Ramblin’ Fan’s NFL Picks and Predictions: Week 7


The Rams are coming off a throttling at the hands of the 49ers on Monday Night Football to officially nab them the longest losing streak under the spotlights of Monday’s. Thankfully, I am coming off my best week of the season (10-5 straight-up, 11-4 against the spread) to soften the blow. Hopefully my winning ways will rub off on the Rams as they look to sink the Seahawks down to .500.

What is the spread? In the gambling world, a “spread’ is a term used to handicap games by allowing a team to lose or win by a certain number of points while still winning for a bettor. If the Rams are +3 against the Seahawks, that means that the Rams could win outright or they could lose by two points and still be a victory for a bettor. In the same situation as above, the spread could also read as the Seahawks -3 which again would mean they have to win by three or more points to cover the spread.


New York Jets at New England Patriots (-10)

Despite what Rex Ryan says, the Jets are dysfunctional. They have two quarterbacks, one too young and inexperienced and the other too old and worn out. It became pretty apparent last week when the team managed a grand total of 204 yards offensively. What a difference two weeks make. The Patriots are now looking more like a fine wine rather than a cup of coffee you left sitting on your desk too long. Tom Brady has thrown for 653 yards and six touchdowns with no interceptions over the last two weeks. The Jets are too messed up and the Pats are too hot right now to expect a close matchup, especially in Foxbourough. Patriots win 38-14 (Patriots cover)


Atlanta Falcons at Baltimore Ravens (-7)

The Falcons overreliance on offense has caught up to them over the past three weeks. Atlanta may be second in yards and fifth in points, but they are also 29th in points against and 31st in yards allowed. There was nothing like a trip to Tampa Bay to clear the Baltimore Ravens senses. Joe Flacco threw five touchdowns in 16 minutes against the atrocious team while the defense tallied five sacks. I expect this game to be a battle, but the Falcons paper thin defense will fail them again. Ravens win 28-24 (Falcons cover)

Tennessee Titans at Washington Redskins (-5.5)

The Titans are managing to barely win games against teams they should probably beat. Tennessee’s two wins this season have come against teams that are a combined 2-8, compared to losing to teams that are a combined 15-5-1. The Redskins have decided to literally give wins away this season as they have notched 13 turnovers through six games. Kirk Cousins has managed to throw eight interceptions and has pretty much assured that Washington’s future, for better or worse, is RGIII. It’s hard to decide who will win this battle of mediocrity, but that Titans have at least been close in the games they loss. Titans win 20-17 (Redskins cover)

Seattle Seahawks at St. Louis Rams (+7)

I don’t think many people were expecting the Seahawks to roll into the Edward Jones Dome with a 3-2 record, but here they are. The two Seahawk losses came against teams with strong offensive lines and running games, so that may just be the key to topping them. Unfortunately for the Rams, the offensive line looked the worst it has all season last week against the 49ers. The Rams rushing attack averaged 3.9 yards per rush, but if you subtract Tre Mason’s 24 yard run the average was just 3.0 ypr. Add in the fact that Austin Davis spent most of the game running for his life and it could be a long week for the Rams defense. Speaking of the Rams defense, Janoris Jenkins had the kind of a week that Rams fans pulling their hair out once again. The overly aggressive cornerback got burnt all day long and was rarely in position to do anything right. Any way you slice it, it could be a long day for the Rams coming off of a short week against a team that will be determined to prove they’re legit. Seahawks win 24-21 (Rams cover)

Cleveland Browns at Jacksonville Jaguars (+5.5)

With the AFC North up for grabs, the Browns three-headed backfield looks like they could carry Cleveland to the divisional title. Ben Tate, Isaiah Crowell and Terrance West have all rushed for over 200 yards each and have averaged a combined 146.4 yards per game. Blake Bortles continues to show glimpses of being an elite QB in the NFL and this team would already have a few wins if they had a starting caliber running back and better talent across the offensive line. The Jaguars will need to hope that the Browns make mistakes, but since Cleveland has only two turnovers this season it is unlikely to happen. Browns win 34-14 (Browns cover)

Cincinnati Bengals at Indianapolis Colts (-3)

The Bengals managed to tie with Panthers last week, which but it was more a sign of a team trending downwards than anything. Over the past two weeks, the Bengals have allowed 80 points and 936 yards (including 413 rushing yards). The Colts managed a gritty win against a Texans team that is much tougher than anticipated. However, Luck was lucky to get out of that game alive because the offensive line was providing him no protection. Luckily for the Bengals the Colts have no real running game, but Indy has arguably the best QB in the world and that gives them the edge. Colts win 38-24 (Colts cover)

Minnesota Vikings at Buffalo Bills (-6)

It appears the Teddy Bridgewater had his rookie moment last game. A three interception performance exposed the rookies bad decision making that all rookies are accustomed too, but there was nobody to help bail him out. The Bills are coming crashing to Earth, but you can continue to thank the teams play calling for being the problem. Every week it seems I say this, but the team continues to leave it’s best players on the outs of the offensive gameplan. I’m expecting Bridgewater will look better and take a win on the road for Minnesota. Vikings win 19-17 (Vikings cover)

Miami Dolphins at Chicago Bears (-3.5)

The Dolphins could have easily walked away from their matchup with the Packers with a win, but the team feel apart. Miami could be a good team, but things are just not clicking in south beach. The team is averaging a solid 24 ppg, but allowing 24.8. These are not your parents Bears folks. Chicago’s defense is a patchwork of overachievers and their offense is one of the tops in the NFL. The defense played well last week against the high powered Falcons with the defensive line and secondary really stepping up their game. The Dolphins are close, but I don’t think they are ready yet. Bears win 28-17 (Bears cover)

New Orleans Saints at Detroit Lions (-3)

There may not be a more interesting team statistically than the Saints. Of course they score points, though not on the same pace as they usually do, but their defense ranks in the top 10 in yards allowed and 28th in points allowed. Coming off a bye week, the Saints will need to settle down defensively as the offense seems to be starting to show some age. In topsy-turvy land, the Lions have allowed the fewest points in the NFL this season, but are 27th in scoring offense. Stafford is on pace for another 4000 yard season, but the loss of Calvin Johnson could make this team much more susceptible to attack. The Lions offense worries me without ‘Megatron,’ and the Saints will continue to put up the points. Saints win 31-24 (Saints cover)

Carolina Panthers at Green Bay Packers (-7)

There may be no more valuable player to a franchise than Cam Newton right now. Between him and the fantastic work by the coaching staff, this Panthers team is punching above its weight class right now. The Packers certainly put on a show last week, but will that continue? Green Bay has had problems against mobile quarterbacks in the past, but the confines of Lambeau Field should remedy some of that. The biggest difference between these two teams right now is Newton has to carry the Panthers all the time compared to Rodgers who puts the team on his back in the clutch. Packers win 28-24 (Panthers cover)

Kansas City Chiefs at San Diego Chargers (-4)

The Kansas City coaching staff will be thankful they had the extra week off to try and decipher was has been happening on the field. One week the Chiefs are pounding the Patriots 41-14, the next they are getting edged out by an okay 49ers team. The Chiefs rank in the top five in points per game, but 30th in overall yards. The Chiefs run into the hottest team in the AFC when they travel to San Diego. Though it’s up for debate, Phillip Rivers is the best quarterback in the NFL in my book. He became the first quarterback in NFL history to have five straight games posting a passer rating of 120.0 or better after inking a 123.8 rating against the Raiders. Chargers win 45-17 (Chargers cover)

Arizona Cardinals at Oakland Raiders (+3.5)

People tend to forget that the Cardinals finished 10-6 last season, but there is no mistaking their talent this season. Bruce Arians has proven to be a genius by keeping the Cardinals in game with Carson Palmer out and even Drew Stanton out for a brief period of time. The team does enough offensively to let the defense do the dirty work and it has been a great tactic. Derek Carr has been looking better with each passing week, but the Raiders are still a mess. The team ranks in the bottom third in most categories and offer little threat to teams. The reason the Raiders stayed so close to the Chargers last week has more to so with some Chargers injuries than Oakland talent. Cardinals win 27-21 (Cardinals cover)

New York Giants at Dallas Cowboys (-6.5)

After looking like a darkhorse playoff team, the Giants got picked on by the Eagles last Sunday night. Aside from just being outscored 27-0, they were also outgained offensively by almost 200 yards. New York fumbled the ball three times and generated only one trip to the red zone. If you doubted the Cowboys before, you can’t now. The play of DeMarco Murray and the offensive line has been legendary and the no-name defense keeps exceeding expectations. Dallas seems like the class of the NFC right now. Cowboys win 34-24 (Cowboys cover)

San Francisco 49ers at Denver Broncos (-6.5)

The 49ers managed a big comeback against the Rams on Monday night, which was one of the few times the team has not played down to their competition. San Francisco beat the likes of Dallas and Philly, but has looked lost against Arizona and Chicago. If the 49ers could remain focused they could be a force again, but reports surfacing seem to point to the locker room falling apart. The Broncos are getting lost because they are the Broncos. Peyton Manning tosses a bunch of touchdowns and the defense is opportunistic and the game is over long before the final whistle. With the 49ers history of playing to competition I expect this to be close, but Denver should walk away with a win. Broncos win 38-34 (49ers cover)


Houston Texans at Pittsburgh Steelers (-3.5)

J.J. Watt is the best player in the NFL. The last defensive lineman to score three touchdowns was William Perry and he was used as a fullback in goaline situations. He has single-handedly made the defense look beter than it is and kept the Texans in games. As much as the game management of Ryan Fitzpatrick is solid, I think it’s starting to really show its limits. The Steelers remind me Jack and Rose at the end of the Titanic. Rose (aka the Steelers offense) is safely on the door, but Jack (aka the Steelers defense) is just clutching on for dear life. Texans win 24-21 (Steelers cover)