Okay, so my picks for week 6 resulted in a dissppointing 8-6 record, which brings my season total from ... 50-22 ... to 58-28. Not great, but not awful. Week 7 looks a little easier to predict ...
Week Seven Picks
New England vs. Tampa Bay in LONDON
Let’s start overseas with 0-6 Tampa Bay against the Patriots, who are fresh off a 59-0 snowy massacre. Scoring 59 points is amazing, but scoring EIGHT touchdowns IN THE SNOW? Just unbelievable. One of the best offensive performances I’ve ever seen. Of course I am going to pick New England, but let’s not underestimate the impact of playing in London. The long flight, the time change, the unfamiliar environment. The soccer-loving chaps drinking tea up in the bleachers. It’s going to be strange. On one hand, Tom Brady and the Run-Up-The-Score Bullies might decide to take their show international and put on a scoring clinic; on the other hand, they might be so exhausted from the travel and break in routine that they sluggishly beat the Bucs 23-10. That’s what I’m expecting. But I’m hoping for another thrashing, since I own Brady in both fantasy leagues and had a lot of fun with last weeks’ 6 TDs and 380 yards. One thing's for sure, though … Londoners will be flooding the streets to catch a glimpse of Tampa Bay quarterback and international sensation, Josh Johnson.
Indianapolis @ St. Louis
Last week the Rams were frisky enough to force OT against Jacksonville. That means they’re all out of gas this week as they host the rested Colts. Manning, after a bye, against the Rams. Just totally unfair. Colts by 28.
Green Bay @ Cleveland
Cleveland has played surprisingly decent in three straight contests; almost beating Cincinnati in OT, beating Buffalo, and keeping up with the Steelers for most of the game last week. Their defense is not playing horribly, and Josh Cribbs is electric returning kicks and running some Wildcat. The Packers, meanwhile, started the season with some lackluster games but are coming off their best performance, a 26-0 shutout of the pathetic Lions backups. Rodgers is playing at a high level and the receivers are doing a great job; however, the Packers are not a team on the rise right now. The offensive line is a wreck, giving up the most sacks in the NFL thus far. The defense seems to have a lot of confusion in the 3-4, and completely fails to use Aaron Kampman, their best pass rusher, as a pass rusher. It’s baffling. Fortunately for the Packers, they’re playing against Derek Anderson; but when they face a competent, cerebral quarterback who can take advantage of their confusion, the GB defense will be exposed in a big way. Not this week though, as Green Bay rolls 27-10.
Minnesota @ Pittsburgh
The undefeated Vikings visit Heinz Field on Sunday to play their toughest game of the season. By far. Don’t forget, Minnesota is two very close plays away from being 4-2 – a hailmary and a missed 44 yard field goal, so just because they are 6-0 and Pittsburgh is 4-2 doesn’t mean Minnesota is the better team. Polamalu is back at 100% and as a general rule, when the best defensive player in the league returns to the field, good things happen. That being said, it takes a lot more than one player to stop Adrian Peterson, and as long as he is running for 4 or 5 yards a carry, it opens up the passing game for Brett Favre. Don’t expect Pittsburgh to keep Minnesota off the scoreboard. The Steelers announced they are officially changing from Willie to Rashard at RB for the rest of the season; a smart move, considering that Willie’s contract is expiring and Rashard is the future of the backfield, but a risky move because Mendenhall has little experience. But you know what? It doesn't matter, because this Steelers offense is all about the passing game. The offensive line has come around and Roethlisberger has really improved his game and his pocket presence; plus he is still lethal outside the pocket and on the run. He would rather just throw on first down than waste time with little running plays. He's an annoying guy to watch but he gets the job done. Just like last weeks Baltimore-Minnesota game, I expect a high-scoring shootout between these two teams known for their defenses. Steelers win 30-24.
San Francisco @ Houston
Are either one of these teams for real? I can’t decide. San Fran looked awesome for a few weeks, and Houston has basically played to the level of their competition. Michael Crabtree starts in his first NFL game and faces a pretty non-threatening Texans secondary; he could be the deep threat San Fran has lacked for years. Or, he could be a greedy little drama queen. Yeah, probably the second one. I do like the Niners in this game though. 20-14.
San Diego @ Kansas City
Chargers absolutely must win this game. And they will. SD 27, KC 12.
Buffalo @ Carolina
After starting the season 0-3, Carolina is going to be 3-3. People will get all wild and excited as a result, but undeservedly so. All the Panthers will have accomplished is beating Washington, Tampa, and now Buffalo. They still stink. But not as bad as Buffalo, who will be led by none other than Ryan Fitzpatrick. Big day forthcoming for the Carolina running backs; Panthers by 20.
New York Jets @ Oakland
Last week was supposed to be the week where an angry Jets team proved they were the real deal and stomped on a crappy team; I even predicted Mark Sanchez would have “a career day.” Well, 5 INTs later, Sanchez single-handedly lost the game to the Buffalo Bills. I guess the worst game of his career qualifies as a career day, right? Now they travel to the west coast to face the red-hot Raiders! Well, sort of reddish hot. More like a calm simmer. But the good news for Sanchez is he certainly won’t be the worst quarterback in this game. That would be impossible. Tate Forcier would be a better NFL quarterback than JaMarcus, and he runs in a spread offense. Every team in the league has at least two backups who are better than JaMarcus, maybe more depending on if they have any receivers who played QB in high school. Russell is an absolute joke. I have my concerns about this Jets team, especially now with nosetackle Kris Jenkins lost for the year, but there is just no way in hell the Raiders win two games in a row. Jets by 20.
Atlanta @ Dallas
I like Atlanta more as a team, but I'll pick Dallas at home in this one. Cowboys 28-24.
New Orleans @ Miami
Whenever a team is as hot and seemingly unstoppable as the Saints are right now, you always worry about a potential let-down when they face an overlookable opponent, such as Miami. The Fins are coming off a bye and Chad Henne has played really well in his first two starts. That all being said, Drew Brees isn’t being stopped. By anyone. Saints 31-20.
Chicago @ Cincinnati
After watching the Bears-Falcons on Sunday night, I have plenty of concerns and not much optimism for this Chicago team. The defense seems to be unfocused and vulnerable; Matt Ryan routinely made them pay for being out of position. The offense underutilizes its best player, Matt Forte, and Cutler forces too many deep balls to receivers who aren’t big enough or strong enough to make a play on the ball. Cincinnati’s defense was shellacked by the Texans last week, but their offense continues to play well, and Cedric Benson continues to baffle me with his great play. This has all the makings of a shootout, and I see the Bengals coming out of top. Cincinnati 42-35.
Arizona @ New York Giants
Boy, did the Giants get lucky last week. The loss to the Saints dropped them to 5-1, but then their primary rival in the NFC East (Philly) lost to the sickly Raiders to drop down to 3-2, keeping the Giants ahead by a game and a half. I still can’t believe Philly lost that game. Anyway, this should be a bounce-back week for the Giants defense, which was abused last week by Drew Brees. Arizona’s offense is good, but its not that good, and Boldin is probably going to miss the game. I like the Giants at home, 31-13.
Philadelphia @ Washington
On Monday night, the Redskins primary goal will be to not be embarrassed on national television. They just stripped Jim Zorn of his play-calling duties in hopes that he would quit, which didn’t happen; they benched Jason Campbell last week but will send him back in against a great Eagles defense; the Skins defense was run all over by Larry Johnson last week; and Washington has become a media punching bag for their mismanagement and failure to execute on the field. Their last three games have been against cupcakes; now they face a pot roast in the Philadelphia Eagles. Philly wins, but not as convincingly as some might expect. 23-10.
Titans @ Bye Week
Gotta go with the bye week in this one, although it should be close. Bye week 21-20.
Question of the week: Now that Mark Sanchez is completely useless, who is the frontrunner for Rookie of the Year?
We haven't seem much from Moreno or anything from Beanie Wells, and none of the receivers (Maclin, Harvin, Hicks) have distanced themselves from each other. If Stafford comes back healthy and strings together a few games and a few wins, is he in the discussion? Right now, my vote would be for Moreno for lack of a better option. Heck, maybe Crabtree will have an unbelievable 9 weeks to finish the season and he'll win the award. Anything could happen; with Sanchez falling fast, this is going to be extremely interesting.
Lions are on a bye this week and then face the Rams! 2-5, here we come!