NFL mismatches Week 7: Ground battle in Chicago
Baltimore Ravens (5-1 SU, 2-4 ATS) at Houston Texans (5-1 SU, 4-2 ATS)
Arian Foster vs. Baltimore’s depleted defense
Week 6’s strange loss to Green Bay is in the rearview mirror and for the Texans the fundamentals are still sound. Arian Foster is the No. 2 ball-carrier in the league, and it’s his good fortune to go up against a Baltimore defense that is in transition after the loss of LB Ray Lewis and CB Ladarius Webb to injuries, and before LB Terrell Suggs is back. Houston knows only too well (Green Bay) how dangerous teams injury-depleted teams can be, but on the whole this sets up well for the Texans to bounce back. Foster will be anxious to show that the Green Bay game (17 carries, 29 yards) was an anomaly.
Detroit Lions (2-3 SU, 1-4 ATS) at Chicago Bears (4-1 SU, 4-1 ATS) (Monday night)
Bears’ solid run defense vs. Detroit’s anemic ground game
The Lions’ slow start is at least partly attributable to its inability to move the ball on the ground. Only once - in that Week 3 defense-be-damned 44-41 loss to Tennessee - have the Lions finished four quarters with more than 100 yards rushing. It’s hard to see them moving the chains much against the Bears (who have the best defense in the league against the run (65.8 yards per game), who held Steven Jackson and DeMarco Murray to a combined total of 53 yards on 24 carries.
New York Jets (3-3 SU, 4-2 ATS) at New England Patriots (3-3 SU, 4-2 ATS)
Wes Welker vs. a Jets defense without Darrelle Revis
What success the Jets have had against New England has come by jamming Pats receivers and making it hard for Tom Brady to find passing lanes within 10 to 15 yards of scrimmage. It worked to perfection a few years ago in the playoffs when Revis helped shut down any passing threat outside the numbers. Sans Revis, the Jets will have to loosen up just a bit to prevent big plays, opening things up inside more for Welker, who now is No. 2 in the league in receiving yards (622) after early-season rumors that his role in the offense was being downsized.