Here are my NFL Week 7 Picks

(9-5 last week, 57-34 for the season)

Bye teams: Bears, Bengals, Broncos, Packers


sf49ersSea @ SF – And the Seahawks seemed to be turning this thing around, before a disastrous two-game skid brought them right back to that bad place they were at a few weeks ago.  A loss in Cinci, a loss at home to Carolina; and after Kam seemed to be helping the D and Jimmy seemed to be helping the O.  How quickly your dreams can be dashed.  That’s not to say that the season is over; Arizona is starting to have some weird trouble of their own up atop the NFC West.  But if Seattle wants to right the ship, they had better win this week, something that might not be that easy.  People talk about blueprints, can one team show others how to take down a giant.  If there’s any truth to that at all, we could see it in San Francisco.  The Niners have had major problems, both offensively and defensively, but the Panthers showed how you can beat a team like Seattle, and San Fran has the makeup to copy that game plan.  Run the option like Newton & Stewart did, hit the TE over the middle; easier said than done perhaps, but for a team that hasn’t found their identity this season, borrowing someone else’s might not be a bad idea.


bufbillsBuf @ Jax – Let’s just consider this a road game for both teams, as this matchup takes place in London.  Buffalo is undefeated on the road, with a tough-enough defense that can take charge when called upon in difficult situations.  Also, the Bills win every other week, with a loss last week meaning that a W should be heading their way on Sunday.  This is an up-and-down team, one that looks surprisingly good at times, and pretty pathetic at others.  Tyrod Taylor, E.J. Manuel; neither is a wonderful option, but I feel fairly safe picking Buffalo here.  The Jags are winless on the road, if we’re using that as an indicator, and they’re also 1-5, losing their last 4 games.  Blake Bortles and the rest of the squad have some talent, but it hasn’t gelled quiet yet, or else their coaches aren’t really the guys for the job.  They’ll most likely be picking high in the NFL Draft again this year, and with the return in 2016 of Dante Fowler Jr, perhaps we’ll see a stronger team, one that can compete a bit.  Not quite yet though, and I doubt Jacksonville lights up the scoreboard in England in Week 7.


detlionsMin @ Det – The Vikings boast the NFC’s least points allowed on the season, and they’re undefeated at home.  However, they also only score 19 points per game and are winless on the road.  It’s the classic makeup of a solid defensive team led by a solid defensive coach, but an offense that can’t find its identity.  Bridgewater is doing OK, Peterson is running fine, but all the talented pieces haven’t come together to make a great team as whole, something that had better happen fast if Minnesota wants to make an appearance in the postseason.  Standing in their way are the Lions, a team that might be on their way up.  Detroit just won its first game of the season, finally turning Stafford & Megatron loose to do what they do best.  The result was a nice win, but they’ll need to keep that fire stoked if they want to win more games going forward.  If the Lions can keep up the points, the Vikings road defense might not be enough to keep their team in the game.  Detroit could move to 2-5, which is a far cry from 0-7, and perhaps gain a little respect as a team that can get you if you aren’t fully prepared.


indcoltsNO @ Ind – As bad as the Saints are, they’ve actually started picking things up at home, going 2-1 in New Orleans on the season.  On the road though, that’s a different story.  Away, the Saints are 0-3, with an offense that’s failing to score the way we’ve become accustomed to and a defense that can’t seem to stop anyone.  It looks like the division is already out of their reach, and most likely so are the playoffs, so it might be time for New Orleans to look toward the future.  Does that mean Brees & Payton will be gone next season?  Perhaps, especially if they can’t salvage something from this wreckage of a year.  The Colts seem like they might be able to work a little later-season magic, as they started 0-2 and are currently 3-3.  Luck is back after a bit of an injury and this team could come together in a big way to save their season and their head coach’s job.  The Giants do it all the time; have a mediocre season, peak at the end of the year, and ride momentum into the playoffs.  At home with the pressure on vs a bad team, I think Indy rights the ship, and I think there’s a strong chance they keep that course steady going forward.


pitsteelersPit @ KC – Since my focus seems to be on home/away records this week, let’s keep that trend going.  The Steelers are 2-1 both home and away, taking their talents wherever they’re called for.  Really, they’re a team with fans all over the country and a blueprint on both sides of the ball that wins anywhere.  Even so, it’s a miracle that Pittsburgh is 4-2 when you take Big Ben’s injury into consideration.  Vick & Jones have stepped in admirably at quarterback, allowing Bell & Brown to do their thing and win games.  Heck, they beat the Cardinals last week, one of the best teams in the league.  If Ben can come back this week, or even just soon, this Pitt team will only get better.  The Chiefs seem to be going for the opposite.  After winning their opening game, Kansas City has lost 5 straight, even going winless at home.  The offense is not working without Jamaal Charles, and now Maclin has a concussion, making things even worse.  Plus, the defense hasn’t played up to their normal standard, making the Chiefs an easy team to beat.  I’d put my faith in the Steel Curtain this week.


miadolphinsHou @ Mia – This is a matchup of teams who have just figured things out and turned up the heat.  The Texans have settled on Brian Hoyer as their starting QB, continue to get DeAndre Hopkins involved constantly, and are enormously glad that Arian Foster is back on the field.  Houston is coming off a big win in Jacksonville where they looked to have found a style that should work all season long.  At 2-4, this is a team that needs to win now, and I think they’ll play with that mentality ever week from here on out.  But the Dolphins have gone through a little soul-searching themselves, coming out on the other end much improved.  They fired their coach, hardened their approach, used a bye wisely, and completely annihilated the Titans in Week 6.  They are a team with major talent, and seem to finally understand how to use it.  With both clubs improving and coming off big wins, this could be a great game, one that comes down to the wire.  I’ll give a slight edge to Miami at home and playing in front of a crowd who like the changes they’ve been seeing.


nepatriotsNYJ @ NE – It’s the classic meeting between an immovable object and an unstoppable force; something’s got to give.  The Jets allow the fewest point in the league, only giving up 15 per game.  They’re undefeated on the road, and have surprised everyone with their capable offense, led by the ageless Ryan Fitzpatrick.  New York has gone 4-1 thus far, and seems to be a legitimate playoff contender.  But hold that thought, cause they’re about to go into Foxboro, where nobody comes out alive.  The Patriots score the AFC’s most points, 37 a game, and have showed no signs of stopping.  Brady is playing like a man possessed, racing toward the NFL MVP award and taking an entire city with him.  With an underrated defense and a perfect record, New England doesn’t look to lose any time soon, including at home this week.  Were they playing on the road, I might just pick the Pats to lose to the Jets dominant D; it’s that good.  But in New England, with Brady under center, with the roll this team has been on, I don’t think there’s a club in the league I’d pick to beat the Patriots.


stlramsCle @ STL – I still can’t believe that the Browns almost beat the Broncos last week.  I know that the game was in Cleveland and that Peyton is basically washed up, but I just never expected the Browns to be in that game.  It shows just how bad they are that Manning played absolutely awful, gave them the ball multiple times, and they still weren’t able to win.  And and far as Josh McCown, don’t let one or two solid performances fool you, the guy is a mediocre QB who will leave you sad more often than not.  And that’s why I think the Browns will lose this game vs an equally underwhelming St. Louis team.  It might just be one sack, but I predict that McCown will lose the ball at a pivotal moment, losing the game just when Cleveland fans are most expecting a victory.  Not that the Rams are good; they’ve scored only 84 points all season, which is 17 points per game.  Foles should be doing better than that, especially with Gurley running the ball like a madman.  Coming off a bye, playing at home, facing Cleveland, I like the Rams’ chances, even if the game ends up fairly close.


atlfalconsAtl @ Ten – The Falcons are no longer undefeated, losing last week in New Orleans vs a desperate Saints team.  With such a high-powered offense, Atlanta looks to blow teams away with points, but their defense is bad enough to cause some problems going forward.  They had better shore up quickly before other teams map out what the Saints did and repeat the result.  Now, I don’t think the Falcons fade away; Julio is having much to strong a season.  But that loss revealed a bit, and repairs had better be made quickly.  The Titans have a laundry list of repairs to make, most of which won’t be attempted this season.  After winning their first game, Tennessee has lost 5 straight, failing to win at home yet and failing to score enough to be relevant.  Mariota started hot but has faded; the Titans need him to pick it up, though it might already be too late for a resurgence in 2015.


wasredskinsTB @ Was – Jameis Winston has the same number of interceptions as passing touchdowns (7) and the same number of lost fumbles as rushing touchdowns (1).  I know he’s a rookie, but that’s not exactly what Bucs fans were hoping for this season, especially five games in.  Personally, I can’t stand the guy and never predicted him to have any success, so his failure to impress is just fine with me.  Tampa Bay just needs to bid farewell to their franchise, let them move to Las Vegas, change everything, start over, and forget about all these lost decades.  The Redskins need some overhauls of their own, starting with their mascot name and continuing with their roster of quarterbacks.  Cousins is no go, RG3 is the biggest bust in NFL history, and this coaching staff is nothing to applaud either.  The only reason I can pick Washington to win this game is because they’re at home and need a victory to lead them into their bye week, otherwise I might be tempted to pick nobody.


oakraidersOak @ SD – The Raiders are coming off a bye week and should be ready for a trip down the coast to San Diego.  After two close losses, Derek Carr will look to lead his team to victory with the help of emerging running back Latavius Murray.  The problem has been points for Oakland, failing to keep pace when the game turns into a shootout, but that might not be such a big issue when it comes to facing the Chargers.  San Diego allows 27 points per game, while scoring 23.  You can see why they’re 2-4, always losing by a small margin in games that they had a solid chance in.  At home, they play very well, going 2-1, but that’s often the result of East Coast teams flying out West to play, which won’t be a factor for Oakland in this matchup.  I don’t like picking Phillip Rivers to succeed; he so very rarely does.  So I’ll go with the upstart Raiders here, thinking that they might be able to force San Diego into another tight one.


nygiantsDal @ NYG – And things just keep getting worse in Dallas.  First Dez Bryant goes down, which puts the offense in a really tough spot.  Then Tony Romo gets injured, which just submarines the whole season.  Brandon Weeden steps in as the backup QB and sucks so bad that the Cowboys turn to Matt Cassel.  Matt Cassel!  What in the world is going on?!  Aren’t there any good backups lying around?  I guess not, when some teams spend every single year trying to find a legitimate starter.  So things are bad in Big D, and they won’t be getting better until Dez & Romo return, which won’t be this week.  Meanwhile, the Giants are primed to win the division, as the only team in the NFC East with a high-caliber QB.  Now, I know New York lost last week in a sloppy game vs the Eagles, but that was an easy thing to predict, saw it coming a mile away.  Eli plays bad in Philly, that’s all there is to it, but he’ll turn things around this week and probably for the foreseeable future.  The G-Men will not only win this game, but they will win their division, with the Cowboys fighting for a Wild Card spot when the season comes to a close.


carpanthersPhi @ Car – The Eagles experiment won’t quite die, though we are all tired of it trying to live.  Obviously, Sam Bradford was a bad choice for this offense, a squad that has actually begun to put up some points in recent weeks, but remains handcuffed by their QB’s bad play.  Bradford has turned the ball over 10 times, opposed to 9 total touchdowns, and couldn’t lead a team to victory if the finish line was in front of his feet.  He is getting sacked less often than usual, which is something, and he has a 63% completion percentage, which would be a career high, if that’s something to be proud of.  Point is, I can’t see that guy making Philadelphia anything better than a .500 team.  The Panthers, led by MVP candidate Cam Newton, are undefeated and don’t look to be losing that status any time soon.  They allow the third lowest point total in the league, are running the ball efficiently with Jonathan Stewart, and seem to be firing on all cylinders.  It would be a shocker were Philly to beat Carolina in their house.


aricardinalsBal @ Ari – Although not the worst team in the NFL, the Ravens might be the saddest, based solely on how unbelievable their 2015 record has been so far and how poorly they have played in the face of such talent.  Baltimore is always good, always in games, and always contenders.  To see them sitting at 1-5 is a slap to the face, and a reminder that if you’re not improving, your rivals are, and they will beat you.  They can score a bit, but this defense is awful, embarrassing the Ravens trademark D and leading to a pitiful season.  The Cardinals shouldn’t overlook anyone right now though, since a bit of sloppy play has taken them down from the league’s top shelf.  Arizona was the #1 team in the NFL, with a great offense to match its defense and sights set on the Super Bowl.  Two losses derailed that bandwagon, but don’t count this team out too fast.  They’re still winning the NFC West, still score 34 points per game, and still have a veteran QB to lead them to the promised land.