October 20, 2013 in Sports

Week 7 NFL preview

Dan Caesar St. Louis Post-Dispatch
 

Patriots at Jets

Kickoff: 10 a.m. (CBS)

Records: New England (5-1, 2-1 away), New York (3-3, 2-1 home)

Line: NE by 3 1/2; O/U: 43 1/2

Synopsis: NE keeps rolling along while its injury list grows, and now is minus key LB Jerod Mayo (torn pectoral muscle), out for the season, and CB Aqib Talib (hip), WR Danny Amendola (concussion) and G Dan Connolly (concussion) are not expected to play. But it looks as if star TE Rob Gronkowski will make his season debut after being out because of arm and back surgeries.

Pick: Pats 23-20.

Chargers at Jaguars

Kickoff: 10 a.m.

Records: San Diego (3-3, 1-2 away), Jacksonville (0-6, 0-2 home)

Line: SD by 7 1/2; O/U: 45 1/2

Synopsis: SD goes cross country after impressive home win over Indy to face the NFL’s worst team, but the inconsistent Chargers have lost their last two road outings and JAX has shown life in the two games WR Justin Blackmon has played. He has 326 receiving yards in those two.

Pick: Chargers 24-20.

Bengals at Lions

Kickoff: 10 a.m.

Records: Cincinnati (4-2, 1-2 away), Detroit (4-2, 2-0 home)

Line: DET by 2 1/2; O/U: 46 1/2

Synopsis: Defense is Cincinnati’s strength (No. 9 vs. both the run and the pass) and will unleash that on Lions QB Matthew Stafford, who threw four TD passes last weekend vs. Buffalo. On the other side, Detroit already has 13 takeaways and will try to harass Cincinnati QB Andy Dalton with DL Ndamukong Suh leading the way.

Pick: Lions 26-17.

Bills at Dolphins

Kickoff: 10 a.m.

Records: Buffalo (2-4, 0-2 away), Miami (3-2, 1-1 home)

Line: MIA by 7; O/U: 42 1/2

Synopsis: Miami’s Ryan Tannehill has been sacked an NFL-high 24 times and works against a defense that already has 21 sacks, eight by Mario Williams. The Bills’ weakness is their run defense (124.2 per game, No. 26 in the league), but Miami’s ground attack is atrocious - a measly 69.6 yards per outing.

Pick: Dolphins 23-20.

Bears at Redskins

Kickoff: 10 a.m.

Records: Chicago (4-2, 1-1 away), Washington (1-4, 0-2 home)

Line: Even; O/U: 50 1/2

Synopsis: Washington tries to avoid falling to 0-3 at home for the first time in 15 years but with a bad defense (24th or worse in all the major statistical categories) it will be tough vs the Jay Cutler-led Bears attack that averages 28.7 points per outing, No. 3 in the league. But the CHI “D” isn’t as fierce as is its tradition, allowing 26.8 points a game (No. 26).

Pick: Redskins 33-30.

Cowboys at Eagles

Kickoff: 10 a.m.

Records: Dallas (3-3, 0-2 away), Philadelphia (3-3, 0-2 home)

Line: PHI by 3; O/U: 55 1/2

Synopsis: Beat-up Dallas could be in for a long day here vs. Philly’s high-energy attack. The ’Boys allow 308.2 passing yards per game, a bad sign with Nick Foles at QB for Philly.

Pick: Eagles 33-24.

Rams at Panthers

Kickoff: 10 a.m.

Records: St. Louis (3-3, 1-2 away), Carolina (2-3, 1-1 home)

Line: CAR by 7; O/U: 42

Synopsis: StL had big win in Houston last week, but is this team capable of winning two in a row on the road? Carolina loves its ground game, especially quarterback Cam Newton, and the Rams are No. 28 vs. the run.

Pick: Panthers 27-17.

Bucs at Falcons

Kickoff: 10 a.m.

Records: Tampa Bay (0-5, 0-2 away), Atlanta (1-4, 1-2 home)

Line: ATL by 7; O/U: 42 1/2

Synopsis: Tampa rookie QB Mike Glennon will be making his first road start, and Atlanta certainly is not the best place for that although ATL has the league’s 26th-rated pass defense. Falcons WR Roddy White (ankle) will miss his first game in nine years.

Pick: Falcons 23-17.

49ers at Titans

Kickoff: 1:05 p.m. (Fox 28)

Records: San Francisco (4-2, 1-1 away), Tennessee (3-3, 2-1 home)

Line: SF by 3 1/2; O/U: 40 1/2

Synopsis: SF is No. 6 vs. the pass and the 49ers have averaged 181.7 rushing yards during the a three-game winning streak. The Titans are No. 17 vs. the run. Jake Locker hopes to be back at QB for Tennessee.

Line: Titans 24-20

Texans at Chiefs

Kickoff: 1:25 p.m. (CBS)

Records: Houston (2-4, 1-2 away), Kansas City (6-0, 3-0 home)

Line: KC by 6; O/U: 39 1/2

Synopsis: With QB Matt Schaub injured, Houston turns to Case Keenum for his NFL debut and teams whose QB is making his first NFL start are 20-46 over last 7+ seasons and Keenum faces the NFL’s top-rated defense in terms of points allowed (10.8 per game).

Pick: Chiefs 23-10

Browns at Packers

Kickoff: 1:25 p.m.

Records: Cleveland (3-3, 1-1 away), Green Bay (3-2, 2-0 home)

Line: GB by 10; O/U: 46

Synopsis: GB is ravaged by injuries on both sides of the ball, especially at wide receiver and linebacker. So look for more reliance on rookie RB Eddie Lacy, who has carried 46 times for 219 yards in the team’s last two outings to help the Packers rank fifth in rushing (140.8 yards/game). The Browns are No. 8 vs. both the run and pass and can stay close vs. the depleted Pack.

Pick: Packers 24-17.

Ravens at Steelers

Kickoff: 1:25 p.m.

Records: Baltimore (3-3, 1-2 away), Pittsburgh (1-4, 0-2 home)

Line: PIT by 2 1/2; O/U: 40 1/2

Synopsis: Pittsburgh finally won last week, and might have the right foe here to make it two in a row. The Ravens average just 2.7 yards per carry, second-worst figure in the league, and two-time All-Pro Ray Rice is averaging a career-low 2.8 yards per carry.

Pick: Steelers 20-16

Broncos at Colts

Kickoff: 5:30 p.m. (NBC)

Records: Denver (6-0, 2-0 away), Indianapolis (4-2, 2-1 home)

Line: DEN by 6 1/2; O/U: 56 1/2

Synopsis: The much-ballyhooed return of Broncos QB Peyton Manning to his old Indy stomping grounds, with the NFL’s top passing attack and overall offense. And they average 44.2 points per game, almost 14 points more than any other team. But Denver’s O-line is beat up and shuffled, not a good sign vs. a tough Indy ‘D’ that gives up just 16.3 points per game. Colts QB Andrew Luck should be able to move the ball vs. Denver’s last-rated pass defense, but the Broncos do get back key LB Von Miller, who had been suspended all season.

Pick: Broncos 33-28

Vikings at Giants

Monday: 5:30 p.m. (ESPN)

Records: Minnesota (1-4, 0-2 away), New York (0-6, 0-2 home)

Line: NYG by 3; O/U: 47

Synopsis: A Monday night stinker, and the team that has the win, Minnesota, is changing QBs as Tampa castoff Josh Freeman gets the call. He’ll face the No. 20 pass defense and be handing to RB Adrian Peterson, the NFL’s third-leading ground gainer, who will face the No. 24 run defense. Giants QB Eli Manning has been a turnover machine.

Pick: Giants 33-28

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