FOX Sports South walks the plank of potential embarrassment by chronicling seven bold predictions for NFL Week 7 -- an ambitious gallery that could be way off the mark come Monday night. There's no fear of failure here, though. Just educated guesses. (Photos: Bob Donnan/Andrew Weber/Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports)
Thrill Of The Chase
BOLD PREDICTION #1: Luke Kuechly will collect at least 17 tackles against the Packers ... REASONS TO BELIEVE: 1) Over the last two seasons (2013-14), Kuechly has posted double-digit tackles 12 times -- including his last five games. 2) From a tackles perspective, Kuechly consistently does his best work against pass-heavy offenses. 3) Kuechly has a decent shot at repeating his award as NFL Defensive Player Of The Year. 4) The Panthers' last four opponents have possessed the ball for 30-plus minutes (more tackle opportunities).
BOLD PREDICTION #2: The Chiefs will earn the week's biggest upset, knocking off the 5-1 Chargers on the road ... REASONS TO BELIEVE: 1) Jamaal Charles (above) has averaged 105 total yards and one TD in his last six meetings with San Diego. 2) The Chiefs (2-3) need a Sunday victory to harbor realistic thoughts of claiming the AFC West title. Otherwise, they'll trail the Bolts by three games. 4) Kansas City should have upended San Diego in Week 17 last year (OT loss), even with the playoff-bound starters resting for the wild-card round. 5) The NFL's other big favorites for Week 7 (Broncos, Cowboys, Ravens, Packers, Seahawks, Patriots and Redskins -- yes, the Redskins) seem like easy locks for victory. That leaves Kansas City (plus-4) as the steepest good bet for an upset.
Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
'Tis Best To Receive
BOLD PREDICTION #3: James Jones will tally two TDs on Sunday ... REASONS TO BELIEVE: 1) Jones has enjoyed a decent start with a new team -- and rookie quarterback -- drawing six or more targets three times and totaling three TDs. 2) Just like with Green Bay, Jones doesn't need a lot of catches to find the end zone. For 2014, he's averaging one touchdown for every 5.2 receptions. 3) The Cardinals, the Raiders' Week 7 opponent, have the NFL's 32nd-ranked pass defense, surrendering 309 through-the-air yards per game. 4) Oakland QB Derek Carr (left), who tossed a career-high four TDs against San Diego last week, has attempted 32-plus passes in four of five career starts. 5) Of the Raiders pass-catchers, Jones (right) remains the best weekly bet for double-digit targets. (Photos: Ed Szczepanski/Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports)
The Storm's A-Brewin'
BOLD PREDICTION #4: Mark Jaguars rookie Storm Johnson down for 90 total yards AND one TD against Cleveland ... REASONS TO BELIEVE: 1) Jacksonville's rushing attack has been a hot mess to date -- not that we're surprised by Toby Gerhart's lack of workhorse success. But Johnson, Blake Bortles' college teammate (UCF), has a golden chance to log substantial carries from this point forward. 2) Against the Titans last week, Johnson modestly set a career high with 11 touches. 3) Johnson's opponent for Week 7 -- the Browns -- are the NFL's 30th-ranked rush defense, allowing 150 ground yards per outing.
BOLD PREDICTION #5: Bengals-Colts will produce the highest combined points for NFL Week 7 ... REASONS TO BELIEVE: 1) Andrew Luck (right -- 1,987 yards, 17 TDs) is on pace for 4,800 yards passing and 40-plus touchdowns by season's end. 2) The Colts are averaging 31.2 points per game. 3) Of their last six meetings, dating back to 2005, either the Colts or Bengals scored at least 34 points four times. 4) Cincy tailback Gio Bernard (157 total yards, 1 TD) and receiver Mohamed Sanu (10 catches, 120 yards, 1 TD) combined for 277 yards and two scores last week, covering for A.J. Green's injury-related absence. 5) Colts wideout T.Y. Hilton has averaged eight catches, 10.5 targets and 139 receiving yards since Week 4. (Photos: Mike Dinovo/Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports)
BOLD PREDICITON #6: Arian Foster will establish a new personal-best streak of scoring multiple TDs in three straight outings ... REASONS TO BELIEVE: 1) For his stellar career, Foster has notched multiple touchdowns in consecutive games only twice -- Weeks 5/6 from this year ... and Weeks 6/7 from 2012. 2) Citing his last two games, Foster averaged 157 total yards and two scores. 3) Of equal relevance, Foster averaged 24 touches for Weeks 5/6. 4) Foster logged 166 total yards and one touchdown in his only meeting with the Steelers (2011) -- this week's opponent.
Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports
A Catch For Canton
BOLD PREDICITON #7: Emmanuel Sanders, who hasn't scored all season, will catch Peyton Manning's record-breaking TD pass ... REASONS TO BELIEVE: 1) Citing the NFL receivers without a touchdown in 2014, Sanders easily leads the pack in catches (35), targets (48) and receiving yards (473) -- and that includes a Week 4 bye. 2) Broncos QB Peyton Manning (left) stands just two scores shy of tying Brett Favre's all-time NFL record for touchdown passes (508). 3) Demaryius Thomas (31 catches, 491 yards, 4 TDs) and Julius Thomas (24 catches, 277 yards, 9 TDs) will command the lion's share of attention from the Niners on Sunday ... allowing for Sanders (right) to haul in Lucky Touchdown #3. (Photos: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports/Assorted Images)