NFL Picks for All 13 Week 7 Games
We're only halfway through the 2011 NFL season. Can you believe it?
As we enter Week 7, we'll take a look at all 13 matchups and predict who will come out victorious. Big games this week include San Diego vs. New York, Houston vs. Tennessee, Atlanta vs. Detroit and Chicago vs. Tampa Bay, among others.
Who will come away with a win? Who won't be so lucky?
Denver Broncos at Miami Dolphins
The Denver Broncos and the Miami Dolphins are a combined 1-9 this season, but their awful records don't account for how intriguing this matchup actually is.
The Dolphins will be searching for their first win, and they won't have starting quarterback Chad Henne to lead the way. Matt Moore will get the start instead, and he'll have a great receiver to throw it to in Brandon Marshall.
However, Marshall will be pestered by Champ Bailey all day, so Moore may have to look for different options.
The man that makes this game so interesting, however, is Denver's new starting quarterback Tim Tebow.
Tebow has been making headlines since the Broncos' decision to start him over Kyle Orton, but they recently traded top receiver Brandon Lloyd to the St. Louis Rams. Tebow will have to look for other options, such as breakout receiver Eric Decker.
I like the Denver Broncos to walk out of Miami with Tebow's first win of the season.
Broncos 24, Dolphins 20
San Diego Chargers at New York Jets
The New York Jets, who still speak confidently about earning a Super Bowl ring, are on shaky ground at 3-3 in a conference that also features the New England Patriots and the Buffalo Bills.
They'll be hosting the San Diego Chargers in what could be one of the best games of the day.
The Chargers, led by Philip Rivers at quarterback and Ryan Mathews at running back, will look to exploit New York's recent struggles on defense.
The Jets, however, will be looking to get back on track defensively. Quarterback Mark Sanchez will also look to bounce back after some inconsistent play over the past few weeks.
The biggest thing New York has going for them is that San Diego has played only one great team, a 35-21 loss to the New England Patriots.
With a home field advantage and more at stake, I like the Jets to send the Chargers packing with a loss after a big day from cornerback Darrelle Revis.
Jets 27, Chargers 25
Houston Texans at Tennessee Titans
The Houston Texans are in a position they didn't think they'd find themselves in going into this season.
At 3-3, the pressure is turning up as they look to get to the playoffs for the first time in franchise history.
The division rival Tennessee Titans, who sit atop the AFC South at 3-2, have their own playoff bid going on the arm of revitalized veteran Matt Hasselbeck.
The Texans will be without star receiver Andre Johnson, so they will need a big day from running backs Arian Foster and Ben Tate.
The Titans have been surprisingly good offensively, especially when you consider the loss of Kenny Britt at receiver and the ineffectiveness of Chris Johnson at running back.
Houston has a pretty stout defense, however, and if the secondary can play decently well, they should be able to overpower the Titans in this contest.
Texans 30, Titans 20
Atlanta Falcons at Detroit Lions
The Detroit Lions were handed their first loss of the season last week against the scrappy San Francisco 49ers, the best team Detroit has played all season.
The Atlanta Falcons are no slouch, though, despite a record of 3-3.
Atlanta's biggest advantage will be Michael Turner, who could potentially slash through the Lions' surprisingly average run defense.
However, the Lions are masters at getting to the quarterback, and they have a pretty good quarterback-receiver connection themselves in Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson.
Ryan has a knack for not playing particularly well on the road, and it won't help that he's going up against a line that features Ndamukong Suh, Nick Fairley, Corey Williams, Cliff Avril, Kyle Vanden Bosch and Willie Young. In the end, I like the home team.
Lions 28, Falcons 23
Washington Redskins at Carolina Panthers
The surprising Washington Redskins had a setback last week with a loss to the Eagles, but this week they get the poor man's Eagles.
The Redskins will start John Beck this week after Rex Grossman gift-wrapped the game for the Eagles in the form of four interceptions.
The Carolina Panthers will feature rookie Cam Newton, who has had a good year statistically, especially for a rookie. However, those stats haven't translated into wins, and I don't expect it to this week either.
The Redskins feature one of the top pass-rushing tandems in the league in Brian Orakpo and Ryan Kerrigan, and cornerback DeAngelo Hall could reap the rewards of some errant passes.
Redskins 31, Panthers 17
Chicago Bears at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (London, England)
In what could be one of the best games of the day, the Chicago Bears take on the Buccaneers in London.
The Bears will be led by quarterback Jay Cutler, who has played very well recently, but will be under fire from a young and talented Tampa defensive line.
Running back Matt Forte will need to have a big day both running and catching checkdown passes, as Cutler will probably be pressured quite a bit.
The Bucs will be led by Josh Freeman at quarterback, but will be without stud running back LeGarrette Blount. That's not exactly ideal when taking on the Marinelli-coached defense.
Young receiver duo Mike Williams and Arrelious Benn could give Chicago some problems, but considering how inconsistent they've been this season, I feel safer betting on the Bears in this one.
Bears 19, Buccaneers 13
Seattle Seahawks at Cleveland Browns
Perhaps one of the least intriguing matchups of the day, the game between the Seattle Seahawks and the Cleveland Browns will pit two 2-3 teams against each other.
The Seahawks will be led by...uhh...I don't even know who their quarterback will be. Probably Charlie Whitehurst. Maybe Tarvaris Jackson. I don't know. Either way, you're not confident if you're a Seahawk.
Anyway, they'll be taking on a pretty decent defense for the Browns, so they'll need good play from Whitehurst/Jackson, receiver Sidney Rice and running back Marshawn Lynch.
The Browns, led by quarterback Colt McCoy, will be looking to exploit one of the lower-ranked passing offenses in the league. They'll be without running back Peyton Hillis, but Montario Hardesty should be able to pick up the slack.
This could be something of a defensive struggle (or rather, the inability of the offenses to move the ball), but I'll go with the home team over the "Suck-for-Luck" candidate.
Browns 17, Seahawks 14
Pittsburgh Steelers at Arizona Cardinals
The 4-2 Pittsburgh Steelers travel to Arizona to take on the 1-4 Cardinals in a game that, frankly, shouldn't be a very close contest.
The Cardinals rank 20th or worse in every single defensive category, and that doesn't bode well against the likes of Ben Roethlisberger, Mike Wallace and Rashard Mendenhall. This offense should be able to shred the porous Arizona D.
Arizona's only hope rides on the arm of Kevin Kolb, the hands of Larry Fitzgerald and the legs of Beanie Wells.
Kolb and Fitz have had a decent season in tandem and seem to have a good rapport, but the pleasant surprise of the season is Wells' outstanding production. If Wells can do to the Steelers defense what Arian Foster did, the Cards might have a chance.
Still, I just don't see Arizona being able to stop Pittsburgh, and the Steelers' defense will be good enough to keep them ahead.
Steelers 38, Cardinals 24
Kansas City Chiefs at Oakland Raiders
The records for each team would suggest that the Oakland Raiders should handily beat the Kansas City Chiefs in this division rivalry game.
However, this may be more of a contest than many believe.
The Raiders will feature one of the league's top rushing attacks, led by Darren McFadden, and considering Kansas City's relative woes against the run this year, that might be as far as many look.
However, given Oakland's current quarterback situation, I wouldn't count the Chiefs out just yet.
KC has a secondary that is better than the numbers indicate, and whoever starts for the Raiders (it doesn't sound like it's going to be Carson Palmer) could really struggle. That should allow the Chiefs to put much more emphasis on stopping Darren McFadden, and if they're able to do that, Oakland's offense will stall.
On the opposite side of the ball, Kansas City still has one of the top rushing games in the league even without Jamaal Charles, and given the Raiders' struggles in the secondary, Matt Cassel could have a pretty good day.
The bottom line is, I'm still not sold on this Oakland team, and I like Kansas City in an upset.
Chiefs 28, Raiders 21
Green Bay Packers at Minnesota Vikings
The 6-0 Green Bay Packers will travel to Minnesota to take on the struggling 1-5 Vikings.
I honestly don't think the Vikings are as bad as their record indicates, but that won't show this week. This game could get ugly fast.
The Packers, featuring one of the best pass rushers and one of the best cornerbacks in the league in Clay Matthews and Charles Woodson, will have the privilege of going up against rookie quarterback Christian Ponder.
The Pack has really struggled against the pass this season, but that stat should improve against Ponder. As far as rushing goes, their fourth-ranked defense should be able to bottle up Adrian Peterson for the most part.
Offensively, the Packers could really pour it on. Vikes defensive end Jared Allen is a stud, but their secondary will likely get torched by Aaron Rodgers and the potent Green Bay passing game.
The Vikes just aren't there yet, and I see the Packers easily staying undefeated this week.
Packers 41, Vikings 20
St. Louis Rams at Dallas Cowboys
The St. Louis Rams are one of the only NFL teams still searching for its first win, and it's hard to believe that will come this week against the Dallas Cowboys.
Second-year quarterback Sam Bradford has really struggled this year, though that's due in large part to a lack of weapons and a porous offensive line. Bradford won't get a break this week against a defense coached by Rob Ryan and led by sack artist DeMarcus Ware.
Defensively, the Rams won't be in luck either. The Cowboys haven't been stellar offensively this year, but the Rams will still be overmatched by quarterback Tony Romo, receiver Dez Bryant and running back DeMarco Murray, a rookie who has really impressed so far.
The Cowboys should be able to rebound from their last-minute loss to the mighty Patriots and send St. Louis packing still without a win.
Cowboys 24, Rams 10
Indianapolis Colts at New Orleans Saints
If you're an Indianapolis Colts fan, you ought to be very nervous about this week's game against the New Orleans Saints.
First off, the Saints have the superior talent top to bottom. Peyton Manning has really masked Indy's glaring deficiencies, and his absence has badly exposed the Colts.
Second, the Saints are coming off a painful (literally, just ask Sean Payton) loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, so they'll be foaming at the mouth in this one.
Third, it's in New Orleans, so the Saints have the home field advantage.
Frankly, Indianapolis' only hope comes from defensive ends Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis. If they can get consistent pressure on Drew Brees and force him into some mistakes, the Colts could keep it somewhat close.
That said, I just don't see how they can pull off an upset with the odds stacked against them.
Saints 37, Colts 19
Baltimore Ravens at Jacksonville Jaguars
Finally, we come to our Monday Night Football game. The Baltimore Ravens will be traveling to Jacksonville to take on the Jaguars.
The Ravens should have the advantage on both sides of the ball in this one.
Quarterback Joe Flacco hasn't been a world beater this season, but his efficient play, which has complemented the outstanding production of running back Ray Rice, has been good enough to earn Baltimore a 4-1 record. Jacksonville's defense hasn't been too bad this year, but they won't be able to shut down the Ravens.
The real advantage, however, comes on the opposite side of the ball. Baltimore has one of the strongest defenses in the league, which ranks first, seventh, third and third in scoring defense, pass defense, rush defense and total defense, respectively.
That does not bode well for rookie quarterback Blaine Gabbert, who is still searching for his first win. A Jaguars win would have to ride on the legs of Maurice Jones-Drew, but expect the Ravens to be keying in on Jacksonville's only serious threat.
Ravens 34, Jaguars 17