NFL Week 7 predictions: Nation likes Patriots over Jets, but split on Eagles-Panthers, Cowboys-Giants

Here are our NFL Nation reporters' predictions for Week 7:


Buffalo Bills: The Bills will be without their starting quarterback (Tyrod Taylor) and both starting receivers (Sammy Watkins and Percy Harvin), not to mention their Pro Bowl defensive tackle (Kyle Williams) and starting right tackle (Cyrus Kouandjio). Still, we're talking about a Jaguars team that could be firing its head coach soon. If the Bills lose, sound the alarm. Bills 24, Jaguars 10. -- Mike Rodak

Jacksonville Jaguars: It would be easy to pick the Jaguars to beat Buffalo on Sunday because the Bills will be without five starters. Four are on offense, including QB Tyrod Taylor and wide receivers Percy Harvin and Sammy Watkins. That would seem to give the Jaguars a huge advantage, but they've already lost to a team that didn't have its starting quarterback (Indianapolis) and the defense has given up fourth-quarter leads the past three weeks. The Jaguars' offense has improved under second-year QB Blake Bortles, but here's a troubling stat: They rank 16th in the NFL in yards per game (350.7) but 30th in scoring (18.8 points per game). They haven't played well in London, either, losing to San Francisco and Dallas the past two seasons by a combined margin of 73-27. Bills 21, Jaguars 17. -- Michael DiRocco


Tampa Bay Buccaneers: This is a winnable game for Tampa Bay, and with Washington's defense 23rd in the NFL against the run, the potential is there for running back Doug Martin to have another big day. He enters with two consecutive 100-yard games and confidence not seen since his Pro Bowl season in 2012. The New York Jets ripped Washington for 221 yards rushing in Week 6. Redskins coach Jay Gruden has called this game a "code red" situation for his team, but there's a good chance Washington will feel blue by Sunday evening. Bucs 24, Redskins 17. -- Andrew Astleford

Washington Redskins: The Redskins will get at least one key player back Sunday, tight end Jordan Reed (barring a change) and that will provide a big help. With Reed in the lineup, the Redskins have converted 46.8 percent of their third downs, only 33.3 percent without him. The tough part will be stopping running back Doug Martin, who will bounce outside but averages 4.56 yards up the middle -- the Redskins rank 18th in the NFL defending this area. Both teams are minus-2 in turnover differential; the Redskins will win this battle Sunday. Redskins 20, Buccaneers 16. -- John Keim


Atlanta Falcons: The Titans have allowed opponents to score 28 or more points in three of their four losses, which is good news for a Falcons team that averages 30.5 points. If the Falcons can protect Matt Ryan against a solid pass rush and avoid turnovers, they should be fine. Plus Devonta Freeman should be able to run the ball against a Titans team that gives up 129.6 rushing yards per game. On defense, the Falcons have to turn up the pressure against either rookie quarterback Marcus Mariota or Zach Mettenberger, if Mariota's sprained left MCL keeps him out. Falcons 31, Titans 17. -- Vaughn McClure

Tennessee Titans: The Titans have to run the ball to take pressure of the struggling pass protection and the quarterback, whether it's Mariota or backup Mettenberger. The Falcons have the NFL's top run defense, giving up only 78.8 yards a game. That's bad news for Tennessee. Falcons 30, Titans 14. -- Paul Kuharsky


New Orleans Saints: Quarterbacks Drew Brees and Andrew Luck have both appeared to bounce back nicely from shoulder injuries, and now they'll each get to face a defense ranked in the bottom four in the NFL in yards allowed. The challenge for New Orleans' defense will be avoiding the big play against a deep group of dynamic Indianapolis receivers. The Colts have had 97 pass plays of 20-plus yards since the start of 2014 -- 12 more than any team in the NFL. Colts 27, Saints 24. -- Mike Triplett

Indianapolis Colts: New Orleans is third in the league in passing (302.3 yards) and the Colts are 29th in the league in pass defense. Ouch. But the Colts are coming off their best offensive performance of the season -- 409 yards -- against New England and the unit is finding its rhythm. The Saints have given up at least 20 points in all five games this season. It'll be six games after Sunday. Colts 31, Saints 20. -- Mike Wells


Minnesota Vikings: Adrian Peterson's last trip to Detroit saw him take his first carry of the 2013 season 78 yards for a touchdown, and his first 100-yard game of this season came against the Lions in Week 2. Facing a defense that has given up 723 rushing yards -- and 10 touchdowns -- in six games, Peterson could be in line for a big day against the Lions, and the Vikings should be able to secure only their second NFC North road win since 2009. Vikings 20, Lions 13. -- Ben Goessling

Detroit Lions: The Lions are winless no more and, at least offensively, showed a lot more Sunday against the Bears than they have all season. There seems to be more cohesiveness on the offensive line with Larry Warford back, something that could continue against Minnesota. Detroit struggled protecting Matthew Stafford and run blocking in the first game against the Vikings, but there appears to have been improvement there. If the run game is better -- Minnesota's run defense is giving up 111.8 yards per game -- it could open up everything else for the Lions for the second consecutive week. It's a mild upset, but the Lions win back-to-back games. Lions 23, Vikings 21. -- Michael Rothstein


Pittsburgh Steelers: The Steelers are finding creative ways to win and tons of momentum. The Chiefs are teetering on combustion. A Landry Jones meltdown is possible but new-found confidence can carry him after he completed 8-of-12 for 168 yards and two scores against the Cardinals. The Steelers defense is one of the league's best at creating turnovers (five interceptions, four fumble recoveries) and should force Alex Smith into a few without Jamaal Charles. Steelers 27, Chiefs 14. -- Jeremy Fowler

Kansas City Chiefs: Given the way the defense played last week against Minnesota, the Chiefs have reason for hope against Pittsburgh, particularly if third-string quarterback Landry Jones starts for the Steelers. But, again, the question for the Chiefs is whether their offense, which has scored only 10 points in each of the past two games, can produce. The answer is probably no against the Steelers, who are fifth in the NFL in scoring defense at 18 points per game. Steelers 20, Chiefs 13. -- Adam Teicher


Cleveland Browns: Just another typical Browns season. Can't stop the run. Can't run consistently. Find ways to lose. Unnecessary drama off the field. Sunday the worst run defense in the league goes on the road and meets the league's hottest back. The league's hottest back wins. Rams 23, Browns 16. -- Pat McManamon

St. Louis Rams: The Rams have a history of struggling against unfamiliar opponents since Jeff Fisher took over in 2012. St. Louis is 13-20 in games outside the NFC West division and they haven't played the Browns in the regular season since Fisher was hired. However, they have a favorable matchup with rookie running back Todd Gurley set to face Cleveland's 32nd-ranked run defense, and they have had an extra week of preparation coming off the bye, which should help them sneak past the Browns. Rams 24, Browns 16. -- Nick Wagoner


Houston Texans: The Dolphins' pass rush was fierce Sunday with six sacks, and it will now be facing a Texans offensive line that has lately been very good at pass protection despite swapping players constantly this season. The Texans have given up only four sacks in the past four weeks, ranking second in the league, so this will be strength against strength. If it were at home, I’d give the nod to the Texans. But the Dolphins energy right now under interim head coach Dan Campbell will carry them. Dolphins 22, Texans 17. -- Tania Ganguli

Miami Dolphins: The Dolphins are just 4-5 in their past nine home games at Sun Life Stadium and 0-7 all-time against the Texans. But the Dolphins have adopted a new, physical attitude under interim coach Dan Campbell. The Dolphins rushed for a season-high 180 yards last week, and need similar success Sunday against Texans. Dolphins 20, Texans 17. -- James Walker


New York Jets: This is a classic matchup -- the No. 1 scoring offense vs. the No. 1 scoring defense. The Jets can neutralize one, maybe two of the Patriots' big three (Rob Gronkowski, Julian Edelman and Dion Lewis), but not all three. The difference-maker will be Lewis, whose ability to make plays on screen passes will slow the Jets' pass rush. Lewis concerns the Jets because their linebackers struggle in coverage. Ryan Fitzpatrick has been wonderful for the Jets, but he's due for a hiccup. Patriots 27, Jets 24. -- Rich Cimini

New England Patriots: The Jets' defense is the best the Patriots have faced this season, so points could be hard to come by. The key will be playing clean, as the Jets have forced 15 turnovers this season (third highest in the NFL), while the Patriots' three turnovers are tied for a league-low. Something has to give. Patriots 23, Jets 17. -- Mike Reiss


Oakland Raiders: The San Diego Chargers are going to be an ornery bunch Sunday, coming off two heartbreaking losses. But the Raiders, fresh of their bye, are also coming off two close defeats, losing the pair by a combined eight points. This will be another close game, going down to the wire for two teams that might be better than their records indicate. Oakland traditionally plays San Diego close as it lost both games last year by a total of 10 points, and one of Oakland's four wins in 2013 came against San Diego. The Raiders are usually the more physical team when these two teams play and that will benefit them Sunday. Raiders 24, Chargers 23. -- Bill Williamson

San Diego Chargers: The Raiders haven't won in San Diego since 2011. Since 2002, the Chargers are 18-6 against Oakland. Although the Raiders had two weeks to prepare and are improved, the streak will continue Sunday. Philip Rivers just threw for 503 passing yards in a tough loss on the road against the Green Bay Packers last week, and he now faces an Oakland defense giving up 300 passing yards per game, second worst in the NFL. Chargers 28, Raiders 24. -- Eric D. Williams


Dallas Cowboys: Remember the days when the New York Giants couldn't lose at AT&T Stadium. That's kind of how the Cowboys have been at MetLife Stadium. They have won three in a row in the Meadowlands and four of five games against the Giants, including Jason Garrett's first game as interim coach in 2010. Like that team, these Cowboys enter with a losing record, a backup quarterback and a wounded psyche, but they know the season isn't over. The Cowboys were lucky to beat the Giants in the season opener because of horrendous clock management by New York. The bye week allowed Matt Cassel time to get more comfortable with the offense. He doesn't need to be perfect, but he will make some plays down the field against a poor Giants' secondary. Cowboys 27, Giants 23. -- Todd Archer

New York Giants: The Giants haven't beaten the Cowboys since 2012, a game in which Dez Bryant's pinkie came down out of bounds on what would have been a crucial touchdown. They are 0-5 against them since. They know it. They hate it. And they don't much care that Bryant and Tony Romo are out for this game. The Giants know they have to win it, and for the first time in the past three seasons, they're not completely outmanned by a deeper, superior Cowboys roster. Dallas should still be able to make life difficult with its pass rush, but without Romo, Bryant and Lance Dunbar, their offense is missing too many of the pieces that outscored the Giants in the opener. Giants 20, Cowboys 16. -- Dan Graziano


Philadelphia Eagles: The Panthers' 5-0 record is the more recent bit of information to process. But it's hard to forget how the Eagles dismantled the Panthers, 45-21, a year ago. This game should be closer, but the Eagles are on a bit of a roll right now. Eagles 28, Panthers 24.. -- Phil Sheridan

Carolina Panthers: The Eagles are 3-0 this season when they rush for more than 100 yards, 0-3 when they haven't. The Panthers (5-0) are giving up only 92 yards rushing a game and have held three of their five opponents under 100 yards. The Eagles gained only 37 yards on 23 rushes in their blowout win last season against Carolina. They won because of turnovers and special teams breakdowns. That won't happen again. Panthers 24, Eagles 17. -- David Newton


Baltimore Ravens: During his days in Cincinnati, Carson Palmer had success against the Ravens when Baltimore had one of the best defenses. He should have a field day against the NFL's 27th-ranked pass defense. Palmer has 11 completions this season on passes of 20 yards or longer (third best in the league), and the Ravens have given up a league-worst 15 completions on such throws. This is a bad matchup for Baltimore. Cardinals 33, Ravens 17. -- Jamison Hensley

Arizona Cardinals: Arizona bounced back from its only loss this season with a 42-point showing against a dismal Detroit team. The Ravens aren't much better. The Cardinals are at home, where they're 15-4 under coach Bruce Arians and 13-3 against the AFC since 2007, with a chip on their shoulder. Cardinals 31, Ravens 20. -- Josh Weinfuss