NFL Week Seven Late Game Picks: Luck Needed Against Peyton Manning


January 27, 2013; Honolulu, HI, USA; AFC quarterback Peyton Manning of the Denver Broncos (18) and AFC quarterback Andrew Luck of the Indianapolis Colts (12) pass the ball during warm ups before the 2013 Pro Bowl against the NFC at Aloha Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

San Francisco 49ers at Tennessee Titans:  Jake Locker return a factor

Some might consider this a cakewalk for the San Francisco 49ers but there are shifting winds that say that isn’t necessarily the case.  The Tennessee Titans gave Seattle all they could handle last week despite playing with Ryan Fitzpatrick at quarterback.  This week they return home to the news they could get Jake Locker back who has been out with a hip injury.  Before going down he was play some very good NFL football and might be the spark the Titans need.  In a game that figures to be dominated by defenses, it comes down to which offense can manufacture more points with fewer mistakes.

Final score:  S.F. 16, TEN 19

Cleveland Browns at Green Bay Packers:  Brandon Weeden needs good game

Two banged up teams meet at Lambeau Field in this tilt.  The Cleveland Browns continue their fight to stay afloat in the AFC North without their surprise hero Brian Hoyer.  Brandon Weeden faces the Green Bay Packers who already don’t have Clay Matthews and might not have both James Jones and Randall Cobb on offense.  Still, history proves the Packers are among the best at adjusting to injuries and getting by.  Cleveland still has their strong defense who can keep it close but can Weeden really outduel Aaron Rodgers?

Final score:  CLE 14, G.B. 28

Houston Texans at Kansas City Chiefs:  Alex Smith must keep managing

Two of the best pass defenses enter this game with limited star power at quarterback.  The Kansas City Chiefs have continued their steady, winning start with the ball control style of Alex Smith.  Meanwhile the Houston Texans have subbed in the untried Case Keenum for the injured and erratic Matt Schaub.  Not only will passing yards take a back seat in this contest, points will be very hard to come by.  Keep a close on eye on Arian Foster and Jamaal Charles.  Whichever running back has the bigger day should help decide the outside of the game.

Final score:  HOU 12, K.C. 20

Pittsburgh Steelers at Baltimore Ravens:  Joe Flacco can’t afford 2nd letdown

Finally getting a win was a huge relief for the Pittsburgh Steelers.  The question now is with the rest of the division floundering at .500, is there still time for them to actually have a chance at making the playoffs?  A huge factor in that comes against their bitter rival Baltimore Ravens.  The defending champs are reeling from a tough defeat at the hands of Green Bay.  Joe Flacco struggled for most of the afternoon and now must try to rebound against an NFL team and a defense that tends to give him headaches.  Pittsburgh must protect Ben Roethlisberger against the Ravens dynamic pass rush if they want any chance of a stealing a win in this one.

Final score:  PIT 21, BAL 20

Denver Broncos at Indianapolis Colts:  Andrew Luck vs. Peyton Manning

By far the toughest challenge yet for Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos.  He must go back into the stadium he helped build against the young quarterback in Andrew Luck who replaced him with the Indianapolis Colts.  Denver will have their best player on defense back in Von Miller while Chuck Pagano figures to hatch some surprises for Manning with his stingy 3-4 defense.  The question is if the Broncos jump to early lead will the Colts head coach let the team ride the right arm of Luck to stay in the game?  If he does then this could be a very exciting one.

Final score:  DEN 30, IND 33

Minnesota Vikings at New York Giants:  Eli Manning needs his best

Two team struggling for an identity to get back on the winning track.  The Minnesota Vikings have switched over to free agent pickup Josh Freeman at quarterback hoping for a spark.  The New York Giants can’t find any answers to their pass rush or why Eli Manning can’t protect the football.  It’s not like Minnesota has all the answers on defense either.  This game has the feel of a battle of attrition, two bad teams hoping to string enough good plays together to escape with a win.  Look for the running games to factor in heavily.

Final score:  MIN 31, NYG 28