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NFL Picks, Week 7: Falcons-Lions, Bears-Buccaneers, Colts-Saints And More

Week Seven is highlighted by Tebow-mania in Miami, the possible return of Carson Palmer, and two prime-time matchups the networks would like to rethink. With a dearth of super-exciting matchups out there, it might be necessary to make games more interesting the old-fashioned way. The NFL lines are here!

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The picks:

Atlanta @ Detroit (-4). An Atlanta fan shouldn't be approaching this game with confidence - Julio Jones is questionable along with what seems to be the entire offensive line - but dammit, I'm doin' it anyway. It's this rumble in my gut (which, ok, might be the McRib I just ate) that tells me Roddy White is going to step up, the defense will keep Calvin Johnson from raining hellfire, the Lions will really miss Jahvid Best, and the Falcons will come home with a winning record. It's pretty non-sensical (the O-line might be more important against the Lions than any other team, Best isn't that good), but I had the same feeling about "Fast Five" and look how that turned out. (Awesome. It turned out awesome.) PICK: Atlanta

Washington @ Carolina (-1). But anyway, back to the McRib. Is there a more masterful piece of marketing out there? McDonald's puts the sandwich on its menu about once a year, just long enough for one to forget how thoroughly grotesque it is - a pasty roll, onions and pickles, and a barbeque-slathered slab of "meat" (quotations used very much on purpose). Nothing appetizing about it at all, but dammit all, every time I see that "McRib Is Back!" sign, my car turns into a drive-thru magnet. And guess what? It's disgusting again this year. I won't have more than six or seven. (Two words of actual game advice: John Beck.) PICK: Carolina

Seattle @ Cleveland (-2 1/2). One of only three games between teams with losing records, this somehow seems like the most sickening of the bunch. At least Denver-Miami gives us the Tebowtastic sideshow,  and St. Louis-Dallas features one team that's actually pretty good. But what's here to enjoy? Fireworks from Charlie Whitehurst? The emerging receiving skills of some guy named Doug Baldwin? Hell, Peyton Hillis, the one guy who you might possibly, somehow have on your fantasy team, is hurt. For masochists only. PICK: Cleveland

Denver @ Miami (PICK). With a peppering of short-sightedness and a dash of not-at-all-coincidence, the Dolphins are celebrating the 2008 national-champion Florida Gators on the day Tim Tebow comes to town. Yes, the Dolphins - who play about 350 miles south of Gainesville, on the same field as the Miami Hurricanes (the Georgia Dome is literally closer to Gainesville than Sun Life Stadium). Hurricanes fans are understandably pissed, but anything to sell a few extra tickets to this depressing team, I guess. PICK: Denver

San Diego (-1) @ NY Jets. With wins over the Vikings, Chiefs, Dolphins and Broncos, the Chargers might be owners of the least impressive 4-1 record ever. Still, they go into the Meadowlands as a road favorite against a 3-3 teams whose losses were at Oakland, at Baltimore and at New England. I wasn't a math whiz, but somethin' don't be addin' up. (I wasn't an English whiz either.) PICK: NY Jets

Chicago (-1) vs. Tampa Bay (in London). Chicago just needs this. The team's schedule, already brutal so far, becomes even more so in the next few weeks: at Tampa Bay, at Philadelphia, Detroit, San Diego, at Oakland. Ick. Any real shot of playoff contention could hinge on this one. PICK: Chicago

Houston @ Tennessee (-2 1/2). This game is for first place in the AFC South. The AFC South sucks. PICK: Tennessee

Pittsburgh (-4) @ Arizona. The talk about Andrew Luck's eventual NFL destination seems to revolve around Miami, St. Louis and Indianapolis, but let's not count out Arizona. The team has dropped four in a row, have a killer remaining schedule, and probably aren't all too thrilled with Kevin Kolb's performance thus far (one touchdown and five picks in his last three games, all for only $65 million!). The Steelers will kick the Cards' losing streak to five. PICK: Pittsburgh

Kansas City @ Oakland (-3 1/2). As everyone no doubt heard, Oakland sent its 2012 first-round pick - and potentially its 2013 one - to Cincinnati for quarterback Carson Palmer, who may start this week. Raiders coach Hue Jackson was in charge of the Bengal's receivers from 2004 to 2006, when Palmer was the team's quarterback. Which begs the question: has Jackson not watched Palmer play since then? The guy didn't have much last year, throwing 20 interceptions on the way to a 4-12 record. And he's suddenly supposed to give the Raiders hope five days out of retirement? PICK: Kansas City

St. Louis @ Dallas (-15). Let's all say it together: "NFL starter A.J. Feeley." Due to Sam Bradford's high ankle sprain, those words will be uttered this weekend for the first time since 2007. Even the Cowboys can't screw this game up, right? PICK: Dallas

Green Bay (-10 1/2) @ Minnesota. Instead of focusing on this laugher, let's think positive and look to Thanksgiving Day. After years of bitching about Detroit's strangehold on the holiday, I must credit the NFL for its 12:30 T-Day matchup: Green Bay at Detroit. That game might be worth all those years of misery, when Detroit was the equivalent of tryptophan laced with Ambien. I'm excited. PICK: Green Bay

Indianapolis @ New Orleans (-15). Oh, the poor bastards at NBC. Imagine the spring meeting when the Sunday Night Football match-ups were chosen. This seemed like such a no-brainer at the time, but now we're being punished with a Curtis Painter-led Colts team against a pretty boring version of the Saints. Agony. PICK: Indianapolis

Baltimore (-10 1/2) @ Jacksonville. Now this game, on the other hand - when did this ever look interesting enough for a prime-time match-up? Even worse, this is one of THREE remaining night games for the Jags. Unreal. PICK: Baltimore

Last week: 7-6-0
Yearly total: 51-37-2

Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.