NFL Preview: Week 7
Written by Chad Flannery on October 21, 2017
Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Buffalo Bills
The Bills have been a surprising team so far this year. After trading away wide receiver Sammy Watkins and cornerback Ronald Darby, many thought that Buffalo was readying themselves for a high draft pick in 2018; it has been the exact opposite. The defense of the Bills has been resurrected under new coach Sean McDermott, and running back LeSean McCoy has been able to take enough pressure off of quarterback Tyrod Taylor, who many believed the Bills had given up on. The running attack of McCoy allows Taylor to make easy throws to his receivers out of play-action. Their current formula has lead them to a 3-2 record that include wins over the Denver Broncos and Atlanta Falcons. For the Buccaneers, there is one big question mark: Jameis Winston. After spraining his AC joint in his throwing shoulder last week against the Arizona Cardinals, Winston is questionable to play this week. Head coach Dirk Koetter said he will play against the Bills, but the question is, how healthy is he? The Buccaneers defense is also having its share of struggles which leads me to believe that the Bills will take this one.
Prediction: Bills 24, Buccaneers 16
Arizona Cardinals @ Los Angeles Rams
After being cut by the Minnesota Vikings, running back Adrian Peterson signed with the New Orleans Saints. During his four-game tenure, Peterson seemed to be the third running back, which lead many people to believe he may not have much left in the tank. Well, they are wrong. The Cardinals, who have been desperate for an answer to the running game since David Johnson was injured Week 1, found it when they traded for Peterson. He went on a rampage last week, rushing for 134 yards and two touchdowns in a 38-33 victory over the Buccaneers. This Cardinals offense looks completely different with a true running threat in the backfield. It will be interesting how Peterson runs on Sunday against a potent Rams defense. Speaking of the Rams, the offense is off to a phenomenal start under new head coach Sean McVay. Quarterback Jared Goff looks completely different in his sophomore year, and running back Todd Gurley has bounced back from last year. Last year, Goff and Gurley had no time to work behind the offensive line. In free agency, the Rams added stud tackle Andrew Whitworth, who has seemed to make a huge difference. The question for the Rams is if the O-line can hold up against the Cardinals front seven. This will be an interesting game to watch.
Prediction: Rams 31, Cardinals 27
Cincinnati Bengals @ Pittsburgh Steelers
After slaying the NFL’s last unbeaten team, the Steelers are looking to ride the momentum into this divisional game. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger needs to get back on track and cannot continue to rely on the ball bouncing in his favor like it did last week (literally). Running back Le’Veon Bell needs to continue to run the ball like he did last week when he ran for 179 yards. If he does, that will hopefully open up the passing game. The Bengals opened up the year losing three straight games but have won their last two. A big factor in their recent success has been relying heavily on wide receiver A.J. Green to produce catches and touchdowns. The Bengals defense is at its peak since linebacker Vontaze Burfict returned from his suspension, so they should be able to contain the Steelers offense. But if the Steelers can lock down Green, the Bengals will be in trouble offensively.
Prediction: Steelers 20, Bengals 13
Atlanta Falcons @ New England Patriots
This is one of the most anticipated football games of the year – the Super Bowl rematch. Will Atlanta be able to redeem themselves or will New England prevail yet again? Both teams are playing at subpar levels so far this year. New England is 4-2, but their defense is worse than last year’s squad and the offense does not truly seem to be on the same page. However, anything is possible with Tom Brady as your quarterback. Atlanta is coming off back-to-back losses to Buffalo and Miami, which puts them at 3-2 on the season (they already had their bye). Matt Ryan seems like a shell of his MVP-form, and although the defense is still playing well, they cannot put up enough points to win. Both teams are still likely to make the playoffs in their respective conferences, but if they do not pick it up, they will not make it far. This game will definitely be a good one, it is a coin flip as to who wins this one.
Prediction: Falcons 24, Patriots 23
Philadelphia Eagles @ Washington Redskins
The Eagles are in first place in the NFC East with the Redskins trailing them by a game and a half. This game could very well change the course of the division race. The Eagles are red hot and are having one of the best starts to a season that they have had in recent years. Quarterback Carson Wentz finally has weapons to throw to and a solid running game to back him up; they will definitely put points on the board, especially with Redskins corner Josh Norman out with a fractured rib. Also, most knew right out of the gate that the defense had the potential to be special, and now, they are becoming an unstoppable force. The Eagles have only allowed over 35 rushing yards once this season. Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins will have his work cut out for him on Monday night, especially if the Eagles defense constantly pressures him like they did Week 1. It will be interesting to see how well he fares this time around. The Redskins are sending out a hobbled defense, and I believe Wentz will be able to take advantage of it.
Prediction: Eagles 34, Redskins 24