Week 7 NFL Picks: Cheerleader Edition! Plus San Diego Chargers Talk

Will McCaffertyCorrespondent IOctober 23, 2010

Week 7 NFL Picks: Cheerleader Edition! Plus San Diego Chargers Talk

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    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    What positive things can I say, as a Chargers fan, about Week 6?  That's a good question.  Here is what I came up with:

    1.  I am positive that the Chargers are playing horrible football.

    2.  I am positive that the Chargers should have been able to go into St. Louis and beat the Rams like a red-headed step child (no offense to red-headed step children).

    3.  I am positive that the Rams wanted to win more than the Chargers.

    4.  I am positive that the Rams realized early that they could compete with the Chargers and that helped them keep momentum on their side.  In the past, that would not have happened.

    5.  I am positive that I disagree with the experts who say that Norv Turner is an offensive genius.  He has his moments, but he is so in love with throwing the football that defenses can forget about the run and focus on rushing the passer.  Seven sacks of Philip Rivers should prove that theory.

    6.  I am positive that, if given the chance, Ryan Mathews will be able to lead the Chargers on the ground and therefore give them the balanced offense they swear they want.

    7.  I am positive that the Chargers did an excellent job screwing up what was supposed to be the easy portion of their schedule.  Now, they get teams like the Patriots, Titans, Texans and Colts coming up.

    8.  I am positive that Chargers kicker Nate Kaeding has not gotten over his horrible game in the playoffs last year.  He literally fell down trying to kick a huge field goal against the Rams.  The kick was blocked (which any kick that goes around five feet in the air will be) and that lead to a Rams field goal.  By the way, the Rams won by three.  Kaeding is out with an injury. He should seek counseling during this time off.

    9.  I am positive that the Chargers must overcome all of their injuries and find a way to beat New England this week if they want a decent chance to win the West.

    10.  I am positive that my picks have been horrible lately and I need to do a better job this week.

    Now, on to Week 7 picks:

    Last week: 6-8

    Season Total: 46-44

Cincinnati Bengals @ Atlanta Falcons

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    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Atlanta fans should be cheering this week as their Falcons host the Bengals.  So far, the Bengals "high-powered offense" has been rather pedestrian.  They have big named receivers with T.O. and Ochocinco, but they are simply playing uninspired football. Once has to wonder if Carson Palmer is the quarterback that he was expected to become.

    As for the Falcons, a strong defense, coupled with a nicely balanced offense, makes for a team that has a chance to win every week.  Look for the Falcons to take it to the Bengals, who do not like playing on the road very much.

    Bengals 17, Falcons 31

Washington Redskins @ Chicago Bears

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    Win McNamee/Getty Images

    I'm not too confident in this pick. Picking Bears games, I always have a hard time knowing if I picked the winner because I thought they would win, or just because I don't like the Bears.  Actually, I'm okay with the Bears; it's Jay Cutler I don't care for.  That comes with being a Chargers fan I guess.

    Either way, I'm going with McNabb and the Redskins this week.  Both the Skins and the Bears are coming off tough losses.  The Skins were picked to lose by most and fell to Peyton and the Colts by three. 

    The Bears hosted the Seattle Seahawks and also lost by three.  The difference is that the Bears were a strong favorite, while the Skins were home dogs.

    Add this to the fact that the Bears offensive line has resembled a three-foot high dam in a 20-foot deep lake.

    Redskins 27, Bears 20

Philadelphia Eagles @ Tennessee Titans

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    Grant Halverson/Getty Images

    There's a quarterback controversy in Philly!  Michael Vick appears ready to return, but beginning of the year starter Kevin Kolb has played too well to pull.  Tough to say if Kolb will be able to focus through the stress of having Vick staring from the sideline or not.  If he continues to play well, beating the Titans would be a strong possibility.  However, losing No. 1 wideout DeSean Jackson may make it difficult for the Eagles to move the ball.

    The Titans should be able to continue punishing teams on the ground with Chris Johnson and keep the Eagles offense off the field.

    Eagles 20, Titans 27

Jacksonville Jaguars @ Kansas City Chiefs

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    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    Jacksonville is a strange team.  Much like my Bolts, the Jaguars have been very inconsistent this year.

    The Chiefs, on the other hand, have played quite well!  Even though they lost their last two games, they have played respectable football and I find myself believing in them more now than when they were 3-0.  That is bad news for my Chargers.

    Now that the Chiefs have lost a couple of tough games in a row, they will catch a couple of breaks.  First, the schedule.  The Chiefs' next two opponents are the Jags and the Bills.  That looks like two wins to me.  The Jags may have competed except they may be down to their third string quarterback, since second-stringer Trent Edwards is questionable.

    After the Titans thrashing of the Jags in Week 6, I see little hope for the Jaguars this week against a fired up KC team at home.

    Jaguars 9, Chiefs 31

Pittsburgh Steelers @ Miami Dolphins

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    Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

    Sorry Steelers fans, BR doesn't seem to have any Steelers cheerleader photos in stock.  This is the best I could do.  Do the Steelers even have cheerleaders?  Keep them away from Ben! (Sorry, cheap shot.)

    As for the game, I don't see a very good matchup here.  The Dolphins are not a bad team, but you have to be a great team to beat the Steelers.  Big Ben may not be at midseason form, but he did manage to scrape together three touchdown passes in his first game back.  Not bad.

    The Stelers defense should be able to keep Miami out of the endzone.  The Dolphins defense is not bad, but they will be on the field all day and eventually give.

    Steelers 34, Dolphins 12

Cleveland Browns @ New Orleans Saints

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    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    I doubt that this matchup will turn into an upset, or even a great game.  However, one thing that this Chargers fan has learned this season is that every team has a chance. 

    The Saints have not been playing their greatest football this year.  Perhaps a bit of a Super Bowl letdown.  Or, more likely, a case of key injuries taking their toll on their ability to keep the defense honest.  As long as the Saints struggle to run the ball, it's bombs away and everyone knows it.  That's a tough challenge for any quarterback, even Drew Brees.

    Browns 17, Saints 30

St. Louis Rams @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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    Scott Halleran/Getty Images

    Well, the Rams should be feeling pretty good about themselves right now.  They are 3-2 and coming off an impressive victory against San Diego.

    The Bucs are also 3-2 but they are coming off a loss to the Saints, at home.

    The way Steven Jackson ran last week, as well as how well Sam Bradford stood in the pocket, I think the Rams have a real shot of making it two in a row.

    Could easily go the other way, but I'm going with the Rams.

    Rams 24, Bucs 18

San Francisco 49ers @ Carolina Panthers

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    Geoff Burke/Getty Images

    What a brutal game this promises to be.  1-5 San Francisco travels across the country to face the 0-5 Panthers.  Seems like a waste of fuel to me.  How about doing a coin flip?  Maybe best of seven wins?

    Well, in my "pick-em" this week, I went with the Niners since they are coming off their first win.  Then I started thinking of what a hard time teams from the West Coast have going across the States and playing so far from home.  Now, I'm leaning toward Carolina! 

    Then, I looked at the stats for both teams.  Turns out that Carolina is averaging just 10.4 points per game more than I am!  That is just terrible!  10.4 points per game?!  Very sad. That being said, 0-16 seasons are few are far between so I think I'm going to stick with the home team here.

    Niners 17, Panthers 18 (all field goals)

Buffalo Bills @ Baltimore Ravens

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    Larry French/Getty Images

    Another game that would not have to be played if this weren't such a strange year where upsets are the norm.

    The Ravens have too much on offense, defense and special teams for the Bills. That about says it all.

    Bills 6, Ravens 38

Arizona Cardinals @ Seattle Seahawks

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    Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

    This game could go either way.  Neither team is a world beater.  Neither team is horrible.  Both teams will fight it out to win the weak NFC West.

    Seattle is one of the NFL teams with the largest home field advantage.  The Seahawks are always good for a few false start penalties for their opponent.  They are truly the "12th man."

    Seattle is 2-0 at home and the Cards are 1-3 on the road.  That says enough for me to go with the home favorites.

    Cardinals 20, Seahawks 31

New England Patriots @ San Diego Chargers

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    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    Okay, before you Pats fans get all bent out of shape, let me explain.  When I started my blog several years ago, I told myself that I would never pick against my Bolts.  So far, I have stuck to that promise, even though I knew I was throwing away several picks throughout that time.  This may be one of those picks.

    Let's face it. There is no reason for a person to believe that the 2-4 Chargers will beat the 4-1 New England Patriots.  Even though Vegas has the Chargers as the favorite for this game, it is one of those times where you have to wonder what the odds makers were smoking when they came up with this line.

    Think about it, the Chargers are banged up all over the place.  Yes, they have the No. 1 rated offense in football, but look at the injuries!  On offense alone, the Bolts are missing their top two wide receivers (Floyd and Naanee), and that doesn't even include Vincent Jackson, who is officially still a holdout.  All-Pro tight end Antonio Gates has yet another toe injury and did not practice this week.  He is a game time decision.  Rookie running back Ryan Mathews has a sore ankle that limits his practice during the week, although it has not seemed to slow him down on Sundays.

    On defense, the Chargers have been rotating linebackers all year long.  Their leading tackler, Steven Gregory, has also been suspended for being stupid (I mean taking PEDs).

    Let's not forget that kicker Nate Kaeding is out this week as well. I'm not sure who gets the advantage there.

    The Pats, on the other hand, have looked outstanding on offense.  Even the trade of playmaker, Randy Moss, didn't slow them down.  Bill Belichick just went out and picked up former Pat Deion Branch, who promptly had 98 yards receiving in his first game back.

    As for being the number one offense, I don't get that either.  Yes, the Chargers average 433 yards per game on offense.  The Pats only average 354.  That's nice, but more importantly, the Chargers average 26.2 points per game against the Pats 30.8.  I'll take 30.8 any day over 26.2.  I just don't get the ranking system.

    Now, why should this game even be close?  I'll throw a couple of reasons out there, just for fun.

    1.  The Chargers are at home and the Pats have to travel to the West Coast.

    2.  The Chargers are averaging 39.5 points per game at home this year and the Pats are averaging 27.5.

    3.  Patrick Crayton stepped up last week and showed that he has developed some timing with Philip Rivers as he had over 100 yards receiving.

    4.  The Patriots secondary has shown that they will give up yards.  If Rivers has the time to throw, the Bolts could put up a lot of points.

    5.  Ryan Mathews is averaging over five yards per carry.  If Norv Turner remembers to use him, that could open up the passing game for Rivers.

    6.  The possible return of Brandon Siler should dramatically improve the porous Chargers special teams unit.

    Well, it's a stretch, but there are some reasons for Chargers fans to have hope.

    This is the kind of game that reminds me why I don't bet money on football.  I would have to put my money down on the Pats, but I just can't bet against my team. Oh well, here goes nothing...

    Patriots 28, Chargers 31

Oakland Raiders @ Denver Broncos

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    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    Here is a big AFC West matchup between the Raiders and the Broncos.

    I'm having a tough time picking this one due to my strong feelings for each team.

    The Broncos don't run the ball well, but they throw the heck out of it. 

    The Raiders have a good secondary (although that didn't really show against San Diego) so they could slow down the Broncos air attack.

    The Raiders can run the ball, which will keep Orton off the field and keep the score down.

    It is possible that the Raiders will beat the Broncos, but being that the game is in Denver, I have to go with the Broncos.

    Raiders 17, Broncos  24

Minnesota Vikings @ Green Bay Packers

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    Joe Murphy/Getty Images

    This is a toss up to me, but I have to favor the home team here.  The Packers have not been the team that I thought they would be, but injuries have been a large part of their issues.

    The Vikings should be scoring points all over the place, but they have not.  As much as I respect the accomplishments of Brett Favre over his career, I really hope that this frustrating season will be the last in his storied career.

    Vikings 20, Packers 23

    PS: I couldn't find any good Packers cheerleader pics, so I decided this girl would do.  Hope you don't mind.

New York Giants @ Dallas Cowboys

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    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Don't get too excited Cowboys fans.  I just couldn't do a cheerleader edition of my picks without using a Cowboys cheerleader picture. No, I don't think the Cowboys will win.  The 'Boys are struggling this year and it is my fear that Tony Romo will spend his day running for his life from the terrific G-Men pass rush.

    I spent last week watching Philip Rivers struggle to move the ball against the pass rush of the Rams.  Getting pressure on the quarterback is a big part of getting turnovers and keeping the other team off the board.

    Cowboys are favored at home, but I have to go with the road dog on this one.

    Giants 27, Cowboys 17

    Well, that's it for this week.  Thanks for the read and feel free to leave a comment about the games, or the girls.  I'll be sure to get back to you.  Enjoy the games!