Week 7 NFL Picks

The injury train is stopping in every city on its NFL tour. Last week, Green Bay Packers quarterback and MVP favorite Aaron Rodgers broke his collarbone and will reportedly miss the rest of the season. This news crushed the hopes of every Cheesehead in the world, along with perhaps millions of fantasy football players. Luckily for those fantasy guys, quarterback is the easiest position to replicate on a week-to-week basis, and, if you had Rodgers on your team, here’s my two cents of advice: pick up Brett Hundley, Rodgers’s backup. I’ll get to why a little later.

If your fantasy season has been hit by a significant injury like mine has (Odell Beckham, Jr.), don’t give up hope! For starters, you shouldn’t be taking fantasy that seriously. It’s a game based on a game. It means absolutely nothing in the grand scheme of things. It’s for fun. I love fantasy football. I’ve been playing for nine or ten years now. It’s fun, but I never take it too seriously (unless someone cheats in a money league – not cool). I’ve had bad beats, I’ve had injuries derail my season. I’ve had the number one overall pick and sucked, I’ve had the the last pick in a 12-team league and made the championship. I’ve made the playoffs in roughly 85% of the leagues I’ve ever cared about. But this year is different.

For the past several seasons, I’ve played in two leagues – one with my family and friends, and one through my job. The one at work is mostly just another excuse for all of us to bust each other’s chops, but it’s also the one I take most seriously. I had the seventh pick in this year’s draft, and I took Beckham with that pick. Every decision I’ve made this year has been wrong. I bench a guy, he plays great. The same guy plays a weak defense in his next game, so I play him, and he doesn’t do anything. It’s infuriating. I sit at 2-4, and in 8th place in a 10-team, 4-team playoff league. The league is strong and I’m on the verge of irrelevancy. But guess what? It doesn’t matter, because I love playing fantasy football.

Anyway, that was probably too long of a rant about fantasy to really be productive. On to the picks!

 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-3) at Buffalo Bills (3-2)

Line: BUF -3

 

Tampa has been disappointing and Buffalo has been an early season surprise. The Buffalo defense is playing very well, and the Bucs’ O-line has not been giving their quarterbacks much to work with. You can have all the weapons in the world, if you don’t have time to get them the ball, it’s irrelevant. The rejuvenated Adrian Peterson gouged the Bucs’ defense last week, and Shady McCoy will look to do the same. Bills 23 – Buccaneers 21

 

Carolina Panthers (4-2) at Chicago Bears (2-4)

Line: CHI +3

 

The Panthers, after two huge road wins against the Patriots and Lions, came home and perfectly executed a horrendous game plan against the Eagles. In a game that was theirs for the taking, the offensive playcalling was abysmal to the very end. The Bears, on the other hand, continue their feistiness. The Chicago punishing running game will have its work cut out for it this week against the strong Panthers front seven, even without MLB Luke Kuechly. Panthers 31 – Bears 23

 

Tennessee Titans (3-3) at Cleveland Browns (0-6)

Line: CLE +6

 

Just when it looks like the Browns are improving, they regress. Deshone Kizer had played better than his numbers until the past two games, when he’s just been flat-out bad. Myles Garrett, on the other hand, has debuted with a bang, producing several big plays in his first couple of games. The Titans, like the Seahawks earlier in the season, let the Colts hang around into the second half before pulling away. In a very crowded AFC South, the Titans probably have the best team of currently-healthy players. Quarterback Marcus Mariota has to stay healthy for that to stay true. Titans 28 – Browns 13

 

New Orleans Saints (3-2) at Green Bay Packers (4-2)

Line: GB +4

 

Brett Hundley is stepping for Aaron Rodgers under center in Green Bay. Here’s why he may be okay. 1) He’s been in the system for almost two and a half years, since he was drafted. 2) During that time, he’s been Rodgers’ understudy. 3) The receivers are still really good. He was thrust into duty last week against a very good Minnesota D. New Orleans’s defense is not nearly as good, and he’s had a full week to prepare. I like Hundley as a sneaky fantasy QB this week and the rest of the year, and I don’t think Green Bay’s out of it just yet. The resurgent Saints have won three in a row, though they almost let the Lions comeback from a 45-10 deficit last week. In the end, a W is a W. Can the Lambeau faithful energize the team for a big game? My gut says yes.

Packers 24 – Saints 20

 

Jacksonville Jaguars (3-3) at Indianapolis Colts (2-4)

Line: IND +3.5

 

Jacoby Brissett is doing a great job of keeping the Colts relevant. If Andrew Luck really does miss the entire season, Brissett is probably going to play his way into some decent money if he keeps his current pace. The Jags have been solid everywhere except quarterback, but it hasn’t mattered too much yet. Rookie running back Leonard Fournette can break the record for touchdowns in the most consecutive games to start a career with a score in this game. I say he gets it before half time. Jaguars 23 – Colts 17

 

Arizona Cardinals (3-3) at Los Angeles Rams (4-2) in Twickenham, UK

Line: LAR -3.5

 

The Cardinals blitzed to a 31-point lead to start the game last week against Tampa. The aforementioned Adrian Peterson’s first game in Arizona went swimmingly, as he rushed for 120+ yards and two touchdowns. Even though the Bucs came back to make it interesting, the Cards proved their offense can still be explosive. The Rams have showed throughout the season that they can be explosive at any time, on either side of the ball. Divisional games are likely to be a big factor in the NFC West, with these two and the Seahawks all at either 3-3 or 4-2. If the Cards keep the vintage offense alive, the division could be a real good race. Rams 34 – Cards 30

 

New York Jets (3-3) at Miami Dolphins (3-2)

Line: MIA -3

 

Mediocrity all around! The Dolphins have yet to score more than 20 points, yet remain above .500. And their defense isn’t even that great. Good, for sure. But not great. It’s baffling, but it’s fact. The Jets have already outperformed expectations for the season, and Austin Seferian-Jenkins has emerged as a very good tight end (much, much later than anticipated). Every team in the AFC East is at or above .500, and within a game of the Patriots, which is just mind-blowing at this point. Jets 23 – Dolphins 19

 

Baltimore Ravens (3-3) at Minnesota Vikings (4-2)

Line: MIN -5.5

 

The Ravens are bad. They have been playing awful football for a solid month now. The Vikings, all of a sudden look like a major player in the NFC race, and quarterback Teddy Bridgewater may be able to return within the next month. Even in his stead, Sam Bradford and Case Keenum have held down the fort, as both have proven they are able to over their careers. Vikings 30 – Ravens 13

 

Dallas Cowboys (2-3) at San Francisco 49ers (0-6)

Line: SF +6

 

The 49ers are the first NFL team ever to lose five games in a row by 3 points or fewer. They have been fiercely competitive in every game this year except their opener against the Panthers, they just haven’t put one in the W column. Unfortunately, I don’t see that changing this week. The Cowboys get their mojo back. Cowboys 27 – 49ers 17

 

Cincinnati Bengals (2-3) at Pittsburgh Steelers (4-2)

Line: PIT -5.5

 

These two have been largely unpredictable so far this year. The Bengals stank the first two weeks, and have since lost in overtime at Green Bay and won two straight. The Steelers are up, down, and all around, but still haven’t found consistency. Lucky for them, the division looks to be the weakest in the league. Steelers 30 – Bengals 20

 

Denver Broncos (3-2) at Los Angeles Chargers (2-4)

Line: PICK

 

The first Pick ’Em of the year. The Broncos, like the Steelers, have not been able to find any consistency. The offense came out of the gate hot, but cooled quickly and has stayed ineffective the past three games. The Chargers have been in almost every game, but have found themselves on the losing end more often than not. Either of these teams could show up en force and blow the other one out of the water, or they could both be terrible, or anything in between. So, a Pick seems right. Broncos 27 – Chargers 23

 

Seattle Seahawks (3-2) at New York Giants (1-5)

Line: NYG +4.5

 

The Giants are done, with three of their top four wide receivers out for the year, but they showed last week that they have some fight left in them, beating the Broncos in Denver. The Seahawks still haven’t quite asserted themselves, except for a quarter of play against the Colts. I can’t see a Seahawks loss, but it could be another of those slow, boring, neither team can score kinda games. Seahawks 19 – Giants 16

 

Atlanta Falcons (3-2) at New England Patriots (4-2)

Line: NE -3

 

The rematch is nigh. It’s the second season in a row that we’ve gotten a rematch of the previous season’s Super Bowl, which had been a rare event before. Neither team is playing like it did last year on their way to their respective conference’s championship, but both are still talented teams, and who knows what the redux will bring, other than a lot of points. Pats 38 – Falcons 34

 

Washington (3-2) at Philadelphia Eagles (5-1)

Line: PHI -5

 

Last Thursday, the Eagles beat the Panthers, becoming the second team to reach five wins, with the (at the time) 5-0 Chiefs the only team better. The Chiefs have since lost twice, leaving the Eagles as the only one loss club in the league. This is also the first divisional rematch for anyone this season, as the second game of the set usually comes much later in the year. The Redskins have rebounded nicely from their week two loss to these Eagles, and the Eagles haven’t really looked back. The Eagles run defense held the Panthers running backs to just a single yard on 13 carries last week. If they can similarly negate Washington’s dynamic backfield weapon Chris Thompson, this ought to go well for them. The only problem is that they didn’t completely do so the first time around, as Thompson found the end zone, though it was one of his smaller outputs this season. The difference here will come down to the Washington pass defense. Keeping Philly’s air game in check has been difficult for everyone recently. Eagles 27 – Washington 24

 

Last Week ML: 7-7

Season: 54-37

Last Week ATS:7-7

Season: 48-43

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