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Friday, October 23, 2009

Week 7 Selections

Here are my picks for this weeks games in the NFL, the analysis for each game will be posted later tonight.

*indicates my top 3 plays of the weekend

San Diego -5.5 @ Kansas City - The Chargers are coming off a terrible loss at home to the Broncos after they had two weeks to prepare for the game due to their bye week. Kansas City is coming off two straight great games against the Cowboys (loss in OT) and the Redskins (win by 8). The Chiefs defense is playing better, the offense is beginning to develop chemistry, and the culture of the team is becoming more competitive than it was the first three weeks of the season. For the Chargers, this is the make or break game of the season. They are 2-3, and a 2-4 record puts them in a deep hole with the 6-0 Broncos. With the Giants, Eagles, and Broncos all coming up in the next 4 weeks, the Chargers must win this game against the Chiefs to remain in the hunt for the wild-card, let alone the division. Phillip Rivers has played well this season, but he must step his game up to the next level in order to improve the Chargers offense. LT is not the LT of old, so the Chargers must use Sproles to spell him here and there. If the Chargers are going to make a move from this game on, their offense needs to turn it up another level, but their defense has to play better. Allowing almost 360 yards per game, and recording only 7 sacks in 5 games (2nd to last in the NFL) is not going to get it done in this league. The defensive intensity has to increase in order for the Chargers to progress. I think the defense steps up this week when they have to and the Chargers go to Kansas City and takes down the Chiefs. Chargers over the Chiefs 27 - 20.

Indianapolis -14 @ St. Louis - The Rams play Peyton Manning this week. Bob Sanders is supposed to be back for the Colts as well, so this has all the makings for a Colts blow out. That being said, they still need to execute on offense utilizing Addai and Brown out of the backfield, and working more with Collie out of the slot. The Colts are a terrific football team, and in order to become a great team throughout the rest of this season they will have to be sharp in every aspect of the game. Consider this game a tune up for next week against San Francisco. Oh yea, did I mention the Colts are coming off a bye week? Manning in his career is 7-3 after a bye week, with 7 of the games having a QB rating over 100, and of the 7 wins the Colts won on an average of 15 points each game. Give the points, Colts over the Rams 35 - 10.

Green Bay -9 @ Cleveland - With Cleveland allowing 408 yards per game, winning only 1 game in the last 12 outings, and haven't played well once this season, I do not understand why people like the Browns to cover 9 points. They have 12 players hit with the flu this week, Derek Anderson has a 41.7 QB rating on the season and has only completed 11 passes in the past two games, this does not sound like a sleeper pick to me. The Packers came out of their bye week last week and ate up the Lions only allowing the Lions to have the ball for 19 minutes, sack the quarterback 5 times, intercept 3 passes, and allow 0 points. I do not see a let down this week in Cleveland. Aaron Rodgers is too good of a quarterback to let the pathetic Browns defense contain the Packers explosive offense. The Packers will take it to the Browns 30 - 10.

Minnesota +5.5 @ Pittsburgh - This will be the fourth time in NFL history that an undefeated team with more than 5 wins plays the defending super bowl champion. In all 3 previous matchups, the undefeated team won. I see things going a bit differently this week. The Steelers will rise to the occasion in this game, head coach Mike Tomlin lives for games like these. If you look at the head to head battles in this game the edge clearly goes to the Steelers. Head coach edge goes to Tomlin, quarterback so far this season goes to Big Ben who leads the league in passing, running back goes to AP of Minnesota, wide receivers goes to Pitt, offensive line is Pitt, defensive line is more or less even but the edge to Minnesota, linebackers goes to Pittsburgh, and secondary goes to Pittsburgh. Home field advantage, cold weather, and hard-nose Steeler football on Sunday should allow Pittsburgh to take down the unbeaten Vikings. Pittsburgh over Minnesota 24 - 20.

New England +15.5 @ Tampa Bay (in London) - Tampa Bay is coming off a very tough home loss to the Panthers last week. The Panthers ran it down the Bucs throats and put a lot of pressure on QB Josh Johnson. Taking the trip to London must have been tough for both teams, but with veteran leadership and savvy players, the edge in travel goes to the Patriots. As a matter of fact, the edge in every aspect of this game goes to the Patriots. After scoring 59 points in the snow against the Titans, a much better team than Tampa, the Patriots are ready to keep the engine running in England this Sunday. Tom Brady looked like he was back to his 2007 form, as he tossed an NFL record 5 touchdowns in the second quarter of last week's game against the Titans. Laurence Maroney will get plenty of touches this week, as the Bucs allowed over 200 yards last week to the Panthers, and clearly are having problems stopping the run this season (allowing 172 yards per game). Not much of a game here, Patriots over the Buccaneers 38 - 14.

San Francisco @ Houston -3 - Michael Crabtree will be making his first career professional start for the 49ers and he gets a great opportunity to put up some numbers as the 49ers will be taking on the high-flying passing game of the Houston Texans. Matt Schaub, Steve Slaton, and Andre Johnson have been sensational this season hooking up for long touchdown passes and taking advantage of mismatches with Slaton lined up in the slot. The 49ers are making the trip east after having two weeks to prepare for this game. Houston is coming off a big win in Cincinnati last week. Houston needs this game, and playing at home gives them a big advantage. Frank Gore should be back for the 49ers, even though Houston has played the run much better the past 3 weeks, this is a favorable matchup for Gore. Houston must put pressure on Shaun Hill in order to take this game from the 49ers. Hill is shaky when he is hurried out of the pocket, but when he can drop back and have time to throw the ball he fairs much better. Overall, the edge goes to the home team. Schaub is having a very good season so far wit h14 touchdowns in 6 games. Look for the total to increase as the Texans will take down the 49ers 28 - 20.

New York Jets -7 @ Oakland - Don't jump on the Oakland band wagon yet. If Zach Miller would have been tackled for a 6 yard gain, instead of an 86 yard touchdown, the Raiders offense would have only gave 240 total yards, Russell would have only had 140 yards passing, and no one would be thinking about taking the Raiders this week. The Jets defense will limit the Raiders offense, even without nose tackle Kris Jenkins. The Jets will run, run, and run some more as the Raiders are 28th against the run. Mark Sanchez must make confident throws this week and progress forward from a dismal 5 interception game last week against Buffalo. The Jets offensive line should handle Oakland pass rush, and they will counted with screens to Leon Washington as well. New York will win this game, Thomas Jones should have a big game again, and Rex Ryan will get this team back together. New York Jets over the Raiders 20 - 9.

Buffalo @ Carolina -7 - The Panthers have the edge this weekend as they take on the Bills in Carolina. The Panthers have their two-headed running back train back on schedule as Jonathan Stewart and DeAngelo Williams combined for over 200 yards last week against Tampa Bay. This week should be more of the same as the Bills can stop the pass, but cannot stop the run as they are the NFL's worst at that. The Bills will be without starting QB Trent Edwards (concussion), so backup Ryan Fitzpatrick will be making the start. Fitzpatrick is a seasoned backup with plenty of experience, but a career 66.1 QB rating says enough about what to expect. Fitzpatrick is more mobile than Edwards and will take shots down the field, but overall his pocket presence is too shaky and Panthers franchised DE Julius Peppers will be all in Fitzpatrick's grill throughout the game. Stewart is a great start this week in fantasy football as both he and D Will should get 15-20 carries a piece. Panthers over the Bills 24 - 13.

**Chicago +1 @ Cincinnati - Jay Cutler and Matt Forte will be the key players in this game to get the Bears a victory. I love how Cutler has been playing all season, and with the receivers he has been doing with shows the type of quarterback he is. On the other side, the Bengals are battle tested and have beaten the Steelers and the Ravens, but explain a home loss to the Texans? Chicago must get Forte going in order to win this game, that includes screens and little dump offs where he can make guys miss in the open field. Cincinnati won't be prepared for the Bears this week, Chicago over Cincinnati 20 - 17.

New Orleans @ **Miami +7 - The game of the week. I love this matchup. New Orleans is the hottest team in football off to a 6-0 start. Their offense is explosive, and their defense has played tremendous all season. Miami is coming off a bye week, and the last time they played the took down the Jets in Miami. The Miami culture has changed, this team can win games. Tony Sparano has a great thing going here and I think he continues it this week. Miami has the offense that can slow down the pace of the game for the Saints. Running the wildcat, using Henne's arm, and even bringing in Pat White to scramble or throw the ball is a huge advantage for the Dolphins. The Dolphins will score with the Saints, but can the defense make plays and shut down Drew Brees. Joey Porter is pumped up for this game, and he will have his defense ready for this game. They have had two weeks to watch all the film they have on Brees, seeing what he does on specific coverages, what his checks are, and how quickly he likes to get rid of the ball. New Orleans is in for a battle, could they win this game by double digits? Without a doubt. But I see it going a different way. I think Miami will play them tough the entire 60 minutes of the game. I love Miami this week, playing hard and exciting football. Miami OVER New Orleans 27 - 24.

Atlanta +4 @ Dallas - Dallas is an average team. Wade Phillips is an average coach. The Falcons are an above average team with an above average coach and they will win this road game this week. Atlanta is playing very well this season, their only loss came at New England, and Matt Ryan's play has been excellent. Ryan has a 95.6 QB ratio and is completing 65% of his passes. If Michael Turner can pick up his play this team will be very prepared for the playoffs. The only downfall for this team is their defense. And this is where Dallas has an opportunity to keep it close. Atlanta's defense is ranked 23rd against the run and 21st against the pass, but they typically come up with key plays in games that allow their offense to come back on the field. With Marion Barber back this week, Dallas should try to get their run game going early, and then utilize Tony Romo's arm. Tony has been inconsistent all season, and if Atlanta brings pressure, look for Romo to struggle once again. I like Atlanta to pick apart the Dallas defense, and for Michael Turner to break out a few long runs. Atlanta over Dallas 30 - 27.

Arizona @ **New York Giants -7 - The Cardinals can stop the run, they rank 1st in the NFL in that category, but they rank dead last against the pass and that will be a problem when the Cardinals secondary tries to cover Smith, Nicks, Boss, and Manningham. Oh don't forget that Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw were contained by the Saints last week and they will be very eager to test the Cardinals run defense. The Cardinals are still a pass happy offense, so look for Warner to take shots deep in the secondary like Brees did last weekend. The Cardinals may be without star receiver Anquan Boldin who appears to be a game-time decision this week. The Cardinals are not a good East coast team, and in 6 career games against the Giants, Warner has 11 turnovers to 6 touchdowns. Let's not forget that the Giants are coming off a brutal loss in New Orleans last week, so as you could imagine, this Giants defense is salivating to get their hands on Warner's jersey and regain the reputation of the ferocious Giants defense that they had prior to last weeks game. The Giants have the quarterback, the running backs, improving receivers, the offensive and defensive lines, and the 2nd best home defense against the pass in the NFL. Give the points and expect a win by the Giants 30 - 17.

Philadelphia -7 @ Washington - Washington is in shambles. Zorn should have been fired already, Jason Campbell should be riding the bench, and this team should get beat this Monday night. The Eagles are coming off a pitiful loss to Oakland last week, so expect a completely different intensity from them this week as Andy Reid will have them fully prepared for the Redskins. Donovan McNabb has 25 career touchdown passes against the Redskins in 17 games, look for that number to increase on Monday night. Westbrook looked healthy against the Raiders, and DeSean Jackson is eager to make something happen for this offense after being shut down the past two games. Washington is not playing well enough to keep this game close. I think it will be under 38 points, but the Eagles with have the bulk of the points. Eagles over Washington 24 - 10.

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