Punt, Pass and Pick: Week 7
Jon: I was doing good last week, up until the point that the Cleveland Browns had to step on the football field.
I was cocky and decided to pick the Browns vs. Lions game, and of course was horribly wrong. Thankfully, my weekend wasn’t nearly as bad as Brandon Weeden’s (by now I’m sure you’ve seen his sidearm “pass”).
Still, coming out of Week 6 with a 4-1 record and a tie isn’t too shabby. This week I’m welcoming former Towerlight Sports Editor and Editor-in-Chief Kiel McLaughlin into my circle of pain.
Or at least as much pain as a Browns fan can bring.
Kiel: Has it really been more than four years since I last participated in Punt, Pass and Pick? As a former sports editor, I always took pleasure in picking against the Skins and the Eagles just to make their fans upset. Now, I’m focused on knocking off this new kid and sending him back to the office hanging his head.
Cincinnati +2.5 at Detroit
Jon: After pulling against my pseudo-favorite team last week, I got burned. So I’m back on Detroit’s bandwagon this week, especially if the Browns are to have any hopes of staying in the AFC North.
The Bengals barely escaped with a win against the Buffalo Bills, who had Thad Lewis playing at quarterback. I don’t think they’ll be as lucky this week against the Lions who have the No. 6 passing offense in the NFL, and in the five games that running back Reggie Bush has played, he’s had at least 69 total yards and averaged 11.4 yards on five catches against a great Cleveland defense.
The Bengals are good, but they’re not good enough to air the ball at the rate they need to keep up with Calvin Johnson and Bush.
Lions 30, Bengals 24
Kiel: Megatron hasn’t been himself this season with a sore knee. With a chance to really take hold of the AFC North, I don’t see the Bengals bungling this one away, even if they do have to take their stripes to Motown on Sunday. Andy Dalton is one of the most underrated quarterbacks in the league and A.J. Green is the most dangerous offensive threat in the stadium.
San Francisco -4.5 at Tennessee
Jon: This game could turn out to be sleepy good in an otherwise pretty boring week for NFL football. In the three losses the Titans have this year, they have lost by an average of just over seven points.
Their first loss of the season against the Houston Texans was in overtime, and if Ryan Fitzpatrick had just protected the ball better at the end of the game, Tennessee could have upset the Seattle Seahawks last week.
Running back Chris Johnson has had a solid season thus far, rushing for 327 yards in six games and gaining 96 additional yards on 11 catches. San Francisco has allowed six touchdowns to opposing running backs, and have the 19th ranked defense in the league. That will be compounded by the injury to nose tackle Glenn Dorsey that occurred on Sunday, giving Johnson the opportunity to have a huge day.
Titans 27, 49ers 20
Kiel: The Niners demise was greatly exaggerated after Colin Kaepernick looked helpless against both the Seahawks and the Colts. A pair of confidence building beatdowns of the hapless Rams and floundering Texans was followed by a decisive win against an underrated Cardinals squad. The Titans will struggle to score and the Niners will break 30 points for the fourth straight week in an easy cover.
Denver -6 at Indianapolis
Jon: It’s about that time of the season when the undefeated teams start to slow down and finally come back to earth.
This is especially true for Denver, who somehow struggled against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
I’m writing this before Monday night’s game, so I’m not sure how the Colts did against the Chargers, but heading into Monday night, they were fifth in the league against the pass.
Peyton Manning threw for 295 yards and two touchdowns against the Jags, so all hope is not lost for the 60-touchdown season for Manning.
This game will be closer than six points, but Denver should feature Ronnie Hillman and Knowshon Moreno more against the Colts, who are third to last in the league in run defense, allowing them to control the clock, and the game.
Broncos 34, Colts 30
Kiel: There aren’t any statistics to back up this pick, but I’m taking the Colts to win outright and snap the Broncos undefeated season. Mercury Morris should get ready to send Andrew Luck a gift basket. There is something special about the Colts’ young signal caller. While the pregame story will be all about Peyton sticking it to Irsay, I expect everyone will be talking about Luck Monday morning.
Seattle -6 at Arizona
Jon: Like the San Fran vs. Tennessee game, I think this one will be much closer than the spread indicates.
The Cardinals played the 49ers in Week 6 very well up until the fourth quarter, and wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald had his best game of the season, which is great news for Arizona’s offense.
Arizona is 2-0 at home this season, and in the last game they played at home, Week 5 against the Carolina Panthers, it forced Cam Newton to throw three picks and held the Panthers to nine points.
In two games against Arizona last year, Seattle’s quarterback Russell Wilson turned the ball over twice, and was held to 2.9 yards per carry on the ground while getting sacked four times.
Seattle keeps this one close, but in a NFC West battle, anything can happen, and this is the perfect time for Arizona to pull an upset.
Cardinals 24, Seahawks 21
Kiel: The Arizona offense isn’t exciting and will struggle on Sunday, but don’t gloss over the fact that the Cards have one of the best run defenses in the league and will be able to neutralize Seattle’s greatest weapon. Russell Wilson will be forced to win this game and the wily Carson Palmer will manage the clock in what will be a low-scoring game. Six points is a lot to give in a game that likely won’t get out of the teens. I’ll take the Cards with the points.
Baltimore +2 at Pittsburgh Steelers
Jon: I don’t get this one at all. Yeah Baltimore’s offense is pretty bad, but the Steelers just won their first game of the season, so even though they’re at home, Baltimore shouldn’t be the one getting points in this one.
Even though Pittsburgh beat the New York Jets on Sunday, running back Le’Veon Bell carried the ball 16 times but only picked up 34 yards, and Ben Roethlisberger only mustered one touchdown against the Jets, who had allowed nine touchdowns to opposing quarterbacks prior to that game.
By no means will this be a good game, it’ll be ugly, but the Ravens will win handily against the struggling Steelers. God I hate to say that.
Ravens 14, Steelers 10
Kiel: The Ravens aren’t very good this season, but the Steelers are awful. The Pittsburgh run defense is so bad that it may actually be able to breath life into Ray Rice’s abysmal season. If the Ravens have any playoff aspirations remaining, they need this game. The fact that it’s their top rivals is secondary to saving their season and falling below .500.