NFL Picks for Week 7
by John Canton(NFL)
Posted on October 21, 2006, 7:08 AM
John: Welcome to week seven of our weekly NFL picks column. I'm not that excited this week mainly because my Rams have the week off and when that happens my interest is basically solely on whoever I bet on, or who I have on my fantasy teams. I like the bye week, though. It's good for the team so I'm all for it. Onto the picks, I went 8-5 last week and I did poorly against the spread. Hopefully I can nail the spread picks better this time although after looking at the games this week I'm not so sure. Lots of road favorites all over the place. That's always something that scares me. Here's the Q man with his intro.
drq: I can't believe it's mid-season already. It seems like we've just begun, but in another couple of games we'll be talking about the playoff possibilities and eliminating some teams outside of Oakland from contention already. The football season really is too short. Anyhow, last week I posted an 8-6 record in my picks... better than my lofty goal of .500 or higher, but not really anything I'd call expert analysis. After what seemed like a fairly easy set of predictions two weeks ago, where all the favorites took home a W, this past week's games were a little crazier. Who could've anticipated Tampa turning it around against Cincy, or the Titans shocking the Redskins? Or the Cardinals completely dominating the Bears for four quarters, but still finding a way to pull a defeat from the jaws of victory? Those are the moments that I love to watch as a fan, if not as a predictions author. Here's hoping for another week of shocks, surprises and impossible upsets... just so long as the only underdogs to emerge victorious are the ones I'm picking.
John: No intro from Brett, so here's how the current standings are looking:
Last Week: John Canton: 8-5
Brett Berliner: 7-6
Brett extends his lead some more as we head into the week six picks.
Note: The following teams have byes this week: Baltimore, Chicago, New Orleans, San Francisco, St. Louis, Tennessee
Carolina at Cincinnati 1:00 p.m. drq: This should be a lot of fun. I think the Bengals have more weapons offensively, but the fireworks that the Panthers' big guns can deliver are bigger and badder than those of their Cincy counterparts. The Bengals should get a big boost out of their home field crowd, and one or two ill-timed turnovers by Jake Delhomme could easily be the Panthers' undoing, but Carolina's been playing really well lately. The Bengals... not so much. Carolina: 21 - Cincinnati: 20
Brett: I'm not ready to give up yet on the Bengals - I wish I were, though. I mean, to be fair, they've only made the playoffs two seasons in a row ONCE in their history, so there's a good chance history is catching up with those who sold their soul for a division title. Regardless, they have too many weapons and a defense that, while it isn't great, isn't enough to keep them from the playoffs. The Panthers come in on quite the roll. It's too easy in the NFL to lose a few games and be considering disappointing, with analysts not remembering that it is, indeed, a 16-game season. Hence, the Panthers are still Super Bowl contenders. But in Cincinnati, coming off a very disappointing performance against the Buccaneers, the Bengals are going to bounce back. This is the game of the week, though, I think. Cincinnati 26, Carolina 21
John: Tough call here. The Panthers are proving themselves to me with four straight wins because Steve Smith is playing as well as he did last year. The Bengals, meanwhile, are coming off a loss to the shitty Bucs, so who knows what's up with them. Maybe a home game will cure their woes, but I'm not confident enough to pick them. I think maybe all the arrests and off field distractions are affecting their play. Either that or their offensive line is worse than we thought, Palmer's not as healthy as we may think and the defensive secondary really is poor. I'm leaning towards the Panthers here because I think Smith will get his yards and their defense will do a good enough job of containing the Bengal offense. Panthers 27-20
Detroit at N.Y. Jets 1:00 p.m. drq: This is likely to be an extra-sloppy game, since both teams have been more than willing to sling the ball with reckless abandon (especially in the fourth quarter) and aren't being noted for their defensive play. The Lions can be dangerous when they're matched up against a team committed to the run defense, but that description doesn't really fit the Jets this year. I like New York to escape with another field goal margin of victory, while the Lions suffer yet another close defeat. New York Jets: 20 - Detroit: 17
Brett: The Lions did, indeed, get their first win last week, and they looked relatively impressive doing it. The Jets, on the other hand, got stomped by the Jags. So we have two teams heading in opposite directions, but realistically, I think they switch directions again this week. The Lions aren't a bad football team - they've given a game to some really good teams, to be fair - and the Jets aren't quite good yet - despite the fact that THEY have given a game to some really good teams, but I just don't see the Lions as being strong enough to come into the Meadowlands and beat a Jets team who plays very hard. Jets WIN(Note from John: He forgot to put in the score.)
John: I finally got it right in picking Detroit last week, but I'm not going that route again. Since their best defensive player Shaun Rogers is out that's going to hurt their run defense quite a bit. Of course the Jets can't run too well since they have like four RBs that are all mediocre at best. Still, their offense is the better of the two and they should be able to slow down the Lion offense a bit. I think the Jets are decent, so they're likely to handle things here at home. Jets 23-13
Green Bay at Miami 1:00 p.m. drq: Miami's one of a handful of teams this season, who seem to forget what they're doing for the first three quarters of the game and then come on really strong at precisely the moment it becomes too late to recover. They've got all of the talent in place to make a serious run at their division, if not a deep trip into the playoffs, but here they sit at 1-5, surrounded by questions. Green Bay is a team these Dolphins should be able to drop a bundle on, but so was Tennessee. So was Houston. So were the Jets, really. I can see the Pack trying to turn this one into a track meet, but the Fins pulling up short after the first turn. Green Bay: 30 - Miami: 14
Brett: I don't want to watch this game.. I'm glad it's not on here in Columbus. Yuck, disgusting, gross.. those are some words that I think will describe this game. Both teams are very, very bad, and I don't realistically know who I think is going to win. I guess I go with the home team, but I'm not going to like it. Miami 6, Green Bay 5
John: I can't believe I picked Miami for the playoffs. I'm disgusted by that team. I thought Ronnie Brown would be an elite rusher, but he's not. I thought Culpepper would be close to what he was two years ago and now he's injured or just benched because he sucks. The defense isn't very good either for some reason. Since Miami pisses me off all year I'm going with the Packers. It's two bad teams. Does it really matter who wins? Packers 24-17
Jacksonville at Houston 1:00 p.m. drq: The Jaguars are my survivor pick this week, but I'm not at all happy to be in that kind of a predicament. David Carr and Andre Johnson have been really putting on a show in Houston, despite all of their losses, and I still think the Jaguars' pass defense is inherently flawed. Byron Leftwich should have a field day with the Texans' defense, and early Rookie of the Year candidate Maurice Jones-Smith looks to have another big day on the ground for the North Floridians, but I think Houston will remain within striking distance all day long. The Jags are my pick, but they're far from a lock. Jacksonville: 21 - Houston: 14
Brett: Well, the Texans aren't good, no, but they've certainly showed signs of life. They need some players to protect David Carr, and they need some help in the secondary, but they have a lot of building blocks in Carr, Eric Winston, Andre Johnson, Mario Williams, DeMeco Ryans and Dunta Robinson. They just need to keep their core together, keep drafting well, and I have the faith. Hard to be a scary team when your starting RB is Ron Dayne, and he is leading the team with less yards than some good RBs have in one game. Yikes. The Jags are too tough of a team right now, even without Marcus Stroud, to not win this one running away. Jacksonville 30, Houston 13
John: I just don't see the Texans being able to move the ball very much on the Jags. Plus the Jags are coming off the bye, they've had two weeks prepare for this bad team and I think that's a formula for success. I wouldn't be shocked with an upset since the Texans are a plucky team. I just have more confidence in the Jags in this one. Jaguars 27-10
New England at Buffalo 1:00 p.m. drq: The surprise game of week one was New England vs. Buffalo, as the Bills very nearly sent the Pats home with a tough division loss and kept pace with them throughout the game. I'm not expecting a repeat performance this time around. The Patriots have really begun to gain steam over the last several games, while the Bills have stagnated and begun to tread water. McGahee couldn't get anything going against this team in week one, so who's to say the results will be any different this time around? I think the Patriots take this one fairly comfortably. New England: 24 - Buffalo: 7
Brett: Didn't these guys play already? I can't stand that, in the NFL. I know, scheduling is tough, but they are division rivals, and although this isn't the case.. what if this had playoff implications? You're blowing a potential division race game so early. I like to save these for the stretch run. Anyway, as I've said before, I really believe that the Bills are a better team than they're showing, but they just can't quite put it together. I think they finish the year strong and set up for a potential playoff birth next year, but the Pats running game is just too much at this point. New England 20, Buffalo 10
John: Like Jags/Texans, it's the better team on the road against the worse team at home in a divisional game. These games are always tricky because there is the familiarity of the opponents and it's a huge game for the weaker home team that could make their season on beating the quality opponent. Still, it's hard for me to like the Bills offense at this point because it's way too inconsstent. The Pats are doing pretty well offensively and I think they're going to hit their stride from this point forward. Don't be shocked if they're the top seed in the AFC again. Patriots 29-14
Philadelphia at Tampa Bay 1:00 p.m. drq: It figures. I ride the Bucs' wagon for most of the first quarter of the season, and just as I begin to give up hope, the team rises to a significant challenge and upsets the Bengals. Even rookie QB Gradkowski seemed determined to prove the experts wrong, as he aired the ball out several times with surprising accuracy, an area I'd heard he struggled with. Perhaps most relieving to Tampa's fans, though, was the reappearance of the team's storied defensive unit. MIA for most of the first four games, the D came to play against a potent Bengals offense and almost totally shut them down. The Bengals haven't really been themselves yet on offense this season, however, and the Eagles... well, the Eagles have been constantly overachieving. Philly is a tough team right now, but I think the Bucs have the edge on them in confidence, especially after a tough loss to the Saints. This is likely my "idiot pick of the week," but I'm going with the Bucs. I think Tampa comes out shooting, quickly gets up by two scores, and then unleashes the Cadillac. Tampa Bay: 17 - Philadelphia: 14
Brett: The Bruce is on the loose! I'm not sold on Gradkowksi - his arm is underwhelming and he doesn't move well at all - but he beat the Bengals last week and there's something to be said for that. If the Bucs play the game they want to every week - physical, run the ball and let the defense force them to make mistakes, every game is winnable - even this one. I just don't think that they will be able to play that game. The Eagles are really good, and probably pretty pissed about their defeat last week. Eagles don't roll.. but they win. Philadelphia 20, Tampa Bay 10
John: I'm disappointed in Philly. They had the chance to make a big statement by winning in New Orleans last week and instead they laid an egg. The Bucs, meanwhile, actually beat a good team in the Bengals somehow. I'm still confused by it, to be honest. Cadillac Williams is looking average this year while Gradkowski is as shaky as you'd expect any rookie QB to look. I like the Eagles a lot this year. McNabb's my MVP pick now, Westbrook looks solid (last week notwithstanding) and defensively they seem to be doing a good job. I just can't see Philly losing two in a row. Not against a bad team like this. Eagles 26-13
Pittsburgh at Atlanta 1:00 p.m. drq: The Falcons are reeling, after dropping two of their last three and being completely and utterly humbled at home by the Giants last weekend, while the Steelers seem to have finally found their swagger in the midst of a blowout victory over the Chiefs. Though both clubs are known for their stout defenses, each has shown signs of weakness this year. The Steelers are having trouble defending the pass, while the Falcons are losing yardage to the run. And, while public perception has dictated that the secret to defeating Michael Vick is to make him throw the ball, he's been steadily improving in that department over the past couple of seasons. I can see Willie Parker having a huge day against the Falcons, but ultimately it'll come down to Vick's arm and Pittsburgh's inability to gain a sack against such a mobile passer. I'll take the Falcons via non-traditional means... at least, non-traditional for Vick. Atlanta: 27 - Pittsburgh: 21
Brett: Boo the hated Steelers. Boo, I say. I think last week was a good week for Steelers fans, and not just because they won - but because they can point to the fact that Pittsburgh started to turn it around. Of course, it was only against Kansas City, who isn't all that great, but still - you let a sleeping dog lie, you don't poke him and wake him up out of his funk. Obviously - Atlanta is a better team than the Chiefs, but they don't match up well with the Steelers (primarily - the Falcons offense is run based, and the Steelers have very solid run defense). I see Pittsburgh rolling. Pittsburgh 28, Atlanta 17
John: I'm not really sure what to think of either team. The Steelers looked impressive in killing the Chiefs last week, but the reality is their two wins are against underachieving teams in the Chiefs and Dolphins. The Falcons got throttled by the Giants for some reason. I think they're too good for that to happen two weeks in a row at home. This'll be a close, hard hitting game won by the team that forces more turnovers. Since I'm not exactly sold on Roethlisberger this year I'm going to pick the Falcons because I think they'll be so motivated after last week's debacle that they'll end up pulling this out. Falcons 24-23
San Diego at Kansas City 1:00 p.m. drq: Kansas City is a spotty team this year. It would be easy to point at the loss of Trent Green as a nearly incapacitating moment for the club, but his replacement, Damon Huard, hasn't been playing all that poorly in the starter's role. They've still got plenty of pieces, but thus far haven't been able to get enough of them together in the right places to identify just what the picture's supposed to be, let alone finishing the damned thing off. The Chargers, meanwhile, are looking like one of the AFC favorites once again. Their one perceived weakness coming into the season, an unproven rookie QB named P. Rivers, is beginning to emerge as a true weapon. Which, in turn, opens the floodgates for the best running back in the league and, after that, a ferocious pass rush. The Chiefs could still turn things around, but they'd desperately need a win here to have any prayer of post-season activity. I just don't see them overcoming their shortcomings, home field or not. San Diego: 20 - Kansas City: 6
Brett: Oooh, upset special this week. The Chiefs have lost two in a row, one bad, and I don't think they are as bad as they got beat last week in Pittsburgh. Arrowhead is a tough place to win, the Chargers - under Schottenheimer - always find a way to lose games they should win - and as good as Philip Rivers is, he's essentially a rookie QB who will have at least a couple of bad games. Kansas City 26, San Diego 20
John: Two teams that I nailed perfectly before the year. I thought the Chargers would become a top AFC team and I thought the Chiefs were very overrated. Turns out to be pretty right. I don't like the Chiefs chances here. They have been run on a lot, they have a tough time running against good run defenses (the Chargers have one, ask the Steelers) and until Trent Green is back the offense just isn't explosive at all. I like the Chargers pretty handily, even on the road in a notoriously tough stadium. Chargers 26-14
Denver at Cleveland 4:05 p.m. drq: I hated the gameplan Denver employed against the Raiders last week, and not just because I needed Jake Plummer to produce more than three points to win my fantasy football matchup. It was gutless, it showed zero confidence in their offense, and it was one of the most boring matches I've ever witnessed. The Broncos seem to have a top-notch defense this season, although they haven't really played a top-level offense to prove themselves, but unless they start to get a whole lot more out of their offense, they're in for another disappointing result at the end of the year. Putting up only thirteen points against the Raiders is almost disgraceful, but it worked, and I don't see Mike Shanahan changing it up much this week against the Browns. Beware of a rude awakening in the not-too-distant future, guys. You're going to need more than just defense to beat the Colts, Steelers, Chargers (x2) and Seahawks. Denver: 14 - Cleveland: 6
Brett: I wish I could say this is an upset special. OK, I am going to say this is an upset special, screw it. I think Denver's a good team but overrated. I think Cleveland's not a good team, but they are underrated. The Denver defense is pretty good this year, but it isn't stifling - it's just good. Their offense isn't fantastic, and the difference here is going to be the really really good special teams play of Cleveland KR Joshua Cribbs, who will either take one to the house, or set the Browns up with good field position for their only touchdown. Cleveland 13, Denver 10
John: First of all, let me say that I officially will not bet on a Denver Broncos game against the spread again. They are scared to pass. They have no faith in Jake Plummer, so instead of actually scoring on the shitty Raiders they'd rather punt it away to let the defense win the game. It works, sure, but if you're betting on the team it's the most painful looking offense in the league. With all this said, they're better than the Browns. By a bit more than a field goal. Broncos 13-9
Arizona at Oakland 4:15 p.m. drq: Arizona's defense played totally out of their minds against the Bears this past Monday night, and it was an absolute inspiration to behold. These guys were so full of enthusiasm and energy, to which the Bears' offense had no antidote, that they very nearly won that game single-handedly. The offense, on the other hand, started the game with a brilliant march down the field, concluded it with a touchdown, and then set about twiddling their thumbs and leaning back against the defense in the hopes that the game would be merely awarded to them after the first half. I know they ran the concept into the ground on the ESPN broadcast, but this team really doesn't have a killer instinct. They took the field on that final drive with such an incredible lack of determination and vigor, it almost seemed that the eventual outcome was predetermined. It's fortunate for the Cardinals that they've been given this moment to claim an easy victory over the hopeless Raiders, but these guys really need to find their spirits and put them to good use. All the talent in the world can only get you so far...Arizona: 21 - Oakland: 3
Brett: This is another potential upset special. By which, I mean it will upset my stomach! In all seriousness, this game is going to be awful, but I think the Raiduhs are going to blow what could be their first win. The Cardinals cannot be happy with their performance last week, and with Leinart looking good and three top WRs, there's no reason they shouldn't just say "Screw it" and air it out. It will create more room for Edge, and the Raiders are bad enough that the Cards should be able to throw at will on them and improve Leinart's timing and chemistry with his receivers. Arizona 30, Oakland 16
John: Hahaha, like I give a damn. I guess the Cards can beat this team. Can we get Dennis Green coaching the Raiders? It would probably mean more press conferences like last week. Cardinals 27-10
Minnesota at Seattle 4:15 p.m. drq: I'm not sure what happened to the Vikings. Early in the year, they were shaping up to be a major dark horse in the North, but then they dropped two straight, by a combined eight points, and just sort of dropped off the edge of the Earth. This game against Seattle is a great opportunity to recapture some of that lost momentum, to send a message to the rest of the league that they intend to compete, but the Seahawks (like the Patriots) are beginning to gain traction and hit on all cylinders. Even without Shaun Alexander, this team looked very good against the Rams last week, and Minnesota is a very similar team to St. Louis. If this were in Minnesota, I'd give the Vikes another seven points and maybe a chance to sneak out with a big victory. In Seattle, though, that's going to be really tough. Seattle: 24 - Minnesota: 14
Brett: I like the Vikes this year, but 3-2 isn't over over whelming. They have a nice core and I like Brad Childress. For whatever reason, I do not like the 'Hawks this year. I really do believe in the Super Bowl Hangover, and that, combined with the Madden Curse, is going to cripple any team. Those are the two big ones. Still, they aren't in bad shape at 4-1 and first place in the division. They haven't looked real impressive, but all that matters is the W. Funny thing about this game is that Steve Hutchinson (who started that ridiculous Poison Pill BS) and Nate Burleson (who continued it) are back to play their old teams, but they both suck this year. Free agency is ridiculous.. why leave a good thing? Oh well. The Vikes need some time to implement their new system before they can win this game, and in addition, they need a quarterback born after the Civil War. Okay, Brad Johnson isn't terrible. Just old. Seattle 19, Minnesota 12
John: No idea what to think about the Vikings this year. They're one of those teams that's going to win 7 or 8 games this year because they're not horrible at any one thing yet they're not good enough at any one thing to be better than that. The Seahawks impressed me last week in beating my Rams in that freakin' heartbreaker of a game. Their passing offense is as good as it has ever been. Deion Branch is fitting in very nicely with Matt Hasselbeck, who is playing as well as any QB this year in case you didn't know. I think the Seahawks defense has the goods to stop the Vikes, so I see a comfortable win for them here at home. Seahawks 27-13
Washington at Indianapolis 4:15 p.m. drq: This is a great time for Bob Sanders to return to the Colts, after a lengthy stay on the injury report. Indy will need all the help they can get against Clinton Portis, Santana Moss and the explosive, yet underachieving, offense of the Redskins. I don't expect Washington's defense to put up much of a fight against the pass, especially without starting corner Carlos Rogers, and Indianapolis hasn't exactly been a dedicated run team this season anyway. Portis should prove to be a tough challenge for the Colts' beleaguered run defense, and a good measuring stick for how quickly new DT Booger McFarland will be able to slide into the D-Line. I like the Colts comfortably. Indianapolis: 34 - Washington: 21
Brett: Heh. Indianapolis 34, Washington 14
John: I think this is the blowout of the week. Skins are reeling, Colts are coming off a bye, they're at home and they're going to pick apart a very shaky Redskins team. Colts 34-10
N.Y. Giants at Dallas 8:30 p.m. (Monday) drq: The biggest game of the week, no question about it. With the Eagles suddenly showing signs of mortality, this one could have immediate ramifications in the standings, not to mention huge reverberations in December. Both teams put on a show last week, with the Giants laying an impressive smack down on the Falcons and the Cowboys routing Houston. I have a little more faith in New York's ability to get to Drew Bledsoe than I did in the Texans', though, and it's become fairly clear that QB pressure is the achilles' heel of the Dallas offense. Julius Jones and Marion Barber should be able to keep pace with Tiki Barber, but in the end it's going to come down to the Drew and Owens show to save the team at the wire. My money's on the Giants in that situation. New York Giants: 24 - Dallas: 20
Brett: Should be a fun game here. I think both teams have a lot of talent, but issues at the top (Dallas - QB, NYG - Head Coach) are keeping them from taking the next step. I think once Dallas makes a move to acquire a better QB, they could be Super Bowl contenders. If they had gotten Drew Brees, they would be right now, I think. Their defense is young and hungry and plays hard, their offense is relatively good, but Bledsoe is so immobile back there that it really hurts. Why spy with a LB when their QB can't run? Blitz him. I think this one is going to come down solely to Tiki Barber - he'll have a big day and carry the Giants on his back to victory. N.Y. Giants 24, Dallas 21
John: See what happened last week? The Giants are my Super Bowl pick yet I lost some faith in them, I picked them to lose in Atlanta and then they completely destroyed the Falcons for their second consecutive impressive victory. I'm not a huge Cowboys fan. I think their offensive line is shaky, Bledsoe is playing like a below average QB that is showing his age every time he plays a good defense, which the Giants are. The way you beat the Cowboys is you put pressure up the middle on Bledsoe. Since the Giants have the defensive front to do that I think they put pressure on them all day, they'll force turnovers and that'll give their offense the chance to capitalize, which they will. Big day for Tiki Barber here. Giants 30-20
JC vs. The Spread I'll use the line that TheGreek.com provides and I'll pick four games that I think you should bet on for the week. Why TheGreek.com? Because that's where I place my bets. I'm Greek. That's where I belong.
Last week: 1-2-1 - Not a good week, but at least I'm still above the .500 mark.
Indianapolis (-9) over Washington I don't see the Redskins being able to keep up with them. They got too many problems.
NY Jets (-3.5) over Detroit The Jets pushed last week with a three point win over Miami, but I still got some faith in them at home to cover this week.
Green Bay (+5) over Miami I probably shouldn't even touch this one because it's a crappy game. However, why is Miami favored by five points over anybody at this point? I don't get that.
Seattle (-6.5) over Minnesota I like the Seahawks at home a lot. I'm pretty confident in this bet.
I like the Cards over the Raiders for three points too, but I didn't put that as my top four because if you bet on a game that bad then you've really got a gambling problem. Then again I'm betting on Green Bay vs. Miami. Oh well.
Until next week, for Drqshadow and Brett Berliner this is John Canton saying enjoy the games. You know we will.