Necessary Roughness, Week 7 Preview: Giants/Cowboys, Seahawks/49ers, Jets/Patriots and More!
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Good Thursday, errbody! Welcome to the very first weekly PREVIEW of NFL action. We’ve decided to shift gears a little bit with the Necessary Roughness column because, quite frankly, I’m tired of recapping games that already happened. That’s what SportsCenter is for, right?!?! It’s time to lay my reputation as an amateur (professional) prognosticator (bullshit artist) on the line and start speculatin’ on what’s to come. There’s a few interesting games this week — including a couple important divisional matchups — that have my unibrow perked with excitement.
Week 7 kicks off tonight in the Bay Area with Seattle visiting the 49ers. In the last couple years, this would have been a contest between two NFC powerhouses. This year, not so much. Both teams are sitting at 2-4 which for Seattle is mind-boggling. They look great at times but just can’t seem to finish games. Losing 4th quarter leads is not a great sign for a team that has hopes of returning to a third straight Super Bowl.
As for San Fran, they have looked like a hot mess for most of the season but I feel like they’ve built some confidence over the last couple weeks with Colin Kaepernick playing much better at quarterback, and finally being able to drive the ball downfield and score some points. I’m still giving a slight edge to Seattle in this game, but it could be a close one. The Seahawks absolutely need to win this game if they want to turn their season around. Expectations aren’t as high for the Niners, but you can bet they would love nothing more than to shred a team that has had their number the last couple seasons.
When it’s all said and done, I expect a bounce-back performance from Seattle, and I think they win by a touchdown. Look for the Seattle secondary, who failed miserably late in the game against Carolina, to be on Anquan Boldin and Torrey Smith like the stink on shit.
A couple other interesting games:
Jets/Patriots: Nobody is legitimately thinking that the Jets can roll into Gillette and steal a win, but I’m not sure it’s as much of a slam dunk as folks think. The Jets are 4-1, and it’s looking like Geno Smith’s broken jaw might be the best thing that happened to this team. Ryan Fitzpatrick has been running the offense beyond expectation. Brandon Marshall, when not fumbling, has been throwing up big numbers, and Chris Ivory has been a monster the last couple games, running for over 300 yards combined in that time span. And remember, the Pats do struggle with their run defense, allowing 114 ground yards per game.
The problem for the Jets, however, will be keeping New England out of the end zone. I know it’s par for the course, but the Patriots’ offense has just been unstoppable, and I’m not sure the Jets have the ability to keep them in check for four quarters. Darrelle Revis will no doubt be fired up to play against his former team, but there’s only so much impact he can have on the game, especially if Brady just chooses not to throw passes into Revis’ neighborhood. The Patriots have won seven of the last eight against the Jets, and they will win this game, but I think NYJ puts up a fight and proves to be worthy of consideration as an elite team in the AFC.
Vikings/Lions: Neither team is a threat to take the division from Green Bay, but both are riding high after big wins in week six. Last week Detroit finally put a positive integer in the win column with an overtime victory over the Bears, and the Vikings took down the woefully bad Chiefs. Minnesota is quietly sitting in 2nd place in the North with a 3-2 record, and Teddy Bridgewater is proving to be a solid quarterback thus far in his young career. Something tells me that the Lions take this game, though. They are at home, and while their offense has been a disaster for much of the season they did seem to get it going a little bit last week with Matthew Stafford throwing for over 400 yards and 4 TDs. If they can avoid turning the ball over I think they get some revenge from week two and win their second game of the year.
Finally, this Cowboys/Giants game could be a doozy. I love this rivalry. The Cowboys won in Week 1, but they shouldn’t have. The Giants gave it to them. This time is a little different.
Dallas is banged up and they are just not good when Tony Romo isn’t under center. Dez Bryant MAY be back this week, but I don’t expect him to be much of a factor. Matt Cassel will be at the helm, and while he may be an improvement over Brandon Weeden he has no proven chemistry with the Cowboys’ star receiver, who clearly won’t be at 100% even if he does play.
The Giants on the other hand just played one of the most painfully awful games I’ve seen in a good long while. Tom Coughlin’s facial expression was one of anguish and frustration for the entire game against Philly and I was fully expecting him to just retire at the post-game press conference. This game could be a snooze fest in terms of highlights, but it’ll be a close one. Neither team has the ability to blow anybody out. I expect the Giants to redeem themselves and squeak out a victory.
I’ve already provided my fantasy picks for this week and I’ll stick to them:
- LeSean McCoy, RB, Buffalo Bills. Coming back from injury, McCoy looked great against the Bengals. He ran for a robust 90 yards on 17 carries and had a TD. I would expect another good week next week against a struggling Jacksonville defense.
- Gary Barnidge, TE, Cleveland Browns ($4,900). Yes, I’m picking him again. Dude had 2 TDs against the league’s best defense yesterday. Cleveland is in St. Louis this week, and I expect Barnidge to be targeted by McCown early and often.
- Cam Newton, QB, Carolina Panthers ($6,600). Okay, I’m probably being a little biased here. And Cam’s numbers are not eye popping. But he has shown an ability to make great things happen in the air and on the ground this year when the game is on the line. Carolina will be playing in prime time Sunday night against the Eagles and I have a feeling it might be a big game for Cam.
Take Paul’s advice… or not! Sign up at DraftKings for your chance to win $100,000 this week.