The All-Important NFL Picks- Week 7
It's hard to believe that we're already heading into week 7 of the NFL season, but teams are certainly displaying the usual wear and tear that comes with being a football team. For example, Victor Cruz (torn patellar tendon) and Knowshon Moreno (torn ACL) were two of the most recent casualties to be put on injured reserve, and stars like Calvin Johnson and Darren Sproles are battling nagging injuries that will keep them out for some time. This obviously isn't something that is desired by NFL teams, but it's one of the main components in football (and all contact sports, for that matter) that teams should expect and prepare for. However, what won't stop is me making my weekly picks, so here we go for week 7:
Last Week's picks: 11-3-1
Total regular season picks: 51-39-1
New York Jets (1-5) @ New England Patriots (4-2): Thursday, 7:25 PM
After a media-swirled week of people wondering how much longer Tom Brady will remain a Patriot, New England was able to get the a big 37-22 victory over the division-rival Buffalo Bills. Now, they'll be in the comforts of their own home Thursday night against the New York Jets, who are currently in a 5-game losing streak. On top of that, their star Cornerback Dee Milliner will miss the rest of the 2014 season with a torn achilles.
Look, the Jets aren't in a great situation right now; the 5-game losing streak is one thing, but losing Milliner for the rest of the season is tough because Rex Ryan loves his shut-down corners in their 3-4 defense. Granted, the Patriots also lost Jerod Mayo and Steven Ridley for the season last week, but New England has adopted an effective "next man up" method since Belichick's arrival. I'll never guarantee that one team will beat another, but there's no way that I'm picking the Jets for this one... give me the New England Patriots.
Cincinnati Bengals (3-1-1) @ Indianapolis Colts (4-2): Sunday, 12:00 PM
I don't mean to do this on purpose, but it always seems like the Colts are in one of my featured matchups every week. That may just have do to with them facing teams with impressive records, but it's also because the Colts are contenders themselves. Andrew Luck is playing extremely well right now and is ready to have the word "elite" attached to his name. As for the Bengals, they haven't won a game since week three and will be hungry to get after Luck and his buddies. However, Cincy's defense struggled greatly in a tie against the Carolina Panthers last week, and although it may have just been rust from the bye week, it was apparent that they weren't ready to play. With Luck looking like a true MVP candidate right now, I'm going with the Indianapolis Colts at home. Also, Andy Dalton without A.J. Green will probably make it easier on the Colts defense, as well.
New Orleans Saints (2-3) @ Detroit Lions (4-2): Sunday, 12:00 PM
As I mentioned earlier, the loss of Calvin Johnson will hurt Detroit simply because he is the best wideout in the game. New Orleans, on the other hand, hasn't played like their 2013 selves and are coming off a bye week, so hopefully they adjusted a few things during the break. Can the Saints get back into the swing of things? I actually think they can, which is why I'm picking the New Orleans Saints to beat the Lions in Detroit. However, if they lose and the Carolina Panthers are able to beat the Green Bay Packers, they will end up finding themselves in a deep hole that will be difficult to dig out of.
San Francisco 49ers (4-2) @ Denver Broncos (4-1): Sunday, 7:30 PM
Apparently, the 49ers really didn't care about the buzz of Coach Jim Harbaugh heading out at the end of the season because they convincingly defeated the St. Louis Rams 31-17. Still, the quarterback they were going against was Austin Davis, a former undrafted rookie that has only begun to see his first NFL action. This is basically the polar opposite of Peyton Manning, who you should probably know a thing or two about if you're still reading this article.
This is a Sunday night game worth viewing because it could prove whether or not the 49ers and/or Broncos are the real deal; Peyton has now been shut down twice by the Seattle Seahawks, and if he can't pass against San Fran either, I doubt that he and the Broncos can win a Super Bowl this season. As for the 49ers, they've been shaky with inconsistent play by Colin Kaepernick and a long list of injuries, which now includes defensive leader Patrick Willis. My final thought is this: If Kaep is able to make some of the throws that he made on Monday night, San Francisco will win. I don't think that's much to ask for, so I'll pick the San Francisco 49ers to upset the Broncos.
Houston Texans (3-3) @ Pittsburgh Steelers (3-3): Monday, 7:30 PM
Look at this, a halfway-decent Monday night matchup! It's definitely not a Broncos-Patriots kind of game that we hope for, but at least the two teams are pretty even. First of all, Pittsburgh suffered a tough loss to the Cleveland Browns last week, but they still have the ingredients of a winning organization, which is a franchise quarterback (Ben Roethlisberger), a more-than-helpful coaching staff, and a defense that has both old and new stars.
As for the Texans, they have J.J. Watt. Seriously, need I say more? Watt is on a meteoric rise and I'm pretty sure he already has the vote for Defensive Player of the Year all locked up. Also, it looks like 1st overall pick Jadeveon Clowney could be coming back soon from his knee surgery; in fact, he'll have a 50-50 shot to play Monday night, which would make Watt even more dangerous. My biggest issue with Houston is their quarterback situation; Ryan Fitzpatrick has been starting the entire season, but at 31 years old, he's definitely not their long-term answer. They may decide to give the ball to Ryan Mallett instead, whom the Texans acquired from the Patriots in the preseason. Because Fitzpatrick has been shaky at best and with Houston actually having a chance of making it into the playoffs, I think Mallett would be the sensible option from now to the rest of the season (and beyond, perhaps). Nevertheless, I'll give the Houston Texans the win here because even with Fitzpatrick as their starting quarterback, the offense and defense are harmonizing and Coach Bill O'Brien deserves a lot of credit for that.
OK, you know the drill.... lighting round! Here's the rest of my picks for this week:
Minnesota Vikings (2-4) @ Buffalo Bills (3-3): Sunday, 12:00 PM
Atlanta Falcons (2-4) @ Baltimore Ravens (4-2): Sunday, 12:00 PM
Cleveland Browns (3-2) @ Jacksonville Jaguars (0-6): Sunday, 12:00 PM
Carolina Panthers (3-2-1) @ Green Bay Packers (4-2): Sunday, 12:00 PM
Miami Dolphins (2-3) @ Chicago Bears (3-3): Sunday, 12:00 PM
Seattle Seahawks (3-2) @ St. Louis Rams (1-4): Sunday, 12:00 PM
Tennessee Titans (2-4) @ Washington Redskins (1-5): Sunday, 12:00 PM
Kansas City Chiefs (2-3) @ San Diego Chargers (5-1): Sunday, 3:05 PM
New York Giants (3-3) @ Dallas Cowboys (5-1): Sunday, 3:25 PM
Arizona Cardinals (4-1) @ Oakland Raiders (0-5): Sunday, 3:25 PM