NFL Week 7 Predictions and Picks Against the Spread
Tuesdays are normally boring days during football season.
Sundays have all the games. Monday has the post game chatters and the juggernaut that is Monday Night Football. Wednesday through Saturday have the hype for the upcoming games is built up with injury talks, key matchups, and predictions. Tuesdays only really have the postgame chatter from MNF, and nothing else. All in all, it’s a pretty pedestrian day for most fans.
But not for me, because Tuesday is the day when I get my official lines for the next Sunday’s games. For the past five or six years my dad and I have used the spreads from the Tuesday edition of the Daily News to pick our top eight games against the spread for the week, ranking them in order from being worth eight points to being worth one point. At the end of the season whomever had more points would win, and be entitled to a delicious pizza dinner as paid for by the loser.
Although my dad and I only pick eight games of our own individual choice, I will give my analysis and predictions for all 14 games on tap for this weekend. I will use the traditional Tuesday Daily News lines that I have used all my life, and I will label my top pick and upset special of the week. Home teams will be in caps.
BEST PICK: Steelers -3 over DOLPHINS
The Steelers defense has proven to be once again the class of the league. It helped them bridge the four game absence of starting QB Ben Roethlisberger by going 3-1. With Big Ben (the once innocent nickname is now a hilarious double entendre) back under center, the Steelers look to have their offense playing at a high level to complement their lights out defense. Even with James Harrison considering retirement after being fined for two legal yet violent hits, their D is a force to be reckoned with.
On the other hand, the Dolphins are a scrappy team that always manages to keep games close. Chad Henne is maturing into a solid starter, and he now has two high level receivers to throw to after the offseason acquisition of Brandon Marshall and the continuing development of Devon Bess. Their backfield wildcat tandem of Ricky Williams and Ronnie Brown is deadly, but I don’t think it will be as effective with the Steelers tough run defense.
In the end, the Steelers pull out a victory in what looks to be a gritty, hard fought matchup.
FALCONS -4 over Bengals
The Bengals are coming out of a bye week with a 2-3 record and a semi-disgruntled Terrell Owens who is claiming his suggestions to improve the offense have been ignored. Still, T.O. has put up impressive numbers in his last two games, tallying 17 catches for 324 yards and 2 touchdowns. Carson Palmer has played shockingly bad to this point, leading many to question if he is still the elite QB that he was pre-knee injury.
The Falcons on the other hand are coming off a surprising loss to the QB merry-go-round that is the Eagles. They have all the tools to be a high seeded playoff team, they just need to start playing like it. High seeded playoff teams don’t lose games against mediocre teams like this, especially at home.
I say this week they take care of business against the Bengals at home.
CHIEFS -4½ over Jaguars
The Chiefs have been a pleasant surprise so far this season. They have two great running backs, Thomas Jones and the speedy Jamaal Charles, and the electric Dexter McCluster. Their defense has played well, save one hiccup last week against Houston. If Matt Cassel can raise his level of play and get in a rhythm with receivers like Dwayne Bowe, this team could be dangerous.
The Jaguars, on the other hand, just got embarrassed on national television Monday night. And they don’t seem like the team with the kind of fire to come out and make a statement that their lackluster effort against the Titans was a fluke.
Chiefs run all over this Jaguars defense and walk away with a win.
TITANS -3 over Eagles
The Eagles starting QB job is clearly a hot topic this season. With Michael Vick on the mend and Kevin Kolb playing incredibly well, one would think the Eagles would be a hot pick this week. But without Desean Jackson, their star playmaker, the Eagles might be one big play short of a victory this week.
The Titans also have somewhat of a QB controversy, with Vince Young leaving the game Monday night with an injury. Even if he can’t play, Kerry Collins is a suitable stand in. The Titans defense is starting to regain some of their former glory. The difference in this game may be that the Titans will have their star playmaker, Chris Johnson, while the Eagles Desean Jackson is a question mark.
In the end, the Titans win at home.
Redskins +3 over BEARS
Hey I finally picked an underdog! Look, this one if simple. I don’t think the Bears are that for real a team. I feel like their early success was fluky, and once they started to get on a roll Jay Cutler got injured. That knocked them off their game as they had to start the enigma that is Todd Collins. I’m pretty sure that the Bears didn’t have a back up QB ready when Cutler got hurt, so they just grabbed the first guy in the stands with a Bears jersey on and strapped on a helmet and sent him out to the huddle. Also, I think the Bears should start testing their lineman’s blood alcohol level before, during, and after games, because their attempts at protecting their QB look like a drunken man’s attempt to stay upright as he stumbles home from the bar.
Donovan McNabb is still a great QB, and the Redskins defense is decent enough to stop the Bears offense. Ryan Torain has emerged as a formidable threat, and the Redskins never seem to get too far behind even when they are down.
Redskins get the W.
RAVENS -13½ over Bills
No brainer here.
Rams +2½ over BUCS
Sam Bradford has looked pretty good for a rookie, and the Rams have continued to surprise, beating the Chargers last week.
SEAHAWKS -4½ over Cardinals
In all honesty, can the NFC West just take a few years off to get their act together? Just give us Mike Singletary, Sam Bradford, and Stephen Jackson. The rest of you go play by yourselves.
PANTHERS +3 over 49ers
That 49ers bandwagon that was rolling before the season didn’t just crash. It veered off the road, careened into a ravine, and then burst into flames. Twice.
SAINTS -13½ over Browns
Looks like last week the Saints stagnant offense finally got going. Although I had some doubts about whether they’d cover the spread, I feel like the Superdome crowd gives them the extra boost to blowout the Browns.
BRONCOS -6½ over Raiders
The Broncos were one late pass interference call away from beating the Jets last week. Their high powered pass attack proves too much for the Raiders this week.
Patriots +3 over CHARGERS
Chargers struggles continue as Tom Brady continues to simply win games.
UPSET SPECIAL: Vikings +3 over PACKERS
After Ryan Grant went down with a season ending ankle injury, the dynamic Packers offense has staggered. The defense looks questionable. The team as a whole is not living up to expectations.
The Vikings, on the other hand, look like they are ready to go on a run. The acquisition of Randy Moss turned a dying season into a possible turnaround. Adrian Peterson has cemented himself as the best running back in the league. Yup, I said it. Better than Chris Johnson. I’ve watched a couple Vikings games so far this year, and Peterson looks unstoppable. And the acquisition of Moss only spreads the field for him, taking a safety out of the box and opening up more running lanes. Plus, Brett Favre, mired in controversy as always will bring his best against his former team.
The Vikings begin to roll with a win over the Packers. Also, I somehow managed to go through that entire last paragraph without making a single inappropriate Favre joke. I’m very proud of myself.
COWBOYS -3 over Giants
I know, I know. The Cowboys season is slowly slipping away, while the Giants sit atop the NFC East. But look, the Cowboys offense is still explosive. It can put points on the board if it gets its act together. They are in desperation mode. If they lose this week, Wade Phillips more than likely loses his job. If they have any heart, they will respond with a win with their backs against the wall.
After watching the Giants play each week, I do not think that their defense is that impressive. Sure, their offense has gotten great performances thus far from Ahmad Bradshaw, Eli Manning, and the entire receiving corps. But their defense has not been impressive. And if they get down early, I don’t think they will be able to hold down the fort for the offense to get back the lead.
I say a high scoring shootout win for the Cowboys.
Sadly, my Jets have a bye week this Sunday. But I’m still looking forward to what looks to be a highly entertaining set of games this weekend. The Packers taking on the Vikings looks like it will be the game of the week. Expect both teams to bring their best on Sunday night.
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