Check out more from me, including movie reviews & movie trailers, at Archer Avenue (archeravenue.net). Also, follow me on Twitter @OlieCoen for sports & movie talk.
Here are my NFL Week 7 Picks
(11-4 last week, 52-40 for the season)
Bye teams: Panthers, Cowboys
Chi @ GB – It’s really difficult to understand how & why the Packers are having such a tough time winning games, even at home. You can’t say the same about the Bears though; it’s all too obvious why they suck. Chicago is now 1-5 and have a -42 point differential, which is 4th worst in the league. They don’t score, they can’t defend, they don’t win at home, can’t win on the road, and their best player, Alshon Jeffrey, is about to lose his damn mind if someone doesn’t throw him a touchdown soon. Look for John Fox to be fired sooner rather than later; the guys is awful, and no one in this organization is making good choices these days. For Green Bay, it’s more of a head-scratcher, since they should be much better than they are. Rodgers just doesn’t look like himself, even with Jordy back and all those weapons on offense. What exactly is wrong no one can say, but there are problems here that need addressed fast, because 3-2 isn’t elite, and this team should be on the road to the playoffs. That said, I think the Pack light it up this week and completely annihilate the Bears. If they don’t, it’s time to give up on the season.
NYG @ LA – These are basically the exact same teams, making it very hard to pick a winner. Both are 3-3, both can score a bit, both allow too much, both are OK at home & on the road, both are having fairly mediocre seasons. I would normally go with the home team in a situation like this, where the competition is pretty equal, but the game is being played in London, so there goes that. I guess I’ll stick to my gut then, which is dangerous, and pick the Giants. I still think the G-Men can fix what’s been wrong and take a crack at the NFC East. They’re only 2 games behind the Cowboys, who could falter at any time, and if Eli can keep up his connection with Odell, this could be a scary offense. The defense played better early in the season, but could return to that form at any time. I think that moment might be Week 7. The Rams aren’t scary in any way, play mediocre ball, and aren’t well coached. They are a fine team, but nothing special, and I don’t think even they have any real hopes of reaching the playoffs. New York does, will outplay L.A., and will win this game in front of a British crowd.
Cle @ Cin – Each year in Survival League, I remind myself of a few basic rules. Never pick an away team, never bet against the Raiders, and never pick the Bengals. That’s it, it’s simple, and I almost always finish in the top group at the end of the year. This season, I think I did pick the Pats to beat the Browns on the road, but that’s a special situation, the Browns are pitiful & Tom Brady was back. After that worked, I told myself I would just pick against the Browns as often as I could, which would mean this week as well, but would also mean breaking another of my rules. The Bungles aren’t the team to be placing bets on this season, and there’s an outside chance they lose this game. Now, Cleveland is the worst team in the NFL by a wide margin, and I think Cinci will beat them. But is there a chance this Battle For Ohio turns out to be more competitive then you might at first imagine? I think so, and for that reason I’ll steer clear of the Bengals in Survival. But I’ll still pick them to win this game, as bad a year as they’re having, because they’re at home and they are the far superior team on paper.
Was @ Det – Again, two nearly identical teams, and it’s a toss-up as to who comes away the victor. The Redksins are 4-2, are riding a 4-game win streak after a poor start, score as much as they allow, and can win on the road. I’m not comfortable picking them very often, mostly because I just don’t trust their QB or their HC, but I have to admit, they keep winning regardless of how little respect they are shown. Washington has actually been better on the road than at home, so there’s reason to pick them in this game, I just don’t think I can. The Lions are about the same; 3-3, riding a win streak, score as much as they allow, and are doing pretty well at home. Stafford has been playing very well, and I’m bummed that I dropped him as my backup quarterback in fantasy, not because I need him, but because I don’t want to have to face him in the future. Detroit is clicking right now, but so is Washington, so this game could come down to the wire. I’ll go with the home/dome team here, and I wouldn’t be surprised if we had a shootout on our hands. This could be a sneaky-good Sunday matchup, one to keep your TV on.
Oak @ Jax – I said never bet against the Raiders, and betting against them on the road is apparently even less smart, as this year they have gone 3-0 away from O.Co. They’re that annoying team who comes into your house and beats you, that team that you just love to hate. As a Broncos fan, I’m actually excited that they are better. Remember the glory days when Raiders/Broncos was the best rivalry is pro sports? I do, and I’m glad that it just might return. Speaking of returns, Jack Del Rio faces his former team, and I know he wants to beat them bad. Oakland knows that as well, and will rally behind their coach. The Jaguars only stand a slight chance, and that because they look to be improving slightly every week. They’re on a 2-game winning streak after starting the season 0-3, and just won on the road, albeit in Chicago. Jacksonville doesn’t play very well at home though, and they don’t put up points consistently either. The Raiders do, although they also allow way too many points, so we could see a high total in this one. Give me the hot team over the underachieving team any day though.
NO @ KC – I watch the Saints pretty closely, Drew Brees being my fantasy quarterback. Obviously I’ve liked what I’ve seen so far, for the most part, and I don’t mind that he’s required to score tons of points in every game to give his team a chance to win. That has to be getting tiresome for New Orleans though, having to rely on his arm every single game, always knowing that the defense is going to allow the other team to score at will. You’d think that someone would fix the problem since the problem is so obvious, but it continues, and as long as it does the Saints will continue to lose more games than they win, for good offense can only get you so far when you have such a horrible defense. The Chiefs are the exact opposite, a steady offense that relies upon its strong defense, a boring team that bores away at your will and comes out on top quite often. I don’t think Kansas City has what it takes to win a championship, no way, but they do have what it takes to win tight home games, as they are undefeated at Arrowhead. I’m rooting for Drew to still get his points, but I think he loses a close one 20-ish to 20-ish.
Buf @ Mia – No team is hotter than the Bills right now, which is quite a shocker, Buffalo going 4-0 since they lost their first 2 games and subsequently fired their offensive coordinator. The Bills are actually scoring at will, playing solid defense, and are even in the thick of the division race. If New England had stumbled more without Tom Brady, Buffalo would be winning the AFC East, which is odd, especially considering that the Jets were the team everyone thought would do that were the opportunity presented to them. Anyway, Buffalo is rolling, and it would be difficult to pick against them, even on the road. That their opponent is Miami makes things easier still, as the Dolphins aren’t the strong club that will head off the thundering herd. Miami is 2-4, though they’re 2-1 at home, which is the only place they can win a game. Do they have a chance in this one? Sure, but it’s slight. The Dolphins have a -16 point differential, while the Bills have a +59, a stat that clearly shows the difference between these two teams. I expect a brutal battle, but I imagine that the better club will come out on top.
Bal @ NYJ – The Ravens have revealed themselves to be the team we thought they were before their hot start and are currently on a 3-game losing streak. They aren’t special, they just had an easy schedule, and now we see them for what they truly are. But here’s a question; when did their wins come? On the road vs bad teams. They are exactly good enough to beat bad teams who can’t defend their home turf, and the Jets fit that description to a tee. I don’t know what’s happened to Ryan Fitzpatrick, but it’s awful. You could predict that he would take a step back, that seemed inevitable, he wasn’t going to have another 2015. But no one saw this level of disaster coming. The guy can’t stop turning over the ball, and the loss of Decker only makes that worse. He focuses on Brandon Marshal, the opposing defense knows that, and they pick him off, it’s that easy. I can’t see how things would be any different this week under Geno Smith, and I expect Baltimore to score at least one defensive touchdown. In the glory days of Ed Reed and Ray Lewis, that’s what they did every other play, so maybe we’ll see a flash of old magic right here.
Min @ Phi – The Vikings only allow 13 points per game, the lowest total in the league. They are an elite defense right now, and there doesn’t seem to be anyone who can score on them with any consistency whatsoever. The loss of Teddy Bridgewater and Adrian Peterson did nothing to unhinge this team because their defense was always going to be what won them games. Now, I’m shocked that Sam Bradford has played as well as he did, although I’m still waiting for the inevitable moment when he gets injured and is placed on IR. But even that might not mess up the chemistry that this team has right now, the defense is just that good. The second fewest points allowed by a defense comes from Philadelphia, so this could be a low-scoring affair. Up until a few weeks ago, Carson Wentz looked like a god, though there were a fair amount of us saying that, like Baltimore, his competition was making him look better than he really was. Can he return to form, is he talented, will he win games? Absolutely, but it may not be this week. The Vikings are just too good, and they’ll keep him pinned down.
Ind @ Ten – Stick a fork in them, cause the Colts are done. If they were going to fix this season, they needed to win that road game last week in Houston, and they couldn’t get the job done in what was a very winnable game. What a demoralizing loss, and I don’t think they recover from that. If Andrew Luck can’t outduel Brock Osweiler, this team has problems, and I say ‘team’ because I think Luck is still a great QB, I just think everything around him is crap. I want to fire everyone, including the owner, and start all over. What I actually wanted was for the Colts not to sign Luck and for the Broncos to make a play for him next year. Not gonna happen, but I guy can dream. Meanwhile, don’t look now, but the Titans are improving. They’ve won a couple games in a row, including some nice road victories, and will be looking to start playing better at home, scoring more points. Enter Indy, who allows 30 a game. That should be enough of a ray of light for Tennessee, who is also talented enough to take advantage. I think the Titans win this game going away, and I think the Colts move to 0-4 on the road in 2016.
SD @ Atl – The Chargers found a way to win last week vs the Broncos after finding imaginative ways to lose so many other games this season. The Broncos were off, bringing their QB back in after an injury, playing without their head coach, and going on the road, so not a shocker that San Diego was able to get the victory. But this team still has major problems. First, they are terrible on defense, and secondly, they are 0-3 on the road. That’s a bad combination, so although they were able to beat the Broncos, so were the Falcons, and in my mind there’s no doubt who’s the far better team. Atlanta is having one hell of a year, going 4-2 so far, though I keep putting it out there that they started 6-0 last year before tanking in epic fashion. Just like the Chargers, the Falcons can score points in bunches, but their defense is awful, something that will ultimately be their downfall either at the end of the season or in the playoffs. For now, I think the Falcons win this game, and it might not even be close. They have only played two home games this season, where they are 1-1, so look for some high energy and high point totals.
TB @ SF – Well this is the first unwatchable game of the week, so I guess that’s an improvement over last week, which is something. The Bucs might be 2-3, but they are worse than their record shows, scoring only 94 points total on the season, which is even worse than the Jets. Jameis is in danger of no loner being Famous, and Tampa’s defense doesn’t help much when the offense sputters. The only thing the Bucs have going for them is that they are 2-1 on the road, so they do travel well, but I don’t think that’s quite enough. Although, it’s not like the Niners are this elite team that’s been winning all season, the exact opposite is true. San Fran is 1-5, having lost their last 5 games, so anyone has a chance to win a matchup with them as an opponent. Chip Kelly is a colossal moron and I hope this team continues to fail so that he’ll be fired and he can go back to college where he belongs. God I hate that guy, and the faster he disappears the better. Meanwhile, I think he actually did the right thing switching to Colin Kaepernick, who gives this team a shot in the arm. In his second game starting, look for enough improvement to win.
NE @ Pit – Brady’s back, the Patriots are rolling, no one can beat them, their offense and defense are equally good, yada yada yada, we’ve heard it all before. This team is insane, all they do is win, and although cheating is a part of it, it’s only a part, the rest is skill, prep, and attitude. I don’t know who could beat the Patriots right now, probably no one, and they could cruise all the way to the Super Bowl. Actually, they were my AFC SB pick, though the Packers were my NFC, so they better pick it up if they want to prove me right. Anyway, I’m tired of talking about how good New England is, so let’s move on. The Steelers aren’t much worse, and in a vacuum I might pick them to win this game, but there’s one giant problem; Big Ben. He’s hurt, will miss multiple weeks, and there goes all Pittsburgh’s momentum. Landry Jones isn’t enough to overcome a team like the Patriots, although maybe he holds the team together until Roethlisberger gets back. Don’t count on them to win this one though, and actually I think they’re going to get decimated from start to finish. Sorry Pitt fans, you might want to turn your heads.
Sea @ Ari – This should be a great game, and on Sunday Night primetime, division rivals going head to head. The Seahawks can do no wrong right now, after a bit of a shaky start. They’ve won 3 in a row, allow hardly any points to opposing offenses, are clicking offensively with Graham & Michael, and don’t look to lose any time soon. If there was a chink in their armor it might be road games, even division road games, which is reason for concern, but I still wouldn’t bet against them right now, they way they’re playing. However, and give credit where credit it due, the Cardinals are playing great ball right now as well, and shouldn’t be bet against either. That just makes this matchup even more fun to watch. Arizona had their own shaky start but have since fixed some problems. David Johnson is an amazing player, Larry Fitz doesn’t age, and Palmer is back healthy. Even the defense has been playing well, and this team has won 2 in a row. The only problem is that the Cards just aren’t as dominant at home as they were last season, a fact that Seattle will look to exploit for the victory.
Hou @ Den – Monday Night Football, Denver in their old blues, the Texans rolling into town behind Brock Lobster; I’m already pumped for this one. Osweiler hasn’t started the season seamlessly, and so neither have the Texans, though they are still winning their division at 4-2. They just don’t score enough points, something critics have laid at Brock’s feet, also adding that John Elway was smart to let him walk. We’ll see; I think he has raw potential and people just need to be patient. What should actually be concerning is, while Houston is 4-0 at home, they’re 0-2 on the road, something that will loom large here. The Broncos want this game so badly they can taste it. Not only are they coming off two straight losses, but they return home to a crowd that desperately wants to scream their lungs raw. Added bonus; this defense gets to sack the guy who left, the QB who put the team in a tough spot, and sack him they will. I think the over/under should be 5 sacks, and I’d take the over if I were a betting man. Denver is better on offense, defense, are playing at home, and will win this game.
Check out more from me, including movie reviews & movie trailers, at Archer Avenue (archeravenue.net). Also, follow me on Twitter @OlieCoen for sports & movie talk.