Week 7 NFL Picks: Why Both Prime-Time Games Will Be Blowouts

Shawn BrubakerContributor IIOctober 20, 2012

CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 13:  Nate Burleson #13 of the Detroit Lions is hit by Tim Jennings #26 of the Chicago Bears as Major Wright #27 closes in over Lance Briggs #55 at Soldier Field on November 13, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bears defeated the Lions 37-13.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Monday Night Football has been full of blowouts, bores and controversy this season.

The Baltimore Ravens dominated the Cincinnati Bengals in the first Monday Night Football of the season, Tony Romo threw five interceptions in Week 4 and the referees decided the game when the Seahawks beat the Packers in Week 3.

This week's slate of games doesn't look any better, as both prime-time games project to be blowouts.


Sunday Night Football: Pittsburgh at Cincinnati

The Cincinnati Bengals may have a better winning percentage than the Pittsburgh Steelers, but it will be the Steelers on the winning edge of a massive blowout in Sunday night's matchup.

The Bengals are riding a two game losing streak, including an embarrassing loss to the Cleveland Browns. This is an overrated team, and the Steelers are ready to prove it.

Meanwhile, the Steelers have lost several close games due to injury. Last week's loss against the Tennessee Titans was bad, but the Steelers have been in every game this season, unlike the Bengals. As long as Ben Roethlisberger is healthy, the Steelers have a chance. 

Jonathan Dwyer will get the start, and he will have his best matchup of the season.  If they can achieve offensive balance, which is doable against a mediocre Cincinnati defense, the Steelers will dominate.

The key stat here is that the Steelers convert on 51.9 percent of their third downs, compared to 26.7 percent for the Bengals. Where the Steelers will prolong drives, the Bengals will fail to convert and end up punting or settling for field goals.

Finally, the Bengals' struggles against deep passes should be noted. The Ravens and Browns both succeeded in passing the ball down the field against the Bengals. Josh Gordon especially took advantage of this last week, catching three balls for 99 yards.

The Steelers' deep passing game is among the NFL's best, and the Bengals will be hard-pressed to handle it. Expect some huge pass plays en route to a secure Steelers' victory.

Prediction: Steelers 30, Bengals 14


Monday Night Football: Detroit Lions at Chicago Bears

Unlike Sunday night's matchup, the win-loss percentage actually does tell the story in this game. The Bears are 4-1, while the Lions are 2-3 and struggling to stay afloat in the division.

The Lions have been unable to match the offensive dominance they exhibited last year, and their defense is still vulnerable.

The Bears will be able to make this game completely one-dimensional. The Lions struggle to run the ball, averaging under 100 yards per game, while the Bears hold opponents to 65.8 rushing yards per game.

To win the game, the Lions will have to pass the ball against a defense that will be focused on defending the pass. Don't expect them to be able to succeed.

On the other side of the ball, the Bears are starting to gel on offense. Brandon Marshall has blossomed in Chicago with 496 yards in five games. The Bears' running game, meanwhile, can wear opponents down with the combo of Matt Forte and Michael Bush.

The Bears will run the ball with just enough success to set up play-action, which will allow Earl Bennett and Devin Hester opportunities to get deep. Brandon Marshall will continue to assert his dominance, and the Bears' defense will bend but not break against the Lions.

Expect a big win for the Bears.

Prediction: Bears 27, Lions 10