At least any talk about an undefeated season in the NFL ended early this year, as no team made it as far as 4-0.
But the Oakland Raiders still have a shot at going 0-16. I don’t see the excitement in it since the Detroit Lions pulled off the feat just six years ago.
Still, historically bad teams continue to bring the curiosity of a car wreck. Never mind the Raiders are only 37.5 percent through their season, their strength of schedule playing AFC West and NFC West teams make victory possibilities, at least on paper, few and far between.
It is like a certain writer on Yahoo! when a certain mid-major in college ball starts a season with a few wins. The writer looks at what is perceived as a weak schedule and assumes that team will finish 12-0, and speculates whether that team would get consideration for the College Football Playoff.
The team Dan Wetzel spoke of has lost three times since. As for the Raiders, everyone assumes they will lose again this weekend because the Cleveland Browns cannot possibly lose to the Jaguars and the Raiders in consecutive weeks.
I’ll give Oakland a 20 percent average probability of winning each game for the rest of the season. That would still give them Raiders two wins.
And Derek Carr is the team’s quarterback. They will stumble into the Black Hole of victory at least once.
Week 7 record: 5-10
Season record: 57-48-1
San Diego Chargers (5-2) +8.5 at Denver Broncos (5-1)
Thursday Night Football will be worth your time this week, with two of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. Keenan Allen went off in a Chargers upset in Denver last year, is this the spot he breaks out of a season-long slumber?
ATS pick: Chargers
Detroit Lions (5-2) -3.5 at Atlanta Falcons (2-5)
Friendly fantasy reminder, this is a 9:30 a.m. Eastern Time start on Sunday. Calvin Johnson did make the trip to London, but his presence is for PR purposes only and he is not expected to play before the upcoming bye week.
ATS pick: Lions
Baltimore Ravens (5-2) -1 at Cincinnati Bengals (3-2-1)
Since a 3-0 start, the Bengals have dropped points in their last three games. Playing at home this game is obviously pivotal as the Bengals cannot fall two games behind the Ravens in the AFC North.
ATS pick: Ravens
Houston Texans (3-4) -3 at Tennessee Titans (2-5)
When bad things happen to the Texans, they happen in a hurry. I’m not counting the Texans out though, the thought of J.J. Watt and Jadeveon Clowney playing together in the second half of the season is scary, and Arian Foster is a rare three-down back. Meanwhile the Zach Mettenberger era in Tennessee begins earlier than anticipated, as it appears Jake Locker has played his final down in Nashville.
ATS pick: Texans
St. Louis Rams (2-4) +7 at Kansas City Chiefs (3-3)
The I-70 World Series did not quite happen, but we still have potentially the final battle of Missouri between these two entries, if Rams owner Stan Kroenke has his way and eventually moves the team back out West. Rookie Tre Mason has taken the keys to the Rams’ starting running back gig and was fantasy football’s hottest pickup this week.
ATS pick: Rams
Chicago Bears (3-4) +6 at New England Patriots (5-2)
The Bears showed more fight in the locker room last week than they did on the field. Those things never happen in Green Bay.
ATS pick: Patriots
Buffalo Bills (4-3) +3 at New York Jets (1-6)
With Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller both out, Bryce Brown and Anthony Dixon will now battle for starting duties for the rest of the season. At least the Bills have depth. Rookie Sammy Watkins officially announced himself as an elite receiver last week.
ATS pick: Bills
Minnesota Vikings (2-5) +2.5 at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-5)
I think we can finally take Jerick McKinnon off the Waiver Wire and Flex Appeal lists. The secret is long over, he is a legit top-15 back this week.
ATS pick: Vikings
Seattle Seahawks (3-3) -5 at Carolina Panthers (3-3-1)
This seemed like a marquee game when the schedule came out. This is hard to figure out as both teams need a wake up call following the events of recent weeks.
ATS pick: Seahawks
Miami Dolphins (3-3) -6 at Jacksonville Jaguars (1-6)
Ryan Tannehill is suddenly looking like an elite quarterback over the past few weeks. I personally made a rare great move picking up Denard Robinson on late word that he was getting the start last week. Now does Shoelace qualify at QB, RB, WR, or all three?
ATS pick: Jaguars
Philadelphia Eagles (5-1) +2.5 at Arizona Cardinals (5-1)
These two teams met in the NFC Championship six years ago and could see each other again in the postseason this year. Look for the Cards to overcome a career day by Zach Ertz to pick up the W.
ATS pick: Cardinals
Oakland Raiders (0-6) +7 at Cleveland Browns (3-3)
I should have held off on the Brian Hoyer anointing oil last week. Look for Johnny Manziel to make his debut in some way, shape or form in this game.
ATS pick: Raiders
Indianapolis Colts (5-2) -3 at Pittsburgh Steelers (4-3)
T.Y. Hilton has quickly turned into an elite receiver. Markus Wheaton, not so much.
ATS pick: Colts
Green Bay Packers (5-2) +1.5 at New Orleans Saints (2-4)
Eddie Lacy will be looking at a much easier schedule down the stretch, but only sees about 55 percent of the workload. The last time Green Bay visited the Superdome six years ago the Saints rolled up 51 points. I don’t see that type of carnage this week, but the Saints need this game too much to drop it at home.
ATS pick: Saints
Washington (2-5) +9.5 at Dallas Cowboys (6-1)
Jay Gruden’s squad can now move on after the Kirk Cousins experiment ended in failure. Colt McCoy may get the start with Robert Griffin III listed as a “wild card.”
ATS pick: Cowboys