A good week of picks in Week 7, going 10-3.
This week’s biggest games and toughest to decide were New Orleans against Atlanta, New York Giants at Philadelphia, and Denver at Baltimore.
Three undefeated teams left. Will any of them lose this week?
Two winless teams in action this week. Will either of them get on the board, or will they continue their Detroit Lions-esque slide (coincidentally, one of those teams, St. Louis, will play at Detroit).
Read on to see who I like, then comment and tell me who you like.
Houston (4-3) at Buffalo (3-4)
Houston jumped out to a huge early lead against San Francisco last week, but almost gave it up when Alex Smith entered the game for the 49ers. Still, this team looks much better than the Bills. Everyone who thought the Texans were just Matt Schaub and Andre Johnson have been notified that there are more weapons in Houston. Tight end Owen Daniels had seven catches for 123 yard and a touchdown, increasing his totals to 497 yards and tying his career high in touchdowns with five. Steve Slaton is improving his game every week, and last week rushed for 67 yards and a touchdown. The Texans will smoke Buffalo.
Cleveland (1-6) at Chicago (3-3)
The Bears were severely outclassed by the Bengals last week. Cleveland took Cincinnati to overtime when they met for the first time. Can Cleveland pull off the upset against Chicago? No. Every position on Cleveland’s squad is unsettled, including the quarterback spot. Chicago will take advantage of this, especially at home. The Bears will win.
Seattle (2-4) at Dallas (4-2)
How is Dallas 4-2? Are they the worst 4-2 team you’ve ever seen? Still, they beat a good Falcons team last week, and receiver Miles Austin has been superb and has really injected Dallas with some energy, as well as humble play. He caught six passes for 171 yards and two touchdowns and now stands at 502 yards receiving and five touchdowns on the season. Seattle has Matt Hasselback back in the lineup, but they still have some improving to do. I’ll take the Cowboys in this one.
St. Louis (0-7) at Detroit (1-5)
Reports are that Calvin Johnson and Matthew Stafford have returned to practice for the Lions and will most likely play Sunday against the Rams. With Stafford’s big arm and the skill set of Johnson, expect them to throw a lot of deep balls against a team that is tied for fourth worst in the league in passes of 20 yards or more allowed. I like Detroit to win this one.
Denver (6-0) at Baltimore (3-3)
Both teams had a bye last week to prepare for this big matchup. The Broncos have surprised this season. And since looking like the most complete team in the league for the first three weeks of the season, Baltimore has taken a nose dive. Baltimore is too good a team to continue to slide. After a bye week to really straighten things out and playing this matchup at home, I will take the Ravens to win.
San Francisco (3-3) at Indianapolis (6-0)
San Francisco has looked awful shaky the past couple games. They’ve played two good offenses in Atlanta and Houston and the defense, which is supposed to be the team’s strong point, could not hold their own. The Colts have one of the best offenses in the league. Expect Peyton Manning to tear through the 49er defense. Indy wins.
Miami (2-4) at NY Jets (4-3)
The Jets won three straight, lost three straight, and then bounced back and destroyed the Oakland Raiders. The Dolphins lost three in a row, then won two, and finally took undefeated New Orleans to the limit last week before ultimately blowing a sizeable lead. Chad Henne threw two pick-sixes last week, which hurt the ‘Phins. However, Sanchez threw five interceptions against a weaker Bills team the week before. Both running games have been very good, but the Jets’ took a huge hit with the injury to Leon Washington last week. This game will come down to which young quarterback makes the least mistakes. I’ll take Chad Henne and Miami for the win.
NY Giants (5-2) at Philadelphia (4-2)
After playing meager competition the first five weeks of the season, the Giants have been hit hard by good teams. The Eagles looked solid until they lost to the Raiders two weeks ago, which put a lot of questions on them. A win against the Redskins doesn’t answer much. Running back Brian Westbrook is injured again and looks unlikely to play. Eagles fans are preoccupied with the Phillies in the World Series right now. Can you really see the Giants losing three games in a row? I can’t, and that’s why I’m picking them to beat the Eagles in Philly.
Jacksonville (3-3) at Tennessee (0-6)
Tennesse has been a major disappointment. This is a game against a beatable Jaguars team, who at 3-3 has shown that they are the NFL’s model of inconsistency. Kerry Collins has come crashing back down to Earth, just as he always does after a good season. Reports are that Vince Young will get the chance to start again, which is exactly what this team needs. He’s still only 26, the team isn’t going anywhere, and last time he replaced Kerry Collins, with the Titans at 0-3, he led them to an 8-8 record, had four come-from behind wins, and won the Offensive Rookie of the Year award. The change, coupled with Young’s dynamic abilities, will give some life back to a deflated Titans team, especially after a bye week. I like them to finally get their first win of the season here.
Oakland (2-5) at San Diego (3-3)
Another NFL game, another bad week for JaMarcus Russell. He went 6 for 11 with 61 yards and two interceptions before being benched. San Diego came out strong against Kansas City last weekend. Vincent Jackson had a great week, catching five passes for 142 yards and a touchdown. LaDanian Tomlinson even rushed for 71 yards. The Chargers offense looks good, and their defense was impenetrable last week, getting three interceptions and scoring off a blocked punt. The Chargers, for a second week in a row, will win big against a cellar dweller in the AFC West.
Carolina (2-4) at Arizona (4-2)
You thought Carolina would have figured it out. With one of the most potent rushing attacks against one of the league’s worst run-defenses last week (Buffalo), the team rushed for only 116 yards, and lost by 11. It also doesn’t help that Jake Delhomme, no longer a good quarterback, threw three interceptions. Meanwhile Arizona was able to beat the New York Giants, a strong competitor in the NFC. The defending NFC champs look to be back on track after a slow start, and they will easily win this rematch of last year’s NFC Divisional playoff game.
Minnesota (6-1) at Green Bay (4-2)
Minnesota got the last one at home. However, they got beat on the road by a very good Steelers team last week. I like to think the Packers are a good team, and this time the game is at Lambeau Field. The Vikings are missing cornerback Antoine Winfield is most likely out with a broken foot, which should allow Packers QB Aaron Rodgers even more of a cushion. Expect Packer fans to be more than hostile towards the rival Vikings and their once-prodigal son Brett Favre. Green Bay needs this game to prove that they are a serious contender in the NFC. At home, I like them to beat Minnesota.
Atlanta (4-2) at New Orleans (6-0)
This should be a great game. These two teams look very good so far this season. The Saints had an incredible comeback last week against the Miami Dolphins and Drew Brees has put this team on his shoulders and lifted them to great things. The receivers have done a good job and the running game has been effective—and yes, that even includes Reggie Bush. At home, I like New Orleans to get the job done.
Byes: Cincinnati, Kansas City, New England, Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay, Washington
Last week: 10-3