NFL Week 7 Picks: Can Norv Turner and the San Diego Chargers Salvage Season?
It's time for our NFL Week 7 picks and we're breaking down every game on the schedule, letting you know the favorites and what each team needs to do to win this week.
There are a couple of huge games on the schedule, including San Diego taking on New England. The Chargers are desperate for a win to save their season and a loss could not only kill their playoff hopes but cost Norv Turner his job.
Do I think the Patriots will end San Diego's season? You'll have to find out inside along with my predictions for the rest of the games on this week's schedule.
Pittsburgh Steelers Vs. Miami Dolphins
Why Pittsburgh Will Win
The Steelers have been rolling this season and now have Ben Roethlisberger back under center and it's only a matter of time before he gets into game shape and starts clicking with his wideouts. Not only that, but Pittsburgh has a tenacious defense that is always swarming around the ball. The Steelers only have one loss on the year and that was the product of a last-second, game-winning drive by Joe Flacco and the Ravens.
Why Miami Will Win
The Dolphins also have a good defense with a solid pass rush. Cameron Wake has been a revelation for Miami this season and has harassed opposing quarterbacks all season long. Chad Henne is starting to come into his own under center and has established relationships with Brandon Marshall and Davone Bess.
Pittsburgh 27, Miami 13
Cincinnati Bengals Vs. Atlanta Falcons
Why Cincinnati Will Win
The Bengals have become a passing team and Terrell Owens has led the way for Cincinnati. He's had a complete turnaround in his production since last year and has stepped up big for the Bengals this year. It's really just a matter of Carson Palmer getting him the ball without turning it over.
Why Atlanta Will Win
The Falcons can run the ball with great success and are seventh in the league in rushing. This has opened up the field for Matt Ryan who has made plenty of plays down the field this year, especially to his favorite target, Roddy White. Ryan has had a bounce back year and has the Falcons near the top of the NFC almost halfway through the year.
Atlanta 31, Cincinnati 21
Jacksonville Jaguars Vs. Kansas City Chiefs
Kansas City -4.5
Why Jacksonville Will Win
Jacksonville's success really hinges on the health and play of David Garrard. If Garrard can play after suffering a concussion on Monday night, he will have to protect the ball and make plays down the field for the Jaguars to win. When he's playing well, the Jags win, if he struggles, they can't make enough plays to seal the deal.
Why Kansas City Will Win
The Chiefs have two good running backs in Jamaal Charles and Thomas Jones and Matt Cassel has made plays from time-to-time in the passing game and had a big game last week. Jacksonville was torched in the passing game last week and for that matter, all season long. The Chiefs just need to buckle down on defense because they'll be able to make plays on offense.
Kansas City 24, Jacksonville 13
Philadelphia Eagles Vs. Tennessee Titans
Why Philadelphia Will Win
The Eagles will need to have success throwing the ball to win this game. The Titans give up a lot of passing yards and have players that can be exploited. Tennessee does a good job of defending the run and gets to the passer so Kevin Kolb will need to make quick decisions and accurate throws to keep the Eagles in the game.
Why Tennessee Will Win
The Titans have made huge strides on offense this year but need to do a better job of blocking for Chris Johnson. He struggled against Jacksonville until late in the game where he scored a late touchdown. If Vince Young is healthy, he'll need to make throws down the field to set up the running game.
Tennessee 38, Philadelphia 27
Washington Redskins Vs. Chicago Bears
Why Washington Will Win
To win, Donovan McNabb will have to make plays in the passing game to give the Redskins a chance. Washington has struggled to run the ball this year but is in the top 10 in passing yards. If McNabb can be productive and not turn the ball over and the defense can get after Jay Cutler, it's a recipe for success.
Why Chicago Will Win
It starts and ends with protecting Jay Cutler. Cutler has been sacked 16 times over the last two games and he's going to get killed if something doesn't change and soon. It's not just the offensive line, Cutler has done a horrid job of picking up blitzes and making the proper adjustments at the line. If he can't stay upright, the Bears have no chance.
Washington 24, Chicago 13
Cleveland Browns Vs. New Orleans Saints
New Orleans -13
Why Cleveland Will Win
The Browns are a scrappy team that hangs around in a lot of the games they play but they'll have to run the ball and control the clock with Peyton Hillis to try and keep Drew Brees off of the field. If Cleveland can keep the Saints' high-powered offense off the field for as long as possible, it's going to give the Browns the best possible chance to win.
Why New Orleans Will Win
The Saints had a big statement game last week, beating up on Tampa Bay in a blowout. New Orleans hadn't done that all year long and to do that, especially with the big plays in the passing game, not to mention the great performance it got from Chris Ivory, is a big confidence boost. We'll see if the Saints can carry that momentum into this game.
New Orleans 38, Cleveland 16
Buffalo Bills Vs. Baltimore Ravens
Why Buffalo Will Win
You know, I tried to think of a reason, I really did, but I've got nothing. The Bills can't throw the ball, they can't run the ball and they can't stop the other team. This team has the first pick in the draft written all over them. Better luck next year Bills fans.
Why Baltimore Will Win
Ray Rice has finally started to produce for Baltimore and add that into Joe Flacco and his plethora of targets in the passing game and you've got a deadly combination for any team, let alone one that has major issues on defense, especially against the run. Look for Baltimore to pound the rock early and often against the Bills.
Baltimore 35, Buffalo 13
San Francisco 49ers Vs. Carolina Panthers
San Francisco -3
Why San Francisco Will Win
The 49ers should be able to run the ball with Frank Gore all day long and find success with that plan. Alex Smith hasn't been great to say the least, but he'll make some plays in the passing game and get things done. It shouldn't be hard against this Carolina defensive unit.
Why Carolina Will Win
There aren't many reasons. Steve Smith is hurt, Matt Moore is back in at quarterback and the Panthers can't run the ball with the two most talented players on their team in DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart. It's a mess for the Panthers and it's only going to get worse as the year goes on. Can they just fire John Fox now?
San Francisco 27, Carolina 10
St. Louis Rams Vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Tampa Bay -3
Why St. Louis Will Win
The Rams have been in every game they've played minus the blowout against Detroit two weeks ago. Sam Bradford is the runaway favorite for rookie of the year and there's an energy that's around St. Louis that hasn't been there in years. Not only that, but Steven Jackson is still producing at a high level.
Why Tampa Bay Will Win
Josh Freeman has been more than solid under center for Tampa Bay this year and he's made plenty of clutch plays for the Buccaneers this season. Tampa Bay isn't spectacular in any facet of the game but find ways to win. The Bucs are a team that wins ugly.
St. Louis 24, Tampa Bay 14
Arizona Cardinals Vs. Seattle Seahawks
Why Arizona Will Win
The Cardinals are 3-2 and to be honest, I couldn't tell you how. Arizona has struggled mightily on offense and the defense isn't much better either. It's just timely plays and a little bit of luck. It doesn't hurt that the Cardinals are in the NFC West either.
Why Seattle Will Win
The Seahawks always perform at home and are undefeated on their home turf this season. Seattle also stuffs the run and makes its opponents very one-dimensional. The Seahawks aren't a great team, but they'll fight you the entire way and we'll see if they can get their first division win.
Seattle 24, Arizona 17
New England Patriots Vs. San Diego Chargers
San Diego -3
Why New England Will Win
With Deion Branch back in the fold in New England, the Patriots didn't skip a beat as Branch registered as many catches in one game as Randy Moss did all year in a Patriots' uniform. The Patriots are 4-1 and rolling on the year and are trying to get the Super Bowl group back together again.
Why San Diego Will Win
Two things the Chargers do well is pass the ball and stop the pass. San Diego is tops in the NFL in both categories and Philip Rivers has put the team on his back and tried to lead the Chargers to victories but to no avail. Rivers will need to be big again this week in order to get a win.
New England 31, San Diego 30
Oakland Raiders Vs. Denver Broncos
Why Oakland Will Win
The Raiders win with big plays. Look at the San Diego game where Oakland made two huge special teams plays and an interception on defense to seal a win against the Chargers. The Raiders aren't the most talented team in the league, but they can make big plays when needed to during the course of a game.
Why Denver Will Win
It starts and ends with Kyle Orton. Orton is one of the top passers in the league this year and he can air it out on anyone. You can't really stop Orton and the Denver passing game, but you can slow them down and that's the best Oakland can hope for this week. Imagine how good the Broncos would be if they still had Brandon Marshall.
Denver 42, Oakland 24
Minnesota Vikings Vs. Green Bay Packers
Green Bay -2.5
Why Minnesota Will Win
The Vikings just need to hang on to the ball. Brett Favre has turned the ball over way too much this year and he's going to have to play like he did last week where he was more of a game manager and didn't try and force too much. If he can keep the turnovers down and make enough plays to unleash Adrian Peterson, the Vikings should be fine.
Why Green Bay Will Win
It certainly won't be running the ball. Green Bay is decimated by injuries right now and the Packers are going to rely on Aaron Rodgers to get the job done. He's going to be throwing a lot on Sunday night and he's going to have to find room to throw down the field against Minnesota. It won't be easy in the least, especially against that defense, but it needs to be done.
Minnesota 24, Green Bay 20
NY Giants Vs. Dallas Cowboys
Why New York Will Win
The Giants are a physical team who can beat you in a bunch of different ways. They can run over you with Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs, or they can throw it over the top with Eli Manning and company. Not only that, but the Giants have a top 10 defense against the run and the pass and it's going to be tough to move the ball against them.
Why Dallas Will Win
Really it comes down to desperation. The Cowboys need this in the worst way imaginable. Dallas has shot itself in the foot all year long and has cost itself a couple of wins they should have had. Tony Romo needs to make plays in the passing game to try and set up a running game that hasn't been there all season long. If Dallas wants this more, it will take this game. There needs to be urgency from the Cowboys.
Dallas 27, New York 20