I am finally back on track after picking 10-5 last week.
I missed on Houston, Minnesota, New Orleans, Arizona and Indianapolis. Houston had no business losing to St. Louis at home the way they did. I expected a lot more from the Texans, but I guess we have to acknowledge that maybe they just aren’t that good. It seems Carolina is impossible to predict. They lose in pathetic fashion one week and then manhandle Minnesota in Minneapolis. I just can’t get a feel for them. New Orleans played well, but the Patriots gameplanned incredibly well, shutting down the Saints offense and Jimmy Graham for most of the game. Frankly, I wasn’t sold on picking Arizona last week, but I did. The 49ers and Colin Kaepernick aren’t as indestructible as they were last season, so they will lose in surprise games. Indianapolis didn’t look like the same team that has beaten the Seahawks and 49ers this season. I expected more, but give credit to San Diego who controlled the clock and the game.
This week Oakland and New Orleans are on a bye. Let me know if you have any questions or concerns about my Week 7 NFL Predictions.
Thursday, 10/17 – 8:25 pm ET
Seattle Seahawks 5-1 @ Arizona Cardinals 3-3
Prediction: Seattle Seahawks
This game should be closer than expected as Arizona will be fired up to take on Seattle at home, but I can’t overlook Arizona’s biggest hinderance here. Carson Palmer and the Cardinals offense. Larry Fitzgerald is still dealing with injuries and Palmer is throwing the ball to the other team way too often. This combination makes Seattle’s defense a game-changer. I expect the Seahawks to limit the Cardinals offense and force a turnover or two while the Seahawks’ offense grinds out a win.
Sunday, 10/20 – 1:00 pm ET
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 0-5 @ Atlanta Falcons 1-4
Prediction: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Atlanta is sitting at 1-4 without Julio Jones for the rest of the season and potentially without Roddy White for this week. The Buccaneers are playing on the road at 0-5 with Mike Glennon making his third start. With White and Jones gone, Harry Douglas is the number one receiver in Atlanta. Tampa Bay should be able to contain him and tight end Tony Gonzalez and the Falcons’ run game isn’t enough to compensate. On the other side of the ball, Glennon has the ability to score on the Falcons’ defense. Normally, this would be a surprise pick, but with all the factors taken into account, I wouldn’t be surprised.
Chicago Bears 4-2 @ Washington Redskins 1-4
Prediction: Chicago Bears
Washington still can’t stop anyone and the Bears’ offense is high-powered. Couple that with Chicago’s opportunistic and talented defense matching up against a Redskins’ offense that is still trying to find it’s rhythm and you have, what I would consider, a pretty clear advantage for the Bears.
Dallas Cowboys 3-3 @ Philadelphia Eagles 3-3
Prediction: Philadelphia Eagles
The Cowboys defense looked pretty solid last week against the Redskins, but this week is a whole new beast traveling to Philadelphia to play either Nick Foles or Michael Vick in Chip Kelly’s offense. It doesn’t matter who plays in my opinion. Either will play well. I still think Dallas can win the NFC East, as I predicted at the regular season kickoff, but this week they will miss DeMarco Murray in the run/pass game and they could really miss Demarcus Ware rushing the passer. It will be a close game, but unless Tony Romo plays lights out and carries this Cowboys’ offense, I think Philly pulls off the win.
New England Patriots 5-1 @ New York Jets 3-3
Prediction: New England Patriots
I’m not picking against Tom Brady and Bill Belichick here. Belichick will have something planned for Geno Smith and the Jets. I expect Brady to continue winning games despite New England’s offensive struggles this season.
Buffalo Bills 2-4 @ Miami Dolphins 3-2
Prediction: Miami Dolphins
Miami comes off their bye week, with a week to prepare, against a Bills team, who looked impressive last week against Cincinnati, but is starting either Thad Lewis (who is dealing with a sprained foot) or newly signed Matt Flynn at quarterback. This Miami defense can create some havoc and should take advantage of the Bills offensive struggles and injuries to control the game.
San Diego Chargers 3-3 @ Jacksonville Jaguars 0-6
Prediction: San Diego Chargers
I was so close to picking Jacksonville this week, but alas, I will wait for them to surprise me before I buy into Justin Blackmon and company. Plus, San Diego’s defense is their weakness, but that same unit played very well a week ago against the Colts. I think the Chargers can keep it going.
St. Louis Rams 3-3 @ Carolina Panthers 2-3
Prediction: Carolina Panthers
What did I say about Carolina and how difficult they are to judge? So, this week I take them over another team that equally hard to gauge in St. Louis. The Rams dominated the Texans last week on the road, but this week I think the Panthers will get the better of them. The Rams rush defense is a mess and DeAngelo Williams has been quietly productive this season as the feature back. The Panthers defensive line is fantastic and will do enough to frustrate the Rams offense.
Cincinnati Bengals 4-2 @ Detroit Lions 4-2
Prediction: Cincinnati Bengals
If Lions receiver, Calvin Johnson, is not 100%, I’m taking the Bengals in a heartbeat. Their offense seems to be finally clicking, at least a little bit, with the emergence of playmakers like Marvin Jones, Giovani Bernard and A.J. Green getting back into the mix last week. The Lions offense played well with Johnson at less than 100%, but the Lions aren’t as high-powered without Megatron. Even with Johnson, the Bengals defense has looked good in the past couple weeks.
Sunday, 10/13 – 4:05 pm ET
Tennessee Titans 3-3 @ San Francisco 49ers 4-2
Prediction: San Francisco 49ers
The Titans should make this a game, but the 49ers have played better in the past couple weeks. Don’t overlook this matchup though as 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick has been underachieving this season and the Titans defense has played very well to this point. I think the lack of offense for Tennessee will be their downfall as San Francisco works the run game on their offensive possessions.
Sunday, 10/13 – 4:25 pm ET
Houston Texans 2-4 @ Kansas City Chiefs 6-0
Prediction: Kansas City Chiefs
Matt Schaub is out for this one and while maybe a change is needed to occur at quarterback, I caution Texan fans to be careful what you wish for. T.J. Yates played well a couple years ago as a rookie, but he honestly wasn’t asked to do much. I don’t think he is the upgrade that Texan fans are looking for. The Chiefs, on the other hand, sit pretty. Their offense hasn’t been asked to do too much with their defense dominating. I like that to continue this week, especially with a new quarterback under center.
Baltimore Ravens 3-3 @ Pittsburgh Steelers 1-4
Prediction: Baltimore Ravens
Whenever the Ravens lose, they seem to realize, as they always do, that they should run the ball more often and feed Ray Rice and Bernard Pierce. Well, last week they lost and the absence of a “Rice-focused” gameplan certainly didn’t help with Rice only getting 17 touches (14 run, three receiving) and 34 yards on the ground. If Baltimore is more balanced this week, Pittsburgh doesn’t have enough talent on defense to stop them and their offense isn’t explosive enough to keep up. This will still be a close, hard-hitting game, but even now as I write, it doesn’t have the same feel as previous years where this rivalry was the game to watch.
Cleveland Browns 3-3 @ Green Bay Packers 3-2
Prediction: Green Bay Packers
For me this comes down to Aaron Rodgers, for Green Bay, versus Brandon Weeden, for Cleveland. Without Randall Cobb for nearly the rest of the regular season, and James Jones potentially sitting out this week, Rodgers is missing two key weapons from his high-powered offense. Weeden played well, throwing for almost 300 yards, but still threw two interceptions and failed to get the Browns a win. Expect a low scoring game as the Browns’ defense is solid and the Packers’ offense is hobbled. I don’t think Weeden will light it up on the other side of the ball.
Sunday, 10/20 – 8:30 pm ET
Denver Broncos 6-0 @ Indianapolis Colts 4-2
Prediction: Denver Broncos
Will Indianapolis know more about Manning than other teams? Will Andrew Luck show that he is indeed the prophet and one true heir to Manning in Indy and knock off the legend? Much like I choose against Jacksonville until they prove me wrong, I choose for Denver until they prove me wrong. This week will be a challenge though as it could turn into a shootout against a talented Colts team who will be fired up to show the home crowd they don’t need Manning anymore.
Monday, 10/21 – 8:40 pm ET
Minnesota Vikings 1-4 @ New York Giants 0-6
Prediction: Minnesota Vikings
You know the person who scheduled this game for Monday night is cringing as both the Giants and Vikings have vastly underperformed. Many thought both had playoff aspirations, but to this point, the wheels for both teams seem to be coming off. The Giants offense is more turnover-prone than usual, which is a terrible sign, and their defense can’t stop anyone. The Vikings have no offense to speak of, despite Adrian Peterson’s presence, and their defense, in terms of NFL ranking, has actually been worse than New York’s. Minnesota is, reportedly, starting their third quarterback of the season in recently acquired Josh Freeman. Freeman, at the very least, gives defenses something to think about instead of just stacking the box and selling out to stop Peterson. I like Minnesota in this one for that reason. I mean… it should be a good game… but it just may not mean anything at all in the grand scheme of things this season.