NFL Week 7 Picks
The 2008 NFL Season heads into Week 7 this weekend, with several intriguing matchups on the schedule. Our team of writers and handicappers pick four games from Week 7 and make their predictions.
New Orleans Saints (3-3) at Carolina Panthers (4-2), 1:00 PM ET
The inconsistent New Orleans Saints are coming off their most complete outing of the season. Now, the key will be to avoid taking another step backwards.
The Saints look to build on their most convincing win of the year Sunday when they visit the NFC South rival Carolina Panthers, who hope to rebound from a lopsided division loss.
Through the season's first six weeks, New Orleans (3-3) has looked good at times and awful at others. The Saints boast one of the NFL's most prolific offenses at 412.2 total yards per game, but that production has been tempered by turnovers and penalties.
The miscues boiled over Oct. 6, when New Orleans had a blocked field goal returned for a touchdown, fumbled five times, threw two interceptions and committed 11 penalties for 102 yards in a 30-27 Monday night loss to Minnesota.
Quarterback Drew Brees took it upon himself to help the Saints overcome those kinds of mistakes last Sunday, even reminding his teammates in the huddle to keep playing disciplined football.
Brees' approach appeared to work, as New Orleans played its first turnover-free game and cruised to a 34-3 victory over Oakland. Brees went 26-for-30 for 320 yards, three touchdowns and a passer rating of 144.4 - his highest in three seasons with New Orleans.
New York Jets (3-2) at Oakland Raiders (1-4), 4:05 PM ET
The last time Brett Favre played in Oakland, he was wearing a different uniform and grieving the death of his father.
Five years later, Favre returns as a member of the New York Jets to face the Raiders on Sunday for the first time since one of his most dominant and emotional performances.
One day after his father, Irvin, died of a heart attack, Favre played in front of a national audience on Monday night with a heavy heart and led Green Bay to a 41-7 victory at Oakland on Dec. 22, 2003. In a daze, Favre was 22-of-30 for 399 yards with four touchdowns in that contest that ultimately helped propel the Packers to the NFC North title.
Oakland, which has lost four in a row at home and 12 of its last 14 there, won 26-20 over New York on Dec. 2, 2002 for its last victory over the Jets.
Minnesota Vikings (3-3) at Chicago Bears (3-3), 1:00 PM ET
The Chicago Bears have struggled to close out games this season. They may want to watch tapes of the Minnesota Vikings' last two contests as they try to start doing so.
The Bears look to bounce back from yet another heartbreaking loss as they host the NFC North rival Vikings, who have won two in a row with last-minute dramatics.
Chicago (3-3) suffered another painful defeat last week, 22-20 at Atlanta. The Bears went ahead 20-19 when Kyle Orton directed an 11-play, 77-yard drive that was capped by an 11-yard touchdown pass to Rashied Davis with 11 seconds left. Chicago, though, chose to squib quick on the ensuing kickoff, which was returned to the Falcons' 44-yard line. After Matt Ryan completed a 26-yard pass with one second remaining, Jason Elam made a 48-yard field goal as time expired.
All three of Chicago's losses have come by three points or fewer after blowing late leads. The Bears let a 14-point, second-half advantage slip away in a 20-17 defeat to Carolina on Sept. 14, then couldn't hold a 10-point lead with 6:38 to go versus Tampa Bay the following week and fell 27-24 in overtime.
Seattle Seahawks (1-4) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-2), 8:15 PM ET
There's been uncertainty at the quarterback position since early in the season for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but with two experienced signal-callers on the roster, there wasn't any dropoff last week even with Brian Griese injured.
With Matt Hasselbeck out, the struggling Seattle Seahawks have gotten even worse.
Both teams will again be without their starting quarterbacks on Sunday night, when the Buccaneers and backup Jeff Garcia look to remain unbeaten at home and hand the Seahawks their first-ever loss at Tampa Bay.
Buccaneers coach Jon Gruden benched Garcia in favor of Griese after a 24-20 season-opening loss at New Orleans on Sept. 7, and Griese led the team to wins in his first three starts. But Griese injured his throwing arm on Oct. 5 during a 16-13 loss to Denver and missed Sunday's game against Carolina.
Garcia stepped in and led Tampa Bay (4-2) to a 27-3 victory, going 15-of-20 for 173 yards and a touchdown while spreading the ball to eight different receivers and avoiding any turnovers or sacks. With Griese still struggling to throw, Garcia will start again against Seattle.
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Posted: 10/18/08 9:00PM