Every week, I look at who has the edge in these five categories: quarterback, defense, offensive talent, play in the trenches and coaching.
Let’s get to my favorite bets of NFL Week 7.
Click here for more PFF tools:
After a rough couple games and all of the drama surrounding Jon Gruden, Derek Carr bounced back with a strong week against the Denver Broncos, as he recorded a season-high 90.6 passing grade after throwing for 341 yards and two touchdowns.
|Passer Rating When Clean||108.1||89.9|
|Passer Rating Under Pressure||72.7||85.7|
|Big-Time Throw %||9.4%||6.5%|
|Turnover-Worthy Play %||2.2%||2.3%|
I think Carr, who leads the NFL in big-time throws (23), will outduel Jalen Hurts to lead the Raiders to victory. Carr has the edge over Hurts in PFF grade, passer rating from a clean pocket, big-time throw rate and turnover-worthy play rate — four of the most stable metrics for evaluating quarterback performance.
The Raiders pass rush has been led by Maxx Crosby, who leads all edge defenders in overall (91.5) and pass-rush (92.2) grade. I am all in on this front going up against an Eagles team that refuses to give Miles Sanders quality touches. PFF's OL/DL matchup chart agrees, as Las Vegas' defensive line has a huge advantage when Philadelphia drops back to pass.
The Eagles have a defense that bends but doesn't break, and I’m not a fan of that style of defense. I think Carr will get anything he wants underneath all game.
The Patriots defense absolutely dominated rookie QB Zach Wilson in Week 2, as the BYU product finished with four interceptions, a 54.4 overall grade and a 37.0 passer rating. I think we see much of the same this week. While Wilson has made some improvements since the first matchup, I feel like Bill Belichick has Wilson's number.
Mac Jones is making strides every week in this offense. He is easily having the best rookie QB campaign, as his impressive 79.7 overall grade is over 20 points higher than the second-highest graded rookie QB, Trey Lance (59.4). After taking a very good Dallas Cowboys team to overtime — where he finished with a season-high 92.5 overall grade — I think he leads New England to an easy victory Sunday.
There has been a lot of negative chatter around Belichick this week, as many have questioned the Patriots' 2-4 record, whether Belichick is being too conservative and if he can win without Tom Brady. I can guarantee you he hears and sees it all. I expect to see a sense of urgency from New England this week. The Patriots should win, and they should win big.
Dog of the day: Washington Football Team (+7.5) vs. Green Bay Packers
The Packers are red hot, winning five in a row since the Week 1 debacle against the New Orleans Saints. Since Week 1, the Packers offense ranks third in EPA per play (0.121). I think the Packers win again this week, but it will be a close one due to Washington's defense, which possesses PFF's second-highest graded pass rush.
|Average Offensive Snaps||64.8||63.3|
|% run plays||35.4%||40.7%|
|% pass plays||64.6%||59.3%|
|EPA per run||-0.142||-0.056|
|EPA per pass||-0.025||0.142|
This play is purely based on the numbers. Of all of the teams with five or more wins, the Packers have, by far, the smallest point differential (+8). The next closest is the Baltimore Ravens (+47). The 7.5-point spread is the definitive reason why I'm siding with Washington.
Darius Butler is a former NFL free safety. He was drafted by the New England Patriots in the second round of the 2009 NFL Draft. He has also played for the Carolina Panthers and Indianapolis Colts.