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Survivor Pool Picks: Week 7, 2021

By Matthew Schiff | 10/21/21

Upset Special: NY Jets over New England

The battle of the rookie quarterbacks in the AFC East will hopefully be something to watch for years to come. Both Mac Jones and Zach Wilson were promising quarterbacks in college and are learning the ropes under fire.

This game is in New England and these teams are pretty much the same on paper. Their running games aren’t exactly scary, their passing games are “passable” and neither defense has played exceptionally well.

As a divisional game, these teams will pull out any trick play, and a turnover will most likely be the difference. But how does Vegas have a touchdown spread for the home team when the Jets have the ability to pull off this upset?

#3: LA Rams over Detroit: (5-1: buf, TB, AZ, GB, MN, PIT)

The NFL scheduling coordinators are really having fun with the storylines this year. First you had Tom Brady returning to Gillette Stadium for a Monday night game, and this week the Rams host the Lions in a game billed as the “QBT rade Bowl” between Jared Goff and Matthew Stafford.

For years, Lions fans knew that they had a good quarterback, but management could never fill in enough pieces around him to make the team better. Imagine if Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods had played for Detroit?

The Rams paid a pretty penny to get Stafford and it looks like it’s paying off. His QB rating is No.1 with 16 TDs in his first six games (most by any QB after a trade) and has made Kupp and Woods even better than what they were with Goff.

So, for those tortured Lions fans, this week you will get to see what could’ve been as the Rams roll over Detroit in the late marquee game on Sunday.

P.S. The only reason this is my #3 is that this week the Cardinals play their easiest game of the year against Houston (see below).

#2: Baltimore over Cincinnati: (5-1: TB, GB, DEN, no, NE, LAR)

Normally I avoid divisional matchups, especially ones between the top two teams in the division. But as they say in science, “prove it”.
The Ravens have been a consistent powerhouse in the AFC Central for years, and the Bengals, just this year, are starting to put it all together. Joe Burrow is playing well after coming back from his season ending knee injury last year, and is enjoying his new receiver, Ja’Marr Chase. Combine that with Joe Mixon who is currently a top 10 running back, and there seems to be a balance in the Bengals offense that they haven’t had since the days of Carson Palmer and Ickey Woods.

But make no mistake, Lamar Jackson is the real deal as a double duty threat who is playing with the 2016 RB studs of Latavius Murray, Le’Veon Bell, and Devonta Freeman. Yes, you can’t count on one of those backs for your fantasy team, but you can count on the Ravens using them well enough to keep the other team’s offense off the field.

It’s on the defensive side of the ball that this game gets interesting. These teams were built to beat their opponent (directly) and for that reason, I say “prove it”. Until the Bengals can beat the Ravens on the road, it should be safe to take the home team if you have already used the other great matchups this week.

 Bengals-O / Ravens-D Comparison
CIN Off Rk Stat Rk BAL Def
344.5 21 TOT YDS 18 359.3
238.3 18 PASS YDS 26 277.3
106.2 20 RUSH YDS 3 82.0
24.7 12 PTS SCORED 7 20.5
8 21 T OVERS / T AWAYS 20 6

 Bengals-D / Ravens-O Comparison
CIN Def Rk Stat Rk BAL Off
331.1 8 TOT YDS 4 421.7
240.5 13 PASS YDS 11 266.5
90.5 8 RUSH YDS 4 155.2
18.5 5 PTS SCORED 7 28.3
6 21 T OVERS / T AWAYS 20 8

#1: Arizona over Houston: (6-0: SF, CLE, CAR, BUF, TB, KC)

It’s Week 7 of the NFL season, and the Arizona Cardinals are the last undefeated team. The last time these Cardinals looked this good, was in 2015 when they went 13-3, earned a bye in the first round, but ultimately lost to Carolina (15-1) in the NFC Championship.

Since then, the Cardinals have had three quarterbacks, but clearly have found the star of the franchise. Kyler Murray is on pace for a 5000-yard season, 40 touchdowns, 16 interceptions, with a completion percentage of 73%, and a QB rating of 114. Is this sustainable? Possibly.

Zach Ertz was recently acquired from Philadelphia and immediately provides a surehanded target in the middle of the field adding to the plethora of weapons that he already had. With DeAndre Hopkins, A.J. Green (who is having a nice resurgence), rookie Rondale Moore and Christian Kirk, defenses are hard pressed to cover this spread offense, that allows Murray to run the ball when his receivers are covered. On top of that, the balance of hard-hitting James Conner and scat back Chase Edmonds make it difficult to blitz when play-action is a real possibility.

For Houston fans, the worst part is that they’ll get to see their old star receiver running routes for a team that most certainly has a chance to go deep in the playoffs, while Deshaun Watson trade rumors continue to circulate.

Last year’s 4-12 record may dwarf the number of wins that they have this year and Davis Mills is not enough to give the Cardinals defense anything to worry about. As such, take the undefeated team and look to next week.