Welcome to The Coin Toss, where I make bold predictions about your favorite professional sports.
Last week’s predictions went one-for-three. I had the Patriots and Chiefs scoring at least 60 points combined, and the two teams came through with 83 total points. I had the Titans beating the Ravens, which did not work out as the Ravens won in a blowout. My last prediction was three interceptions from the Bears defense against the Dolphins. Chicago came very close with two picks off of Brock Osweiler even in a disappointing day for the team’s defense as a whole.
Let’s get to the predictions for Week 7.
Jaguars set season-high in sacks (four-plus) against Texans
The Jacksonville Jaguars are thought to have one of the league’s best defenses. Yet, despite their nickname “Sacksonville,” the Jaguars have only managed 14 sacks on the year so far. This puts them tied with the Jets for 18th in the league in defensive sacks. The most they’ve gotten in a game is three (against Tennessee and the New York Jets), and I think they’re due to break that season-high mark with at least four sacks this week.
The matchup is key here; the Jaguars will be at home against the division-rival Texans. In Houston’s last game, Deshaun Watson threw for 177 yards with two interceptions and just one touchdown. He was also sacked seven times. That was against the Buffalo Bills, and this Jaguars defense will present a much greater challenge. Houston’s offensive line has been poor the whole year, so Jacksonville’s front seven will be licking their chops to bring down Watson.
Panthers beat Eagles in Philadelphia
I picked the Vikings over the Eagles a couple of weeks ago even though the defending champions were favored to win at home. I’m doing the same for the Panthers in another tough NFC matchup. Philadelphia (3–3) opened as 3.5 point favorites, which likely accounts for the fact that Carolina (3–2) hasn’t won a game on the road yet this season. The Panthers are a strong football team, however, and I think they’ll beat the spread and get the win.
Don’t let the Eagles’ blowout over the Giants last week fool you: The Eagles have issues. Their offensive line just wasn’t blocking well and was bailed out by a bad Giants defense. Carson Wentz won’t have as much success against Carolina, who rank seventh in the league in passing yards allowed. I think Cam Newton is versatile enough to score on this Eagles defense and get his team the win.
Baker Mayfield goes for more than 300 yards against Bucs
Baker hasn’t quite recaptured the magic from his debut against the Jets: His passer rating hasn’t been in triple digits since. He has put up plenty of passing yards, however, with an average of 292 yards in his three starts. You may chock that up to playing from behind in those games, but you can’t doubt the volume.
That volume will continue this week in an inviting matchup against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Their secondary has been laughable this season, allowing the second-most passing yards in the league. This opens the door for Baker to air it out, and I predict he’ll provide at least 300 yards.