Well, the Wentz Wagon is having some engine trouble, the Panthers haven’t resembled a unit that has dabbed in seemingly decades, and the Raiders couldn’t hold it down in the Black Hole last week. Now, we turn to Week 7 with more than a few teams we were all hot on, looking to prove they weren’t flashes in the pan. Let’s get to the picks.
Last week’s record: 10-5
Season record: 54-38
Cheat Sheet Trivia Question of the Week
Buffalo’s Lorenzo Alexander leads the NFL with 8.0 sacks this season. Only one Bills player has ever led the league in sacks. Who was it? (Answer is after the picks.)
Timothy T. LudwigTimothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports
Thursday night: Bears at Packers
We’re incredibly spoiled with the success of Aaron Rodgers and Mike McCarthy. You do realize our reigning NFL MVP is 1-5. Why are the debate shows not analyzing the ups and downs and assuming there are personal-life problems for Cam and the Panthers? The Packers are 3-2, they’ll beat the Bears on Thursday night, and they’ll be in the thick of the playoff hunt come December. Rodgers isn’t saying it, but I am. Chill out. Or breathe easy. Or exhale. Or something else.
The pick: Packers 31, Bears 17
Associated PressCharles Rex Arbogast
Sunday: Giants vs. Rams (in London)
Odell Beckham, Jr. has already proven that there’s one great weakness to his game; teams can get in his head and impact his play. Think Gregg Williams isn’t aware of this? Think Jeff Fisher hasn’t been thinking about this since they flew from Detroit to Heathrow on that eight-hour flight last Sunday night? The Giants arrived in London on Thursday morning. Los Angeles has been there since Monday, getting fully adjusted and prepping for the powder keg that is No. 13. He’s the best receiver in the league. I said it. But I think Williams, a mad genius, can find a way to bottle him up.
The pick: Rams 21, Giants 16
Sunday: Saints at Chiefs
I got to meet Jarrius, the Rams superfan who’s been taking the Internet by storm this week, and can’t wait to see what he has in store for us as the team’s official “social media correspondent” Sunday in Arrowhead. I’m also excited to see this Saints offense once again. It's clicking, and it’s incredible to watch Drew Brees find his rhythm with new weapons as a season goes on, year after year. By Sunday, it’ll be 378 days since the Chiefs’ last home loss. I think they suffer one in an upset.
The pick: Saints 27, Chiefs 23
USA TODAY SportsDerick E. Hingle
Sunday: Colts at Titans
The Colts have won their past nine games against the Titans, outscoring Tennessee by an average of more than nine points in those games. The last time the Titans beat the Colts, Curtis Painter was Indy’s starting quarterback. But who’s living in the past? Not Tennessee, and especially not that defense. Quietly, Dick Lebeau’s defense is ninthin the league and seventhagainst the run. Andrew Luck is being knocked around by every team he faces; Tennessee will do the same. Marcus Mariota is not getting much love outside of Nashville, but he will after this one. Titans win.
The pick: Titans 31, Colts 23
Sunday: Vikings at Eagles
Weird stat for those Vikings fans (“Skol Vikes”) who are riding high about being the last remaining undefeated team in the NFL. None of the previous 13 “last undefeated” teams actually won a Super Bowl. But Vikings fans aren’t celebrating anything yet, I know. Trust me, I know enough to know they’ve been down this path too many times to get too excited about some September success. I am taking the Eagles — that sputtering Wentz Wagon gets back on track — but it’s a close one. Sam Bradford, shipped out of Philly a few months ago, falls to the guy who took his place.
The pick: Eagles 23, Vikings 19
James Lang-USA TODAY SportsJames Lang
Sunday: Browns at Bengals
I’ve got to say, I’m pretty darn impressed with Cody Kessler. I don’t think any Browns fan or head coach Hue Jackson expected him to be starting this season, but due to injuries to the two veterans in front of him, he’s been handed the ball and has been nothing short of solid. 865 passing yards, four TD passes, one interception, and that is behind an offensive line that has done him no favors. Carson Wentz and Dak Prescott are getting all the love, but Kessler is having a nice rookie season, too. They’ll win a game with Kessler this year. This one just isn’t it.
The pick: Bengals 24, Browns 17
USA TODAY SportsJasen Vinlove
Sunday: Redskins at Lions
I went on Colin Cowherd’s show, “The Herd,” this week and said Matthew Stafford is playing better than any quarterback in the NFL this season. I stand behind it, and the numbers do not lie. In fact, since Week 10 of last season, Stafford has the best touchdown-to-interception differential (plus-27) in the entire league. He’s doing this without a healthy or legitimate NFL starting running back, behind a young offensive line and with a leaky defense on the other side of the ball. I’m riding Stafford’s arm, though, and think he’s the one who puts an end to the Redskins’ hot streak. This might be the best showdown of quarterbacks this weekend: Stafford versus Cousins. Who knew?
The pick: Lions 31, Redskins 27
Getty ImagesLeon Halip
Sunday: Raiders at Jaguars
Blake Bortles was picked third overall in the 2014 NFL Draft. Thirty-three picks and a good night’s sleep later, the Raiders drafted Derek Carr. But this one may have more at stake than just two quarterbacks from the same draft class battling for bragging rights. This is the first time Jack Del Rio will coach a game in Jacksonville since the Jaguars fired him in 2011. Oakland lost last weekend after winning three straight. I just don’t see the Raiders traveling across the country and winning this one.
The pick: Jaguars 24, Raiders 20
Chuck CookChuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports
Sunday: Bills at Dolphins
The Bills ran for 312 yards and blew the 49ers out of the building in the second half a week ago. Four straight wins, momentum building, and a lot of national buzz — this is the game the Bills always lose. Always. I don’t think that’s the case here. At least I don’t think so. I’ve been wrong before.
The pick: Bills 30, Dolphins 20
Sunday: Ravens at Jets
The Ravens have won eight straight games against the Jets, and I can’t see Gang Green suddenly waking from their season-long slumber to topple Baltimore. Joe Flacco missed practice Wednesday, but I think this one is on the legs of Terrance West. In his last 3 games, West has 55 carries, for 295 yards and three TDs. That’s 5.4 yards per carry. He’ll have a big day against the Jets’ struggling D. Baltimore isn’t playing in MetLife Stadium two weeks in a row and going 0-2.
The pick: Ravens 34, Jets 21
Sunday: Buccaneers at 49ers
The Bucs have been outscored by 48 points this season. That’s awful. You know what’s worse? The 49ers have been outscored by 58 points. Gross. This one might not be pretty for the eyes, but there’s some fun cross-pollination. Way back when, before Greg Schiano was hired by the Bucs, Chip Kelly verbally agreed to leave Oregon for Tampa Bay. NFL history changed with that non-decision. And current Bucs coach Dirk Koetter interviewed for the 49ers job last year, days before Lovie Smith was fired and Tampa Bay turned its eyes to Koetter. All that, and I think it’s going to be a Jameis Winston Show. Bucs win big.
The pick: Buccaneers 34, 49ers 20
USA TODAY SportsJonathan Dyer
Sunday: Chargers at Falcons
I like Atlanta here. What the Falcons showed me the past two weeks was that you can prove something, even with a loss. Multiple sources around the NFL texted me, almost more impressed with their loss in Seattle — and the way they battled back from a 17-3 deficit — than their win a week earlier in Denver. If Atlanta is different than last year’s team, it will take care of business at home Sunday.
The pick: Falcons 33, Chargers 24
Sunday: Patriots at Steelers
Well, this isn’t what it was supposed to be when the schedules came out in April. I think Pittsburgh will put up a good effort at home, but Landry Jones isn’t beating Tom Brady. Ever. And congratulations to new grandfather, Bill Belichick. I hear his new granddaughter is sneaky athletic and can run routes across the middle and underneath. Already!
The pick: Patriots 30, Steelers 13
- The Boston GlobeBoston Globe via Getty Images
Sunday night: Seahawks at Cardinals
Arizona has won two straight, and I think the Cardinals keep it going Sunday night. Seattle has owned Arizona in that Bird’s Nest the past three years, that’s for sure. The Seahawks have outscored Arizona by a combined 105-34 the past three times the teams played in Glendale. But this has David Johnson National TV Coming Out Party written all over it. Give me the Cards in the game of the week.
The pick: Cardinals 24, Seahawks 23
Getty ImagesGetty Images
Monday night: Texans at Broncos
I like Brock Osweiler. I’ve met him a few times. Good dude. Do the Broncos players respect him? That, I can’t answer so easily. The quotes out of Denver this week haven’t exactly been glowing.
Some tweets from when Osweiler signed a $72 million deal:
Chris Harris Jr.: “Shocked I thought Brock wanted to play with us lol”
Emmanuel Sanders: “What QB wouldn’t wanna play with 88 and 10?(Thinking face emoji)”
I’m taking the kid against his old mates. On the road. Brock’s “revenge.” Hopefully Sean McDonough is a bit more upbeat this week, as this game has all the fixins for a beauty.
The pick: Texans 24, Broncos 17
Getty ImagesGetty Images
Cheat Sheet Trivia Answer of the Week
Bills linebacker Bryce Paup led the league with 17.5 sacks in 1995.