Week 7 NFL Picks - When Opposites Collide (NO-BAL)

Profile Picture: TwinSpires Staff

TwinSpires Staff

October 18th, 2018

After setting a franchise record with 11 sacks and holding the Tennessee Titans to 107 total yards in a 21-0 win last week, the Baltimore Ravens return home to tackle the New Orleans Saints and the NFL’s all-time passing yards leader Drew Brees. This is most certainly one of the hardest games to handicap for Week 7 NFL Picks. Let's break this one down!

New Orleans at Baltimore -2.5 (50) The Ravens (4-1) and Saints (4-1) are both on top of their divisions and New Orleans enters off its bye week. Thus far this season, teams playing off a bye are 0-4 ATS. However, the Saints are 7-2 SU off a bye since 2008 and 8-1 in October since 2016.

Drew Brees All-Time Best Drew Brees’ quick release, accurate passing and extraordinary ability to read defenses will be put to the biggest test this week. Working in his favor is the Saints top-notch bookend tackles protecting the edges. Brees’ ability to get rid of the ball quickly has resulted in sacks on less than 5% of his drop backs this season and just eight sacks in five games. Running back Alvin Kamara’s unique skillset gives Brees another dangerous weapon, and Kamara has averaged more than 160 all-purpose yards per game this season. The Saints passing attack, which is one of the big leans in Week 7 NFL picks for handicappers, averages 320 yards per game to rank No. 3 in the league and WR Michael Thomas has 3 TD receptions and is averaging 103 yards per game; one of just five receivers to average more than 100 yards per game.

Baltimore’s Elite Defense Baltimore boasts the leagues No. 1 scoring defense and No. 1 total defense and now have cornerback Jimmy Smith returning to game shape following a 4-game suspension. With hybrid pass rusher Za’Darius Smith shining early season, the Ravens now have dirty work defensive end Willie Henry also back after missing the first four games from hernia surgery. He’ll play the first game together alongside defensive tackle Michael Pierce, who missed last week’s win at Tennessee with a foot injury.

The Saints' stats show them as the No. 1 run defense allowing 71 rushing yards per game and league best 3.1 yards per rush. The Ravens are No. 3 allowing just 83 rushing YPG. Baltimore may be wise to take a pass-first approach, as the Saints top cover man, Marshon Lattimore, is questionable to play following a concussion. Quarterback Joe Flacco has had much success throwing from a clean pocket, and while the Ravens defense is stronger, it’s still tough to play this game under the higher total of 50 with much passing and accuracy expected by both quarterbacks and the record scoring that continues this season at more than 48 points per game.

Baltimore has one of the leagues best home field’s and the Ravens are 6-1-1 ATS in their last eight games against teams with a winning record. The Ravens defense is fresh after being on the field just 16 snaps in the second half last week, and we call for a close Ravens win and cover against the Saints.

Week 7 NFL Free Picks - Baltimore Ravens -2.5 or ML

Fairway Jay is a professional handicapper based out of Las Vegas. He focuses primarily on the four majors along with college football and college basketball. You can follow him on Twitter @FairwayJay.