NFL Week 7 Picks

Tom Coughlin

I feel like the New York Giants once again: two steps back, three steps forward, one step back. After three straight weeks of .500 or better, Week 6 got the best of me thanks to a few decisions that left me open to be second-guessed as bad as Joe Girardi leaves himself open to be.

I made a lot of bad decisions in Week 6 and they all stemmed from me putting trust into clearly untrustworthy situations. Here are some things I trusted last week:

– I trusted Teddy Bridgewater making his second career start with an injured ankle that sidelined him 10 days earlier.

– I trusted Kyle Orton and the Bills against Tom “22-2 (now 23-2) against the Bills” Brady and the Patriots in a game with massive AFC East implications.

– I trusted the Bengals despite them saving the Patriots a week earlier and ruining all the Tom Brady trade rumors, which would have taken over Boston and their season.

– I trusted the one-win Buccaneers against the Ravens because of my hatred for the Ravens.

– I trusted the Falcons, who I said I would never trust again after they blew a 17-point lead in the 2012 NFC Championship Game and cost me a 10-to-1 Championship Weekend parlay.

– I trusted the Chargers over the Raiders even though I never take the Chargers to cover against the Raiders.

– I trusted the New York Football Giants in Philadelphia even though the game had a red flag hanging over it with the sudden expectations and hype being placed on the Giants and their new-and-improved offense.

I wish I could take all of those decisions back, but I can’t and I’m stuck with a 6-9 record from Week 6. But when Bill Belichick answered every question after Week 4 with “We’re on to Cincinnati” it worked out for the Patriots. So I’m not talking anymore about what happened in Week 6. I’m on to Week 7 and let’s hope me saying that is enough to not be sitting here next Thursday wondering why I made a decision like backing a quarterback who lost his job to Tim Tebow three years ago over a three-time Super Bowl champion.

(Home team in caps)

NEW YORK JETS +10 over New England Patriots
Yes, no more than 10 seconds ago I said I referenced backing a quarterback who once lost his job to Tim Tebow over a three-time Super Bowl champion and here I am backing a quarterback who lost his job two weeks ago to an unprepared and unmotivated Michael Vick over a three-time Super Bowl champion. Just typing that made me think, “What the eff am I doing?” but I have a weird feeling about this game even if that feeling will likely end up resulting in Jets-Chargers Part II.

INDIANAPOLIS -3.5 over Cincinnati
There are 64 starting quarterbacks and head coaches in the NFL. The Top 5 people I LEAST trust from those 64 in no specific order are Andy Dalton, Marvin Lewis, Geno Smith, Jim Caldwell and Mike Smith. It’s not good when one team has both their coach and quarterback in that five-person mix.

Tennessee +5.5 over WASHINGTON
Somewhere someone who isn’t a Titans fan or a Redskins fan is going to bet on this game and watch it in its entirety. Think about that.

CHICAGO -3.5 over Miami
Last week, I said:

I’m finally done with the Bears. So it would be appreciated if they would just get blown out at the Georgia Dome and not win and just remain out of my life.

So of course I picked the Falcons and of course the Bears won 27-13 to temporarily save their season and make me rescind my swearing off the Bears for the rest of the season. Here I am, one week after saying I was done picking them, here I am picking them. But that shouldn’t be too hard against a Dolphins team that had their heart ripped out and their 2014 season left on the field after giving up a touchdown with three seconds left against the Packers.

Cleveland -6 over JACKSONVILLE
The Jaguars are 0-6, but their margin of losing has dropped over the last weeks from 31 to 27 to 19 to 8 and then to 2 against the Titans in Week 6. If this pattern keeps up, the Jaguars are either going to lose by 1, tie or beat the Browns this week. However, with the Browns 3-2 and their two losses by a combined five points, I don’t think this is going to be a trap game for Cleveland coming off an impressive and season-saving blowout win over the Steelers. Sorry, Jacksonville, no win this week, but soon. I promise.

Seattle -7.5 over ST. LOUIS
I would like to take this time to thank the Seahawks for their loss to the Cowboys on Sunday. Sure, the loss improved the Cowboys to 5-1, extended their winning streak to five straight, gave them a two-game lead over the Giants and cost me a pick. But like Frank Underwood in House of Cards planting the seeds of an eventual long-term scheme well in advance, this Seahawks loss to the Cowboys was part of something much bigger down the road. Right now, the Cowboys are being called the best team in the league and there is so much hype surrounding them that it’s comparable to the attention they drew during the 2007 season. And like I have said, if the Giants didn’t exist then the Cowboys would be the worst team when playing with expectations. The Cowboys have those expectations now thanks to the Seahawks and it’s only a matter of time until the destruction starts because no Jerry Jones/Jason Garrett/Tony Romo team can be the best team in the NFL.

GREEN BAY -7 over Carolina
Aside from Week 1 when the Panthers played the Buccaneers, I have incorrectly picked every Panthers game, so to say I don’t have a feel for the Panthers would be an understatement. But since Aaron Rodgers told Green Bay to relax, the Packers are 3-0 and have scored 107 points after scoring 47 points in their first three games, so that’s makes me feel a little more comfortable about my pick for a Panthers game.

BALTIMORE -7 over Atlanta
I thought the theory about the Falcons being a home team and a home dome team like the Saints would hold up against the Bears, who couldn’t get out of their own way heading into Week 6, but that theory was undone when the Bears beat them by two touchdowns. Now I’m back to square one with the Falcons and back to the drawing board when it comes to figuring them out and I have nothing. I understand so little about the Falcons (other than that they are a bad team, which is all that really matters) that I’m picking the hated Ravens in a season in which I’m rooting even harder for them to lose than I normally do.

Minnesota +6 over BUFFALO
I said it was a mistake to back Teddy Bridgewater last week in just his second career start coming off an ankle injury, so why is it a good idea to back him this week in his third career start? Because the Bills are coming off their regular-season Super Bowl loss to the Patriots, which was a game that had the chance to shift the power in the AFC and give the Bills the upper hand in the division for the first time in the Brady-Belichick era. And the Bills were run out of their own building in that game, proving that they aren’t ready to the next step as a franchise and become a contender once again. The Bills and Buffalo were up for the Patriots and for a chance to change everything and I don’t think they will Ralph Wilson Stadium is going to have the same feel with the 2-4 Vikings in town.

DETROIT -3 over New Orleans
When you take the Saints out of the Superdome, they lose. The Saints are already 0-3 this year and while Calvin Johnson pulling a Mark Teixeira and saying, “I won’t play until I feel great,” isn’t exactly a strong sign of confidence for Lions fans for not only this week but the season, I can’t take the Saints on the road again. I just can’t.

SAN DIEGO -6 over Kansas City
The Chargers are 5-1, their only loss was a one-point loss (18-17) in Week 1 against in Arizona, they have won five straight and are 3-0 at home, winning by an average of 19.7 points. That’s good enough for me.

New York Giants +6.5 over DALLAS
This is for the season.

Arizona -6 over OAKLAND
The Jets did beat the Raiders in Week 1, but back then, Derek Carr had never played  a game in the NFL. As of right now, Week 7, I’m not sure that the Jets are better than the Raiders. What does that have to do with the Cardinals looking to pick up an easy win in their quest to avenge their 10-win postseason-less season from last year? Nothing. I just thought it was worth noting that that the Raiders might be better than the Jets and that would mean the worst team in the NFL is likely either the Jets or the winless Jaguars. Unfortunately, the Jets and Jaguars don’t play each other this season.

DENVER -6.5 over San Francisco
The Broncos are playing in their second of three Sunday Night Football games this year this week. Peyton Manning is 38 years old and is in the third year of a five-year deal with the Broncos. Let’s say he plays out the remaining two years on his deal in 2015 and 2016, when he will be 40, and then retires (though I’m not sure he will retire then). Let’s say the Broncos have three Sunday Night Football games in 2014 and three in 2015. That means, including this week, Peyton has eight Sunday Night Football games left in his career and I’m sure Peyton is aware that the amount of Sunday night primetime games left in his career is dwindling. Peyton Manning lives for these games.

Houston +3.5 over PITTSBURGH
I have no idea how to measure the Steelers and I have no idea what they are as a team. They survived a 24-point comeback by the Browns, were blown out by the Ravens, blew out the Panthers, gave the Buccaneers their only win, barely got past the Jaguars and were routed by the Browns. I’m still laughing at anyone who predicted them to return to the playoffs this season, considering they didn’t improve in the offseason, and while a Ryan Fitzpatrick-led team isn’t exactly a team worth trusting, the Texans are the better option in what should be another Monday Night Football game not worth watching.

Last week: 6-9-0
Season: 43-47-1

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