NFL Week 7 game picks: Cowboys, Chargers each get sixth win

Week 7 game picks are in, and they feature some seriously fun matchups:

» Carolina at Green Bay: Two hot quarterbacks facing off.
» Kansas City at San Diego: Maybe the best game of the weekend.
» San Francisco at Denver: OK, so you probably like this one better.

This slate of games should tell us much. Like, will the Giants continue to own the Cowboysin Dallas, or will the latter not suffer a letdown following a huge win in Seattle? And does Pete Carroll's team fall to a Rams squad that has played the Seahawks tough before? Speaking of ...

Tweetless in Seattle. (Sorry, couldn't resist.)

Told you guys Spain was football country. Real Madrid 2, Levante 1.

Robbie, because you asked so nicely ... no.

As for the rest of the games, take a look at the picks below. There are some interesting ones. Or maybe I just want you to read my pro football dribble. After all, I enjoy reading yours. Send along your picks to @HarrisonNFL. Perhaps you can also let us know what you think of #rejectedpeanutsspecials.

Now, let's get to it!

Elliot Harrison went 8-6-1 on his predictions for Week 6, giving him a record of 56-34-1 so far this season. How will he fare in Week 7? His picks are below.

The Falcons have been terrible on the road -- Atlanta has lost 10 of its past 11 away games -- but then, they weren't any good at home last week, either. The host Ravens, meanwhile, have been playing solid football most of the year, regardless of locale. Baltimore's offense flew so high Sunday that Joe Flacco and Co. left the Bucs staring up like Sheriff Rosco P. Coltrane in hot pursuit of some Dukes. Which reminds me ... Pursuit is something this Ravens defense needs to work on. Baltimore is tied for 29th with 24 passes of 20-plus yards allowed and ranks 18th in yards after the catch allowed. There will be opportunities for Matt Ryan, but can the guy who is 0-3 with a 72.8 passer rating on the road in 2014 capitalize? #ATLvsBAL

While this just feels like the kind of game the Bills could blow at home, I have the #BillsMafia's back, here. Yes, I even moved Buffalo up in the latest Power Rankings, because of the plays Kyle Orton has been making in the passing game. So the guy with a crop duster befitting a NASCAR crew chief hasn't been perfect. He's still giving the club something EJ Manuel couldn't: The ability to connect downfield. Orton is no Checkdown Charlie ... or Outlet Oscar ... or Flat-Pass Phil. OK, you get it. Orton is averaging 7.5 yards per attempt, more than a yard better than Manuel (6.4).

One wonders if Teddy Bridgewater has gotten out of the cold tub yet, given the rough outing he had against the Lions, who lead the NFL in sacks. He shouldn't worry; the Bills only rank second in that category. #MINvsBUF

Wouldn't it be just like the maddeningly inconsistent Dolphins to take this game on the road? The thing is, to do so, Miami's offense would have to keep up with Jay Cutler and the rest of Chicago's high-octane attack. Sure, Cutler will probably serve up two interceptions. But will Ryan Tannehill and Co. be left in the dust when Bears receivers Alshon Jeffery and Brandon Marshall start exploiting their matchups outside? I like the Miami safeties helping out in coverage, particularly on Chicago tight end Martellus Bennett -- but I don't think the secondary has the horses, unless the pass rush gets home early and often. Brent Grimes and Cortland Finnegan have been adequate at best. #MIAvsCHI

If the Saints are legitimately going to get their season back on track, they must win in Detroit. That New Orleans offensive line will have to block its butt off against a Lions front that got eight sacks and seemingly knocked down Teddy Bridgewater every other play in last week's win over the Vikings. Pierre Thomas was a big factor in the Saints' Week 5 win over the Bucs, collecting more than 100 yards from scrimmage, including 77 through the air. His pass-catching prowess (he led all backs with 77 catches in 2013) could come in handy against the NFL's second-best rushing defense -- then again, Detroit also has the top-ranked pass defense and overall defense.

To prevail, the Lions will have to get something from their own running backs. Coach Jim Caldwell's ground game has given Matthew Stafford nothing in terms of support, producing just 86.3 yards per game and 3.22 yards per carry. Both figures rank in the bottom five of the league. #NOvsDET

Not trusting this Carolina defense until it starts playing ball. The unit has been nothing short of abysmal the past few weeks, even weaker than that U2 album I was forced to absorb. Speaking of unsolicited music, the Panthers' secondary has given the team's fans the blues lately. It hasn't helped that the front seven has given up 6.19 rushing yards on first downs, providing opposing quarterbacks with second-and-manageable and third-and-even-more-manageable situations. Enter Eddie Lacy, who, with just 306 yards on the ground this year, is due to have a 30-carry, 144-yard outburst for the Packers. Maybe this is the week. If not, well, then enter the Rodge -- again. #CARvsGB

Somebody is going to have to stop somebody here. The Bengals have allowed 80 points the past two weeks, while the Colts let Arian Foster run all over them -- and, believe it or not, allowed the Texans to move down the field in the second half -- last Thursday. Can Indy get the timely turnovers again, as it did in NRG Stadium? If it can, I don't see Chuck Pagano's group falling to Cincy at home. Over the past two weeks, the Bengals have notched five giveaways, which resulted in 23 points (and a missed field-goal attempt) for the opposition.

On the other side of the coin, I must point out -- at the risk of ticking off every Colts fan who doesn't want to hear one iota of criticism about their quarterback -- that Andrew Luck is no stranger to turning it over. Love the guy, but he has eight giveaways this year, and he's gotten away with a couple throws that should have been picked. If he can protect the ball, this matchup is his. #CINvsIND

Cleveland has shown it can put up the points. Stopping people had been the problem ... that is, until Mike Pettine's guys put the clamps on the Steelers last Sunday. We're guessing the good folks at CBS were seriously hoping this would be Johnny Football vs. Blake Redshirt in Jacksonville. Won't be happening -- and thank goodness. Brian Hoyer, the man who has kept Johnny Manziel on the Browns' bench, has performed quite effectively this season. He ranks fourth in the NFL in yards per attempt (8.21) and third in interception percentage (0.7). Meanwhile, Blake Bortles has gotten an opportunity to play and learn the ropes as opposed to wearing a baseball hat on the Jaguars' sideline. Speaking of, do Jacksonville's caps bear that awful two-tone color scheme, too? Either way, considering the QB stories, this contest should be more entertaining than your father's -- or, well, your -- typical Browns-Jags game. #CLEvsJAX

Been taking some mild heat for putting the Seahawks at No. 5 in the Week 7 Power Rankings. Funny -- when they win, their followers chime in as if they've reeled off five straight Super Bowls. No, they're not dominant, but I don't see them not winning in St. Louis. That's a double negative -- kind of like the Rams' passing game faltering (because guys don't run routes well) while their defense fails to stop the opposition's aerial attack. Perhaps the most unreal stat of the season is that St. Louis has one sack after tallying 53 in 2013. Maybe that injury to Chris Long should have been more widely reported. And maybe Seattle should start giving Marshawn Lynch the rock more. Seventy-nine attempts in five games? Seriously? #SEAvsSTL

Oh, how I want to pick a Tennessee upset here! OK -- that moment has passed, regardless of whether or not Jake Locker will be back this week. If he isn't ... Charlie Whitehurst hasn't fared poorly, but the only way for one of "the most beautiful people in Nashville" to graduate to pinup status is to put 30 points on the board -- and I don't see that happening. The host Redskins' pass rush does need to wake up: Washington can't play the Jags (against whom 10 of the club's 15 sacks were recorded) every week. Regardless, until the Titans get a consistent ground game going, they'll have trouble capitalizing behind their backup quarterback. Here are Tennessee's per-game rushing yardage totals thus far: 162, 82, 149, 85, 149 and 70. So I guess the Titans are due for 149. Even if they reach that total, Kirk Cousins can more than make up for it for the Redskins, as long as he plays like he did versus the Seahawks in Week 5 (283 yards, two touchdowns, no picks) and avoids making the kinds of turnovers he committed in the desert last Sunday. #TENvsWAS

Tamba Hali gets a safety for the visiting Chiefs, while Kansas City quarterback Alex Smith plays well again and we all get a heckuva game. Ultimately, though, San Diego wins its sixth -- oh, and Philip Rivers continues his march to the MVP trophy. Yes, even over DeMarco Murray and J.J. Watt.

My feeling is, Smith will be effective enough for the Chiefs to potentially steal this one. He'll need to do it off of play-action and with a game plan that calls for 18 to 20 carries for Jamaal Charles and another 10 for Knile Davis. Chargers cornerbacks Brandon Flowers and Jason Verrett are enjoying outstanding campaigns, even if Derek Carr gave the Bolts' secondary something to think about a time or three last week. Flowers has missed some practice time with a groin issue, but if he's good to go on Sunday, he'll be more than motivated, given that San Diego's facing the club that unexpectedly (and weirdly) let him go. And Verrett is a certifiable Defensive Rookie of the Year candidate. Great uni matchup, too. #KCvsSD

When I was 11 years old, my dad took me to see the Giants play the Cowboys in Dallas in Week 15 for the NFC East title. Three dudes sporting trucker hats, Tom Selleck 'staches (it was 1985) and Lawrence Taylor "No. 56" jerseys sat in front of us, yelling the whole game. What was an anomaly then might manifest as a glaring trend this week. I wouldn't be surprised to see 50,000 of those dudes taking in Giants-Cowboys at AT&T Stadium on Sunday ... #NoHomeFieldAdvantage.

This feels like a game that the Giants can win; after all, Eli Manning has thrown multiple touchdown passes in four of his five starts at JerrahWorld. That said, we're choosing to trust Dallas defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli, whose unit -- which allowed the Seahawks to gain all of 206 yards in last week's win -- has surpassed all expectations this season. #NYGvsDAL

Is this the upset, the ficus tree, that grows from Tony Sparano's burying of the football? I'm sure Carson Palmer will want to show he's better than the dysfunction he left behind in Oakland. Actually, during his time with the host Raiders, Palmer was the king of fantasy garbage points -- which I don't think Arizona will need. Yes, Derek Carr is coming off an outstanding performance, but he should find that this Cardinals secondary is pretty solid. Arizona's run defense? Third in the league. Run-DMC might find himself walking the other way. #AZvsOAK

Was pondering whether this could be a game in which both offenses start slowly and the point total tops off in the low 20s. Then I reversed field like Gerald Willhite and Terrence Flagler, quickly rejecting that notion for the following reasons:

1) Peyton Manning won't leave the plays on the field that St. Louis' Austin Davis did last Monday.

2) Broncos receivers know how to run pass routes.

3) Colin Kaepernick will give a Denver defense that struggled against Russell Wilson's mobility all it can handle.

On the flip side, 49ers fans hit me up on Twitter about their secondary's struggles versus the Rams. Bear in mind, the defensive backfield has helped hold opposing quarterbacks to a subpar passer rating of 73.7. Still, Tramaine Brock and Chris Culliver must perform their butts off in Denver on Sunday night. So who wins? Would love to hear your take @HarrisonNFL. #SFvsDEN

Neither defense played well last week, to say the least. That's why I feel this game will be low-scoring (although Houston's defense -- specifically, J.J. Watt -- is capable of putting up points by itself). The units of both Texans coordinator Romeo Crennell and Steelers coordinator Dick LeBeau have something to prove after each coughed up more than 30 points in Week 6. Pittsburgh allowed Browns tight end Jordan Cameron to run around the secondary like a kid at a public swimming pool, while Houston yielded a whopping 456 yards of offense in Week 5 and again in Week 6. How random is that stat? What's a bit more direct is the impact I anticipate Jadeveon Clowney having for the Texans' defense when he gets healthy. In the meantime, there's no way Ben Roethlisberger, playing in Pittsburgh, replicates his awful showing from Sunday -- Big Ben missed half his throws in Cleveland. #HOUvsPIT


Unfortunately, Butt Fumble II probably won't be going down in New England. Still, there is a chance Geno Smith hits one of his own linemen in the arse with an errant throw ... so we have that to look forward to.

Truth be told, the Jets came out playing hard last Sunday, making things more difficult for Peyton Manning than the video highlights from their loss to the Broncos would make it seem. If Gang Green is to have a chance Thursday, it'll have to do the same against Tom Brady, who has absolutely balled out the past two weeks. One interesting thing to watch: How the Patriots divide running back duties between Shane Vereen and Brandon Bolden (with Stevan Ridley out for the year). #NYJvsNE

Follow Elliot Harrison on Twitter @HarrisonNFL.

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