The NFC West will kick off week 7 on Thursday Night Football with a showdown between the San Fransisco 49ers and the Seattle Seahawks. The Seahawks travel to San Fransisco fresh off their upset of the New England Patriots to face a 49ers team that was embarrassed by the defending Super Bowl champion Giants last weekend. In spite of the media hype generated by the Seahawks win the odds makers still have the 49ers as a 7 point favorite according to ESPN.com’s game preview. Week 6 was a rough week for quite a few NFL prognosticators, I went 5-9 with my picks last weekend and am looking for a big bounce back in week 7. So here are my NFL Week 7 picks followed up by my record tracking table.
Seattle @ San Fransisco. For the second Thursday night in three weeks a national audience will witness just how physical the NFC West has become. Russell Wilson will come back down to his 150 yards passing average as the Seahawks offense finds life very difficult against the best defense in the division. While this game wont be as lopsided as last Thursday Night don’t expect to see any late game drama like the last time Seattle was in primetime. 49ers win 24-16.
Arizona @ Minnesota. The Cardinals shaky offensive line travels to face one of the premiere pass rushers in Jared Allen. If Arizona wants to win this game they need to stop Adrian Peterson and force Ponder to beat them. Unfortunately for Arizona even if they do shut down the run their offense has suffered a string of injuries leaving them relatively punch-less. Vikings win 28 – 10.
Dallas @ Carolina. Dallas travels to Carolina following a game that they dominated statistically and still lost (sound familiar?). The Panthers are coming off the bye looking to improve their offensive production after being manhandled by the Seattle Seahawks in their last game. The Cowboys will be without DeMarco Murray after he suffered an ankle injury against the Ravens. These two teams have been pretty hard to figure out this season but I will go with the Cowboys based on talent level alone. Cowboys win 20-10.
New Orleans @ Tampa Bay. The New Orleans Saints are coming off their bye week which followed their first victory of the season. Tampa Bay just clobbered the Chiefs in Raymond James Stadium and will be hoping for similar success against the Saints. The Saints have been pretty terrible this year but perhaps the good vibrations from their first victory against the Chargers carries them through, that and they have Drew Brees. Saints win 31 – 21.
Green Bay @ St. Louis. I was feeling pretty good about picking the Rams over the Packers until Aaron Rodgers dismantled the Houston Texans defense. The Packers are dealing with injuries on the offensive and defensive side of the ball which should provide the Rams with opportunities. The Rams defense should have success against the Packers and a defensive/special teams touchdown is the spark that gets the homecrowd back into the game late and helps the Rams pull off the upset. Rams win 24 – 21.
Washington @ New York Giants. How impressive was that 76 yard touchdown run by RGII last weekend? That kid sure is fun to watch, but after watching the Giants absolutely manhandle what I would consider to be the most physical team in the NFL I can’t pick against them. That and they have Eli Manning, who I have heard is pretty OK at quarterback. Giants win 35 – 24.
Baltimore @ Houston. The only two teams in the AFC that are above .500 will go at it in Houston this weekend. Each of these teams lost star players on the defensive side of the ball last weekend, and Baltimore happens to have lost two of them including the emotional leader of the team Ray Lewis. I expect the Texans offense to bounce back and take advantage of a Ravens team that wont be able to adjust to the loss of their leader in one week. Texans win 30 – 17.
Tennessee @ Buffalo. The Titans are a better team with Matt Hasselback right now. Also I really don’t have many reasons to go with the Bills in this game. Going to go against the oddsmakers and take the Titans here. Expect Chris Johnson to have a big day against a defense that is allowing 174 yards rushing per game. Titans win 17 – 10.
Cleveland @ Indianapolis. This game features rookie quarterbacks with high expectations for future success. You have to go with the #1 overall pick Andrew Luck to get the Colts to .500. Brandon Weeden does have Trent Richardson to lean on, but he suffered a rib injury in last weeks game against the Bengals so its hard to say if he will be as dynamic as usual this weekend. Statistically the Colts have the better offense and defense, and Luck also has Reggie Wayne to lean on. Colts win 20 – 10.
New York Jets @ New England. The Patriots have to be very upset at the way they collapsed against the Seahawks last weekend. Tom Brady’s intentional grounding penalty at the end of the first half that cost them a field goal was the beginning of the end for New England in what was a string of uncharacteristic mistakes. Look for Brady and Co. to get back on track and take their frustrations out on Jets team that has had troubles stopping the run and pass without their star cornerback. Patriots win 31 – 13.
Jacksonville @ Oakland. This is a game the Raiders have to win following their gut wrenching loss to the Falcons last weekend. Darren McFadden and Carson Palmer should find success against a defense that is giving up over 400 yards per game. On the other side of the ball the Jaguars have had trouble getting anything going, if the Raiders can limit Maurice Jones-Drew and force Gabbert to beat them they will pick up win #2 on the season. Raiders win 23 – 17.
Pittsburgh @ Cincinnati. This is a tough game to call, I am just going to go with the gut feeling and the hometeam with this one. It should be a close game but injuries could keep Polamalu and Mendenhall from playing which would be a huge blow to the Steelers. Big Ben will probably hit a deep pass to Mike Wallace to keep the game interesting but Andy Dalton plays another smart and efficient game to pick up the win. Bengals win 20 – 14.
Detroit @ Chicago. I really want to pick the Lions to win this game but you just can’t trust them to play to their potential. You also can’t trust Jay Cutler and the Chicago Bears offense to protect the football. I can easily see the Bears jumping out to a big lead before Stafford and the explosive Lions offense claw their way back into it only to be denied the victory by the saavy Bears defense. Bears win 27 – 24.