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NFL picks, Week 7: Broncos expected to roll over 49ers

Can the Cowboys continue their surge with a victory over the Giants? Will the Raiders or Jaguars ever get a win? SB Nation's expert panel weighs in with their picks for Week 7.

We are more than one-third of the way through the NFL season, yet it feels like we haven't learned anything since Week 1. While a few teams are buried at the bottom of the standings and destined for a high draft pick (we're looking at you Washington, New York Jets, Oakland Raiders, Jacksonville Jaguars, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, St. Louis Rams), there are still a mess of teams with playoff hopes hovering at or just above .500, while only a few teams have emerged as near-locks to play in January.

The competitiveness in the NFL today is at an unprecedented level. Twenty teams are in or within one game of first place in their respective divisions, tied with the 2010 season for the most through Week 6 since realignment in 2002. Nearly half (15 of 32) of the teams have a winning record. Since the league's current playoff format began in 1990, 73 percent of playoff teams had a winning record after six games.

That doesn't mean all hope is lost for fans of teams currently struggling. Look no further than last year, when three of the 12 postseason teams had a .500 or worse record at this point in the season (Carolina Panthers, Philadelphia Eagles, San Diego Chargers).

What this all means is that picking games is more difficult than ever. Teams are constantly fighting to prove whether they are contenders or pretenders, and no team appears to be without its warts. How many people were predicting that the Seattle Seahawks would cruise to another title after their demolition of the Green Bay Packers in Week 1? If the playoffs started tomorrow, the defending champs wouldn't even make the postseason.

Although we can safely say that there are no locks to win in any given week, our experts agree on several unanimous picks in Week 7 that might be safe bets for those still in a survivor pool or just trying to make a few bucks from a friend. Just be sure to do your research before picking these games -- Patriots over Jets, Ravens over Falcons, Seahawks over Rams, Bears over Dolphins, Cardinals over Raiders, Cowboys over Giants.

One of the more surprising near-unanimous picks this week is the Sunday Night Football matchup between the San Francisco 49ers and Denver Broncos, with all but one of our experts at SB Nation picking the Broncos to roll at home. That pick seems to be underestimating a talented 49ers team that has already beaten two of the league's best teams (Eagles, Cowboys) and has allowed the second-fewest yards per game during its current three-game win streak. I'm not saying you should go to Vegas, but ...

Onto the complete picks for Week 7 from our fearless experts here at SB Nation:

Week 7 Ryan Van Bibber Stephen White Joel Thorman David Fucillo Danny Kelly PFT Commenter Matt Ufford
NYJ vs NE NE NE NE NE NE NE NE
ATL vs BAL BAL BAL BAL BAL BAL BAL BAL
TEN vs WAS TEN WAS TEN WAS WAS WAS WAS
SEA vs STL SEA SEA SEA SEA SEA SEA SEA
CLE vs JAX CLE JAX CLE CLE CLE JAX CLE
CIN vs IND IND IND IND IND IND CIN CIN
MIN vs BUF BUF BUF BUF BUF BUF MIN BUF
MIA vs CHI CHI CHI CHI CHI CHI CHI CHI
NO vs DET DET NO NO DET DET NO DET
CAR vs GB CAR GB GB GB GB GB GB
KC vs SD SD SD SD SD SD KC SD
AZ vs OAK AZ AZ AZ AZ AZ AZ AZ
NYG vs DAL DAL DAL DAL DAL DAL DAL DAL
SF vs DEN DEN DEN DEN SF DEN DEN DEN
HOU vs PIT HOU HOU PIT PIT PIT PIT HOU

Our panel consists of: David Fucillo, SB Nation's fantasy guru; Danny Kelly, SB Nation NFL contributor; PFT Commenter, SB Nation's hot takes expert; Joel Thorman, manager of SB Nation NFL blogs; Matt Ufford, editorial producer, SB Nation studios; Ryan Van Bibber, SB Nation's NFL editor; and Stephen White, retired NFL defensive end and SB Nation NFL contributor.

Here's how well they've picked this season:


RVB White Thorman Fucillo Kelly PFT Commenter Ufford
Week 6 9-6 9-6 11-4 10-5
12-3 7-8
9-6
Overall 53-38 50-41 56-35 57-34 51-40 49-42 55-36