I rolled on with another 2 and 1 showing last week, as the Patriots blew a 13 point lead in the 4th quarter. I’ve found success in stubbornness sticking with a club after they dog me the week before, so obviously I’m going to go right back and take New England this week. Also going to bump it up with another pick from here on out.
Green Bay Packers @ St. Louis Rams
I know there are a few card holding members of Packers Nation who check in weekly, and have suffered through some tough games so far this season. Friends, tomorrow will be alright. The Rams are an improved team overall, and you cannot say enough about what Jeff Fisher has brought to St. Louis, but this isn’t 2000 and the greatest show on turf will be wearing green and yellow on Sunday. The aerial attack will be from the likes of Aaron Rodgers to Nelson, Jones, Cobb and hopefully even a little Donald ‘And the Duke’ Driver. Sorry Bulldog Bradford, but there is no Tory Holt, Isaac Bruce and Marshall Faulk type talent on the 2012 St. Louis Rams.
What the Rams do boast is a knockout defense that consists of pass rushers Robert Quinn and Chris Long, tackle machine James Laurinaitis, and agitator Cortland Finnegan. When you toss in red hot, linebacker Jo-Lonn Dunbar and a personal favorite, safety Quintin Mikell it is no surprise that the Rams are one of the best defensive teams in the NFL. The offense is relatively weak, but Fisher and the Rams have been creative and used some good old fashioned tomfoolery to keep themselves close in games. When it is all said and done though, aging running back Steven Jackson is under performing as a feature back, and unfortunately Bradford doesn’t have the weapons to put up competitive numbers. In the Rams last 4 games they only have 56 points.
Last week the Pack went into Houston on Sunday Night Football and tore apart another one of the leagues best defenses, and handed the Houston Texans their first loss of the season. Unlike the Rams of St. Louis, the Texans have an excellent offense and last week it was the Packers defense that influenced and dominated the football game with 3 interceptions and 3 sacks. Although Arian Foster crossed the goal line twice, Green Bay held him to only 29 yards, look for them to have similar success against the Rams. Aaron Rodgers can justify showing off his imaginary title belt all he wants after his 6 TD performance last week enabled him to climb atop the league leaders in the category. The Packers offense is too good, and their defense is good enough for them to win this game by at least 7.
Packers Nation can put on their foam cheese hats, honor their Favre bobble-head dolls, and do whatever else it is they do, but make sure to enjoy your Packers victory by at least 7.
New Orleans Saints @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers
I discussed the Bucs last week, and we witnessed a reemergence of the 2010 Josh Freeman, as he found Mike Williams and Vincent Jackson all over the field. The Buccaneers beat up on the Chiefs and should be a formidable foe for the New Orleans Saints. New Orleans comes into week 7 fresh and with a lot of time to prepare for this game, after sitting out week 6 on their bye. New Orleans is in a fierce statistical battle for the rights to being both the best offense in the NFL and the worst defense, although it will be tough to improve on their offense, they will be better on the other side of the ball this Sunday. The Saints come into the game rested and ready to continue to turn their nightmare start around.
The Bucs have shown the ability to score points, but they also resemble the Saints on defense. Tomorrow at Raymond James Stadium it is likely that both teams will improve their offensive numbers to the detriment of each others defensive statistics. Jonathan Vilma may forever be more associated with the Bountygate scandal than his 2005 NFL season, where he lead the league in tackles, and that is unfortunate. He is set to return to the Saints on Sunday, and hopefully return to being their leader on defense. In the end, neither of these defenses will be able to stop the other consistently, so whoever is scoring touchdowns, instead of kicking field goals will win, and I feel the determining factor might be as simple as that.
Based on that assessment, Drew Brees and the Saints know how to find pay dirt (Although their defense only pays dirty) and with the best passing attack in the league they’ll open up and exploit the Bucs secondary, especially with top cornerback Aqib Talib suspended. Lance Moore returns, and despite not having Jimmy Graham, Marquis Colston and Devery Henderson are always big play threats. The Saints haven’t been able to run the football much this season, but boast a talented backfield. With the extra time to prepare, look for some Sean Peyton esq. plays from New Orleans on Sunday, which will enable them to out score Tampa Bay.
Looking at both teams sitting at 2-4 Sunday evening, after the Saints win by 4.
New York Jets @ New England Patriots
I really am tired of hearing about the Jets. I was angry they won last week. I was angry the Patriots lost. I loved Tim Tebow as a Gator and enjoyed his success (Or whatever it was) last season, but I am not enjoying him with the Jets. He appears to be more influential as a distraction than a player, as Vince Wilfork alluded to here. The latest from Rex Ryan is that Tebow is going to get some reps at running back, which is just another example. Enough about the Jets.
I discussed the Patriots last week, so I’m going to keep it short and sweet here. The Opening -13 line has shrunk down to -10.5 Patriots, but that still seems really high. The Patriots are the better team, they are at home, and are coming off of a bad loss, all of which points to them beating the Jets silly. I will be using the Patriots as my SEKS pick, but they make me nervous covering more than 10 points. It is football, anything can happen and winning by a touchdown and field goal (10) doesn’t even get the job done. I don’t doubt the Patriots ability, or the potential of them beating the Jets by 20, but they could win 31-24 too. If they suddenly get behind early, 11 points is a lot to come back from.
In my set the spread pick’em I’m going with the Patriots by a touchdown.
Detroit Lions @ Chicago Bears
So Nate Burleson has declared that the Lions are back to being bad guys. Well isn’t that lovely, sitting at 2-3 after their breakthrough season last year, you may be able to drop the guys part. The Bears on the other hand, lead the NFC North, have the best points differential in the league, and might also be the best defensive football team too. This is going to be an excellent football game on Monday, the Lions are nearing must win territory if they want to get back to the post season, whereas the Bears are rested, at home, and coming off their bye week.
I’m beginning to become a big believer in close games, when teams are close in talent on the big stage, such as Monday Night Football. I’ve gone with the Bears a lot this season, and at 4-1 they have been great. I am a Cutler believer and I think they might pack the best running back duo in the NFL, with Matt Forte and Michael Bush. Marshall is an elite wide receiver and they usually are superior when it comes to special teams. We’ve discussed their defense already, it is as close to second to none as it gets right now in the NFL.
Back to the ‘Bad Guys,’ they are a great second half team, and we have seen it time and time again the past two seasons, last week included. So even against this top notch Bears defense I expect them to keep this game close. The spread is hovering around a touchdown favoring the Bears, but Matt Stafford to Calvin Johnson late in football games seems to be the closest thing to automatic going so again I think it will be closer than that. I’m backing the Bears to win, but I like the Lions having a late surge to at least make it interesting.
How about a classic Monday Night Football game with a Bears victory by at least 4.