AFC North Week 7 Predictions

AFC North Week 7 Predictions
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Landry Jones may have a little more pressure on him this week, in more ways than one.
Welcome to the AFC North predictions page!
Each week, our AFC North feature writers will list their picks for that week and be forced to explain why they voted as they did. Keep in mind that these picks are for entertainment purposes only, and in no way should be used to influence gambling or illegal activity, unless you’re smart enough to recognize that we know more than you because we publish things.
Week 6 AFC North games:
Pittsburgh Steelers (4-2) @ Kansas City Chiefs (1-5), Sunday 1pm CBS
Cleveland Browns (2-4) @ St. Louis Rams (2-3), Sunday 1pm CBS
Baltimore Ravens (1-5) @ Arizona Cardinals (4-2), Monday 8:30pm, ESPN
By default, Steelers/Chiefs gets our nod as the AFC North game of the week. Its sad when a 1-5 team is featured, but what else is there? The other two AFC North teams are nearing elimination before the season is half way through, and the Steelers are in the playoff hunt. Also, Arrowhead is still a formidable venue for opposing teams. Add in the fact that Ben Roethlisberger is practicing with the first team (an unlikely starter, but still possibility), and you get the game of the week.
Last week, our esteemed prognosticators made up for their 3-12 week 5 record with an incredible 9-11 showing in week 6. With split votes between most teams, the biggest mover was the Steelers mild upset over the Cardinals as all five writers picked the loser.
On to the games:
Jack Crawford (record 12-9):
Steelers 20, Chiefs 24
The Chiefs’ once vaunted defense finds itself against untested Steelers’ QB Landry Jones, who was third on the depth chart for reasons that will become evident as the game progresses. RB Le’Veon Bell will do more than his share, but without a credible passer, the Steelers will struggle all day.
Browns 23, Rams 21
Despite the obvious mismatch of Rams’ rookie RB Todd Gurley v. the Browns’ defense, the defense actually wins, forcing Rams’ erratic passer Nick Foles to commit mistakes. Expect a slow, plodding pas as the Browns try to control the clock and slow things down.
Ravens 24, Cardinals 35
There’s just too much talent on the Cardinals’ roster to not score almost at will against the Ravens’ deservedly maligned secondary. The Cardinals will pass often and effectively, while the Ravens will lean heavily on the ground game to keep the Cardinals’ offense off the field
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Paul Johansson (record 12-9):
Browns 20, Rams 27
The Rams are coming off a relaxing bye week and haven’t played a home game since week 3. On the motivation front, they are now alone in 2nd place in the NFCW, essentially a game out of first. The Rams run the ball well and are basically tied for 2nd in sacks per game. To counter this, the Browns record-breaking QB Josh McCown will again have to shoulder the load. If he has another huge day against a good Rams defense, people may start believing they have a playoff-caliber quarterback, and not just a 36 year-old journeyman. Stay tuned.

Steelers 16, Chiefs 13

The Chiefs defense was rocked in its first four games, but has settled down since then. The problem for KC is their offense can’t move the ball. Without RB Jamaal Charles, they now have fewer play-makers than the Baltimore Ravens. The Steelers defense gives up yards (23rd) but not points (5th), and the Chiefs can’t score. If Landry starts, expect an ultra conservative play-action game-plan from the Steelers offense to take pressure off of their quarterback, who is making his only start in an early playoff run in hostile Arrowhead Stadium.
Ravens 20, Cardinals 26
The Ravens have played competitive games on the scoreboard this season (all games within six points), but to the eye the contests tell a different story. The Ravens have consistently had poor throws and untimely drops on offense, and bad coverage and non-existent communication in the defensive backfield. Add in a below average pass-rush, and the national TV audience on Monday night will witness the Ravens 6th loss in 7 games.
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Michael Thompson (record 10-11):
Browns 17, Rams 24
Rams have a powerful running game, so a Browns’ defense that is the worst in the league in the category will not be able to take advantage of their weakness in the quarterback position. Rams also have one of the best defenses in the league, which will make it difficult for the Browns one-dimensional offense to establish any rhythm.

Steelers 14, Chiefs 17

Landry Jones got a lot of love for completing 8 passes after replacing the ineffective Michael Vick last week. Though the Chiefs have struggled this year, I suspect Andy Reid’s defense and its collection of above-average pass rushers will be able to make life uncomfortable for the career practice team quarterback.
Ravens 14, Cardinals 31
Cardinals will be annoyed after putting up nearly 500 total yards of offense, but only 13 points against the Steelers. I think they’ll take out their frustration on the hapless Ravens, who probably have no desire to have any of their games broadcast on national television this season.
* * * * *

Wernike Korsakoff (record 8-13):

Browns 20, Rams 17
The Browns haven’t had trouble moving the ball on offense. The challenge will be outpacing Rams rookie RB Todd Gurley. This game will come down to a late turnover, and Nick Foles is is the leading candidate to commit one.
Bengals 0, Timeouts 1
With the Bengals on a bye, look for Marvin Lewis to inexplicably call a Week 8 time out over the next few days.
Steelers 24, Chiefs 20
Do the Chiefs have any fight left in them? Third string QB Landry Jones likely won’t be as efficient as he was last Sunday for Pittsburgh, but RBs Le’Veon Bell and DeAngelo Williams will carry the load.
Ravens 24, Cardinals 38
Carson Palmer will pick apart a beleaguered Ravens secondary, while the Ravens’ receivers struggle against a physical Cardinals secondary. This game will be well decided by halftime.
* * * * *
“League Sources” (3-4):
Trying to stay ahead of Wernike so he’s taking the week off.

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