NFL Week 7 Predictions

Friday upon us once again, 48 hours from kickoff in week seven of the National Football League. We have 13 games on tap this weekend, highlighted by a couple of solid AFC-NFC matchups. Last week I was a poor 7-6 with the Broncos and Bears bailing me out with Sunday and Monday night wins. That puts the season mark at 57-27. Without any more delay, here I go with picks for week number 7.

Carolina at Cincinnati – I knew I should have picked Cincy to fall in Tampa last week. Cincinnati is not playing good ball right now, they are giving up a ton of yards on the ground, and can’t seem to get the ball to Chad Johnson or in the end zone. In losing back to back games, Cincy has scored 13 in both games. They also are being stopped running the ball, ranking 22nd in the league with just over 97 yards per game. Steve Smith is back with a vengeance, and the Panthers are 4-0 with him, as he has caught 31 passes already for 450 yards and two TD’s. Tough call on this one, but the Panthers are starting to look more like the team a lot thought would represent the NFC in the Super Bowl. Carolina 27 Cincinnati 20

Detroit at New York Jets – The Lions finally got things together last week at home vs the Bills and Roy Williams and Kevin Jones finally stepped up and played well to help the offense hold off Buffalo. Williams had 161 yards on 10 catches, and Jones rushed for over 100 yards in the win. The Jets held off Miami after blowing a comfortable 4th quarter lead, but with a win here and game in Cleveland next Sunday, the Jets could actually find themselves at 5-3 at the halfway point of the year. Chad Pennington should be able to pick on a Lions secondary that is still allowing 247 yards per game. My heart says Detroit, my brain says the Jets in a close one. New York 17 Detroit 13

Green Bay at Miami – Ugh. The stinker game of the week between a 1-4 and 1-5 team, and while we knew the Packers were bad, who would have thought that Miami would be 1-5 entering week 7? Joey Harrington leads the Dolphins again at quarterback with Daunte Culpepper still out. The former Lion has thrown 4 picks and one TD in two starts. Miami is so bad, they have scored just 8 TD’s in six games. The Packers at least have some offense, with Brett Favre throwing 7 TD’s and 5 picks this year. The Packers must run the ball to get some of the pressure off of Favre. It’s usually a good idea to simply resort to the home team in these stinker games. Miami 20 Green Bay 17

San Diego at Kansas City – The Chargers are red hot after a win two weeks ago vs the Steelers and then another solid outing last week against the 49’ers. San Diego is averaging 30 points a game, and over 364 yards of offense. The team has begun to allow first-year starter Phillip Rivers to throw more, and its paying off. The Chiefs are in a bit of shock after last Sunday’s complete whitewash in Pittsburgh in which they were pounded 45-7. Their defense allowed 457 yards, the most in over 25 years, and the offense was simply null and void. LaDainian Tomlinson should have a big day vs the Chiefs, as KC is allowing 129 yards a game on the ground, and the Chargers are putting up 158 per game rushing. While this one will be a lot closer than last weeks two games involving these teams, the Chargers are simply the better team. San Diego 28 Kansas City 23

Pittsburgh at Atlanta – The Falcons are stunned after jumping out 14-3 on the Giants at home last week, only to end up on the short end 27-14. Atlanta cannot afford to fall behind, as the running game is what makes them tick, and while they are still putting up 232 yards per game, this is a tough spot for them against a fast Steelers D that is allowing just 78 yards per game on the ground. The Steelers will simply try to contain the Falcons running game, then blitz the heck out of Michael Vick and force mistakes. Ben Roethlisberger played his best game of the season a week ago, and the running game of Willie Parker and Najeh Davenport is starting to become a solid 1-2 punch for the Steelers. If the Steelers play even close to the level they did a week ago, they will leave the Georgia Dome a winner. Pittsburgh 24 Atlanta 14

Philadelphia at Tampa Bay – This game scares the heck out of me if I’m an Eagles fan. While on paper it looks like a win for the Eagles, Philly is a bit banged up on offense and got beat a few times on defense last week in a 27-24 loss to the Saints. They came out flat last week vs New Orleans, and after getting the lead gave it back in two minutes. Donte’ Stallworth is still hurting with a hamstring injury, and Brian Westbrook’s knee is still not 100 percent, leaving the Eagles offense limping a bit. The Bucs come in with a huge emotional win over the Bengals last week, and while they are still not that good, they finally got the running game and run defense on track last week vs Cincy. Bruce Gradowski is starting to feel more comfortable with Tampa’s offense, and in four games has thrown one INT with four TD’s. If the Bucs can run and get some pass protection for Gradowski, they can pull off the upset at home. Tampa Bay 20 Philadelphia 17

New England at Buffalo – The Bills always seem to play the Pats tough, and with coming off a loss in Detroit a week ago, the Bills have to be a bit anxious to get back on the field vs the division leading Patriots. The Pats are 4-1, but other than a big win in Cincy have not been exactly dominating teams. They have won their other three games by just an average of 6.3 points. The Bills had the Pats on the ropes on opening day but ended up falling 19-17 after leading 17-7 at the half. A better running game than what they had in the opener should help New England. Laurence Maroney and Corey Dillon are putting up close to 140 per game, and that also helps Tom Brady and takes some pressure off of him. J.P. Losman’s last three games for Buffalo have been poor, with four TD’s and four picks, and he is not making the plays he was in the first three weeks. In the end, the Pats are a better team that should find a way. New England 22 Buffalo 16

Jacksonville at Houston – The Texans are just a bad football team, and the numbers don’t lie. They sit 30th in offense, and 32nd in defense. Last week they gave up 34 points in a loss to Dallas, and don’t appear close to being a team that can compete on a weekly basis. They can’t stop the run (145.8 per game) nor run the ball themselves (67.6 per game). Don’t think the organization regrets passing on Reggie Bush now? The Jags should have an easy day, and coming off the bye look to rebound after dropping two of their last three. They did pound the Jets 41-0 two weeks ago, and should be able to duplicate their strong showing on defense in which they allowed just 177 total yards to New York. The Jags did suffer the loss of LB Mike Peterson, but there is not much here that should keep them from a win, an easy win. Jacksonville 31 Houston 10

Washington at Indianapolis – The Colts come back 5-0 after a bye week and look to get some things corrected. Indy had two scares entering the bye, including a close win at home vs the Titans. One thing they must improve on to keep undefeated is their run defense, which is worst in the league at allowing 166.8 yards per game, including 214 to Tennessee two weeks ago. Washington has had a real up and down season, losing two, winning two, and now losing two. Their home loss last week to the Titans was a stunner, and if Mark Brunell continues to struggle, there could be a change at the QB spot. Brunell is just 28-for-52 with 289 yards a TD and pick the last two games. The Colts should be able to use this game to get some of their problem spots worked out. Indianapolis 23 Washington 17

Minnesota at Seattle – The Hawks will again be without Shaun Alexander, but they gained some confidence last week in beating the Rams on the road without him. The Vikings should have success in stopping Maurice Morris, as Minnesota is allowing just 74 yards a game on the ground. With that, this should be a close, low scoring game that could come down to the fourth quarter. If the Vikings are going to pull off the upset, they need a big day from Chester Taylor, and a mistake-free day from Brad Johnson. Seattle has got to hit some big plays and pass protect better, as they have already allowed 17 sacks. There is some bad blood with these two teams with the offseason moves of Steve Hutchinson going to the Vikings, and Nate Burleson taking off to Seattle. This could be a fun one, and I will go with a rare loss at home for Seattle. Minnesota 27 Seattle 20

Arizona at Oakland – Before last week I had this as a possible game the Raiders could win, but after watching the Sunday and Monday night games, I have to change my mind. The only game that the Raiders have ANY shot of now winning in 2006 comes in six weeks, when at 0-11 the silver and black host the Houston Texans at home. The one positive number for Oakland is their defense, which despite getting no support whatsoever, is 8th in the league allowing 282 yards per game. The Raiders offense – that’s another story. Looking more like a team from the 1950’s, the Raiders are scoring an average of 10 points per game, and have had games of 0, 3 and 6 points. Matt Leinart and the Cards are still smarting after blowing a game at home Monday night to Chicago, but a trip to Oakland can cure any football team of its problems. Arizona 30 Oakland 10

Denver at Cleveland – Two teams that are offensively challenged take the field in Cleveland for a 4:15 start. Denver, despite allowing just 7.4 points per game in starting 4-1, are scoring just 12.4 points per contest. Their last two games, wins over Baltimore and Oakland at home, have both been by a 13-3 score. The Browns will be hard pressed to score more than 10-14 points, as they are 31st in offense, 26th passing and 29th rushing. They need some short fields and possibly a couple of turnovers to try and make this a competitive game. Let’s not forget though they did almost upset the Ravens at home three weeks ago, and will need that type of effort again to stay close to the much better Broncos team. Denver 17 Cleveland 7

New York Giants at Dallas – With no Sunday nighter due to the World Series, we jump to the Monday night game in Big D. The Cowboys offense got on track with a 34-point effort against the Texans last week, while the Giants overcame a 14-3 deficit to beat up the Falcons at the Georgia Dome. Both these teams are 3-2, and hoping a win will start a streak that will end with the NFC East title. Both teams put up a lot of offense, with the Giants at 401 yards per game and the Cowboys at 352 yards per contest. This one will come down to what defense can make some key stops, and what playmaker, Tiki Barber or Terrell Owens, has the bigger night. Dallas 29 New York Giants 27



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