NFL Picks Week 7: Predicting Most Significant Division Clashes

Maxwell OgdenCorrespondent IIIOctober 17, 2013

PITTSBURGH, PA - JANUARY 15:  Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger #7 of the Pittsburgh Steelers speaks with quarterback Joe Flacco #5 of the Baltimore Ravens following the AFC Divisional Playoff Game at Heinz Field on January 15, 2011 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Steelers defeated the Ravens 31-24.  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Nick Laham/Getty Images

Week 7 of the 2013 NFL regular season commenced on Thursday, Oct. 17, as the Arizona Cardinals and Seattle Seahawks met in a high-stakes division clash. That marked the first of many games between rivals, with a select few having a significant impact on the postseason picture.

The question is, how will the most high-stakes division meetings transpire?

DateRoad TeamPredictionHome Team
Thursday, Oct. 17Seattle Seahawks24-16Arizona Cardinals
Sunday, Oct. 20Cincinnati Bengals34-31Detroit Lions
Sunday, Oct. 20Tampa Bay Buccaneers17-27Atlanta Falcons
Sunday, Oct. 20Buffalo Bills16-24Miami Dolphins
Sunday, Oct. 20New England Patriots28-19New York Jets
Sunday, Oct. 20Dallas Cowboys35-31Philadelphia Eagles
Sunday, Oct. 20Chicago Bears33-30Washington Redskins
Sunday, Oct. 20St. Louis Rams20-23Carolina Panthers
Sunday, Oct. 20San Diego Chargers27-16Jacksonville Jaguars
Sunday, Oct. 20San Francisco 49ers28-13Tennessee Titans
Sunday, Oct. 20Cleveland Browns20-31Green Bay Packers
Sunday, Oct. 20Houston Texans17-20Kansas City Chiefs
Sunday, Oct. 20Baltimore Ravens24-28Pittsburgh Steelers
Sunday, Oct. 20Denver Broncos34-27Indianapolis Colts
Monday, Oct. 21Minnesota Vikings23-34New York Giants
Week 6: 13-2, Season: 59-33

 

New England Patriots (5-1) at New York Jets (3-3)

FOXBORO, MA - SEPTEMBER 12:  Quarterback Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots reacts after an incomplete pass in the second quarter while taking on the New York Jets at Gillette Stadium on September 12, 2013 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Jim
Jim Rogash/Getty Images

Date: Sunday, Oct. 20

Time: 1:00 p.m. ET

TV: CBS

Prediction: 28-19, Patriots

Entering Week 7, the New England Patriots lead the New York Jets by two games in the AFC East. New England is coming off of an improbable comeback victory over the New Orleans Saints, while New York's offense fell apart during a Week 6 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Seeing as New York is 2-1 at home and New England is 2-1 on the road, we're in store for a highly competitive meeting between rivals.

The Patriots seemed to have lost to the Saints, but before the clock could expire, New Orleans began prematurely celebrating and gave New England one final possession that shouldn't have been. As he often does, Tom Brady made the Saints pay by throwing a 17-yard touchdown pass to Kenbrell Thompkins with 0:05 remaining.

If New England is 5-1 and struggling, the league should be wary of what it will look like in postseason form.

Just one week after securing a huge win over the Atlanta Falcons, the Jets fell 19-6 to the Steelers. New York's defense continued to play well, but Geno Smith had two interceptions, and no Jets running back amassed more than 30 yards.

The Jets offense seems to come to life every other week, and that could spell trouble for the Patriots.

This will be the second meeting of the season between these two sides after New England survived 13-10 during Week 2. This time around, look for the offenses to produce at a higher level and Brady to use the momentum from Week 6 to build further success.

With or without Rob Gronkowski, when it comes down to Brady and Smith, it's not hard to determine which player should be trusted to win.

 

Dallas Cowboys (3-3) at Philadelphia Eagles (3-3)

ARLINGTON, TX - DECEMBER 02:  Dez Bryant #88 of the Dallas Cowboys scores a touchdown against  Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie #23 of the Philadelphia Eagles at Cowboys Stadium on December 2, 2012 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Date: Sunday, Oct. 20

Time: 1:00 p.m. ET

TV: FOX

Prediction: 35-31, Cowboys

The Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles are currently tied at the top of the NFC East. During Week 7, the two will meet in a clash that will determine which team controls the future of the NFL's most underwhelming division.

Expect this one to be determined by which team's defense can actually make a stop.

Dallas enters this game with a red-hot Tony Romo, who's thrown for 1,693 yards, 14 touchdowns and three interceptions. Both Dez Bryant and Jason Witten have already topped 30 receptions, while Terrance Williams has been a pleasant surprise with touchdowns in consecutive games.

Unfortunately, Dallas will have to win this game without leading rusher DeMarco Murray and defensive superstar DeMarcus Ware.

Philadelphia is the perfect team to expose those absences.

The Eagles have the No. 1 rushing offense and the No. 9 passing offense through six weeks, with both Nick Foles and Michael Vick posting star-caliber performances at quarterback. LeSean McCoy leads the league with 630 rushing yards, and Connor Barwin has led a strong pass rush.

With two straight wins, there's genuine reason to believe in Philadelphia's ability to win this game.

The key will be quarterback play, as Romo goes toe-to-toe with Foles in what should be a high-scoring battle. Dallas may be without an established running back, but Bryant and Witten should have no trouble torching the NFL's No. 31 pass defense.

It'll be one of the most entertaining games of the week, and in the end, Dallas will take a huge road win.

 

Baltimore Ravens (3-3) at Pittsburgh Steelers (1-4)

BALTIMORE, MD - DECEMBER 02: Running back Isaac Redman #33 of the Pittsburgh Steelers is pulled down by a pack of Baltimore Ravens defenders in the third quarter at M&T Bank Stadium on December 2, 2012 in Baltimore, Maryland. The Pittsburgh Steelers won,
Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Date: Sunday, Oct. 20

Time: 4:25 p.m. ET

TV: CBS

Prediction: 28-24, Steelers

The Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers have one of the most physical, ferocious and powerful rivalries in the NFL. Both teams have won multiple Super Bowls since the turn of the century, and each are within a reasonable distance of the AFC North lead in 2013.

The outcome of this game will go a long way toward determining the trajectory of the Ravens' and Steelers' respective seasons.

The Ravens enter this rivalry game at 3-3 after falling 19-17 to the Green Bay Packers during Week 6. It was another poor offensive output, as Joe Flacco has season totals of seven touchdowns to eight interceptions, while Ray Rice has just 197 rushing yards through five appearances.

Fortunately for the struggling offensive line, the Ravens haven't allowed more than 23 points since Week 1.

In the only two games that Pittsburgh has topped 20 points, the defense has allowed an average of 37.0. Those two games proved to be anomalies in more sense than one, as Pittsburgh is averaging 12.7 points scored and 14.0 points allowed in the three other contests.

With a 19-6 victory during Week 6, the Steelers earned an urgent victory to move to 1-4 and thus began to right the ship.

This game will be played in Pittsburgh, where Baltimore has won three of the past four affairs. Those numbers should be fresh in the Steelers' minds, and that will lead to rookie Le'Veon Bell helping to pace the offense to a much-needed victory over their bitter rivals.

It'll be close, and likely ugly, but it'll be a win for Pittsburgh.