Week 7 of the NFL features an excellent slate of matchups, concluding with Monday Night’s NFC East battle between Washington and Philadelphia, which we may or may not have picked as our upset of the week.
With that in mind, here are our five bold predictions.
Big Ben Roethlisberger is bad, once again
Ben Roethlisberger has struggled mightily in this his 14th season. The low point thus far was his career-high five interceptions in an embarrassing 30-9 home loss to Jacksonville. We predicted a bounce back performance against Kansas City last week, but don’t expect a sudden revival from the 35-year-old quarterback. Antonio Brown may lead the league in receiving by a landslide, but the Steelers’ inability to run the ball against the Bengals — along with the internal struggle surrounding Martavis Bryant — means this will be another subpar performance from No. 7.
2. Thomas Rawls asserts himself as Seattle Seahawks’ new lead back
It’s only fitting that Rawls gets another crack at being Seattle’s featured running back. Remember, as an undrafted rookie in 2015, Rawls’ 5.6 yards per carry was tops in the NFL. Injuries however, have taken a toll, and the emergence of rookie Chris Carson made it difficult for Rawls to get touches. Now with Carson’s injury, look for a resurgence from Rawls. In the Seahawks’ last game in Week 5 versus the LA Rams, Rawls led the backfield in snaps. The coaching staff has always really liked his toughness and ability to elude tacklers as both a runner and pass-catcher. The Seahawks travel to New York for a Week 7 tilt with the Giants, who rank 26th in rushing defense. Expect a strong showing from Rawls and in turn, a bell-cow role moving forward.
3. Adrian Peterson comes back down to Earth
AP turned in a magical debut with Arizona last weekend, compiling 134 yards and two touchdowns. He looked quick, he was decisive and he was just the jolt the lackluster Cardinals offense needed. This week however, will be a different story. The Cards travel across the pond to face an LA Rams defense as stout up front as anyone. It’s also an angry Rams defense that was thrashed by Jacksonville rookie Leonard Fournette just last week. There won’t be much running room for the 32-year-old Peterson and I expect Carson Palmer to turn the ball over early and put Arizona in a deficit.
4. At least ONE game is ruined by the referees
This has been an unfortunate theme all season long. In Week 3, it was the Golden Tate non-touchdown call, not to mention Sterling Shepard’s touchdown catch being foolishly overturned. Last week, we were furious over Austin Seferian-Jenkins and the New York Jets losing six points after Seferian-Jenkins’ TD was not only overruled, but also ruled a fumble in the New England Patriots end-zone. Rest assured, Week 7 will present plenty of opportunity for the league to make the same mistake. Maybe it’s not on a touchdown, but the sheer ineptitude of the referees has reached new lows.
5. Washington Redskins upset the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday Night Football
Primetime divisional foe, on the road? Yes, please! This is a good spot for the Redskins, who have become a very good rushing defense with enough offense out of Kirk Cousins and company to win a few games. In fact, six players are on pace for between 35 to 58 catches this season, and with a healthy Jordan Reed, Cousins has his best weapon in his arsenal. Philly, at 5-1, is riding high after an impressive road win in Carolina, with a significant hype train to boot. But these are two similarly built teams and it feels like a surprisingly good spot for Washington to steal a key win. Remember, marquee upsets have been a friend to this column all year long!
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