I’m basically the Biff Tannen of this whole thing so you might as well check my takes on Week 7 NFL picks against the spread. Each contest from 1 p.m. ET through the Sunday nighter are picked below, with the New York Giants‘ Monday night matchup left out as a byproduct of them turning my fandom into complete disillusion and misery. I also revealed my future almanac for the 4 p.m. slate.
(Disclaimer: Don’t do anything illegal with this advice.)
The Fins defense fared decently without Cameron Wake and now adds arguably the league’s best pass-rusher back into the fold. Buffalo trots out either Thad Lewis on a sprained foot, recently-signed Matt Flynn or undrafted rookie free agent Jeff Tuel. Lewis had a nice fourth quarter after doing almost nothing against Cincy, and Mike Zimmer put his defense in bizarre positions on those two long touchdowns. Miami coming off a bye at home makes a double-digit win very likely. Take the favorite.
Sam Bradford is one touchdown out of second place in total passing scores, but that’s more a product of throwing from behind and having a terrible run game this year. Zac Stacy may improve that area but I believe the fearsome Panthers front-seven proves a bad foil for St. Louis. I’m not ready to take stock in the positives St. Louis found in Houston last week. Cam Newton also loves him some bad defenses. Just needing a touchdown to cover, take the favorite.
After watching Chicago’s defense look a shell of its former self last Thursday, I grew very excited about picking their next opponent. Brandon Jacobs gliding down the field, are you kidding? Then I watched Washington’s offense look miserable on Sunday night. I just wonder how well Robert Griffin III is seeing the field right now and how consistently his guys can get open. Patrick Tillman should also return from injury in this one. Give me the Bears straight up.
Andy Dalton provided the full spectrum of Dalton-ing last Sunday; between throwing the horrible pick at the edge of field goal range to leading the go-ahead drive in OT. He’s not like Alex Smith where you’re absolutely terrified of him throwing you back into games; It’s just that “Bad Dalton” can show up any time and cripple you. That said, his recent history in hostile environments is not that great and Detroit’s defense might actually be quite good this year — when Nick Fairley finds his November/December 2012 mode their DL could be the league’s best. Matthew Stafford showed why he’s a bona fide closer last week, even with Calvin Johnson hobbled. Take the favorite.
San Diego made a bold statement about its playoff hopes in Monday night’s win over Andrew Luck and Co. Perhaps this defense won’t be an utter disaster and maybe we should throw Mike McCoy as much Coach of the Year love as Andy Reid right now. I’m all for that. Still, this game kicks off at 10 a.m. Pacific in Jacksonville against a squad that’s played two consecutive close road games. Adding Justin Blackmon and Chad Henne (more so removing Blaine Gabbert) from the equation actually makes this a competitive team with a real chance of keeping it close against 2013 MVP bridesmaid Philip Rivers. Grab the underdog and the points.
The Cowboys’ defensive line did a nice job against Washington despite all the injuries, and Jason Hatcher is an absolute terror. The type of size that gave Washington trouble could very well be exploited by the frantic pace and field stretching nature of Philly’s LeSean McCoy-led run attack. Tony Romo should have a day against this comically bad secondary, though that may not be enough in a statement game for Nick Foles and the Chip Kelly offense. Take the favorite.
Gang Green lost by only 3 points when the two squads met in the Meadowlands last season and went to the wire again Week 2. In the time since each of those contests you could argue New York has gotten much better while the Pats have been struck down hard by free agent departures and injuries. It’s also hard to gauge the Gronk factor until we see Rob Gronkowski back on the field taking hits. Grab the points for the underdog.
Greg Schiano‘s squad is an artisan of losing close games; finding new and creative ways to let things slip away in the final minutes. That said, Tampa typically keep thing very close and therefore make seven points a bit much for a Falcons team without Julio Jones and likely to miss Roddy White and Steven Jackson. Gerald McCoy will make the pocket a very uncomfortable place for Matt Ryan. Grab the points for the underdog.