Week 7 kicked off with the Jets at the Pats and finishes off with the Texans at Steelers. In between there are several compelling games, starting with the Bengals at Colts, Carolina at Green Bay, Atlanta at Baltimore and New Orleans at Detroit early. The big late afternoon game is an NFC East matchup between the Giants and Cowboys, followed up by the Niners and Broncos on Sunday night.

 

Cincinnati Bengals (3-1-1) at Indianapolis Colts (4-2)
Early game on CBS
Ian Eagle, Dan Fouts & Jenny Dell
Colts favored by 3, with a point total of 49
Bengals +145, Colts -165
Broadcast in New York (except Buffalo), New Jersey, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, North Carolina, South Carolina, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana (except New Orleans), Arkansas, Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Wyoming, Utah, Reno, San Francisco, Alaska and Hawaii

On offense Cincy is not at all the same team without A.J. Green, and their vaunted defense is 29th against the run (4.8 yards per carry, 141 yards per game). If Indy can get their run game going (not a given), that would set up Andrew Luck on play action passes.
Pick • Colts 30, Bengals 24
Colts -3
over 49½ (one unit)

 

Tennessee Titans (2-4) at Washington (1-5)
Early game on CBS
Kevin Harlan, Rich Gannon
Washington favored by 4½, with a point total of 46
Tennessee +190, Washington -220
Broadcast in Maryland, DC, Virginia, Tennessee and Tupelo

The Titans lost four in a row before barely defeating Jacksonville last week. Washington crushed the Jaguars in week two, and have lost four straight since. Commence the battle for a top-five draft pick behind the Jags… and Bucs, and Raiders.
Pick • Washington 23, Tennessee 20
Titans +5½
under 46½

 

Miami Dolphins (2-3) at Chicago Bears (3-3)
Early game on CBS
Greg Gumbel, Trent Green & Evan Washburn
Bears favored by 3½, with a point total of 49
Miami +160, Chicago -180
Broadcast in New England, Florida (except Jacksonville and Orlando), Michigan, Illinois, St. Louis, North Dakota, South Dakota and Arizona

The Bears lost in overtime in week one to Buffalo, then had to play four of the next five games on the road. Although the Fins played well against the Packers last week, they don’t have enough firepower in their passing game (6.2 yards per attempt, 30th; 217 yards per game, 25th) to keep up with Chicago.
Pick • Bears 27, Dolphins 24
Dolphins +3½
over 48 (one unit)

 

Cleveland Browns (3-2) at Jacksonville Jaguars (0-6)
Early game on CBS
Andrew Catalon, Steve Tasker, Steve Beuerlein
Browns favored by 4½, with a point total of 45
Browns -250, Jaguars +210
Broadcast in Jacksonville, Orlando, Savannah and Cleveland

A year ago this game looked like it would be the worst game of the year, but thanks to Tennessee and Washington it’s not even the worst game of the week. I just wonder of Cleveland is in for a letdown after a huge 31-10 victory over their biggest rival, Pittsburgh, last week. While that’s a very real possibility, it’s still tough to go with the Jags, even at home against a team that is not used to winning.
Pick • Browns 24, Jaguars 17
Browns -5
under 45½

 

Seattle Seahawks (3-2) at St. Louis Rams (1-4)
Early game on FOX
Kenny Albert, Daryl Johnston & Tony Siragusa
Seahawks favored by 6½, with a point total of 43
Seattle -300, St. Louis +250
Broadcast in southern Illinois, Missouri, Montana, Idaho, Washington, Oregon, Reno, northern California, Utah, Arizona and Alaska

Seattle gets fired up and exacts some revenge for last week’s loss on an over-matched St. Louis team. The Rams are simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Pick • Seahawks 24, Rams 10
Seahawks +6 (two units)
under 43½ (three units)

 

Carolina Panthers (3-2-1) at Green Bay Packers (4-2)
Early game on FOX
Sam Rosen, John Lynch & Pam Oliver
Packers favored by 7, with a point total of 49
Carolina +265, Green Bay -315
Broadcast in New England, eastern New York, New Jersey, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida (except Jacksonville and Tallahassee), Tennessee (except Memphis), Kentucky, Minnesota, Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming, Las Vegas, southern California, Hawaii

Green Bay has played better recently, and the weaknesses they still have (pass protection, defensive secondary) are ones that Carolina does not seem to be in a position to exploit. This is an under-hyped game that could go either way and should be well worth watching.
Pick • Packers 27, Panthers 23
Panthers +7
over 48½ (one unit)

 

Atlanta Falcons (2-4) at Baltimore Ravens (4-2)
Early game on FOX
Justin Kutcher, David Diehl & Laura Okmin
Ravens favored by 7, with a point total of 49½
Atlanta +260, Baltimore -310
Broadcast in Maryland, DC, western Pennsylvania, Georgia and Alabama

Atlanta is allowing 419 yards per game (31st) and 6.2 yards per play (32nd). They are over rated based on a beat down of Tampa Bay – a team which, coincidentally, Baltimore proved that beating easily means very little. On the other hand, it’s tough to feel to good about backing a mediocre Baltimore pass defense against the Falcons passing game.
Pick • Ravens 27, Falcons 24
Falcons +6½
over 49½

 

Minnesota Vikings (2-4) at Buffalo Bills (3-3)
Early game on FOX
Tim Brando, Brendon Ayanbadejo & Peter Schrager
Bills favored by 4, with a point total of 43
Minnesota +170, Buffalo -195
Broadcast in western New York, Minnesota, Iowa, North Dakota and South Dakota

Buffalo will rebound and take out their aggressions against a rookie quarterback making his first road start. Welcome to the NFL and an angry defense, Teddy Bridgewater.
Pick • Bills 24, Vikings 13
Bills -5 (two units)
under 42½

 

New Orleans Saints (2-3) at Detroit Lions (4-2)
Early game on FOX
Chris Myers, Ronde Barber & Jennifer Hale
Lions favored by 3, with a point total of 50
New Orleans +130, Detroit -150
Broadcast in Michigan, Mississippi, Louisiana and Arkansas

The Saints are a really bad road team in comparison to how well they play at home, but just like in New Orleans, this game is in a dome on a carpet. However, I can’t go against a Detroit team that is allowing an NFL-fewest 13.7 points per game when they are playing at home.
Pick • Lions 24, Saints 20
Lions -2
under 49½ (two units)

 

Kansas City Chiefs (2-3) at San Diego Chargers (5-1)
Late game on CBS
Spero Dedes, Solomon Wilcots
Chargers favored by 4, with a point total of 44½
Kansas City +170, San Diego -195
Broadcast in Buffalo, Charlotte, Atlanta, New Orleans, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Colorado, Utah, California (except SF), Oregon, Washington

After home games against the inept Jaguars and Jets, San Diego’s (then) top-rated defense was exposed last week when they allowed 28 points to the lowly Raiders. While KC’s defense looks better than it did last year, I’ll stick with Philip Rivers – a guy who deserves MVP consideration at this point – over the Chiefs’ 29th-ranked passing offense.
Pick • Chargers 27, Chiefs 20
Chargers -3½
over 44½

 

New York Giants (3-3) at Dallas Cowboys (5-1)
Late game on FOX
Thom Brennaman, Troy Aikman & Charissa Thompson
Cowboys favored by 5½, with a point total of 48
New York +210, Dallas -250
Broadcast everywhere except Arizona, Reno, San Diego and northern California

After years of hype, we finally have an NFC East game that looks like it will live up to the pre-game marketing. The Cowboys are clicking on all cylinders after beating the Seahawks in Seattle, and the Giants – despite last week’s 27-0 loss at Philadelphia – are playing better than expected. Is this going to be a letdown game for Dallas after beating the Super Bowl champs on their home turf? It’s tough to imagine that being the case against your biggest division rival, and the Giants’ defense (4.4 yards per carry, 22nd; 23.0 points per game, 17th) doesn’t look strong enough to stop DeMarco Murray and Tony Romo.
Pick • Cowboys 27, Giants 24
Giants +6½
over 47½

 

Arizona Cardinals (4-1) at Oakland Raiders (0-5)
Late game on FOX
Dick Stockton, Brady Quinn & Kristina Pink
Cardinals favored by 3½, with a point total of 43½
Arizona -175, Oakland +155
Broadcast in Arizona, Reno and northern California

At some point this season the Raiders will win a game, but I don’t see it happening when their 31st-ranked run defense (149.8 yards per game) attempts to control a game against a third-ranked rushing defense (75.8 yards per game). However, Arizona’s offense and pass defense is such that an Oakland win would not shock me.
Pick • Cardinals 23, Raiders 20
Raiders +4½
under 44½

 

San Francisco 49ers (4-2) at Denver Broncos (4-1)
Sunday night game on NBC
Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth & Michelle Tafoya
Broncos favored by 6½, with a point total of 51½
San Francisco +260, Denver -320

Denver is starting to look as if they are in synch, while San Francisco is looking as if they are just a bit too old and slow. Regardless, this is a must-see game, and best matchup of the week.
Pick • Broncos 24, Niners 20
Niners +6½
under 50½

 

Houston Texans (3-3) at Pittsburgh Steelers (3-3)
Monday night game on ESPN
Mike Tirico, Jon Gruden & Lisa Salters
Steelers favored by 3½, with a point total of 44½
Houston +160, Pittsburgh -180

I wasn’t expecting a whole lot from the Steelers this year, but I wasn’t expecting this: a loss at home to a one-win team, a 20-point loss to the Ravens, and a 21-point loss to the Browns. Houston adds to Steel Town’s misery on Monday Night Football.
Pick • Texans 24, Steelers 21
Texans +3½ (one unit)
under 44½

 

Bye Week: Philadelphia Eagles (5-1), Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-5)

 

 

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