Foxborough may come off as a repeat performance for the two teams, but New York is coming off of a Bye and has the monkey of getting their first win off their backs.
They also have crucial slot receiver Jamison Crowder back in the fold and have consolidated their rushing attack between rookie Michael Carter and Ty Johnson.
The Jets have had this rematch to work on for two weeks and, despite the general disadvantage in coaching and overall personnel, can pull off the upset.
Mac Jones is not much better, if at all, than Zach Wilson, despite early-season results, and can fold under pressure. Jones also does not have premier scat-back James White to rely on as he did in the last meeting.
White led the Patriots in receptions and total yards while also finding the end zone in Week 2. The Jets’ defense is not good, but they have a strong front-four that can get through a Patriots’ offensive line, which has dealt with injuries/COVID the past few weeks.
Upset Prediction: Jets 23, Patriots 20
Jets vs. Patriots Upset Picks
Upset Pick: Jets Moneyline (+250) at BetMGM
The Jets shouldn’t have been expected to be the favorite after getting molly-whopped last time around, but they can absolutely win this game. They have the extra week of preparation and are mostly healthy with a better idea of their identity.
While the Patriots did nearly beat the now 5-1 Cowboys last week, they are flawed and can be cracked if Mac Jones is asked to do more than the bare minimum.
Upset Pick: Over 42.5 (-110) at BetMGM
This over barely hits thanks to a New York offense that can put up more than 6 points. The game probably relies heavily on kickers given the limitations of the respective quarterbacks, along with the Patriots finding themselves dead-last in fourth-down attempt rate.
These teams find themselves in the middle of the pack in pace (17th and 18th), which should present enough opportunities on both ends to score a few times.
Chicago Bears vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Is this crazy? Yes. Is this possible? Probably not. Is it worth discussing somewhat? Why not?!
The Bears head into Tampa to face the reigning Super Bowl champions, who hold a 3-game win streak and look as dominant as ever offensively.
Leonard Fournette’s emergence as a true bell cow for the Bucs has been a revelation to balance the attack that features arguably the greatest WR trio of all-time in Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, and Antonio Brown, with Brown dealing with an ankle sprain at the moment.
However, the Buccaneers’ do have a newfound weak spot in their defense. The secondary has faced a litany of injuries to the cornerback room specifically. Week 1 starters Carlton Davis and Sean Murphy-Bunting are both out for the near future, and recent signee Richard Sherman is also set to miss time.
Tampa’s front-seven is still quite strong, but key pieces Lavonte David and Jason Pierre-Paul have not practiced early this week and could be in danger of missing Sunday’s contest of being limited.
Now, the Bears have to do something offensively that would allow them to take advantage of the deficits in Tampa which, let’s be honest, cannot even begin to fathom after what we’ve seen through Justin Fields’ time as a starter. However, rookies can come out of nowhere and surprise us at any moment.
Fields does not shy away from pressure and is only getting more and more comfortable in the offense with the starters after not getting reps with the 1’s in the offseason.
Chicago has a talented duo of WRs in Allen Robinson and Darnell Mooney that would potentially reap the benefits of Tampa’s secondary deficiencies. Crazier things have happened.
The Bears’ defense also has performed much better than the Bucs’ up to this point, with their DVOA ranking 7th against Tampa’s 16th.
Upset Prediction: Bears 27, Buccaneers 24
Bears vs. Buccaneers Upset Picks
Upset Pick: Bears Moneyline (+550) at BetMGM
The cost of taking Bears at their +12.5 (-110) spread does not outweigh the risk. Take their moneyline in hopes of this hail mary upset because it is not out of the realm of possibility.
Upset Pick: Over 47 (-110) at BetMGM
The Buccaneers’ overall offense is potent enough to handle a top-10 defense, while the Bears’ passing offense has yet to be awakened.
This week could be the week against a ravaged secondary that may be caught off-guard.