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Oct. 21, 2012

NFL Week Seven Predictions

by Jacob Buchholz, Online Sports Editor, Jack Estrin, Online Editor-in-Chief, Michael Gerbasi, Online Sports Editor and Josh Schmidt, Print Sports Editor
The Ravens finally seemed to be getting healthy with Terrell Suggsí imminent return when last week against Dallas both Ray Lewis and LarDarius Webb went down with serious injuries. The Ravens will be relying heavily on Joe Flacco and Ray Rice as they face the 5-1 Texans. Meanwhile the Redskins play the Giants with the winner taking the lead in the NFC East. Both teams are coming off of big week six wins.

Ray Lewis is out for the season with a triceps injury sustained last week against the Cowboys. Courtesy of AP/Nick Wass
Ray Lewis is out for the season with a triceps injury sustained last week against the Cowboys.
Standings:
Jacob: 55-36
Jack: 54-37
Josh: 50-41
Michael: 46-45


Thursday, October 18, 2012

Seattle Seahawks at San Francisco 49ers
Jacob: 49ers
Jack: Seahawks
Michael: 49ers
Josh: 49ers

Jacob says:
The 49ersí defense is just too much for the young Seahawks attack to deal with. Russell Wilson is no Eli Manning, and the Seahawks wonít see the kind of success the Giants did against San Francisco.
Jack says:
The Seahawks shocked the world last week when they upset the mighty Patriots, eking out a 24-23 victory. Coming off a career day, Russell Wilson should have what it takes to get the win over division rival San Francisco. 49ersí quarterback Alex Smith looked awful last week against the Giants when he was harassed for three interceptions and was unable to score a touchdown. Well I have bad news for the 49ersí offense: the Seahawksí defense is at least as good as the Giantsí. Smith will have another awful game and the Seahawks will win a close one.
Michael says:
Although San Francisco is coming off an embarrassing loss and Seattle had a nice win over the Patriots last week, I think the 49ers take this game. The 49ers' defense has a slight edge on the Seahawks' defense and the Seattle offense relies heavily on the running game, which the 49ers specialize in stopping.
Josh says:
This game could go either way. The Seahawks have shown that they can play primetime football against the best, but Russell Wilson wonít be able to figure out the 49ersí defense.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Arizona Cardinals at Minnesota Vikings
Jacob: Vikings
Jack: Vikings
Michael: Vikings
Josh: Vikings

Jacob says:
The Vikings are generally sound on both sides of the ball but their defense was ripped apart last week by the Redskins. Jared Allen and the Vikings pass rush will not have the same problems as they cause huge problems for John Skelton.
Jack says:
With starting quarterback Kevin Kolb out, Arizona will find points a hard thing to come by. Cardinalsí backup quarterback John Skelton does not have what it takes to lead an NFL offense, and the Vikings will punish him all day long.
Michael says:
Minnesota will have a chip on their shoulders after losing to Washington in week six. The Cardinals are beginning to fade and are coming back to reality. The Vikings find a way to win this one.
Josh says:
Jared Allen will have fun sacking either John Skelton or Kevin Kolb this week. The Vikings will stick to the top of the NFC North.

Dallas Cowboys at Carolina Panthers
Jacob: Cowboys
Jack: Cowboys
Michael: Cowboys
Josh: Cowboys

Jacob says:
Neither team is living up to expectations right now. At 1-4 the Panthers are miserable, as is Cam Newton. Meanwhile at 2-3 the Cowboys are in the cellar of the NFC East. The Cowboys will win this one in a battle of the two worst offensive teams in the NFC.
Jack says:
The inconsistent play of Cam Newton will continue and the Cowboys will get the much-needed victory. After losing a heartbreaker in overtime last week to the Ravens, Tony Romo and the Cowboys will not let this one slip away.
Michael says:
I think the Dallas defense puts pressure on Cam Newton and practically takes him out of the game. Tony Romo I expect to bounce back and have a productive game against the below average Carolina defense.
Josh says:
The Cowboys will go crazy against this weak Panthersí defense. Cam Newton will outplay Tony Romo and will keep Carolina in the game, but it wonít be enough.

New Orleans Saints at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Jacob: Saints
Jack: Saints
Michael: Saints
Josh: Saints

Jacob says:
The Saints finally got their first win and the minus 13 point differential is surprisingly good given their 1-4 record. Donít count New Orleans out yet.
Jack says:
The Saints are on the verge of turning their season around and becoming the offensive juggernaut they were the last couple years. If the Saints want a shot at the playoffs, every game is a must win for them. The Saints want this one more than the Bucs and will blow them out.
Michael says:
I project that Drew Brees wills the Saints to victory against a tougher than advertised Tampa Bay squad. The Buccaneers' offense is not particularly dynamic, meaning the New Orleans defense will be able to keep the game within striking distance for Drew Brees and the offense.
Josh says:
Drew Brees is just too good. The Buccaneersí secondary is pretty weak except for Ronde Barber. Brees and Marques Colston will carve them up.

Aaron Rodgers threw for a career high six touchdowns last week. Courtesy of AP
Aaron Rodgers threw for a career high six touchdowns last week.
Green Bay Packers at St. Louis Rams
Jacob: Packers
Jack: Packers
Michael: Packers
Josh: Packers

Jacob says:
The Packers handed Houston its first loss of the year and the Rams already have a couple of their own. Both teams are 3-3 but the Packers and Rams are really not in the same league.
Jack says:
Aaron Rodgers silenced the critics and made his fantasy football owners happy last week in a stunning six touchdown performance against a quality Texans defense. The Rams will not have the offensive firepower to keep up with the Packers.
Michael says:
The Packers looked like last year's Packers last week and I think are on the rise. St. Louis is a difficult match up for Green Bay, but if Green Bay can turn out just a fraction of what they did last week, they will win this game.
Josh says:
The Packers will come back into the spotlight by going on a tear here. Itíll all start here as they eke out a win against a surprisingly good Ramsí team.

Washington Redskins at New York Giants
Jacob: Giants
Jack: Giants
Michael: Giants
Josh: Redskins

Jacob says:
The Giants took a chunk out of the 49ersí pride last week with their 26-3 drubbing. The Redskins will certainly score more than three, but not enough to take down the defending champs.
Jack says:
The Giants showed last week that they are capable of beating anyone in the league. The big blue thoroughly manhandled the favored 49ers in a beating for the ages. Although RG3 and the Skins will put up a fight, in the end, the better team will prevail. The Giants will roll at home, and solidify themselves as a legitimate super bowl candidate.
Michael says:
Although the Redskins beat the defending champion Giants twice last year, I think the Giants will be prepared for RGIII. The New York D will focus on him and the running game and will keep the Washington defense out of rhythm. All while Eli Manning exploits the weak Redskins' defense on the other side of the ball.
Josh says:
RG3 > Tebow. If the Redskinsí defense can hold the Giants to a reasonable amount of points, Griffin will be able to escape the pass rush and put points up on the scoreboard.

Baltimore Ravens at Houston Texans
Jacob: Texans
Jack: Texans
Michael: Texans
Josh: Ravens

Jacob says:
The Ravens and Texans are very similar teams. They are both 5-1. They have two of the top three point differentials in the AFC. They are both above average defensively and rely on strong rushing attacks to lead their dynamic offenses. The main difference here: the Ravens are old and injured and the Texans are not.
Jack says:
Faced with adversity for the first time all season, the Texans will bounce back strong. After a poor showing last week against Green Bay, Houston will be all over a Ray Lewis and Terrell Suggs-less Baltimore defense. Expect Arian Foster to have a huge day, and lead the Texans to a big win.
Michael says:
This would have been a good game if the Baltimore defense was not so beat up. Having Ray Lewis, LaDarius Webb and Terrell Suggs out is a significant blow to the already aging Ravens' defensive core. Expect the Houston offense to dominate, and although the Ravens' offense is explosive, they cannot keep up with the Texans' offense especially against a beat-up defense.
Josh says:
Both teams are missing key parts of their defense. Both teams have a great running game. Both teams have good quarterbacks. Itís a toss up. Ravens because their from Maryland.

Tennessee Titans at Buffalo Bills
Jacob: Bills
Jack: Bills
Michael: Bills
Josh: Bills

Jacob says:
The Bills beating the Cardinals last week was surprising enough but the Titans beating the Steelers is just crazy. As far as I can tell, the Titans are still a terrible team and the Bills are just a little bit better.
Jack says:
The Bills will get the big victory at home. The Titans will have no answer for C.J. Spiller, who is back at 100 percent following an injury.
Michael says:
I like the Bills in this week seven match up. Look for Stevie Johnson as he scorches the Titans' secondary. Chris Johnson I think will be a non-factor like he has been most of the season so far.
Josh says:
Donít let this past week of games trick you, the Titans suck. Maybe the Billsí defense is finally getting going?

Trent Richardson will be looking for a big game against the defense that gave Shonn Greene 161 rushing yards and 3 TDs last week. Courtesy of AP
Trent Richardson will be looking for a big game against the defense that gave Shonn Greene 161 rushing yards and 3 TDs last week.
Cleveland Browns at Indianapolis Colts
Jacob: Colts
Jack: Browns
Michael: Browns
Josh: Colts

Jacob says:
The Colts cannot give up 160 rushing yards to one of the worst backs in the league and expect to win a game. Luckily for Indy, the Browns defense is a whole lot worse than the Jetsí. So when Trent Richardson breaks the 100 yard mark in the first half, the Colts still may be able to win.
Jack says:
After getting his first win as a pro last week, Browns quarterback Brandon Weeden will stay hot. Look for the Browns to pound the Colts on the ground, and Brandon Weeden will come though in the clutch to seal the win.
Michael says:
I like the Browns to upset the Colts after coming off their first win of the season in week six. Brandon Weeden and Trent Richardson did not look too bad as opposed to the Colts offense, which did look too bad.
Josh says:
Congratulations to Brandon Weeden for getting his first career win! Unfortunately, there wonít be very many to follow. Andrew Luck will rack up some more here.

New York Jets at New England Patriots
Jacob: Jets
Jack: Patriots
Michael: Patriots
Josh: Patriots

Jacob says:
There is no reason the Jets can win this game. They may not have a single offensive player who would even crack the Patriots starting lineup. On defense the Jets are good, but without Revis they are not nearly as dominant as in years past. And yet, somehow these two teams are tied for first place in the AFC East.
Jack says:
The Jets had an uncharacteristically good showing on offense last week, but they will not carry that momentum into this one. The Patriots will shut down Mark Sanchez and the rest of the Jetsí offense en route to a blowout victory.
Michael says:
The Patriots should be able to handle the struggling Jets. Even though New York did not play a particularly bad game last week and did not get exploited, I think they will this week at the hands of the Patriots.
Josh says:
The Patriots always have a hard time with the Jets, but thatís in the past. The Patriotsí defense should be able to figure out the Jetsí anemic offense and get the team a win. If they canít figure out the Jetsí offense there are serious problems with this top tier team.

Jacksonville Jaguars at Oakland Raiders
Jacob: Raiders
Jack: Raiders
Michael: Raiders
Josh: Raiders

Jacob says:
The Jaguars are averaging 13 points a game. Just in case that wasnít clear enough, they have only scored six touchdowns all season. Aaron Rodgers threw for six touchdowns in one game. The Raiders really could have no easier matchup.
Jack says:
Carson Palmer will outduel Blaine Gabbert and give Oakland fans something to cheer about after the Aís were eliminated in the MLB playoffs last week.
Michael says:
The Jaguars' defense cannot constrain Darren McFadden; he will run all over them and lead Oakland to the W.
Josh says:
The Jaguars just arenít good. The Raiders at least showed they had potential as they kept the game with Atlanta close last week.

Pittsburgh Steelers at Cincinnati Bengals
Jacob: Steelers
Jack: Steelers
Michael: Bengals
Josh: Steelers

Jacob says:
Several of the leagueís traditional powerhouses are struggling early but donít expect those struggles to last forever. Pittsburgh is much better than their 2-3 record suggests and the Bengals are greatly overrated.
Jack says:
The Steelers will be all over Andy Daltonís Bengals this week. Look for Dalton to have a less than stellar showing.
Michael says:
The Pittsburgh D has also been injured this season similar to the Ravens' D. I think Andy Dalton, AJ Green and company are good enough to take advantage of this and put up some points on the Steelers' defense and steal this game.
Josh says:
Both teams are coming off of disappointing losses last week so theyíll both be focused. Pittsburgh has to get on track at some point this season, might as well be here.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Detroit Lions at Chicago Bears
Jacob: Bears
Jack: Lions
Michael: Bears
Josh: Bears

Jacob says:
The Bearsí defense is absolutely exceptional. The offense will get a huge boost from a healthy Matt Forte and the Lions are in for another rough day.
Jack says:
I expect Matt Stafford to play a complete game this week and key the Lions in an upset victory over divisional rival Chicago.
Michael says:
The Lions have not been playing that well as of late, unlike their baseball counterparts the Tigers. Chicago takes care of the job, enough said.
Josh says:
The Bearsí defense is so good. It feels like theyíve scored more touchdowns than most offenses. Matthew Stafford will be in trouble this week.



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