I'm participating in this charity media NFL picks contest through RichardGardner.Com. I did a post before week two showing what the contest is all about: Link.
I went 8-6 last week, bringing my record on the season to 52-38 against the spread.
Anyway, here's my week seven picks against the spread(the team I pick to cover in bold)...
San Francisco 49ers at Houston Texans(-3.5)
Matt Schaub threw for 392 yards in Cincinnati this past week. Now he faces a defense that allowed Matt Ryan to throw for 329 yards, and Roddy White to have a whopping 210 yards receiving in San Francisco in week five. San Francisco will have their hands full trying to stop arguably the best wide receiver in football, Andre Johnson.
San Diego Chargers(-4.5) at Kansas City Chiefs
The Chargers are in desperation mode and need to come out with a big performance against a team they should dominate. I don't know if they will dominate, but they will win by at least a touchdown.
Green Bay Packers(-6.5) at Cleveland Browns
The Browns are allowing a league-worst 407.3 yards per game. Aaron Rodgers and the Packers offense should have no problem putting up a lot of points in this one. The Browns on the other hand, will, with Derek Anderson trying to throw on a terrific Packers secondary.
Indianapolis Colts(-13.5) at St. Louis Rams
In my opinion the best team in football, against in my opinion one of the worst teams of all-time. Even if the Colts were 40-point favorites, I'd have a tough time taking the Rams to cover.
New England Patriots(-14.5) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Patriots scored 59 points last week in their shutout over the Titans in Foxboro. The Buccaneers have 89 total points in six games.
Minnesota Vikings at Pittsburgh Steelers(-4.5)
The Vikings are playing well in about every aspect of the game right now. Even special teams which has been a major issue for this team in recent years is playing well, thanks in no small part to the outstanding rookie Percy Harvin on kick returns. The Steelers will start looking like the defending champions soon. Troy Polamalu is expected to start Sunday and takes Pittsburgh's defense from a very good one to a special one when he's right. I like the Steelers to win this game, but I think the Vikings keep it within three or four points.
Buffalo Bills at Carolina Panthers(-7.5)
Jake Delhomme continues to ruin what should be a very good, or at least solid football team in the Carolina Panthers. The Bills' quarterback situation he isn't much better. Trent Edwards is injured and unlikely to play this week, but it's not like he was lighting up the world anyway. Ryan Fitzpatrick will replace him and it's doubtful he can do more with the offense than the struggling Edwards was.
While the Panthers' passing game is terrible, their running game is superb with DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart at running back. The Bills are the worst run defense in the NFL right now, allowing 5.3 yards per carry. If the Panthers are smart, they won't let Delhomme throw more than 15-20 times and just let their running game do the work. If they do that, they should win by double-digits.
New York Jets(-6.5) at Oakland Raiders
While overall defensively the Raiders have disappointed this year, they've played solid defense at home against San Diego, Denver, and most recently Philadelphia. They held a very good Eagles offense to just nine points, and Donovan McNabb completed just 47.8% of his passes. Now rookie Mark Sanchez goes into the black hole for the first time.
Sanchez looked like the 2009 version of Matt Ryan in the first few games, but threw just one touchdown and an alarming eight interceptions in the last three games. With Nnamdi Asomugha basically taking away one side of the field in the passing game, Sanchez will have a tough time getting his confidence back this weekend. The Jets should be able to run the ball well, but not enough to blow the Raiders out. The Raiders at least keep this one close.
Chicago Bears at Cincinnati Bengals(-1.5)
The Benson Bowl as it's being known in Chicago, with Cedric Benson facing his former team. Benson's having a great season and looking like a much different player than he did in his time with the Bears. The Bears' run defense has played very well, ranking 6th in the league. They continue to be decimated by injuries though at the linebacker spot, as Pisa Tinoisamoa has followed Brian Urlacher onto injured reserve. Hunter Hillenmeyer may still be out with broken ribs as well. Still, the Bears will likely focus on stopping Benson and frequently bring eight in the box. This should open up things for Carson Palmer in the passing game.
The Bengals' pass defense is disappointing at 28th in the league. They allowed Matt Schaub to come into their stadium and throw for 392 yards in week six. Jay Cutler will throw a lot, and likely with success. This game could go either way, but I'll take the Bengals by three.
I like the Bengals by three at home, but this game could go either way.
Atlanta Falcons at Dallas Cowboys(-3.5)
I simply think the Falcons are the better team and maybe by quite a bit. They should win this game.
New Orleans Saints(-6.5) at Miami Dolphins
I had my doubts on the Saints up until this past week when they beat the Giants by 21 points. I knew they would put a lot of points on the board against anybody, but I wasn't sold on their defense. I am now.
New Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams has turned them into an aggressive defense with some creative blitz packages that are disrupting the opposing quarterbacks. Their run defense is ranked fifth overall, but are 12th in yards allowed per rushing attempt. This is what happens when you build large leads and force teams to play catch up, as the Saints will in most games this season. That should be the case for the Dolphins, so their Wildcat formation and great ground-attack game may not get the chance to be shown.
Arizona Cardinals at New York Giants(-7.5)
The Giants should be able to cause alot of trouble on Kurt Warner in the pocket, and won't have a difficult time stopping the Arizona running game. I like the Giants by two touchdowns.
Philadelphia Eagles(-6.5) at Washington Redskins
Washington is a mess. Philadelphia is looking to bounce back after a craptastic performance at Oakland in week six. They will sort of redeem themselves with a convincing victory in Washington on Monday night.
Link to Richard Gardner Contest Standings(I'm currently tied for 3rd)
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