We’re back with yet another rousing, cantankerous denunciation of whatever deity watches over the National Football League’s various gridirons.Though we’ve had considerable success Bills-bashing and crushing IPAs, the first few weeks have left us a mixed bag of triumphs and punishments (some of the Natural Light variety) So, sit back and relax as we get mildly prophetic in this Week 7 breakdown of upcoming matchups.
Kicking things off this Thursday we have the:
CHIEFS at RAIDERS
D.T. – Derek Carr still isn’t at a hundred percent and it was clear against a San Diego squad that’s quite vulnerable. This week, they’re up against a Chiefs football team that’s suffered their first loss this season against Pittsburgh, but it was an honest loss. Kansas City is the better team, and their defense will likely give Carr – who threw more interceptions than touchdowns – some real problems.
Alex – The Raiders have really fallen flat since the beginning of this season despite some notable performances. After giving the Chargers their first win last week, and the Chiefs rearing to make a comeback statement after their upset. Sure, the Steelers may have found a way to exploit some of Kansas City’s weaknesses, but trust in the Chiefs to button that up before Thursday.
Page – The Raiders have struggled a lot this year, and their Derek Carr-led offense is in a funk. Oakland is desperate to stop the four-game skid, but even with the NaVorro Bowman pick up to bolster their 23rd ranked defense, I’m not sure it’s enough. They’re playing on a short week and will be facing the #2 ranked offense. I think Oakland continues their skid to a 2-5 record.
D.T. CHIEFS | Alex CHIEFS | Page CHIEFS
Sunday games are:
BUCS at BILLS
D.T. – I was pretty confident that Tampa Bay would take Arizona fairly easily, but an injury suffered by Quarterback Jameis Winston made things a bit easier for the Cardinals. Winston is now listed as questionable, and it’s more than fair to think the Bills – who have been impossible to predict – could pull out a win against a Bucs squad without their leader under center.
Alex – The Bills are certainly an x-factor in the league this year with a win over Atlanta followed up by a loss to Cincinnati, but I’m not sure their gumption would be enough to take on the bucs, who have shown promise despite their bottom tier in the NFC South. That was until we saw a minor injury to Tampa Bay’s captain and playmaker, Jameis Winston. He’s said to be day-to-day right now, but I could never risk a picking a team where Ryan Fitzpatrick might make an appearance. He’s not playing the Chiefs, but I still can’t get his 6 interception game out of my head. The Bills will take this win unless we see a quick recovery and the Bucs come out swinging early.
Page – Who will line up behind center for the Bucs this week? Your guess is as good as mine. No matter who it is, they’ll struggle against the Bills tough defense, whose ability to force turnovers is as impressive as the Bucs ability to allow them. Buffalo also has a solid run game in place with LeSean McCoy. I’m giving Buffalo the win this week.
D.T. BILLS | Alex BILLS | Page BILLS
RAVENS at VIKINGS
D.T. – So, Teddy Bridgewater has been medically cleared to practice! That might be good news for Minnesota since poor Sam Bradford can’t seem to stay healthy. It took Aaron Rodgers busting his clavicle again for the Vikes to secure a win last week, and I still maintain that at some point, Baltimore’s defense is going to wake up. But they also lost to the fuckin’ Bears, so there’s probably no hope.
Alex – I’m a bit torn on this one. I think the Ravens can’t decide what type of team they want to be this year, and the Vikings are also a bit erratic. They both have playmakers, but I think it’ll come down to the Vikings outscoring the Ravens, but not putting up big points.
Page – Every time the Ravens have squared off against a quality defense this season, they’ve lost. Turns out the Vikings are pretty great on defense, which doesn’t bode well for Baltimore. The only thing keeping the Ravens alive is their impressive defense, which means the Vikings need another standout performance from Keenum to stay in the driver’s seat. I think the Vikings surprisingly efficient offense and playmaking defense gets them another win.
D.T. VIKINGS | Alex VIKINGS | Page VIKINGS
JETS at DOLPHINS
D.T. – Too bad for the Dolphins. I really thought they… wait. Jesus fucking Christ, they beat the Falcons? What the fuck is happening with Atlanta? To hell with it, I bet they keep it going this week against the Jets, because why not?
Alex – I have no idea what Miami started putting in their Wheaties, but I’ve been surprised at some of the recent game outcomes. That being said, I think the Jets (despite the loss) will be firing on cylinders this week after putting up such a fight against New England. Couple that with their resounding victory just a few weeks ago, I’d say they’re prepared to take on whatever Miami wants to throw at them. Didn’t think I’d be making this pick, but here we go.
Page – Miami’s defense is playing to win, having allowed no more than 20 points to opposing offenses, while playing strong teams. Their offense is working in direct opposition, earning their dead last offense ranking. But, the Jets win streak is over, their defense is faring poorly against the run, and their offense is struggling, albeit less than the Dolphins. If the Fins continue to play excellent defense, and Jay Ajayi gets some solid carries, I think that’s enough to beat the Jets.
D.T. DOLPHINS | Alex JETS | Page DOLPHINS
CARDINALS at RAMS
D.T. – I’m not convinced with Arizona’s newest acquisition in Adrian Peterson. It’s one thing to play a single game with a chip on your shoulder and run over a vulnerable team. It’s another to try and do the same thing the next week against one of the strongest defenses and prolific offenses. The weirdest thing about this game is that neither Rams fans nor Cardinals fans will show up. I don’t know who the fuck they’re going to play in front of, but I think the Rams take it.
Alex – I like the Rams for this one. A.P. came out running hard last week, but I’d say it’s because a fire was lit under his ass after riding the pine pony in New Orleans. The Rams have been solid this year, and a fun team to watch. I think we’ll see good football from both sides here, but the Rams have the consistency.
Page – This division matchup is always a fun one (not for Cardinals fans, though), and the teams will be playing in London this week. The Rams offense has been solid, with a 13th ranked passing offense that matches up in their favor against the Cardinals’ 26th ranked pass defense. The Cardinals will have trouble limiting Goff, Gurley and the Rams offense. If Week 6 results are to be believed, Arizona’s line is healthier and stouter, and the arrival of Adrian Peterson has revived their run game. The Cards will give the Rams 29th ranked run defense a run for their money, and will do just enough to leave London smiling.
D.T. RAMS | Alex RAMS | Page CARDINALS
JAGUARS at COLTS
D.T. – The Colts are bad. They’re just going to stay bad until the off-season when people will convince themselves that they’ll be good, but they’ll be bad once more. The Jaguars defense is unquestionably elite at this point, and that gives them the edge here. I expect at least one defensive touchdown and a Jacksonville win in a low-scoring affair.
Alex – Despite the surprising (to me) week 5 win, the Colts have yet to wake up this season. It’s tragic to see some of the talents on that team get wasted, but they’re still asleep at the wheel. The Jags, on the other hand, have looked fantastic. Fournette is already a proven powerhouse at this point, and despite his ankle sprain, the Jags were able to utilize more of Chris Ivory without too much of a hiccup. It also looks like Fournette will play through it on Sunday.
Page – Jacksonville is bi-polar. One week, they play like a legitimate contender, while in the next week they revert to being the league’s court jester. The Colts are managing to keep it together with Jacoby Brissett, but their defense is faltering frequently. However, the Jaguars have a top 10 defense, which poses a serious threat to Indy. The Jaguars are blowing everyone away with Fournette and their elite run game, and they’ll exploit the Colts defense enough to hand Indianapolis another “L”.
D.T. JAGUARS | Alex JAGUARS | Page JAGUARS
SAINTS at PACKERS
D.T. – The Saints beat the Lions last week in one of the two wackiest games we’ve seen this season. I attribute this to two things: a clear, early chest injury to Matt Stafford, and a Saints defense that’s come into its own and showed incredible ability to deflect passes against an easy target of a QB. With Aaron Rodgers done for the season and that Saints defense coming off an incredible effort last week, it’s easy to think the Big Easy gets an easy win against a backup Quarterback.
Alex – If Rodgers wasn’t out of commission, this might have been my game of the week. If you’ve been following along on YouTube, you’ll know I’m on board the Saints bandwagon, mostly because their one of my favorite teams to watch. You never know what you’re going to get when watching New Orleans, but this week seems pretty clear. They might surrender some points, but the Saints are going to beat the downtrodden Pack this week.
Page – Even before Rodgers’ injury, the Packers were doing just enough to carve out some close wins. With Rodgers on the shelf and Brett Hundley getting his first NFL start, we get to see if the bevy of offensive playmakers is able to put up enough points to win. The Saints defense is doing better, but the Packers have enough weapons to make the defense struggle. I think it’ll be a fun game with big plays and plenty of scoring, with Drew Brees outpacing Hundley just enough to secure their fourth win.
D.T. SAINTS | Alex SAINTS | Page SAINTS
PANTHERS at BEARS
D.T. – Cam Newton had a decent showing against Philly last week, despite throwing multiple interceptions. Say what you will about the man personally, but he’s a triple threat with a great offense around him. Even Kelvin Benjamin has found relevancy, and that makes them all the more dangerous. They’ll beat the Bears.
Alex – The Bears may be getting a lot of chatter but Carolina is still one of the best teams in the league right now. They have some kinks to work out with both sides of the ball, but they’re the powerhouse in this matchup. I can’t think of many good things to say about the Bears at the moment, so I guess that says a lot.
Page – While Trubisky is a huge improvement over Glennon, and their run game is strong, the Panthers have picked up steam and head to Soldier Field after having a 10-day break. This will be a battle of the defenses, pitting Carolina’s 4th ranked defense against Chicago’s 6th ranked defense. However, the difference in defensive strength against the run could be the key here, as Carolina is ranked 5th and Chicago is ranked 15th. I don’t think the Trubisky-led Bears will be able to do enough to keep “Super Cam” at bay. The Panthers walk off the field victorious.
D.T. PANTHERS | Alex PANTHERS | Page PANTHERS
TITANS at BROWNS
D.T. – Who the fuck knows. But the Titans are at least good enough with a rusty Marcus Mariota back under center to beat a team like the Colts. They’re probably going to improve with full practice and be good enough to take on the Browns, as well.
Alex – I want to root for the Browns. I want to be a bandwagon fan when one day, they get a little bit better, but it is not this day. They just don’t have the stuff. I think some fans in Cleveland still flinch when they hear someone say the name “Deshaun Watson”, and I can’t blame them. The Titans hit a big lull early this season, but they’re coming off a big win in last week’s ramp game against Indy.
Page – I had predicted a better season for Cleveland this year and had even hoped for it. They’re making me regret that. No matter who lines up under center, their offense is dysfunctional. But, they have the 8th best defense in the league, and their 6th ranked run defense will be an interesting match for the Titans’ 6th ranked run offense. I do think the Browns could manage to keep this game close, but I’ve lost enough faith in Cleveland to give the Titans a win in the city that’s lovingly called “The Mistake by the Lake.”
D.T. TITANS | Alex TITANS | Page TITANS
COWBOYS at NINERS
D.T. – Yet more controversy and drama clouds a season that should have been a repeat of last year’s success for Dallas. Now they might be without star running back Ezekiel Elliot. They’re still a better team than San Francisco, but football is a mental sport (believe it or not). Distractions, the inability to develop a solid game plan because all the pieces aren’t secure makes for an uneasy week. Dallas will still win, but it’ll be a low-scoring game, I believe.
Alex – There’s not a lot about this game that really excites me. The Niners have lost whatever steam might have looked promising for their engines earlier this year, and the Cowboys have retained some of the heat. It’ll be a chipping game, but I don’t like San Fran here at all.
Page – I may have wrongly placed some faith in the Browns this year, but I didn’t make that mistake with the Niners, who are winless through the first six weeks of the season. They’ve managed to keep games fairly close though, losing their last five by no more than three points. They head into Week 7 with rookie C.J. Beathard at QB, while the Cowboys are on the running back rollercoaster of the century with Zeke Elliott. As of now, Elliott will play on Sunday, and with Dallas coming off a bye, it’s hard to imagine the Niners get their first win of the season.
D.T. COWBOYS | Alex COWBOYS | Page COWBOYS
BRONCOS at CHARGERS
D.T. – So… how does the worst team in the NFL bounce back against arguably the best defense? Sunday night was truly perplexing, and I honestly don’t know where the Broncos go from here, after losing to the Giants. On paper (literally, since they won a game before New York did) the Chargers are a better team. But on paper, Denver should have had last Sunday’s game wrapped up in the first quarter. Football makes no sense. This is Vance Joseph’s chance to right the ship and make sure mistakes don’t happen again. Who better than against a weak divisional rival?
Alex – I don’t want to talk about last week’s Denver – New York matchup, but I have to. Of all the games we’ve seen this year, the only two teams I expected the Broncos to trounce were the Bills and Giants. I know the whole world was surprised on Sunday, but I think it was a combination of play calling and underestimation that left Denver in a terrible place early on. Why they couldn’t make the second half comeback confuses me, but I digress. The Chargers are sometimes tricky for Denver and are a suitable divisional rival most of the time, but they won’t be able to break through a pissed off Denver defense this week.
Page – The Chargers are riding a two-game win streak and boast the 4th best pass defense. The Broncos are a little banged up, but their top defense will heavily limit Chargers QB Philip Rivers and RB Melvin Gordon. Denver’s solid ground game is facing the worst run defense in the league, allowing the Broncos to shake off their loss to the Giants with a win.
D.T. BRONCOS | Alex BRONCOS | Page BRONCOS
BENGALS at STEELERS
D.T. – It’ll be the Steelers. They’re not quite back, but the Bengals are a nice stepping stone out of that pit. No pun intended.
Alex – I anticipate the unanimous decision here with Pittsburgh taking the W. I don’t think the Bengals are as good as their record shows, and considering their only 2-3, that doesn’t say much about their prospects. Steelers are coming off of a huge win, and the Bengals have been on the couch for a week.
Page – If you like to watch great defenses face off this game is for you, pitting the top two pass defenses against one another. The conditions are perfect for a low-scoring, defensive gridiron battle. On the offensive side, I give the edge to the Steelers and their trio of Roethlisberger, Bell, and Brown. With the Three B’s playing on home turf, I predict the Steelers get one game closer to the Super Bowl, leaving the Bengals with their fifth straight loss to their AFC North rivals.
D.T. STEELERS | Alex STEELERS | Page STEELERS
SEAHAWKS at GIANTS
D.T. – Beating Denver will likely give the Giants a weird, false sense of confidence. But I guarantee you Pete Carroll is scouring game tape right this second, and he’ll be damned if the Legion of Boom lets that shit happen to Seattle. This is the week to take Seattle’s defense in fantasy football. Don’t be scared or fooled by New York’s performance last week. Or rather, Denver’s complete lack of presence.
Alex – Though now, similar to how I felt after the Bills loss, start to feel partially obligated to consider the Giants’ football prowess, I still can’t. Before last week, I considered the Giants to be in my bottom 5 NFL teams this year, and after their win, they didn’t get much of a boost. I think the Donkeys flopped, and the Seahawks take this one home.
Page – The Seahawks are coming off a bye, though the trip from Washington to New York is a long one. While the Giants successfully employed the run against the Broncos on Sunday and Seattle is a bit banged up on defense, I think the elusive Russell Wilson will lead the Hawks to a win against the Giants on Sunday.
D.T. SEAHAWKS | Alex SEAHAWKS | Page SEAHAWKS
FALCONS at PATRIOTS
D.T. – Brady’s struggling a bit, but his BFF Gronk is back, and holy shit they’re going to want to drive the ball down Atlanta’s throats again. It’s the game of the week, simply because it’s a rematch for one of the strangest Super Bowl’s in recent memory, and it’s odd that it took us until week 7 to get here. Atlanta’s going to need to figure out what’s going wrong with their squad if they intend to even try to keep up. Losing to the Dolphins one week and hoping to beat the champs is a hell of a tall order.
Alex – I hear ol’ Bill still has Mike Gillislee running ladders after that lost fumble last week, but the Pats backfield won’t suffer too much if he has to sit the bench for a couple extra plays this week. This game comes down to three words: Gronk want football.
Page – Super Bowl Rematch! It’d be easy to pick Brady’s squad, but the Falcons shouldn’t be taken lightly, even with two losses. This 2017 Patriots squad is not the one we saw in February; their defense is abysmal, allowing 440.7 yards per game. Atlanta’s talent is immense with Ryan, Freeman and Jones and their ability to ramp things up quickly. Against a terrible defense, they’re dangerous. As long as they continue to play through the second half, I think the Falcons will take back their pride and pull off an upset.
D.T. PATRIOTS | Alex PATRIOTS | Page FALCONS
Monday Night Football is a matchup between the:
REDSKINS at EAGLES
D.T. – We round the week off with a pretty decent divisional matchup! The Redskins are… okay, while the Eagles are marching. Or flying. Or whatever you want to say the Eagles are doing right now. Carson Wentz is working his way up the ranks of Quarterbacks, and with Dallas looking to start slipping, it might be their opportunity to chalk up another divisional win on their way to securing the division. I think they do it.
Alex – I was waiting for one of the games to jump out at me as Game of the Week material, but only a few came close. If this one isn’t the game of the week, it’s going to be one of my favorites to watch. I was split last week with the Eagles and Panthers, and won’t be making that mistake again.
Page – The Eagles are for real this year. Their offense is lethal, and their defense is good enough to hold off opposing offenses. The Redskins are without Josh Norman, and that’s bad news on the road. Philadelphi has already defeated Washington once this season. I think the Eagles are a pretty solid bet against the Redskins this week.
D.T. EAGLES | Alex EAGLES | Page EAGLES
And there it is, Week 7 predictions! Thanks again for hanging in with us these last two weeks, while real life got in the way of what really matters: FOOTBALL! I promise we’ll actually be back in full force for week 8. You’ll start getting videos again, as well as the picks and analyses here on The Second Draft. We love you, and we’ll see you (and you’ll actually see US!) next week! Cheers, folks.