NFL Picks Week 7: Predicting Winners of Most Important Divisional Matchups

Matt Fitzgerald@@MattFitz_geraldCorrespondent IIIOctober 17, 2013

ARLINGTON, TX - DECEMBER 02:  Dez Bryant #88 of the Dallas Cowboys scores a touchdown against  Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie #23 of the Philadelphia Eagles at Cowboys Stadium on December 2, 2012 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

In a Monday press conference, New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan said that he considers division games to count for something more—1.5 games to be exact, via

That assertion seems to ring especially true as his team gears up to take on the New England Patriots in an AFC East matchup this week—a matchup the Jets can ill afford to lose for a second time this season.

Several other division rivals will do battle in Week 7 as well, kicking off with a Thursday night showcase featuring the visiting Seattle Seahawks against the Arizona Cardinals.

Read on for more detailed analysis on these games as well as other vital divisional showdowns in Week 7, capped off with a complete list of picks for each of this week's games.


Seattle Seahawks (5-1) vs. Arizona Cardinals (3-3)

SEATTLE, WA. - OCTOBER 13: Quarterback Russell Wilson #3 of the Seattle Seahawks scrambles a way from defensive end Kamerion Wimbley #95 of the Tennessee Titans during the fourth quarter of the game at CenturyLink Field on October 13, 2013 in Seattle, Was
Steve Dykes/Getty Images

Even without offensive tackles Breno Giacomini and Russell Okung over the last three and four games, respectively, second-year quarterback Russell Wilson has continued to play at a high level.

Wilson is showing no signs of a sophomore slump. The only loss the Seahawks have suffered this season came in Indianapolis, which isn't something to be ashamed of.

But after a physical, grueling win against the Tennessee Titans on Sunday, it's a quick turnaround for Seattle, as they get set to travel to the desert, where another aggressive foe awaits.

The Cardinals attack with a deep passing game on offense and a swarming defense that ranks fifth against the run, threatening to foil Seattle's No. 2 rushing attack.

Few receiver corps can match up too well with imposing Seahawks cornerbacks Richard Sherman and Brandon Browner, but Arizona has Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd to do just that.

Unfortunately, Carson Palmer is far too mistake-prone and will wilt under pressure in his face, as he lacks the mobility to extend plays. The loss will be a big setback for the Cardinals' wild-card hopes, and it will give Seattle a stronger grip on the NFC West with extended time to rest ahead.

Prediction: Seahawks 31, Cardinals 20


New England Patriots (5-1) vs. New York Jets (3-3)

FOXBORO, MA - SEPTEMBER 12: Geno Smith #7 of the New York Jets is consoled by Damon Harrison #94 after a loss to the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium on September 12, 2013 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
Jim Rogash/Getty Images

How will Jets rookie quarterback Geno Smith respond after throwing three interceptions in Week 2's 13-10 loss to the Patriots?

It doesn't help that Smith also chucked two picks—both within striking distance of the end zone—when facing the Pittsburgh Steelers' vaunted defense this past Sunday.

Turnovers have been the story of the Jets' season. With less giveaways on offense, their bid to unseat the Patriots would be made far easier. Then again, the defense isn't generating many takeaways in its own right:

New England quarterback Tom Brady seems to be building more rapport with his young receivers as the season progresses.

Although it's always intriguing to see how Brady and offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels match wits with Ryan, it seems the defensive genius Ryan is at a severe disadvantage here. The Jets are -11 in turnover margin this year, while the Pats are plus-five.

Unless Smith can somehow bounce back from yet another turnover-laden performance, it's going to be nearly impossible for the hosts to pull off the upset.

Prediction: Patriots 24, Jets 13


Dallas Cowboys (3-3) vs. Philadelphia Eagles (3-3)

PHILADELPHIA, PA - NOVEMBER 11: Running back LeSean McCoy #25 of the Philadelphia Eagles runs past Ernie Sims #59 of the Dallas Cowboys during the fourth quarter in a game at Lincoln Financial Field on November 11, 2012 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The
Rich Schultz/Getty Images

America's Team should be in for their second super high-scoring affair in three weeks, as they are traveling to Lincoln Financial Field this week to take on the Philadelphia Eagles and their uptempo offense.

There will be points abound, as both teams also feature bottom-three pass defenses as well.

Questions loom as to who will start at quarterback for the home team, but it seems as though Nick Foles will get the nod with incumbent starter Michael Vick nursing a hamstring injury.

Foles accounted for four total touchdowns in his first start of 2013—a 31-20 victory over the winless Tampa Bay Buccaneers. That warrants an opportunity for him to start, especially against such a generous secondary.

There's no question that Cowboys signal-caller Tony Romo has the edge, no matter who Philly starts under center. Romo is playing some of the best football of his career—he's ranked third or better in completion percentage, passer rating and touchdown passes.

Since all quarterbacks involved should be able to throw without much trouble, it's worth looking elsewhere for what might put one team over the top.

The imaginative Eagles offense, masterminded by new head coach Chip Kelly, is centered on the ground game, where the NFL's leading rusher LeSean McCoy has thrived.

McCoy is going to carve up a Dallas defense that will be more concerned with stopping the pass, and that will boost Philadelphia to a third consecutive win and a one-game lead at the top of the lackluster NFC East.

Prediction: Eagles 41, Cowboys 38

Complete Week 7 NFL Picks
Away Team Home Team Pick
Seattle Seahawks Arizona Cardinals Seahawks
Tampa Bay Buccaneers Atlanta Falcons Falcons
Cincinnati Bengals Detroit Lions Lions
Buffalo Bills Miami Dolphins Dolphins
New England Patriots New York Jets Patriots
Dallas Cowboys Philadelphia Eagles Eagles
Chicago Bears Washington Redskins Redskins
St. Louis Rams Carolina Panthers Panthers
San Diego Chargers Jacksonville Jaguars Jaguars
San Francisco 49ers Tennessee Titans 49ers
Cleveland Browns Green Bay Packers Packers
Houston Texans Kansas City Chiefs Texans
Baltimore Ravens Pittsburgh Steelers Steelers
Denver Broncos Indianapolis Colts Broncos
Minnesota Vikings New York Giants Vikings
Picks are strictly opinion



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