NFL Picks Week 7: Predicting Each Division Leader's Performance

Ryan DavenportContributor IOctober 20, 2012

ARLINGTON, TX - OCTOBER 01:  Jay Cutler #6 of the Chicago Bears at Cowboys Stadium on October 1, 2012 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

At this stage in the season, a handful of NFL teams have begun to separate themselves, and heading into Week 7, they'll look to build on their impressive starts.

For teams currently sitting atop their respective divisions, it's critical for them to build on their early-season performances in order to distance themselves from their closest divisional competitors.

On Thursday, San Francisco held off Seattle at home, and as a result, the 49ers find themselves a game up on the Seahawks heading into Week 8.

With the 5-1 Falcons and AFC West-leading Denver in bye weeks, here's a look at how each of the other current division leaders will fare during their Week 7 games.


Washington at New York

Heading into the weekend, the Giants are one game up on Washington for the NFC East lead, but that will change when Robert Griffin III and the Redskins invade MetLife stadium on Sunday.

Last season, though the Redskins struggled mightily, Washington somehow went 2-0 against the eventual Super Bowl champions, and on Sunday, that trend will continue.

That's because Griffin and Alfred Morris will be too much for the G-men on the ground, and RGIII will outplay Eli Manning en route to a surprising road victory for the Skins.

Prediction: Washington 31, New York 27 


Detroit at Chicago

The Lions, coming off a big win over the Eagles in Week 6, have momentum heading into their clash with the 4-1 Bears on Monday night.

However, the Bears are fresh off a bye, and Chicago has looked increasingly dominant as the 2012 season has progressed. Jay Cutler and company will roll past Matthew Stafford and the Lions at Soldier Field.

Cutler, Brandon Marshall, Calvin Johnson and Stafford will all have big days, but Matt Forte will be the difference maker for Chicago, and the Bears will improve to 5-1.

Prediction: Chicago 34, Detroit 24


Baltimore at Houston

On paper, it appears that the Texans should be heavily favored against Baltimore, after the Ravens lost defensive stalwarts Ray Lewis and Lardarius Webb for the season in Week 6.

Be that as it may, the Ravens offense will rally around its fallen teammates, and Ray Rice and Joe Flacco will pace Baltimore to a road victory in a matchup of two 5-1 teams.

The Ravens won't be able to stop Andre Johnson, Arian Foster and Matt Schaub, but they'll contain them, and Baltimore will hand the Texans their second consecutive loss at Reliant Stadium.

Prediction: Baltimore 27, Houston 24


New York at New England

The Patriots currently hold the AFC East lead by means of a tiebreaker, as all four of the division's teams enter Week 7 with identical 3-3 records.

On Sunday, the Jets will hand New England its second straight disappointing loss, as Mark Sanchez and Shonn Greene will lead Rex Ryan's troops to another victory.

Tom Brady will do his part offensively, Sanchez will improve upon his 82-yard performance in Week 6, and the Jets will come up with a very important road win on Sunday.

Prediction: New York 26, New England 24