NFL predictions: Is anyone else tired of the blowouts?
The NFL’s Week 7 started with a thoroughly lackluster game. The Chiefs routed the Broncos 30-6, and the only drama was the health of Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes, who limped off the field in the first half.
Week 7 didn’t get appreciably better. The Sunday night game was over by halftime, and the Cowboys rolled the Eagles 37-10. The Monday night game was over when the New England bus rolled up to MetLife Stadium; the Patriots whacked the Jetropolitans 33-0.
Fourteen games in Week 7. Five of them decided by more than 14 points.
And that is standard in the NFL 2019. Week 4 had six games decided by more than 14 points, though mercifully none by more than 24. Week 6 had only three games decided by more than 14 points. Every other week has had five games decided by more than 14 points.
Seems like a lot, in a league that prides itself on parity and competitiveness. You like blowouts? Watch football on Saturday, where a 30-14 final passes for a classic.
Except the NFL seems to be blowout-heavy these days. And not just when the Dolphins or the Patriots are on the field. Through seven weeks, we’ve already had five games decided by at least 30 points.
Is that normal? Are such lopsided games new to the NFL?
I went back to 2014 and charted the first seven weeks of the season. Thirty-seven games decided by at least 15 points (compared to 34 so far in 2019), with at least six decided by 30 points.
I went back to 2009’s first seven weeks. Thirty-six games decided by at least 15 points, with 10 decided by at least 30 points.
The NFL’s in-game parity is a myth. There are enough games in the noon Sunday window that the good games make you forget the bad games, but blowouts are nothing new. Hopefully you can avoid them.
Let’s get to the predictions:
Redskins at Vikings: Minnesota 29-7. Fired coach Jay Gruden was not the problem in Washington. Quarterback Kirk Cousins, now a Vike, was not the problem. The problem is in ownership. That’s not going to change, so the Redskins’ fortunes will not change.
Seahawks at Falcons: Seattle 31-18. Wow. The Seattle-Baltimore game, won by the Ravens, surprised me more than any other result in Week 7. I think it says more about the Ravens than it does the Seahawks.
Eagles at Bills: Philadelphia 14-13. Here’s guessing that Philly’s biggest problem, pass coverage, can’t be exploited enough by Buffalo quarterback Josh Allen.
Chargers at Bears: Los Angeles 23-20. Two teams not living up to great expectations. One of them is quarterbacked by their best quarterback (the Chargers’ Philip Rivers). One of them is not. Chicago’s Mitch Trubisky has looked awful in 2019.
Giants at Lions: Detroit 26-14. Matt Patricia has the Lions turned around. It’s a tough division, and Detroit might finish with a losing record, but the future is promising.
Buccaneers at Titans: Tennessee 27-24. This would have been a matchup of the top two picks in the 2015 draft. Jameis Winston vs. Marcus Mariota. But the Titans have a Ryan Tannehill to replace the struggling Mariota. Tampa Bay apparently does not have such an option for Winston.
Broncos at Colts: Indianapolis 22-10. Joe Flacco looked like Dead Quarterback Walking against the Chiefs, and let’s not pretend that the ghosts of Curley Culp and Buck Buchanan are back on the Kansas City d-line.
Bengals at Rams: Los Angeles 36-10. Zac Taylor returns to coach against his mentor, Sean McVay, but without a victory in his maiden Cincinnati season.
Cardinals at Saints: New Orleans 29-17. In the last 50 years, the Cardinals have hired 14 head coaches. None got off to a better seven-game start than Kliff Kingsbury’s 3-3-1. In 1966, Charley Winner coached the St. Louis Cardinals to a 5-1-1 start in his first seven games, but since then, even reputable coaches like Gene Stallings, Bud Wilkinson, Don Coryell, Buddy Ryan, Bruce Arians, Ken Whisenhunt and Dennis Green have been sub-.500 in the first seven games.
Jets at Jaguars: Jacksonville 23-13. The Jets are upset that ESPN aired the audio of quarterback Sam Darnold “seeing ghosts” against the New England defense. Here’s an idea. If you can’t stand the heat, don’t mic up your quarterback.
Panthers at 49ers: San Francisco 19-17. Can Kyle Allen’s remarkable season continue against the 49ers? If so, do we start discussing the end of the Cam Newton Era in Charlotte?
Browns at Patriots: New England 27-15. Will Baker Mayfield see ghosts in Foxboro? We know he will see enemies, but will he see ghosts?
Raiders at Texans: Houston 26-24. Only six AFC teams have a winning record, so 3-3 Oakland is in the playoff chase. But the Raiders can’t get too far down.
Packers at Chiefs: Green Bay 24-14. I can’t believe Kansas City would actually consider playing the injured Patrick Mahomes in this one. Don’t do it, KC. One game is not worth it.
Dolphins at Steelers: Pittsburgh 27-10. A Monday Night to forget, though Mason Rudolph should get another victory.
Last week: 9-5. Season: 63-42-1.