JC's Take: NFL Week 7 Picks
Hello all, and welcome back for my Week 7 Picks in the NFL.
Buffalo Bills vs Baltimore Ravens
Tough spot to be in this week for my Bills. Sure they're coming off a bye week and have had plenty of time to preare for the Ravens. But the Ravens are coming off an OT loss to New England, a game in which they blew a 4th quarter league. Ray Lewis has already said he feels bad for Buffalo this week. I feel bad for them too. The Ravens offense should be able to tear apart a weak Bills defense. And the Ravens defense will be able to put a lot of pressure on Bills QB Ryan Fitzpatrick. This could get ugly quick.
Baltimore 34 Buffalo 14
Washington Redskins vs Chicago Bears
Both teams are coming off tough home losses. The Redskins lost on Sunday night to Indianapolis, a game they had multiple opportunities to win. The Bears are coming off a surprising home loss to Seattle. Jay Cutler continues to get decimated behind the Bears poor offensive line. He might not make it through the whole season, and he needs to if the Bears want to keep playing come January. The Redskins, meanwhile, need to keep pace with the Giants and Eagles in the NFC East. The game is another home-coming for Redskins QB Donovan McNabb, who returns to his hometown of Chicago. I like the Bears in this one. Jay Cutler should be able to find some holes in the Redskins secondary before he ends up on his back. Bears in a close one.
Chicago 27 Washington 21
Cincinnati Bengals vs Atlanta Falcons
The Bengals are one of the surprise teams this season, but in a bad way. Most people I'm sure thought they would have have a winning record going into their bye week. A home loss to Tampa Bay changed that. Hopefully, for their sake, the Bengals fixed everything during their bye week. Even if they did fix certain things, however, their defense still remains a question mark. The Falcons are coming off a bad road loss to Philadelphia. Every team has a bad loss here and there, but the Falcons looked surprisingly bad last week. They'll most likely be without Cornerback Dunta Robinson, which is good news for Bengals WRs Chad Ochocinco and Terrell Owens. Even without him, I still like the Falcons here. The Bengals defense is a huge question mark. I expect Tony Gonzalez to have a good game here.
Atlanta 31 Cincinnati 20
Philadelphia Eagles vs Tennessee Titans
A big game for both teams. With the Colts & Texans on a bye, and playing each other next week, the Titans have a chance to move into first place in the AFC South with a win here. The Eagles, meanwhile, would love to head into their bye week with a 5-2 record in the NFC East. The Titans may be without QB Vince Young, who suffered a knee and ankle sprain in their Monday night game against Jacksonville. That would mean Kerry Collins would get the start. While Collins is an adequate back-up, he lacks the play-making mobility that Young brings. The Eagles will start Kevin Kolb at QB for the third week in a row. If he plays well again here, it will cause Andy Reid to make a tough decision who to start after the bye week: Kolb or Mike Vick. Going off the bases that I think Collins will start, I like the Eagles here. The Eagles defense will be able to pressure Collins, who is like a statue in the pocket.
Philadelphia 21 Tennessee 16
Pittsburgh Steelers vs Miami Dolphins
Big Ben returned to the Steelers last week and played well. Sure it was against the Browns, but he looked like the Big Ben of old. Ben should be able to find Hines Ward and Mike Wallace pretty well this week. The Dolphins secondary is nothing to write home about. The Dolphins are coming off a big and much needed win at Green Bay. They return home where they are 0-2 this year, losing to the Jets and Patriots. That's a tough opening home stretch, facing what are probably the 3 best teams in the AFC. I expect the Dolphins to go 0-3 at home this year. Chad Henne will face a lot of pressure from the Steelers front 7. They should also be able to contain Ronnie Brown. The Dolphins roller coaster season continues.
Pittsburgh 30 Miami 20
St. Louis Rams vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Two young teams with surprisingly ok records. The Rams are 3-3 and coming off an upset win at home against the Chargers. The Bucs are 3-2, but coming off a bad home loss to New Orleans. The Rams have looked decent on offense with Sam Bradford under center and a healthy Steven Jackson in the backfield. Tampa Bay has struggled against elite teams, but have had success against teams equal or lesser to them. This one won't be a defensive struggle. I expect both teams to put points on the board. I also like the Rams here. And I think they have a real shot of contending for the NFC West crown.
St. Louis 38 Tampa Bay 35
Cleveland Browns vs New Orleans Saints
As I said in my Week 6 Review, Colt McCoy didn't look half bad against the Steelers. His week two test? The defending Super Bowl champs. Expect Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams to dial up blitz after blitz against the rookie. I think the Browns should just let McCoy play ouy the year, to see if he is the answer at QB. The Saints are coming off a must win game which saw them take down Tampa Bay. Now they return home with an offense that looks to have found its rhythm. Drew Brees should be able to pick apart a weak Browns secondary. My lock of the week, only because I refuse to desginate a lock against my Bills.
New Orleans 42 Cleveland 13
Jacksonville Jaguars vs Kansas City Chiefs
A big game for both teams. The Jags are 3-3 and can't fall any further back in the AFC South. The Chiefs are 3-2, and need this win to open up a bigger lead atop the AFC West. Who will start at QB remains a question for Jacksonville. I doubt it is David Garrard, who hasn't practiced all week. Trent Edwards hasn't practiced either due to a right thumb injury. That could mean Todd Bouman starts. Expect a heavy dose of Maurice Jones-Drew. The Chiefs need to take advantage of a weak Jags defense. The secondary can be burned for big plays. The two-headed monster of Thomas Jones and Jamaal Charles should also be able to find running room. I like the Chiefs to rebound at home here.
Kansas City 28 Jacksonville 14
San Francisco 49ers vs Carolina Panthers
Too bad San Fran lost last week, this could have been the battle of 0-5's. How dare they! Even in victory last week, the 49ers still looked bad offensively against a poor Raiders defense. Alex Smith must have been hearing the "We Want (David) Carr!" chants towards the end. The Panthers are 0-5 and looking for anything to get them going. They're going back to Matt Moore at QB, which I don't like. At this point, let the rookie, Jimmy Claussen, start the rest of the way to see if he is the answer at QB. The Panthers get Steve Smith back at WR, but I don't think it helps here. The 49ers win, and actually go on a two-game winning streak.
San Francisco 20 Carolina 10
Arizona Cardinals vs Seattle Seahawks
A battle between two teams tied for the lead in the NFC West. The Seahawks picked up their first road win of the year last week in Chicago. Marshawn Lynch looked sold in his debut as a Seahawk. The Cardinals are coming off a bye week and will again start rookie Max Hall at QB. The Cardinals have to find a way to get Larry Fitzgerald more involved in the offense. Until they do, I like the Seahawks here. Seattle is a tough place for a rookie QB, or any QB to play. Expect Lych and Justin Forsett to run through the Cardinals defense.
Seattle 27 Arizona 17
Oakland Raiders vs Denver Broncos
Even though the AFC West is anybody's to take, neither one of these teams can afford to fall to 2-5. The Raiders offense continues to have problems at QB, while the Broncos defense is having problems stopping people when they need to. Kyle Orton is having a career year, but expect a good amount of Knoshown Moreno for the Broncos here. The Raiders are terrible at stopping the run. No matter who starts at QB for the Raiders, they'll have a tough time against a good Broncos secondary. With the home edge, I like the Broncos here.
Denver 33 Oakland 21
New England Patriots vs San Diego Chargers
The Chargers have been quite a big disappointment this year. But there's no better way to attempt to turn around your season then with a win against New England. The problem for the Chargers is that they aare hurting. Star TE Antonio Gates and WR Malcolm Floyd are both question marks to play. They need both of those guys to help take advantage of a less than stellar Patriots secondary. The Patriots are coming off an OT win against the Ravens, which saw them erase a 4th quarter defecit. With Tom Brady's favorite target, Deion Branch, back it looks like a re-juvinated Brady. The defense was able to hold its own against Ray Rice and the Ravens, which is a sign of improvement for them. I like the Patriots here to take advantage of an injury-plagued Chargers team.
New England 28 San Diego 17
Minnesota Vikings vs Green Bay Packers
Brett Favre's second return to Green Bay. This time he brings Randy Moss with him. The Vikings are coming off a much needed win against Dallas in the "Desperation Bowl." Favre limited his mistakes last week, and he'll need to do that this week against a strong Packers defense. While the Packers defense is strong, they are still facing injury problems. Clay Matthews, A.J. Hawk, and Charles Woodson are all dealing with different ailments. Aaron Rodgers will need to be able to carry the load offensively. The Vikings can be thrown on, and he'll need to take advantage of that. I like the Packers at home here in prime time. And a wild prediction: the game ends in OT with a Brett Favre interception returned for a TD.
Green Bay 33 Minnesota 27 OT
New York Giants vs Dallas Cowboys
It's the 12th round for the Dallas Cowboys, and the Giants are looking to deliver the KO punch. The Cowboys can come back from 1-4, but a 5th loss I think is the death nail. The Cowboys have nobody to blame but themselves. They should have won the opener in Washington, and they were in it last week against Minnesota. Wade Phillips won't be there by seasons end. Owner Jerry Jones may not fire him, but I wouldn't be surprsied to see a "voluntary resignation." The Giants, meanwhile, are clicking after struggling in the early weeks. Hakeem Nicks looks like atop flight WR, and Brandon Jacobs has calmed down after his early season problems. I think the Giants do indeed deliver the KO punch here. The Cowboys will probably be very focused, but the Giants are just a better football team.
NY Giants 23 Dallas 19
Those are the picks this week. A review of WWE Bragging Rights will be up Monday, and my Week 7 NFL Review on Tuesday.
A little MLB: I like the Yankees tonight in Game 6, but I'm nervous for them having to go against Cliff Lee in Game 7. In the NL, I'd be worried if I was the Giants. They're going back to Philly having to face Cole Hamels and Roy Oswalt. They needed to win yesterday with Lincecum on the mound. I think the Phillies take it in seven.
Until next time,