NFL Week 7 Picks
Once upon a time, the unfortunate Dennis Allen was named head coach of the 2012 Oakland Raiders. He stepped into a hopeless situation and failed to make it better. Allen went 4-12 in 2012 and 2013 before being fired after an 0-4 start in 2014. Following his departure from the Raiders, Allen returned to where he made his name. Allen was the defensive secondary coach of the New Orleans Saints from 2008 through 2010 and was on the staff for their Super Bowl championship. Allen rebuilt his career as the Saints' defensive coordinator from 2015 through 2021. Now he is the new head coach of the Saints following the retirement of Sean Payton. Allen has huge shoes to fill and faces a tricky future.
Last year the Saints were without quarterback Jameis Winston, who was injured as the heir apparent to Drew Brees. Winston has been an interception machine as a pro quarterback. Payton was thought to be the mentor that could turn Winston’s career around. But now Payton is gone, and there is nothing in Winston’s resume that indicates he can become a reliable NFL quarterback.
The Saints will kick off Week Seven with a Thursday night game at the Arizona Cardinals, who have their own list of worries.
Since 2019 Kliff Kingsbury has been the Cardinals' head coach. In his three years, the team has improved every season going 5-10-1, 8-8, and 11-6. Last year the Cardinals made the playoffs. But they played so poorly down the stretch and in the playoff loss to the Rams that Kingsbury finds himself on the hot seat.
Adding to Kingsbury’s woes is the tumult regarding quarterback Kyler Murray. The first overall pick of the 2019 NFL Draft believes that he was a scapegoat for the bad ending to the Arizona season. He was rumored to be a candidate for a trade after the playoff debacle. But cooler heads prevailed, and Murray is back in the saddle with Kingsbury.
BYE WEEK: Bills, Rams, Vikings, Eagles
NBC Sunday Night Football gets a marquee matchup of legacy franchises with the Miami Dolphins hosting the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Dolphins are coming off an offseason of chaos and tumult.
After a relatively successful stint as Miami head coach, Brian Flores was fired and was replaced by Mike McDaniel. The move failed to excite Fish fans, and allegations by Flores that owner Stephen Ross offered payments to Flores deliberately lose games didn’t help.
This is the third season for Miami quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. Tua missed five starts last year, reminding everyone about his frequent injury issues. But when he is in the lineup, Miami does play better and is on the level of a playoff team.
The Pittsburgh Steelers will be one of the most interesting teams in the NFL. First round draft pick Kenny Pickett out of the University of Pittsburgh is expected to win the starting quarterback job from Mitch Trubisky. Steeler fans were worried about the retirement of Ben Roethlisberger but have found a new reason for hope in the local hero Pickett.
ESPN Monday Night Football offers an interesting matchup of second-year quarterbacks. The Chicago Bears’ Justin Fields had a tough rookie season in which he had to fend for himself and paid an enormous price for doing so. New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones was a 2021 success story, leading the Patriots to the playoffs as a rookie starter.
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