NFL Week 7 Picks: Which New Starting QBs Can Lead Their Teams to a Win?
Week 7 of the 2011 NFL season has potential to be the most exciting week thus far with four teams changing quarterbacks and a couple star players playing against their former teams.
Tim Tebow has been given the starting job in Denver and will play at Miami, who is 0-5. In Oakland, recently-acquired Carson Palmer will begin his career with the Raiders, as he will start against the struggling Kansas City Chiefs.
Will all the potential excitement, here are my picks for Week 7!
Washington Redskins vs. Carolina Panthers
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Mike Shanahan has benched Rex Grossman and will start John Beck at Carolina this Sunday.
These two teams are completely opposite; the Carolina Panthers have a great offense and struggling defense, while the Redskins have a great defense and struggling offense.
However, with the Panthers at home and motivated after losing yet another close game against the Falcons last week, they may crash Beck's "Welcome Back to the NFL" party.
For those of you who barely know who Beck is, the last time he was a starting quarterback was his rookie season with the Miami Dolphins—when they went 1-15.
If he couldn't even shine on a 1-15 team, what makes you think he can do it now? The Panthers may not have a field day on offense due to Washington's strong defensive game, but they will easily stop this offense.
Projected Score: Washington 10, Carolina 24
Seattle Seahawks vs. Cleveland Browns
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All signs point to the Cleveland Browns being without running back Peyton Hillis, who has dealt with strep throat, contract issues, trade rumors and is now battling a hamstring injury. Cleveland will most likely be without cornerback Joe Haden as well.
On the other side, Seattle could be without starting quarterback Tarvaris Jackson.
This game could go either way and will most likely be a low-scoring game without many big plays.
Projected Score: Seattle 10, Cleveland 13
Atlanta Falcons vs. Detroit Lions
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With Jahvid Best reportedly told to sit out the rest of the season due to concussions, Maurice Morris now becomes the lead back for the Detroit Lions.
After the Ronnie Brown trade was voided due to Jerome Harrison's failed physical, which was later reported failed because of a tumor found in his brain, Morris becomes the only option for their run game.
However, the connection between quarterback Matthew Stafford and wide receiver Calvin Johnson will make fans quickly get over the loss of Best if he does miss the rest of the season.
For Atlanta, rookie wide receiver Julio Jones—who owner Arthur Blank probably would have given up his wife to draft—is questionable and could miss his second straight game. That leaves Atlanta without their big-play receiver, as Roddy White continues to struggle.
As long as Atlanta sticks to their running game and hands the ball off to Michael Turner 25-30 times, they will have every opportunity to win this game.
However, with Detroit coming off their first loss of the season, they're going to be motivated.
Oh, and coach Mike Smith, read up on Shaking Hands for Dummies—you're going to need it.
Projected Score: Detroit 31, Atlanta 21
Denver Broncos vs. Miami Dolphins
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Ah, the matchup of the week; Tim Tebow returns to Florida and will get his first start of the season against Miami.
Sadly, this will feel more like a home game for Tebow, as the Dolphins are 0-5 and declining each week in ticket sales.
However, ticket sales have gone up this week—and I'll give you one guess why.
It's Tebow Time, and I am pumped!
The Matt Moore-led Dolphins don't stand a chance. I'm not saying the Broncos are that good of a team, but I love Tebow, and momentum is fully on Denver's side this week.
Projected Score: Denver 31, Miami 7
San Diego vs. New York Jets
LaDainian Tomlinson has reportedly been given the starting nod against his former team—San Diego—over Shonn Greene.
This is the first time Tomlinson has faced his former team after being released from the Chargers two years ago.
The Jets' offense is struggling, and the Chargers are the same disappointing team they have been for years, but this game has the potential to be a good one.
I think Tomlinson will go off on his former team, and the Jets' offense will finally get on track.
Projected Score: New York 24, San Diego 17
Chicago Bears vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
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The classic London game returns to the NFL as the Chicago Bears and Tampa Bay Buccaneers have been the lucky teams to play here Sunday.
I just want to say, players must hate doing this.
These two teams are very similar and will both have the same game plan. If they stick to it, this will be a fun game to watch.
Each team needs to run, run and run some more.
Chicago's passing attack is only average, but it has the league's most underrated player in running back Matt Forte. It's proven now that when the Bears just hand him the ball and let him do his thing, they win.
On the other side, Earnest Graham played well last week (filling in for injured LeGarrette Blount) and needs to do the same if the Bucs want to win.
Projected Score: Chicago 17, Tampa Bay 13
Houston Texans vs. Tennessee Titans
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The Houston Texans have suffered the injury bug early in the season, losing receiver Andre Johnson and linebacker Mario Williams to injuries.
However, they still have arguably the league's best back, when healthy, in Arian Foster. As long as they hand the ball off to him and Ben Tate, this team can win.
On the other side, Tennessee has enjoyed an impressive start, but until Chris Johnson returns to his pre-holdout form, they're still only an average team.
Projected Score: Houston 27, Tennessee 16
Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Arizona Cardinals
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It's the first time these two teams have faced each other since Super Bowl XLII—and man, have these teams taken different directions since that game.
Even though Pittsburgh looks like the favorite to win this game, Mike Wallace and Troy Polamalu are both questionable, and could miss the game.
For Arizona, they're coming off a bye and could shock the world.
This is my upset pick for the week if—keyword there—Wallace and Polamalu don't play.
Projected Score (if Wallace and Polamalu are out): Pittsburgh: 18, Arizona 21
Projected Score (if Wallace and Polamalu play): Pittsburgh: 34, Arizona 10
Kansas City Chiefs vs. Oakland Raiders
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Carson Palmer finally has reason to smile since he is now the starting quarterback of the Oakland Raiders and will make his debut Sunday against Kansas City.
The Chiefs had a breakout game before their bye last week, but I believe that was only a fluke, and they will be blown out by this pumped up Oakland franchise.
Projected Score: Kansas City 3, Oakland 38
St. Louis Rams vs. Dallas Cowboys
Tony Romo and the Dallas Cowboys have had their fair share of troubles these past few weeks, but they will finally be given a break against the winless St. Louis Rams, who could be without starting quarterback Sam Bradford.
Their backup? A.J. Feeley, who last started a game Dec. 2, 2007.
Chalk up an easy win for Dallas.
Projected Score: Dallas 28, St. Louis 6
Green Bay Packers vs. Minnesota Vikings
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A classic NFC North matchup, this one could be closer then we think.
The Minnesota Vikings have pulled quarterback Donovan McNabb and will start 12th overall pick Christian Ponder against the Packers.
The Vikings seem confident throwing him out there against the toughest defense in the league.
Minnesota needs to hand off the ball to Adrian Peterson 25-30 times a game since he seems to have a huge game against the Packers every year. If he has a big game, this team will have every opportunity to upset the Packers.
The talent is there, but I don't see this happening—yet.
Projected Score: Green Bay 42, Minnesota 17
Indianapolis Colts vs. New Orleans Saints
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The New Orleans Saints are coming off a loss against Tampa Bay and will look to overcome that against a Curtis Painter-lead Colts at the Superdome.
Drew Brees and Jimmy Graham are hitting their strides, and it will continue, as Graham will get his fifth-straight 100-plus receiving game against the Colts.
Break a leg, Sean Payton!
Projected Score: Indianapolis 3, New Orleans 41
Baltimore Ravens vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
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It's time Blaine Gabbert got a real taste of the NFL by going up against Ray Lewis and the nasty Ravens defense.
Projected Score: Baltimore 27, Jacksonville 10