If you are still alive in your NFL Confidence Pool, I would like to congratulate you. Given the unpredictable nature of the league, especially this season, Week 7 could be the one where you just throw darts at a board to see what sticks.
The one team that refuses to lose, despite doing everything in its power to give a game away last week, the Atlanta Falcons, are on a bye this week.
So as we make our way through the schedule in Week 7, there are a few games that strike us as good bets if you need to stay alive in the Confidence Pool. Here are the ones that look as safe as any games on the docket.
New Orleans Saints (at Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
It is not every day that you would be willing to bet a lot on a 1-4 team that can't stop anyone, but the Saints are not your atypical bad team.
Drew Brees has fixed his early-season turnover problems, throwing just one interception in the last two games after throwing five in the first three games.
And as bad as the Saints can look, they have still scored at least 24 points in all five games this year.
Plus, the Buccaneers still look like a mess. Their two wins this season have come against 1-4 Carolina and a Kansas City team that was starting Brady Quinn at quarterback.
The Bucs allow the second-most pass yards per game in the NFL (312.2). Brees is going to have a field day against this secondary. Even if the defense struggles, the Buccaneers don't have enough firepower to match the Saints point for point.
Saints 34, Bucs 20
Green Bay Packers (at St. Louis Rams)
This looks like a good week to bet on a lot of road teams. In addition to the Saints taking their show on the road, the suddenly surging Packers get to play in the friendly confines of a dome against a team that struggles to score points.
Aaron Rodgers literally silenced all the critics who gave up on him and the Packers by throwing six touchdowns against a Houston Texans team that most people were saying was the best in the NFL.
As we know, not all teams with the same record are created equal. Right now, the Rams and Packers are 3-3 after six games. The Rams have been a pleasant surprise, while the Packers have been a disappointment.
Last week could end up being the turning point for both teams. The Rams scuffled in Miami and lost 17-14. The Packers might have been the most impressive team in Week 6, putting up 42 points against one of the best defenses in the NFL.
When you have two teams clearly moving in opposite directions, the confidence in the pick becomes that much greater.
Packers 34, Rams 14
New England Patriots (vs. New York Jets)
There are two reasons that I love the Patriots this week, perhaps even more than I should given the way they continue to shoot themselves in the foot against teams they should be rolling over.
The first reason is precisely because of what happened to the Patriots last week in Seattle. They were in complete control of that game in the fourth quarter, leading 23-10 with less than 10 minutes to play, before Bill Belichick's ego took over and he decided to keep throwing the ball.
When the Seahawks defense figured out the game plan, they made the adjustments and got a few big plays—thanks to some dumb coverage mistakes by the Patriots—to win the game.
Belichick is going to take out his aggression against a Jets defense that doesn't do much against the run. Stevan Ridley and Brandon Bolden should combine for at least 30 carries in this game.
The other reason to love the Patriots is Rex Ryan. The boisterous head coach isn't exactly predicting a victory for his team, but he is getting cocky after the Jets defeated Indianapolis with a power-running style that was a hallmark for the team when it was playing in AFC Championship Games.
Ryan said (via ESPN New York) that "I want them to know—and they know—I think we're going to beat them."
That is a huge step back from the days when he would just flat-out say the Jets were going to win, but it is enough to get Belichick, Tom Brady and Co. to take notice. Whenever you doubt the Patriots, they always respond with a huge effort.
There is no reason to think that won't happen again.
Patriots 27, Jets 17
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