LANDOVER, MD - OCTOBER 16: John Beck #12 of the Washington Redskins scores a touchdown against the Philadelphia Eagles in the fourth quarter during a game at FedExField on October 16, 2011 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
Are we rolling with John Beck and the Washington Redskins this week? You bet we are.
Last week was a moneymaker for our NFL picks feature, and, we plan on keeping it going this week. The key to last week was having the stones to take the San Francisco 49ers in Detroit. Vegas wanted us to bet the Detroit Lions, and the pick looked so easy. But that's exactly when you have to be careful. Now I could say the same thing about taking the Steelers laying a bakers dozen to the Jags, but let's move on.
As always, we start with the Washington Redskins. Things are different this week, John Beck is taking over the reins at quarterback, but it says here that won't matter much. Lines come from SB Nation Odds.
Washington Redskins at Carolina Panthers (-3): Rex Grossman out, John Beck in. Who cares. The key to this game is the Redskins defense. Last week, the Redskins D held the Eagles to 20 points and pitched a shutout in the second half. Everyone is worked up about quarterbacks in this game, with the Redskins lack of one and the Panthers' future one. But I think London Fletcher and company will confound Cam Newton and the Redskins not only cover but win. When everyone thinks the sky is falling, like many do in D.C. this week, it's usually a good time to expect the opposite. Pick: Redskins.
Seattle Seahawks at Cleveland Browns (-3): I don't know much about Cleveland beyond Bone Thugs and Drew Carey. I do know the Seahawks went on the road a few weeks ago and beat the New York Giants. Charlie Whitehurst should start for Seattle, and I think he could actually be pretty good. Cleveland doesn't rock. Pick: Seahawks.
Atlanta Falcons at Detroit Lions (-4.5): I like Detroit. I've been there, I found it a nice city, and appreciate what it means to the country. All of that said, I am picking against them again this week. Atlanta may not be that good, but I think they found something last week in the win against the Panthers. Also, I think this Detroit team is not as good as its perception. A heavy dose of Michael Turner and continued subpar play from Matthew Stafford will keep this one within a field goal. Pick: Falcons.
San Diego Chargers at New York Jets (+2.5): This one should be interesting. The line opened with the Jets as skinny favorites, and has moved the opposite way. The Chargers are yet to put a great offensive game on the books, though the team is certainly capable. The Jets offense has been downright ugly, but its defense keeps game close. I see more of the same, and I am just not ready to count on Norv Turner flying cross-country and winning this game. Rain and wind would help my Jets pick greatly.
Denver Broncos at Miami Dolphins (Pick 'Em): What an awful game. Maybe it's just me, but it seems like there are more awful games early on the schedule this season than normal. I understand two teams playing each other with no chance by week 14, but in week 7? This game has no bearing on any possible postseason plans. Part of me wants to take the Broncos, and Tim Tebow starting at quarterback helps. But the Broncos have already won a game. The Dolphins haven't, and this is their chance. Pick: Dolphins.
Chicago Bears at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Pick 'Em): This is another weird game. The line opened with Tampa favored, moved to the Bears, and now sits as a Pick 'Em. Expect more movement before kickoff. Both teams have looked good this season, like last week when the Bears beat a bad Minnesota team and the Bucs beat a pretty good Saints team. I went back and forth on this one a few times, I could see it going either way. When a pick gets real close, i like to take the team with the best player on the field. On offense, that's Matt Forte. On defense, it's Julius Peppers. Pick: Bears.
Houston Texans at Tennessee Titans (-3): Houston is limping into this game and the Titans are coming off a bye. This game will go a long way towards determining who will win the AFC South, and since Houston is predetermined to never make the playoffs, I'm going with the Titans.
Pittsburgh Steelers at Arizona Cardinals (+3.5): Yes, the Steelers screwed me last week. Yes, the Steelers screwed a tease I had going. But it's OK. And It's OK because Arizona isn't that good. The Cardinals offense will move the ball, and Beanie Wells should have a decent day. But they myth of the ground and pound Steelers has been exposed. Ben Roethlisberger, Mike Wallace and company will have a big day through the air, and the Steelers will cover in the desert. Pick: Steelers.
Kansas City Chiefs at Oakland Raiders (-3.5): The acquisition of Carson Palmer for the Raiders made sense ... for a fifth round pick. I am SHOCKED at the price Oakland paid to get a pretty average quarterback. It doesn't make sense, and leaves me foggy on the Oakland team in general. The players will be foggy too. Add in the fact that this is a rivalry game, Kansas City has quietly won two in a row and the emotion from Al Davis' passing will have moved, and I like the Chiefs.
St. Louis Rams at Dallas Cowboys (-13): If it seems like I am taking a lot of underdogs this week, it's because I am. NFL favorites have not performed this year, and I am playing the trends. Not in Dallas, however. The Cowboys are putting things together while the Rams are falling apart. This line may move up depending on the Rams quarterback situation, and it doesn't really concern me. Lay the points. Pick: Cowboys.
Green Bay Packers at Minnesota Vikings (+10): Earlier this year, in this very space, I said I am not betting against the Pack until they give me a reason to. Well, they kinda did last week. Sure Green Bay won the game, and covered the spread, but that offense should be putting up a lot more than 24 against a bad Rams team. I'm not going to say the Packers are getting complacent, but I do think an invigorated Vikings team, playing at home against a huge divisional rival, will give them a game. Christian Ponder is no Aaron Rodgers, but he is no Donovan McNabb either. McNabb has been awful this year, severely limiting the Viking offense. Ponder may make rookie mistakes, but he can get the ball to his receivers. Take the points. Pick: Vikings.
For our last two picks we are going to have a little musical inspiration:
That's right, we respect the underdog. Even bad teams come to play in marquee games, you know, like Sunday Night Football and Monday Night Football.
Indianapolis Colts at New Orleans Saints (-15.5): For this pick, I'm starting a new feature. Let's say we actually gamble, and we use a guy, not a website. That's right, a good, old-fashioned bookie. I asked him, Poppa Books, for a pick this week. Here we go: "Week 7 in the league is a tricky one. Teams going to England, a ton of new QBs taking over at the helm, and a lot of dogs barking. My NFL play of the week is the Colts +15.5 at New Orleans Sunday night. This will be the third time the hapless Colts will be featured in a primetime game in the young season and each time they have put out maximum effort and covered the number. The public will be all over the Saints and like they say, every dog has his day." I'm riding with PB. Pick: Colts.
Baltimore Ravens at Jacksonville Jaguars (+9): Did we learn anything last week in Pittsburgh? Yes, yes we did. The Jags are feisty. They won't lay down. Maybe they watch this clip before games. Regardless, the Jags won't get beat by nine at home on Monday night. Blaine Gabbert and Maurice Jones-Drew keep this one close. The same sharp that convinced me to go with San Fran last week loves the Jags this week. That's enough for me. Pick: Jacksonville.
Last week: 7-4-2