As I watched those games last Sunday I was reminded of just how much things can shift from week to week. The Rams looked like worldbeaters just a couple of weeks ago, but they’ve come back down to reality since. The Redskins could beat nobody early in the season, but they’re as hot as anyone right now. It’s fascinating to me, really, these shifts and turns that a season takes.
But one thing is certain: the team that plays better in any given week deserves the victory. This week will be no different. Here are my Ace Picks for Week 7:
NY Giants @ LA RAMS (but really in London) – I like the Rams defense, and if it wasn’t for one blown coverage at the end of that game last week, the Giants would have lost. That offense still doesn’t operate on all cylinders. I know this game starts at 6:30 AM by the Rams internal clocks, but they’ve been in London all week. Pick: RAMS (by 6).
Minnesota @ PHILADELPHIA – This Vikings team is undefeated, but the Eagles defense has been opportunistic, and you know Sam Bradford is due for a turnover or five. This will be the week, coming off the bye. Eagles get to him early and often. Pick: EAGLES (by 4).
Indianapolis @ TENNESSEE – If there’s any time for Andrew Luck to assert himself it’s right now, coming off a loss that shouldn’t have been a loss, to a division foe. They’re in hostile territory here, against the team that is a game up on them in the division, and the offensive line is still patchwork. Pick: TITANS (by 1).
Buffalo @ MIAMI – The Dolphins showed up in that win against Pittsburgh last week, even before Roethlisberger went down. That means something. But these Bills have been playing better than any other AFC team not named the Patriots over the past two weeks. They keep it going here, even if McCoy doesn’t suit up. Pick: BILLS (by 6).
Baltimore @ NY JETS – How long before Todd Bowles is on the chopping block? After a 1-5 start it wouldn’t be surprising to hear the murmurs come sooner rather than later. But they haven’t played as bad as the record suggests, and this Baltimore team has played all close ones. This will come down to the end. Pick: JETS (by 3).
New Orleans @ KANSAS CITY – It can’t be underestimated, the difference between @home Brees vs. on-the-road Brees. I don’t think he will struggle as much as the previous numbers suggest, but it will be difficult to keep up against a stout KC defensive front and that dynamic running game. Pick: CHIEFS (by 3).
Washington @ DETROIT – Matthew Stafford is playing with extreme confidence right now, which can’t be quantified. He’s gotten Golden Tate going lately, and the Lions look like contenders right now. But so do the Redskins, who have gotten their running game going just in time. This one will be close, but I like Detroit to lead a game-winning drive late in the fourth quarter. Pick: LIONS (by 1).
Cleveland @ CINCINNATI – The Bengals are 2-4, but those losses have come to quality teams. It’s a case of facing these teams (mostly on the road) at the wrong times, and coming out behind. But Andy Dalton has been superb with a limited group of receivers (outside of A.J. Green). Jeremy Hill gets rolling in this one. Pick: BENGALS (by 13).
Oakland @ JACKSONVILLE – Oakland’s struggles when going cross-country are well documented, but they won the last time out on the East Coast, and I don’t see this one being too much of a struggle either. Their defense is much maligned, but Blake Bortles still has a tendency to turn the ball over. Carr gets the better end in this one. Pick: RAIDERS (by 3).
Tampa Bay @ SAN FRANCISCO – Here’s another cross-country adventure, but this Tampa Bay team isn’t as dangerous as the team from Oakland. Over the past few weeks, it’s been proven that consistent pressure on Winston forces him to make some bad decisions. The 49ers can apply pressure in this situation, and they will. It will be close, but Kaepernick gets his first win in over a year. Pick: 49ERS (by 3).
San Diego @ ATLANTA – This Atlanta team is for real, and the San Diego defense isn’t all that imposing. I think Denver took that game last week for granted, but Atlanta will be ready. Besides, Matt Ryan is on fire, and that running game is as good if not better than most in the league. This one won’t be close. Pick: FALCONS (by 10).
New England @ PITTSBURGH – Absolutely no one is giving the Steelers even spitting distance in this contest, with Landry Jones starting, and I agree with all of them. Sorry, Steel City, but you’re next on the Tom Brady revenge tour, and you have no gunslinger to help you. Pick – PATRIOTS (by 12).
Seattle @ ARIZONA – The Sunday night contest is probably one of the most difficult to figure out, because the Cardinals aren’t playing the most inspired football, but neither are the Seahawks, at least not on the offensive side of the ball. I believe it will come down to defense, though, and Seattle has the superior one. Pick: SEAHAWKS (by 3).
Houston @ DENVER – Denver hardly ever loses at home, and it happened last week. What do you think the odds are that they drop two in a row at Mile High? Yeah, pretty low. That Broncos defense will take it out on Brock Osweiler on Monday night. Pick – BRONCOS (by 8).