Saturday, October 29, 2011

NFL Week 8 Predictions

A lot of division matchups this week which should make for a better weekend of football than last weekend. It also just dawned on me that now that there's no more Baseball - we're left with only Football and Hockey as professional sports - which leaves me with no rooting interest in Fantasy sports during the week. So Commissioner David Stern - I know you're reading this... get it together, grow a pair, and tell the owners to buck up and play ball - I have fantasy leagues to win. Let's get to this weeks picks after the jump...

Sunday, October 30th (1:00 ET Kickoffs)
Indianapolis Colts vs. Tennessee Titans (-9)
The last time these two teams faced off Indianapolis beat the Titans 23-20. Peyton Manning was playing QB for the Colts, and Kerry Collins was under center for the Titans. Both players are now on the sideline for the Colts. Its been that kind of season for Indy. After that 55-point drubbing last week to the Saints it's not even a question as to who the Most Valuable Player is to a team is - I mean any time you lost a guy like LB Clint Session to a division rival like Jacksonville and try to play a full season without him - its just not fair. No but seriously, Peyton Manning is great - and that's never been more clear. Chris Johnson only played for the contract - that's also never been more clear. I'll take the Session-less Colts to hang close to the Titans in this one. Can't say I've ever backed a team that just lost last week by 55. 

Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Houstons Texans (-9.5)
I can't believe the Jaguars actually held on to win that game last week against the Ravens. I thought for sure Blaine Gabbert would succumb to the Ravens defense - and while his numbers were not that impressive, he did enough to let the defense take control and manage the game. This week against the Texans he will have to do more than just manage. He'll have to come out of his shell and get this lackluster offense (12 ppg) going. I don't think that will happen this week. The Texans have a QB that can actually move the ball on offense and an All-Pro RB in Arian Foster. That doesn't even include their stud WR Andre Johnson who is still listed as questionable. I look for the Texans to get out to the early lead and would expect Gabbert to continue his growing pains. I'll take the Texans minus the points at home. 

Minnesota Vikings vs. Carolina Panthers (-3.5)
There's Cam Newton and then there's every other Rookie QB. It's been a good class for Rookies this year, but Newton has been Head, Shoulders, Chest, Stomach, Legs, Kneecaps, and Feet above the rest. All you really need to do is watch this play to understand how special this guy is:

I mean, breaking tackles of Linebackers, out-running cornerbacks, juking safeties. He's a monster. I thought about backing the Vikings based on Adrian Peterson alone - but I'll back the Panthers based on Cam Newton alone. Take the Panthers and lay the points at home. 

New Orleans Saints (-14) vs. St. Louis Rams 
I may have taken the Colts this week - but there's no way I'm going against the Saints. Not after that "Eff You" message they sent to the league last week. Fun little stat for all of you stat nerds: The New Orleans Saints scored 62 points last week, The St. Louis Rams have scored 56 points ALL Season. Laying two touchdowns on the road is tough to swallow - but its the Rams we're talking about... and all they do is Suck (For Luck) and Swallow. Take the Saints to cruise over the Rams. 

Arizona Cardinals vs. Baltimore Ravens (-12.5)
The Ravens need this game as a bounce back for last weeks embarrassing loss. Coming home where they have won the past 5, and 13 of the past 14 is the exact recipe for success. Couple that with the fact that the Ravens play against the Arizona Cardinals - who have lost their last 5 and have quietly entered the "Suck for Luck" campaign as a darkhorse - things don't seem so bad for Ray Lewis & Co. I don't expect the Ravens' offense to struggle one bit against the Cardinals - I'll lay the points and take the Ravens in this one. 

Miami Dolphins vs. New York Giants (-9.5)
71% of investors in this game are backing the New York Giants. Well - I've been a minority my whole life - so why change things now? I'll back the Dolphins plus the points in this one. 

Sunday, October 30th (4:00 ET Kickoffs)
Washington Redskins vs. Buffalo Bills (-6) - game played in Toronto
So the Buffalo Bills just signed their franchise QB. Ryan Fitzpatrick just inked a 6 year deal that could be worth up to $59 million with $24 million guaranteed. I just had this discussion with my brother last week about how long Fitzpatrick will be around and whether or not we see a change any time soon. Both of us agreed that he was the guy - he's got the offense going, he's well liked by teammates and fans, and most importantly he looks like he belongs out there. I'll go out there and say I'm a believer in this guy and I'm not mad that management locked him up for 6 years given how tough a Franchise QB is to find - J.P. Losman, Trent Edwards, Kelly Holcomb, and Rob Johnson - The Bills have definitely been looking in all the wrong places. I just never expected a career-long journeyman and 7th round pick to be our Franchise QB - But it did seem to work out for a guy named Tom Brady. For this week's pick I expect a motivated and well rested Fitzpatrick to get the Bills back on track despite their injuries - I'll take the Bills and lay the points in Canada, eh?.

Detroit Lions (-3) vs. Tim Tebow
What will Timothy Tebow do for an encore this week? Making his first start of the season at home - I would expect nothing less than a miracle in the form of two straight Broncos wins. The first 2 game winning streak since 2009 for the club. I'll take Tebow to get the W at home. 

New England Patriots (-3) vs. Pittsburgh Steelers 
Two weeks for the Patriots to prepare for the Steelers has to tip the balance in their favor. Well - the Steelers pretty much had a bye week last week when they traveled to Arizona so let's throw that part of the equation out. Hines Ward is highly unlikely to play this week for the Steelers which might actually help the Steelers open up the passing game with their deep threat options. Bill Belichick pointed out that Steelers WR Mike Wallace "is really fast and Nobody is going to catch him". Yup - excellent analysis Bill, couldn't agree more. As bad as the Steelers started out this year, they have a real chance to take control of the AFC with a win at home against the Patriots. I look for Big Ben to spread the ball around, and for Troy Polamalu to guess correctly on at least one play turning it into points for the Steelers. I'll take the Steelers plus the points at home. 

Cleveland Browns vs. San Francisco 49ers (-9)
There is no way that the 49ers lose this game at home against the Browns. They're too good of a team to let Colt McCoy do any damage. My only concern is will the 49ers offense do enough damage against a pretty stout Browns defense (4th in overall defense - probably because they've played the Bengals, Colts, Dolphins, and Seahawks, huh?). Yes they will. I expect Frank Gore to carry the load and with the return of Braylon Edwards, QB Alex Smith will have another red zone target. I like the 49ers to roll in this one over the Browns. 

Cincinnati Bengals (-3) vs. Seattle Seahawks 
Yup, here it is - the weekly "game I will avoid watching at all costs". Take the Seahawks plus the points. 

Sunday, October 30th (8:30 ET Kickoff)
Dallas Cowboys vs. Philadelphia Eagles (-3.5)
YESSSS! A good Sunday Night Football game to cap what should be a solid week of Football. After last weeks Prime Time duds - Cowboys/Eagles is exactly what I needed. Here's the problem - I'm torn as to who will win this game. Anyone that has been following the blog, knows that I like the Cowboys a lot this year. This would be the game that if they win, puts them in strong contention for the NFC East while at the same time CRUSHES the remaining hopes of the Eagles season. Then there's the Eagles who I've said were over rated to start the season, have come back down to reality and are now coming off of a bye week - which has been well documented that they are 12-0 coming off a bye week under Andy Reid. The more I think about it - the more I think the Eagles will win this game outright, but the points look too tempting to me. I'll take the Cowboys plus the points in what will be a great game. 

Monday, October 31st (8:40 ET Kickoff) 
San Diego Chargers (-4) vs. Kansas City Chiefs 
Sweet - another division rival matchup with serious implications. I have to be honest - I crushed the Chiefs earlier in the season after their losses to the Bills and the Lions and the loss of their star RB Jamaal Charles. Turns out they were just overmatched by two dominant teams this year. Since those two losses the Chiefs have gone 3-1 with their only loss a 3 point defeat on the road at San Diego. Pretty impressive turn around to say the least. I'll be rooting for the Chiefs to go above .500 and will back them plus the points at home.

Looking forward to a great weekend of football - anything to take my mind off that brutal loss my pockets and the Texas Rangers just suffered. 

Last Week: 7-5-1
Season Record: 51-46-5

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