DENVER, CO - AUGUST 27: A general view of an NFL logo on the field prior to the preseason game between the Seattle Seahawks and the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on August 27, 2011 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Garrett W. Ellwood/Getty Images)
There are a lot of ugly games this week. . .at least on paper. But, will that make picking the games any easier?
Okay, ladies and gentlemen, I'm moving this particular feature from the sidebar over to the main features, because I want to make sure everybody can more easily find the infinite wisdom that I'm dispensing on a weekly basis here. For the record, here are my picks for the first six weeks of the season.
For the uninitiated among you, there's only one rule. I don't pick the Vikings game every week, because. . .well, let's just say that I have issues being objective. Outside of that, we do picks both straight-up and against the spread.
Thus far, we've been doing pretty well for ourselves, putting together a winning mark this year both straight-up and against the spread. Remember, the "spread" picks are for entertainment purposes only. Unless you win, in which case I should get half.
With that, here are the picks for Week 7!
Why is this the "Game of the Week," you might ask? Well, hey. . .it's the NFL's annual trip to jolly ol' England, and the rest of this week's match-ups don't look terribly promising, so why not? The Bears are coming off of a bye week thorough thrashing of the Vikings last Sunday at Soldier Field, while the Bucs got an upset of the New Orleans Saints. Both of these teams know that they're likely fighting for the one remaining NFC playoff spot (assuming that the four division leaders and the Detroit Lions make it in), so this could be huge come the end of the season. I'll begrudgingly take the Bears in this one.
Straight-Up: Bears, ATS: Bears
I'm not sure why the spread on this one is as small as it is. I know that it's on the road for the Steelers, but they're clearly a better team than the Cardinals. Kevin Kolb is proving to be a bad investment thus far, and the Steelers. . .who, granted, have had their struggles this year, are still an awfully good football team. I wouldn't anticipate this one being all that close.
Straight-Up: Steelers, ATS: Steelers
Yes, the 3-2 Redskins are the underdogs to the 1-5 Panthers. Cam Newton has been a revelation, yes, and the Redskins are going with John Beck at quarterback, but this game is still very winnable for the Redskins. Of course, this will be the second straight time that I've picked the Redskins as my Upset of the Week. They failed me last week. . .here's hoping that they won't do it again.
Straight-Up: Redskins, ATS: Redskins
The Rest of the Week
I would have gone with this as my Upset of the Week, but a 1-point spread would hardly qualify as an upset. The Jets, going into this season, prided themselves on two things. . .defense and running the football. So far this season, they are second from the bottom in the NFL in rushing yards/game, and their defense hasn't been what it was the past couple of years. This one is going to come down to quarterback play. . .and if that match-up is Philip Rivers vs. Mark Sanchez, the choice is an easy one.
Straight-Up: Chargers, ATS: Chargers
U-G-L-Y, game ain't got no alibi, it's ugly. It's gonna be way ugly. The Browns are already a couple of games off the pace in the surprisingly strong AFC North, while the Seahawks are chasing the surprising San Francisco 49ers in the NFC West. I don't think either of these teams have a shot at the post-season, but the Seahawks have finally made the decision to start Charlie Whitehurst at quarterback due to an injury to Tarvaris Jackson. As we Viking fans know all too well, this is addition by subtraction. A mild upset here.
Straight-Up: Seahawks, ATS: Seahawks
The Texans had so much potential starting out this season, but then Andre Johnson got injured, and that offense clearly isn't the same without him. He won't be back for this one, either, and that will certainly be a hinderance in this game that. . .will go a long way towards determining the AFC South champion? Wow. . .never thought I'd type that, but it's true. In any case, the lack of Andre Johnson and the home field advantage should allow the Titans to continue to surprise.
Straight-Up: Titans, ATS: Titans
Well, the story behind this one is that the home team is honoring a college football championship team from a school about four hours away from the home team's location, and the visiting team is being quarterbacked by the guy that won a championship with that college team and will be honored with that team during this week's festivities and oh dear I think I've gone cross-eyed. In any event, the Dolphins are awful.
Straight-Up: Broncos, ATS: Broncos
Atlanta Falcons at Detroit Lions (-3.5)
If Lions' head coach Jim Schwartz has managed to stop crying about last week's handshake-related fracas, he has to get his team ready for one of the NFL's bigger disappointments from this season. The Falcons already have as many losses this season as they did in all of 2010, and they just haven't been quite the same team, despite the upgrades that they've tried to make. Detroit is quickly becoming a very tough place to play, and the Lions should continue their solid start here.
Straight-Up: Lions, ATS: Lions
The spread for this one was determined before the Raiders completed a trade for quarterback Carson Palmer. It's now currently off the board in most places, but we'll stick with that spread for our purposes. The Chiefs have gotten victories against a couple of bad teams in their past couple of games, but the Raiders are anything but a bad team. Palmer might have a little bit of rust, but a team like the Chiefs should present a good opportunity to shake that off, as will the ability to hand the ball to Darren McFadden.
Straight-Up: Raiders, ATS: Raiders
The line for this one was also established prior to the Rams declaring that quarterback Sam Bradford would not play. I'm not sure which of St. Louis' warm bodies they're going to start at quarterback in Bradford's place, but considering that the Rams are 0-5, I'm not sure how much worse things can be. That said, that's still Tony Romo playing quarterback for the Cowboys, so it's entirely possible that he'll do just enough dumb things to keep the Rams in this one. The Cowboys should win, but the nearly two-touchdown spread scares me.
Straight-Up: Cowboys, ATS: Rams
Indianapolis Colts at New Orleans Saints (-14)
NBC has to try to sell this as a rematch of Super Bowl 44. Yeah. . .with no Peyton Manning, nobody is buying that. Yes, the Colts haven't gotten thoroughly embarrassed with Curtis Painter at quarterback. . .yet. There's a good chance that changes on Sunday night.
Straight-Up: Saints, ATS: Saints
The Jaguars. . .well, the Jaguars aren't very good, and while Blaine Gabbert has had his moments thus far in 2011, I would think he's in for a long day against the Baltimore defense. I know it's usually hard for teams to go on the road and win in the NFL, but I don't envision a scenario where the Jaguars pull this one off.
Straight-Up: Ravens, ATS: Ravens
Straight-Up For Season: 56-26
ATS For Season: 40-37-4
Lock of the Week: 4-1
Upset of the Week: 2-3