By Mike Crum
Dallas Cowboys Team Analyst and Co-Host of the Across The Cowboys Podcast
A 9-5 record in week six leaves me at 57-33 overall. I can’t complain too much, but I’m looking for another 12-3 type week again in week seven.
New York Giants (NYG) at Philadelphia Eagles (PHI)
The Giants are a bad team, the Eagles are a team playing badly. That’s a big difference. The Eagles are injured everywhere on the offensive side of the football, but the Giants aren’t equipped defensively to take advantage of it. I’ll take the Eagles defense to shutdown a healthy Giants offense more than I will a Giants defense to stop an injured Eagles offense. The Eagles get the short week home game as well. Eagles by two scores or more.
Carolina Panthers (CAR) at New Orleans Saints (NO)
The Panthers have played over their heads all year, winning even after Christian McCaffrey landed on the IR. The Saints are a great roster, they are coming off a bye, and they are at home. I love how the Panthers have played, but I can’t pick them in this game.
Buffalo Bills (BUF) at New York Jets (NYJ)
Look, I’d love to give a thorough breakdown of every game, but let’s be real, we all know that none of us are picking the Jets. Bills win easily.
Cleveland Browns (CLE) at Cincinnati Bengals (CIN)
The Browns have trouble when they play against top teams because Baker Mayfield hasn’t played well enough. However, the Browns are very dangerous in contests where the game plan can hide Baker behind a great running game and play action. I believe the Bengals are the type of opponent that the Browns should be able to handle in that way. The Browns bounce back and get the win.
Dallas Cowboys (DAL) at Washington Football Team (WFT)
This game is brutal to pick. The Cowboys are coming off an embarrassing performance at home against the Arizona Cardinals. I would typically pick them to bounce back, especially against a team as bad as a Washington. The problem is the matchup. Washington is terrible on offense, but so are the Giants and they were able to put up 27 points against this Cowboys defense. I don’t think it’s a stretch to expect Washington to put up 20. Normally that would be fine as the Cowboys have enough at the skills positions to top that. Unfortunately, in this matchup we have a Dallas offensive line that is decimated by injury going up against a Washington defensive line that has studs at every spot. We just saw a very average Cardinals defense hold the Cowboys to a mere 10 points, so what will Washington's juggernaut defensive line do? I really hope the Cowboys can bounce back after being trounced on Monday Night Football. That would say a lot about their character. Reluctantly, I’m going to pick them to win by a score of 17-13.
Green Bay Packers (GB) at Houston Texans (HOU)
The Packers got beat down in Tampa Bay last week, and unlike my Cowboys, I definitely expect them to bounce back from it. I loved that Houston went for the win last week in Tennessee; I said that Deshaun Watson would make that a game. I think he will give his team a chance once again, but Green Bay will be too much for them. The Packers get up early and hold on late to get a tough road victory.
Detroit Lions (DET) at Atlanta Falcons (ATL)
This game is no fun to pick. How can you trust either of these teams? The Falcons finally won a game last week with their new head coach lead by an explosive offense, but it was against the struggling Vikings. The Lions did no better. They celebrated coming off their bye week by handling the Jacksonville Jaguars. Flip a coin here. I don’t like either team and I don’t trust either team. So, I’ll pick the home team with the more explosive offense.
Pittsburgh Steelers (PIT) at Tennessee Titans (TEN)
This is unquestionably the game of the week. The rushing attack that is lead by the mutant that is Derrick Henry up against the stellar Steelers run defense. The Titans are also down starting offensive tackle, Taylor Lewan. Can Ryan Tannehill play as well as he has if their run game isn’t there for that offense to lean on? Can I pick them to win if I’m not sure he can? I honestly trust the Steelers offense more with Ben Roethlisberger than I do the Titans if they have to solely rely on Tannehill. The Steelers just annihilated the Browns, a team that also relies heavily on the run game. Now, I expect Tannehill to be better than Baker, but not enough to win. The Texans gave the Titans an overtime battle, and I expect a better Steelers team to beat them outright.
Kansas City Chiefs (KC) at Denver Broncos (DEN)
The word is this is gonna be a snow game, the first of Patrick Mahomes' career. I’m not worried about that enough to pick the Broncos to beat the Chiefs though. Kansas City is just a much better team than Denver, and snow isn’t gonna change that. I’m taking the Chiefs by a couple scores.
Jacksonville Jaguars (JAX) at Los Angeles Chargers (LAC)
Yes, the east coast team has to travel across the country. Yes, the Chargers are coming off a bye week, and both are good reasons to pick the Chargers. Let’s be honest though, I’d pick the Chargers to win at Jacksonville even if the Jaguars were coming off their bye. The Chargers are gonna beat down the Jaguars. Lock of the week pick-type stuff here, if you’re tired of picking whomever is facing the Jets.
San Francisco 49ers (SF) at New England Patriots (NE)
I did not expect the Broncos to go into New England and beat the Patriots with a young QB like Drew Lock. Before I saw that, I had this as an easy win for the Patriots. Now I see an excellent, well-coached team like the 49ers going in and I think can they shut down the Patriots as well. Games like this make me go back to my principals. The 49ers have to go across the country. The 49ers have the QB that Bill Belichick knows more about than anybody. The Patriots are gonna be coming in off a surprising loss. With all those factors, I’m taking NE at home.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (TB) at Las Vegas Raiders (LVR)
This was a fun game to pick. On paper, Tampa Bay is the easy selection. But as I dove further into these teams and this matchup, maybe it isn’t so simple. First, the obvious advantages: the Raiders are coming off their bye week, and Tampa has to travel a long way to Las Vegas. Looking with a closer eye still, both teams are also coming off big wins. The Bucs lit up Green Bay last week, and the Raiders shocked Kansas City. However, both teams have been inconsistent this year and could easily pull a no-show. I’m taking the upset here. I know it’s a risk, but the aforementioned factors - the bye week and travel situations - are going to play a massive role in determining the outcome of this contest. Plus, I just believe that Derek Carr and the Raider's offense is just better than the Bucs' offense so far this year. I’m staying with my system and my hunch. The Raiders steal this one from Tom Brady and the Buccaneers.
Seattle Seahawks (SEA) at Arizona Cardinals (ARZ)
I’m not gonna fall victim to recency bias. The Cardinals have a lot of problems that were hidden by the fact they were facing a hapless Cowboys team. Russell Wilson will pick apart this Cardinals defense if they try to blitz to get pressure like they did to attack Andy Dalton. If they don’t blitz, how will they be able to generate any pressure on Wilson, especially without Chandler Jones? The Seahawks defense is bad, but it's not Cowboys-bad. And, the Seahawks will get some stops if Kyler Murray plays like he did last week. I’m taking the Seahawks in a shootout, but not a really close game.
Chicago Bears (CHI) at LosAngeles Rams (LAR)
Another coin flip game between two teams I don’t trust at all. The lack of trust comes from a total absence of any faith whatsoever in either team's QB. Nick Foles spends most of the game hoping to fast forward to a close game in the fourth quarter, where admittedly he steps up and wins games. The other is carried like a child by his brilliant head coach and good skill guys on his offense. These teams have two distinct differences, while the Bears have a defense that’s able to win games to go along with a QB that will let the rest of the team win the game for him. Jared Goff doesn’t have that type of mentality. He will attempt to make plays to win the game, and allow the Bears defense a chance to make more plays as well. I’ll take Foles to not lose the game, and the Bears to win a close, 24-20 type game.
That’s it guys. Now it’s your turn. Am I crazy for picking the Raiders over the Bucs? Should I give up on my Cowboys, even against the lowly Football Team? Let me know what you think!
Week Seven Pick Summary:
PHI over NYG
NO over CAR
BUF over NYJ
CLE over CIN
DAL over WAS
GB over HOU
ATL over DET
PIT over TEN
KC over DEN
LAC over JAX
NE over SF
LVR over TB
SEA over ARI
CHI over LAR
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