Friday, October 23, 2009
NFL Week 7 Picks
AP Photo/ Gene J. Puskar
Another 9-5 record last week, but the losses were all close. So now we look ahead to week 7, and we should have a pretty good idea of what to expect from most, if not every team, by now.
The Giants will look to rebound from the beating they received at the hands of the Saints last week, and the Patriots will look to put together another dominating performance, this time in London.
Pittsburgh gets Troy Polamalu back, while San Francisco will get back Frank Gore and will also possibly start first round draft pick Michael Crabtree. Meanwhile the Bengals lose Antwan Odom and the Chargers and Browns have had a number of players miss practice throughout the week due to the flu. How will these personnel shakeups affect their respective teams?
Here’s who I like in week 7, how about you?
Green Bay (3-2) at Cleveland (1-5)
Green Bay took advantage of an already weak Lions team last week that was missing starting quarterback Matthew Stafford and wide receiver Calvin Johnson. They need to do the same this week, one week before their final showdown with a tough Vikings team. The Browns had 12 players miss practice this week because of the flu, including linebacker Kamerion Wimbley and Pro Bowl nose tackle Shaun Rogers. Nine players returned to the team, but I honestly can’t believe that they are in game shape. The Browns were already a bad team; now they are a depleted, sick bad team. Green Bay gets an easy victory here.
San Diego (2-3) at Kansas City (1-5)
The Chargers also had a few players miss practice because of the flu, mainly LaDanian Tomlinson. However, San Diego is in a better state as a football team than Cleveland is, and Kansas City is not nearly as good as the Packers are. Philip Rivers and Darren Sproles have been the keys to San Diego’s offense this season anyway and they will take advantage of the 29th ranked defense in the league. Victory for the Chargers.
Indianapolis (5-0) at St. Louis (0-6)
Peyton Manning and co. are steamrolling through another regular season, outscoring opponents 137-71 this season. St. Louis? They haven’t even scored 71 points themselves yet, being outscored 54-169. I don’t think this will be a close one. Indy wins easily.
Minnesota (6-0) at Pittsburgh (4-2)
This is week seven’s best matchup. The Vikings have gone up against some very difficult competition the past few weeks, and they have prevailed. However, they haven’t experienced anything like what they will in week 7. The Vikings will travel to Heinz Field, home of the defending Super Bowl champions, where the Steelers haven’t lost this season. Hines Ward went off last week for 159 yards, Rashard Mendenhall has really picked up Pittsburgh’s running game in the recent weeks, and Ben Roethlisberger has been huge this season (1,887 passing yards, 72.5 completion percentage, 10 touchdowns, and only six interceptions) including throwing for 417 yards last week against Cleveland. Troy Polamalu also returns from injury.
Pittsburgh has struggled closing games out, and in a close game, Minnesota will likely look to Adrian Peterson to kill some clock (although Peterson is much more of a home run back than one that will grind out the game), but I think the edge in this game is with the Steelers. Pittsburgh will be victorious.
New England (4-2) at Tampa Bay (0-6)
This is this year’s game being played in London. It really wouldn’t make a difference where this game would be played. The Patriots just destroyed the Titans, winless, last week with an amazing aerial display. Tampa really doesn’t have too much going for them. It looks like they are just next in line for a beat down.
It makes me wonder why the NFL would schedule this as the game to showcase to Europe. I understand getting teams the foreigners are interested in. But did anyone really think Tampa Bay would be a team you want to showcase this year? It’s not even like they are underperforming, everyone pretty much felt they were in for a rough season. Is this the kind of team we want the whole world to see? Would those in Europe really be interested in a blowout? I would think they’d like to see an exciting game. This won’t be one. New England wins big.
San Francisco (3-2) at Houston (3-3)
An interesting matchup here. Houston got a big win last week over the Bengals, while San Francisco had a bye following the drubbing they received from the Falcons a week earlier. All season I’ve said I like San Francisco, and I still do, however, their offense has been stagnant at times. They get a big boost from the supposed return of RB Frank Gore from injury and possible start of first round draft pick Michael Crabtree at receiver this week, but I don’t know if they’ve had enough time to work out all the kinks. Meanwhile Matt Schaub, Andre Johnson, Owen Daniels, and Steve Slaton seem to be putting up points at will. At home, I like the Texans offense to outgun San Francisco’s and win the game.
Buffalo (2-4) at Carolina (2-3)
Well what do you know, DeAngelo Williams rushes 30 times, and Jonathan Stewart gets 17 carries—compared to Jake Delhomme’s 17 pass attempts—and the Panthers win. Williams rushed for 152 yards and two TD’s while Stewart gained 110 yards with 1 TD. Buffalo has the worst rushing defense in the league. Think we’ll see a repeat of Carolina’s rushing performance from last week? I sure do. Carolina wins this game.
NY Jets (3-3) at Oakland (2-4)
The Jets, and especially rookie QB Mark Sanchez, looked awful last week. They lost to a Buffalo team that had put up a total of 3 points against the Browns the week before. Meanwhile, the Raiders squeaked out an upset win over the Eagles. Both were anomalies. Maybe the Jets aren’t as good as everyone thought they would be after the first couple weeks of the season, but they aren’t bad enough to be embarrassed two weeks in a row. The Raiders also aren’t good enough to win two weeks in a row. Even in the win, Oakland QB JaMarcus Russell struggled, only going 17 for 28 for 224 yards (139 of which went to TE Zach Miller, who had a phenomenal weekend) one TD, and two more interceptions. The Jets D is pretty good. I expect them to stymie Russell, create plenty of turnovers, and handle the Raiders. Jets win.
Atlanta (4-1) at Dallas (3-2)
Atlanta looks good so far. They haven’t been the prettiest team, but they are getting victories over good competition. It looks like Michael Turner is starting to get his legs underneath him and Roddy White has had a huge season so far. TE Tony Gonzalez has also been a nice addition to Atlanta, and Matt Ryan has been utilizing all his weapons. Dallas had a bye week to figure out the mess they’ve made this season, but I am not confident in them one bit. Tony Romo has become a turnover machine this season. And their leading wide receiver? Miles Austin. I love Austin, a former Monmouth University product, and think he can be a very good receiver. But for a Cowboys team that a) expected to be a playoff contender and b) has Roy Williams and Jason Witten, how can Miles Austin be the leading receiver. Easy: he’s coming in every game to play and stepping it up while no one else on that team is. Sorry Miles, I really think you’re great, but I think your Cowboys lose to a better team in the Falcons this week.
Chicago (3-2) at Cincinnati (4-2)
Cincinnati suffered quite a few setbacks last week. Not only did they lose to Houston, but they also lost defensive lineman Antwan Odom, one of the league leaders in sacks, for the season due to a torn Achilles’ tendon. Still, it isn’t like Chicago is in better shape. They lost their defensive star LB Brian Urlacher (albeit in week 1) and they too lost last week (to Atlanta in a not-so-pretty outing). The Bengals have two former Bears, RB Cedric Benson and DT Tank Johnson, who had very difficult times in Chicago and could be looking to make statements to their former team. I like the Bengals to find a way to win this game.
New Orleans (6-0) at Miami (2-3)
Drew Brees absolutely tore apart the best defense in the league last week. It was truly an amazing display to watch. He’s a special player. With such a resounding win over one of the toughest competitors in the NFC last week, the Saints proved they are legit. Miami will put up a fight, that’s just the character of their team and their leaders, but in the end they won’t be able to keep up with New Orleans. The Saints will win and continue their undefeated season.
Arizona (3-2) at NY Giants (6-1)
The Giants were embarrassed last weekend against the Saints. Good teams don’t let that happen to them twice in a row. That game was a wake-up call to New York, who waltzed through the beginning of the season against meager competition. I expect them to come out with a vengeance this week, especially against the defending NFC Champions, a status the Giants aspire to get back to. They face another good passing attack this week with the Cardinals featuring QB Kurt Warner and WRs Larry Fitzgerald, Anquan Boldin, and Steve Breaston. However, Boldin and Breaston have been banged up all year and I believe this Giants team is still good enough to get past them. Giants Stadium will be rocking, and I believe New York will come to play this week and prove they are the best team in the NFC. Giants win.
Philadelphia (3-2) at Washington (2-4)
An absolutely terrible effort from the Eagles last week against the Raiders. Not only did the Raiders outscore them (13-9), but the Eagles’ baseball counterpart, the Philadelphia Phillies, outscored them in their NLCS win over the Los Angeles Dodgers that night (11-0). Still, losses happen. The Redskins are in much more turmoil than Philadelphia. Washington Head Coach Jim Zorn was stripped of his play-calling duties during the week, which is surprising because it was his offensive abilities that Washington hired him for the position in the first place. Plus, starting QB Jason Campbell was benched in last week’s game. And for the first time in the ’09 campaign the Redskins will play somebody with a win. These are certainly not good signs for Washington. Eagles win.
Byes: Denver, Detroit, Tennessee, Seattle, Jacksonville, Baltimore
Last week: 9-5