NFL: Week Seven Predictions

Posted: October 16, 2014 in Uncategorized
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On Black Sunday, contenders are made and pretenders are realized.

New York Giants v Philadelphia EaglesFor the Philadelphia Eagles, Black Sunday saw not only the introduction of some of the freshest uniforms to date. But, it also brought upon a realization that the NFC East is now a two horse race. Along with the Dallas Cowboys, who shocked the defending champion Seahawks on the road earlier in the day, the Philadelphia Eagles delivered the gargantuan blow to the hopes and dreams of thousands of New York Giants faithful.

On offense, Philadelphia saw the resurgence of LeSean McCoy, who nearly galloped for 150-yards after a month of misery to begin the season. The patchwork offensive line, the source of much despair in The City of Brotherly Love, held together to become a strength. Their ability to wear down the New York front was critical when compared to the Giants’ front five, who looked more like turnstiles and traffic cones than professional football players.

shutoutAs for Billy Davis’ defense. Well, it doesn’t get much better than their performance. The Eagles’ pass rush, maligned for much of the season, came together like a rebel force tearing through the countryside. From the opening snap, Giants’ QB Eli Manning had no time to think, let alone orchestrate an offense. A big reason for the line’s success, of course, was the performance of the secondary. A week after the duo of Bradley Fletcher and Cary Williams looked like Tweedledee and Tweedledum during the team’s fourth quarter collapse vs. St. Louis; the duo of veteran cornerbacks put together a shutdown performance. It was just what the doctor ordered for a heavyweight NFC East battle.

Not all news from Sunday was good news for Philadelphia. RB Darren Sproles went down with an MCL sprain. He’s not expected to miss more than a couple of weeks. But, his status for week 8 vs. Arizona remains in question. Considering the the sheer volume of Sproles’ impact on offense and special teams this year, his departure will surely be missed. But, the Eagles will have a chance to get he and the rest of their wounded warriors back thanks to the upcoming bye week.

On to the picks…

Last Week: 9-6
2014 Season: 39-32

New York Jets (1-5) AT New England Patriots (4-2) – Patriots -10

Prediction: New England, 23-10. Let’s face it, this is going to be Rex Ryan’s final season in New York. What better way to say goodbye than one final upset of his rival from up north? Well, fairy tales don’t always come true in the NFL. New England’s injuries and a driving rain won’t be enough to give Geno Smith and the Jets any hope.

Atlanta Falcons (2-4) AT Baltimore Ravens (4-2) – Ravens -7

Prediction: Baltimore, 23-20. Both of these teams are as inconsistent as they come. Baltimore looked like world beaters last week; until one remembers that they were playing the Bucs. Meanwhile, Atlanta lost their first home game in a season that has quickly unraveled into a near parallel of 2013. I hate Atlanta on the road. But, I hate the Ravens after a blowout win even more. Someone has to win. I’ll go with the home team in a close one.

Tennessee Titans (2-4) AT Washington Redskins (1-5) – Redskins -5.5

Prediction: Titans, 24-17. The award for game I’d least like to watch this Sunday goes to this must-see-matchup. The Titans are coming off of as ugly a win as you can imagine, 16-14 over the even more embarrassing Jaguars. Meanwhile, Kirk Cousins looked colorblind with some of his terrible throws during Washington’s blowout loss at Arizona. One of these two has to win, and I don’t think it will be the swiftly faltering Redskins.

Seattle Seahawks (3-2) AT St. Louis Rams (1-4) – Seahawks -7.5

Prediction: Seahawks, 31-16. The defending champions are going to be very, very mad. Not only are they coming off just their 2nd home loss in nearly three years. But, they’re also playing a rookie quarterback in the division in what has become a critical game if they hope to keep up with Arizona and San Francisco. This one won’t be close at all.

Cleveland Browns (3-2) AT Jacksonville Jaguars (0-6) – Browns -6

Prediction: Browns, 20-10. The Cleveland offense looked really good last week against a Pittsburgh D that is a shell of its former self. But, the Browns are unlikely to sustain that type of production over the entire season. Jacksonville, meanwhile, is looking more and more like an 0-16 contender. Cleveland’s punishing defense should have a field day against Blake Bortles.

Cincinnati Bengals (3-1-1) AT Indianapolis Colts (4-2) – Colts -3.5

Prediction: Colts, 27-14. Considering the start that both of these teams got off to, few would expect Indianapolis to be favored. The Bengals began the year 3-0 before their defense fell apart, allowing 80 points combined the last two games. Meanwhile, the Colts’ 0-2 start seems like a distant memory. Look for Andrew Luck to find some good fortune against a struggling Cincinnati D’.

luck

Minnesota Vikings (2-4) AT Buffalo Bills (3-3) – Bills -6

Prediction: Bills, 23-20. This is a huge game for Buffalo, who lost their grasp on the AFC East in last week’s home loss to New England. If they have any hope to make noise this season, they have to win games like this one. Minnesota, meanwhile, has looked abysmal offensively the last two games. I don’t really see that changing too much against a Buffalo defense that can really get to the passer.

Miami Dolphins (2-3) AT Chicago Bears (3-3) – Bears -3.5

Prediction: Bears, 27-17. Chicago is 0-2 at Soldier Field this season. But, that trend isn’t likely to continue much longer. Miami blew a golden opportunity last week against Green Bay, falling to Aaron Rodgers and Co. on the final play of the game. Miami’s offense just isn’t consistent enough to put together a solid road win like this one. Especially when one considers the potential for Chicago to score 30+ without batting an eye.

New Orleans Saints (2-3) AT Detroit Lions (4-2) – Lions -3

Prediction: Saints, 26-24. Typically, the Lions at home against the Saints’ woeful pass defense would be reason for pause. But, the lack of Calvin Johnson and potentially Reggie Bush gives New Orleans fans hope. For the Saints, this is a critical game, as even during a down year for the NFC South, they cannot afford to fall any farther from first place. It will be close. But, I’ll take a healthier Saints offense against a banged up Detroit team.

Carolina Panthers (3-2-1) AT Green Bay Packers (4-2) – Packers -7

Prediction: Packers, 31-17. A year ago, this would have been must see TV. Aaron Rodgers and the Packers’ loaded offense against Luke Kuechly and Carolina’s ferocious defense? Sign me up! But, the Panthers’ back end has been ravaged by injuries and inconsistency. Meanwhile, their pass rush hasn’t been much better. I foresee Rodgers having a huge day as the Pack notify the league that they are indeed back.

Kansas City Chiefs (2-3) AT San Diego Chargers (5-1) – Chargers -4

Prediction: Chiefs, 27-24. AFC West battles are always tough to pick. The brand of football played out west and the history between these ferocious foes adds so much intrigue to what would otherwise be a lopsided spread. San Diego didn’t look very good on defense against Oakland last week. Now, they have a well-rested Chiefs bunch coming into town. This is K.C’s chance to get back into the AFC playoff picture, and they won’t miss that opportunity.

Arizona Cardinals (4-1) AT Oakland Raiders (0-5) – Cardinals -4

Prediction: Cardinals, 29-10. I don’t really understand this spread being as tight as it is. Yes, Arizona is on the road and the health of their quarterbacks is in question. But, with the defense that they possess and the meager foe they’re facing, the Cardinals could be sending Rick Mirer out there and I’d still feel comfortable taking them.

New York Giants (3-3) AT Dallas Cowboys (5-1) – Cowboys -6.5

Prediction: Giants, 24-21. First off, this isn’t to say that I think New York is better than Dallas. But, there are a few key reasons why I’m picking the Giants to upset Big D. First, New York always plays well at JerryWorld. Second, they’re coming off a truly embarrassing Sunday night loss to Philadelphia. If that doesn’t fire them up, nothing will. Third, the Cowboys are coming off an emotional, grueling victory in Seattle and are destined for a letdown. Finally, the Joseph Randle shoplifting fiasco has to be at least a little distracting in the locker room. I’ll take the Giants in the upset.

San Francisco 49ers (4-2) AT Denver Broncos (4-1) – Broncos -6.5

Prediction: Broncos, 28-23. Peyton Manning needs just three touchdowns to pass Brett Favre for the all-time touchdown pass title. I think he’ll get the job done this weekend even against one of the best defenses in football. San Francisco is on fire, having utilized their devastating defense and efficient offense to reel off 3 straight wins. A road game in Denver awaits, where no one has won so far this season.

Houston Texans (3-3) AT Pittsburgh Steelers (3-3) – Steelers, -3.5

Prediction: Texans, 17-13. Two of the most inconsistent teams in football meet on Monday night. I’m not really a fan of either of these team’s playoff chances. But, I have more faith in Houston, fresh off of 10-days rest, to come through thanks to their veterans on offense and big JJ Watt on defense.

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