Can't remember the last time I used Buffalo as my choice in a Survivor Pool, but Rex Ryan's boys are rampaging since a 0-2 start and they were the pick last week at home against San Francisco. The Bills were the biggest blowout winners of Week 6 in a 45-16 victory. How about LeSean McCoy for MVP? That guy has gone off since Anthony Lynn replaced the fired Greg Roman as offensive coordinator.
There was one big upset in Week 6 that might have knocked a few competitors out of your Survivor Pool as Pittsburgh laid a major egg in a 30-15 loss in Miami and saw Ben Roethlisberger injure his knee. I stayed away from that game, writing: "The only reason I'm not making Pittsburgh my top choice this week is that perhaps Miami plays desperate and maybe the Steelers look past this game toward next week's showdown with New England."
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While those two games listed above weren't close, the vast majority of them were in Week 6. That has become a trend. A total of 50 games have been decided by seven points or fewer, tied for the most in a season's first six weeks in NFL history (1999). Seven games have been won by teams which trailed by double-digit points in the fourth quarter, tied for the second-most in NFL history through Week 6. The Houston Texans and Jacksonville Jaguars (against my Bears) did it last Sunday.
Here are the picks for Week 7 with the recommended team first. The teams on the bye are Dallas and Carolina.
Cincinnati vs. Cleveland: This is another one of those that are so obvious that you might want to avoid it and hope the winless Browns pull the upset. I actually don't think that's impossible as Cleveland is playing hard under Hue Jackson, and if anyone knows how to slow that Cincinnati offense it would be the Bengals' former offensive coordinator. If the Bengals do lose this, Coach Marvin Lewis might as well not show up for work on Monday as their season is over.
Green Bay vs. Chicago (Thursday): The only reason this isn't the top choice is that you really should stay away from Thursday night games as too much can go wrong on the quick turnaround. I honestly don't see the Packers losing, however, even though Brian Hoyer has been better than Aaron Rodgers this year. Did I just type that? The Packers are a bit beaten up and will be without top running back Eddie Lacy. Former Chief Knile Davis figures to make his Green Bay debut.
Detroit vs. Washington: Expect this game to be close as the Lions' three home games have been decided by a combined five points. They have won the past two. The Redskins are one of the NFC's hottest teams on a four-game winning streak. This will matter for Washington QB Kirk Cousins as it will be his first pro game in his native Michigan.
Atlanta vs. San Diego: I'll be surprised if this isn't the highest-scoring game on the schedule. The Falcons might have been my top pick this week if the Bolts weren't on extra rest off last Thursday's win over Denver. These two franchises will always be linked by the 2001 draft when Atlanta traded up from No. 5 overall to No. 1 with San Diego to draft Michael Vick. The Chargers did pretty well with the Falcons' No. 5 pick in taking a guy named LaDainian Tomlinson.
New England at Pittsburgh: One of the most anticipated games of the year is ruined by Roethlisberger's injury, which apparently will keep him out 4-6 weeks. That ends Pittsburgh's shot at getting home-field advantage in the AFC playoffs and perhaps of even making the playoff if it's the long end of the timetable. Landry Jones takes over under center.
Denver vs. Houston (Monday): I don't wish injury on anyone (well maybe former Packer Charles Martin when he body slammed Bears QB Jim McMahon to the turf in 1986 and ruined the Bears' dynasty chances), but I will be half-surprised if Houston QB Brock Osweiler isn't knocked out of this game. Of course he left Denver in free agency this offseason and wasn't exactly complimentary on his way out. He will have a huge target on his back for Broncos defenders (and fans).
NY Giants at Los Angeles: The Rams are the "home" team for the NFL's first-ever visit to London's Twickenham Stadium, which normally hosts rugby. It's another one of those 9:30 a.m. kickoffs. Rams did the smart move of flying right to London from last week's game in Detroit or that would have been a lot of travel. But won't the L.A. players be feeling like this game is starting at 6:30 a.m. Pacific?
Kansas City vs. New Orleans: Chiefs appear to be turning their season around and I was dead wrong on them losing last week in Oakland. You should rarely back the Saints playing outdoors as Drew Brees just isn't the same away from his dome. But the Saints have a shot here because it will be unseasonably warm in K.C.
Tennessee vs. Indianapolis: Could the Titans win the AFC South? They have the best running game in the division and an improved defense. The Texans and Colts are both seriously flawed. Andrew Luck is 7-0 as a starter vs. the Titans but that streak ends.
Minnesota at Philadelphia: The bloom is off the rose a bit for the Eagles and rookie quarterback Carson Wentz in a two-game losing streak. Wentz looked like an inexperienced former FCS quarterback in last week's loss to Washington. The Vikings are the NFL's lone unbeaten and off their bye week. Of course these teams are linked due to the Sam Bradford trade on the eve of the season that saved the Vikings' bacon and got Wentz his starting job.
Jacksonville vs. Oakland: Ton of young talent on these teams. Maybe an AFC title game preview next year? Can't believe the Jags rallied from a 13-0 hole to win in Chicago (rock bottom!). I like them here simply because of the early kickoff for the soon-to-be Las Vegas Raiders.
Buffalo at Miami: This really does scream potential trap game for the Bills. It will be nice and hot in south Florida. But QB Tyrod Taylor was very good in two wins over the Fins last year.
Baltimore at NY Jets: The Bears' quarterback situation looks awesome compared to what's going on with the Jets. New York has been destroyed in each of its four-game losing streak and Ryan Fitzpatrick wouldn't start on my intramural team at Western Michigan U. Coach Todd Bowles is reportedly replacing him with Geno Smith (and that's a good thing?) after pulling Fitz late in Monday's loss in Arizona. Baltimore has won eight straight vs. the Jets and at least has a QB.
Arizona vs. Seattle: Sunday night game, and I simply favor the home team even though the Cardinals are on a short week. How good is Cardinals running back David Johnson? Every team passed on the former Northern Iowa star at least once in the 2015 draft before the Cards grabbed him at 86th overall. My Bears' third-round pick at No. 71: Oregon center Hroniss Grasu. UGH!
San Francisco vs. Tampa Bay: Think I'll pass on paying attention to this one as the 49ers have lost five straight and have the worst point differential in the NFC, and Tampa Bay has the second-worst and lost Vincent Jackson to IR this week. Colin Kaepernick gets a second straight start for the Niners, and he wasn't good in the Week 6 loss in Buffalo.
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