MINNEAPOLIS, October 15, 2014 — While Peyton Manning enters the week needing only three touchdown passes to break the all-time NFL record, the new generation of signal-callers is on the horizon. When Manning entered the league, John Elway was playing his final season. One year later Tom Brady entered the NFL as Dan Marino was preparing to call it a career. Except for Marino, the others turned losers into winners. Marino took a great club and kept them great for much of his career.
Now the NFL has Derek Carr, Blake Bortles and Teddy Bridgewater. Oakland and Jacksonville are winless and Minnesota is not much better. Yet a good quarterback can turn things around, and a great one can work magic. Time will tell, but the early signs are that Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, Philip Rivers, Eli Manning and Ben Roethlisberger are about to get some serious competition. With that, here IS the NFL 2014 Week 7 Preview and Bettor’s Guide, with all times Eastern and point spreads provided by FootballLocks.com.
Thursday, October 16, 2014, 8:30 p.m.
New York Jets at New England Patriots (-9.5) — The Patriots are rolling and the Jets are reeling. A few years back the Patriots carpet-bombed the Jets 45-3. This could be worse, as Rex Ryan prepares his resume to be a defensive coordinator somewhere else next year. Patriots cover
Sunday, October 19, 1:00 p.m.
Cincinnati Bengals at Indianapolis Colts (-3) — These teams are right on track to make the playoff and lose to better teams. The Colts are at home, so give them the edge. Colts cover
Tennessee Titans at Washington (-5.5) — Both teams are playing terrible football. Since Tennessee barely survived winless Jacksonville at home last week, give Washington the advantage by default. Washington covers
Miami Dolphins at Chicago Bears (-3.5) — The Bears offense has been clicking. They have too much firepower for a Miami team that inspires nobody. Bears cover
Cleveland Browns (-5) at Jacksonville Jaguars — The Cleveland Browns are finally a real football team. Yet after a big emotional win over hated Pittsburgh, they have to be wary of a letdown against a winless Jacksonville team fighting hard. Browns win but fail to cover
Seattle Seahawks (-6.5) at St. Louis Rams — The Seahawks are not the same team as last year, but the Rams lack the talent to keep up. Seahawks win but fail to cover
Carolina Panthers at Green Bay Packers (-7) — Carolina has played solid football, but going into Green Bay and out-dueling Aaron Rodgers is too much to ask. Packers cover
Atlanta Falcons at Baltimore Ravens (-7) — The Ravens are not that special, but Atlanta is just awful on the road. Ravens cover
Minnesota Vikings at Buffalo Bills (-4.5) — Kyle Orton is a good quarterback, and Minnesota has some key missing pieces. Bills win but fail to cover
New Orleans Saints at Detroit Lions (-3) — The Saints offense has not been what it was in past years and the Lions now have a very good defense. Both these teams deserve one more chance to prove that they are what they have been for some time, which is bad news for the Lions. Upset special, Saints win outright
Kansas City Chiefs at San Diego Chargers (-4) — Philip Rovers is having a career year, which is bad news for a Chiefs team that is overmatched in this game. Chargers cover
New York Giants at Dallas Cowboys (-6) — The Cowboys are winning with a punishing running game. While jumping on the Dallas bandwagon may be premature, the Giants have overachieved and brought back ton reality last week, Cowboys win but fail to cover
Arizona Cardinals (-3.5) at Oakland Raiders — The Cardinals are a good football team, but the winless Raiders took San Diego to the limit last week. Derek Carr is for real, and this week he gets his first NFL win. Upset special, Raiders in outright
San Francisco 49ers at Denver Broncos (-6.5) — The 49ers struggled against St. Louis. Now they face Peyton Manning, who would love to break the NFL all-time touchdown passing record at home on Sunday Night Football. He needs three touchdown passes. He will get them. Broncos cover
Monday, October 20, 8:30 p.m.
Houston Texans at Pittsburgh Steelers (-3.5) — After getting pounded last week at Cleveland, the Steelers know that Mike Tomlin is no longer safe. Houston is improved, but Pittsburgh will bounce back. Steelers cover