Not many surprises in Week 6 of the NFL season that likely affected your Survivor Pool competition unless you took Seattle at home against Carolina, with the Seahawks blowing yet another fourth-quarter lead this season to fall to 2-4. Remember, a vast majority of teams in recent years that lost in the Super Bowl didn't return the next season. So the Seahawks' struggles shouldn't be a total shock -- especially how they lost that Super Bowl.
When this story posted last week, my top recommendation was Minnesota over visiting Kansas City. I stuck with that only because I didn't see any better options or major Vikings injuries -- plus I'm very down on the Chiefs without Jamaal Charles. The Vikings didn't play very well but escaped with a 16-10 win. Survive and advance! My upset pick last week was once again a team beating Denver, but the Broncos escaped in Cleveland 26-23 in overtime. That was one of two OT games, the third straight week with at least two. Nine games have gone to overtime so far this season, tied for the third-most through six weeks in NFL history.
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For Week 7, it's a pretty blah schedule with only one game -- Jets at Patriots -- featuring winning teams. So you won't see any big-time favorites other than New England, and I don't think the Patriots should be -9 (or higher depending on where you look). On the bye are Chicago, Cincinnati, Denver and Green Bay, thus taking away three of five unbeaten clubs for this week. Again, first team listed is the pick.
Top Choice Of Week
Miami vs. Houston: You see managerial changes work fairly often in the middle of a baseball season. Hockey, too. But in the NFL they usually don't pan out. However, Miami looked like a totally different club in terms of effort and intensity in last week's blowout win of Jacksonville. That was interim coach Dan Campbell's first game. I'm back on the Miami bandwagon. Am I locked into this game this early in the week? I am not, but for now.
St. Louis vs. Cleveland: The Rams may well replace the Dolphins as the No. 1 choice by Sunday morning. That St. Louis defense should shut down the Browns offense. Cleveland QB Josh McCown came crashing back to earth in last week's loss to Denver by completing only 51.3 percent of his passes with two picks.
NY Giants vs. Dallas: Here's another one that could rise to the top spot by Sunday as long as the Cowboys don't get back Dez Bryant, which isn't likely. Tony Romo remains out, and Matt Cassel will get his first start at QB for the Cowboys. The Giants should roll at home even though they played awful on Monday night in Philly and are on a short week. The short week and Dallas off a bye are the two things that give me pause.
New England vs. NY Jets: Do I think Pats will win? Yes. Do I think they cover that big spread? Doubtful. The top-ranked Jets defense should give the top-ranked Patriots offense some problems. And the past four games in this series have been decided by three points or fewer.
Atlanta at Tennessee: If this were in Atlanta, it would certainly be my top choice of the week. I'm sure the Falcons still win as they had a few extra days to prepare off last Thursday's loss. Plus, the Titans are expected to be without Marcus Mariota. I tend to not pick the Falcons as the top choice in outdoor games as Matt Ryan is much better inside the Georgia Dome.
San Diego vs. Oakland: So let's say your quarterback throws for 503 yards and two touchdowns in a game. Your team has to win, right? Alas, the Chargers didn't in that scenario last week in Green Bay despite Philip Rivers setting franchise records for completions (43), attempts (65) and passing yards. The Raiders are far from pushovers any longer and come off their bye.
Arizona vs. Baltimore (Monday): The Ravens are the NFL's most disappointing team at 1-5, but they literally could be 6-0 -- just one play from winning in all five defeats. To be fair, they also could be 0-6 as their lone victory was courtesy of two missed field goals by former Steelers kicker Josh Scobee in Week 4 in Pittsburgh. The Cards have looked very mortal of late but should prevail at home.
Could Go Either Way
Seattle at San Francisco (Thursday): I have lost all faith in the Seahawks, and you should never take the road team in these quick turnaround games. You saw how bad the visiting Falcons looked last week against a lesser team in New Orleans. Plus, Seattle is 0-3 away from home.
Indianapolis vs. New Orleans: This is the first time that Andrew Luck and Drew Brees will face off and almost surely the last unless Brees moves to an AFC team next season either by trade or after being released by the Saints. Colts might be a tad flat off that tough Sunday night loss to New England. I guarantee you one thing: Indy won't attempt another two-man fake punt in this one.
Detroit vs. Minnesota: The Lions should still be the NFL's only winless team, but they caught a few major breaks in last week's home overtime win over Chicago (thank you, refs, for helping the Bears' potential draft position). I don't trust the Vikings on the road yet as they are 0-2 away from home and have struggled offensively. Minnesota beat visiting Detroit 26-16 in Week 2.
Pittsburgh at Kansas City: I pondered the Chiefs as the upset of the week as the Steelers apparently will have to start third-string quarterback Landry Jones, and I have no faith in him. This game could be really ugly -- like 7-3 final score ugly.
Carolina vs. Philadelphia: Cam Newton for MVP? No, he doesn't really have MVP-type numbers, but Newton is carrying the unbeaten Panthers and led two fourth-quarter scoring drives to upset the Seahawks in Seattle last Sunday. Considering the lack of skill-position talent around him, Newton deserves some MVP consideration thus far. Matchup of former No. 1 overall picks here in Newton and Sam Bradford. Eagles are on a short week, so that's why I like the Cats. Plus Bradford is likely to throw at least a couple more interceptions.
Upset Of Week
Jacksonville vs. Buffalo: (London): I know a lot of you are going to take the Bills as your top choice this week. But I have a few concerns for this game. It's still unclear if Buffalo starting QB Tyrod Taylor will play after missing Week 6. Do you really trust E.J. Manuel? Also, Sammy Watkins is hurt again and probably out. Finally, there are too many weird intangibles here with the game at 9:30 a.m. ET time (streaming live in Yahoo, an NFL first) and with all the travel. To me, that might even the playing field a bit between the Bills and less-talented Jaguars.
Washington vs. Tampa Bay: This game might be interesting if Robert Griffin III was starting for Washington instead of being the No. 3 quarterback. If RGIII was in there, we'd have a nice former Heisman showdown with Jameis Winston. Otherwise? Pass.
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