Mike Ivcic’s Week 7 NFL Preview and Free Picks

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Mike Ivcic’s Week 7 NFL Preview and Free Picks ]]> include($base_url . “/includes/header.htm”); ?>

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By Mike Ivcic, UltimateCapper Contributing Writer

Atlanta Falcons @ Detroit Lions
Sun, 1pm, FOX
Line: Lions by 3.5
As predicted, Detroit lost a close, tough game with San Francisco last week, but that could be just what a young team needs to come down off the media hype and re-focus on playing elite football. You know, the kind of football the Falcons played last year and haven’t come close to sniffing this year. The Lions regroup, and Atlanta continues to flounder around in the middle of the NFC pack.
Pick: Detroit 28, Atlanta 21

Chicago Bears @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (London, England)
Sun, 1pm, FOX
Line: Bears by 1.5
Once again, Tampa will play a home game in the motherland, but this time it’s not against Tom Brady. Instead, it’s against Jay Cutler and his barely-there offensive line. Sure, they looked solid against Minnesota, but the Vikings are a bad football team. Look for the Bucs to run the ball early, win the time-of-possession battle, and force Cutler to drop back and win the game for the Bears. He’s certainly talented enough to do it, but in a virtual pick-‘em game, I’m going with the team that knows how to block.
Pick: Tampa Bay 24, Chicago 20

Denver Broncos @ Miami Dolphins
Sun, 1pm, CBS
Line: Dolphins by 1
The Broncos couldn’t have picked a better time to start Tim Tebow. ESPN’s MNF crew talked at length last week about how good the Jets offensive line was looking and how much time Mark Sanchez had. It’s wasn’t because they played all that well – it’s because Miami can’t rush the quarterback with anyone not named Cameron Wake. That’s the perfect recipe for Tebow, who will have all day to throw and, when he doesn’t, a rather porous defense against which to run.
Pick: Denver 22, Miami 14

Houston Texans @ Tennessee Titans
Sun, 1pm, CBS
Line: Titans by 3
It’s put up or shut up time for the Texans, who already trail the Titans by half a game in the standings and have lost two straight. They’ll once again have to do it without Andre Johnson, but this isn’t exactly a potent Titans offense, either. Expect a low-scoring game here, and I’m just not sold on Houston being able to pull this one out.
Pick: Tennessee 16, Houston 10

San Diego Chargers @ New York Jets
Sun, 1pm, CBS
Line: Chargers by 1.5
The eyeball test would say Chargers here, but a closer look at the Jets schedule reveals two things. One, they’re 3-0 at home and 0-3 on the road. Two, their three losses are all in difficult venues – Oakland, Baltimore, and Foxboro. Despite the struggles, this is still a good football team. Oh, and the Chargers are coming off a bye week, and since I promised a 1-5 record for the teams coming off a bye and already picked Denver, I’ll go with the Jets and the point and a half cushion here.
Pick: New York 24, San Diego 21


Seattle Seahawks @ Cleveland Browns
Sun, 1pm, FOX
Line: Browns by 3
This Browns team was expected to show some improvement with Mike Holmgren and Pat Shurmur at the helm, and as it turns out, the opening portion of their schedule was more difficult than originally anticipated. Still, this is one of those “must-win” games for a franchise looking to turn the corner. Meanwhile the Seahawks will be starting Charlie Whitehurst for the injured Tavaris Jackson, another reason to take Cleveland in a virtual straight up situation.
Pick: Cleveland 24, Seattle 17

Washington Redskins @ Carolina Panthers
Sun, 1pm, FOX
Line: Panthers by 3
There’s just one thing missing on the early career resume of Cam Newton – wins. This is a great opportunity to get one against a reeling Redskins team, but John Beck will be looking for the same fate as he takes over for Rex Grossman. It’s a bit of a desperation move for Mike Shanahan and the ‘Skins, but I think it pays off for at least one week.
Pick: Washington 23, Carolina 20

Kansas City Chiefs @ Oakland Raiders
Sun, 4:05pm, CBS
Line: Raiders by 6
Regardless of whether Kyle Boller or Carson Palmer starts for Oakland, the Raiders are facing a potential turning point. The Chargers have a tough road game, while Oakland gets a weak team at home in the middle of a very nice four week stretch of three home games and a bye. With the Bills, Jets, Bengals, Steelers, and either Texans or Titans lurking as wild card contenders, there’s no given playoff spot for the team that doesn’t win the AFC West. Oakland’s won eight straight division games, and I expect that streak to continue. The last game they lost, though – November, 15, 2009 at home… against Kansas City.
Pick: Oakland 31, Kansas City 21


Pittsburgh Steelers @ Arizona Cardinals
Sun, 4:05pm, CBS
Line: Steelers by 4
A loss here puts Arizona four games back of San Francisco, and while both head-to-head meetings are still to come, that’s simply too big a hole to climb with what amounts to a first-year starting quarterback. Meanwhile Pittsburgh appears to have righted the ship a bit, though like a good numbers of clubs the hardest stretch is still to come for the defending AFC champs.
Pick: Pittsburgh 20, Arizona 10

St. Louis Rams @ Dallas Cowboys
Sun, 4:15pm, FOX
Line: Cowboys by 13.5
Easiest game on the board for a straight up pick – Cowboys all the way. Really tough game against the spread, though. Here’s a look at the Cowboys’ scoring margins in their games so far this year: -3, +3, +2, -4, -4. Granted, their opponents were the Jets, 49’ers, Redskins, Lions, and Patriots, respectively, but I just can’t see how this team will ever play a lopsided game. SO even without Sam Bradford, I’m taking the Rams to cover.
Pick: Dallas 27, St. Louis 20

Green Bay Packers @ Minnesota Vikings
Sun, 4:15pm, FOX
Line: Packers by 10
And then there’s this game, where I don’t think Vegas could make a line high enough for me to take Minnesota. The Vikings simply no-showed a nationally televised game against Chicago last week, and now will get another chance to show all of America (except Dallas, St. Louis, Oakland, and Phoenix) just how bad they really are. And if you think Aaron Rodgers is already the league MVP, wait till you see what he does in a dome. Or just ask Falcons fans – they already know, and they’re still having nightmares.
Pick: Green Bay 38, Minnesota 10

Indianapolis Colts @ New Orleans Saints
Sun, 8:20pm, NBC
Line: Saints by 14.5
Flex scheduling can’t start soon enough for NBC, who will get a terrible game for the second straight week – and this time FOX will have baseball up against it. It used to be that the NFL didn’t even play the Sunday night of the World Series, and for as good as this game will be, they might as well not.
Pick: New Orleans 37, Indianapolis 13

Baltimore Ravens @ Jacksonville Jaguars
Mon, 8:30pm, ESPN
Line: Ravens by 9.5
I know I vowed never to take Jacksonville for the rest of the season – and for the record, they won’t win this game – but for some reason, Jack Del Rio’s squad always seems to play well on Monday Night Football at home. So I’ll say the Jags keep it close until late, but the Ravens don’t pull away like they did against Houston last week.
Pick: Baltimore 24, Jacksonville 17

Straight Up: 64-26
Against Spread: 43-38-9

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