Hammering it Out: Week 7 Predictions

Week 7 has Buffalo (4-2), Cincinnati (4-2), New England (5-1),  New York Giants (4-2), Philadelphia (2-4) and San Francisco (5-1) all on their bye weeks. I’m actually kind of happy these teams aren’t playing this week. Each team on bye this week has managed to make it a bit more difficult to predict anything week to week. That said, here we go!

Atlanta Falcons at Detroit Lions (-3.5)

Matt Ryan is struggling, Roddy White has dropped a ton of passes, Julio Jones is banged up, and do we really expect Michael Turner to carry this team to a win? No, really? Do we? Okay. So. The Lions get a shot to redeem themselves at home after that awful (awesome?) handshake, I mean, football game last Sunday thanks to the 49ers. From what I can see, the Falcons have less of everything. Less offense. Less defense. A considerably less fired up head coach. Hmm. I’m on the Lions bandwagon. Might as well own it. -Jared

Jared – Detroit by 4 or more

All right what do we have here? Two good QB’s, 1 good RB, 1 good defense, 2 good offenses. I did jump on the Lions side in the preseason saying they would be good and I have been right. However, I’m not sure they will win this game. The Lions just lost Best for an unspecified period of time which is big hit in the pass and run game. The loss will let the Falcons focus more on the pass game and getting pressure on Stafford. I think Stafford has a good game but they are going to need great play from their backup RB. The Falcons come into this game missing one top wide receiver but I don’t think its going to hurt as much. Falcons will still march out Roddy White and Tony Gonzalez. Also, Turner has finally started running the ball well again. This will be a good game.

Travis – Falcons Win, tie, or lose by less than 4


Chicago Bears at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+0.5)

Frankly, if I felt like Tampa Bay had enough pass rush to actually bother Jay Cutler, I could see them winning this game. The problem is, they don’t. Josh Freeman is having an average year, as is the rest of this team. Matt Forte is outplaying his and just about anyone else’s contract, which is what happens when you feel underpaid and want to make some real money. Forte gets his and I have a feeling Jay Cutler has a big day too. -Jared

Jared – Chicago wins

Don’t really have much of a reason or explanation for why I think as I do except to say I think last week Tampa finally started to show something after being embarrassed  by the 49ers. ~Travis

Travis – Tampa wins

Seattle Seahawks at Cleveland Browns (-3.5)

These two teams, when healthy, are about as even as it gets in my book. My problem with this game coming in is the quarterback/offensive line play in Seattle and the running back/offensive play-calling in Cleveland are just hard to watch. Seattle actually has a pretty stout run defense and if Montario Hardesty gets the nod in place of Peyton Hillis, the Seahawks may be able to shut down the running game and stay in stride with the Browns for a close finish. -Jared

Jared – Cleveland wins by 3 or less, ties, or  loses

Looks like the Browns may have just improved on defense this week as they could have their top CB Joe Haden their healthy and playing this game. On offense though they could be without RB Peyton Hillis. On the other side, the Seahawks will likely still be without QB Tavaris Jackson. In the end, I think Cleveland is just a bit better on both offense and defense. ~Travis

Travis – Cleveland wins by 4+

Denver Broncos at Miami Dolphins (-3.5)

That’s right, kids. It’s Tebow Time! Matt Moore simply isn’t getting it done in Miami and frankly, neither is head coach Tony Sparano. That said, the Broncos have benched Kyle Orton in favor of Tebow and traded away their best receiver in Brandon Lloyd. Look for Ron Rivera to return to the running game for Denver and Tim Tebow to get a win (or close to it) on Gator Day in south Florida. -Jared

Jared – Miami wins by 3 or less, ties, or loses

“TEEEEEBOOOW” Enough said right? I mean even Miami is saying it. ~Travis

Travis – Denver wins, ties, or loses by less than 4

Houston Texans at Tennessee Titans (-3.5)

I liken the loss of Andre Johnson for Houston to the loss of Kenny Britt for Tennessee. The real difference in this game, however, is the Texans loss of All-Pro defensive end/linebacker Mario Williams. Chris Johnson hasn’t caught fire and Matt Hasselbeck and the Titans have to acknowledge the threat they pose in the running game. Time for CJ2k to earn his keep and keep the Titans rolling. -Jared

Jared – Tennessee wins by 3 or less, ties, or loses

Travis – Titans win by 4+

San Diego Chargers at New York Jets (+1.5)

I have a hard time understanding how the line on this game is as it stands. San Diego may be winning  ugly, but they aren’t losing ugly like the Jets have so far. Shonn Greene is not an elite talent for the Jets and with Mike Tolbert and Ryan Mathews on the mend for the Chargers, look for Philip Rivers to air it out. I would hate to see (again this year) what happens when Mark Sanchez is forced to throw (shudders). -Jared

Jared – San Diego wins by 2 or more

I think this game will be closer than most think it will and maybe closer than it should. The Jets just haven’t played a good all around game all season. So while SD has had a few ugly games themselves, they can and have shown the ability to both run and throw the ball consistently. I see Ryan Matthews playing and the Chargers winning.

Travis – Chargers by 2+

Washington Redskins at Carolina Panthers (-2.5)

With the Redskins benching Rex Grossman and the Panthers gaining some valuable experience with Cam Newton at the helm, it’s hard to pick the Redskins to pull this one out. I’ll admit that the Panthers defense presents a minimal challenge to the Redskins offense, but a quarterback change stymies the offset quite often. Washington’s defense may be off to a hot start, but Cam Newton and Company are just heating up. -Jared

Jared – Carolina wins by 2 or less, ties, or loses

The Redskins started off hot but have cooled and now have replaced Grossman with Beck. Yes, the same Beck who has played in only 1 game since 2007. They will be going against a Carolina team who showed potential with Cam Newton but has had some speed bumps along the way. At the end of the day, I give Cam and the Panthers a better chance of turning things around and having success than I do to the Redskins and a QB who has hardly seen the field in his career. ~Travis

Travis – Carolina by 3+

Kansas City Chiefs at Oakland Raiders (-3.5)

I’m probably speaking for a bunch of us when I say that I’m surprised about Carson Palmer going to Oakland. I’m not nearly as surprised about the trade as I am about the Raiders stance concerning him starting on Sunday. Sure, the Chiefs present a pretty soft matchup for what could be fireworks for the Oakland offense, but it’s going to take some time for Carson Palmer to shake the rust off. That said, keep in mind that this Raider team is an elite running threat and Kansas City has gotten on a roll lately. -Jared

Jared – Oakland wins by 3 or less, ties, or loses

I don’t see Carson Palmer starting his career with the Raiders this week. I do think that Oakland with Boller is a better team than the Chiefs. There are many valid reasons for the Chiefs struggles (injuries) but that adds to the likelihood that they lose to a team that has shown week in and week out this season that they can score and dominate at the line of scrimmage on defense. I don’t see this game being close and look for McFadden to run over the Chiefs. ~ Travis

Travis – Oakland wins by 3+ (probably are going to win by 10+)

Pittsburgh Steelers at Arizona Cardinals (+3.5)

Until this Arizona defense presents some semblance of a challenge to an offensive opponent, I’m forced to think they’re well on their way to a 4 or 5 win season. Mike Wallace is about as hot a receiver as you’ll find in this league and the Steelers defense, albeit aging, can still play at a high level. Also watch for Beanie Wells and how he fares against an elite defensive front. -Jared

Jared – Pittsburgh wins by 4 or more

Travis – Steelers by 4+

St. Louis Rams at Dallas Cowboys (-12.5)

Before this season began, I had high hopes for the Rams. They drafted really well, looked to be building a winning team, and then… injury after injury has just crushed this team’s chances. I understand the Broncos traded Brandon Lloyd to the Rams and have reunited him with Josh McDaniels. I like Brandon Lloyd and what McDaniels turned him into last year, but the Cowboys have three elite receivers (I’m counting Jason Witten alongside Miles Austin and Dez Bryant). Tony Romo is a better quarterback on a better team with better weapons and is playing at home. -Jared

Jared – Dallas wins by 13 or more

I do really like the Rams but there is no hiding that they have struggled this season. Yes, they have had injuries that haven’t helped but it goes beyond that, and I can’t totally explain it. If Bradford was playing, and I don’t see that happening this week, I would be very tempted to go with the Rams given that Bradford now has a more reliable target [Lloyd]. However, Bradford isn’t playing, so I think they really struggle and Dallas runs over them with their now-healthy WR core. ~Travis

Travis – Rams lose by less than 13, win, or tie

Green Bay Packers at Minnesota Vikings (+8.5)

Aaron Rodgers and this Packers offense are something like a juggernaut. They are simply unstoppable. For Minnesota, the tale of this season is going to be the failure of Donovan McNabb and the development of rookie quarterback Christian Ponder. Adrian Peterson is still the workhorse for the Vikings offense, but with a rookie quarterback and a rather under-talented group of receivers, the Minnesota faithful are in for a lopsided beating. -Jared

Jared – Green Bay wins by 9 or more

There is just not much new to say here. Green Bay is by far the best team in this matchup and maybe in the league right now. Only thing I will say is I don’t think Minnesota will get embarrassed. Ponder will make some rookie mistakes but I think you’re going to see him put up a solid performance, and expect Adrian Peterson to see a lot of carries. This game could turn out closer than expected. The line on this game is just low enough that I’ll have to give the points as I think the Packers win by about 10 ~ Travis

Travis – Packers by 9+

Indianapolis Colts at New Orleans Saints (-13.5)

Drew Brees is not struggling to complete passes, having thrown for 350 or more yards in four straight games. He is, however, struggling to throw them to people on his team, having thrown 8 interceptions to 13 touchdowns so far this year. Curtis Painter and the Colts offense continue to struggle to move the ball when necessary, so I can’t at all predict the Colts to win. I can, however, see the Colts playing this one relatively close to the vest. -Jared

Jared – New Orleans wins by 13 or less, ties, or loses

There just is no way to spin this game to make me think we got a shot. Drew Brees once again is doing very well and the Saints have the 2nd ranked passing offense against the Colts 18th ranked pass defense. I think only way we keep this close is if we can force turnovers. So why should you watch this game if its not going to be close? Well to see improvement and evaluate for next season. My two key things to watch are 1st Austin Collie, he needs to get that timing down with Painter if you look at the numbers he has been a big reason for the offensive struggles consistently dropping passes when he is given a chance. Get him involved early and often. The second person to watch is Kevin Thomas. The coaches finally seem to have figured out that they need to give him a shot and see what he has. I am excited to see this and see if he can in the future be our #2 corner. It wont happen right away but doing well against the #2 pass offense will go a long way to showing us what he can do in the NFL.

Travis – Saints win by 14+

Baltimore Ravens at Jacksonville Jaguars (+7.5)

If the world were a much different place, Maurice Jones-Drew would be cornerstone of the Little People Doing Big Things movement. It simply is not this way. Jacksonville has done well so far to stymie the running game of opposing offenses, but this game isn’t going to be close. Baltimore’s defense is still elite and Jacksonville is starting a rookie quarterback in Blaine Gabbert, not to mention lacking elite talent at the wide receiver position. -Jared

Jared – Baltimore wins by 8 or more

As much as I think Blaine Gabbert is the QB of the future for the Jags and a good one, he still lacks the experience to carry this team. Gabbert and the Jags will be tested against a very good vet-led team in Baltimore. This game isn’t going to be that close. Balitimore is better in every aspect of the game. ~Travis

Travis – Baltimore wins by 8+