NFL

NFL Week 7 Picks: Predictions for Every Game on Schedule

DENVER, CO - OCTOBER 13:  Quarterback Peyton Manning #18 of the Denver Broncos directs the offense against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on October 13, 2013 in Denver, Colorado. The Broncos defeated the Jaguars 35-19.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images
Brian MaziqueCorrespondent IIIOctober 17, 2013

Peyton Manning is as mature off the field as he is sharp on it. Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay—who is never one to shy away from attention or controversy—made comments this week to Jarrett Bell of USA Today that some found inflammatory and disrespectful towards his former franchise quarterback.

Essentially, Irsay expressed regret for his team only capturing one Super Bowl ring in Manning’s 12 years with the organization.

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MARCH 07:  Peyton Manning (L) speaks as Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay listens during a press conference announcing that the Colts will release of Manning at Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center on March 7, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indi
Joey Foley/Getty Images

Instead of joining his current head coach John Fox in admonishing Irsay in some way, per Lindsay H. Jones of USA Today, Manning took the high road. Per ESPN.com’s Jeff Legwold, the future Hall of Famer said, "I don't have any answer for you on that or any comment on any of that.''

Even with that obvious attempt to avoid a back-and-forth exchange with Irsay in the media, don’t think for a minute that Manning doesn’t want to smash it in his former boss’ face. On Sunday night in the obvious marquee game of the Week 7 schedule in the NFL, he’ll have his chance. The undefeated Denver Broncos travel to Indianapolis to take on the 4-2 Indianapolis Colts.

There are so many story lines in this one, it could be an episode of WWE Monday Night Raw. The Irsay-Manning Cold War is one angle, while the Manning versus Andrew Luck segment is another. Oh by the way, this also happens to be a matchup of two of the best teams in the AFC. It doesn’t get much bigger than this when it comes to a near midseason matchup. 

With all that said, who wins?

It is hard to imagine this game being anything besides a shootout. The Broncos have surrendered the most passing yards of any team in the NFL at 2,026. Part of that is because they’ve been far ahead in most of their games this season, but that’s not the case in every one of their tilts.

Before the Dallas Cowboys’ Tony Romo threw the ill-fated interception that caused his team the game in Week 5 against the Broncos, he had thrown for 506 yards and five scores. Luck should find some success against the Denver defense. 

While the Colts' pass defense has been among the best in the NFL—it is ranked fifth in the league—the run defense has been at the other end of the spectrum. Only the Jacksonville Jaguars have allowed more yardage on the ground. 

What gives in this scenario? 

Ultimately, the Colts inability to stop the run and Manning’s experience will be the difference in this game. Expect it to be high scoring and look for a key turnover to sway momentum late.

SAN DIEGO, CA - OCTOBER 14:  Andrew Luck #12 of the Indianapolis Colts throws the ball against the San Diego Chargers on October 14, 2013 at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, California. (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)
Donald Miralle/Getty Images

In this scenario, Luck is more apt to serve one up for the opponent than Manning is. Luck has tossed three picks in 186 attempts this season; Manning only has two in 240. Peyton will have his revenge, but he still won’t comment on how good it feels to beat Irsay.

 

Prediction: Broncos 38, Colts 28

Here’s a look at two other marquee games on the schedule, plus predictions on every game on the Week 7 schedule.

 

Baltimore Ravens at Pittsburgh Steelers

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - OCTOBER 13: Running Back Le'Veon Bell #26 of the Pittsburgh Steelers runs the ball against the New York Jets gets on October 13, 2013 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

This game usually has dual meaning at the top of the AFC North standings, but in 2013, the Ravens are the only team in contention at the moment. That said, a win by the Steelers would leave them just a half-game behind the Ravens in the standings. With a loss by the Cincinnati Bengals against the Detroit Lions, Pittsburgh could find themselves just 1.5 games out of first place.

That isn’t a bad place to be after starting the season 0-4. 

The Steelers got their first win in Week 6 against the New York Jets, can they keep it going against their bitter rivals? Yes, and their chances begin and end with the running game. Against the Jets, the Steelers got back to running the football on a consistent basis. The team is ranked just 31st in the NFL averaging 61 yards per game, but that number should rise soon.

Rookie Le’veon Bell ran the ball 16 times for 34 yards and the Steelers rushed 26 times for 73 yards overall. Those numbers aren’t going to set any records, but the 26 rushes and 24 pass attempts represent balance in play calling the team hadn’t had all season.

This was the first game this season the Steelers rush attempts were higher than their pass attempts. Ben Roethlisberger is one of the better quarterbacks in the NFL, but the Steelers are at their best when the run game sets the tone and their defense is flying around the field. That’s exactly what we saw from the defense against the Jets. It sacked Geno Smith three times and picked him off twice.

Riding that momentum, Pittsburgh will defend its home turf against an inconsistent Ravens bunch.

BALTIMORE, MD - OCTOBER 13:  Quarterback Joe Flacco #5 of the Baltimore Ravens looks on against the Green Bay Packers at M&T Bank Stadium on October 13, 2013 in Baltimore, Maryland.  (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Joe Flacco has thrown eight interceptions to only seven touchdown passes this season, and the Ravens have also struggled to find success on the ground. The team is averaging a combined 2.7 yards rushing. Playing a Steelers team on the road rejuvenated by their first win of the season will be too big of a task for the Ravens. Pittsburgh will win an ugly, low-scoring affair.

 

Prediction: Steelers 17, Ravens 7

 

Dallas Cowboys at Philadelphia Eagles

ARLINGTON, TX - OCTOBER 13:  Tony Romo #9 of the Dallas Cowboys throws a pass against the Washington Redskins at AT&T Stadium on October 13, 2013 in Arlington, Texas.  The Cowboys defeated the Redskins 31-16.  (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

Though both teams have had their issues this season, this game is a battle for first place in the NFC East. With Michael Vick "limited" at practice on Wednesday, per Alex Smith of PhiladelphiaEagles.com, because of a hamstring injury, some of the star power may be lacking, but not necessarily the effectiveness.

PHILADELPHIA, PA - AUGUST 09:  Michael Vick #7 of the Philadelphia Eagles warms up as teamamte  Nick Foles #9 stands by before the game against the New England Patriots on August 9, 2013 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pennslyvania.  (Photo by
Elsa/Getty Images

Nick Foles has stepped in and played well in Vick’s absence. He led the team to a win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 6. For the season, he’s tossed six touchdown passes and no interceptions. If he guides the team to a win over the Cowboys, it will be all the more difficult to insert Vick back into the lineup when he returns.

Knocking off the Cowboys is much easier said than done, though. Despite the fact that Romo and Co. are just 3-3, fans have to look at their losses to put their season in the proper perspective.

Two of their three defeats have come at the hands of the only two remaining undefeated teams in the league, the Broncos and Kansas City Chiefs. The Cowboys lost those two games by a combined four points.

Despite the ridicule he’s received for the pick that cost his team the game against the Broncos, Romo has been spectacular this season. He’s already thrown for 1,693 yards, 14 touchdowns and just three interceptions. The Cowboys offense has scored at least 21 points in all but one game this season.

The Eagles offense has been explosive as well ranking fourth in the league in points scored with a defense that ranks 29th in points allowed. 

Dallas hasn’t exactly been the 1985 Chicago Bears on that side of the ball, but its defense has at least shown the ability to contain some of the teams it has faced. Their No. 21 ranking in points allowed is a product of two games: the 51 it allowed to Peyton Manning and Denver and the 31 it surrendered to Eli Manning in Week 1.

In any case, fans have to trust the Cowboys defense to get stops over the Eagles. In this game, that is what it will come down to. 

 

Prediction: Cowboys 42, Eagles 35

 

Here are the predictions for every game on the Week 7 schedule.

Week 7 of NFL Schedule
Thursday, Oct. 17Time (ET)TVPrediction
Seattle at Arizona8:25 PMNFL NetworkSeattle
Sunday, Oct 20Time (ET)TVPrediction
Tampa Bay at Atlanta1:00 PMFOXAtlanta
Cincinnati at Detroit1:00 PMCBSCincinnati
Buffalo at Miami1:00 PMCBSMiami
New England at NY Jets1:00 PMCBSNew England
Dallas at Philadelphia1:00 PMFOXDallas
Chicago at Washington1:00 PMFOXChicago
St. Louis at Carolina1:00 PMFOXCarolina
San Diego at Jacksonville1:00 PMCBSSan Diego
San Francisco at Tennessee4:05 PMFOXSan Francisco
Cleveland at Green Bay4:25 PMCBSGreen Bay
Houston at Kansas City4:25 PMCBSKansas City
Baltimore at Pittsburgh4:25 PMCBSPittsburgh
Denver at Indianapolis8:30 PMNBCDenver
Monday, Oct. 21Time (ET)TVPrediction
Minnesota at NY Giants8:30 PMESPNN.Y. Giants
ESPN for Schedule

 

All stats per Pro-Football Reference.com.

 

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