Pudge’s Picks – Week 7

Another week of picking games, and hopefully a better week of picking games. Apparently my success in picking games last year was a fluke because I just can’t get right this year.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-5) at Atlanta Falcons (1-4)
Sunday, October 20 at 1 pm ET on FOX

Line: Falcons (-7.5)

Obviously the line makers do not think highly of the Bucs. Understandably, because the Bucs offense has been nearly as bad as how good their defense has been this year. But this is not a great matchup for the Falcons, as their offense will probably also struggle to score against that Bucs defense. And thus the onus is on the Falcons defense to play well, which really hasn’t occurred  the past few weeks. I think the Falcons win at home,  but in a closer game than this line indicates it should be.

Spread Pick: Bucs
Straight Pick: Falcons

Chicago Bears (4-2) at Washington Redskins (1-4)
Sunday, October 20 at 1 pm ET on FOX

Line: Redskins (-1.5)

The key to slowing down the Redskins is stopping hte run, something Chicago didn’t do last week against the Giants. Brandon Jacobs had over 100 yards rushing against a diminished Bears front. Rookie Jon Bostic will be making his first career start at middle linebacker and thus that’s not a recipe for success for the Bears, although I think Bostic will be fine. The bigger question is going to be whether the Redskins defense can stop the Bears offense. Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery against one of the league’s weakest secondaries is not a recipe for success. The Redskins have played better in recent weeks, and that might be enough to get the win at home.

Spread Pick: Redskins
Straight Pick: Redskins

Dallas Cowboys (3-3) at Philadelphia Eagles (3-3)
Sunday, October 20 at 1 pm ET on FOX

Line: Eagles (-2.5)

The winner of this game will take the early lead in the NFC East. I don’t like the Cowboys chances given the injuries to players like DeMarcus Ware and DeMarco Murray.  The Eagles got a nice boost from Nick Foles, and if he has a repeat performance this week, the Eagles are in the driver’s seat. Dallas is 0-2 on the road, while Philly is 0-2 at home this year. Something has got to give, and I’m going to pick the Eagles.

Spread Pick: Eagles
Straight Pick: Eagles

St. Louis Rams (3-3) at Carolina Panthers (2-3)
Sunday, October 20 at 1 pm ET on FOX

Line: Panthers (-6.5)

Both of these teams are coming off unexpectedly big wins over the Texans and Vikings last week. Both teams won with good defensive play, as the Rams created 4 turnovers. The Panthers defense is the superior of the two, and their offense is a bit more explosive. There’s really no reason why the Panthers shouldn’t win this game at home, but that’s why they have Ron Rivera as their coach and an inconsistent Cam Newton at quarterback, so anything is possible.

Spread Pick: Rams
Straight Pick: Panthers

Buffalo Bills (2-4) at Miami Dolphins (3-2)
Sunday, October 20 at 1 pm ET on CBS

Line: Dolphins (-8.5)

Thad Lewis had an impressive debut against a tough Bengals defense and will be playing with a healthier Stevie Johnson and C.J. Spiller this week. Miami started the year 3-0, but has been underwhelming in their past two games. They are coming off a bye, and I think Lewis is probably in for a bit of a letdown. But Miami is going to need to play better vs. the run, which will be tough if Dannell Ellerbe misses the game.

Spread Pick: Bills
Straight Pick: Dolphins

Cincinnati Bengals (4-2) at Detroit Lions (4-2)
Sunday, October 20 at 1 pm ET on CBS

Line: Lions (-2.5)

The Bengals defense looked like the unit I had been expecting to see all year against the Patriots in Week 5, but not so much against the Bills in Week 6. That’s their problem, they have a mostly average offense and a good defense, but not a great one. The Lions can sling it and rush the quarterback, but don’t do much else well. It seems like every other week the Bengals look like the team I expected to see at the beginning of the year, which was a team that would be the thick of competition for the second seed in the AFC. This is a week that coincides with one of their “on” weeks, so I’ll take them on the road.

Spread Pick: Bengals
Straight Pick: Bengals

New England Patriots (5-1) at New York Jets (3-3)
Sunday, October 20 at 1 pm ET on CBS

Line: Jets (+4.5)

This is really going to be a defensive battle, where the Patriots defense is the strength of their team. That’s the same for the Jets, but that has always been the case. I like Belichick and his ability to find holes in the Jets and giving them their second consecutive loss. But I think the Jets defense going up against an injury-depleted Patriots offense could keep it relatively close.

Spread Pick: Patriots
Straight Pick: Patriots

San Diego Chargers (3-3) at Jacksonville Jaguars (0-6)
Sunday, October 20 at 1 pm ET on CBS

Line: Jaguars (+7.5)

The Jags showed some life last week with a relatively closely-contested battle against the Broncos. And the Chargers defense isn’t very good. But the Jags may be without both Justin Blackmon and Cecil Shorts this week, as both are questionable, and thus unless Maurice Jones-Drew runs rampant, I don’t see a repeat performance for Jacksonville. The Chargers did well on their initial East Coast trip against the Eagles in Week 2, and their defense has improved in recent weeks, thus I think they handle Jacksonville on the road.

Spread Pick: Chargers
Straight Pick: Chargers

San Francisco 49ers (4-2) at Tennessee Titans (3-3)
Sunday, October 20 at 4:05 pm ET on FOX

Line: Titans (+4.5)

Jake Locker will be back in the lineup this week according to reports, so it won’t be as easy to write off the Titans thanks to Ryan Fitzpatrick. But I suspect that Locker’s presence won’t make a ton of difference. To win, the Titans need to run the ball effectively and play good defense. They’ve been gashed on the ground the past few weeks, and the 49ers defense should be able to bottle up the Titans rushing attack. It still plays heavily into the favor of the 49ers. The only concern for the 49ers is that both starting ends Ray McDonald and Justin Smith are questionable, this week. And normally when Smith hasn’t been 100-percent over the years, it really saps the 49ers defense.

Spread Pick: 49ers
Straight Pick: 49ers

Cleveland Browns (3-3) at Green Bay Packers (3-2)
Sunday, October 20 at 4:25 pm ET on CBS

Line: Packers (-10.5)

The problem with the Packers is that they haven’t been able to turn a bunch of yards into points the past few weeks. The Browns defense is tough and so that should continue to plague them. But the Browns have Brandon Weeden, and I learned my lesson from last week on why I shouldn’t ever bet on Weeden. If the Browns are going to keep this close, it will be reliant on Buster Skrine and Chris Owens to play well. Skrine should get a reprieve with Randall Cobb out. But Owens is notoriously bad against the Packers, and thus I don’t love the Browns chances.

Spread Pick: Packers
Straight Pick: Packers

Houston Texans (2-4) at Kansas City Chiefs (6-0)
Sunday, October 20 at 4:25 pm ET on CBS

Line: Chiefs (-6.5)

The Texans are reeling after an embarrassing loss to the St. Louis Rams. It’s caused them to go to their third string quarterback Case Keenum in the hopes of a spark. Keenum played well in the preseason, but it’s going to be a tall order going against the league’s top defense. Unless J.J. Watt and the Texans defense can step up here to put pressure on Alex Smith and force him into some uncharacteristic mistakes, and bottle up Jamaal Charles, the Chiefs should roll in this one. The Texans defense is No. 1 in total defense, but 28th in scoring defense. They don’t create any turnovers (29th in takeaways). That needs to change this week and I have a feeling it could, but I’m not betting on it.

Spread Pick: Chiefs
Straight Pick: Chiefs

Baltimore Ravens (3-3) at Pittsburgh Steelers (1-4)
Sunday, October 20 at 4:25 pm ET on CBS

Line: Steelers (-1.5)

The Steelers got their first win of the season last week, thanks to their defense finally creating a pair of turnovers by the Jets. Baltimore has largely been an average team this year, and they are playing on the road which has not been a recipe for success this year. After years of being dominated by the Steelers, the Ravens have turned the tables the past few years, including a number of notable wins in Heinz Field. This is a matchup between two offenses that don’t run the ball well, so it really comes down to whose pass defense you have more faith in. And the Steelers have clearly been better this year (although they haven’t played many prolific passing attacks). But with Lardarius Webb nicked up, I still like the Steelers.

Spread Pick: Steelers
Straight Pick: Steelers

Denver Broncos (6-0) at Indianapolis Colts (4-2)
Sunday, October 20 at 8:30 pm ET on NBC

Line: Colts (+6.5)

This is the much-hyped game featuring Peyton Manning’s return to Indianapolis. Playing in a dome against a good Colts defense will be an interesting matchup. The Broncos will be without both of their starting tackles with Ryan Clady done for the year, and now right tackle Orlando Franklin doubtful with an ankle injury. That could mean a big day for Robert Mathis, which the Colts will need if they want to slow down the Broncos offense. This will mark Von Miller’s first game back, and I expect him to exploit the Colts pair of tackles and be in Andrew Luck’s face. The Colts are going to need a big day from Trent Richardson. The problem is that nobody has been able to run the ball against the Broncos because they get behind early. So unless the Colts manage a way to slow down the Broncos early, I don’t see them having that much success.

Spread Pick: Broncos
Straight Pick: Broncos

Minnesota Vikings (1-4) at New York Giants (0-6)
Monday, October 21 at 8:30 pm ET on ESPN

Line: Giants (-3.5)

Josh Freeman will be starting for the Vikings this week against a terrible Giants defense. More importantly, this is a week where Adrian Peterson should be effective and really control this game for the Vikings. The Giants have been a turnover machine every week this year, with at least three in every game. Last week against Carolina was the first game where the Vikings defense didn’t create a turnover, as they’ve created at least two in every game up to that point. So this has the makings of a Vikings win.

Spread Pick: Vikings
Straight Pick: Vikings

About the Author

Aaron Freeman
Founder of FalcFans.com

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