Danny O’Neil’s Week 7 NFL picks: One last ride for 49ers, Kaepernick
Colin Kaepernick and the San Francisco 49ers are headed to Splitsville.
You already knew that, though. In fact, former NFL executive Andrew Brandt compared it to a marriage in which the spouses have agreed to wait until their high-school senior graduates before separating.
I think it’s a little more extreme than that. This couple has gone so far as finalizing divorce terms, Kaepernick and the team modifying his contract in a way that makes it certain he is gone after this year.
Except the couple has this vacation that they planned back when things were good. In fact, they paid up front for it. No refunds. No substitutions. And since neither the 49ers nor Colin Kaepernick did much of anything the first month of the season, why not take one final trip.
There’s no illusions that this is anything permanent. No chance that this is anything other than a way for both to play out the string, and (maybe) have one or two more victories.
And with that, here are the picks for Week 7 of the NFL season.
Chicago at Green Bay (Thursday night)
Can you imagine what Chicago fans are thinking with all the complaints about Aaron Rodgers? The Bears fans have cheered for Brian Hoyer, the spoiled frat boy that is Jay Cutler, Caleb Hanie, Josh McCown and Gross Rexman … err … Rex Grossman. Chicago WISHES it had the Packers’ problems at quarterback.
Pick: Packers 24, Bears 16
New York Giants vs. Los Angeles in London
The NFL is trying to convince the Brits to like American football by sending them Case Keenum? Seriously? This is a bunch of garbage. If Roger Goodell really cared about the product he would come down and tell the Rams they needed to stop playing this dude. Put Jared Goff in the game. He can’t be worse than this. Just can’t be.
Pick: Rams 23, Giants 21
Cleveland at Cincinnati
It’s the Bengals who are actually Ohio’s bigger disappointment this season. The Browns may be winless, but no one actually expected the Browns to be good. In fact, the Browns have been more competitive than expected. Three of their six losses are by six points or fewer. The Bengals? They were supposed to be good. And they stink. Putrid. They’re 2-4, and their two wins are over the Jets and the Dolphins, which is the equivalent of beating Rutgers and Idaho (and the Huskies got absolutely ripped for scheduling those two patsies). We can’t blame Cincinnati for soft scheduling, but we can say they haven’t beaten anyone worth a hangnail this season. And now they’re playing Cleveland? Chalk up another marshmallow for the Bengals.
Pick: Bengals 27, Browns 24
Washington at Detroit
This is difficult. Washington is a team whose mascot is an epithet. The quarterback is a bit of a dud, and the owner is kind of a jerk, but the Lions are just so utterly and forgettably “meh.” Except for Calvin Johnson. Oh wait. He’s retired. Sorry.
Pick: Epithets 27, Lions 26
Oakland at Jacksonville
The Raiders are 4-2, but they can’t stop anyone. They’ve held only one of their six opponents to fewer than 25 points. The Jags have only scored more than 25 points in one game this season. And while the Raiders are 3-0 on the road – one of two AFC teams unbeaten on the road this season – having a tissue-paper defense is not the recipe for a breakthrough.
Pick: Jaguars 33, Raiders 27
New Orleans at Kansas City
The Chiefs might be the most inconsistent team in the league, having won a game by 21 points one week and losing by 29 seven days later. The Saints, on the other hand, might be the most consistent. They consistently hemorrhage points, having given up 34 or more point in four of the five games this season.
Pick: Chiefs 34, Saints 27
Buffalo at Miami
Are the Bills actually … gasp … good? Seriously. They’re scoring a ton of points, and they’ve won five of the last six games in this division series. Couple that with the fact that Miami got gifted a win when Ben Roethlisberger left the game with an injury. In an absolutely terrible division like the AFC East, the Bills are decidedly average.
Pick: Dolphins 24, Bills 23
Baltimore at New York Jets
The Jets are painfully inept. The Ravens are painfully boring. Who wins? Take boring every time. Especially in the SEC. Even in the NFL.
Pick: Ravens 24, Jets 20
Minnesota at Philadelphia
This game is like watching a recently divorced couple meet at the backyard barbecue of a common friend with absolutely no animosity. Sounds impossible, right? But the Vikings are undefeated and the Eagles have a winning record while starting a rookie the city is pumped about. The Vikings are stoked because they traded what appears to be a late first-round pick for a quarterback who saved their season. Philadelphia is pumped because it got a first-round pick in exchange for a place-holder quarterback it was going to kick to the bricks a year from now.
Pick: Eagles 20, Vikings 17
Indianapolis at Tennessee
What’s more surprising: that the Colts are 2-4 or that the Titans are 3-3? Indianapolis have won 14 of the past 15 games between the teams, including all seven games started by Andrew Luck.
Pick: Colts 28, Titans 27
San Diego at Atlanta
The Chargers are the most hard-luck team in the NFL. The Falcons just returned from a two-game road trip in which they nearly pulled off a double play against two of the best defenses in the NFL. Remember how the Chiefs rebounded from a 1-5 start last season to make the playoffs? Well, the Chargers just might do that this year after starting 1-4.
Pick: Chargers 34, Falcons 31
Tampa Bay at San Francisco
It’s this week’s example of “Why the NFL stinks.” The Bucs decided to promote an offensive coordinator who couldn’t cut it as Arizona State’s head coach. The result is that the Bucs have scored fewer than 20 points in three of the first five games under Dirk Koetter. As for San Francisco, the 49ers have been outscored 185-99 over the past five games.
Pick: Bucs 26, 49ers 18
New England at Pittsburgh
A Steelers team that doesn’t have Ben is going to play like a has been, but hey, go for it Landry Jones. The Steelers have yet to play a close game this season. None of their games have been decided by fewer than eight points. The Patriots’ last four games have all been decided by double digits, too.
Pick: Patriots 35, Steelers 13
Seattle at Arizona
The Seahawks have won the past three road games against the Cardinals by a combined score of 105-34 while Arizona has won two of the past three games in Seattle. The strange thing in this matchup is that Seattle is the one whose rushing game is struggling, the Seahawks ranked 25th in yards per carry and 30th in yards per carry.
Pick: Seahawks 23, Cardinals 13
Houston at Denver (Monday night)
Great. The Texans are in prime time. Again. Who doesn’t want to watch Brock Osweiler start against the team that benched him last year for Peyton Manning’s playoff run? Actually, a better question is who wants to watch that.
Pick: Broncos 23, Texans 19