The SportsMan Weekly NFL Picks (Week 7)

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11 wins, 4 losses. Last weeks double digit correct projection week brings The Sports Mans winning percentage up to 65 on the season. I felt good when I saw that number until I realized what the letter equivalent is. In the words of Samuel L. Jackson…It’s a mother f*****g D!!! Wait, I’m failing on the season? Now granted, a D average is still better than what I was getting when I actually went to school but c’mon, this is NFL predictions. This is way more important than school was. Which team is allowing the most yards per passing play every quarter is way more valuable information than knowing Chester A. Arthur was the 21st president of the United States. Last week I included a “Fantasy Player To Watch” (FPTW) for each game. I enjoyed in so much I think I’ll do it again (that and my editor told me to do it). As I said last week this player won’t be any obvious players. Peyton Manning, Jamaal Charles and/or Jimmy Graham will not appear. Rather a more obscure player that you may want to keep an eye on will be on the list. So without further procrastination here’s week seven at a glance…

Atlanta over Tampa Bay
Once again I’d just like to point out how bad I said the Bucs would be this year. Atlanta is at home and coming off a bye. Despite that they’ve underachieved greatly this year there’s no better game to get back on track with than one against the Suckaneers.
FPTW-> Jacquizz Rodgers/Jason Snelling. OK, I cheated here a bit by using two guys. So what, it’s my article and I’ll do as I darn well please. Last week LeSean McCoy became the first back to break 100-yards against Tampa and the Bucs D hasn’t allowed a back to run a touchdown in this year yet. Snelling is back from concussion this week. Which back gets the most carries and which gets the redzone touches?

Detroit over Cincinnati
Both teams are coming off close victories. It should be a close one but I’d take the Lions at home. The Bengals struggled against a third string QB last week and I’d look for Lions signal caller Matt Stafford to light it up. Reggie Bush will see a lot of yards out of passing plays and WR Kris Durham could be a nice surprise with the defense dialed in on Calvin Johnson.
FPTW-> Andy Dalton. Dalton is coming off a big week where he scored 28.18 points in NFL.com leagues. I’m sure folks with Terrell Pryor or Drew Brees on a bye are starting Dalton this week based of that performance. Just keep in mind that the Lions defense has not allowed any quarterback to exceed 20 points in a game.

Miami over Buffalo
The Dolphins get a warm home game after a bye. The Bills are coming off a tough loss in overtime. Miami is much improved this year and are right in the thick of things of their division. A win over rival Buffalo would go a long way. The Bills are still starting a number three QB. Stevie Johnson should be back this week for the Bills but if he cant go expect this one to get away from the Bills fast.
FPTW->Charles Clay. Clay has scored in two straight games and that has given him 14+ points in those back-to-back weeks. However, The Bills defense has only allowed one tight end to score on them this year. It will be interesting to see who breaks first.

New England over New York Jets
The Jets are such an enigma. They play with the up and down emotion of a high school girl. First they look good, then they look terrible. They Jets gave Pittsburgh their first win last week and looked terrible doing it. The Pats are still the Pats and until someone knocks them off they’re still the class of the division. The Jets will need another hard fought game like when these two teams met back in week two to stay competitive.
FPTW-> Rob Gronkowski. Thanks Captain Obvious!! Everyone will be looking to see how healthy Gronk is and how he’s used. The Jets have given up a touchdown to three of the four tight ends they’ve recently faced. Brady would love nothing more then to get Rob into the endzone his first game back.

Philadelphia over Dallas
The Cowboys looked good last week against the Redskins which means they’re in line for a stinker in this game. Nick Foles will get the start for the Eagles and actually has looked better running Chip Kelly’s offense than Mike Vick did. No Demarcus Ware for the Cowboys means plenty of points for the Eagles in this one
FPTW-> Joseph Randle. With Demarco Murray missing practice on Thursday it seems very likely that Randle will get the start at running back. He should see about twenty carries in the Cowboys offense and it could mean big numbers for owners. The Eagles give up 126.8 rushing yards a game and have allowed 4 runners to score.

Chicago over Washington
The Redskins are not playing up to talent this year, much like every other team in that poor excuse of a division known as the NFC East. RGIII has looked mediocre at best this year. Meanwhile the Bears have arguably the most opportunistic defense in the league. Jay Cutler and Brandon Marshall will shred that sorry Redskins secondary.
FPTW->Jordan Reed. Reed has assumed the starting tight end job for Washington. Last week he played on 56 offensive downs for Washington and had 4 receptions for 58 yards (9.80 points). The Bears give up yards to tight ends but only one score so far this year to them.

Carolina over St. Louis
This game will be the “yawn fest” of the week. Two teams underachieving and no one seems to care. It may be time to give up on Sam Bradford, The former number one overall pick just doesn’t seem to be able to get it done in this league. Cam Newton, another former first overall, may be wearing out his welcome too. The Panthers are at home so I’ll take them in this one.
FPTW-> Brandon LaFell. LaFell has alternated big games this season. He’s gone from 5.30 points to 20.20 points back to 8.70 and last week up to 24.60. Which Brandon shows up this week? despite 8 less catches than Steve Smith LaFell only has four less yards. Bear in mind though that 107 of those yards came last week.

Jacksonville over San Diego
No, that is not a typo. I’m liking the Jags to get their first win against the high octane offense of the Chargers. Philip Rivers seems to be looking past the Jaguars and into bye week a bit. Jacksonville showed a lot of heart last week in a game they should have been blown out in. Hey, even the sun shines on a dogs butt some day.
FPTW-> Mike Brown. Who, you ask? The Jaguars receiver should see an increase in play and be the number two this week. Cecil Shorts is suffering from a clavicle injury and I wouldn’t expect him to play. The Chargers defense is playing on short rest and is making a long trip. Brown could be a nice sleeper this week.

San Francisco over Tennessee
The Titans get Jake Locker back at QB only three weeks after he was basically dragged off the field with a hip injury. This may not be the game to come back to though. The 49ers will look to hit Locker early and test his health. San Fran is the better team and I expect them to play like it, especially after division rival Seattle won on Thursday night. The 49ers are trying to keep pace.
FPTW-> Anquan Boldin. In week 4 Boldin had 5 catches for 90 yards and a score. Damn good numbers. Unfortunately he has combined the last two weeks for only 5 catches with 49 yards and no score. He gets a tough match here as the Titans defense has only allowed two receivers to hit pay dirt and only one to exceed 10+ points.

Green Bay over Cleveland
If it weren’t for Brandon Weeden starting for the Browns I’d like this game a lot better. But he is. Sad Face. Weeden is about as old as Gloria Stewart in “Titanic” and it shows on the field. Do not bet against Aaron Rodgers at home here. Anything less than three scores for Rodgers will be a disappointment for me.
FPTW-> Jarrett Boykin. With Randall Cobb out and James Jones not practicing, Boykin may be the #2 receiver this week for the Pack. Browns shutdown corner Joe Hadden will mirror Jordy Nelson leaving Boykin available for some big plays. He was thrown to six times last week but caught only one of them. The catch went for 43 yards though.

Kansas City over Houston
The Chiefs are trying to be the Boston Red Sox of the NFL this year going from worst-to-first. The Texans are starting a third string QB by the name of…Oh I can’t find it, the hell with it (my little homage to Bob Uecker). At home and looking like world beaters under new coach Andy Reed the Chiefs look like a lock to meet Denver in a few weeks with both teams undefeated. Banged up running backs don’t help the Texans in this one.
FPTW-> Dwayne Bowe. What the hell happened to this guy. He looks as unrecognizable this year as Robert Downey Jr. in ‘Tropic Thunder’. Bowe is on pace for the worst season of his career statistically. With game manager QB Alex Smith and stud running back Jamal Charles, Bowes involvement in the offense has taken a serious nose dive. It doesn’t get easier this week against the leagues top passing defense.

Pittsburgh over Baltimore
After dropping the first five look for the Steelers to put together a win streak. Hey, two wins is two wins. Pittsburgh and Baltimore can always be counted on for a close and hard hitting game. The Steelers et home field in this one and should squeak out a win.
FPTW-> Heath Miller. Miller is owned in only 36.3% of NFL.com leagues. Pretty low considering he now has back-to-back games of 6 catches for 70+ yards. He could be a very nice replacement for Jimmy Graham owners. The down side is he plays against a Ravens defense that has only allowed one tight end to score this year. Good news for Miller is they do give up over 17 yards a catch to them though.

Denver over Indianapolis
It’s the game that promises to have more emotion than a Lou Gehrig speech. Peyton returns home and basically should be appointed mayor of the city. This one should be a high scoring game and both offenses can move the ball downfield fast and with precision. A 37-31 win for Denver sounds about right.
FPTW-> T.Y. Hilton. The Colts receiver is playing against the leagues worst pass defense. He was able to put up 5 catches for 140 yards and 2 touchdowns (34 points) on Seattle and their tough D so image what he can accomplish this week. Hilton has seen 43 passes come his way, the second most on the team.

New York Giants over Minnesota
Every time I think I’m out they pull me back in. My beloved Giants suck this year, there’s no way around that. This is the week though. I feel it. Or that could be yesterday’s White Castle I’m feeling, I’m not quite sure. Either way the G-Men are coming off a long week of rest and get the Vikings at home. Prime time Monday night is as good as any to get off the manure pile. It may not be a sexy matchup for MNF but it’s still better than women’s basketball.
FPTW->Josh Freeman. Freeman will make his first start for the Vikings and gets a juicy matchup. The Giants have allowed every single gosh darn (you can tell I have small kids) quarterback to score over 20 fantasy points. How you ask? By allowing everyone and their high school girlfriend to pass for multiple touchdowns. After this week I would expect Freeman to be hot waiver wire pickup.

Joe Namath Guarantee Of The Week–> While I may only have a D average on the season my guarantees have been A+++, if that even exists. I improved to 6-0 last week thanks to the Broncos lopsided win over the Jags. Now that I picked Jacksonville to win this week I can’t just take their opponent for my guarantee like I’ve been doing the last few weeks. This week I’m taking SanFrancisco over Tennessee.

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