NFL Picks Week 7: Underestimated Underdogs That Will Cover Spreads

Matt FitzgeraldCorrespondent IIIOctober 17, 2013

ORCHARD PARK, NY - OCTOBER 13: Marquise Goodwin #88 of the Buffalo Bills celebrates his game-tying touchdown late in the fourth quarter with Fred Jackson #22 during NFL game action against the Cincinnati Bengals at Ralph Wilson Stadium on October 13, 2013 in Orchard Park, New York. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

The NFL is nearly impossible to predict on a game-by-game basis, and Week 7 should prove to be no exception.

In gleaning over the spreads provided by Topbet, there are underdog teams being especially discounted by oddsmakers after some poor recent form. Three in particular are being underestimated to the point that they will cover their respective projected deficits.

Read on to find out which squads will at least cover and make their impending Sunday showdowns competitive, even if they don't win outright.

 

Cleveland Browns (+10) over Green Bay Packers

CLEVELAND, OH - OCTOBER 13: Quarterback Brandon Weeden #3 of the Cleveland Browns reacts after the game against the Detroit Lions at FirstEnergy Stadium on October 13, 2013 in Cleveland, Ohio. The Lions defeated the Browns 31-17. (Photo by Jason Miller/Ge
Jason Miller/Getty Images

So that whole Brandon Weeden interception from last week is getting a lot of attention, and rightly so. It was just about the most anti-clutch "pass" fathomable and only added to Cleveland sports' misery.

However, there is reason to believe that Weeden can be competent enough for the Browns to cover at Lambeau Field on Sunday.

Cleveland matches up rather well with the Packers in that it features a playoff-caliber defense seventh in total yards allowed per game. Although Green Bay's rushing attack has shown improvement with rookie Eddie Lacy taking over as the featured back in the past two games, the beat up receiving corps is cause for concern.

As magnificent as QB Aaron Rodgers is, he may be without James Jones and will certainly be without Randall Cobb, per ESPN's Chris Mortensen:

Cobb is a dynamic returner as well as a threat to line up in the backfield at times, so his presence will be missed in more than just the passing game.

And yet more bad news is that last year's first-round pick Nick Perry, who stepped up nicely in lieu of Clay Matthews in Week 6, will be out:

That should give time for Weeden to hold onto the ball as long as he needs to, but to ultimately capitalize on a pass defense that ranks 28th in the league.

Rodgers will do enough for Green Bay to secure a home victory, but it will be by fewer than 10 points.

Prediction: Packers 24, Browns 17

 

Buffalo Bills (+8) over Miami Dolphins

ORCHARD PARK, NY - OCTOBER 13: Thad Lewis #9 of the Buffalo Bills gives a thumbs-up before the start of NFL game action against the Cincinnati Bengals at Ralph Wilson Stadium on October 13, 2013 in Orchard Park, New York. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty
Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

Maybe the Browns should have held onto Thad Lewis, who filled in well for first-round rookie EJ Manuel in last week's overtime loss.

Lewis is a gifted athlete who can make all the throws, and showed great touch on several deep tosses in facing the Cincinnati Bengals' stellar defense that had shut down Tom Brady the game before.

But look for the Bills to rely on the great backfield tandem of C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson, because the Dolphins have a ferocious pass rush driven by defensive end Cameron Wake.

Then again, Miami is also in the bottom five in terms of passing yards allowed per contest, so maybe Lewis can attack the secondary with effectiveness.

The Dolphins are coming off of a bye, but divisional games are always a huge test. Buffalo will cover a disrespectful spread at Sun Life Stadium and win a close AFC East battle, handing Miami its third straight defeat.

Prediction: Bills 27, Dolphins 23

 

Houston Texans (+6.5) over Kansas City Chiefs

HOUSTON, TX - OCTOBER 13:  Houston Texans fans show their displeasure  in the second half of the game against the St. Louis Rams at Reliant Stadium on October 13, 2013 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
Scott Halleran/Getty Images

Don't run away in embarrassment just yet, Texans fans. All odds seem stacked against a reeling Houston team getting blown out at Arrowhead Stadium after a four-game losing streak.

Not so fast. Home fans cheered when QB Matt Schaub went down with an injury in losing last week's 38-13 blowout to the St. Louis Rams, which is never a good sign.

However, this Texans roster is too talented to roll over. Whether it's T.J. Yates or Case Keenum getting the starting nod under center—it hasn't been announced yet—the game plan won't revolve around them.

The two quarterbacks are splitting first-team reps, per the Houston Chronicle's Brian T. Smith.

Arian Foster will be the workhorse back though, as the Texans seek to beat the undefeated Chiefs at their own game—a heavy emphasis on the run, short, safe passes and stellar defense.

There are also more dynamic weapons in the Texans' passing game in receivers Andre Johnson and DeAndre Hopkins. All those factors working in Houston's favor will allow the Texans to hand Kansas City its first defeat of 2013 in this Week 7 upset special.

Prediction: Texans 21, Chiefs 20

 

Complete Week 7 Picks Against the Spread
Away TeamHome TeamPick (Spread)
Seattle SeahawksArizona CardinalsSeahawks (-7)
Chicago BearsWashington RedskinsBears (PICK)
St. Louis RamsCarolina PanthersPanthers (-6)
San Diego ChargersJacksonville JaguarsChargers (-7.5)
Tampa Bay BuccaneersAtlanta FalconsFalcons (-7)
New England PatriotsNew York JetsPatriots (-4.5)
Dallas CowboysPhiladelphia EaglesEagles (-2.5)
Cincinnati BengalsDetroit LionsLions (-3)
Buffalo BillsMiami DolphinsBills (+8)
San Francisco 49ersTennessee Titans49ers (-4.5)
Cleveland BrownsGreen Bay PackersBrowns (+10)
Baltimore RavensPittsburgh SteelersSteelers (-1)
Houston TexansKansas City ChiefsTexans (+6.5)
Denver BroncosIndianapolis ColtsBroncos (-6.5)
Minnesota VikingsNew York GiantsVikings (-3.5)
Source: Odds are courtesy of Topbet