Week 7 Matchup Predictions
Seahawks @ 49ers: I would have picked the Seahawks if they were at home, having just beaten the Patriots and the 49ers coming off of an embarrassing loss. However, I can't see the 49ers losing two games in a row at home, with the crowd fired up against a division rival who's tied for the division lead. The Seahawks are 1-2 on the road with losses to the Cardinals and Rams, so I have to go with the 49ers here, but barely.
49ers win 19-17.
Titans @ Bills: The Titans just hosted Pittsburgh and sent them home disappointed, pulling off an upset victory in which they finally gave up less than 30 points. However, they'll now have to head to Buffalo and deal with Bills, who have handled business against every non-elite team they've faced since Week 2. Chris Johnson will have a rare good game against the Bills' weak run defense, but the Spiller/Jackson combo will rip Tennessee to shreds.
Bills win 24-20.
Browns @ Colts: Andrew Luck showed me last week that he isn't quite as special when he doesn't have a Hall of Fame wide receiver to throw to. Reggie Wayne was shut down by Antonio Cromartie until garbage time, and Luck struggled to get the job done with his other receiving options. Wayne will now be dealing with shutdown corner Joe Haden, so Luck will once again be forced to find other ways to put points on the board. The Colts' defense also just let Shonn Greene have a career day, so Trent Richardson - who is self-reportedly pain-free - should pound this defense to a pulp.
Browns win 27-21.
Packers @ Rams: It looked like the Packers might finally be clicking on Sunday night, putting up 42 points on the Texans 6th ranked defense. The Rams have definitely shown signs of improvement this season, especially of late on the defensive end, but if the Packers offense is running on all cylinders, how could the Rams possibly keep up?
Packers win 35-17.
Cardinals @ Vikings: This is an interesting matchup, as both of these teams weren't expected to be any good this season, but sit at 4-2. Both defenses are top-10 in the league. However, the Cardinals have John Skelton getting his first start since Week 1, and they have their third-string running back, William Powell, starting due to injury. With both teams having great defenses, I'll have to go with Christian Ponder - who seems to impress me every week - and Adrian Peterson at home over Skelton and Powell.
Vikings win 23-14.
Redskins @ Giants: The Giants have a long history of both coming out flat after big wins and losing to the Redskins. Coming off of a dominant victory over the 49ers in San Francisco, and with a matchup against the Cowboys in Dallas scheduled for next week, this is a classic trap game for the Giants. However, the Giants have something working very heavily in their favor: Eli Manning will be staring down the league's worst pass defense. When Eli can get hot and take advantage of a bad secondary, it's nearly impossible to keep up with him. Robert Griffin III will be shocked at the speed of the Giants' defensive line and find it much harder to make plays with his legs.
Giants win 34-24.
Saints @ Buccaneers: The Saints narrowly avoided heading into their bye week at 0-5 with a win over the Chargers, and they've now had two weeks to prepare for the Bucs. If you give Drew Brees two weeks to analyze the league's 31st ranked pass defense, he'll find his receivers in the endzone all day long. The Saints' run defense is still terrible, but the Bucs don't have talented enough runners to counter the clinic Brees will be putting on.
Saints win 38-27.
Cowboys @ Panthers: Two terribly disappointing teams squaring off in Carolina. I feel that the Cowboys are much closer to finding success, beating the Giants and Bucs, and also coming within a dropped pass and missed field goal of beating the Ravens in Baltimore last week. Meanwhile, the Panthers lost to the Bucs, got destroyed by the Giants, and have only one win. Felix Jones will remind people he's still in the league with a strong performance and Tony Romo will light up the Panthers' 23rd ranked defense.
Cowboys win 28-20.
Ravens @ Texans: The Texans are coming off of a demoralizing loss to the Packers at home, while the Ravens just won a nail-biter in Baltimore. I can't see the Texans putting together two bad performances in a row, and I can see the Ravens tanking on the road. The Ravens are 1-1 on the road this season, and their win came in an ugly 9-6 game against the 1-5 Chiefs. Flacco has looked half as good on the road as he has at home, and now he'll face the league's 7th ranked pass defense. In addition, the Ravens just lost their best cornerback and, more importantly, Ray Lewis.
Texans win 34-27.
Jets @ Patriots: The Jets surprised me last week with a dominating performance against the Colts. However, Andrew Luck isn't quite Tom Brady yet. Antonio Cromartie may shut down Brandon Lloyd, but Brady still has a wealth of weapons to throw to. He's got the league's best slot machine in Wes Welker, record-setting tight end Rob Gronkowski, and Aaron Hernandez - rumored to be Brady's favorite target - returning from injury. Mark Sanchez has... Tebow? I don't even know.
Patriots win 31-17.
Steelers @ Bengals: The Steelers have been incredibly disappointing so far this season, but I still believe they're the better team in this matchup. Ben Roethlisberger, boasting a 10:2 touchdown to interception ratio, will face a defense that has given up eight touchdowns to only two interceptions. James Harrison should be improving every week after returning from injury to make his season debut last week. While the Bengals have the better record, they've only beaten the Jaguars, Redskins, and Browns, the latter two by only seven points. The Steelers have a dominating win over the Jets and an impressive win over the Eagles.
Steelers win 28-20.
Lions @ Bears: The Lions finally showed us what we've been waiting to see in last week's comeback victory over the Eagles. However, I don't think they're ready to go up against a Bears defense that ranks 1st in both scoring and turnovers. In addition, the Lions' special teams difficulties will haunt them with the electrifying Devin Hester returning kicks. The Lions' defense isn't bad, but the Bears' offense is good enough to get the job done alongside a strong defensive performance.
Bears win 24-17.