Pudge’s Picks – Week 7 2014

Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

Peyton Manning

I can honestly say that at the last second before hitting the “publish” button on Thursday night, I switched my pick to the Patriots over fear that the Jets would come out flat like so many other teams have done during the league’s mid-week games this year. I should have stuck to my guns and gone with the Jets as I originally intended, but I didn’t want to be burned again for wrongly picking the Jets.

I’ll try not to do too much second-guessing for Sunday’s games.

* All lines are from ESPN.

Atlanta Falcons (2-4) at Baltimore Ravens (4-2)
Sunday, October 19 at 1 pm ET on FOX

*Line: Ravens (-6.5)

It’s certainly a possibility that this game is relatively close since the Ravens could be due to a letdown after they blew out the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last week. The Falcons had the same happen to them following their Week 3 blowout of the Bucs, but unlike the Falcons, the Ravens won’t be traveling this week and facing a physical Vikings team. The Falcons are anything but physical and this one could get ugly if the Falcons don’t step up.

I believe the Falcons are going to have to make some modifications to how they do business. Some new tactics will help them somewhat offset the physical edge that the Ravens have over them. But even if they achieved that, the Falcons would still probably lose. So if in the best-case scenario the Ravens still probably win, there’s just no reason to pick the Falcons this week.

Spread Pick: Ravens
Straight Pick: Ravens

Minnesota Vikings (2-4) at Buffalo Bills (3-3)
Sunday, October 19 at 1 pm ET on FOX

*Line: Bills (-4.5)

The Vikings offensive line is pretty weak and are facing one of the best defensvie lines in the league. This should be a game that the Bills can control in the trenches. But even despite that obvious advantage, I’m not sure a Kyle Orton-helmed Bills offense is capable of scoring more than 17 points in a game. I doubt Teddy Bridgewater will turn the ball over as frequently as he did last week (three picks), so it’s likely going to be a close, low-scoring affair.

Spread Pick: Vikings
Straight Pick: Bills

Miami Dolphins (2-3) at Chicago Bears (3-3)
Sunday, October 19 at 1 pm ET on CBS

*Line: Bears (-3.5)

For whatever reason, Jay Cutler has played much better on the road than he has at home this season. I believe the Dolphins defense gives them a decided advantage in this one. The Bears are a decent team, but won’t have the benefit of playing a bad Falcons team this week.

Spread Pick: Dolphins
Straight Pick: Dolphins

New Orleans Saints (2-3) at Detroit Lions (4-2)
Sunday, October 19 at 1 pm ET on FOX

*Line: Lions (-2.5)

While neither the Saints nor Lions have ruled out their top weapons in Jimmy Graham and Calvin Johnson, respectively, from playing, I’m not very optimistic. I think the Saints have the offensive line that can hold up relatively well against the Lions defensive line. Since 2009 and including layoffs in the playoffs, the Saints are 8-1 following a bye week or Thursday night game. That lone loss being on the road against the Seahawks, so I’m optimistic that the Saints will take advantage of their layoff.

Spread Pick: Saints
Straight Pick: Saints

Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Slowing down Cam Newton will be Packers focus this week

Carolina Panthers (3-2-1) at Green Bay Packers (4-2)
Sunday, October 19 at 1 pm ET on FOX

*Line: Packers (-6.5)

The Packers have had their notable share of struggles against mobile quarterbacks like Colin Kaepernick and Russell Wilson over the years, so that certainly favors Cam Newton and the Panthers. But Newton is coming off a game where he had 284 passing yards and 107 rushing yards, and is not likely to have a repeat performance with the Packers focusing on him. And I’m not sure the Panthers have enough playmakers elsewhere on offense to pick up the slack if the Packers are successful in containing Newton.

Spread Pick: Packers
Straight Pick: Packers

Cincinnati Bengals (3-1-1) at Indianapolis Colts (4-2)
Sunday, October 19 at 1 pm ET on CBS

*Line: Colts (-2.5)

The Bengals defense has struggled the past two weeks and if they want to get a win on the road, they’ll have to step up their ability to create pressure against a weak Colts interior offensive line. The Colts do get guard Jack Mewhort back, so that should help somewhat to try and slow down Geno Atkins, who is starting to round into old form. But the Colts are still playing at home, where they have an advantage.

Spread Pick: Colts
Straight Pick: Colts

Cleveland Browns (3-2) at Jacksonville Jaguars (0-6)
Sunday, October 19 at 1 pm ET on CBS

*Line: Jaguars (+4.5)

Despite the Jags showing some life last week, there really isn’t any reason to pick them to cover. The Browns have a good defense and should be able to handle Blake Bortles.

Spread Pick: Browns
Straight Pick: Browns

Seattle Seahawks (3-2) at St. Louis Rams (1-4)
Sunday, October 19 at 1 pm ET on FOX

*Line: Rams (+6.5)

The Seahawks are beat up with four starters out this week, with center Max Unger and middle linebacker Bobby Wagner being the two most notable ones. The Rams came out swinging last week, but ran out of steam against a better 49ers team. I don’t expect the Seahawks to dominate this game, but I just don’t see the Rams being able to hang with them for four quarters.

Spread Pick: Seahawks
Straight Pick: Seahawks

Tennessee Titans (2-4) at Washington Redskins (1-5)
Sunday, October 19 at 1 pm ET on CBS

*Line: Redskins (-4.5)

Titans quarterback Jake Locker could play this week, but things don’t appear optimistic. And despite the poor play of Kirk Cousins as of late, I still think he’s by far a better quarterback than Charlie Whitehurst. If the Redskins can run the ball against the Titans, who rank 24th against the run this year, then it should mean that Cousins won’t be forced to throw and thus shouldn’t turn the ball over too much.

Spread Pick: Redskins
Straight Pick: Redskins

Kansas City Chiefs (2-3) at San Diego Chargers (5-1)
Sunday, October 19 at 4:05 pm ET on CBS

*Line: Chargers (-4.5)

The only explanation I can come up with for how the Chargers nearly lost to the Raiders last week is because they gave up a couple of big plays in the passing game and didn’t clamp down on the run. It should be a lot harder to clamp down on Jamaal Charles than it was against Darren McFadden. But the vertical passing game isn’t a big part of the Chiefs offense so I expect the Chargers will bounce back this week if they can contain Charles.

Spread Pick: Chargers
Straight Pick: Chargers

New York Giants (3-3) at Dallas Cowboys (5-1)
Sunday, October 19 at 4:25 pm ET on FOX

*Line: Cowboys (-6.5)

The Cowboys won a big one last week against the Seahawks and are potentially due for a letdown this week. It’s also a divisional game, so even despite my thoughts that the Giants are a fairly mediocre team, they do know the Cowboys very well. I think they will be able to keep the Cowboys passing game in check, particularly with right tackle Doug Free out. The concerns for the Giants is running back DeMarco Murray, who could run wild on them. I don’t know if a Victor Cruz-less Giants offense has enough firepower to overcome the Cowboys either.

Spread Pick: Giants
Straight Pick: Cowboys

Arizona Cardinals (4-1) at Oakland Raiders (0-5)
Sunday, October 19 at 4:25 pm ET on FOX

*Line: Raiders (+3.5)

The Raiders showed some life under interim head coach Tony Sparano last week with a near upset of the Chargers, but they’re still the Raiders. I need to see that sort of play for another week before I start buying in. The Cardinals are vulnerable, but I think their offense will get back on track against an underwhelming Raiders defense.

Spread Pick: Cardinals
Straight Pick: Cardinals

San Francisco 49ers (4-2) at Denver Broncos (4-1)
Sunday, October 19 at 8:30 pm ET on NBC

*Line: Broncos (-6.5)

The 49ers have a bunch of injuries, notably with linebacker Patrick Willis and guard Mike Iupati being out this week. Even if defensive backs like Chris Culliver, Tramaine Brock and Jimmie Ward (all questionable) were healthy, I’m not sure the 49ers have the defensive capabilities to slow down Peyton Manning and the Broncos offense. It’s a primetime home game for Manning, and unless the 49ers ground game goes for over 200 yards, I don’t see why the Broncos don’t take care of business. The Broncos run defense is the strongest part of their team besides Manning, so such a performance would be a surprise for the 49ers offense.

Spread Pick: Broncos
Straight Pick: Broncos

Houston Texans (3-3) at Pittsburgh Steelers (3-3)
Monday, October 20 at 8:30 pm ET on ESPN

*Line: Steelers (-3.5)

Here’s an interesting math problem: When you remove the 27 points the Steelers scored against the Browns in the first half of Week 1, and the 28 points the Steelers scored in the second half against the Panthers in Week 3, how many points have the Steelers scored in the other 20 quarters of football they’ve played this year?

The answer is 89, which extrapolates to be 17.8 points per every four quarters. Simply put, they just aren’t a good offense. They might be able to get to 21 points this week since they’re at home though. But probably not much more given the presence of J.J. Watt and the possibility that Jadeveon Clowney returns this week.

The Steelers winning this game is dependent on making Ryan Fitzpatrick play like Ryan Fitzpatrick. But their defense for most of this season hasn’t exactly compelled opposing quarterbacks to play poorly.

Spread Pick: Texans
Straight Pick: Steelers

About the Author

Aaron Freeman
Founder of FalcFans.com