NFL Week 7 Picks: Teams Sure to Rebound from Tough Losses
Week 6 seemed to bring out some rather unexpected results in the NFL.
The Seahawks proved that they might actually be for real and, in turn, the Patriots got exposed on both sides of the ball. The Vikings' hot start was rudely interrupted by Robert Griffin III and the Redskins. The Steelers got embarrassed by lowly Tennessee.
The good news for those teams is they have excellent opportunities to bounce back in Week 7. Here's a look at what those teams need to do to recover.
New England Patriots vs. New York Jets — Sunday, Oct. 21 at 4:25 p.m.
There were several problems with the Patriots last week. One of them, obviously, was the secondary, which has been giving up huge plays for weeks but finally gave up the biggest one to Russell Wilson and the Seahawks in the waning minutes of Sunday's game.
Another obvious problem was—shockingly—Tom Brady, whose uncharacteristically poor decision-making cost the Patriots some critical points, particularly at the end of the first half, when an intentional grounding call robbed New England of the opportunity to kick a field goal. When you lose a game 24-23, that missed opportunity really hurts.
But nothing fires up the Patriots like a date with the Jets, especially when Rex Ryan begins the week by insisting he knows New York is going to come out on top. The Patriots may not be able to compete with the league's top defenses, but you have to figure that their offense can do a little bit more than that of Mark Sanchez.
Pittsburgh Steelers at Cincinnati Bengals — Sunday, Oct. 21 at 8:20 p.m. ET
Pittsburgh's 26-23 loss to the Titans was certainly one many of us didn't see coming. Tennessee entered the matchup on the heels of two consecutive losses to the Texans and the Vikings, and in its most recent loss, it scored just seven points.
The Steelers, though, dropped the ball in a big way. They allowed 359 yards of total offense to Tennessee, but on a night when Ben Roethlisberger outplayed Matt Hasselbeck, they still couldn't get the win. Part of that was due to the fact that they got absolutely nothing going on the ground against the Titans.
Another big part of it was that the Steelers defense gave up huge plays to the Titans to close out both halves. They allowed 13 unanswered points to close out the first half and 10 to close out the second.
Those defensive lapses must stop against the Bengals, and it would be nice if the backfield could get something done against the No. 21 rush defense in the nation.
Minnesota Vikings vs. Arizona Cardinals — Sunday, Oct. 21 at 1 p.m. ET
For several weeks, we've been claiming that the Vikings are for real. Then, like a couple of this year's other NFC front-runners, they inexplicably collapsed against the Redskins on Sunday, suffering a 38-26 loss.
They didn't manage to get into the end zone until there was just eight minutes left in the game, and although they held a 9-3 lead until there was less than three minutes left in the half, they allowed two touchdowns in the final two minutes to head into halftime down 17-9. At that point, the Redskins had a lead they would never relinquish.
Against the Cardinals, the Vikings need to find a way to get into the end zone instead of settling for field goals. If they can't do that, they certainly need to be doing a better job of protecting their own end zone. This rush defense also needs to be much, much stronger against Arizona after allowing 183 yards on the ground to the Redskins.
Seeing as the Cards rank 28th in the league in both passing and rushing, though, that shouldn't be too much to ask.
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