NFL Week 7 Picks: Projecting Winners from Weekend's Top Games

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistOctober 18, 2013

DENVER, CO - OCTOBER 13:  Quarterback Peyton Manning #18 of the Denver Bronco reacts after a play 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

Divisional rivals. Arguably the greatest quarterback of all time returning to the city where he spent the large majority of his career and won a Super Bowl. A classic clash of styles between two of the league's top teams. 

All this and more on this version of NFL picks! Can you feel the excitement?


Philadelphia Eagles at Dallas Cowboys

Can you say shootout?

From a purely statistical standpoint, this game should be an offensive bonanza (and potentially the most entertaining game of the weekend). The Cowboys are second in the NFL in scoring with 30.5 points per game, while the Eagles are fourth at 27.7. The Eagles are third in the NFL with 449.8 yards per game, while the Cowboys are 12th with 349.8.

And neither team plays much defense—the Eagles allow 29.8 points per game (29th), while the Cowboys give up 25.3 (21st). The Eagles also allow an NFL-worst 420.2 yards per game, while the Cowboys come in at No. 30, allowing 413.2 yards per contest.

So yeah, shootout. 

NFC East showdowns are always fun, and shockingly this game is a battle for first place in the division. Nick Foles proved last week that he can step in and run this offense without missing a beat, and the Cowboys will be without key players in DeMarco Murray (Dallas Morning News subscription required) and DeMarcus Ware.

That just barely tips the scales toward the Eagles in a game that will likely be won by whichever team has the ball last.

Prediction: Eagles win, 34-31


Cincinnati Bengals at Detroit Lions

GLENDALE, AZ - SEPTEMBER 15:  Wide receiver Calvin Johnson #81 of the Detroit Lions in action during the NFL game against the Arizona Cardinals at the University of Phoenix Stadium on September 15, 2013 in Glendale, Arizona. The Carindals defeated the Lio
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Styles make fights, and in this contest, the offensive-minded Lions (378.5 yards per game, ninth in the NFL, and 27.0 points per game, seventh in the league) will be faced with the defensively stout Bengals (317.7 yards per game, eighth in the NFL, and 18.5 points per contest, seventh in the league).

This game will likely come down to two factors—how effective will Calvin Johnson be, and can the Detroit defensive line control the line of scrimmage?

Johnson has been battling knee issues and was limited last week, but according to Tim Twentyman of, he has looked good in practice:

If he's close to 100 percent, this Lions offense is that much more difficult to deal with.

The Lions defensive line is always tough to deal with, led by the oft-fined Ndamukong Suh. If they can consistently pressure Andy Dalton and stuff the running lanes against dynamic rookie Gio Bernard, it will be a long afternoon for the Bengals offense. 

More than likely, however, the Bengals will use a balanced offense (16th in both passing and rushing yards per game) and superior defense (they haven't allowed a 300-yard passer in 20 straight games!) to narrowly escape with a win. 

Prediction: Cincinnati Wins, 24-21


Denver Broncos at Indianapolis Colts

It's not a good sign for the Colts that they were just torched in the running game versus the San Diego Chargers to the tune of 147 yards—against backs like Ryan Mathews and Danny Woodhead. 

Now, in a week where they have to try to slow down Peyton Manning, Wes Welker, Demaryius Thomas, Eric Decker and Julius Thomas, the one man who might end up doing the most damage is Knowshon Moreno. 

The question for the Colts is whether they can get Trent Richardson going and run the clock against this Denver defense to keep Manning off the field. That will be easier said than done—the Broncos are currently tops in the NFL in run defense, allowing just 69.8 rushing yards per game. 

Of course, that is in part due to the fact that teams are often playing catch-up by the end of the first quarter and abandon the run. And Andrew Luck and his receivers should have success against a pass defense allowing 337.7 passing yards per game, worst in the NFL.

Or will they? The return of Von Miller—the man who finished last season with 18.5 sacks and six forced fumbles—should do wonders for this pass defense, as will Champ Bailey, making his second start this weekend. Oh, and linebacker Wesley Woodyard and defensive end Robert Ayers could be back in action, too.

Add it all up, and Manning will once again do something he did quite often in Indianapolis—win.

Prediction: Broncos win, 31-24


Full Picks

Week 7 NFL Picks
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Atlanta FalconsBucs
Cincinnati Bengals at Detroit LionsBengals
Dallas Cowboys at Philadelphia EaglesEagles
Buffalo Bills at Miami DolphinsDolphins
New England Patriots at New York JetsPatriots
Chicago Bears at WashingtonBears
St. Louis Rams at Carolina PanthersPanthers
San Diego Chargers at Jacksonville JaguarsChargers
San Francisco 49ers at Tennessee TitansNiners
Cleveland Browns at Green Bay PackersPackers
Houston Texans at Kansas City ChiefsChiefs
Baltimore Ravens at Pittsburgh SteelersSteelers
Denver Broncos at Indianapolis ColtsBroncos
Minnesota Vikings at New York GiantsGiants


Hit me up on Twitter—I'll answer your fantasy lineup questions and offer general musings on the NFL (and other sports, too!). It's nonstop fun, you guys.

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