NFL Picks Week 7: Teams Destined to Pull off Upsets on Sunday

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistOctober 18, 2013

SAN DIEGO, CA - OCTOBER 14:  Andrew Luck #12 of the Indianapolis Colts enters the game 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

Who's going to be the first guy to predict a Jacksonville Jaguars win?

In a league known for its parity, it's impressive how Jacksonville has distanced itself from the rest of the NFL.

On the other hand, the odds are against the Jags going 0-16. Sooner or later, they'll get that first victory. It's no doubt going to be an upset whenever it happens, but good luck going out on a limb to be that guy or gal who sees it coming first. You're not going to have a lot of company.

I'm not taking that kind of risk. I have a reputation to uphold.

Here are three upsets that are sure to backfire, while the Jaguars win and make somebody else look like a genius.

Week 7 NFL Picks—Sunday, Oct. 20
Time (ET)Away TeamHome TeamPick
1 p.m.Tampa Bay BuccaneersAtlanta FalconsATL
1 p.m.Chicago BearsWashington RedskinsCHI
1 p.m.Dallas CowboysPhiladelphia EaglesDAL
1 p.m.New England PatriotsNew York JetsNE
1 p.m.Buffalo BillsMiami DolphinsBUF
1 p.m.San Diego ChargersJacksonville JaguarsSD
1 p.m.St. Louis RamsCarolina PanthersSTL
1 p.m.Cincinnati BengalsDetroit LionsCIN
4:05 p.m.San Francisco 49ersTennessee TitansSF
4:25 p.m.Houston TexansKansas City ChiefsHOU
4:25 p.m.Baltimore RavensPittsburgh SteelersBAL
4:25 p.m.Cleveland BrownsGreen Bay PackersGB
8:30 p.m.Indianapolis ColtsDenver BroncosIND
Schedule via

Cincinnati Bengals

ORCHARD PARK, NY - OCTOBER 13: Andy Dalton #14 of the Cincinnati Bengals hands the ball off to BenJarvus Green-Ellis #42 during NFL game action against the Buffalo Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium on October 13, 2013 in Orchard Park, New York. (Photo by Tom
Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

According to Vegas Insider, the Detroit Lions are favored by three points. That line is the result of the Lions playing at home, but it's not a pick 'em game. The Cincinnati Bengals will technically be the underdog.

You can understand why the sportsbooks wouldn't favor the Bengals. They've been up and down all season. One week they look great, while the next they're hapless and have to scrape by.

However, Cincinnati has been consistent in its ability to play either up or down to its competition. The Bengals have beaten the Green Bay Packers and New England Patriots but lost to the Cleveland Browns and had a dogfight with the Buffalo Bills.

Against a tough team like the Lions, the Bengals will go in knowing they can't fall asleep at the wheel. Expect the Week 5 version that played the Pats rather than the Week 6 version that had to go into overtime against the Bills.

With Calvin Johnson still looking hobbled for the Lions, the Cincinnati defense should able to eliminate him as a major threat in the passing game.

The bigger variable is Andy Dalton. If he performs as he did last week, this will be a W for the Bengals.

Kansas City Chiefs

KANSAS CITY, MO - OCTOBER 13:  Junior Hemingway #88 celebrates with Husain Abdullah #39 of the Kansas City Chiefs after Abdullah returned an interception for touchdown against the Oakland Raiders October 13, 2013 at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Misso
Kyle Rivas/Getty Images

Replacement quarterbacks are the new read-option offense.

Brian Hoyer made the Cleveland Browns look like a competitive football team. Thad Lewis pushed the Bills to overtime against the Bengals. Maybe you could throw Geno Smith in there as well.

To a certain extent, you can see why inexperienced quarterbacks can thrive in their first few starts. Opposing defenses have little game film to use to game-plan for them.

After T.J. Yates was a disaster last week, the Houston Texans are trying their hands with Case Keenum, via Houston's Twitter feed.

Predicting a Texans win sounds stupid on paper, and any explanation as to why they'll win won't make a ton of sense. But sometimes, that's exactly what happens in the NFL. Some results defy belief and make you throw your arms up because you have no idea how to justify the game you just watched.

This will be one of those games.

Sooner or later, you expect Houston to get back to being its best or at least something close to its best. The Super Bowl is already out of reach, but the Texans cannot continue being as awful as they have been.

Houston's defense hasn't become abject, and the offense just needs to avoid giving the opposing defense free points. As long as Keenum doesn't turn the ball over, the Texans should have enough to give the Kansas City Chiefs their first loss.

Indianapolis Colts

The window is closing for opposing teams to take advantage of the Denver Broncos defense. Von Miller is eligible to return this Sunday against the Indianapolis Colts.

Startlingly, he has added 15 pounds of muscle since training camp, according to's Stuart Zaas.

Since this will be his first game back, it's unrealistic to expect him to be the colossus he was last year. As the season progresses, he'll have greater impact.

The key for the Colts will be establishing the passing game. The Broncos are 27th in the league against the pass, according to Football Outsiders. By getting Andrew Luck to move the chains consistently, Indianapolis will be able to keep pace with Denver.

Think back to Broncos vs. Cowboys, but not to that ridiculous scoring extreme.

By beating the Broncos secondary over the top, the Colts will set up the running game, against which the Broncos have been very good. Coming at Denver with a balanced offense will help to even the odds a bit.

In addition, Indianapolis has turned the ball over just five times, which is tied for the league lead. In order to beat the Broncos, you have to win the turnover battle. That shouldn't be a worry with the Colts.

This game will be close, and it could come down to a late drive by Luck making the difference.


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