And we’re back with picks for pro football’s complete slate of games this week.
Week 7 is always an intriguing week, because its midseason and the trade deadline is looming as well. So, what will unfold this week? Let’s dig in and find out with the chill of November on 2013’s horizon.
New England Patriots (-4) at New York Jets
The difference last time was New England’s defense and Tom Brady not making crucial mistakes. Expect a similar result this time, because Brady is building chemistry with his receiving corps.
Pick: New England straight up and against the spread
San Diego Chargers (-7.5) at Jacksonville Jaguars
San Diego continues to baffle the NFL. On the other hand, Jacksonville remains winless. Here, the Jaguars look like their offense has found some identity, but San Diego is generating confidence on each side of the line.
Pick: San Diego straight up, Jacksonville and the points
Houston Texans at Kansas City Chiefs (-6.5)
Kansas City is straight up better on both sides of the ball. Alex Smith doesn’t turn the ball over and Kansas City knows how to shut opponents down defensively. Unfortunately for Houston, its offense is a mess and its defense hasn’t been nearly as dominant as it was in 2012.
Pick: Kansas City straight up and against the spread
Cincinnati Bengals at Detroit Lions (-3)
Cincinnati may be 4-2, but three of the Bengals’ wins came at home. So, can the Bengals win on the road? Well, Detroit is 2-0 at home and fields quite an explosive offense. But Cincy’s top 10 defense and balanced offense will oppose the Lions. Go with the Bengals
Pick: Cincinnati straight up and the points
Buffalo Bills at Miami Dolphins (-8.5)
Feel free to dub this the “Inconsistency Bowl.” Both teams have logged wins over solid opponents, but have managed to faceplant when a win was expected. Miami enters on a two-game losing streak. As for this winner, it comes down to defense where Miami has a slight edge.
Pick: Miami straight up, Buffalo and the points
Chicago Bears at Washington Redskins (-1)
This battle of weak defenses also features two explosive offenses in an expected high-scoring affair. One disparity, though, lies in Chicago’s passing game and protection. The Bears can equal Washington on the ground with Matt Forte, but Jay Cutler’s receivers are the playmakers.
Pick: Chicago straight up and the point
Dallas Cowboys at Philadelphia Eagles (-2.5)
Another battle of two high-powered and fast-paced offenses line up in the NFC East. Philadelphia appears to be gaining confidence, but the Cowboys have been more consistent. If anything, the defense that applies more quarterback pressure will take the divisional lead.
Pick: Dallas straight up and the points
St. Louis Rams at Carolina Panthers (-6)
Each team fields an improved defense, but each is also vulnerable to the big play. That, ironically, is how St. Louis and Carolina also get it done offensively. The Rams have dramatically improved their passing game, while the Panthers have a dynamic ground game courtesy of Cam Newton’s dual-threat ability. That said, Carolina’s defense is legit and the Rams lack balance to control the tempo.
Pick: Carolina straight up and against the spread
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Atlanta Falcons (-7.5)
Tampa Bay certainly has an opportunity here to upset Atlanta on the road. The Falcons remains stagnant offensively, which doesn’t bode well for their ailing defense either. Fortunately, the Buccaneers are arguably worse off right now looking at each side of the ball. In addition, Atlanta just needs to focus on shutting down Doug Martin.
Pick: Atlanta straight up and against the spread
San Francisco 49ers (-4.5) at Tennessee Titans
San Francisco is looking better and better since its reality-check loss versus Indianapolis. On the flip side, Tennessee has taken some steps back without Jake Locker. Although each team has a strong ground game and defense, the 49ers are better in both aspects.
Pick: San Francisco straight up and against the spread
Cleveland Browns at Green Bay Packers (-10)
The air was quickly lifted out of Cleveland after the Browns squandered a second half lead against Detroit. As for Green Bay, the Packers continue finding ways to win and are just 10 points (combined from two losses) from sporting a perfect record. Cleveland has the better defense, but the Packers are opportunistic and possess the much better offense.
Pick: Green Bay straight up and against the spread
Baltimore Ravens at Pittsburgh Steelers (-2)
Ah the old NFC North defensive matchup: Baltimore against Pittsburgh. Interestingly enough, a win here for the Steelers keeps Pittsburgh in the AFC playoff hunt as well. The Ravens have struggled offensively and their defense is susceptible to the pass. That is an edge for the Steelers, because Ben Roethlisberger remains a playmaking quarterback, and his receiving corps is a bit underrated.
Pick: Pittsburgh straight up and against the spread
Devner Broncos (-6.5) at Indianapolis Colts
The story is Peyton Manning against his former team. But the outcome will be decided by defense. Denver gets Von Miller back to help control the line of scrimmage, while Indianapolis ranks fifth in pass defense. The Broncos do give up big plays but enter with the same number of sacks as the Colts (17). Factor in Miller’s return and Denver should down Andrew Luck just enough to get a win.
Pick: Denver straight up, Indianapolis and the points
Minnesota Vikings at New York Giants (-3)
Could this be New York’s first chance at a victory? Perhaps. The Vikings field a weak defense and have trouble against even the most unbalanced of offenses. On the other hand, the Giants lack a ground game and Eli Manning continues to struggle with turnovers. So, what will be the difference? Adrian Peterson.
Pick: Minnesota straight up and the points
Straight Up: 9-6
Straight Up: 54-38
Follow John on Twitter @Rozum27