Week 7 turned out to be one of the best weeks for our staff picks here at City of Champions. Many of us had the same picks for each game and hit most of them. Here are the results.
Matt Gajtka – 10-2 (61-35)
Matt Shetler – 8-4 (57-40)
Zac Weiss – 11-2 (57-40)
Jason Harding – 10-2 (54-43)
Here is a look at our picks for this week.
Washington at Pittsburgh
Robert Griffin III continues to impress everyone with solid performances. He now leads the league in completion rate (70%) and yards per carry (7.3). Many defenses have lined up to force Griffin to make a pre-snap read and he has done very well. I expect Pittsburgh to disguise their coverage as normal and force Griffin to make post-snap decisions. Washington’s secondary will be the point of attack for the Steelers as Roethlisberger continues to have a stellar season. Big Ben has beaten the Skins twice, but has yet to have a TD pass against them.
Steelers: Gajtka, Shetler, Weiss, Harding
Carolina at Chicago
Things in Carolina continue to slide. They have now place Jon Beason on the injury reserved list joining Matt Kalil and Charles Gamble. ESPN’s John Clayton reported that they now have $20.5 million in cap space from the move. On the other side everything continues to go right for the Bears. Matt Forte and Michael Bush may be set up for a big day against the weak Carolina run defense.
Bears: Gajtka, Shetler, Weiss, Harding
San Diego at Cleveland
San Diego went into the bye week after two terrible losses. Giving up the final 17 points to New Orleans to lose 31-24 followed by the 35 unanswered point loss to the Broncos 35-24. Philip Rivers continues to turn the ball over with 10 TDs to 9 INTs. Brandon Weeden on the other side had his first game as a starter with no turnovers in the 17-13 loss to the Colts last week. The Browns could be without their workhorse, Trent Richardson, this week due to a rib injury.
Browns: Shetler, Harding
Chargers: Gajtka, Weiss
Seattle at Detroit
The Lions continue to struggle as Matthew Stafford struggles. Stafford has yet to throw a TD pass in the first three quarters of the game. In a league where TDs have become so important over field goals the Lions will need to change their game plan when the Seahawks visit. Luckily for the Lions the Seahawks have had a lot of trouble holding on to the ball on the road. Russell Wilson now has 8 TDs to 7 INTs and will need to improve quickly on the road.
Lions: Gajtka, Shetler, Weiss
Jacksonville at Green Bay
The Jaguars may be in more trouble than usual this week offensively. Maurice Jones-Drew is definitely out this week and Blaine Gabbert is questionable. If Gabbert can’t go it will be Chad Henne under center. For the Packers they will need to replace Charles Woodson who broke his clavicle last week. At least the Packers don’t have to replace Aaron Rodgers who continues to have a solid year. Rodgers has nearly 70% completion rate with 19 TDs to 4 INTs.
Packers: Gajtka, Shetler, Weiss, Harding
Indianapolis at Tennessee
Matt Hasselbeck will look to give the Titans three wins in a row when the Colts come to town. Chris Johnson and the run game have finally found their stride. The Colts running game on the other hand could get a big boost this weekend if Donald Brown returns. As the run game has been lacking in Indy the pressure has been put on Andrew Luck to carry the team. Luck has struggled with that pressure throwing 7 TDs to 7 INTs. Note: Coach Munchak says if Jake Locker is healthy he will start.
Titans: Shetler, Weiss, Harding
New England at St. Louis
As Sam Bradford has been mediocre this season he will look to have his best week of the season yet. The Patriots secondary has been suspect in the last few weeks. The have allowed an average of 338 passing yards per game in just the last 5 games. Bradford may be one of the better quarterbacks the Patriots will play in that stretch of games. Stevan Ridley continues to have a stellar year with 4.4 yards per carry. Did I forget to mention this game will be played in London? No home field advantage here for the Rams.
Patriots: Gajtka, Shetler, Weiss, Harding
Miami at New York Jets
Mark Sanchez continues to struggle, but is coming off his best week yet against the struggling New England secondary. The Jets defense could be the concern in this game as they have been suspect against the run. Playing with 8 guys in the box is hard to do when Darrelle Revis isn’t lined up at corner. Ryan Tannehill appears to be growing quickly in the league. Now he just needs to find a way to get in the endzone.
Jets: Gajtka, Shetler, Harding
Atlanta at Philadelphia
Philadelphia had one of the more confusing bye weeks that many can remember. Andy Reid fired defensive coordinator Juan Castillo after the loss to Detroit in overtime. The defense has not been the problem in Philly as Michael Vick continues to turn the ball over putting the defense’s back against the wall. We will see how well that decision pans out when the only unbeaten team in the league, the Falcons, travel to Lincoln Financial Field.
Falcons: Gajtka, Harding
Eagles: Shetler, Weiss
Oakland at Kansas City
The Raiders will look for their first win while the Chiefs are trying to avoid their sixth consecutive home loss. Brady Quinn will get the nod again this week for the chiefs. Against the Bucs last week Quinn went 22 for 38 for 180 yards and 2INTs. Carson Palmer and the Raiders will need to be more focused this week. Against the Jags last week they were penalized 9 times. Darren McFadden continues to struggle to find yards between the tackles.
Raiders: Weiss, Harding
Chiefs: Gajtka, Shetler
New York Giants at Dallas
This game will be a big swing in the NFC East standings. The Cowboys upset the returning Super Bowl champs in the season opener. The Cowboys have yet to beat the Giants in the new Cowboys Stadium. Eli Manning has always played well in Dallas and will need to continue to perform. Manning currently leads the league in passing yards with 2,109, just 5 more yards than Brady.
Giants: Shetler, Weiss
Cowboys: Gajtka, Harding
New Orleans at Denver
This is a pivotal game for both teams. A loss would give the Broncos 4 and the Saints 5, putting them behind the 8-ball for playoffs. Drew Brees continues to make plays, but his defense struggles badly. The Saints secondary is one of the worst in the league and playing Peyton Manning may not be forced to throw too much because of the success from Willis McGahee and the run game.
Broncos: Gajtka, Shetler, Harding
San Francisco at Arizona
After the Cardinals opened up the season 4-0 they dropped their next 3 to opponents they were expected to beat. Now the 5-2 49ers come to town they will need to find their offense again. Not sure that anyone would have predicted the NFC West to be as wide open as it is. All 4 teams are capable of winning, but need San Francisco to continue to slip up. This will be another pivotal week in the West in Arizona today.
49ers: Gajtka, Shetler, Weiss, Harding