Last week, we saw the largest spread in NFL history, as the undefeated Denver Broncos hosted the winless Jacksonville Jaguars. With the Broncos winning 35-19, the Jaguars not only covered the 28-point spread, they also silenced all the critics who thought the Jags could lose to Alabama.
Looking ahead to this week, there is only one game that features a double-digit spread, as the Cleveland Browns travel to Green Bay as 10-point underdogs.
That being said, with 11 games including less than a seven-point spread, the NFL continues to prove that it has more parity than any other league.
Let’s take a look at three teams who are guaranteed to cover the spread in Week 7.
Kansas City Chiefs (-6 vs. Houston Texans)
These two teams couldn’t be headed in more opposite directions.
The Chiefs are 6-0 and have already tripled their win total from a year ago whereas the Texans have lost three straight, including a blowout loss at home to the St Louis Rams.
Kansas City is coming off a home win against the Oakland Raiders during which the team's fans set the Guinness World Record for loudest crowd ever at 137.5 decibels.
The Chiefs have the best defense in the NFL through six weeks and have shown no signs of slowing down. Outside linebackers Tamba Hali and Justin Houston have 6.5 and 9.5 sacks, respectively, and anchor the front seven of the Chiefs defense.
On the other side of the ball, quarterback Alex Smith has played mistake-free football, with only three interceptions compared to seven touchdowns. Kansas City is a run-first team with Jamaal Charles, who leads the way with 475 yards and five touchdowns on the ground.
Coming into the season, the Texans were considered by many to be a front-runner in the AFC. However, after getting embarrassed by the Rams, the Texans are currently 2-4 and fading fast.
QB Matt Schaub is expected to miss time with a hurt ankle and backup T.J. Yates hasn’t proven to be a legitimate replacement. Yates came in against the Rams and went 15-22 for 113 yards and two interceptions—one of which was returned for a touchdown.
On Thursday, head coach Gary Kubiak told ESPN.com's Tania Ganguli that third-string signal-caller Case Keenum will start on Sunday.
Expect the Chiefs to dominate time of procession and get Charles involved early and often. Kansas City will cover the spread easily winning 28-13.
San Francisco 49ers (-4 at Tennessee Titans)
San Francisco is coming off a huge 32-20 win against the division rival Arizona Cardinals and finally looked like the team that everyone was expecting coming into the season.
The Niners are quietly riding a three-game winning streak after losing back-to-back games to the Seattle Seahawks and Indianapolis Colts.
Last week, the Titans traveled to Seattle and lost 20-13, which guarantees their fate for this week. This season, every team that has just faced the Seahawks has lost the following week. Seattle is a hard-nosed squad, so expect a physical hangover from the Titans this week.
The 49ers are fourth in the NFL in rushing with just over 140 yards per game, while the Titans rank 19th against the run, allowing 111 yards per game. Look for Frank Gore to have a monster game and Kaepernick to continue to improve, as the Niners utilize the read-option more than they have all year.
San Francisco will make the cross-country trip look effortless and cover the spread 31-17.
Atlanta Falcons (-7 vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
The Falcons have been one of the biggest disappointments in the NFL thus far. Sitting at just 1-4, Atlanta’s last game was an embarrassing loss to the New York Jets on Monday Night Football. During the contest, star wide receiver Julio Jones was lost for the year.
However, the Falcons are coming off a bye week and head coach Mike Smith is 3-2 in games following the bye. This is a must-win game for the Falcons, as the Saints are sitting atop the division at 5-1.
Tampa Bay has been a mess this season and has yet to win a game. Head coach Greg Schiano is on the hot seat and it seems likely that he will be looking for employment after this season.
The Bucs have turned to rookie QB Mike Glennon, who has yet to impress this year. Tampa Bay is currently last in the league in passing yards, averaging just 190 per game, and 20th in rushing with just under 100 yards per game.
Expect the Falcons to treat this like a playoff game and put the ball in Matt Ryan’s hands as much as possible. The loss of Julio Jones will be mitigated by the red-zone presence of tight end Tony Gonzalez.
The Falcons will blow out the Bucs 38-10, saving their season.
|Week 7 Picks Against the Spread|
|Date||Road Team||Home Team||Spread||Pick|
|Oct. 17||Seahawks||Cardinals||ARI + 6.5||SEA|
|Oct. 20||Patriots||Jets||NYJ + 4||NYJ|
|Oct. 20||Chargers||Jaguars||JAGS + 7.5||SD|
|Oct. 20||Texans||Chiefs||KC - 6.5||KC|
|Oct. 20||Bengals||Lions||DET -3||CIN|
|Oct. 20||Bills||Dolphins||MIA - 8.5||BUF|
|Oct. 20||Bears||Redskins||WAS - 1||CHI|
|Oct. 20||Cowboys||Eagles||PHI - 3||DAL|
|Oct. 20||Rams||Panthers||STL + 6||CAR|
|Oct. 20||Buccaneers||Falcons||ATL - 7||ATL|
|Oct. 20||49ers||Titans||Titans + 4||SF|
|Oct. 20||Browns||Packers||Browns + 10||GB|
|Oct. 20||Ravens||Steelers||PIT - 1.5||BAL|
|Oct. 20||Broncos||Colts||IND + 6.5||IND|
|Oct. 21||Vikings||Giants||NYG - 3||MIN|
Lines courtesy of Vegas Insider.