Oct 20 2013

2013 NFL Week 7 Gameplan

First off, thank you Scott Zolak for this piece of announcing outrageousness:


When I think of unicorns and show ponies, I’ll think of Scott Zolak. Or Colts-Broncos.

Can I preview 15 NFL games, while reviewing 15 NFL games, while giving you (all zero non-spam commenters) the legos I dig up in less than 1,000 words?

Yes, but it’s gameday. Brevity will be applied over the chance that Week 6 matters. I’ll spend most of the space putting out some links (that’s cheating, but this is my show). Also, because this is the NetworksUnited, I want to share the art of punting with you all, written by fellow Trojan Mike Piellucci.

Let’s get to THE GAMEPLAN:

Cardinals over Seahawks: This will be easy. Before the game:

After the game:

Moving on.

Falcons over Buccaneers: Falcons are home coming off the bye week. Buccaneers are still stuck at 31st in the NFL offensively, but it’s not like the Falcons have stopped anyone this season. We’re going to see just how good a passer Falcons QB Matt Ryan is. He’ll be missing RB Steven Jackson, WR Roddy White, and LT Sam Baker, in addition to WR Julio Jones’ season-long knockout. Whatever happens, we know the New Orleans Saints will enjoy their bye week knowing they beat both of these teams and will be the only NFC South squad with a winning record at the end of the week no matter what.

Panthers over Rams (Two teams coming off of mildly shocking road wins over 2012 playoff teams)

Bengals over Lions (The worst teams of the 1990s vs. the worst team of the 2000s)

Patriots over Jets (Like 2011, Patriots trying to go 3-0 vs. the Ryan twins)

Eagles over Cowboys (Like Broncos/Chiefs of the AFC, these two teams have played five common foes)

Broncos over Colts (Remember the 2009 version of Vikings at Packers?)

In the effort of continuity, I covered all of these games in my allotted space on Neon Tommy, so I’ll link that up. Apparently, these games are important. => NFL Week 7 Predictions

Chargers over Jaguars: I appreciated the Jaguars not getting blown out last week, and I appreciated Chargers QB Philip Rivers calling out ESPN for trying to turn Monday Night Football into the Andrew Luck Show. San Diego isn’t blowing defenses off the field; Rivers is just being incredibly efficient (108.7 passer rating). These are two of the thinnest secondaries in the NFL. One team has the passer to take advantage of this deficiency, and the other does not have many advantages at all unless we are talking about the 2014 NFL Draft.

Texans over Chiefs: After I got done waxing poetic over Kansas City’s defensive emergence, my “don’t change picks made in August” philosophy notified me that I have a reeling Texans team starting QB Case Keenum for the first time winning at Arrowhead Stadium. This, despite KC sending Oakland Raiders QB Terrelle Pryor into the bye week with ten sacks and three second-half INTs. To boost the unfamiliarity factor, Houston head coach Gary Kubiak hasn’t coached at Arrowhead since he was Denver’s offensive coordinator in 2005. But this is the gameplan, so listen up Houston: feature RB Arian Foster, and force Kevin Kolb Chiefs QB Alex Smith to find someone other than RB Jamaal Charles (more yards from scrimmage and touchdowns this season than any three Chiefs combined).

Dolphins over Bills: The Dolphins are coming off of their bye week, and despite being on a two-game losing streak, they’re one of only six AFC teams with winning records headed into Week 7. The 2013 Bills haven’t been blown out yet, so I guess that counts as progress for new head coach Doug Marrone. Chan Gailey’s Bills (2010-2012) lost 13 games by at least 20 points. I continue to appreciate Buffalo’s league-leading rushing attempts, but QB Thad Lewis will be on the road against a rested, aggressive defense. You would think the Dolphins would run the ball to protect QB Ryan Tannehill this week.

Bears over Redskins: I gave the Redskins a C+ passing offense grade before the season started, despite QB Robert Griffin III’s supreme efficiency. I just felt like there was a lack of upside there considering the Washington receiver corps. Well, Griffin’s volume has increased, but his efficiency has nosedived, going from a 102.4 passer rating as a rookie to 80.4 through five games. On the flipside, Chicago QB Jay Cutler was intercepted four times in the second half by Washington CB DeAngelo Hall in 2010, including a pick-six that put Washington up for good. Cutler will be throwing to WRs Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery instead of Devin Hester and Johnny Knox – he’ll be better against Washington’s struggling secondary.

49ers over Titans: Apparently, Titans QB Jake Locker will be back after only three weeks to recover from a hip injury. He’ll be handing off to RB Chris Johnson, who went for 135 rushing yards and two TDs in a 2009 win at San Francisco. Johnson is averaging only 3.1 yards per carry this season while looking for his first rushing touchdown despite 106 carries, sixth-most in the league. 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick might want to show Tennessee what they missed out on the 2011 NFL Draft, but he just needs to hold on to the football against an aggressive defense. The 49ers are undefeated when Kaepernick doesn’t turn the ball over.

Packers over Browns: I have underestimated the Green Bay rushing attack (fifth in the NFL?? 5.4 yards per attempt?!). Cleveland is allowing only 3.5 yards per carry, but they have allowed an NFL-high eight rushing TDs already. The Packers are missing at least WR Randall Cobb, and Browns CB Joe Haden might lock up Packers WR Jordy Nelson. But the Cleveland offense doesn’t have a reliable passer or runner, which cost them against the Lions last week. I’ll be surprised if the Packers lose a second-half lead at home.

Ravens over Steelers: This has to be the least anticipated matchup between these two teams since 1999, the last time both missed the postseason. I’m shocked that the Ravens are averaging less than three yards per carry. I’m not expecting big things out of Baltimore’s offense going into Heinz Field. On the other hand, the Baltimore defense is probably going to bring something serious to Pittsburgh’s raggedy trenches. Pittsburgh’s offensive line versus Ravens OLBs Terrell Suggs and Elvis Dumervil is an unavoidable mismatch, especially if Pittsburgh can’t stress the Baltimore run defense.

Vikings over Giants: Speaking of poorly anticipated matchups, the Giants are serving turnovers on a weekly basis while the Vikings are about to start their third quarterback of the season, Josh Freeman.  I believe Vikings RB Adrian Peterson can help out Freeman in his first start since Week 3, when Freeman was wearing Buccaneers colors. The teams have combined for a 1-11 record, which is one of the worst Monday Night Football matchups ever. Of course, the last time these two teams were on Monday Night Football, the game had to be played at Detroit’s Ford Field because of this:

That will represent the season of this game’s loser. Hopefully, it won’t represent the football game too. I doubt it will – neither defense is good enough to keep points off the board!


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