This week should feature a lot of close games, and some interesting storylines abound. Will Julius Thomas score another touchdown to distance himself even more from the other tight ends in the league? Can the Bengals rebound from two lackluster defensive performances to re-establish themselves? What does Joe Flacco have left in the tank for a showdown with Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons? This is why they play the games.
Here are my picks for Week 7…
NY Jets @ NEW ENGLAND – I’m not sold on this New England offense, even after two solid games and two wins in a row. And I like what the Jets defense showed in that Denver game, but it’s Denver so I’ll even upgrade the Jets defense even more. If Geno Smith plays like he did for the majority of that game, New York should have a chance in this one on Thursday night. But I think in the end the Patriots will do just enough and win the turnover battle at home. Pick: NEW ENGLAND.
Minnesota @ BUFFALO – That Buffalo defense against that Minnesota offense, it seems like a huge mismatch, but the real mismatch is the Buffalo offense against the Minnesota defense. While I’m not a fan of Kyle Orton, he’s a veteran who will do just enough to keep the Bills moving down the field, along with Fred Jackson, who should run all over that Vikings’ defense. Couple that with the crowd backing the team at home, I like the Bills in this one. Pick: BUFFALO.
Miami @ CHICAGO – The good Jay Cutler has shown up the past two weeks, and I think that stretch continues against a Miami team that just can’t seem to find a way to win lately. While Lamar Miller should have a good game against the Bears’ horrible run defense, he’s the only bright spot in that Miami lineup as Tannehill hasn’t been too good lately and the defense has fallen apart late in games. I think Chicago is too strong on offense to lose this one at home. Pick: CHICAGO.
New Orleans @ DETROIT – This is almost a do-or-die game for the Saints, but they’re on the road where they’ve been less than dominant, especially this season. They don’t have Jimmy Graham either, and Brees hasn’t looked quite like himself even with Graham. Matthew Stafford hasn’t either, but he hasn’t needed to be with the defense playing lights out of late, and with Joique Bell running as he has. Against that Saints defense Bell should be dynamic and put the Lions over the top. Pick: DETROIT.
CAROLINA @ Green Bay – If Cam Newton can run as well as he did against Cincinnati. If Kelvin Benjamin aces the concussion protocol and plays. If the defense can play better than they have. Those are the “ifs” that make me feel like this game can come together for a Panthers victory, even at Lambeau Field. Green Bay has been incredible in two games this season, and in the others they’ve either lost or should have (last week). I think Newton is able to run all over them and keep them off their game, and the Panthers pull out a close one in Green Bay. Pick: CAROLINA.
CINCINNATI @ Indianapolis – Is this the same Cincinnati game from the beginning of the season? It sure hasn’t looked like it in the past two games after giving up 80+ points to the Patriots and Panthers. But they’ve spent this week working on adjustments, and I think they come into Indy ready to play solid football. The Bengals running game matches up well against that Indianapolis defense, and I think the “good” Cincinnati defense shows up against Andrew Luck and against those Indy runners. Pick: CINCINNATI.
SEATTLE @ St. Louis – I still like Austin Davis, even after a disappointing game against San Francisco last week. I think Brian Quick being so uninvolved in that game was a big reason they lost, and getting him more involved vs. the Seahawks should be a bonus. That being said, Seattle is angry, having just lost a demoralizing game at home against the Cowboys. That’s the difference here, and the Seahawks back back big. Pick: SEATTLE.
Tennessee @ WASHINGTON – This is pretty much the only game I trust the Redskins to win over the course of the season, outside of their meetings with the Giants. I like how Cousins has gotten DeSean Jackson involved, and I like both him and Pierre Garcon this week against a poor Titans defense. Having Jordan Reed back helps as well, as Tennessee hasn’t played tight ends well all season. I like the Redskins to take a high scoring game against the Titans. Pick: WASHINGTON.
CLEVELAND @ Jacksonville – You already know that this is my survival football pick this week, and that’s for several reasons. First of all, Brian Hoyer is on fire, and he has protected the ball well this season. The Browns defense has been tough as well. And their running game has been exceptional. I think that’s all in play against the Jaguars who are bad against the run, who don’t force turnovers, and who don’t match up well against the Cleveland offensive line, which will give Hoyer time to throw to his receivers and to Jordan Cameron. The Browns keep rolling in this one. Pick: CLEVELAND.
Atlanta @ BALTIMORE – The travails of the Falcons on the road are well-documented, and I think that continues here in Baltimore where the Ravens’ defense has done well of late, and facing a confident Joe Flacco, who just carved up a similarly decrepit Tampa Bay defense last week. This is a big mismatch on paper, and I think it follows through. Pick: BALTIMORE.
KANSAS CITY @ San Diego – That game last week showed me a lot about the Chargers, and I think they tend to play to their opponent on occasion, either up or down depending. Kansas City played a good game against the 49ers, coming up just short. This Chargers’ defense isn’t as dominating as the one in San Francisco, however, and I think Jamaal Charles, coming off the bye, will be sharp and have his way with the Chargers. Upset special in San Diego. Pick: KANSAS CITY.
NY GIANTS @ Dallas – Throw last week out of the equation, and think about how these two teams have played each other throughout the years. Otherwise, I would call this a beatdown waiting to happen. The Cowboys just came off an emotional victory in Seattle, while the Giants didn’t score a point in getting blown out in Philadelphia, and lost Victor Cruz in the process. But I think Eli Manning bounces back here, and utilizes his other receivers well. This is a classic letdown game for Dallas, and they lose a close one to the Giants. Pick: NY GIANTS.
ARIZONA @ Oakland – Carson Palmer looked just fine last week after returning from injury, and he revitalized both Michael Floyd and Larry Fitzgerald. He will thrive against that Oakland defense that isn’t much better than the Washington defense that the Cardinals destroyed last week. Along with Andre Ellington keeping the defense honest, the Cards should take care of business even with back-to-back road games. Pick: ARIZONA.
San Francisco @ DENVER – The Broncos are incredible at home, and I would never bet against Peyton Manning even against a tough San Francisco team. Couple that with the emergence of Ronnie Hillman, who played very well last week, the home crowd that can disrupt many an opposing offense, and a defense that has played well so far this year. I like the Broncos to take a close one against the 49ers. Pick: DENVER.
Houston @ PITTSBURGH – This was probably the toughest pick to make this week because the Houston running game seems to match up well against the porous Steelers defense, but Houston still employs Ryan Fitzgerald, and I think he turns the ball over in this one. Ben Roethlisberger need a “get right” game and I think he finds it at home on Monday night to keep their hopes alive in the division. Pick: PITTSBURGH.
The Fantasy Ace