With the Rams on a bye week, and the Cardinals underdogging their way over the Mets to the World Series, good luck finding much of any discussion about the Rams until next Wednesday, when pundits will begin dismissing the Rams against the Chargers in their weekly picks. So, instead of our rousing discussions centered exclusively on the Rams here at TST, let's expand our topical boundaries and poke sticks in the eyes of our rivals.
The Vikings at Seahawks game this week has upset written large all over it. First and foremost is the return of All-Pro guard Steve Hutchinson, aka the reason Seattle's running game looks oh so pedestrian just a season removed from their starting running back being named MVP. Talk about "establishing the run" is cliché, and running with Chester Taylor against a Seahawks team that held leading NFC rusher Steven Jackson to 56 yards is no easy task. But Hutchinson, with all the talk focused on him being bandied about in the media this week, and the Viking's offensive line will be more than fired up enough to create just enough of a running threat to enable Brad Johnson to "air" it out on some short passes against the 28th ranked pass defense in the league.
Sure, Seattle's got a tough offense, but, in what came as a total surprise to me, the Vikings have one of the league's best defenses. They allow just 16.4 points per game, a meager 74 yards rushing yards per game, and a stingy 58% completion rate for opposing quarterbacks. Shutting down Hasselbeck and the Seahawks offense through the air will be THE most important factor for pulling off the upset, in spite of all the hype around Steve Hutchinson.
By Sunday evening, there will be two 4-2 teams in the NFC West. Now if the Rams could just do something about that division record...
While we're at, here are my week 7 picks, guaranteed to make you all the wealthiest chair-moisteners in sector 7-G.
Jaguars at Texans
So Wali Lundy is the starting RB du jour for the Texans. At this point, it wouldn't matter if OJ Simpson were the starting running back and the real killers were in the end zone waiting for him, it just ain't gonna happen. Jacksonville, home of Skynyrd, is 0-2 on the road, but the Texans are 1-2 at home. Jags, 27-10
Chargers at Chiefs
What Chiefs fan isn't going to revved up at the chance to expose Martyball, again? The Chiefs simply have to win this game, just like the Steelers had to win the game last week. Chiefs, 27-24
Panthers at Bengals
The Bengals defense is exposed, and Delhomme targeting Steve Smith, well, at least Steve Smith, is primed to burn a secondary that did as much for the Gradkowski story last week as Gradkowski. The real winner here is you, the viewer, as Steve Smith won't want to be shown up on TD celebrations by the master, Chad Johnson. Hoping they both, a lot, Panthers, 24-21.
Steelers at Falcons
Once again the exciting Michael Vick has ceased to be exciting. The Steelers shut down the run, what else to the Falcons have? This game just doesn't interest me, at all, not even with Willie Parker on a fantasy team. Steelers, 24-14.
Bucs at Eagles
Man, the media LOVES the Eagles, and the contrarian loves the idea of them losing this one. And they just might. With Simms safely away from the playing field, Tampa Bay has a passing game again, something the Eagles don't defend well. Tampa's D stays fired up from the Bengals win, Bucs, 24-21.
Packers at Dolphins
When bad teams beat up on each other up, everybody wins. Ronnie Brown justifies me using my fourth pick in the fantasy draft on him in a big way this week. Dolphins, 31-27
Broncos at Browns
Here's this week's defensive battle. The Broncos don't score much; the Browns score even less. Ugh, could there be anything worse than this game being on TV? Living in Cleveland. Touché. Donkeys, 14-10
Vikings at Seahawks
See above. Vikings, 28-24
Cardinals at Raiders
Another treat of a game. Last season, it would have been on Monday night. That Leinart is looking good, for a guy that diddled Paris Hilton. Cardinals, 21-14
Redskins at Colts
The biggest disappointment about Clinton Portis this season is the lack of Thursday press conference characters. Seriously, it might have been the most entertaining thing in the NFL a year ago. The man who brought you Sheriff Gonna Getcha is gonna get plenty of space to run against a Colts team that should have lost to the Titans. Does a loss mean fewer fucking Manning commercials? Skins, 21-20
Giants at Cowboys
Will somebody buy Parcells a Manzierre or a Bro? There should be more scoring in this game than on Michael Irvin's cul-de-sac. 0-2 week for the Mannings, how sweet it would be. Cowboys, 31-30