The NFL is rapidly approaching the halfway point of the 2012 season, but we are no closer to deciding on an eventual champion now than we were in August. There has never been more parity in NFL than there is in 2012: 11 teams sit at 3-3 (including the entire AFC East), and only two teams in the AFC have a winning record.
To that end, upsets aren't as shocking as they used to be. The style of play in the NFL lends itself to underdogs rising despite expectations. Week 7 will be no different. Here are four games to keep an eye on as this wild season continues.
Washington Redskins at New York Giants (Line: NY, -6)
The Giants enter Sunday's game at 4-2, coming off of perhaps the most impressive victory by any team this season in a 26-3 dismantling of the 49ers in San Francisco.
The Redskins beat up the Minnesota Vikings 38-26 to move to 3-3 in Week 6, and rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III put on an absolute show.
On paper, the Giants seem to have the upper hand. But don't sleep on the Redskins.
RGIII is leading an offense that can score as well as any team in the league—in fact, the Washington offense has scored 178 points this year, the same as the vaunted Giants offense.
The Redskins beat the Giants by double digits twice last year and will be coming into the Meadowlands on a high. First place in the division is up for grabs, and the adrenaline will be flowing.
The Giants will be mentally tired from their trip to the West Coast, and they don't play particularly well at home anyway.
The Giants are favored, but expect the Redskins to win.
Prediction: Redskins 30, Giants 28
Detroit Lions at Chicago Bears (Line: Bears, -6.5)
The Lions are facing a must-win this week in the Windy City; if they lose and fall to 2-4, their playoff hopes become essentially non-existent in a strong division.
The Bears are looking as good as anyone right now, with an offense to match their spectacular defense.
But while the Bears are favored big at home, the Lions will have a few things on their side.
First of all, they will be desperate. They'll play as hard as they can to keep pace in the NFC North. Division games always bring out the best in underdogs.
Secondly, the Lions have Matthew Stafford. Stafford may not get all the credit he deserves, but if there's one thing he's great at doing it's leading a comeback.
With their young star under center, the Lions are never out of a game. If Stafford has the ball last, the Bears had better watch out.
Prediction: Lions 27, Bears 20
Pittsburgh Steelers at Cincinnati Bengals (Line: Steelers, -1.5)
Both of these teams have been disappointments in 2012, with the Bengals going 3-3 and the Steelers posting a lowly 2-4 record.
Still, the Steelers are favored on the road in a critical divisional showdown.
Why take the Bengals? Well for one, they're at home. Underdogs usually play better at home, and the Steelers are 0-3 on the road this year.
The Bengals also have the advantage of youth: The banged-up and aging Steelers defense won't be able to keep up with the likes of A.J. Green and BenJarvus Green-Ellis.
Ben Roethlisberger and the offense will keep the game close, but the Bengals will pull out a game that won't be fun to watch.
Prediction: Bengals 23, Steelers 20
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