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AFC North Week 7 Predictions

AFC North Week 7 Predictions
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Welcome to the AFC North predictions page!

Each week, one of 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.

Atlanta Falcons @ Baltimore Ravens
Sunday, October 19, 1:00pm, Fox

The draft-day rivalry between quarterbacks Matt Ryan and Joe Flacco continues, this time in Baltimore.

What to watch:

Ravens air attack.  After setting numerous records against the Buccaneers last week, Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco will be set loose against a suspect Falcons secondary.  Watch for wideouts Torrey Smith and Steve Smith to be heavily involved as Flacco’s trust in each continues to expand.

Julio Jones.  The Falcons’ top wideout is posting career numbers and could have a spectacular day against an erratic Ravens secondary.  Look for an entertaining battle between Jones and Ravens cornerback Jimmy Smith.

Bottom line:  The Ravens rarely lose at home, and the struggling Falcons aren’t expected to offer much of a challenge.  Ravens 31, Falcons 17

 

Cleveland Browns @ Jacksonville Jaguars
Sunday, October 19, 1:00pm, CBS

The surging Browns take their newfound aerial attack to North Florida against the winless Jaguars.

What to watch:

Browns continued intensity.  After dispatching longtime nemesis Pittsburgh last week, the Browns are looking to sustain their balance, particularly on the road.  Against most teams, this could be a possible letdown game.  But this is the winless Jaguars.

Jaguars’ desperation.  There’s not much to be happy about in Jacksonville right now, except possibly the incremental development of rookie quarterback Blake Bortles.  Expect the Jags to play angry and desperate.  Whether they can retain their focus enough to win this game is another question.

Bottom line:  There’s just not enough talent on the roster for the Jaguars to pull out this one.  Browns 35, Jaguars 10

 

Cincinnati Bengals @ Indianapolis Colts
Sunday, October 19, 1:00pm, CBS

The Bengals look to regroup on the road after posting a high-scoring tie with the Panthers last week.

What to watch:

Bengals’ defense.  The Bengals were exploited defensively last week, and have not been able to slow opponents in any facet for the last three.  Embattled linebacker Vontaze Burfict needs to focus and shut down the Colts’ suspect rushing attack, and the Bengals’ resurgent secondary will need to be at their best against NFL passing and TD leader Andrew Luck.

Colts’ wideouts.  Receivers Reggie Wayne and T.Y. Hilton are playing very good football, and may be too much for the Bengals’ corners to handle alone.  Expect many three and four wide looks from the Colts to spread the field for their running game.

Bottom line:  Indianapolis, particularly with Luck playing at an all-world level, isn’t the place for the Bengals to reassert themselves.  Colts 28, Bengals 24

 

Houston Texans @ Pittsburgh Steelers
Monday, October 20, 8:30pm, ESPN

The Steelers look to bounce back from a painful loss at home, but will have to do it against the Texans and defensive superman J.J. Watt.

What to watch:

Steelers offensive line.  This group will have to contend not only with Watt, but also the possible return of top draft pick Jadeveon Clowney, who is currently listed as questionable.  If this combo is allowed to roam free in the Steelers’ backfield, it could be a very long night for quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.

Texans slow start.  The Texans have had marked difficulty scoring points in the first quarter, so their chances of winning in a hostile Heinz Field will rest on them effectively moving the ball and establishing themselves early.

Bottom line:  The Steelers eke out a low-scoring, ugly one.  Steelers 14, Texans 13

 

Author’s picks:

Writer Game Score
Ravenous128 Falcons @ Ravens Ravens, 31-17
Browns @ Jaguars Browns, 35-10
Bengals @ Colts Colts, 28-24
Texans @ Steelers Steelers, 14-13
Peatwo (13-4) Falcons @ Ravens TBD
Browns @ Jaguars Browns, 23-17
Bengals @ Colts Colts, 38-34
Texans @ Steelers Steelers, 23-14
DOOOMMEEEEDD Falcons @ Ravens Ravens, 31-20
Browns @ Jaguars TBD
Bengals @ Colts TBD
Texans @ Steelers TBD

 

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