Site Editor Matt Loede’s NFL Picks for Week 7

Larry Johnson, with ball, leaps over an Oakland Raiders player as Raiders' cornerback Charles Woodson, top, looks on

Week 7 is already upon us in the NFL. Last week I went 4-5-2 in my picks, bringing my record for the season to 36-43-4. This is a new week, and here we go with my picks for the games on the slate.

Baltimore (-4) at Buffalo

The Ravens are starting to look like they did a season ago, but this time are doing it with Kyle Boller in there at QB instead of Steve McNair. The offense just looks a bit better with Boller, and I think that in the long run, he gives them the better shot to win. The Bills were on a bye, and might still be shell shocked over that last second loss to the Cowboys two weeks ago. The Bills look better as well with Trent Edwards at QB, but I think the Ravens can not afford to lose this game, and they know it. Baltimore 20 Buffalo 10

Minnesota at Dallas (-9.5)

The Vikings showed their might last week, topping the Bears thanks to rookie stud Adrian Peterson, who ran all over Chicago in a 34-31 win. Dallas has to recover fast from their awful home loss to the Pats, and the last two weeks overall they have not played all that well. The Tony Romo-Terrell Owens show will be on here in full effect, as the pair will see each other early and often, as the Vikings run defense is still very good. I think the Cowboys get back to what won them five straight – a big day from Romo and a defense that pressures Vikings QB Tavaris Jackson. Dallas 24 Minnesota 13

Tampa Bay at Detroit (-2)

Tampa Bay realized they were not going to win many games with Ernest Jackson rushing the football, so they went out this week and got former 1200 yard rusher in Michael Bennett. A good move, and they will need that rushing game this week in Motown vs the Lions. Detroit has showed signs of being very good, but also signs of being very bad. Two weeks ago in Washington they were blown out in every aspect, and I expect the Bucs defense to play a lot of the same zone that the Skins did to take away Jon Kitna’s passing lanes. The Bucs defense is the play here to create and get the win. Tampa Bay 17 Detroit 14

Tennessee at Houston (-1)

This game all comes down to one thing – the status of Titans QB Vince Young. If he plays, the Titans will have a shot, if not, I think they lose and lose big. The Texans were spanked last week by the Jags, and are starting slowly to get some players back that have been hurt, and need it. I think the Titans defense can help them hang around, but I don’t think they will have much in the way of offense without Young, and even with Young, he won’t be 100 percent and it will be tough to generate a lot against a pumped up Texans D. Houston 27 Tennessee 10

New England (-16.5) at Miami

It’s becoming a question of not will they win, it’s how much will they win by. That’s the likely storyline here in Miami, where the 0-6 Dolphins have already thrown in the towel on the 2007 season. No way, shape or form the Pats play down the Dolphins level here, and Tom Brady and the offense should continue to have a field day vs the weak Miami defense. The most asked question to the Dolphins players last week following their loss in Cleveland was “when does playing for pride become a factor?” Won’t matter here against the best team in football. New England 41 Miami 13

San Francisco at New York Giants (-7)

Suddenly the Giants are a contender in the NFC, as they pounded the Falcons on Monday night in Atlanta. Their defense has shined after allowing two bad games to start the season, and here against the weak 49’ers offense they once again should be able to beat up on QB Trent Dilfer, who starts for Alex Smith. Look for Eli Manning and the offense to not put up huge numbers, but against the 9’ers offense, they won’t need to. New York improves to 5-2 after this one, and the 49’ers lose their 4th straight. New York 21 San Francisco 7

Atlanta at New Orleans (-5.5)

Bryon Leftwich gets the start for the Falcons, and I don’t think it’s going to make all that much of an impact for Atlanta. The Saints finally played up to the level we all thought they would in 2007, beating the Seahawks handily last week on Sunday night. The offense made plays, Reggie Bush looked a lot better, and Drew Brees stayed away from the interceptions that hurt him the first four weeks of the season. They should finally have reason to celebrate in New Orleans, as the Saints deliver their first home win of 2007. New Orleans 30 Atlanta 17

Arizona at Washington (-6)

I thought the Skins outplayed the Packers last week, but some missed chances and the worst game in the career of Santana Moss did in the Skins to lose 17-14. The Cards are a bit of a mess right now, they played so well three weeks ago vs Pittsburgh, but since then barley beat the Rams on the road, and then lost Kurt Warner early and lost to the Panthers 25-10 at home. This week is another question mark for Warner, as they may have to go with Tim Rattay, which spells bad news for Arizona. I still like what the Redskins are doing, and I think at home they shine. Washington 28 Arizona 13

New York Jets at Cincinnati (-6)

Two teams that had playoff hopes in the AFC find themselves with a combined 2-9 mark after five weeks of the season. The Jets are in big trouble, as the QB spot with Chad Pennington is not producing, and last week Thomas Jones had his best day, but it was not enough to overcome the Eagles at home 16-9. Cincy is also in deep trouble, as the defense can’t stop anyone, and the offense continues to fight over the ball. Carson Palmer simply has to take charge, and make some plays with his wide outs. Marvin Lewis should be able to relax for one week here. Cincinnati 30 New York Jets 17

Kansas City at Oakland (-3)

This should be a very interesting game in Oakland, where the Raiders sit one game under .500, and the Chiefs come in at .500 after beating the Bengals at home last week. The Chiefs running game vs Cincy finally got on track, as did TE Tony Gonzalez who had a big day with over 100 yards and two scores. The Chiefs should be able to have a decent amount of offensive success here, and I think that the Raiders might finally come down to earth after playing well the first few weeks. KC is one of those teams you don’t know what your going to get, but they usually do enough against bad teams to win, and the Raiders are still not very good. Kansas City 23 Oakland 17

Chicago at Philadelphia (-4.5)

What happened to the Bears defense? They have all but become a shell of themselves in 2007, and last week against the Vikings they allowed tons of yards on the ground, and even the big plays unlike what they did in 06. This week against the Eagles, the Bears are just fighting for pride, as at 2-4 it almost looks like they have mailed it in on the season. Their offense actually showed up against Minnesota, but they need to put the clamps on Chicago native Donovan McNabb and the Eagles. Philly has won 4 straight against Chicago, and even though they only put up 16 points last week against the Jets, I think they have a better week here at home vs the Bears. Look for Philly to improve to .500 at 3-3. Philadelphia 24 Chicago 16

St.Louis at Seattle (-10)

The Rams use to own the Hawks, and it was just a few years back they beat them three times in one season. Since then though, the Rams have swept the season series, and look to get back to form here. Last week they were not very good at home in a shocking loss to the Saints, and their last two games have shown little on offense and not much fight on defense. They will attack Rams QB Marc Bulger, and try to knock him out of the game. As for the Hawks offense, they will try to get back to rushing the football, but will find things much easier in the air against a beat up Rams secondary. Hawks get back over .500 here. Seattle 23 St.Louis 10

Pittsburgh (-3.5) at Denver

The Steelers are getting healthy, and still at 4-1 seem to be the third best team in the league next to the Colts and Pats. This week they should be able to expose the weak Broncos run defense with Willie Parker and look for Ben Roethlisberger to continue to show why 2006 was a fluke. Ben has thrown for 9 TD’s and 3 picks, and has done a solid job in not making critical mistakes like he did last year. Denver will be without Javon Walker, and their runnig game will not find much against the Steelers run D. Denver needs to get some big plays, create Steelers mistakes, and Jay Cutler needs to have a good game. Too much to ask here. Pittsburgh 17 Denver 7

Indianapolis (-3) at Jacksonville

The Colts have already exercised two demons from last season in winning on the road at Tennessee and Houston, and can complete the sweep here in this emotional matchup with the Jags. At 4-1, the Jags have won four straight, and look like a wild card team and the biggest challenge to the Colts crown. Look for Indy to try and get RB Joseph Addai off early, and for Peyton to go downfield to Harrison and Wayne. Indy needs to do what they did vs the Titans and Texans, and that is attack. For the Jags, they will try to run against the Colts like they did last year, and use mistake free David Garrard to make some plays. Indy has something to prove, and will pull off a big win here. Indianapolis 21 Jacksonville 17


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