Week 7 is now in the books. It was another exciting week in a 2017 season that is increasingly becoming difficult to predict.
There were three shutouts over the weekend:
- Jacksonville over Indianapolis, with the Jaguars continue their plan of great defensive play and running the ball effectively, although Bortles managed to throw for over 300 yards for the first time this season.
- Los Angeles Rams over Arizona, with the Cards completely falling apart, as their starting quarterback is now lost for most of the rest of this season.
- Los Angeles Chargers over Denver, with probably the most surprising shutout, not that the Denver offense has looked healthy this season so far.
Buffalo continues to play pretty great defense and squeak out wins with a patchwork offense that rests entirely on Tyrod Taylor’s and LeSean McCoy’s talents. Oakland steered the ship right (at least for this week) with a last second win over Kansas City. Green Bay and Carolina both struggled to gain any kind of offensive production, while Dallas demolished the 49ers and we still have to wonder whether either team wanted to win the Tennessee-Cleveland game.
Sunday Night Football was a major disappoint, with the Falcons being lost in the fog for much of the game. The defensive problems the Patriots had at the beginning of the year seem to be fading as the season solidifies.
Monday Night Football showcased why Carson Wentz is the MVP race, and why the Eagles may be the best (and definitely the hottest) team in the league right now. The NFC is not as wide as it was two weeks ago. A trip to Minneapolis may likely go through Philadelphia in January.
I was 50-41 on game predictions through seven weeks, and this last week I went 9-6, making my new season total 59-47. Not too shabby, although I gaffed on a few of those games. Never expected the Bears defense to be quite as frisky as they were.
In terms of statistical predictions:
- The Denver Broncos and Los Angeles Chargers were indeed both held under 100 yards each, Denver to 69 and Los Angeles to 80.
- Both New Orleans and Green Bay had over 150 rushing yards, with New Orleans having 161 and Green Bay having 181.
Let’s get into this next week of games!
Teams of Bye Week: Arizona Cardinals, Green Bay Packers, Jacksonville Jaguars, Los Angeles Rams, New York Giants, Tennessee Titans
Thursday Night Football, Oct. 26:
Miami Dolphins (4-2) at Baltimore Ravens (3-4)
In a league where it’s impossible to predict how a team will perform from week to week, these two teams are near the top in terms of unpredictability. With Jay Cutler injured with broken ribs, Matt Moore will have to step in and bring life to an offense that seems unable to play fully for more than a half of a game. Still, sitting at 4-2 and being only one game out from New England for the division lead, they still have more semblance and drive to win. Baltimore, I have no idea where they are offensively or defensively. They appear a mess after a solid start to the season.
Statistical Prediction: Matt Moore throws for double the amount of yards Joe Flacco throws for.
Score Prediction: Miami wins, 27-14
Sunday Early London Game, Oct. 29:
Minnesota Vikings (5-2) at Cleveland Browns (0-7)
After an MVP-worthy start to the season, Sam Bradford has struggled to even stay on the field and has completely lost the job to Case Keenum, who seems to only be keeping the seat warm for Teddy Bridgewater to return sometime later this season. But, what happens if Bridgewater struggles? Do you bench him for Keenum? I think Bridgewater is a capable player, but it’s been more than a year and a half since he even played football, and this team has a very different makeup and scheme than the last time he played, when he handed the ball of to Adrian Peterson for another 1000 yard season. As for the Browns… I don’t even know what to say. This game won’t be pretty. Feel bad for Joe Thomas. Hall of Famer for sure and a real standup guy in the league.
Statistical Prediction: Vikings have more sacks than all of Cleveland’s receivers have receptions combined.
Score Prediction: Minnesota wins, 27-10
Sunday, Oct. 29, 1 pm ET slot:
Oakland Raiders (3-4) at Buffalo Bills (4-2)
If last week wasn’t a fluke, this could be a spicy AFC matchup that could be revisited in the playoffs. Buffalo is becoming a pretty hard place to play in, with a rabid and hungry fanbase that hasn’t tasted even a playoff berth in almost two decades. On the legs of Tyrod and McCoy, this offense has managed to make plays when it needs to and relied on solid defense play to keep them afloat in a division dominated by the Patriots for almost the same amount of time they have been without a playoff berth. We’ll have to see if Derek Carr can steer a ship with an inconsistent Amari Cooper and no Marshawn Lynch, although Lynch was not exactly gangbusters when he was out there anyway.
Statistical Prediction: No receiver on either team eclipses 75 yards of receiving.
Score Prediction: Buffalo wins, 23-20
Atlanta Falcons (3-3) at New York Jets (3-4)
Statistical Prediction: Josh McCown leads a fourth quarter comeback and win, Atlanta dropping it’s fourth game in a row.
Score Prediction: New York wins, 21-17
Carolina Panthers (4-3) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-4)
Statistical Prediction: Jonathan Stewart outrushes Doug Martin.
Score Prediction: Carolina wins, 20-17
San Francisco 49ers (0-7) at Philadelphia Eagles (6-1)
Statistical Prediction: Carson Wentz will have more passing yards than the entire 49ers offense will have yards.
Score Prediction: Philadelphia 38-13
Chicago Bears (3-4) at New Orleans Saints (4-2)
Statistical Prediction: Mitch Trubisky will have fewer pass attempts than Mark Ingram will have rush attempts.
Score Prediction: New Orleans wins, 27-14
Los Angeles Chargers (3-4) at New England Patriots (5-2)
Statistical Prediction: Both teams will have over 450 yards of offense each.
Score Prediction: New England wins, 34-28
Indianapolis Colts (2-5) at Cincinnati Bengals (2-4)
Statistical Prediction: Andy Dalton has 300+ passing yards and 3+ passing touchdowns.
Score Prediction: Cincinnati wins, 30-17
Sunday, Oct. 29, 4 pm ET slot:
Houston Texans (3-3) at Seattle Seahawks (4-2)
Ooooh, what a challenge for the young passer. DeShaun Watson has been amazing since assuming the starting job in Houston, guiding the Houston offense in ways that Tom Savage never could. But a trip up to the Pacific Northwest will be the ultimate test. The Seahawks haven’t been as frisky as they have been in years past, but that stadium is still very difficult to play in, and Watson will have to keep up with a hot Wilson who’s second half play in starting to put him into the MVP race again.
Statistical Prediction: Each quarterback will lead their respective teams in passing and rushing.
Score Prediction: Houston wins, 33-28
Dallas Cowboys (3-3) at Washington Redskins (3-3)
Statistical Prediction: Both quarterbacks will have 300+ passing yards.
Score Prediction: Dallas wins, 28-20
Sunday Night Football, Oct. 29:
Pittsburgh Steelers (5-2) at Detroit Lions (3-3)
An interesting matchup, if only for the fact that this teams very really meet outside of their cyclical every four year meetings. Roethlisberger and company are starting to round into form after two solid victories against the Chiefs and Bengals. The Lions have had a bye week but they still seem very unsure of themselves throughout the season. When all cylinders are firing, the Pittsburgh offense is difficult to keep up with, made more challenging as their defense has improved steadily.
Statistical Prediction: Antonio Brown and LeVeon Bell combine for more offensive yards than all of the Detroit offense.
Score Prediction: Pittsburgh wins, 30-24
Monday Night Football, Oct. 30:
Denver Broncos (3-3) at Kansas City Chiefs (5-2)
After starting off as the hottest team in the NFL, the Chiefs have suffered two crushing losses in back to back weeks. Meeting a Broncos team that was just shutout is an ideal situation on paper, but these teams have had intense matchups during the Alex Smith/Andy Reid era in Kansas City. I think Kansas City has the offensive edge here but their defense has proven to be exploitable by a talented passer. Trevor Siemian is a good quarterback, but is he good enough?
Statistical Prediction: CJ Anderson and Kareem Hunt combine for 200+ offensive yards.
Score Prediction: Kansas City wins, 21-14