Christopher’s Picks: Week 7

Earlier this week, I found a great chart projecting the probability of each team to win their division at this point. As we near the halfway point of the season, it’s a great chart to keep tabs on to see how far ahead/behind your team is at the moment, based on median probability.

Check it out here. For those of you who can’t click, I’ll briefly summarize:

New England and New Orleans have all but won their divisions.

I think most would agree that the Patriots and Broncos are the favorites to win their divisions. New Orleans is ahead by about 1,000 games in the NFC South, with Tampa Bay and Atlanta falling fast and Carolina fluctuating each week. New England only has a two game lead over second place in the AFC East, but their 2-0 division record looks great so early on.

Green Bay has a surprising lead in the NFC North.

Seeing as they’re currently third in the division, their nearly 60 percent chance of winning is especially strange considering their only divisional game is last week’s 22-9 win over the Calvin Johnson-less Lions. I wouldn’t write off the Bears and Lions in that division just yet.

As does Denver.

Yes, the Broncos are the best team in football. But to see them with an almost 90 percent chance of winning the AFC West with Kansas City still unbeaten as well is pretty confident. Luckily we’re less than a month away from their first meeting of the season and both could still be unbeaten by the time it rolls around. Talk about pivotal.

The NFC East is a two-team race.

Dallas has the highest probability in the division, unsurprisingly. But they and Philadelphia actually have the only realistic shots of winning the division, according to this chart. If only they played each other this weekend…

Coverage Maps

Another disappointing week. All of the coverages are somewhat regional, but they certainly aren’t the best games of the week. Of course, Chicago-Washington is the Fox game. CBS’s doubleheader will give us New England-NY Jets (instead of Detroit-Cincinnati) and Baltimore-Pittsburgh. Nothing to write home about, really.

Now let’s pick. Last week I went 10-5, bringing my record to 63-30. Decent, but I lost some pretty bad games last week. Hopefully Week 7 will be better.

Seattle over Arizona

Not a surprising score, but it didn’t make Arizona’s offense any easier to watch. Russell Wilson, however, is just getting hot.

Atlanta over Tampa Bay

0-5 Tampa Bay vs. 1-4 Atlanta? Who could have predicted that prior to the season? Matt Ryan lost Julio Jones for the season in Week 5 and he’ll also be without Roddy White and Steven Jackson this week. But the Bucs are 0-5 for a reason.

Detroit over Cincinnati

Getting Calvin Johnson back is huge for Detroit. Their offense functions ten times better with him, and Reggie Bush, on the field. I’m expecting their defense to force mistakes from Andy Dalton and keep them in the game. The rest will be on Matthew Stafford.

Miami over Buffalo

The spotlight has turned away from Miami now that they’ve dropped two straight, but they’re still the second-best team in the AFC East in my eyes. And after playing moderately well through six, they should win their first divisional game.

New England over New York Jets

Obviously anxious to see what impact Rob Gronkowski will have in his debut, but I don’t think it will matter either way. The Patriots keep finding ways to win in spite of who’s out there.

Dallas over Philadelphia

For first place in the pretty unimpressive NFC East. Dallas is 0-2 in road games this season, while Philly is winless at home, so it’s more of a toss-up than it seems.

Here’s an even crazier stat: they’ve played five of the same six teams and both have lost to Kansas City, Denver, and San Diego on the year. I think Dallas should win this one, but that doesn’t mean much.

Carolina over St. Louis

It’s now or never for the Panthers. To have any chance this season, these are the games they simply have to win.

Chicago over Washington

Still not impressed with Washington’s defense (and why would I be?), but Chicago’s defense hasn’t been great this season either. But they know how to force turnovers and Robert Griffin III is still getting his rhythm back. Bad combination for the home team.

Jacksonville over San Diego

The Jaguars are inching closer and closer to their first win of the season. I think they’ll get it tomorrow.

San Francisco over Tennessee

The Titans get Jake Locker back, which is good news, but San Francisco should do enough to pull this one out.

Green Bay over Cleveland

Did you see Brandon Weeden last week? Hopefully not. Another dismal performance by the former first-rounder. Can’t expect much better this week.

Kansas City over Houston

For Case Keenum‘s sake, I hope the Texans make this a game. I, like the coaching staff, would like to see him against a human defense. KC should get him off his game early and render him ineffective by the fourth quarter though.

Baltimore over Pittsburgh

Even with Baltimore leading the Steelers by two games, your guess is as good as mine here.

Denver over Indianapolis

Lost in the drama surrounding Peyton Manning‘s return to Indy is the fact that Von Miller‘s back.

And after a six-game PED suspension, he’ll certainly look to pad his sack totals this week against Indy’s offensive line. A win for Andrew Luck and company would be massive, but I can’t bet against Peyton here. He’ll go into his former home and do what he does best.

New York Giants over Minnesota

Some Monday Night game we have here. Neither is playing well, so this pick isn’t being made with full confidence. New York has to win sometime, right?

Record (Week): 8-7

Record (Season): 71-37

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