Last week featured a first win for the San Francisco 49ers and a continued tailspin by the Dallas Cowboys. We also saw more injuries – with Dallas Clark being gone for the season, plus players like Vince Young, Malcolm Floyd and Chris Cooley each getting banged up.
But the biggest news was the helmet-to-helmet hits, leading to major fines and more injuries – most notably to Philadelphia’s DeSean Jackson.
Last week’s results were hard-hitting and this week’s lines are extremely tricky, featuring nine games set at 3 ½ points or less. It’ll be one of those weeks where a prognosticator can post a 4 or a 10 on the victory board. Here’s hoping for the latter.
Last Week: 9-5
Time to “Pick Your Knows” – the only time it’s not a disgusting habit – and here are the Week 7 games (spreads as they appear through CBSSports.com).
National Football League Week 7 Picks Against the Spread
Philadelphia Eagles at Tennessee Titans (-3.5)
Injuries affect this game on both sides, with DeSean Jackson and Vince Young getting hurt last week. But Kevin Kolb has continued to improve, and has been throwing more to Maclin than Jackson anyway. Eagles steal a win on the road.
KP’s Pick: Philadelphia
Buffalo Bills at Baltimore Ravens (-13.5)
The Ravens are fuming after faltering against New England last week – and getting a home game against a weak Bills team is just what the doctor ordered. Baltimore has too many weapons, and the Ravens cover at home.
KP’s Pick: Baltimore
Cleveland Browns at New Orleans Saints (-13.5)
The Saints may have finally pieced things together in a lopsided win over the Bucs last week. But the Browns manage to stay in games week in and week out, and therefore, it’s hard to go against Cleveland with the spread set this high. Take the Browns and the points.
KP’s Pick: Cleveland
Pittsburgh Steelers at Miami Dolphins (+3.5)
Miami should be considered the most underrated team in the NFL at this point – but while playing at home this week, the Dolphins take on the top rush defense in the league. That leaves this game up to Chad Henne and the Pittsburgh pass defense. Steelers cover on the road.
KP’s Pick: Pittsburgh
Cincinnati Bengals at Atlanta Falcons (-3.5)
If not for the 49ers and Cowboys, the Bengals would be the NFL’s biggest disappointment. Atlanta has a rush defense ranking in the top 10 – and that means that Carson Palmer – who has struggled at times – will have to knock out the Falcons on the road. Not happening.
KP’s Pick: Atlanta
Washington Redskins at Chicago Bears (-2.5)
All but one of Washington’s six games have come down to the last possession, so expect another close matchup here. The key will be whether Haslett’s defense can get to Cutler. Most opponents have and expect nothing different this week.
KP’s Pick: Washington
St. Louis Rams at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-2.5)
Tampa Bay’s rush defense has struggled. In fact, only the Bills have allowed more yards per game on the ground. Expect Steven Jackson and the Rams to take advantage of that fact, and Sam Bradford does enough in the air to leave Tampa Bay with a road win.
KP’s Pick: St. Louis
San Francisco 49ers at Carolina Panthers (+3.5)
The Panthers had a week off to rest up and get healthy. Steve Smith will return and Matt Moore starts again for the Panthers. Playing at home, the winless Panthers have enough to keep this game close, or perhaps even get its first victory.
KP’s Pick: Carolina
Jacksonville Jaguars at Kansas City Chiefs (-4.5)
David Garrard is out this week and Maurice Jones-Drew has struggled to post big numbers this season. MJD will have even more problems against a solid Kansas City run defense. Expect the Chiefs to cover at home.
KP’s Pick: Kansas City
Arizona Cardinals at Seattle Seahawks (-5.5)
The Cardinals have been a Jekyll and Hyde team all season. Coming off a bye week and an upset win over the Saints (the week before), a healthier Cards team will keep this game close. Take Arizona and the points.
KP’s Pick: Arizona
Oakland Raiders at Denver Broncos (-6.5)
The key matchup in this game is Denver’s legit passing game (led by Kyle Orton) versus Oakland’s pass defense (ranked in the top 10). When these two division rivals get together, the games are a battle – and expect nothing different. Take Oakland and the points.
KP’s Pick: Oakland
New England Patriots at San Diego Chargers (-2.5)
San Diego is ranked #1 in both total offense and total defense, but the Chargers have struggled to getwins for various reasons. San Diego is usually money at home, but with injuries to Floyd, Gates and Kaeding, it’s hard to imagine the Chargers being able to knock out the Pats, even at home. New England wins outright and Norv Turner’s seat gets hotter.
KP’s Pick: New England
Minnesota Vikings at Green Bay Packers (-2.5)
It’s always tempting to pick the Pack at home, but Green Bay is hurting with so many injuries on both sides of the ball. And there’s a bigger stat to keep in mind: Expect Adrian Peterson’s biggest game of the year, taking on a Green Bay rush defense ranked 21st in the NFL.
KP’s Pick: Minnesota
New York Giants at Dallas Cowboys (-3.5)
Dallas is playing at home with their backs against the wall, but the Giants have arguably been the best team in the NFC to this point. New York is ranked in the top 10 in both rush and pass defense – including 2nd in pass defense. Expect more headaches for Romo and the ‘Boys.
KP’s Pick: New York Giants
Bye Week: Detroit, Indianapolis, Houston and the New York Jets