It’s Week 8, and we still have four one-loss teams remaining in the league. Two of said squads square off this week, so we will be losing at least one name from that list for sure. Otherwise, there are a bevy of appetizing games on the docket, starting with the Thursday night tilt between San Diego and Denver. I know I’ll be getting my fix of football on Sunday when I wake up to the Lions and Falcons duking it out over seas at 9:30 (e.t.) followed by a pick of three other games. Yup, its going to be a marathon this Sunday, and I’m looking forward to it. We are starting to heat up here in this column. Last week rewarded a record of 11-4, and we hope for even better things this week with fifteen exciting games to dig into. Let’s get cracking.
Thursday, October 23rd, 8:25 e.t.
San Diego Chargers (5-2) @ Denver Broncos (5-1)
When Philip Rivers isn’t rocking sweet Bolo Ties, he’s holding his own against Peyton Manning-lead squads. He sure has held his own against the new touchdown record holder over his career. Heck, his Chargers played the Broncos tough in all three match-ups last year. So because of recent trends, I’d say we should expect a close game here. Even though #17 has been balling hard this season, his stats are still below that of Peyton, who has been playing like a god in the regular season since about this time two years ago. It’s going to be tough for San Diego to slow down the (now) balanced Denver offense. Demaryius Thomas has been lighting secondaries up over this past month, and I see him grabbing six passes for 103 yards and a TD in this contest. Broncos win.
Denver 37, San Diego 23
Sunday, October 26th, 9:30 e.t.
Detroit Lions (5-2) vs. Atlanta Falcons (2-5) (London)
The Lions eeked one out at home against the Saints last week and now they head across the pond to face the Falcons who have been nearly unwatchable on offense over the past couple of weeks. I do give credit to their defense though; they didn’t allow the Ravens to hang 30 points on them. Cutting the string at 29 is good enough for them at this point. If Atlanta is to win this one, they are probably going to have to score at least four touchdowns on the NFL’s top (total yardage) defense. In order to do that, they will need to find a running game. Oh yeah, Detroit is tops in the league in that category as well. Things don’t look good for the birds here.
Detroit 31, Atlanta 17
Sunday, October 26th, 1:00 e.t.
St. Louis Rams (2-4) @ Kansas City Chiefs (3-3)
If it seems like it’s been about a month since the Chiefs had played a home game, it’s because it has been. The last time these guys could be seen at Arrowhead, they were spanking the Patriots and reclaiming the home-field advantage that they had lost in Week 1 to the Titans (of all people). Coming off of a nice win over the Chargers on the road, I like the Chiefs to handle business at home against the Rams. Granted, they are coming off of an impressive win at home over Seattle, but I don’t see them getting any help from special teams shenanigans this week to pull the upset. I’ll go with the home team.
Kansas City 20, St. Louis 10
Miami Dolphins (3-3) @ Jacksonville Jaguars (1-6)
The Jaguars just played their best game of the season last week at home against Cleveland. Now they host a team that just played its best game of the season last week on the road in Chicago. Denard Robinson was the workhorse for the Jags last week… let that sink in for a minute. I remember this guy lighting things up as a quarterback at Michigan a couple of years ago. Anyways, he will tote the load in this game and I just don’t trust that game-plan. While I am not as high on Miami as a lot of other people are, I do see them coming to town and winning this game… Aw hell, I’ll go Jacksonville. Feeling froggy with this one, don’t ask why.
Jacksonville 20, Miami 17
Buffalo Bills(4-3) @ New York Jets(1-6)
I swear that I’m not crazy, but I’m gonna pick another 1-6 team to win this week. That’s right, THIS will be the week that the Jets get back on track. They should have fun moving new offensive weapon, Percy Harvin, around against a Buffalo defense that has held its own this season. Kyle Orton, though, was barely able to beat the Vikings at home last week. Does that tell us that these Bills aren’t as good as their record tells us? Maybe. I like seeing the Bills play good football each and every week, but this time around I see the Jets yanking the win. Nick Folk nails five field goals, two from 50+, in this one. You heard it here first.
New York 22, Buffalo 20
Houston Texans (3-4) @ Tennessee Titans (2-5)
The Pittsburgh Steelers scored more points in the span of four and a half minutes than the Texans were able to score in the entire game last Monday night. That’s ugly. What may be even more uglier is the fact that the Titans allowed Colt Freaking McCoy’s Redskins to trump them with a last second field goal a week ago. Is Charlie Whitehurst really the guy they are going to send out in this game? It’s better for any team that he is on if he is holding the clipboard. Texans win behind the power of their offensive and defensive lines.
Houston 24, Tennessee 10
Chicago Bears (3-4) @ New England Patriots (5-2)
After laying an egg at home last week against the Dolphins, the Bears take their show on the road to New England to take on the red hot Patriots. After Chicago had trouble stopping Ryan Tannehill and pals at home last week, how do you think they will fare on the road in Foxboro. You don’t wanna know the answer if you are a Bears fan.
New England 41, Chicago 20
Seattle Seahawks (3-3) @ Carolina Panthers (3-3-1)
After the dust settles from this contest, one of the two playoff teams from a year ago will have a record below .500 heading into Week 9. That team will be the Panthers. To me, this game is a no-brainer. Carolina has struggled to stop anybody lately and Russell Wilson (save a Week 6 stinker at home vs. Dallas) has been phenomenal over the last month. Plus, teams have really been able to take it to the Panthers on the ground this season. Marshawn Lynch will run rampant all afternoon here. Yeah, I’ve been saying that for a while now but this time I really mean it. Seattle scores three times on the ground and once through the air en route to a solid road win.
Seattle 28, Carolina 16
Baltimore Ravens (5-2) @ Cincinnati Bengals (3-2-1)
This is a battle of two teams going in opposite directions. The Ravens have been sizzling since their week one defeat at the hands of these very Bengals. But are they the same team that won opening week, really? These kitties haven’t even won a game in over a month. Andy Dalton has been mediocre at best since the Tennessee game, and has disappointed fantasy owners everywhere *cough, cough*. With this being said, I know that this offense can be streaky and they have a tendency of turning things around at home. It’s hard to do this, but I am picking the Bengals to get back on track with a nice home win, thus sweeping the Ravens on the season. We all expect Baltimore to win this one, and if I know anything about the NFL it is that the expected is generally what does not happen.
Cincinnati 28, Baltimore 18
Minnesota Vikings (2-5) @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-5)
This is a tough game to call because you don’t know what you are going to get from either squad on a week to week basis. Some weeks the Vikings defense has looked respectable, and others they have been dominated. The Buccaneers’ defense has been bad pretty much every week, but their offense has showed up at times throughout the season. I am giving the Bucs’ the benefit of the doubt here, because most of the time when they have been shredded, it has been by a pretty good quarterback. Teddy Bridgewater is not that, at least not yet. His one touchdown versus five interception ratio is scaring nobody (except for maybe Minnesota fans). I think Tampa Bay gets after him and posts a nice home win coming off of their BYE.
Tampa Bay 13, Minnesota 7
Sunday, October 26th, 4:05 e.t.
Philadelphia Eagles (5-1) @ Arizona Cardinals (5-1)
The Eagles, along with the Seahawks, are the only team in the league that has managed to score at least 21 points in all of their games this season. They manage to get to that mark in this game against the Cardinals who have been pretty good at keeping their opponent’s scores down. Even though I love them at home, I see Arizona having a tough time moving the ball in this game. Despite their 5-1 record, they haven’t been playing all that well over the past couple of weeks. I can see Zach Ertz mauling this defense in the middle of the field with six catches for 110 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Philly wins in an exciting game that features some solid “D”.
Philadelphia 21, Arizona 16
Sunday, October 26th, 4:25 e.t.
Oakland Raiders (0-6) @ Cleveland Browns (3-3)
The Raiders have been taking baby-steps this season and Derek Carr has been looking better and better each week. Meanwhile, the Browns fell flat on their face last week on the road in Jacksonville. They turned the ball over three times (after only surrendering it twice all year going into that contest) and allowed the Jags to score 17 points off of those turnovers. The reason why Cleveland was so bad last week was because they could not get their running game going. Luckily they are facing the Raiders run defense this week. They rank 29th in the league at stopping the run. Who ranks last? Yup, the Browns, but that Darren McFadden/Maurice Jones-Drew dream team circa 2010 isn’t going to manage much space in this game. I like Cleveland to bounce back at home behind the strength of the ground game.
Cleveland 25, Oakland 13
Indianapolis Colts (5-2) @ Pittsburgh Steelers(4-3)
There ain’t no team hotter than these Colts, and they are a couple of plays away from being 7-0. Andrew Luck has carried this squad all season long and he will continue to do so this afternoon as he torches the Pittsburgh defense to the tune of 335 yards and three touchdowns. The Steelers have struggled against AFC South teams this year despite their 2-0 record in that division. If these guys are to hang with Indy in this one, they will have to hope for big games from the “big three” (Ben Roethlisberger, Le’Veon Bell, and Antonio Brown). Brown notches his usual 5+ catches when he records 7 for 79 yards and a TD, but in the end it won’t be enough. I can’t pick against the Colts given the run they are on now.
Indianapolis 31, Pittsburgh 21
Sunday, October 26th, 8:30 e.t.
Green Bay Packers (5-2) @ New Orleans Saints (2-4)
I was going to pick the Saints to win this game, but then I remembered… they aren’t that good. Meanwhile, the Packers have been excellent since their 1-2 start, and it all starts with Aaron Rodgers. He has thrown a whopping 18 touchdown passes against only one interception this season (he is 17-0 in that category since Week 1). He faces a New Orleans defense that has not been sharp this season. Even though I see Rodgers having his way with them in this game, I do predict that he throws one pick. But he overcomes this blemish with four touchdowns. Drew Brees manages to keep things close, but this game is Green Bay’s to win when all is said and done.
Green Bay 35, New Orleans 28
Monday, October 27th, 8:30 e.t.
Washington Redskins (2-5) @ Dallas Cowboys (6-1)
It has been the Murray show (sorry, I had to) down in Dallas this season. His 913 rushing yards on the season puts him 198 ahead of the next closest contender. He deserves some MVP consideration for his performance so far this year. However, the Cowboy offensive line has been opening up holes that you could drive a semi-truck through during the course of the season. And Tony Romo has been protected well. This has allowed him to hook up with his favorite friends down the field. Dez Bryant, Terrence Williams, Jason Witten, and Gavin Escobar have all been active members in the offense over the past couple of weeks. What does that mean for the Washington defense? Bad things. Bad things indeed. I think the ‘Skins will play Dallas very tough though. I can see Colt McCoy having a nice evening, throwing for 313 yards and two scores. As badly as I want to pick the Redskins to win (as I could see them pulling the upset) I’m not going to. I feel like I am going out on some limbs with my picks this week. I don’t have the guts to stick my neck out in this one. I’m going Cowboys.
Dallas 36, Washington 27
Week 8 Bonus Predictions
Upset of the Week: Jacksonville over Miami
Sure Bet of the Week: New England over Chicago
Rookie of the Week: Sammy Watkins
Offensive Player of the Week: Peyton Manning
Defensive Player of the Week: Malcolm Jenkins (with a forced fumble and an interception)
Best Overall Offense: Denver Broncos
Best Overall Defense: Kansas City Chiefs
Feel free to leave a comment stating what you think will happen in this weekend’s games!