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Game Capsules: 2007 NFL Game Capsule-Week 7

Dalton Del Don

Dalton Del Don

Dalton Del Don writes about fantasy sports for RotoWire.

NFL Game Capsules
By Dalton Del Don
RotoWire Staff Writer



Arizona (+9) at Washington, Sunday 1 p.m.



Comments: The Cardinals quickly went from
having an excess of quarterbacks to having a need, after losing Matt Leinart (collarbone) and Kurt Warner (elbow) to injury. However, it
now appears that Warner may actually be able to play Sunday, despite tearing
ligaments in his (non-throwing) elbow. The likely return of Anquan Boldin

(hip) is a boon to the offense as well, but the matchup is difficult this
week, as the Redskins have been murder on opposing quarterbacks… While the
Cardinals boast one of the league’s best WR tandems, the Redskins are still
searching for their first touchdown from the position this season. The team’s
wideouts struggled mightily last week, dropping numerous balls and fumbling
away an eventual defensive touchdown. They face an improved Arizona secondary
this week, but QB Jason Campbell has really progressed this year. Offensive line injuries have really hurt the run blocking, however, and Clinton
Portis and Ladell Betts have struggled rushing the ball this season. Still,
the Cardinals are vulnerable to the run, and the Redskins boast the conference’s No. 1
ranked defense.



Predictions: Kurt Warner shows he’s not 100
percent, throwing for just 180 yards and one TD to Larry Fitzgerald. Edgerrin
James adds 75 rushing yards but fails to score, while Clinton Portis runs for
100 yards with a TD. Jason Campbell throws for 225 yards and two TDs, which
Santana Moss and Chris Cooley haul in, as Washington comes out on top.
Redskins 24-16.



Atlanta (+9) at New Orleans, Sunday 1 p.m.



Comments: Saddled with a 1-5 record, coach
Bobby Petrino has decided to start looking to the future by replacing Joey
Harrington with Byron Leftwich at quarterback. Atlanta’s losses weren’t
all Harrington’s fault; the team’s defense has played poorly and the running
game has been stagnant, but Harrington has looked especially bad recently. Over
the last two weeks, he’s completed just 49 percent of his passes, getting a
paltry 4.2 YPA with a 0:2 TD:INT ratio. The club views Leftwich as the team’s
permanent starter, that is, until the position is addressed during the draft.
Leftwich has been hampered by an ankle injury, but at the very least, his big
arm should help Roddy White, as they can now better utilize the speedy
wideout’s downfield ability… Only one team has ever overcome an 0-4 start to
make the postseason, but playing in such a weak conference, the Saints could
conceivably become the second. Last week was a good start. Reggie Bush finally found some running room as well, as he took 19 carries for 97 yards (5.1 YPC), getting the three longest rushes of his career
in the process. The defense has also improved, allowing just 16.5 points per
game over the last two contests after surrendering 34.3 points per game over
the first three weeks.




Predictions: Byron Leftwich’s first start in
Atlanta comes with mixed results, throwing for 225 yards and TDs to Roddy
White and Alge Crumpler but also two picks. Jerious Norwood and Warrick Dunn
combine for 110 rushing yards but neither reaches the end zone, while Reggie
Bush answers with 150 total yards and two scores. Drew Brees adds 250 passing
yards, with a touchdown strike to Marques Colston, as the Saints win at home
for the first time all season. Saints 24-17.



Baltimore (-3) at Buffalo, Sunday 1 p.m.



Comments: Both teams are without the quarterbacks that opened the season as starters, but that doesn’t necessarily mean
they are downgrades. Kyle Boller is 2-0 when filling in for Steve McNair this
season and has won four of his last five starts. That said, the two wins have come
with just 5.8 YPA, and the Ravens’ defense isn’t as great as it once was,
especially when away from home. Willis McGahee returns to his old stomping
grounds, where he can be expected to be greeted by a chorus of boos. He
finally got a rushing score last week – his first since Week 16 of last
season… While injuries originally led to both of the quarterback switches, J.P.
Losman is now healthy, yet the Bills have elected to keep rookie Trent Edwards

as the team’s signal caller. He’s shown flashes of potential, but we still expect major growing pains. Marshawn Lynch has had a terrific rookie
season, but the Ravens are stout against the run. Still, Baltimore is hardly a
team that screams road favorite, and Lee Evans might get behind the defense
for one big play, with the defense creating enough turnovers to win the battle
of field position. One of the most unknown and underrated players in the NFL
is punter Brian Moorman, but that’s not necessarily a good thing for Buffalo, as the
team is better off the less he’s used.



Predictions: Kyle Boller misses Todd Heap

(hamstring, out), throwing for just 180 yards with a TD to Derrick Mason.
Willis McGahee adds 110 total yards and scores, while Marshawn Lynch musters
just 60 yards without a TD. Trent Edwards is limited to only 160 yards
passing, although Lee Evans accounts for half of that amount. A defensive
score is the difference, as the home team pulls off the upset. Bills
16-14.




New England (-16.5) at Miami, Sunday 1
p.m.



Comments: While the Patriots aim to reach
7-0 for the first time in franchise history, the Dolphins hope to avoid
falling to 0-7 for the first time ever. While it’s a monumental mismatch on
paper, New England tends to struggle in Miami, going just 2-5 there during
the Bill Belichick era. Five of Tom Brady’s eight career divisional losses
have been at the hands of the Dolphins, who have also held him to fewer than
200 passing yards in six of their last seven meetings. Still, this isn’t a
history lesson, and Brady has been the league’s MVP through the first six
weeks. The Dolphins have a porous defense, a quarterback making
just his third career start and will need to rely on Ronnie Brown more than
ever after trading away Chris Chambers. The Patriots are
terrific at taking away opponents’ best offensive players, so expect the Pats
to key on Brown all game Sunday… New England has yet to score fewer than 34
points in a game this season or win by less than 17 points. Divisional
matchups, especially on the road, can be tricky, regardless of talent. However, there’s quite a discrepancy here, as the Pats enter with the
NFL’s No. 1 ranked offense and No. 2 ranked defense. Sammy Morris (chest) is
out, Laurence Maroney (groin) is iffy, but it hardly seems to matter; whoever
gets the touches is likely to have a big day against the league’s second worst
run defense that will be geared toward trying to contain the game’s best
passing attack.




Predictions: Cleo Lemon passes for 180 yards
and finds new de facto No. 1 wideout Marty Booker for a score, while Ronnie
Brown adds 110 yards and a score of his own. Tom Brady answers with 300 yards
passing and three more TDs, with Randy Moss catching two and Wes
Welker the third. Kevin Faulk gets most of the carries in New England’s
backfield, netting 90 yards and a touchdown, as the Pats continue to
roll. Patriots 34-17.



San Francisco (+9.5) at New York Giants,
Sunday 1 p.m.



Comments: San Francisco’s 2-0 start is a
distant memory -- the team has dropped three straight and will be without
Alex Smith (shoulder) yet again Sunday. Trent Dilfer’s numbers are downright
ugly: 4.9 YPA, 46.2 completion percentage, 1:3 TD:INT ratio and three fumbles.
He’ll have to face a fierce Giants pass rush Sunday, and a defense improving
in all aspects after a slow start to the year. New York’s defense is only
allowing first downs on 18 percent of running plays, the third best mark in
the league. Moreover, the Giants have allowed just 20 points over the last 14
quarters of action. After reaching the century mark in rushing yards during
nine games last season, Frank Gore has yet to surpass 81 rushing yards in a
game this year… The Giants' offense hasn’t been too bad either, averaging 26.5
points during the team’s four game winning streak. Eli Manning has
career-highs in completion percentage (60.7) and YPA (7.0) and has only been
sacked six times through six games; now, he’ll have to try to avoid the second
half swoon that has hampered him during each of the past two seasons. Plaxico
Burress (ankle) is tied for the NFL lead in touchdown receptions, despite
never practicing, and the team’s rushing attack has really gotten going, no
matter who the ballcarrier is. Facing a 49ers squad ceding 124.2 rushing yards
per game, expect another big day for the Giants’ ground game
Sunday.




Predictions: Trent Dilfer struggles yet
again, throwing for 180 yards, zero touchdowns and two interceptions. Vernon
Davis (knee) returns to action and gains 75 yards, while Frank Gore adds 80
yards and scores. Brandon Jacobs gets the majority of the carries in the
Giants’ three-pronged rushing attack, racking up 100 yards and a TD. Eli
Manning chips in with 250 passing yards and two TDs, with Plaxico Burress and
Jeremy Shockey the recipients, as the home team prevails. Giants 27-13.



Tampa Bay (+2) at Detroit, Sunday 1
p.m.



Comments: Tampa Bay has been a tough team to
beat this season, losing only in Indianapolis and Week 1 when Jeff Garcia left
injured. Garcia has been a big factor in their success, getting 8.3 YPA without committing a single turnover this season. Still, this team isn’t the same
when away from home (TB has not allowed a first half point at home this
season) and is hardly built for a game played on turf. Additionally, the loss
of Carnell Williams and Michael Pittman has the running game in a shambles, to
the point of calling on Michael Bennett as its savior… Detroit, meanwhile, has
had two weeks to prepare and is coached by someone who spent 10 years on Tampa
Bay’s staff. Moreover, Kevin Jones is finally back as
starter at running back, which can only help a previously stagnant ground
game. Calvin Johnson is also back to 100 percent, so you’ve got to figure the
Lions are going to put points on the board. Part of the reason Garcia has been
so efficient is that he’s only attempted 24.0 passes per game this season, so
trouble may lie ahead if the team is forced to throw more than they’d like in
a shootout with the league’s fifth best passing attack.




Predictions: Jeff Garcia throws for 275
yards and two touchdowns to Joey Galloway, while Earnest Graham reaches
paydirt as well. Jon Kitna counters with 315 yards passing and scoring strikes
to Roy Williams and Calvin Johnson. Kevin Jones adds 80 yards with a TD, as
Detroit wins it. Lions 24-21.




Tennessee (-1) at Houston, Sunday 1 p.m.



Comments: After a surprising start, the
Texans have looked a lot like previous versions of late, dropping three
of their last four contests. Defense has been a problem, but red zone efficiency
has been a major culprit as well. For the season, Houston has scored a
touchdown on just 30 percent of their red zone possessions (the NFL average is
a little more than 50 percent) and has scored zero touchdowns on five
possessions inside the 10-yard line over the last three games. Matt Schaub has
played well (69.1 completion percentage), but the ground game ranks
29th in the league, and Andre Johnson (knee) looks likely to miss
another game… Last week saw the Titans drop their first road game in six tries,
lose Vince Young to a quad injury and the defense allow its first fourth
quarter points of the season. The team boasts the best rush defense in the
league and should be better offensively even if Kerry Collins is forced to
start, as a week of starter snaps in practice should really help. It’s
counterintuitive, but the Titans could really use a better running back,
despite the team being ranked sixth in the NFL in rushing. Chris Brown is
fragile, rookie Chris Henry remains nothing more than a workout warrior, and
LenDale White is underwhelming -- slow and plodding, evidenced by
his miniscule 3.2 YPC despite running behind an underrated offensive line. He
does have three touchdowns, but that’s due to the fact he leads the NFL in
goal line carries. Nevertheless, the Titans win this one on
defense.




Predictions: Matt Schaub gets 200 passing
yards with a TD to Kevin Walter, but the Texans offense continues to stall
inside the 20, leading to field goals instead of touchdowns. Vince Young
misses his first game ever – including high school, college and the pros –
leaving Kerry Collins at the helm. He throws for 220 yards and finds Roydell
Williams in the end zone. LenDale White again dominates the carries in
Tennessee’s backfield, leading to 75 rushing yards and a score, as the road
team comes away with the victory. Titans 17-13.




Kansas City (-2) at Oakland, Sunday 4:05
p.m.



Comments: In a battle of attrition, the
Chiefs' 30th ranked running game faces off against the Raiders'
28th ranked rush defense. After fielding a surprisingly strong
defense last season, the Raiders have really regressed,
while the offense has shown marked improvement. LaMont Jordan leads the NFL’s
third-best rushing attack, but Daunte Culpepper needs to make quicker
decisions; last week he was sacked six times and this week faces a Chiefs team
tied for second in the NFL with 19 sacks on the season. In 86 career starts,
Culpepper has 82 fumbles… Kansas City has done a 180 since Dick Vermeil left,
fielding a middling offense but an above average defense, especially since
Jared Allen returned from suspension. Allen has six sacks through four games
this year and should wreak havoc Sunday. Larry Johnson finally found the end
zone for the first time all season last week – he also lost his first fumble
in more than 400 touches – and should carve up a leaky Raiders front seven,
although Kansas City’s run blocking leaves a lot to be desired. Priest Holmes

may suit up for the first time in 22 months, but the 34-year-old is unlikely
to make much of an impact. Whomever Nnamdi Asomugha doesn’t guard, Tony
Gonzalez or Dwayne Bowe, will have the bigger statistical day, and as much as
the Raiders seem to be taking steps in the right direction, it’s hard to
consider them a favorite over such a solid team as Kansas City… The Chiefs have
beaten the Raiders eight straight times.



Predictions: Daunte Culpepper throws for 230
yards with a TD to Ronald Curry but also gets sacked multiple times and
commits a couple of turnovers. LaMont Jordan totals 125 yards and scores,
while Larry Johnson counters with a nearly identical line. Damon Huard adds
200 passing yards and tosses a touchdown to Tony Gonzalez, as the Raiders lose
their 17th consecutive divisional game. Chiefs 20-17.



New York Jets (+6) at Cincinnati, Sunday
4:05 p.m.



Comments: A regression to the mean was
likely this season after last year’s unlikely playoff run, but the Jets’
current 1-5 record is worse than most anticipated. Their lone victory
came against the winless Dolphins, leaving much of the media and fan base
clamoring for a quarterback change. While it’s likely to happen eventually,
Chad Pennington remains the starter for now, and he has a tasty matchup
against the Bengals this week. However, he’s really struggled on the road this
season, posting a 2:5 TD:INT ratio. Thomas Jones had his best game in his new
uniform last week and looks to build off that strong effort against a Cincy
squad yielding 145.8 rushing yards per game. In a battle between the
28th and 30th ranked defenses in the league, expect the
scoreboard operator to be busy Sunday… Whether or not a hamstring injury is to
blame, Kenny Watson has just two fewer rushing yards on 27 fewer carries than
Rudi Johnson this season. Johnson has yet to run for a TD this year and is
inferior to Watson as a pass-catcher. Expect a timeshare moving forward. If
looking deeper into the numbers suggested T.J. Houshmandzadeh was a better WR
than Chad Johnson entering the year, then 2007 has added an exclamation point.
Six of Carson Palmer’s eight interceptions this season have come on passes
intended for Johnson, while Houshmandzadeh has the second-most TD catches in
the league. Call him Ocho Quatro.




Predictions: Chad Pennington bounces back
from a couple of poor efforts with 250 passing yards and TDs to Laveranues
Coles and Jerricho Cotchery. Both receivers approach 100 receiving yards on
the day, while Thomas Jones adds 120 yards and a score. Kenny Watson is again
the more productive Bengals running back, gaining 60 yards with a score.
Carson Palmer contributes 340 passing yards and two TDs, with Chad Johnson and
T.J. Houshmandzadeh the recipients, as Cincy wins for the first time since
Week 1. Bengals 27-24.




Minnesota (+9.5) at Dallas, Sunday 4:15
p.m.



Comments: The Cowboys looked lackluster
against an inferior Bills team two weeks ago and lost by 21 points last week,
so expect a strong rebound performance Week 7. Dallas will take out its
aggression against a Minnesota team coming off an impressive win in Chicago,
where rookie running back Adrian Peterson had one of the most impressive games
ever. Questions remain at the quarterback position with Tarvaris Jackson (5.9
YPA), but the team clearly hit a home run with the Peterson selection. He
leads the NFL in both rushing yards (607) and YPC (6.3). The only argument now
is whether Peterson’s a top-3 or a top-5 fantasy back… Questions abound whether
Tony Romo’s confidence has been shaken, but a meeting with the league’s worst
pass defense should help rectify that problem. Since Minnesota also owns the
best run defense and is the only team yet to allow a rushing score, expect
Romo to lead the Dallas attack Sunday. Surprisingly, Jason Witten leads the
team in receptions (32), receiving yards (454) and is tied in touchdowns with
four. If Dallas jumps out to a lead, and Minnesota is forced to pass to play
catch up, things could get ugly.




Predictions: Tarvaris Jackson throws for 200
yards with a couple of picks and a TD to TRoy Williamson. Chester Taylor runs
for 50 yards, while Adrian Peterson adds 90 yards and a score. Tony Romo

answers with 320 passing yards and three TDs, two going to Terrell Owens and
the other to Jason Witten. Julius Jones and Marion Barber total just 90
rushing yards with no scores, but it doesn’t matter, as Dallas gets back into
the win column. Cowboys 27-17.




Chicago (+5) at Philadelphia, Sunday 4:15
p.m.



Comments: Entering the season, few expected
this Week 7 matchup to feature two last place teams, but that’s the case
when the Bears face the Eagles Sunday. While Philadelphia has disappointed,
Chicago has been an utter disaster; through six weeks, the Bears have allowed
just one fewer point than they did through 12 weeks last season; they’ve also
allowed 15.0 more points per game at this stage of the season compared to
last. It’s safe to say Lovie Smith’s decision to get rid of Ron Rivera looks like a mistake, though injuries and the Super Bowl hangover deserve their
share of the blame as well… Philadelphia has been unimpressive in
four of their five games this season, but a win Sunday evens their record and
puts them in the thick of the playoff hunt in a decidedly mediocre NFC. The
defense has been solid, never allowing more than 21 points in a game this
season. However, the offense has sputtered when it comes to putting points on
the board, scoring just five touchdowns during 16 trips to the red zone. Donovan McNabb has thrown multiple TDs in just one game, and the team
might be better off making Brian Westbrook the focal point of the offense,
especially this week, facing a Chicago team that allowed a franchise-worst 224
rushing yards to Adrian Peterson last week.




Predictions: Brian Griese gets 240 yards
passing with touchdowns to Bernard Berrian and Desmond Clark. Cedric Benson
gets bottled up, failing to gain even 75 rushing yards or score. Brian
Westbrook answers with 150 yards combined and two TDs, while Donovan McNabb

throws for 240 yards and a score to Kevin Curtis, as the home team prevails.
Eagles 24-17.



St. Louis (+9) at Seattle, Sunday 4:15
p.m.



Comments: The NFC West has combined to lose
12 consecutive games, but something has to give when two division rivals meet
Sunday. Marc Bulger returns to the lineup after watching backup Gus Frerotte

throw eight interceptions over the last two games, and hopefully the time off
let his ribs heal. The offensive line is a disaster, and
Steven Jackson (groin) is again sidelined, so there’s still plenty of reason
for pessimism. Still, it’s not like the Seahawks are some elite team, and the
Rams should be able to at least hang around… It’s the resistable force against
the movable object, as Shaun Alexander (3.6 YPC) faces the conference’s worst
run defense (134.5 ypg). Alexander is finished as an above average running
back in this league, and now it remains to be seen if he can be anything but a
major liability. Matt Hasselbeck has a very favorable matchup against a poor
Rams secondary, so expect a big game from the Seattle signal caller, despite
the dearth of talent playing the wide receiver position. The Seahawks are
clearly a team in decline, but they play in the one division that makes them
look elite.



Predictions: Marc Bulger throws for 225
yards, two picks and two TDs. Isaac Bruce and Torry Holt haul in the scores,
while Brian Leonard adds 80 total yards. Shaun Alexander runs for 70 yards
with a goal line score, while Matt Hasselbeck gets 290 passing yards and
throws touchdowns to Bobby Engram and Nate Burleson, as the Rams remain
winless. Seahawks 24-17.




Pittsburgh (-3.5) at Denver, Sunday 8:15
p.m.



Comments: Both teams are coming off a bye
and are dealing with injury issues. Javon Walker requires knee surgery, but
Hines Ward (knee), Santonio Holmes (hamstring) and Troy Polamalu (abdomen) are
all set to return for the Steelers. The help for the receiving corps will be
needed, as Denver comes in with the game’s best pass defense (145.6 ypg).
However, the Broncos also sport the league’s worst run defense (187.6 ypg), so
expect the offense to center on Willie Parker Sunday. Pittsburgh
enters with the NFL’s top-ranked defense but lost to Arizona in their last road game… Denver is now just 2-6
during its last eight home games. The Broncos haven’t won since Week 2, and
Jay Cutler hasn’t thrown for multiple scores in any game this season. The loss
of Walker is major, but Brandon Marshall’s statistics should see a
major uptick as a result. Travis Henry should be taking every carry as if it
were his last, but this week’s matchup against the Steelers isn’t easy. Still,
Denver needs this game more and will be extra motivated after an embarrassing
effort during their last outinh (41-3 loss to the Chargers). The home underdog
wins in primetime.




Predictions: The Steelers concentrate on the
ground game, resulting in Willie Parker gaining 130 yards with a TD run. Ben
Roethlisberger adds 200 passing yards with a TD to Hines Ward, while Jay
Cutler answers with 220 yards and a scoring strike to Brandon Marshall. Travis
Henry runs for just 60 yards, but he also reaches the end zone, as Denver pulls off
the upset. Broncos 23-20.



Indianapolis (-3) at Jacksonville, Monday
8:30 p.m.




Comments: Jacksonville’s four-game winning
streak has flown somewhat under the radar, possibly because they haven’t
beaten anyone with a winning record this season. Last year, the Colts lost all
three AFC South road games, including a 44-17 drubbing by the Jaguars - a game
in which Jacksonville ran for 375 yards. Indianapolis has already avenged two
of those losses in Houston and Tennessee this year, and you can bet the
Jaguars have their attention as well. David Garrard is one of only two NFL QBs
who has yet to throw a pick this season, and Maurice Jones-Drew is finally
back to 2006 form (5.7 YPC). Jacksonville’s physicality may give a finesse
team like the Colts problems, but they are going to get the undefeated team’s
A-game under the national spotlight… The Colts have committed an NFL-low three
turnovers this season, but the Jaguars have allowed zero points off giveaways
– the only team in the NFL to do so. A Colts victory would make them become
just the third team in NFL history to start out 6-0 for three straight
seasons. The bye week has given them two weeks to prepare and get healthy, as
Joseph Addai (shoulder), Marvin Harrison (knee) and Bob Sanders (ribs) are all
expected to return to the lineup. This matchup is far from easy for the Colts,
who are definitely vulnerable on the road, but their defense is much improved
over last year’s version, and Peyton Manning is still the game’s best
player.




Predictions: David Garrard throws for 230
yards and a touchdown to Dennis Northcutt, while Maurice Jones-Drew totals 90
yards with a score as well. Peyton Manning counters with 260 passing yards and
scoring strikes to Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne, while Joseph Addai adds
100 rushing yards and a touchdowns, as Indy’s record stays flawless. Colts
24-20.



Article first appeared 10/19/07