Tag Archives: week 7

2017 Season: Week 7 Preview

The drama that is the NFL keeps on coming and we’ve got 15 games this week to preview.  Let us just hope that there will be no more crushing season-ending injuries to speak of following the action from this stanza in the season.  Let’s get it.

Last Week: 8-6

Season: 52-39

Locks: 1-5

Upsets: 2-4

Thursday, October 19th, 8:25 e.t.

Kansas City Chiefs (5-1) @ Oakland Raiders (2-4)

The Chiefs took their first loss of the season, and perhaps it can serve as a bit of a wakeup call for them as their offense was pretty much handled at home versus Pittsburgh.  Meanwhile the Raiders find themselves in last place in the division and losers of four straight.  I think that streak will run to five in a row here as Kansas City should have a prime opportunity to get their offense back on track against an inconsistent pass “D”.

Kansas City 30, Oakland 20

Sunday, October 22nd, 1:00 e.t.

New Orleans Saints (3-2) @ Green Bay Packers (4-2)

This game would have been a barn-burner if Aaron Rodgers did not exit the game last week against Minnesota with a broken collarbone.  As it stands we get Drew Brees versus Brett Huntley.  I am not among the majority that thinks that the Packers’ season is sunk without Rodgers and in fact I think they can surprise the Saints this week by stealing a win at home.  I’m going to put my faith in their defense to make a stop with the game on the line.

Green Bay 21, New Orleans 17 ***UPSET OF THE WEEK***

Arizona Cardinals (3-3) @ Los Angeles Rams (4-2) (In London)

This looks to be a pretty good matchup for the fans over in London.  Adrian Peterson definitely gave the Arizona offense a spark last week and made the passing game better since Tampa’s “D” actually had to respect a rushing attack.  While that game was going on, the Rams were riding the strength of their defense and two return touchdowns in a road win over the Jags.  This Rams team is a lot of fun to watch and they can win a game in a lot of different ways.  I like them to do the job across the pond against a defense that has not been themselves this season.

Los Angeles 25, Arizona 20

Baltimore Ravens (3-3) @ Minnesota Vikings (4-2)

Remember the last time these two teams got together?  It produced one of the wildest finishes to a game that you will ever see with over an inch of snow on the ground.  Weather will not play a factor in this game, but the crowd noise will.  Now in the driver’s seat atop the NFC North, I like the Vikings to come out and dominate the offensively challenged Ravens with their top 10 defense.

Minnesota 21, Baltimore 6

Indianapolis Colts (2-4) @ Jacksonville Jaguars (3-3)

This game was targeted as the return date for Andrew Luck but as of this writing his status in uncertain.  That said, I will be taking Jacksonville regardless of who starts because I really think that their defense can stifle the Colts’ running game and make the offense one dimensional.  With the number one pass rush in the league versus one of the worst O-lines, I don’t like Indy’s odds of keeping whoever lines up under center clean.

Jacksonville 19, Indianapolis 12

Carolina Panthers (4-2) @ Chicago Bears (2-4)

The Panthers, off a nine day hiatus, look to rebound from a tough loss at home to Philly and they draw a Bears team that shocked the Ravens in overtime last week.  This is a pretty fun matchup of quarterbacks here with Cam Newton and Mitchell Trubisky.  The Panthers have to get their running game going if they are going to be a serious threat this year, but I don’t necessarily think they need to do it this week.  I see Cam bouncing back and throwing for a pile of yards as the Panthers roll over the Bears.

Carolina 30, Chicago 17

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-3) @ Buffalo Bills (3-2)

Lost behind the loss of Aaron Rodgers was the shoulder injury of Jameis Winston.  It seems that he will be okay to go on the road against the Bills who always play teams tough at home.  The BYE week came at a good time for Buffalo as well because they got a chance to get healthy on offense.  This is a tough one to pick and I do think that it will end up being one of the best games of Week 7, but this time I am going to go with Tampa Bay.  Outside of LeSean McCoy there aren’t too many plays on the Buffalo offense for their opponents to sweat over.  The Bucs’ “D” will have to play better this week than they did last week, however.

Tampa Bay 31, Buffalo 29

New York Jets (3-3) @ Miami Dolphins (3-2)

In what I think is the most shocking result of the year, the Dolphins went into Atlanta and came back from 17 down to take a win away from the Falcons a week ago.  Now, after a much maligned start to the year, Miami is 3-2 and poised to go 4-2 against a Jet team that did give the Patriots a nice punch before falling.  I do think that the Dolphins are still trying to figure out who they are on offense, but their defense is a good unit and I think that’s going to be the difference in a close game.

Miami 22, New York 20

Tennessee Titans (3-3) @ Cleveland Browns (0-6)

In a wide open AFC South, the Titans need to take control of things if they hope to live up to the preseason hype.  They’re in a good spot to do this against a Browns team that is reeling and doesn’t look like they can beat anybody at the moment.  Yup, the Brownies are on 0-16 watch again and that talk will continue after the Titans come into town and run the ball right down their throat en route to a dominant win.

Tennessee 41, Cleveland 16

Sunday, October 22nd, 4:05 e.t.

Dallas Cowboys (2-3) @ San Francisco 49ers (0-6)

Will Ezekiel Elliot be playing this week?  It looks like it as he has been granted permission to play in this game.  With that, I don’t seen any reason to believe that the Cowboys won’t bring their record back to .500.  I don’t see the Niners being as efficient on offense this week because they will not have the element of surprise this time around with new QB C.J. Beathard who did have a slightly above average game against Washington.  Unlike the Browns, however, the 49ers do have some good things to build off of in a winless season.  At least they are keeping their games interesting.

Dallas 26, San Francisco 17 ***LOCK OF THE WEEK***

Sunday, October 22nd, 4:25 e.t.

Denver Broncos (3-2) @ Los Angeles Chargers (2-4)

Just when we were all starting to raise our eyebrows with the Broncos, they come home off of a BYE and get embarrassed by the New York Giants.  Now they hit the road and take on a Charger team that is beginning to get it’s bearings.  L.A.’s offense is still having difficulty finishing drives and that will have to change this week if they want to win.  Phil Rivers tends to play well against Denver, however, and I see that continuing here as the Chargers claw their way back in the AFC playoff picture.

Los Angeles 21, Denver 20

Seattle Seahawks (3-2) @ New York Giants (1-5)

The Giants finally got into the win column against the Broncos in a game that was largely dominated by their defense.  Go figure it came on the road in a tough place to play sans all of their best offensive players.  Good luck figuring this league out.  Anyways, do I see New York pulling off a second straight upset?  No, I do not.  I’m predicting the Seahawks to go on a bit of a run here with an NFC that is very much anybody’s for the taking.

Seattle 36, New York 19

Cincinnati Bengals (2-3) @ Pittsburgh Steelers (4-2)

I love the move of this game to Sunday afternoon because this should be an intense game pitting the surging Bengals and the Steelers who are fresh off of their somewhat surprising road win over KC.  The Steelers defense is becoming the strength of the team and it should show up strong here as Cincy and Pittsburgh typically produce low-scoring affairs.  Running game and defense will get the job done in the Steel City and I am going with the home team on that note.

Pittsburgh 23, Cincinnati 17

Sunday, October 22nd, 8:30 e.t.

Atlanta Falcons (3-2) @ New England Patriots (4-2)

The Falcons just lost a close game to Miami a week ago at home while the Patriots closed out a tough road win over the Jets.  Now hosting the Falcons who are in a bit of a tailspin offensively, the Patriots look to regain their position of supremacy atop the AFC with a win.  However, their defense is still getting shredded by every opponent this year and that provides a good opportunity for the Falcons to have a get-well game on the road.  That said I’ve learned my lesson picking against the Pats in prime time in the past so I’m not doing it here.

New England 34, Atlanta 28

Monday, October 23rd, 8:30 e.t.

Washington Redskins (3-2) @ Philadelphia Eagles (5-1)

The Eagles look like the best team in the NFC right now and have won games with their offense and their defense.  The Redskins always play Philly tough, but I don’t think that will give them a win on Monday night.  The ‘Skins are a little too banged up for me to like their chances going on the road and getting a “W”.  Not to mention, but I’ll mention, the Iggles tend to do pretty well on Monday Night Football, especially against Washington.

Philadelphia 32, Washington 24

Week 7 Recap: New York Giants vs. Los Angeles Rams (London)

Final: New York 17, Los Angeles 10

Tavon Austin
Ram’s Tavon Austin scored on a touchdown in London on the team’s first offensive possession of the game.

Three fourth quarter interceptions undo Case Keenum and the Rams in Twickenham Stadium in London as Los Angeles falls to 3-4 on the season losing to the Giants.  New York is now 2-0 in the NFL’s international series and they can largely thank their defense for the W as the team now boasts a winning record this season.

Looking at the stat sheet, it would be easy to say that Los Angeles quarterback Case Keenum had an awful game and was the reason that the Rams fell.  Sure, he threw three fourth quarter picks, and four overall, but many of those mistakes weren’t entirely his fault.  The first pick which took place in the second quarter came off of a dropped ball by Tavon Austin.  The ball hit him in the hands and popped up in the air.  Landon Collins, the Giants safety, came down with it and ran the ball back 44 yards for the score.  In the fourth quarter, there was a tipped pass that once again landed in the hands of Collins, a fallen receiver leading to an easy pick for Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (although he played that ball perfectly), and a complete miscommunication with his receiver late in the fourth quarter from the 15 yard line, throwing it up on third down only to have Rodgers-Cromartie be the only one in the vicinity to make the INT.  The picks were bad, but can’t all be pinned on Keenum, so don’t be thinking he’s getting benched because of the performance.  One of the areas he was weak in was stepping up in the pocket when pressure mounts.  He, like many young and inexperienced quarterbacks, tries to escape out either side and roll out.  This severely limits his vision of the field and cuts down on the potential to make a big play.  Other areas on the offense that were sub-par for the Rams included the offensive line and their blocking.  The Giants had only six sacks coming into the game and picked up three of those.  They stacked the box like many teams do to try to contain Todd Gurley, which worked.  This is an O-line that is not strong enough to pave lanes in the running game, and the Rams don’t have enough talent at wide-out to overcome this shortage.  Brian Quick did make some nice plays late in the game to give his team a chance, and Kenny Britt was a threat down the field, but these two are far too inconsistent to call a true No. 1 receiver.  Towards the end of the game, the serious lack of true talent showed because Kenny Britt went out with an injury.  Bradley Marquez and Mike Thomas were on the field in the red zone with a minute and a half left with the Rams trying to tie the game.  They looked very raw in there and did not help L.A.’s chances at a comeback.

Los Angeles Rams v New York Giants
Odell Beckham Jr. in action from 10/23/16.

Speaking of number ones, any time the Giants play, the world wants to know how Odell Beckham Jr. performed.  He had a quite game and was played physically by the Los Angeles corners.  They sat on slant routes with zones in the middle and completely took that aspect of the Giants’ offense away.  Beckham had almost no yards after the catch, which was a far cry from a week ago and was played well by the L.A. secondary.  While that may lead some to believe that he had an off game, it is not entirely accurate to spout such allegations.  The real struggle came from the Giants quarterback.  Eli Manning was not good in this game.  He was too quick to dump the ball off and had almost no big plays down the field.  New York as a team completed only four passes of over 10 yards down the field and two of those were jump balls.  Manning looked terrified and didn’t settle his feet very often.  A lot of his throws were low and too careful.  The fact that the G-Men did not have any running game to speak of wasn’t very helpful.  They finished with a woeful 36 yards and 1.8 yards per carry.  The Giants as a team managed only 4.1 yards per play on the offensive side of the ball.  The Rams did hop out to a 10-0 lead, but the offense did nothing to bring them back.  All props have to go to Steve Spagnuolo’s defensive unit.

The secondary was lights out in this game.  They recorded six pass-breakups, three of those going to Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie who was all over the field.  Landon Collins got beat deep twice, but luckily neither of them cost him.  Otherwise he was solid with many open field tackles and two (albeit gift) picks, one going for six which turned out to be the difference in the game.  The defensive line wasn’t terrible, but they were certainly not overwhelming.  It was the linebackers that made a majority of the stops in the running game and they were flying all over the field.  Keenan Robinson was probably the biggest standout helping out with a couple of run stops and doing the job in coverage.  The Giants as a team played in primarily man-to-man looks, daring the Rams to throw it deep and win their one-on-ones.  The game plan was simple and it looked like New York thought they were better across the boards with player versus player.  It turns out they were right and the team won the game because of the effective game plan.

Larry Donnell vs. Mark Barron
Larry Donnell’s fumble in the first quarter lead to Los Angeles’ lone touchdown.

The Los Angeles defense has nothing to be ashamed of here.  They did all they could, holding the Giants to just 10 offensive points.  14 of their 17 points came directly off of turnovers but otherwise the G-Men really struggled to move the ball.  The five leading tacklers from the Rams were all members of the secondary and the team as a whole tackled very well, which is all you can ask for.  Aaron Donald, the star defensive-man for the Rams, was by all accounts neutralized.  He did nearly record a safety in the third quarter, but otherwise did not make a ton of noise outside of a rush or two.  As stated before, L.A. did their best to take away the quick passing game of the Giants.  They did this by playing a lot of Cover-2 and zone schemes.  The middle of the field for wide receivers was not open and they ganged up and tackled every time the ball was dumped short.  Eli Manning likes to get the ball out quick, and still did in this game.  There were Rams defenders there every time to make plays.  They were very hands on down the field as well, throwing New York’s wide-outs out of rhythm and disrupting their routes.  It would seem as though each Victor Cruz, Sterling Shepard, and Odell Beckham Jr. struggle when they are getting pushed around down the field, within the rules of course.  If you can be physical with them they falter.

It was a defensive battle in London that the Giants ended up winning.  Parts of the game made it seem like the New York defense is taking over while others looked like it was the offense from Los Angeles that was whimpering.  In the end, it was a bit of both that factored into the seven point win.  Had it not been for the pick-six in the second quarter, we may be singing a different tune now but as it stands it was a dominant defensive effort from the Giants secondary delivering the team its fourth win of the year.  Despite being 4-3 on the year, New York still sits at the bottom of the NFC East.  They have a chance to gain ground in the division after the BYE when they host the Philadelphia Eagles.  The Rams will try to bounce back at home against the Carolina Panthers in a game that could very well mean each team’s season.

Rashad Jennings
Rashad Jennings scored the Giants’ only offensive touchdown in the fourth quarter in a 17-10 New York win.

The Skinny:

  • After coming into the game having forced just two turnovers and registering six sacks, the Giants pick up four interceptions and bring down Case Keenum three times in this game.
  • Eli Manning was really bailed out by his defense here.  The New York offensive line played well yet he looked uncomfortable in the pocket and did not make a lot of confident throws.  He completed just four passes over 10 yards in the game.
  • The New York secondary dominated this game.  They tackled and made plays on the ball and really took it to an undermanned Los Angeles team late in the game.
  • Case Keenum threw a career-high four interceptions, but you could make a case that none of them were on him; one was a dropped pass, another was deflected, one of his receivers fell down, and on the final drive of the game there was a miscommunication.
  • The Los Angeles offensive line continues to look weaker than its opponents as teams are constantly stacking seven in the box and pushing them around, shrinking the pocket and smothering Todd Gurley.
  • The L.A. secondary played pretty well in this contest keeping all balls in front of them, high pointing the few down-field throws for PBUs, and like the Giants they tackled well in the open field.  Don’t pin this loss on the defense.

2016 Season: Week 7 Preview

The seventh week of the 2016 campaign is upon us and there are some very nice games on the docket.  We have a rumble of 3-3 squads in London, two “revenge” games for Sam Bradford and Brock Osweiler, a colossal Sunday night clash between the Seahawks and Cardinals, as well as an important NFC matchup in Detroit with the Lions and Redskins.  The playoff picture is getting to be a bit clearer even though it is still early.  If the season were to end today we would see the Patriots, Steelers, Raiders, Texans, Broncos, and Bills on the AFC side and the Vikings, Cowboys, Seahawks, Falcons, Redskins, and Packers in the NFC.  Things likely won’t stand like this, so here are my early predictions for the teams we will see in the playoffs followed by my Week 7 picks.

AFC

#1 Seed- New England Patriots: Probably won’t be seeing this change too much as Tom Brady is still playing the quarterback position at an elite level and the defense making plays.  This is the NFL’s team to beat.

#2 Seed- Pittsburgh Steelers: Even though Ben Roethlisberger is banged up now, his injury shouldn’t be serious enough to hamper his entire season.  The offense is explosive and fun to watch and when at home this team is a juggernaut.  That will help them lock down the second seed.

#3 Seed- Oakland Raiders: Yes, they lost big to Kansas City last week, but I still love what this team brings to the table on offense.  Derek Carr has the ability to blossom into an elite quarterback and trust me, I don’t just throw the elite label around.  I really do like his arm talent and he has some of the best receivers to throw it to.  The defense needs work but if they can simply hold their own, that should be enough to land the Raiders a playoff spot and a division win.

#4 Seed- Tennessee Titans: Call me crazy, but I love what this team has brought to the table early on.  They have the best offensive line that nobody talks about and a great ground game to back it up.  In a jumbled AFC South, I like the toughest team of the bunch to come out with the crown.

#5 Seed- Kansas City Chiefs: I considered putting them at the #3 seed and could certainly see it happening, but a slightly tougher schedule slides them to #5.  Still, these guys are a complete team with a good defense and a fundamentally sound offense.  That will get them to the dance.

#6 Seed- Buffalo Bills: I love what Anthony Lynn has done with this offense making it a run-first operation putting LeSean McCoy at the forefront.  With a four game winning streak, I can tell you it is not a fluke.  This is a good team and will be there at the end.

NFC

#1 Seed- Seattle Seahawks: I have stubbornly held on to the claim that this is the best team in the NFC and that is because I love what Russell Wilson is doing at the quarterback position transforming into more of a pocket passer.  They still have an outstanding defense to back them up and making Seattle the top team in the NFC.

#2 Seed- Dallas Cowboys: The offense has been good all year long and is dominating teams in the trenches with a great offensive line, but the thing that really wins Dallas the #2 spot is their overachieving defense.  If they continue to play like they have been this is a team that will be a tough out come January.

#3 Seed- Atlanta Falcons: I love this offense.  Sure, the defense is a bit of a fault but if the offense can continue to score over 33 points per game then this team will be a force to be reckoned with.  They are the NFC’s answer to Pittsburgh.

#4 Seed- Minnesota Vikings: Placing them at #4 might seem crazy but I don’t know if they can continue to win all of their games with defense alone.  They have yet to prove themselves in a shootout so until they do I will predict a bit of a falloff.  This is still a playoff team without a doubt.

#5 Seed- Arizona Cardinals: After their 1-3 start, this team has begun to turn things around with their ground game and aggressive defense.  They will still be able to score points with anyone and have a lot of winnable games coming up.  This is an 11-5 team still.

#6 Seed- Philadelphia Eagles: I coulda put the Redskins or Packers here but in the end I have to admit that I have caught the Wentz fever.  I love the way this team is coached and I think they can sneak into the playoffs as long as their offensive line shores up a bit.  Ultimately I see them defeating Green Bay at home in Week 12 which is why they are in over the Pack.

These predictions are certainly subject to change and probably will depending on how the games play out.  Anyways, on to the game previews!

Last Week: 10-5

Season: 48-44

Thursday, October 20th, 8:25 e.t.

Chicago Bears (1-5) @ Green Bay Packers (3-2)

The Bears and Packers, in prime time, what could be better?  Well, considering the fact that both of these teams have looked dysfunctional as of late, we could be in for one of those “so bad that it’s good” games.  Green Bay will be without Eddie Lacy for a bit, but never fear!  They scooped up Knile Davis from Kansas City for a mere conditional pick in next year’s draft.  This could be a good move if Mr. Swiss Army Knife himself sees action right away with the banged up backfield. Knile Davis Luckily for the Pack, their offensive line is among the cream of the crop in football.  Sure, Aaron Rodgers has fallen off and does tend to hold the ball too long inside that pocket, but I am still holding on to hope that he can return to elite form as he does have offensive weapons.  A team like Chicago could be a good punching bag for him.  The Bears let the Jaguars score 17 points in the fourth quarter last week and lost a heart-breaker at home.  Brian Hoyer has been better for them at QB than Jay Cutler was early in the year, although he was facing two good defenses in his limited action but I digress.  Cameron Meredith deserves the Where The Hell Did You Come From award of the year.  He has shown that he is a reliable target for Hoyer over the last couple of weeks and should continue to be so in this game.  However, at the end of the day do I think that The Destroyer can out-duel a former league MVP?  I’m thinking that Green Bay comes out angry after getting pushed around at home by Dallas and they put together a nice win.  My thought here is a blowout and I actually expect them to play this whole game much like they did the first half versus Detroit but if they do struggle, this could really be one of those ugly games that stays close throughout.  We’ll see.

Green Bay 45, Chicago 24

Sunday, October 23rd, 9:30 am e.t.

New York Giants (3-3) vs. Los Angeles Rams (3-3) (London)

We start our Sunday out across the pond when two 3-3 teams clash.  Each will be flying over following close wins.  The Giants came out on top largely due to Odell Beckham Jr.’s legs as the man racked up about 175 YAC en route to a 222 yard, two touchdown performance to beat the Ravens.  The New York offense had been in a bit of a funk lately but all seemed to be well in the second half of last week’s game.  Meanwhile Case Keenum actually looked like a franchise quarterback for the Rams against Detroit.  He was 24/26 in that game at one point and was simply dissecting the Lion’s defense.  Kenny Britt busted out and made an incredible one handed catch deep down field with a defender draped all over him.  If you haven’t seen said grab, check it out:

What will he do against a Giants’ secondary that has been up and down this season?  I’m guessing something like 4 catches for 75 yards.  Now that this prediction has been hammered out, let’s guess on the game.  Matthew Stafford just got through with carving this defense up and the secondary looked like a weak spot in Los Angeles.  With Beckham Jr. coming back to dominating games and the other crop of good receivers in New York, I see no reason to believe that the Giants can’t have their way with the Rams in that department.  I like them to take this one in London.  Oh, by the way, Todd Gurley breaks out.  Just felt like making a bonus prediction here.  By the way, this is the first New York metropolitain area versus L.A. matchup in the NFL in 22 years.

New York 35, Los Angeles 21

Sunday, October 23rd, 1:00 e.t.

New Orleans Saints (2-3) @ Kansas City Chiefs (3-2)

The Chiefs return home for the first time in almost a month to host a Saints team that is coming off of a last second win at home against Carolina.  Drew Brees is starting to find some chemistry with his wide-outs and that could mean trouble for opposing secondaries.  However, Kansas City just polished off a defensive gem against the Raiders in Oakland and look to build on that momentum and put a little winning streak together.  Sure, the weather they played in really helped the secondary out, but it was very encouraging to see the pass rush pick it up against a very solid Oakland offensive line.  If they can pressure Brees in this game then they should not have much of a problem defeating them at Arrowhead.  There are two matchups I’m looking forward to seeing.  One of them is Dee Ford screaming off the edge versus whoever the Saints line up at left tackle, be it Terron Armstead or Andrus Peat.  Dee Ford

When healthy Armstead is one of the premier LTs in the sport, so I am secretly hoping to see him play but he is listed as questionable.  The other one v. one I want to see is Marcus Peters against Brandin Cooks.  Peters is the NFL’s present version of Asante Samuel and he will jump routes and make a ton of plays but will get burnt from time-to-time due to his aggressive nature.  If he does goof, Cooks sprint right by him for some more monster plays.  He is good for that.  At the end of the day, this game will come down to defense and I just don’t have faith that the Saints can slug one out with the Chiefs, especially not on the road.  Look for the Chiefs to shorten the game with their short passes and running game en route to a win.  The score will be lower due to this projected game plan.

Kansas City 17, New Orleans 10

Cleveland Browns (0-5) @ Cincinnati Bengals (2-3)

Will this be the week that the Browns finally pick up a win?  I don’t think so.  The Bengals are a desperate team at the moment and despite their horrible road trip they are still very much in the thick of things in the AFC North with the Ravens struggling and the Steelers’ Ben Roethlisberger unhealthy.  A win here would mean everything to the Cardiac Cats as they prepare for a more difficult schedule ahead.  For the Browns, Cody Kessler has actually looked like he could be an answer for them at QB, but then again we have been saying the same thing about some of their select signal-callers for the past decade. Cody Kessler

If Carson Wentz and Dak Prescott weren’t tearing things up this year, this youngster would be getting much more publicity.  He, and Terrelle Pryor, have made this Cleveland offense fun to watch and somewhat competitive.  Unfortunately for the Brownies, their defense really puts the Brown in their name.  They are having trouble stopping the run which is something that the Bengals are going to try to get churning here in the middle part of the season.  Cleveland’s pass D isn’t much better either and oh by the way they just have to go up against A.J. Green.  Good luck with that one.  Playing at home and desperate, the Bengals will probably come out and play an inspired game, but don’t be shocked if the Browns do make things a bit interesting.  I am not very high on Cincy’s defense so this could turn into a shootout.  Or, maybe the Cats put together a masterpiece on that side of the ball.  Either way, I’m taking the home team here because they should have no trouble on offense against one of the league’s worst defenses.

Cincinnati 37, Cleveland 24

Oakland Raiders (4-2) @ Jacksonville Jaguars (2-3)

Raiders @ Jags

For the first time in years, a Raiders/Jaguars matchup isn’t one of the worst games on the season.  These teams are fun to watch when each are playing their best.  Sadly for the Jaguars, we have yet to see their best.  I still think that they are capable of explosive plays on offense with Allen Robinson, Allen Hurns, Julius Thomas, and… Arrelious Benn???  Yes, we all remember this guy from his days in Tampa Bay.  He scored his first touchdown in the NFL in four years last week and it was a go ahead score at that.  There could be some gaffs in the Oakland secondary this afternoon as the unit has been very weak all year.  They will have to get some pressure on Blake Bortles here because when under pressure he is susceptible to making mistakes.  That will be the key here.  I’m thinking that Khalil Mack will bust out for a couple of sacks and some additional TFLs in this game.  The Jacksonville defense hasn’t been too great this season themselves, but they have been a bit better in the points allowed department which is all that counts in this league.  They did struggle in the fourth quarter against Indy, but have otherwise been alright lately.  They will have to keep the Raiders to the low twenties if they hope to take this game.  Oakland is actually 3-0 on the road this year and is scoring almost 27 points per game in games away from home.  This game could end up being fun to watch and both teams should find room to move the ball.  Whoever can dictate the pace of game by running the ball should have the edge here.  I like what the Raiders bring with DeAndre Washington and Jalen Richard.  Advantage Silver and Black.

Oakland 33, Jacksonville 23

Washington Redskins (4-2) @ Detroit Lions (3-3)

Zombies

This contest is the zombie game of the week.  Both Washington and Detroit appear to have brought their teams back from the dead and are going to try to make a push towards the playoffs.  The Redskins would actually be in if the season ended today.  Amidst their four game winning streak, the ‘Skins have actually defeated three teams with winning records at the time of playing them and that was something that Kirk Cousins wasn’t supposed to be able to do.  Detroit has beaten two teams with winning records at home over the past two weeks and the offense has looked very good in the process.  Playing their third game at home in a row should favor them but I feel like the Lions are due for a random collapse.  That said I do like them in this game.  If Golden Tate is back to 2014 form and Marvin Jones continues to ball then this team could really have something.  Matthew Stafford deserves a ton of credit for the last couple of games because he is delivering the ball quickly, accurately, and is cutting down on his mistakes.  The Redskins defense has struggled a bit to create turnovers this season and get pressure on the opposing quarterback.  Last week Ryan Kerrigan broke out against the Eagles rookie right tackle and Washington as a team got good pressure, but until I see it happen consistently, I am inclined to believe that this is simply a blip on the radar.  The only thing that should scare Detroit fans is how easily quarterbacks have picked their defense apart.  Opposing QBs have found tons of holes in the defense and a lot of it is due to the fact that they have had the time to do so.  The Lions have also had issues rushing the passer.  Everything being said, this is a tough game to call but in the end I do like Matt Stafford over Kirk Cousins.  This should be a close one.

Detroit 30, Washington 27

Indianapolis Colts (2-4) @ Tennessee Titans (3-3)

Just as everybody was ready to chalk up a W for the Colts late in the fourth quarter against Houston, the defense collapsed and Indy choked the game away in an overtime thriller.  One positive that did come out of this game was an offensive line identity.  Cris Colinsworth said it perfectly in the game: the Colts have a little pass blocking on the left and run blocking on the right.  They also got their first 100 yard rusher in almost four years when Frank Gore went for 106 in that game.  Basically there were a lot of negative conclusions to jump to coming out of that loss, but I’m choosing to focus on the positives for this game.  This is because I see this as a trap.  It would be too easy to pick Tennessee given the recent collapse and because they are actually better than Indy in almost every area except for quarterback.  One thing that we did see last week was the reemergence of Kendall Wright to the Titans’ offense which was encouraging.  They have an outstanding ground game to go along with a great offensive line that gives Marcus Mariota time to throw.  Logic dictates picking Tennessee here, but I don’t trust that they can get enough pressure on Andrew Luck to dominate this game, which is funny because Luck is constantly getting battered.  The AFC South is destined to be a logjam and this game goes a long way to determining this.  I’ll take the Colts for no other reason than the fact that my gut tells me to.  If you’re looking for a real reason, how’s this: I see Mariota struggling against an Indianapolis pass defense that has actually been fine on the road before the very end of the fourth quarter last week.Titans

Indianapolis 19, Tennessee 17

Minnesota Vikings (5-0) @ Philadelphia Eagles (3-2)

Here’s an interesting game.  We have the two teams that made the trade of the year squaring off at the Linc.  Sam Bradford returns to Philly playing in purple while the Eagles feel all the more better with their rookie Carson Wentz starting.  Even though both quarterbacks have been playing very well and have been careful with the ball, the story of the season for each team is the defensive units of each.  We all know that the Vikings have one of the best Ds in the entire league.  These guys swarm.  The corners cover, the pass rushers generate a lot of pressure, and the linebackers can tackle.  Mike Zimmer’s pride and joy of a defense has won the team all five of their games this year and is poised to do so again given the sudden problems that the Eagles have with their offensive line.  In Philly, the defense got off to an amazing start and was holding teams to just nine points per game before the BYE.  Since then, teams have gotten them for 25.5 ppg, but what is most disturbing for them is the fact that teams have been able to run the ball against them.  Washington gashed them a week ago for 230 yards on the ground and it was Detroit’s running game that fueled the Lion’s quick start on this unit in Week 5.  When Philly is stopping the run, they are dominant.  At home the team is allowing just 6.5 points per game and the defense has been outstanding.  Minnesota has really struggled with the ground game thus far on the season so it will likely come down to whether or not Sammy Sleeves can make plays through the air.  I think he can, but I also smell a potential upset here.  If Carson Wentz can get rid of the ball quickly then the pass rushing dominance that the Vikes can show won’t matter.  In the end, what the Eagles like to do is throw screens which is something that Minnesota excels at stopping.  It is simply too bad of a match-up for Philly for me to make them my upset of the week.  This should be a very good game otherwise.  By the way, here is a clip of Eagles’ longsnapper Jon Dorenbos performing some sick magic tricks on the Ellen DeGeneres show, just because it’s awesome.

Minnesota 23, Philadelphia 20

Buffalo Bills (4-2) @ Miami Dolphins (2-4)

The Dolphins just pulled the upset of the year defeating the Steelers at home.  I call this the upset of the year because I would have told you a week ago that Miami is the worst team in football while Pittsburgh was one of the best.  But in the end the ‘Phins dominated on the ground and racked up 474 yards en route to a blasting of Mike Tomlin and company.  Jay Ajayi rumbled for 204 and two scores and Ryan Tannehill did not turn the ball over. Jay Ajayi Also, Miami’s offensive line turned in one of its best efforts in recent memory as they did not surrender a single sack and simply dominated an injury plagued Pittsburgh D.  That said, the ‘Phins have their work cut out for them this week with the hottest team in football coming to town.  Buffalo has crushed the Dolphins the teams two get-togethers last year and has won six out of the past eight matchups.  One thing that the Steelers did do well against Miami was run the ball and that has been the Bills bread and butter as of late.  Ever since Anthony Lynn has taken over as offensive coordinator, LeSean McCoy has gone off and if you have him on your fantasy team, not that he wouldn’t already be, but he is certainly a must-start this week.  I see the Bills controlling the line of scrimmage and gashing the Dolphins on the ground yet again.  There is no need for the Billikens to stray away from what has been working for them lately.

Buffalo 41, Miami 10

Baltimore Ravens (3-3) @ New York Jets (1-5)

The Ravens get a second crack a winning at Metlife in as many weeks when they take on Geno Smith’s Jets. GEEEEEEEEEEENOOOOOO Yes, Smith has been given the keys to the rusted jalopy that the Jets call a team right now.  Offensively New York has really had problems protecting the ball and that is something that Geno Smith specializes in.  Todd Bowles is probably starting him in hopes that it will create a spark for the team, but in the end I doubt they will gain anything from it.  The Jets have not been able to stop the run lately and they are still giving up big plays on defense.  The Ravens really should be a big play team and I think they will be this week.  I wouldn’t completely rule out an upset here, but if Baltimore plays offensively like it did a week ago they should not have any problem locking this down.  You also better believe that their eyes widened after seeing that Ben Roethlisberger is hurt again meaning that the AFC North could still be up for grabs.  Meanwhile, what I did not mention before, with the Jets starting Geno Smith it is essentially them throwing in the white towel on this season.  They want to see what they have with Smith moving forward so this is his chance for redemption.  I like Gang Green to stay competitive in this game but I don’t like them to win it.  Terrence West should have a nice game and Mike Wallace will likely get one big bomb touchdown for the road team.

Baltimore 21, New York 17

Sunday, October 23rd, 4:05 e.t.

San Diego Chargers (2-4) @ Atlanta Falcons (4-2)

This game is very appetizing as it looks like it will be an entertaining shootout that should remain close.  Afterall, the Chargers are this year’s version of the 2015 Ravens where virtually all of their games have been close and undecided until the final minutes.  Philip Rivers is having a banner year and is doing it with what can be widely regarded as an inexperienced group of wide receivers.  He is making guys like Tyrell Williams and Hunter Henry into stars.  On the other side of the field you have Matt Ryan who is still very much in the running for league MVP and is constantly putting up monster numbers week after week.  Julio Jones has fallen into a pattern of posting eye-popping numbers one game and following it with a dud.  If that trend continues this week, we are in for a smaller output from him.  Even if that does happen, Matty Ice still has other productive receivers to throw the ball to such as Mohamad Sanu, Aldrick Robinson, two very capable backs coming out of the backfield, and budding tight end Lorenzo Taliafero.  San Diego’s defense continues to be an above average unit, but they were had the last time on the road in Oakland and I doubt that they will fare any better here.  Atlanta could have won last week in Seattle following a comeback from a halftime deficit of 17-3. Atlanta Falcons v Seattle Seahawks The fact that they were able to even make that game close tells you all you need to know about this team.  They are a near lock for the playoffs and should take this game at home against a team that they are better than.

Atlanta 35, San Diego 30

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-3) @ San Francisco 49ers (1-5)

The Bucs are coming off of a BYE and have to hit the west coast for the second time this season.  Their first trip out there was an ugly one when the team took a 40-7 loss on the chin in Glendale.  Will they fare any better this week against a Niner team that continues to get it handed to them week after week?  I don’t think so.  San Fran is a different team at home than they are on the road, and we all know this.  Yes, they are only 1-2 at home so far but they have not been bad on the defensive side of the ball for the most part in those games.  Offensively, however, is a different story.  Colin Kaepernick has control of the offense now and while he didn’t appear to be a huge improvement over Blaine Gabbert a week ago, I think he has a much higher ceiling and is more capable of explosive plays both down the field and with his legs.  His adversary is very much in the same boat; Jameis Winston.  Winston has made some nice throws and shown great pocket awareness at times but has been bitten by the turnover bug far too much.  Jameis WinstonHe’s still young and is improving, which is what you want to see if you are a Tampa Bay fan, but until he gets there the team will experience some growing pains.  Going on the road towards the west coast is something that could be trouble.  The 49ers will probably try to run the ball on this unit and I like them to succeed there.  Vincent Jackson is heading to IR so it appears that the Bucs are continuing to lose weapons on offense.  That certainly won’t bode well for them going forward and it can start to show in this game.

San Francisco 28, Tampa Bay 14

Sunday, October 23rd, 4:25 e.t.

New England Patriots (5-1) @ Pittsburgh Steelers (4-2)

Mike Tomlin

Forgive me if I am not super excited about this game, but this one is like getting a bug inside your soup at a restaurant.  This should have been one of the marquee matchups of the season with the high flying Pittsburgh offense hosting the best team in football with the Patriots.  Instead, with Ben Roethlisberger being ruled out for this game we get Jarvis Landry vs. Tom Brady.  Does anybody really think that he can throw up points with Tom Brady?  I know I don’t.  Yes, Pittsburgh still has plenty of weapons on offense, but the team instantly gets less explosive without Big Ben under center.  This could not have come at a worse time with New England coming to town.  Tom Brady has looked unstoppable since returning to football and he has to be licking his chops looking at the Steelers defense.  This is a team that has been dinged up on that side of the ball and has surrendered a lot of deep balls.  They are no longer the steel curtain, but rather the bathroom curtain as they will open up quite frequently leaving the team exposed.  Rob Gronkowski is back to dominant form and he has had some days against this Pittsburgh defense in the past with a pair of three touchdown games.  I expect him to score twice here as the Pats take it to the Steelers.  Maybe we will get a chance to see Roethlisberger and Brady square off in the playoffs, but it will not be happening in the regular season unfortunately.

New England 41, Pittsburgh 21

Sunday, October 23rd, 8:30 e.t.

Seattle Seahawks (4-1) @ Arizona Cardinals (3-3)

Sunday Night Football

Okay, Sunday Night Football found itself a barnburner of a game.  This is, without question, the best game of the week.  The Cardinals seem to be finding their mojo again starting with David Johnson on the ground.  Meanwhile the Seahawks are proving that their defense is still one of the best in the entire league and Russell Wilson is really developing into more of a pocket passer.  The Cards have dominated two straight games with their running game and defense.  Playing at home, I expect them to try to do the same.  Keeping Carson Palmer upright will be important because if Arizona can avoid negative plays, they should easily be able to win this game.  I like them here because of there defense.  Russell Wilson is not moving around as much as he once did due to his injuries, but the team has been better for it.  The inability to escape the pocket as quickly could really show here with edge rushers Robert Golden and Chandler Jones.  Look for those to to push the pocket inward and make things tough for Wilson and his shorter frame.  Tyrann Mathieu appears to be returning to prime form and was able to play some nickel corner for the first time a week ago as opposed to his very deep safety position that he was in for the first part of the year.  Christine Michael had a tough game yardage wise against the Falcons last week, but still found the end zone twice.  If he can’t get things going in this game then the team could be in some trouble.  Coming on the road to Glendale in prime time against a hungry Cardinal team seems to be a recipe for disaster and I think that the Cards come up with a huge win.

Power Pick of the Week: Arizona 26, Seattle 19

Monday, October 24th, 8:30 e.t.

Houston Texans (4-2) @ Denver Broncos (4-2)

Monday Night Football fans get treated to a nice matchup between two 4-2 teams when the Texans come to town to take on the Broncos.  Brock Osweiler returns to the scene of the crime to take on his old team.  He orchestrated a nice come from behind win against the Colts in prime time last week but I don’t like his odds in this game.  Denver obviously has a much better defense, and Brock O. did struggle throwing the ball for three quarters against an Indy defense that is nowhere near as good.  I don’t trust him to take good enough care of the football in this game to win.  Also, it will have been almost two weeks since the Broncos have last played.  They will be well rested and should not have much trouble taking care of Houston in this game.  In order to snap the two game losing skid, Denver has to stop the run.  Lamar Miller had a nice game a week ago which set up Osweiler for success, but this week he likely won’t fare better.  I haven’t mentioned anything about the Broncos’ offense because they are not going to be the focal point of the game.  However, they should see some nice one-on-ones outside.  Jonathan Joseph didn’t have the greatest of games in coverage and I don’t like him against either Emmanuel Sanders or Demaryius Thomas.  If Denver can’t win this game at home then their great 4-0 start will start to look fluky because they have a lot of competition in the division and are already 0-1 in games against their AFC West foes.Brock Osweiler

Denver 20, Houston 12

Week 7 Bonus Predictions

Sure Bet of the Week (4-1): Green Bay over Chicago

Upset of the Week: Indianapolis over Tennessee

Offensive Player of the Week: Rob Gronkowski, TE, Patriots

Defensive Player of the Week: Everson Griffen, DL, Vikings

Rookie of the Week: Devonta Booker, RB, Broncos

Best Quarterback: Tom Brady, QB, Patriots

Best Running Back: LeSean McCoy, RB, Bills

Week 7: New Orleans Saints vs. Indianapolis Colts Recap

Andrew Luck faced a lot of pressure in the game Sunday against the Saints
Andrew Luck faced a lot of pressure in the game Sunday against the Saints

Final: New Orleans 27, Indianapolis 21

The Indianapolis Colts suffer a back-breaking loss at the hands of the New Orleans Saints at home, 27-21.  Sean Payton’s team dominated in the first half forcing three turnovers and two Andrew Luck interceptions.  Luke McCown also connected with Benjamin Watson on a 25 yard pass off of a fake field goal in the first quarter that lead to the first score of the game.  Overall, the Saints took a 20-0 lead into the half, which was their biggest in four years (since the last time they played the Colts, as a matter of a fact).

Andrew Luck started off very slow and had to dig his team out of a hole early.  He started the game off 0/5 passing with a pick, and didn’t get his first completion until the 9:11 mark in the second quarter, the slowest start in his career.  The New Orleans cornerbacks did an outstanding job covering throughout the game.  Delvin Breaux was victimized twice in the third quarter by T.Y. Hilton as he was tripped up trying to cover Indy’s number one receiver.  Both times he fell down, Hilton was able to prance into the end zone.  #13 finished the day with four catches for 150 yards; 131 of those coming on his two touchdown receptions.

The Indianapolis cornerbacks were actually very good in their own right in this game.  They did a fine job blanketing

Brandin Cooks made a clutch 47 yard catch in the fourth quarter of this contest from 10/25/15
Brandin Cooks made a clutch 47 yard catch in the fourth quarter of this contest from 10/25/15

Brandin Cooks and Marques Colston, for the most part, however the two of them were able to make a couple of game-changing plays.  On a 3rd and 8 at its own 3 yard line, Drew Brees hooked up with Cooks for a 47 yard gainer (with 8:54 to go in the game).  The other big play was the 20 yard completion to Colston with 2:09 to go in the fourth on a third and three.  Clearly the Colts corners were unable to make the plays when they absolutely needed to, but otherwise they were fine (which does not say much).  With that being said, the main downfall for Indy was its rushing defense.  Mark Ingram carved them up for 143 yards on 14 carries with a touchdown while Khiry Robinson slammed it in the end zone twice with his 14 carries.  The Saints rushed for a season-high 183 yards and three touchdowns.  That was a big factor in this game.

Andrew Luck still looked a bit rusty, and if it had not been for two major plays to T.Y. Hilton in the third quarter, his numbers would have been atrocious and this game would have been a blowout.  As it was, the Saints had their way with Indy, but the Colts did fight back in the end to make it look respectable.  Nevertheless, they fell to 3-4 while New Orleans moved up to the same record.  Luckily for the Colts, everybody else in the AFC South looks feeble and they should be able to wrap the division up in spite of their sloppy play early on.  For the Saints, they have looked good since getting romped by the Eagles a couple of weeks back, but since their division is strong (with 6-0 Carolina and 6-1 Atlanta), they are going to have to put together an impressive run going forward here.  They get a chance to do so next week at home against the Giants while the Colts travel to Charlotte next Monday night and attempt to be the first team to clip the unbeaten Panthers.

Mark Ingram ran for a season's high 143 yards and a touchdown on Sunday against the Colts.
Mark Ingram ran for a season’s high 143 yards and a touchdown on Sunday against the Colts.

The Skinny:

  • The Saints rushed for a season-high 183 yards and three touchdowns in the game
  • T.Y. Hilton had 131 yards receiving in the third quarter on two catches (both touchdowns).  One was an 87 yard score which is the longest reception in his career and the longest completion of Andrew Luck’s career
  • Luck’s slow start doomed the Colts in this one.  He began the game 0/5 with a pick and Indy trailed 20-0 at the half
  • A nicely executed 25-yard fake field goal pass from Luke McCown to Benjamin Watson got this game started off in exciting fashion, leading to a 1 yard Khiry Robinson touchdown plunge
  • Cameron Jordan looked solid yet again with a couple of quarterback pressures and two sacks in the game
  • Colts’ rookie Phillip Dorsett left the game with, what appeared to be, a greusome leg injury
  • Each punter kicked it away a season’s high ten times in this game

2015 Season: Week 7 Predictions

The 2015 Season keeps chugging along here, and we have arrived at Week 7 with five undefeated teams.  There are a number of surprise teams such as the Bengals, Panthers, Jets, (and on the opposite spectrum) the Ravens, Lions, and Chiefs.  It is getting close to the time to start talking about the playoff picture as we are already almost halfway through the season.  Who will win this week?  Find out in my abbreviated Week 7 picks!

Last Week: 10-4

Season: 53-38

Thursday, October 22nd, 8:30 e.t.

Seattle Seahawks (2-4) @ San Francisco 49ers (2-4)

The 49ers defense has been pretty good at home this year, but I still think the Seahawks have the superior team.  They should win the game, but don’t completely rule out an upset here.

Seattle 25, San Francisco 13

Sunday, October 25th, 9:30 e.t. (London)

Buffalo Bills (3-3) vs. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-4)

Over in London the Jaguars take on the Bills in Week 7.  Much like in 2013, Rex Ryan’s team has a win every other week pattern going on.  This is one of the weeks his team should win.  They have the defense to frustrate the still mistake prone Blake Bortles.

Buffalo 29, Jacksonville 21

Sunday, October 25th, 1:00 e.t.

Minnesota Vikings (4-2) @ Detroit Lions (1-5)

Even though the Lions barely escaped at home against the Bears last week, I’m still not completely sold that this is a horrible team.  I see them playing a complete game for the first time this season and stealing one from Minnesota in Detroit.

Detroit 26, Minnesota 22

 Atlanta Falcons (5-1) @ Tennessee Titans (1-4)

Atlanta is coming off of a shocking loss on the road to the Saints to take on a banged up Titans team that was embarrassed against the Dolphins at home last week.  Tennessee had trouble defending the run, so Devonte Freeman could be in for another multi-touchdown game.  Falcons get back on track riding a solid offense.

Atlanta 35, Tennessee 21

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-3) @ Washington Redskins (2-4)

This one is a hard game to pick only because you never know which Kirk Cousins you are gonna get.  This week I trust that the Buccaneers can salvage a victory.  Their offense hasn’t been atrocious lately while Washington’s is a hit or miss.

Tampa Bay 27, Washington 19

New York Jets (4-1) @ New England Patriots (5-0)

In what could be the best match-up of the week, the Pats play host to the Dolphins.  Give New England the edge in front of a home crowd and with Tom Brady, who is playing lights out at the moment.  Watch out for Chris Ivory though, he’s been running with a purpose.

New England 24, New York 16

Cleveland Browns (2-4) @ St. Louis Rams (2-3)

Cleveland almost pulled off the upset against the Broncos last week, but the offense couldn’t get it done in crunch time.  On the road against a Rams defense that has stood tall against the likes of the Steelers and the Packers this year, I don’t like their odds.

St. Louis 20, Cleveland 10

New Orleans Saints (2-4) @ Indianapolis Colts (3-3)

The Colts made a miserable decision on the fake punt last week and it really turned the tide of the game.  Until then, they were hanging tough with the best team in pro football.  If they can play almost as good as they did last Sunday, they should have no trouble clipping the Saints at home.

Indianapolis 37, New Orleans 22

Pittsburgh Steelers (4-2) @ Kansas City Chiefs (1-5)

Will Ben Roethlisberger play in this game?  Unsure as of right now, but either way, the outcome should not be affected all that much.  The Steelers are not doomed if Landry Jones is the man while the Chiefs offense looked lost without Jamaal Charles.  I like Pittsburgh here.

Pittsburgh 28, Kansas City 13

Houston Texans (2-4) @ Miami Dolphins (2-3)

Houston was in a dogfight with Jacksonville last week until their defense created a slew of turnovers.  The Dolphins won’t give them the chance to build such momentum this week.  They really got in rhythm against the Titans last week and should continue on here.

Miami 31, Houston 20

Sunday, October 25th, 4:05 e.t.

Oakland Raiders (2-3) @ San Diego Chargers (2-4)

A week ago I might have picked the Raiders as an upset of the week, but it would feel like a sin if I chose a team with a quarterback who just threw for 500+ yards to lose at home the following week.  Philip Rivers has quietly put together a nice year.

San Diego 27, Oakland 24

Sunday, October 25th, 4:25 e.t.

Dallas Cowboys (2-3) @ New York Giants(3-3)

For all of the marbles (or at least some of them) in the NFC East, the Giants host the Romo-less Cowboys.  Dallas has chosen to go with Matt Cassel, and that could prove effective.  After getting steamrolled by the Eagles on Monday, it’s hard to see the Giants rebounding that quickly.  Dallas grabs the “W”.

Dallas 33, New York 23

Sunday, October 25th, 8:30 e.t.

Philadelphia Eagles (3-3) @ Carolina Panthers (5-0)

I haven’t picked many upsets this week, so let’s change that here.  As bad as the Philly offense was last week, their defense was good.  They’ve been good this year and could give Cam Newton some trouble.  If they protect the football on offense, they can win this.

Philadelphia 27, Carolina 24

Monday, October 12th, 8:30 e.t.

Baltimore Ravens (1-5) @ Arizona Cardinals (4-2)

The Ravens have been bad this season.  They’ve been hampered by injuries and have struggled to run the ball.  They won’t be running it much against this Arizona defense this week.  The Cardinals bounce back with a strong showing from their defense.

Arizona 24, Baltimore 10

Week 7 Bonus Predictions

Upset of the Week (1-5): Philadelphia over Carolina

Sure Bet of the Week (5-1): St. Louis over Cleveland

Rookie of the Week: Todd Gurley, RB, Rams

Offensive Player of the Week: Matt Cassel, QB, Cowboys (I said it!!!)

Defensive Player of the Week: Fletcher Cox, DL, Eagles

Best Overall Offense: Detroit Lions

Best Overall Defense: St. Louis Rams

Feel free to leave a comment stating what you think will happen in this weekend’s games!

2014 Season: Week 7 Predictions

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!

Week 7: New York Giants 23, Minnesota Vikings 7- Post Game Thoughts

A pretty ugly game goes in the favor of the New York Giants as they take advantage of the sloppy play of the Vikings and pick up their first win on the season.  On paper, it is going to look like Big Blue solved all of their problems, but in all reality they still looked out of sorts.  Josh Freeman’s struggles were not helped out by Adrian Peterson’s poor performance on the ground.  New York stacked the box and forced the newly acquired Viking to throw the ball to beat them, and clearly it was too early to expect Freeman to step in and play at a high level.  The Minnesota offense was very basic and easy to defend.  On the other side of the ball, the Giants were nothing special.  They struggled to run the ball for a majority of the game and Eli Manning did not play his best football.  There were a couple of instances where Vikings corners should have intercepted the ball.  Marcus Sherels dropped a sure-fire pick-six early in the third quarter and from that point on it was simply an ugly night for the team overall.  The Giants do pick up a nice win, but it did come against a team that is struggling to find their bearings.  New York will have to do more next week in Philly before anybody can believe that they turned the corner in the 2013 season.  The good news here is that Eli Manning did not throw an interception for the first time all season and the Giants did not give up more than 20 points for the first time all season long; in effect the defense shut the opposing offense out, Minnesota’s only score on the night came on an 86 yard punt return for a touchdown by Sherels in the first quarter.  So, those are the positives that New York needs to take from this game and build upon as they move forward.