The month of October is coming to a close and there have been plenty of surprises so far, like the unbeaten Denver broncos and the inability of the Tennessee Titans to muster a solid defensive unit. Here are the NFL Predictions for Week 7, along with five can’t miss games for any NFL fan.
Minnesota Vikings at Pittsburgh Steelers
This game features one of the top offenses in the NFC versus one of the best defenses in the AFC. The Steelers defense will need to split their focus when it comes to the Vikings offense. They have held opponents to 74.5 rushing yards per game, while the Vikings have gained 125 yards per game on the ground.
The unit will receive a big boost in containing Adrian Peterson if safety Troy Polamalu is able to return to the field.
The key for the Minnesota Vikings will be the performance of their front seven against the line of the Steelers. While the Vikings Jerod Allen is having a stellar season, with 7.5 sacks and 3 forced fumbles, he will have to content with Ben Roethlisberger, who will be harder to bring down than other quarterbacks who he has faced.
If Allen is able to command a double team for the majority of the plays, this should free up his teammates to cause havoc for the Steelers.
The fact that the game will be played in Pittsburgh will give the Steelers the edge that they need in this brawl. The Steelers will win the close one and improve upon their 3-0 home record for 2009.
Prediction Pittsburgh 21 Minnesota 17
Chicago Bears at Cincinnati Bengals
The Bears expected better against the Falcons coming off a bye week. Instead they watched as Matt Forte fumbled the ball twice and Jay Cutler throwing an interception in the red zone. They key to their success this week will be how well they remain effective on their third downs and the ability to protect the ball.
This will be a reality test for the Bengals who will be playing without their leading sack leader, Antwan Odom, who had recorded 8 sacks through six games. Overall the Bengals have an average defense that has been aided by the emergence of Odom and their rookie stud, Rey Maualuga. Now the unit will need to band together and find a way to keep pressure on Cutler and the Bears to keep their timing off.
While he says it is another game, the Bengals’ running back Cedric Benson is going to look to run loose on the Bears defense. Benson will blow past the 88 yards per game they gave up and help carry the Bengals to their fifth win of the season.
Prediction Cincinnati 21 Chicago 17
New Orleans Saints at Miami Dolphins
When it comes to explosive offenses, the Saints and the Dolphins have been on fire in recent weeks. Saints quarterback Drew Brees once more lit up the scored board last week with 369 yards and 4 touchdowns. The Saints, who shut down a potent pass rush from the Giants, should have an easier time this week.
While the Wildcat has been effective during the past two games, the Dolphins will be facing a Saints defense that has been confusing their opposition with blitzes. If the Saints can pressure the Dolphins inexperienced quarterback Chad Henne, it will be a long game.
In the end, the Saints pass offense will be too much against a questionable Dolphins secondary. The Saints will win this game by at least two scores and will have it sewn up by the third quarter.
Prediction New Orleans 34 Miami 24
Atlanta Falcons at Dallas Cowboys
Both the Falcons and Cowboys are chasing division leaders and can not afford to give up any ground in the race for the division title. Though the Cowboys won before the bye week, there are several questions surrounding the team after they barely squeaked out a win from the Chiefs. Though Tony Romo has been average at best at the quarterback position, the running game has garnered them 161 yards per game on the ground.
A big concern going into the season was how effective the Falcons defense would be. The unit has answered critics by giving up the fourth lowest point total per game, 15.4 points per game. While the defense has been susceptible to the run, they have made up for it when forcing turnovers.
While the Falcons have some trouble playing away from the dome, the new Cowboy stadium should not be much of a disadvantage for them. Ryan will continue to elevate his game and help the Falcons keep pace with the Saints with a win.
Prediction Atlanta 27 Dallas 24
Arizona Cardinals at New York Giants
When the game was scheduled between the Cardinals and the Giants, no one thought the Cardinals would be entering this contest with a better overall unit. The Cardinals have allowed less points and rushing yards than the Giants through the first six weeks of the season.
The Cardinals still have yet to find a running game, gaining only 57.6 yards per game. Their leading rusher, Tim Hightower, has amassed 158 yards in five games, averaging 3.1 yards per carry. If they can not break through the front seven of the Giants, the Cardinals receivers will have a hard time finding open space in the secondary.
The Saints and Drew Brees exposed the Giants secondary and were able to render their pass rush ineffective. While the odds say this will be hard for the Cardinals to repeat, the presence of Kurt Warner behind center will help make things easier.
While both defenses will give up some big plays in the game, fans should expect to see at least one defensive touchdown. In the end, the Cardinals will come away with a win under the leadership of Warner.
Prediction New York 28 Arizona 20
The Rest of the Predictions
New England Patriots at TampaBay Buccaneers
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have to be wondering if Mother Nature can not stop the New England Patriots; how they are supposed to keep it close to they can earn a win. Despite the jet lag, the Patriots should coast over the Bucs by two touchdowns.
Indianapolis Colts at St. Louis Rams
This is another game where we have the NFL elite versus a team stuck in rebuilding mode. The Colts will not fall victim by playing down to their opponents thanks to Peyton Manning as they earn their sixth victory of the season.
San Diego Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs
This game will be a true test to the type of coach Norv Turner is for the Chargers. He will keep the team focused and hungry against an inferior Chiefs team and they will earn a victory and keep hope alive for a wildcard spot.
San Francisco 49ers at Houston Texans
The Texans have a pattern of winning every other week during the 2009 season. Look for the Texans to buck the trend and earn a home win against the 49ers.
Green Bay Packers at Cleveland Browns
The Packers defense just got started against the Lions and will now feast on the Browns. While the score may be close, Rodgers will have a big day as the Pack earn another win.
New York Jets at Oakland Raiders
The wheels have come off for the Jets and will find it hard to put them back on against a solid Raiders defense. The only question is can the Jets score more than two touchdowns in this game? The Raiders will win another nail biter.
Buffalo Bills at Carolina Panthers
The Bills have to be worried that the Panthers running game finally reappeared last week, especially when they give up 181 yards per game. The Panthers will even their record with a win at home this week.
Philadelphia Eagles at Washington Redskins
The Eagles were embarrassed last week and should come out ready to tear into the Redskins who are floundering way the season. Expect the Eagles to dominate on both sides of the ball in the game.
Year to Date 37 – 18