NFL Week 7 Picks: 13 Bold Predictions for Sunday's Games
Week 7 in the NFL has several interesting matchups, from a pivotal divisional showdown between Houston and Tennessee, to a battle between two teams trying to get back on track in Atlanta and Detroit.
There are also two Super Bowl rematches, one pitting the Super Bowl XLIII teams against each other in Pittsburgh vs. Arizona, and the other pitting the Super Bowl XLIV teams against each other in Indianapolis vs. New Orleans.
While not every game this week will likely be competitive, it will surely be an interesting week in the NFL. Here are my 13 bold predictions, one for every game this week, for Week 7 in the NFL.
13. Charlie Whitehurst Will Prove That He Should Be the Starter for the Seahawks
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With Tarvaris Jackson out with an injury, Charlie Whitehurst has been forced to take the reins against the Cleveland Browns. This should not be a difficult task for Whitehurst, as Cleveland's defensive unit aren't exactly world-beaters.
I believe that Whitehurst is a better quarterback than Jackson, who struggled greatly in Minnesota, and who should have never been given a second chance at a starting job. I think that Whitehurst will shine this week, but he won't get a lot of help from his poor offensive line, or the struggling Seattle defense.
I think this game will be closer than many may think, as Seattle keeps the game competitive, but Cleveland pulls out the win at home, 31-28.
12. Monday Night Football Will Continue to Flop When the Ravens Roll the Jags
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This may not be exactly a bold prediction, as most people are expecting a Ravens win, but I wanted to use this opportunity to make a point: hasn't Monday Night Football been awful this year?
The point of Monday Night Football has been to premiere competitive, marquee games of the week. Instead, fans are having to sit through non-competitive games like last week's Jets vs. Dolphins, and earlier in the year, and boring matchups between the Giants and the Rams, and the Colts and the Buccaneers.
And of course, let's not forget the game where the Cowboys beat the Redskins by kicking six field goals.
Unfortunately, Monday Night Football doesn't get much better this week, as we have to watch struggling Jacksonville face the AFC's dominant Ravens.
I don't really have a bold prediction for this one, as I expect it to be another boring, non-competitive game, where the Ravens win 35-7, which is a shame, because Monday Night Football is what every fan looks forward to.
11. St. Louis and Dallas Will Prove They Are More Alike Than People Think
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Many people are expecting the 0-5 Rams to be blown out be the Cowboys, who are a talented 2-3 team desperate for a win. However, I think that the Rams are just as desperate, and will keep the game close, especially considering how similar these two teams have been this year. That may be a stretch for some, but think about it:
While St. Louis has one of the worst records in the league, I feel that they've had a chance to win many of their games, if it weren't for key mistakes at the wrong times. This is a team that is banged up, and is struggling with a lack of discipline, as their receivers have been dropping balls, and many of their players have been committing stupid penalties.
While they have been more successful, the story of Dallas has been similar, as they have could have easily been 5-0 or 4-1 if it weren't for a couple of blown leads in the fourth quarter.
They have even won in spite of their mistakes, most notably on Monday Night against the Redskins, where they couldn't get into the end zone, and had to settle for six field goals to get the win.
In that game, they struggled with horrible receiver and offensive line play, much like the problems that have plagued the Rams all year long.
While I do think the Cowboys will win this one, I think it will be a game filled with stupid mistakes and lack of discipline, which will, of course, concern Cowboys fans for the future of this team.
While I do think both teams are talented, they both are struggling with sloppy play, and I expect a sloppy win by the Cowboys, 17-13.
10. The Colts Will Call Up David Garrard on Monday Morning
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Without Peyton Manning, the Colts have proven that they are little more than a 4-12 team, although at this point, it is questionable whether they will win a game at all.
With the Kerry Collins experiment having officially failed, the Colts are now trying out Curtis Painter, who is playing better, but the Colts are still struggling.
Against the Saints, I cannot see a way that Painter comes close to winning it for the Colts, especially since they are playing on the road.
I think that on Monday morning, after they are routed by the Saints 45-17, the Colts will call up David Garrard and give him a shot to turn this struggling team around.
9. Kevin Kolb Will Finally Have a Good Game and Will Upset the Steelers
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Not many people expected the Cardinals to be sitting at 1-4 after acquiring quarterback Kevin Kolb from the Eagles. Last year, it seemed that the missing piece for this Cardinals team was a quarterback, but this year, Kolb simply hasn't taken them to the promised land, despite the high price they paid for him.
However, this week, the Cardinals are desperate for a win, and are playing at home.
The Steelers are a solid 4-2, but have struggled in several of their wins, notably against teams similar to the Cardinals that have struggled: in Week 3 against the Colts, where they squeaked out a 23-20 win, and last week against the Jaguars, where they played a poor second half to narrowly win the game 17-13.
This week, the Steelers will play well, but a determined Cardinals team will avenge their Super Bowl XLIII loss, winning the game, 28-24, and giving the Steelers many questions that they will need to answer as they fall to 4-3.
8. John Beck Will Prove That He Should Have Been the Starter from the Beginning
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John Beck was originally going to be the starter in Washington this year, much to the skepticism of many, but Shanahan changed his mind at the end of the preseason and went with veteran Rex Grossman, who played well at first, but then steadily declined until crashing last week against Philadelphia, where he threw four interceptions.
Now, Beck will get his chance, and while he has limited experience as a starter, he is playing against a defense in Carolina that is average at best. Beck will play well, and, at least for the time being, prove to Mike Shanahan that he should have been given the starting job from the beginning.
This game will be more interesting than people may think, and while the Panthers will continue to play competitively, the Redskins win this one, 24-21.
7. Christian Ponder Will Throw over 300 Yards Against the Packers
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While the Packers are at a perfect 6-0, their defense has been surrendering passing yards at a disturbing rate. However, they make the right plays at the right times, and are able to still contribute to a win.
Just take Week 2 against Carolina as an example, where the Packers defense allowed rookie Cam Newton to throw for over 400 yards, but they still intercepted him three times.
I expect a similar performance this week, as Christian Ponder will give Vikings fans hope for the future as he throws for over 300 yards, but the Packers defense will take advantage of his inexperience, as he is intercepted twice, and the Packers go on to win, 31-20.
6. A Trip to London Will Prove to Be Disastrous for the Bears
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The Bears may be the most inconsistent teams in football, as they have played well against the Falcons, Panthers, and Vikings, but have struggled greatly against the Packers, Lions, and Saints.
Much of this can be credited to the Bears' very shaky offensive line, which has struggled all year long in keeping Jay Cutler upright.
Jerry Angelo and the Bears management have taken heat this season for not fixing some of the problems that plagued them last year. In addition, many players on the team appear to be unhappy with their deal in Chicago.
I think this team is bound for a fall, and I think that a trip to London may be what does it, as they are facing a good team while having to travel across the Atlantic Ocean in the middle of the season, which could be quite a challenge for an inconsistent and struggling team.
The Buccaneers will win this game, as the outing quickly turns disastrous for the Bears, losing 31-10.
5. Texans-Titans Will Be the Best Game of the Week
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While many people are curious to see what happens with the Chargers and the Jets, the Falcons and the Lions, and even the Chiefs and the Raiders, one game that is flying under the radar is the Titans-Texans game, which has the potential to be the most interesting game of the week.
The Texans are at 3-3, and face the Tennessee Titans, who have been a pleasant surprise this season, and are sitting atop the division at 3-2. Both teams are stronger on the offensive side of the ball, with both teams having premier running backs in Arian Foster and Chris Johnson, and both teams having solid quarterbacks in Matt Schaub and Matt Hasselbeck.
The problem for both teams offensively is the same, as well: their star receiver is not playing. Tennessee receiver Kenny Britt has been lost for the season, while Andre Johnson is out for a few weeks, as well. I think that both teams will rely on the run quite a bit, but at some point, with the quarterbacks that they both have, they will start passing the ball later in the game.
I think the Titans will win at home in a highly offensive 35-31 game, cementing their lead in the division.
4. The Dolphins Will Be Embarassed in Every Way, and Tony Sparano Will Be Fired
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Nothing is going right for the Dolphins this year: they are sitting at 0-5, their starting quarterback is out for the season, and their head coach, Tony Sparano, is as good as gone.
Add into the mix the fact that Dolphins fans seem to be in favor of taking the season off to get Andrew Luck, and Miami could easily be the worst team in the league this year.
This week, the Dolphins might have been lucky to be facing the similarly struggling Broncos, but of course, they can't catch a break, and are facing Tim Tebow, who is starting for the first time this season.
This season, Tebow, a Florida hero back in his college days, appears to be more popular in Florida than the Dolphins are, despite the fact that he is now residing in Denver and playing for the Broncos.
This week, despite playing on the road, Tebow may actually have the support of the opposing fans, which could add to a brewing disaster next week in Miami.
The Dolphins will get crushed on Sunday, 38-9, as quarterback Matt Moore struggles to get into the end zone, the Dolphins defense can't keep Tim Tebow out of the end zone, and the Dolphins fans start rooting for Denver. The next day, Tony Sparano will be fired as Miami falls to 0-6.
3. The Falcons Will Get Back on Track Against the Lions
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The Falcons are sitting at 3-3, already having matched the amount of losses they accumulated last season. They have been a disappointment so far, but have the talent, especially on offense, to turn things around.
While the Lions started 5-0, Jim Harbaugh and the 49ers exposed some of their weaknesses last week as they defeated the Lions at home, 25-19.
They are a talented team, and are certainly playing like one of the best teams in the NFC, but their struggles in stopping the run did them in last week with Frank Gore, and the Falcons could do them in again this week with Michael Turner.
While both teams are talented and looking to get back on track, I think that the Falcons will pull this one out in a close one, and this will be the beginning of a decline for the Lions, as they lose their momentum and fall to 5-2 in a 28-21 loss.
2. Norv Turner Will Get the Last Laugh Against the Jets
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The Chargers have been brutalized in the past two years against the Jets: after the Jets beat them in San Diego in the playoffs in 2009, the Jets signed former Chargers superstars LaDainian Tomlinson and Antonio Cromartie.
Turner fired back, asking Ryan if he got any of the rings he's guaranteed over the past few years.
The two teams are certainly brewing an ugly history with each other, and I think that the Chargers, who are sitting at 4-1, will get the last laugh against the Jets, who have been struggling at 3-3.
The Chargers win, 31-17, and in addition, I believe that throughout the course of the season, the Chargers will prove that they are bigger Super Bowl contenders than the Jets will be in 2011.
1. Carson Palmer Will Play This Week...in the Second Half
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The Raiders made the smart move this week by giving Carson Palmer two weeks to assimilate with the new offense, and give Kyle Boller the start. However, the Raiders may be forced to go with Carson Palmer earlier than expected.
I expect that the Chiefs will play the Raiders tough this week, and will take advantage of a backup quarterback taking the snaps. As a result, they will get out to an early lead, as Kyle Boller struggles and throws three interceptions in the first half.
In the second half, the Raiders are forced to put in Palmer to give themselves a chance to win. Palmer does just that, as he plays it conservatively on the first week, completing short passes and handing the ball off to Darren McFadden, but this does the trick, as the Raiders are successfully able to come back and win the game, 21-20.