his week in the NFL has already been full of drama. Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay bashing Peyton Manning’s career as a Colt, Minnesota QB Josh Freeman getting his first start in purple and gold, RGIII vowing to fans that he’ll do whatever it takes to win regardless of making himself vulnerable to injury, and injuries galore across the league. Week 7 is sure to bring some great entertainment as it’s full of classic rivalry games like the Cowboys and Eagles and Ravens and Steelers, oh and Peyton vs. his replacement. Read on and take my picks to the bank.
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NOTE: Teams in BOLD are picked to win.
Seattle Seahawks at Arizona Cardinals
Despite falling to Indianapolis in Week 5, the Seattle Seahawks are still one of the strongest, if not the strongest, teams in the NFC. Here is an inter-conference NFC West matchup against the struggling Arizona Cardinals. Looks like the QB situation wasn’t the only problem AZ had. Their secondary has stepped up with Patrick Peterson and the Honey Badger, but is it enough to stop the Seattle offense?
FANTASY WATCH: QB Russell Wilson taking over.
Cincinnati Bengals at Detroit Lions
Tough matchup to call but I’m sticking by my Lions. Cincy has one of the best defenses around but I feel that they will experience mismatches across the board. So far this season, they haven’t had to face a true duel-threat, shifty running back like Reggie Bush and that will play a major factor. The dual-back running game of Bush and Bell will open up the air game to Calvin where Cincy will have to rely heavily on Leon Hall to get it done against Megatron. Point Megatron.
FANTASY WATCH: Gio Bernard catching out of the backfield.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Atlanta Falcons
The 0-5 Bucs face the 1-4 Falcons in an NFC South matchup. Mike Glennon has stepped up and outperformed the bleak expectations leading Tampa Bay into battle. Atlanta, on the other hand, has been a huge disappointment. Yes, injuries have destroyed their receiving corps and running game, but they still do have a stud QB in Matt Ryan. Anything’s possible with Matt Ryan, except for an NFC Championship win.
FANTASY WATCH: Rookie QB Mike Glennon making it rain.
Buffalo Bills at Miami Dolphins
Bills Head Coach Doug Marrone expects QB Thad Lewis to start against Miami in Sunday but his status is still questionable after injuring his foot last week against the Bengals. They’ve signed Free Agent QB Matt Flynn as some insurance, how much insurance that gives them remains to be seen. Jeff Tuel didn’t pan out. EJ Manuel sprained his knee. Now Thad banged up. Buffalo QB curse? Look for them to lean heavily on RB Fred Jackson and banged up CJ Spiller this week in Miami. Miami is coming off a well-rested bye week.
FANTASY WATCH: QB Ryan Tannehill takes care of business, leaving Mike Wallace satisfied for once.
New England Patriots at New York Jets
Brady came out on top in the final seconds of last week’s matchup against New Orleans—typical clutch Tom Brady. It’s apparent that he and his receivers are still on different wavelengths, but they’re making some progress. The injury-riddled Danny Amendola really kills the investment of having a solid #1. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Patriots bring in a veteran WR or a current stud on a losing team. The Jets have been rejuvenated—by Jets standards. Rookie QB Geno Smith has developed in a hurry and made some great plays with his sub-par, receiving corps. With the big gap in the middle with Vince Wilfork out, I suggest Rex Ryan and the New York offense lean on Running Backs Bilal Powell and Chris Ivory.
FANTASY WATCH: RB Bilal Powell taking advantage of the Wilfork-less Pats.
Dallas Cowboys at Philadelphia Eagles
Romo wasn’t the same against the Redskins (170 yards with a pick and a TD) as he was against the Broncos, putting up 506 yards and 5 TD’s but that’s no need to worry. The real reason to worry is the loss of DeMarcus Ware (whom they’e already stating is a game-time decision) and RB DeMarco Murray for a likely two weeks. Losing your defensive captain and standout running back isn’t a good start for the upcoming weeks where the Cowboys will be tested with Philly, Detroit, Minnesota, and New Orleans (3 of 4 being away games). This rivalry always seems to make guys stand out and compete, except for Vick with his bum hamstring. Philly didn’t seem to skip a beat by starting QB Nick Foles last week as he racked up 296 passing yards and 3 TD’s. Chip Kelly’s offense can cater to either type of Quarterback and that makes them all the more dangerous.
FANTASY WATCH: RB LeSean McCoy sounding off in Philly against the division rivals.
Chicago Bears at Washington Redskins
RGIII what happened?! Sure didn’t have the type of ACL turnaround that Adrian Peterson had. If the Redskins want to get out of this early slump, they’re going to have to lean more heavily on the legs of RB Alfred Morris. Not only that, they need to wake up on the other side of the ball, ranking 24th in opponent passing yards and 27th in opponent rushing yards. RGIII can’t do it all by himself and that’s become more and more apparent. Chicago poses a big threat to the Redskins with their balanced offense and great defense against the run (ranked 12th).
FANTASY WATCH: RB Matt Forte and TE Martellus Bennett in the end zone.
St. Louis Rams at Carolina Panthers
Cam Newton has finally come alive. Only took him a few weeks to warm up, but he’s back. Last week in Minnesota, the former Auburn Tiger and Heisman winner was 20-for-26 and threw for 242 and 3 TD’s while rushing for 30 and another TD. Daddy’s back. It’s clear the coaches have finally loosened the reins and given Cam control of the offense. With a 7th ranked rushing attack, they’re sure to give the lackluster Rams defense problems all day long. Not only that, but their defense is stellar this season. Sure to give Sam Bradford and their trio of Running Backs serious problems.
FANTASY WATCH: QB Cam Newton blows up the scoreboard.
San Diego Chargers at Jacksonville Jaguars
The 0-6 Jaguars are just sad this year. In their defense, they weren’t absolutely terrible against the Broncos, but then again, the Broncos defense isn’t anything to brag about as of lately—they just outscore you. Having QB Chad Henne at the helm gives the Jags the best chance to win, but its still a small chance. Thankfully they have WR Justin Blackmon fresh off his suspension and actually doing something for their offense as MoJo has been struggling to break out for big runs. Is it time for the ‘Offensive Weapon’ Denard Robinson? The former Michigan QB and RB could give this team the excitement they are clearly lacking. San Diego on the other hand, has been strong offensively, but still face serious struggles on defense. If they want to make it to the postseason, they’re going to have to figure out their defensive woes.
FANTASY WATCH: RB Danny Woodhead has a big game out of the backfield.
San Francisco 49ers at Tennessee Titans
With RB Chris Johnson having a half-assed year and QB Jake Locker out of commission, the Tennessee Titans have had their share of obstacles this season. Regardless of those, they’ve remained relevant. Their last two losses against Kansas City and Seattle were close ones, they’ve just got a brutal three weeks with the 49ers now at home. San Francisco has been, well, different from what we’ve seen in the past. We expected a high octane offense with a gritty defense and got neither of those this season. Was this all part of Jim Harbaugh’s master plan?
FANTASY WATCH: RB Frank Gore gets beastly as the team continues to use his brute strength ground ‘n pound that bursts him into open field. Truck stick!
Cleveland Browns at Green Bay Packers
Believe it or not, the Cleveland Browns have one of the best defenses around, ranking 8th in both opponent passing yards (avr. 214.3) and opponent rushing yards (avr. 98.2). They had their hands full with a Detroit Lions offense last week as they allowed the most points in a game than they have all season. Watching as the camera panned the stadium, it seems as though these fans are almost as eager as us Detroit fans to get into the postseason. After losing Trent Richardson a few weeks ago, their long-term issues become more apparent. Green Bay has had their share of obstacles as they lost WR Randall Cobb for the season, WR James Jones banged up, and LB Clay Matthews Jr. out for an extended period of time with a broken finger. What happened to the days where you just taped that shit and played? With that hair, you should’ve known he was a diva.
FANTASY WATCH: RB Eddie Lacy makes this Browns defense work to earn their paycheck.
Houston Texans at Kansas City Chiefs
I don’t think anyone in their right mind saw Houston as 2-4 and KC as 6-0 going into the seventh week of the season. Chiefs Head Coach Andy Reid has created one of the greatest overall team turnarounds in modern day football. Houston, on the other hand, has been struggling excessively throughout the start of the season. For one, their defense is nowhere near how they are capable of playing, allowing an average of 121.5 yards rushing a game. JJ Watt and Brian Cushing, step up and lead this team. No one thought the Texans pass defense would be the best in the league. Step up and stop the run game. They’ll be tested heavily this week with Chiefs Pro Bowl Running Back Jamaal Charles. Houston’s season can be summed up with a simple audio clip of the crowd cheering at home as starting QB Matt Schaub goes down with an injury.
FANTASY WATCH: RB Jamaal Charles taking advantage of the Texans piss poor run defense.
Baltimore Ravens at Pittsburgh Steelers
In the final rivalry game of this week, the Ravens take on the struggling Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field. The Steelers have struggled a ton without a consistent running game, due to the result of having banged up Running Backs. A lisfranc injury isn’t one that you can just shrug off and play with as it will affect the rest of your career and Rookie RB Le’Veon Bell knows this. Taking his time getting back into the mix of things as his carries are gradually increased is the way to go. In the meantime, the Steelers have serious speedy targets in WRs Antonio Brown and Emmanuel Sanders. If Big Ben can get consistent and more accurate, this team could easily turn things around. Just keep the guy a minimum of 5 miles from the nearest frat party. Steelers with the upset.
FANTASY WATCH: WR Antonio Brown and TE Heath Miller getting in the end zone.
Denver Broncos at Indianapolis Colts
Probably the most talked about matchup this week. ESPN has been filled with “Peyton this” and “Peyton that”. Frankly, I’m sick of it. The Denver Broncos have the necessary weapons to win a Superbowl—many key factors that Indianapolis lacks. As much as I hate to admit it, Peyton Manning is the man. Easily the best QB of this generation of athletes, possibly one of the best to ever play the game. Gracing a guy with such targets as WR Wes Welker, WR Demariyus Thomas, WR Eric Decker, and TE Julius Thomas isn’t even fair. It’s like having a fantasy draft on a franchise of Madden. He will lead the league in passing yards and passing touchdowns as he is on pace to have one of the greatest seasons of his career. Throw them in a Sunday night game in the city he called home for the past 14 years, fireworks are bound to fly. Peyton indoors is super Peyton.
FANTASY WATCH: Obviously Peyton Manning—Though, I do usually root against anyone who ESPN has been all over the nuts of.
The face that sums up the Giants season
Minnesota Vikings at New York Giants
This is such an atrocious Monday Night Football game. The 1-4 Minnesota Vikings visit the winless NY Giants in New York to play one of the ugliest games known to man. Minnesota will be giving newly acquired QB Josh Freeman the reins of the offense as he gets his first start in purple and gold. He’s already feeling like he has the support and staff to get to work in Minnesota—you had to know he and Tampa Bay HC Greg Schiano didn’t see eye-to-eye. If Minnesota wants to turn their season around, they’re going to have to lean more heavily on the legs of RB Adrian Peterson. If you have the best running back in the league and possibly of the modern era, you should probably utilize him—especially when your pass offense is piss poor. This will be a close game being that Minnesota’s pass defense ranks close to the bottom of the NFL and Eli is going to be ready to sling. Pick your poison. I don’t like either of these teams.
FANTASY WATCH: WR Victor Cruz running laps around the Minnesota defense after the catch.