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Stampede Blue’s NFL Week 7 staff picks

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NFL: NFC Wild Card-Atlanta Falcons at Los Angeles Rams Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

A month and a half of football is in the books and, if we’ve learned anything from the first six weeks, it’s tough to accurately pick winners in the NFL.

Road teams are off to an all-time high success rate in hostile environments, and the difference in talent between the 10th-best team and the 25th-best team isn’t as great as it’s been in years past.

Much as the parity in the NFL, the Stampede Blue staff has some still competition in its game picks. Through 91 games, Greg Rader — who’s picked just over 68% of his games correctly — holds a slight two-game lead over Zach Hicks — hitting nearly 66% of his picks — but the drop-off between those following behind is insignificant. Only six games separate first place from seventh place, with last place still batting over .500.

Week 7 has it all for NFL fans this weekend; from fun quarterback duels, to rematches of prior postseason bouts, to return games and intense divisional battles. Here’s how I’ve ranked the slate:

Can’t miss contests:

Texans @ Colts

Ravens @ Seahawks

Eagles @ Cowboys

Vikings @ Lions

Raiders @ Packers

Could be surprisingly fun:

Saints @ Bears

Chiefs @ Broncos

Cardinals @ Giants

Patriots @ Jets

Rams @ Falcons

I think I’m falling asleep:

49ers @ Redskins

Jaguars @ Bengals

Dolphins @ Bills

Chargers @ Titans

One thing I wanted to start highlighting in the staff picks are some of the more notable decisions by the staffers. An awards of sorts for being bold, boring or downright crazy.

The boldest upset award: Andrew Aziz

Andrew is putting his money where his mouth is, as the only staffer to pick the Dolphins to upset the Buffalo Bills. We all know Aziz is a Josh Rosen stan, but he’ll need some Ryan Fitz-magic in order to get this one right with Rosen heading to the bench.

The Chucky Chalk award: Brett Mock

Hate to come at the man in charge, but Mr. Mock sided with the majority of the staff in all but one game this week — taking the Dallas Cowboys over the Philadelphia Eagles.

The road warrior award: Elliot Denton & Matt Danely

Matt and Elliot both picked 10 road teams to win in enemy territory this week, with the most notable upsets being the Ravens over the Seahawks (Elliot), the Cardinals over the Giants (both) and the Texans over the Colts (Danely).


Greg Rader: 62-29 (68.1%) / Zach Hicks: 60-31 (65.9%) / Elliot Denton: 58-33 (63.7%) / Chris Blystone: 57-34 (62.6%) / Chris Shepherd: 57-34 (62.6%) / Mateo Caliz: 56-35 (61.5%) / Brett Mock: 56-35 (61.5%) / Blake Pace: 56-35 (61.5%) / Josh Hudgens: 45-32 (57.1%) / Matt Danely: 49-42 (53.8%) / Stephen Reed: 49-42 (53.8%) / Andrew Aziz: 47-44 (51.6%)

Thursday 8:20 pm ET

Chiefs (10) @ Broncos | Contrarian: Greg Rader, Stephen Reed

Sunday 1:00 pm ET

Raiders @ Packers (10) | Contrarian: Mateo Caliz

Rams (9) @ Falcons | Contrarians: Elliot Denton, Zach Hicks

49ers @ Redskins

Texans @ Colts (10) | Contrarian: Matt Danely

Vikings @ Lions (7) | Contrarians: Caliz, Danely, Denton, Rader, Reed

Jaguars (9) @ Bengals | Contrarians: Andrew Aziz, Chris Shepherd

Cardinals @ Giants (6) | Contrarians: Chris Blystone, Danely, Denton, Hicks, Blake Pace

Dolphins @ Bills (10) | Contrarian: Aziz

Sunday 4:05 pm ET

Chargers (8) @ Titans | Contrarians: Danely, Josh Hudgens, Pace

Sunday 4:25 pm ET

Ravens @ Seahawks (8) | Contrarians: Blystone, Denton, Rader

Saints (9) @ Bears | Contrarians: Hicks, Shepherd

Sunday 8:20 pm ET

Eagles (7) @ Cowboys | Contrarians: Aziz, Caliz, Hicks, Brett Mock

Monday 8:15 pm ET

Patriots (9) @ Jets | Contrarians: Blystone, Shepherd

Who do you have coming out on top in Week 7?