Week 7 NFL Picks: Home-Team Locks on Sunday's Slate
Few things are guaranteed in the NFL each week, but Week 7 is an exception to the rule with some predictable outcomes on the schedule.
Through a combination of solid home-field advantage and a favorable matchup, there are three games in Week 7 that will surely swing in the home team's favor by the time the final gun is fired.
Interestingly enough, these are not just throw-away games, either. Two of the contests are divisional battles, and one features two competitive teams attempting to keep pace in one of the NFL's best divisions.
Here's a look at three teams that are simply locks to please in front of home crowds.
|Away Team||Home Team||Predicted Winner|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||Atlanta Falcons||ATL|
|Chicago Bears||Washington Redskins||CHI|
|Dallas Cowboys||Philadelphia Eagles||DAL|
|New England Patriots||New York Jets||NE|
|Buffalo Bills||Miami Dolphins||MIA|
|San Diego Chargers||Jacksonville Jaguars||SD|
|St. Louis Rams||Carolina Panthers||CAR|
|Cincinnati Bengals||Detroit Lions||CIN|
|San Francisco 49ers||Tennessee Titans||SF|
|Houston Texans||Kansas City Chiefs||KC|
|Baltimore Ravens||Pittsburgh Steelers||PIT|
|Cleveland Browns||Green Bay Packers||GB|
|Denver Broncos||Indianapolis Colts||DEN|
|Minnesota Vikings||New York Giants||NYG|
Chris Roling's Predictions
Miami Dolphins Squeak Past Buffalo Bills
The Miami Dolphins had a bye week to think about their string of two straight losses to playoff-caliber teams in New Orleans and Baltimore, not to mention extra time to adequately prepare for an AFC East clash with Buffalo.
Buffalo has lost two straight. The good news is star running back C.J. Spiller will be active for the game per the team's official website:
Marrone: Stevie Johnson (back) and C.J. Spiller (ankle) both expected to play Sunday #BUFvsMIA— Buffalo Bills (@buffalobills) October 18, 2013
The bad news is Spiller has been mediocre at best the past few weeks while playing on a hobbled ankle, and Miami fields a stellar run defense that has yet to allow a running back to go for over 100 yards.
Thad Lewis will make his third career start for Buffalo, and while he played well last week against Cincinnati with two fluky touchdowns in the loss, Miami and quarterback Brent Grimes will be prepared for a steady dose of the read option on the way to shutting down the running game.
Prediction: Dolphins 24, Bills 20
Atlanta Falcons Outlast Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Things are very, very bad in Atlanta, but fans can take solace in the fact things are not as bad as they are in Tampa Bay thanks to Greg Schiano's antics, which include, but are not limited to, running starting quarterback Josh Freeman out of town (not coincidentally in favor of a player he drafted, Mike Glennon).
Atlanta is without two of its top weapons with Julio Jones out for the year and Steven Jackson missing the contest per Fox Sports' Jay Glazer. But the one that stings the most is receiver Roddy White, who is also set to sit out per ESPN's Adam Schefter:
Falcons WR Roddy White's streak of 133 consecutive games will end Sunday; he already has been ruled out of game vs. Bucs.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) October 18, 2013
As mentioned, it still pales in comparison to Tampa Bay. The Buccaneers tout the worst pass offense in the NFL, and running back Doug Martin is stuck in a pathetic sophomore slump with just 409 yards and one touchdown so far.
Martin's slump is especially horrible news for Tampa Bay considering the Falcons rank in the top 10 against the run as they allow just less than 100 yards per game.
Combine all of the above with one of the NFL's best home-field advantages in the dome, and the Falcons will get back to their winning ways over their NFC South rival.
Prediction: Falcons 23, Buccaneers 17
Carolina Panthers Bounce St. Louis Rams
The St. Louis Rams are riding a hot two-game winning streak, but neither victory is anything to brag about with one coming against the lowly Jacksonville Jaguars and the most recent coming over the Houston Texans and their laughably bad quarterback situation.
Now St. Louis has a date with a competent NFL team in the Cam Newton-led Carolina Panthers. Newton experienced a resurgence last week in a victory over Minnesota by throwing for three touchdowns, but it's his No. 3-ranked defense the Rams should fear.
Led by linebacker Luke Kuechly, the Panthers give up just 88.8 yards per game on the ground and only 210.4 through the air. The Rams may have finally found a ground game with rookie Zac Stacy, but it simply will not be enough against Carolina's elite front seven.
Carolina also has a top-10 rushing attack that allows Newton to dictate the pace of the game, which will come in handy against a bottom-five rush defense. At home, that's all the Panthers will need to conjure up a winning formula against the mediocre Rams.
Prediction: Panthers 30, Rams 20
Follow B/R's Chris Roling on Twitter for more news and analysis @Chris_Roling
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