It’s crazy to think that were are around a third of the way through the season, but as it is we have completed six entire weeks of football. Now that we have a better understanding where teams stand, it is easier to see where this campaign is going… or is it? Well, for starters how about the Cowboys and Eagles? Dallas went into Seattle and dominated the defending Super Bowl champs while the birds blanked the G-Men on Sunday night. Both are 5-1 and sit atop the NFC and their NFC East division. Philly is on BYE while the Cowboys host the aforementioned Giants. In other areas of the country last week, we saw the third highest recorded tie in NFL history when the Panthers and Bengals played to a 37-37 stalemate. The Browns layed the smackdown on the Steelers in Cleveland improving their record to 3-2. Derek Carr was almost able to lead his Raiders to a massive upset of the Chargers in Oakland as well. All of this can be considered unexpected. So this week with all but Philadelphia and Tampa Bay in action, I really can’t tell you what to expect. All I can do is put some guesswork into the outcome of these fifteen games. I went 9-5-1 here last week and this week I hope to do better than having to record a tie (let’s face it, ties suck). Let’s get the train rolling for the Week 7 predictions!
Thursday, October 16th, 8:25 e.t.
New York Jets (1-5) @ New England Patriots (4-2)
The AFC East is beginning to shape up the way we all thought it would. The Patriots are out ahead of everybody else at the moment thanks to some great quarterback play from the ageless Tom Brady and some stingy defense. Meanwhile the Jets have looked very feeble on offense behind Geno Smith and an inconsistent running game. This game should be close since Gang Green always finds a way to play the Pats tough, but I fully expect the home team to come out on top here. Look for this one to be a defensive slug-fest.
New England 17, New York 13
Sunday, October 19th, 1:00 e.t.
Carolina Panthers (3-2-1) @ Green Bay Packers (4-2)
We all have heard the saying “playing to a tie is like kissing your sister”. However, the Carolina Panthers probably feel a little bit differently about that since they watched Cincinnati’s kicker Mike Nungent miss a chip shot at the end of overtime to solidify the score at 37 all. They tied a game they should have lost. Cam Newton ran for over 100 yards in that game though, and he should be able to make room against a Green Bay defense that isn’t exactly the 2000 Ravens when it comes to this matter. That said, Aaron Rodgers has been on fire throwing 15 touchdowns against only 1 interception all year. The Panther defense has looked quite vulnerable this season as well so I see him throwing 362 yards and three scores this afternoon en route to a Packer win.
Green Bay 30, Carolina 16
Atlanta Falcons (2-4) @ Baltimore Ravens (4-2)
Where did all the pizzazz go with the Atlanta offense? They were slowed down at home by the Chicago Bears last week and now have to travel to Baltimore and take on the Ravens. Joe Flacco needed just over 16 minutes to toss five, count ’em, five touchdowns against Tampa Bay last week. This offensive unit has looked great in the team’s four wins this season. Look for that number to bump up to five. As I said when Carolina came to town, the Ravens don’t lose to NFC opponents at home. Especially not ones with defenses that couldn’t stop a nosebleed.
Baltimore 37, Atlanta 14
Minnesota Vikings (2-4) @ Buffalo Bills (3-3)
Kyle Orton held the ball way too long against the Patriots last week, so this time around I see him firing it out within 2.5 seconds in order to avoid a crop of sacks. Against the Minnesota secondary, I can see him having moderate success. Buffalo does need to get their ground game going though. This is a unit that finished second in that category last year. This season they are 22nd, averaging a whisker over 100 yards per game running the ball. That should change here as the Billikens get back on track with the “W”.
Buffalo 28, Minnesota 19
Tennessee Titans (2-4) @ Washington Redskins (1-5)
What happened to Kirk Cousins saving the Redskins? He has been throwing interceptions in bunches this season. He threw four in one quarter against the Giants in Week 4 and then threw three in the fourth quarter last week against the Cardinals. Despite the trio of turnovers in Arizona, his team was in the game late thanks to some big throws to DeSean Jackson. Even though their record is worse, I think Washington is a much better team than Tennessee. Their offense has the potential to be one of the best in the league if only they can hold on to the ball. I think they do that at home against a Titan team that almost lost to Jacksonville last week despite having a 9-point lead with less than a minute to go.
Washington 30, Tennessee 12
Miami Dolphins (2-3) @ Chicago Bears (3-3)
The Jay Cutler to Brandon Marshall/Alshon Jeffery connection worked last week. He completed eleven passes to these goliaths for 249 yards last week in Atlanta. Also, over the last two weeks Matt Forte has recorded a whopping 22 catches with a receiving touchdown and he added two on the ground last week as well. This Chicago offense is cooking and it is getting a chance to host an inconsistent Miami squad that barely lost to Green Bay at home last week. If Ryan Tannehill doesn’t bring his A-game, this one could be a blowout. If he does, I expect a back and forth contest that goes down to the wire. Either way, I see the Bears offense taking over and getting the job done at home.
Chicago 26, Miami 19
Cincinnati Bengals (3-1-1) @ Indianapolis Colts (4-2)
Cincinnati’s offense has looked decent over the course of this season, but as of late their defense has looked horrible. That does not bode well for them on the road against the #1 offense in football in the Indianapolis Colts. I can see Andrew Luck throwing 4 touchdown passes while piling up 330 passing yards. He was able to toss four scores against these Bengals on the road in early December last season, so just think about what he could do at home here. Luck is putting up monster numbers this season and that should continue here as Indy picks up its fifth straight win.
Indianapolis 31, Cincinnati 22
Seattle Seahawks (4-2) @ St. Louis Rams (1-4)
This needs to be a statement game for Russell Wilson and the Seahawks. They were physically manhandled last week at home against Dallas, and Wilson looked pretty bad. This team needs to regain some of that confidence they had last season and try to sculpt out a better identity on offense. That starts with the team feeding Marshawn Lynch the ball 30 times in this game. He rumbles for 145 yards and two scores as Seattle gets the job done and improves to 5-2.
Seattle 27, St. Louis 13
New Orleans Saints (2-3) @ Detroit Lions (4-2)
The have looked spectacular on defense this season, but ever since their home opener against the Giants, their offense has looked very inconsistent. It doesn’t help when you have Calvin Johnson playing at less than 100% and Reggie Bush banged up though. However, what does work in Detroit’s favor is the fact that they are going up against a New Orleans defense that has looked just terrible at times this season. This one has all the makings of a shootout because you have two quarterbacks who are capable of putting up video-game-like numbers with a plethora of weapons. Jimmy Graham is down for the Saints but it doesn’t matter. I am picking them to win because I see Matthew Stafford making a mistake late in this one. He does this far too often in front of the home crowd and it probably happens again in this one making them forget about his 405 passing yards he will acquire in this contest.
New Orleans 34, Detroit 30
Cleveland Browns (3-2) @ Jacksonville Jaguars (0-6)
I want to pick the Jaguars for this game because the Browns can’t be that good, can they be? Well, the team is an impressive 6-2 when Brian Hoyer starts, and their running game is very much improved over last year. Coming off of a thrashing of Pittsburgh last week, they should be heading into Everbank with a word’s worth of confidence. I doubt Jordan Cameron breaks the 100 yard receiving plateau in this one, but I can see him chipping in with six catches and 45 yards along with a touchdown. He and a strong running game propels the Browns to a win.
Cleveland 24, Jacksonville 20
Sunday, October 19th, 4:05 e.t.
Kansas City Chiefs (2-3) @ San Diego Chargers (5-1)
The Chargers narrowly escaped the Raiders last week in Oakland and now head home to take on the Chiefs in their second of three straight divisional contests. Despite their 2-3 record, the Chiefs have looked pretty good this season outside of an opening day stinker against the Titans. They coughed up a chance to win on the road in San Francisco the last time this team was on the field, but I don’t see that happening again this week. Andy Reid is a master at picking up wins off of a BYE week and I see his team scraping together a win on the road.
Kansas City 27, San Diego 20
Sunday, October 19th, 4:25 e.t.
New York Giants (3-3) @ Dallas Cowboys (5-1)
We all keep waiting for the Cowboys to have a letdown, but it continues to avoid them. This offensive line is solid and they are paving the way for the Murray-saurus Rex to gobble up yardage on the ground. They are also providing Tony Romo enough time to write a book in that pocket. If you flip sides here, you would realize that the Giants’ offensive line is the antithesis of this. They could not keep Eli Manning upright last week against Philly and were getting pushed backward with great consistency. Eli typically plays well in Dallas, but I don’t see the Giants coming out on top here. They should make things interesting, but the ‘Boys are much better up front than Big Blue is.
Dallas 23, New York 17
Arizona Cardinals (4-1) @ Oakland Raiders (0-5)
The Cardinals are happy to have Carson Palmer back under center, and they rode him to a 30-20 win over Washington last week. The offense wasn’t anything special, nor was the defense (although they did force four fourth quarter turnovers). Meanwhile the Raiders looked very good a week ago, giving San Diego all that it could handle until the final drive when Derek Carr threw an interception. I see the Arizona Cardinals’ “D” forcing the rookie into a couple of mistakes as they bring numerous exotic blitzes in his face. When Oakland turns the ball over, they do not win. That will be the case on this afternoon.
Arizona 22, Oakland 13
Sunday, October 19th, 8:30 e.t.
San Francisco 49ers (4-2) @ Denver Broncos (4-1)
Of course the storyline going into this game is Peyton Manning chasing down Brett Favre’s record of 508 touchdown passes. He is three away from breaking it and has a chance to do so in prime time against the 49ers defense. I think he gets exactly what he needs with three touchdown passes, one of them putting Denver ahead late in the game. Then the defense is able to shut Colin Kaepernick down as he tries to comeback at the very end. This should be a good game filled with splash plays and good defense. Even though I predict that Peyton will toss three interceptions in this game, I still see the Broncos prevailing. That defense has been looking good lately and the 49er offense (coming to town on a short week) has not always been consistent this season.
Denver 28, San Francisco 24
Monday, October 20th, 8:30 e.t.
Houston Texans (3-3) @ Pittsburgh Steelers (3-3)
The Steelers have really fallen off the table since their huge win over Carolina in Week 3. They are 1-2 since that time with their one win coming against the 0-6 Jaguars. They managed only 17 points against them as well, and seven of those were a result of a pick-six. That said, they will be hosting a Houston team on Monday night that has not been playing well itself lately. They did put up a fight against Indianapolis last Thursday night, but the fact remains that this team’s three wins have come against teams with a combined record of 4-14 this season. On the road, in Pittsburgh, on Monday night… the deck is stacked. Give me the Steelers.
Pittsburgh 24, Houston 16
Week 7 Bonus Predictions
Upset of the Week: Kansas City over San Diego
Sure Bet of the Week: Baltimore over Atlanta
Rookie of the Week: Branden Oliver
Offensive Player of the Week: Andrew Luck
Defensive Player of the Week: Mario Williams
Best Overall Offense: Baltimore Ravens
Best Overall Defense: Arizona Cardinals
Feel free to leave a comment stating what you think will happen in this weekend’s games!