NFL Week 7 Predictions and Fantasy Fooball Sleepers and Busts Picks

Luke Carlton@lukecarlton6Contributor IIIOctober 22, 2011

NFL Week 7 Predictions and Fantasy Fooball Sleepers and Busts Picks

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    We are coming up to the halfway point of the NFL season and we are still no closer to figuring out the playoff picture.

    Just to put things in perspective, if the season were to end right now, the AFC wild cards would be Buffalo, San Diego, Cincinnati and Tennessee.

    Obviously, we still have half a season of football left but it really is surprising how many teams have made the jump of bottom to top after six weeks of action. You can certainly expect some teams to drop off and some to make a resurgent charge towards the back end of the season.

    Just like your fantasy team.

    While I'd love to ramble on, lets get to the NFL predictions, fantasy sleepers and fantasy busts.

Seattle @ Cleveland

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    Picks Against Spread - Cleveland by three

    Yahoo Community Pick 'em

    Cleveland 77 percent
    Seattle 23 percent

    My Pick - Cleveland

    Whilst neither team possesses enough talent to jump out and confirm my pick, Cleveland is closer than Seattle.

    They both lack exciting players who you would truly pay to see and neither will be playing playoff football this January. So why Cleveland?

    Well, for starters, the game is at Cleveland, which is a tough place to visit. Add to that the Browns have a sneakily stingy defense and the Seattle offense is far from The Greatest Show on Turf, it becomes obvious to pick the Browns.

Atlanta @ Detroit

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    Picks Against Spread - Detroit by three

    Yahoo Community Pick 'em

    Detroit 81 percent
    Atlanta 19 percent

    My Pick - Atlanta

    I imagine this picture shows the reaction of Jim Schwartz if he were to read this prediction.

    While I'd like to believe that the Lions will be able to recover from a damaging loss to the upstart 49ers, A rebound game against Atlanta is not the place to start. They played an all-around good game against the Panthers and never seemed to lose control of the game.

    With Jahvid Best suffering from concussions (again), the running back situation in Detroit is getting very thin. If Best does sit out this game, Maurice Morris should take the bulk of the carries. If I'm the Falcons Defensive Coordinator Brian VanGorder, I'm giving my defense two objectives:

    1) Cover Calvin Johnson. This may be harder than it sounds.

    2) Cover Brandon Pettigrew. When the running game didn't work against Minnesota, the Lions offense turned to Pettigrew, who racked up 11 catches for 112 yards.

Houston @ Tennessee

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    Picks Against Spread - Tennessee by three

    Yahoo Community Pick'em

    Houston 63 percent
    Tennessee 37 percent

    My Pick - Tennessee

    Depending on how you look at this, this could be considered an upset pick.

    Tennessee tops the AFC South and it's becoming clear that they have a legitimate chance of reaching the playoffs. Andre Johnson is likely to miss this game—though that is yet to be confirmed—meaning that it will be up to Kevin Walter and Jacoby Jones to stretch the Titans defense, which currently ranks as a top 10 defense.

    It may come down to how well Arian Foster plays on Sunday, though going up against a defense which has given up just one rushing touchdown surely isn't a good start.

    Meanwhile, Matt Hasselbeck has found the fountain of youth in Tennessee and is showing the Seahawks what they are missing. While most people were expecting Jake Locker to gradually take over, it's evident that Hasselbeck does not want to play babysitter.

    He's got the sixth highest passer rating in the league and has become arguably one of the best game-managing quarterbacks in the league.

Denver @ Miami

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    Picks Against Spread - Miami by one

    Yahoo Community Pick 'em

    Denver 66 percent
    Miami 34 percent

    My Pick - Denver

    I don't like either team in this game, but seeing as though i have to make a pick, it's going to be the Broncos.

    I'm far from confident that Denver will cross the country for an early kickoff and win a game. Then again, it's more conceivable than Matt Moore leading a team to victory.

    This game has not one, not two, but three underlying stories. If you remember back to when the lockout ended, there were various rumours circulating about Kyle Orton being traded to the Dolphins. Orton pulled the plug on the deal due to a contract stalemate.

    Now, Orton is backing up Tim Tebow, who leads the Broncos into Miami on the Sunday celebration of the Florida Gators National Championship winning season of 2008. This wouldn't be so peculiar if the Dolphins didn't share their stadium with the Miami Hurricanes and if the Florida Gators didn't play on the opposite side of the state of Florida.

    Then we have our third story, which is Brandon Marshall lining up against his former side. Admittedly, the organisation has had a complete change-over, but it will still be interesting to see how Marshall fares against his former teammate Champ Bailey, a player he practiced against for four years.

San Diego @ New York

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    Picks Against Spread - San Diego by one

    Yahoo Community Pick'em

    San Diego 57 percent
    New York 43 percent

    My Pick - New York

    Predominantly, I don't like to pick west coast teams who travel to the east coast for a 1pm eastern kickoff. This case is no different from the others.

    Philip Rivers has been far from impressive this year, throwing more interceptions than touchdowns. This hardly bodes well when he faces the Jets, who have given up a mere three passing touchdowns. Compare this to their nine interceptions and you can forecast a bad day for the Chargers quarterback.

    Whilst the Jets haven't been playing at the level we expect them to, the win against the Dolphins should give them a confidence boost. The run defense still requires help and Mark Sanchez hasn't been spectacular. I'd like to say I'm confident the Jets can right their wrongs but they are a Jekyll and Hyde team.

    One weak they look unbeatable, the next they look like they could never win a game.

    Also, LaDainian Tomlinson is expected to start the game against the Chargers. My prediction: Tomlinson to score on a goal-line dive to give the Jets the lead with under a minute to go. Now that's a script Hollywood wouldn't even accept.

Chicago vs. Tampa Bay

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    Picks Against Spread - Chicago by one

    Yahoo community Pick 'em

    Tampa Bay 54 percent
    Chicago 46 percent

    My Pick - Chicago

    I am fortunate enough to be attending this game, so I will be able to see if my pick comes to reality first hand. It's safe to say that this will not be a home game for Tampa Bay.

    As much as they will try to make it a home game with flags and crowd pump-ups, There will be a greater majority of Chicago fans in the stadium than Tampa Bay fans.

    When football became more commercial in the UK in the '80s, The Bears were at the height of their success whilst the Bucs were, well, they still wearing those preposterous uniforms. That's enough for the history lesson.

    I've gone for the Bears for the reason that I think they aren't going to get distracted by the event. Not that the Bucs will be, I just think that the veteran leadership on the Bears will keep their heads focused on the game and getting the job done.

    If this game would be at Raymond James Stadium, I'm sure more people would pick the Bucs. Given that it won't, it's a neutral venue. The Bears clicked on offense and defense last week and I'm a believer that they will click again on Sunday.

Washington @ Carolina

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    Picks Against Spread - Carolina by two

    Yahoo Community Pick 'em

    Carolina 73 percent
    Washington 27 percent

    My Pick - Carolina

    I guess the main topic going into this game is the beginning of the John Beck era in Washington. I'm sure Redskins fans can barely hold in their excitement...

    Whilst I do expect the Panthers to win this one, It's not going to be a walk in the park. The Washington defense has been dominant for a long time and have continued their great play to start the season. Cam Newton is going to have to earn this victory.

Kansas City @ Oakland

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    Picks Against Spread - Oakland by five

    Yahoo Community Pick 'em

    Oakland 91 percent
    Kansas City nine percent

    My Pick - Oakland

    Let the Carson Palmer era begin in Oakland...right after this game.

    Reports out of Oakland suggest that Kyle Boller will lead the Raiders on Sunday. This may frighten some, but Oakland runs the ball more than they pass, so you should not feel concerned.

    A large dosage of Darren McFadden should be too much for the Chiefs defense to handle, so you don't have to worry about Kyle Boller throwing the game away. Worst case scenario, they can always fake another field goal...

Pittsburgh @ Arizona

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    Picks Against Spread - Pittsburgh by four

    Yahoo Community Pick 'em

    Pittsburgh 95 percent
    Arizona 5 percent

    My Pick - Pittsburgh

    Last week was far too close for comfort for Steelers fans. Everybody with an opinion on football expected the Steelers to steamroll the Jags and dominate the game from start to finish, yet Jacksonville was in the game till the very end.

    This week they travel west to Arizona, who are coming off their bye week. I've seen a few 'experts' take Arizona in this game as an upset pick and I can see their logic. Pittsburgh haven't been impressive at any point this season and have yet to show why they should be back in the Superbowl this year.

    Last year, you could expect a Pittsburgh blowout. This year, Kevin Kolb and co. might have something to say about that.

St. Louis @ Dallas

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    Picks Against Spread - Dallas by 14

    Yahoo Community Pick 'em

    Dallas 97 percent
    St. Louis 3 percent

    My Pick - Dallas

    This shouldn't be any more than a morale-boosting game for the Cowboys.

    The Rams cornerback situation is a shambles with three cornerbacks on IR. Sam Bradford is out for the game. There will be no excuses if the Cowboys lose this game.

    Tony Romo, the stage is yours...

Green Bay @ Minnesota

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    Picks Against Spread - Green Bay by 10

    Yahoo Community Pick 'em

    Green Bay 97 percent
    Minnesota three percent

    My Pick - Green Bay

    Talk about a baptism by fire for Christian Ponder. The undefeated Superbowl champions with a confusing blitzing defense. You can guarantee the Packers won't be feeling sympathetic.

    Jay Cutler was able to dissect this Vikings defense last week. Aaron Rodgers is a better quarterback than Jay Cutler. Aaron Rodgers will dissect this Vikings defense. It really is that simple!

Indianapolis @ New Orleans

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    Picks Against Spread - New Orleans by 14.5

    Yahoo Community Pick'em

    New Orleans 99 percent
    Indianapolis one percent

    My Pick - New Orleans

    I think we all realise that the Saints will win this game and justifying my point would be pointless, so here are a few interesting facts:

    1) Curtis Painter is a good quarterback: Five touchdowns, one interception, passer rating of 93.0. Curtis Painter has potential.

    2) Jimmy Graham leads tight ends with 39 receptions—second in the entire league. I made a trade in one of my leagues before the season: Marcedes Lewis for Jimmy Graham. Lewis has 10 receptions for 116 yards. Graham has 39 catches for 620 yards and three touchdowns. Winner.

    3) Darren Sproles leads running backs with 39 receptions. That's the same number as Jimmy Graham, tying him for second place. Who needs a running game when you have Darren Sproles out the backfield?

    4) Pierre Garcon is the number one receiver for the Colts. Since and including the Pittsburgh game, Garcon has 21 receptions for 405 yards and four touchdowns. Reggie Wayne has 16 catches for 218 yards.

    5) Indy doesn't stand a chance in this game. Even an Injured Sean Payton couldn't stop the Saints at home in primetime.

Baltimore @ Jacksonville

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    Picks Against Spread - Baltimore by nine

    Yahoo Community Pick 'em

    Baltimore 97 percent
    Jacksonville three percent

    My Pick - Baltimore

    I'd love to know which person thought it would be a good idea to give Jacksonville three primetime games, two of which are at EverBank Field. Outside of Maurice Jones-Drew, there are no players on the Jacksonville team I would like to see play.

    Baltimore win and ESPN must be kicking themselves by the third quarter as they run out of things to talk about.

Sleepers: QB-RB-WR-TE-D/ST

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    QB - Tim Tebow - He's a fantasy top ten quarterback for the rest of the year.

    QB - Matt Cassel - Raiders give up a nice chunk of points to fantasy quarterbacks

    RB - Ryan Mathews - Jets can defend the pass but not the run. Mathews should have a field day.

    RB - Jackie Battle - Forget Thomas Jones and Dexter McCluster, Battle is the running back you want.

    WR - Eric Decker - No more Brandon Lloyd means Decker is Tebow's new favourite target.

    WR - Brandon Lloyd - Remember how Lloyd played under Josh McDaniels last year?

    TE - Tony Gonzalez - He's found the fountain of youth!

    TE - Fred Davis - Chris Cooley is out and a good tight end is a bad quarterback's best friend.

    D/ST - Dallas - No Sam Bradford means Rob Ryan's defense can feast.

    D/ST - Denver - Look at it like this. They are playing the Dolphins. Surely that is a good omen.

Dreamers: QB-RB-WR-TE-D/ST

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    QB - Matt Ryan - Lions are very stingy against fantasy quarterbacks.

    QB - Kyle Boller - Don't even go there...

    RB - Shonn Greene - He's been benched by the Jets and should be benched by your team too.

    RB - Earnest Graham - Bears kept Adrian Peterson quiet, imagine what they can do with Graham.

    WR - Vincent Jackson - This week, on Revis Island...

    WR - Mike Williams - Can anyone say sophomore slump?

    TE - Marcedes Lewis - Still can't believe i got away with trading him for Jimmy Graham. He's awful.

    TE - Jared Cook - Texans are very good against tight ends and he's not really got an integral part of the Titans offense yet.