Rams spoil Jared Goff’s return; Cardinals stay undefeated

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Los Angeles Rams' Robert Rochell, left, celebrates his interception during the first half of an NFL football game against the New York Giants, Sunday, Oct. 17, 2021, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
Rams’ Robert Rochell, left, celebrates his interception against the New York Giants on Sunday in East Rutherford, N.J. (Frank Franklin II / Associated Press)

Week 7 of the 2021 NFL season begins Thursday with the Denver Broncos visiting the Browns in Cleveland. The Times’ NFL writer, Sam Farmer, examines this week’s matchups.

Farmer’s record last week: 11-3 (.786); season 61-33 (.649). Using point spreads with the scores Farmer predicted, the record against the spread last week would have been 9-5 (.643); season 45-47-2 (.489).

Teams on bye: Chargers, Buffalo, Dallas, Jacksonville, Minnesota, Pittsburgh.

Times Pacific. Lines according to FanDuel (O/U = over/under):

Broncos (3-3) at Browns (3-3)

Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield scrambles.

Thursday, 5:20

TV: Channel 11, NFL Network, Amazon.

Line: Browns by 2. O/U: 41.

Broncos came out flat at home against the Raiders and now have to hit the road on a short week. Cleveland is so banged up, though, and this is the exact wrong time to have such limited recovery time.

Prediction: Broncos 21, Browns 20

Bengals (4-2) at Ravens (5-1)

Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow plays.

Sunday, 10 a.m.

TV: None. DirecTV: 705.

Line: Ravens by 61/2. O/U: 47.

Baltimore thrashed Cincinnati twice last season, 27-3 and — without Joe Burrow — 38-3. Yes, that was last year, but when it gets that ugly. … Ravens have lost right tackle, yet still have enough.

Prediction: Ravens, 27, Bengals 17

Jets (1-4) at Patriots (2-4)

New England Patriots defensive tackle Christian Barmore defends.

New England Patriots defensive tackle Christian Barmore defends against the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday in Foxborough, Mass. (Stew Milne / Associated Press)

Sunday, 10 a.m.

TV: None. DirecTV: 706.

Line: Patriots by 7. O/U: 42.

In first meeting this season, the Patriots won 25-6 at MetLife. There’s little proof the Jets are much better; they’re now playing in Foxborough, and New England made it interesting vs. Dallas.

Prediction: Patriots 27, Jets 17

Chiefs (3-3) at Titans (4-2)

Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry catches the ball on a toss.
Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry catches the ball on a toss against the Buffalo Bills on Monday in Nashville. (Matt Patterson / Associated Press)

Sunday, 10 a.m.

TV: Channel 2. DirecTV: 707.

Line: Chiefs by 51/2. O/U: 571/2.

Titans are a mature team with an effective formula: Give the ball to Derrick Henry and play keep-away. Patrick Mahomes (interceptions in five straight games) is off his top form but has enough weapons.

Prediction: Chiefs 28, Titans 24

Washington Football Team (2-4) at Packers (5-1)

Green Bay Packers tight end Tyler Davis during warmups.

Green Bay Packers tight end Tyler Davis during warmups on Sunday in Chicago. (David Banks / Associated Press)

Sunday, 10 a.m.

TV: None. DirecTV: 708.

Line: Packers by 81/2. O/U: 49.

Washington stuck around with Kansas City for longer than many expected, and the banged-up Packers needed a little extra time to put away the Bears. Still, Green Bay is better team, and at home.

Prediction: Packers 27, Washington 20

Falcons (2-3) at Dolphins (1-5)

Miami Dolphins kicker Jason Sanders looks up before kicking a field goal.

Miami Dolphins kicker Jason Sanders looks up before kicking a field goal against the Jacksonville Jaguars in London on Sunday. (Steve Luciano / Associated Press)

Sunday, 10 a.m.

TV: None. DirecTV: 709.

Line: Dolphins by 21/2. O/U: 471/2.

Not a lot to like in this game. Dolphins are coming off a loss to previously winless Jacksonville (followed by what must have felt like a 50-hour flight home from London.) Atlanta is rested with the better QB.

Prediction: Falcons 24, Dolphins 21

Panthers (3-3) at Giants (1-5)

Panthers' DJ Moore tries to avoid the tackle attempt of Minnesota Vikings' Harrison Smith and James Lynch.

Carolina Panthers wide receiver DJ Moore tries to avoid the tackle attempt of Minnesota Vikings safety Harrison Smith (22) and defensive tackle James Lynch (92) on Sunday in Charlotte, N.C. (Brian Westerholt / Associated Press)

Sunday, 10 a.m.

TV: None. DirecTV: 710.

Line: Panthers by 3. O/U: 43.

Losing Christian McCaffrey for more games was a gut punch for the Panthers who, after a strong start, are showing they’re mediocre. The Giants are considerably worse; they can’t stop anyone.

Prediction: Panthers 24, Giants 20

Lions (0-6) at Rams (5-1)

Detroit Lions quarterback Jared Goff pitches to running back D'Andre Swift.

Detroit Lions quarterback Jared Goff pitches to running back D’Andre Swift against the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday in Detroit. (Rick Osentoski / Associated Press)

Sunday, 1:05 p.m.

TV: Channel 11. DirecTV: 711.

Line: Rams by 141/2. O/U: 501/2.

Winless Lions came close to upsets of Baltimore and Minnesota. Sean McVay won’t let it get that close. Matthew Staf- ford will pick apart his former team. Jared Goff gets polite reception — until kickoff.

Prediction: Rams 38, Lions 20

Eagles (2-4) at Raiders (4-2)

Las Vegas Raiders wide receiver Henry Ruggs III scores a touchdown.

Las Vegas Raiders wide receiver Henry Ruggs III scores a touchdown against the Denver Broncos on Sunday in Denver. (Bart Young / Associated Press)

Sunday, 1:05 p.m.

TV: None. DirecTV: 712.

Line: Raiders by 3. O/U: 49.

Despite all the off-the-field turmoil, the Raiders pulled together under their new coach for a focused win at Denver. They can keep it going against a Philadelphia team too reliant on Jalen Hurts.

Prediction: Raiders 27, Eagles 23

Texans (1-5) at Cardinals (6-0)

Arizona Cardinals running back James Conner plays against the Cleveland Browns.

Arizona Cardinals running back James Conner plays against the Cleveland Browns on Sunday in Cleveland. (Ron Schwane / Associated Press)

Sunday, 1:25 p.m.

TV: None. DirecTV: 713.

Line: 171/2. O/U: 471/2.

When’s the last time Arizona was favored by two touchdowns and a field goal? Houston is that bad. What’s more, the Cardinals are surging and better with ad- dition of Zach Ertz. Still, huge spread.

Prediction: Cardinals 28, Texans 13

Bears (3-3) at Buccaneers (5-1)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers' Ronald Jones II plays during a game.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Ronald Jones II plays during a game on Oct. 14 in Philadelphia. (Matt Slocum / Associated Press)

Sunday, 1:25 p.m.

TV: Channel 2. DirecTV: 714.

Line: Buccaneers by 121/2. O/U: 47.

Chicago stunned Tampa Bay with upset last season. Not saying it’ll happen again, but it’s back-of-mind for both teams. Tom Brady & Co. will be ready this time, but could be closer than people expect.

Prediction: Buccaneers 30, Bears 20

Colts (2-4) at 49ers (2-3)

Indianapolis Colts quarterback Carson Wentz throws to Zach Pascal.

Indianapolis Colts quarterback Carson Wentz throws to Zach Pascal during the second half against the Houston Texans on Sunday in Indianapolis. (AJ Mast / Associated Press)

Sunday, 5:20 p.m.

TV: Channel 4.

Line: 49ers by 4. O/U: 44.

San Francisco quarterbacks are banged up, so there’s uncertainty at the position. In fact, both teams are MASH units. Colts can control the clock with Jonathan Taylor, coming off a tremendous game.

Prediction: Colts 23, 49ers 21

Saints (3-2) at Seahawks (2-4)

Seattle Seahawks running back DeeJay Dallas runs against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Seattle Seahawks running back DeeJay Dallas runs against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday in Pittsburgh. (Justin Berl / Associated Press)

Monday, 5:15 p.m.

TV: ESPN.

Line: Saints by 41/2. O/U: 43.

With New Orleans rested and Seattle hobbling, matchup feels lopsided. But these aren’t Drew Brees’ Saints, and Seahawks will not let themselves be embarrassed at home on national TV.

Prediction: Saints 24, Seahawks 21

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.



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