AFC

NFL Week 7 Picks: Can the Packers Rebound From Rodgers Injury

Week 7 started out with a bang between the Raiders and Chiefs Thursday night in perhaps the best game of the NFL season.  After the yellow flag parade and film replay festival by the referees, Oakland finally defeated Kansas City on a last-second touchdown pass to Michael Crabtree and the no gimme extra point by placekicker Giorgio Tavecchio.  Derek Carr is back, healthy and the Raiders offense is clicking.  However, Aaron Rodgers is not coming back from his shoulder injury and most doubt Green Bay can win without the two-time league MVP.

Nevertheless, the game goes on and the Pack will host the Saints who have suddenly become one of the hottest teams in football.  Too bad Rodgers won’t be around for this potential regular season classic.  Week 7 isn’t exactly filled with marquis games but a few to watch will be a division battle between the Steelers and Bengals who’s season lies in the balance early on in their schedule.

The Cardinals and Rams are somewhat intriguing as Adrian Peterson looks to continue his success in the desert and the Rams get another test against a solid defense.  Let’s see if they pass the test and run the ball.  I’m certainly looking forward to the Super Bowl rematch between the Falcons and Patriots.  Neither team looks like they’ll repeat as conference champs at the moment so maybe this game gets the momentum going for the victor.  The best game left on the week 7 schedule is Monday night’s matchup in the NFC East as the Redskins take on the high flying Eagles.  Philly owns this division right now but Washington is tough to beat.  I expect quite a few points to be scored in this game!

Let’s have a look at all the remaining games this week with final score predictions.

Bucs vs Bills:  I wasn’t high on Tampa Bay, to begin with, and their offensive struggles won’t bode well at Ralph Wilson Stadium/New Era Field against a no-nonsense Bills defense.  This should be a low scoring game as Buffalo will play ball control offense and the Bucs are looking to establish the run.  Shoot, this contest could be done in about two hours.  I believe a solid defense beats a mediocre offense almost every time.  I’ll rely on history unless Jameis Winston gets it together and starts making some plays.  Bills 19 – Bucs 13

Panthers vs Bears:  Looks like Kelvin Benjamin is a go which is important to open up the offense for Cam and the rest of the squad.  Carolina is clicking on both sides of the ball.  A loss to the Eagles is nothing to cry about especially on a short week in a close contest.  After ten days off with some extra rest and game study, I fully expect the Panthers to do some damage to Chicago in the windy city.  Mitchell Trubisky has a lot to learn about playing at the pro level and that’s expected.  Expect the Panthers to blitz early and often to throw the rookie off balance.  Panthers 30 – Bears 12

Titans vs Browns:  Cleveland is even worse than I thought.  They turn the ball over in the red zone, make horrific penalties, are coached way under par and have no identity whatsoever!  They play two quarterbacks, neither of them can win a game for the Browns and the offense looks like a scene from the movie Unnecessary Roughness.  The Titans got their guy back in Marcus Mariota and while he’s still hurt, the Titans feel more confident with him calling the plays.  Look for Derrick Henry to have a big game again.  Titans 23 – Browns 14

Saints vs Packers:  Too bad we can’t see Brees and Rodgers go at it again.  New Orleans is hot and Green Bay was rolling before Aaron went down.  Now Brett Hundley gets his first start at quarterback so we’ll see plenty of short throws and about 50 rushing attempts in order to keep Brees and the offense off the field.  Too bad for the Pack because the Saints defense has been phenomenal lately.  Green Bay will need to have over 150 rushing yards to have any chance.  However, if you give Drew Brees enough chances he will burn you.  Anything can happen on the football field but I expect the Saints to keep their streak going.  Saints 24 – Packers 17

Jaguars vs Colts:  We thought Andrew Luck was making progress but as it turns out he’s been regressing as of late.  It’s Jacoby Brisset’s team now and while it’s not his fault Indy is (2 – 4) and have no continuity on offense or defense, you’d think Andrew could bring a little more luck the Colts way.  They need to get rookie running back Marlon Mack the ball more and work off the play action.  Jacksonville has been one of the surprise teams this year as Leonard Fournette makes his case for Rookie of the Year and that young defense causes problems for the opposition.  They’re young, fast and hungry.  Too bad Blake Bortles is still their quarterback!  Jaguars 27 – Colts 17

Cardinals vs Rams:  Is Adrian Peterson back or was this a one-game fluke last Sunday as he ran all over the Bucs defense?  He certainly helped open up the passing game as the ageless wonder Larry Fitzgerald has also resurrected his career.  The Rams are a tough football team with some great offensive schemes and athletic players to get the job done.  Look for Gurley to be big in the passing game and the Rams defense to put a ton of pressure on Carson Palmer.  Rams 28 – Cardinals 20

Jets vs Dolphins:  The Jets are one of the most surprising teams of the 2017 season.  They took it to the Patriots last week in a controversial loss after winning three in a row.  Teams playing with house money are dangerous and since nobody thought the Jets would do anything they’re letting it ride.  How Miami won three games is a mystery to me!  Sure they have a very good defense but it feels like Jay Cutler goes 3 & out every time on offense.  The Jets can play defense and will turn over Cutler a few times to take control and win the game.  Jets 20 – Dolphins 9

Ravens vs Vikings:  Minnesota has suddenly become the odds-on favorite to win the NFC North since Rodgers went down for the year.  They have a top-five defense and an efficient offense.  They do need to establish a consistent running game but that won’t happen this week as Baltimore has the 5th best rushing defense in the league.  If the Ravens play aggressively up front and hit Keenum in the pocket the Vikings could have a long day at home.  Ravens 24 – Vikings 16

Cowboys vs 49ers:  Ezekiel Elliott will be playing in this game and the foreseeable future for Dallas and that’s a relief for Cowboys fans.  I assume he’ll run angry this weekend which could mean his best numbers day could be ahead against the 49ers.  Dallas is simply better than San Fran but the Niners won’t go down without a fight.  They lost their last five games by a total of 13 points.  That’s insane!  Maybe they’ll finally get on the winning side for the first time all year.  As a matter of a fact – Upset of the Week.  49ers 31 – Cowboys 27

Bengals vs Steelers:  The Bengals find themselves in another must-win situation if they don’t want Pittsburgh to take complete control of the AFC North.  The offense has improved as Joe Mixon gets the majority of the carries and A.J. Green can still beat anybody one on one.  Then again so can Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell is much better than Mixon at this point.  The Steelers have more weapons and the #1 defense in football.  If Big Ben doesn’t play turn over football then Pitt should win by at least a touchdown.  Steelers 25 – Bengals 13

Broncos vs Chargers:  The Broncos were embarrassed last week by the winless Giants so you can bet they’ll come out guns blazing!  But they’ll have to do it without one of their biggest weapons in Emmanuel Sanders.  Which means Demaryius Thomas will need to have a huge game and Denver will need to run effectively.  The Chargers are a sneaky team and are capable of beating the Broncos.  If Melvin Gordon doesn’t compile over 150 yards from scrimmage I doubt they will.  The Broncos will end the Chargers season this Sunday with defense.  Broncos 21 – Chargers 19

Seahawks vs Giants:  Seattle is coming off a much needed bye week to get their swag back.  The Giants are still riding high from their victory at Mile High.  The Seahawks are the better squad but have an awful offensive line and a running back carousel with a broken stop button.  But you can always rely on that defense and I doubt the Giants will be lucky enough to have the same success against Seattle as they did vs the Broncos.  I fully expect the Seahawks to blow out the NYG.  Seahawks 31 – Giants 13

Falcons vs Patriots:  Super Bowl rematch but not the one we expected.  Both Atlanta and New England are underachieving big time.  The offenses aren’t as efficient and neither defense can be relied upon.  I do think we’ll see a ton of points scored in this game and it may come down to who has the ball last.  Sounds like the Super Bowl huh!  Home field advantage will be the difference since the Falcons haven’t been known to be the best road team.  Patriots 38 – Falcons 35 

Redskins vs Eagles:  The Eagles may be the best team in the NFL.  The Redskins are the best team in the league that nobody talks about.  Both teams can throw and run the ball efficiently.  However the big difference is that the Eagles have a more ferocious defense and are a more well rounded overall team.  This NFC East rivalry should close out week 7 with some fireworks.  If Washington wants a chance to win this game they’ll have to blitz all day and run the ball consistently to keep the Eagles defense honest.  But Philly is too good at the moment.  And perhaps the biggest factor is shut down cornerback Josh Norman will miss the game giving Carson Wentz and that offense more room to throw the pigskin.  Eagles 34 – Redskins 27 

 

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