Again I am a few days behind on the whole predictions calendar, but if you didn’t pick the Patriots over the Jets you either like feet or are an idiot. The game did end up closer than many expected and almost ended with a big win for Rex Ryan and his defensive-minded band of misfits. There may have been a rules infraction on the ref (by moving Donta Hightower in the defensive backfield) but it wasn’t called and it doesn’t matter. If you’re paying attention to my picks each week, chances are you are leading some kind of office pool or something bigger. Another good week only tarnished by two losses (Atlanta and Pittsburgh) that were not entirely surprising added to a definitely surprising win by Dallas over Seattle. Games have continued to be close with a few blowouts sprinkled in. Take a gander at the previews for Week 7.
Record prior to Week 7 65-25, Week 6 11-3
Atlanta at Baltimore. The last time these two teams matched up the Falcons came through with a big win. The billing was set up for a duel between two quarterbacks with similar ascensions in the NFL. At that point Matty Ice was slightly ahead of Joe Cool in what many thought would become a rivalry of sorts. Well, then never really happened, but the two are still closely associated when considering talent level and abilities. The big difference? Winning. Flacco has a Super Bowl ring and Ryan can’t win away from home. Atlanta has struggled with injuries while the Ravens have played right through them. Both teams can score points, but Atlanta has had trouble stopping the opposition’s offense. Ravens 28, Falcons 24
Minnesota at Buffalo. Two places no one wants to travel to. Not because they are tough at home, but because those places are boring as hell to travel to. The Vikings are about where they were expected to be with or without Adrian Peterson. The QB play is pretty bad and that’s with Teddy Bridgewater under center. Not being able to find consistency at running back has been an issue as well, along with no real playmakers to speak of. The defense has kept them in games. Unfortunately for Minnesota, the Bills have a pretty good defense too. Fred Jackson has been good this year and there’s been different guys stepping up to catch balls even when Sammy Watkins hasn’t been the featured receiver. Bills 24, Vikings 16
Look for another big game from Mike Wallace.
Miami at Chicago. In a matchup of two teams with the talent to beat anybody and the inability to blow anyone out as well, we expect another close one. Miami hasn’t had a great running game but Lamar Miller has been their best option and Mike Wallace has quietly had one of the more impressive seasons for a wideout thus far. Brandon Marshall is finally starting to hit his stride as he gets fully healed from an early season injury, if he can get in the endzone it may be a long day for the Dolphins. Meanwhile, the best (and most consistent) receiver has been their best player so far, even with a shotty performance from Jay Cutler this season. Bears 37, Dolphins 24
Cincinnati at Indianapolis. Who woulda thunk the Bungles would be set up to find themselves towards the bottom of the AFC North with a loss in Week 7? Well, after an uninspired tie in Carolina only highlighted by some dirty play by Vontaze Burfict, that very well may happen after their visit to Indy. Andy Dalton has had a hangover most experience after finally signing the long-awaited contract-extension. AJ Green has been hurt, and while the other receivers have done well in his absence, the big surprise has been the disappointing play of their defense. Giovanni Bernard has been great so far and if he’s healthy after last week’s slight injury then their offense should be okay. Andrew Luck just keeps making things work and their defense has been surprisingly solid. Colts 31, Bengals 28
Cleveland at Jacksonville. Cleveland lost a tough one to the Jags last year and their season wasn’t quite the same. But this team is very good and on a good run so far. With only two losses combined for a difference of 6 points, it’s tough to count them out of many games. This might be a blowout from the start. The Jags aren’t historically bad, but they need to start thinking about who they want to choose first in the 2015 NFL Draft. Browns 35, Jaguars 17
New Orleans at Detroit. The Lions are at home and playing with a presumably healthy Calvin Johnson. Much has been made about the Saints’ road woes, but Drew Brees has too much pride to let his team fall this far below the even mark. Joique Bell had a solid week boosted by a touchdown catch. Golden Tate hasn’t been the answer in Megatron’s stead but he may be the long-term answer at the #2 receiver position. The Lions do have the better defense, but it’s been inconsistent at best. Going against the grain with this one. Saints 24, Lions 20
Carolina at Green Bay. Two teams come together for a game of winning records that not everyone was anticipating. Ever since calming down fans and letting them know everything would be alright, the Packers have started playing well. One of the biggest reasons has been the improved play of running back Eddie Lacy along with a solid run-defese on the other side of the ball. Cam Newton has really picked up his play since starting the season with a slight injury and Kelvin Benjamin has finally started to become a reliable option at wide receiver. Packers 27, Panthers 24
Tennessee at Washington. I’d love to have some drawn-out preview for this game, but neither team is much to talk about and it would be a lie to assume I have any idea how this one will end up. Alfred Morris has been great and Jordan Reed is healthy and ready to be a big part of this offense. Tennessee has played well on D and Bishop Sankey has finally gotten the touches many expected. Redskins 34, Titans 31
Seattle at St. Louis. The Rams run defense was stout again the 49er run game. We will see how that plays out against a run-first team. Austin Davis has been okay as starter, but the running back situation hasn’t been ideal. Seattle is reeling right now and needs to find their confidence again. After dealing Percy Harvin, who was largely ineffective, the Seahawks will need a new X-factor when things get tough. Seahawks 31, Rams 13
Kansas City at San Diego. Not sure who is the MVP thus far in the season, but it may very well be Philip Rivers. He’s had one hell of a season and it hasn’t mattered who has been in the backfield for him. Branden Oliver seems like a great fit as a Darren Sproles-esque player, but it would be nice to see Keenan Allen make an appearance before the season is over. Jamaal Charles has been good since coming back and Alex Smith has been able to protect the ball while the defense has quietly been getting better and better. If San Diego is for real then they will win this one. I’m not convinced. Chiefs 23, Chargers 21
New York Giants at Dallas. How bout them ‘Boys? Expect Demarco Murray to play well until he doesn’t (obvious, right?) and this one to be a high-scoring affair. Eli needs to throw it to his receivers and not Tony Romo’s. Can Dez Bryant wake up again after a few games in the shadows? I think Jason Witten has a pair of touchdown catches and close to 100 yards. Cowboys 35, Giants 31
Run DMC has quietly had a nice season thus far.
Arizona at Oakland. Not sure what I can say about the Oakland Raiders. Their fans sure are assholes. Darren McFadden has been nice to watch play well. Not a lot of talent right now for Derek Carr to work with but it’s good to see someone from that family do well. The Cards D is good and they lead the division right now. Andre Ellington has been getting better every week and Michael Floyd is only going to get better with his production now that Carson Palmer is back. Cardinals 27, Raiders 13
San Francisco at Denver. If the 49ers are looking for a game to really get their season going, this is that game. The deep group of receivers hasn’t been great but they’ve been able to win one way or another. They need to run game to produce to slow down Peyton Manning. Don’t know how to stop the Broncos from torching every team going forward. Only they can stop themselves right now. Broncos 38, 49ers 27
Houston at Pittsburgh. You’d think I didn’t hate the Steelers for as often as I choose them to win games but it’s tough to pick much else here. If Arian Foster can run wild and Fitzpatrick can keep Andre Johnson happy, then they have as good of a chance to win this game. Le’Veon Bell needs to have another monster game and the Steelers needs to find a consistent threat in the passing game besides Antonio Brown. Steelers 24, Texans 23