Maybe it’s the fact that I am stuck in a deathbed for football this year in Washington, or maybe I just am missing something, but the last two weeks have not gone according to plan. After what looked like a promising start with four easy wins, the Texans forgot how to play offense and failed to cover against San Fran after nearly blowing a 21-0 halftime lead and Brett Favre decided to throw one of his patented late-game picks for a Pittsburgh TD. The rest of they day went the same, pretty much, with my only win coming thanks to the Saints’ 2nd half rally past Miami. The Eagles’ easy win over the ‘Skins salvaged a 6-6-1 week and moved the season record to 53-47-1 (.530). Here’s the picks for Week 8:
Dolphins (+4) at Jets: The Jets lost to the Dolphins three weeks ago when they were completely healthy and still had Kris Jenkins in the middle to plug up holes in the run defense. Now he, along with RB Leon Washington and potentially WR Braylon Edwards will not be available against a Miami rushing attack that had a field day against the Jets on Monday night. The Jets will need to limit Ronnie Brown to under 100 yards and get a good game out of a struggling Mark Sanchez to win this one. I don’t see either of those things happening.
Giants at Eagles (-1): In the first game of what will be a wild Sunday in Philadelphia, I expect the Eagles to play a very strong and sound game and beat the New York Giants in a close one at the Link. The G-Men haven’t gotten the production they need out of Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw the last couple of games, and the Eagles’ defense might be the best out of the last three teams they’ve faced. Also, the Eagles seem to have found the right offensive formula and are being driven by their youthful skill players in DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin, and LeSean McCoy.
Broncos (+3) at Ravens: Going into Baltimore and winning is still a very tough task, but the way things have been going for the Denver Broncos, it wouldn’t surprise me to see it happen at all. If Elvis Dumervil can get the better of his matchup on the line, I expect it’ll be a long day for Joe Flacco. If this happens, the Broncos’ D can load up the box for Ray Rice and could make this ugly. I also expect to see Denver spread the ball out offensively to anyone and everyone in order to buy Kyle Orton more time in the pocket and open things up for both Knowshon Moreno and Correll Buckhalter.
Texans (-4) at Bills: This is a matchup of two teams that shouldn’t be where they currently are. The Texans are better than their 4-3 record would lead you to believe and they are just starting to click into gear, which is huge considering how well they play in the second half. The combination of Matt Schaub, Steve Slaton, and Andre Johnson should prove to be too much for a 3-4 Bills team that has really been the beneficiary of playing well against some weaker opponents so far this year. Plus, I don’t see Ryan Fitzpatrick throwing for less than 150 yards and Buffalo beating Houston.
Browns at Bears (-14): Normally I would see Chicago with this big of a spread and run away from them. This time, though, Da Bears are in desperate need of a win and Jay Cutler & Co. have one of the more porous defenses in the league to go up against. I think the most interesting thing that will happen during the course of this game will be whether or not Cleveland switches between Derek Anderson and Brady Quinn yet again.
Seahawks at Cowboys (-10): It took them six games to do it, but the Cowboys showed me something last week to make me think that they could be a serious factor in the NFC this year. The emergence of the Tony Romo-Miles Austin connection, having Marion Barber and Felix Jones healthy, and the improvement of the pass rush has turned things around in Big D. More than this, though, might be that the last time I saw Seattle, they got shellacked by Jacksonville, 41-0. The Seahawks have some serious issues right now and are going to need some serious help to win this one.
Rams at Lions (pick ’em): Two reasons for picking the Detroit Lions this week:
1. They’re at home
2. At least when they’ve lost this year they’ve managed to be somewhat competitive.
This game merits no further conversation because of these teams’ combined 1-12 record.
49ers at Colts (-13): Indianapolis has just rolled through all of its opponents so far this year, and San Fran’s fairly suspect pass defense was exposed by the Texans last week. Peyton Manning to Reggie Wayne is certainly not going to be easy for the Niners to contain, not to mention the rest of the cast from a Colts offense that once again is amongst the best in the NFL.
Jaguars (+3) at Titans: I want to meet the individual who made this line and ask him if he’s watched the Titans this season. I also want to ask him if he made this line before or after he heard Vince Young might get the start, or if he just thought that Jeff Fisher wearing the Peyton Manning jersey was inspiration for his team. So long as Tennessee plays the way they have thus far, they will not win on Sunday.
Raiders (+17) at Chargers: The Raiders and Chargers met at the beginning of the year on Monday Night and Oakland actually managed to play what might have been its best game so far this year, falling on a late TD drive engineered by Philip Rivers. The Raiders still stink, but they seem to know something about San Diego that keeps them in the game. Chargers will win, but it’ll be closer than you think.
Panthers at Cardinals (-11): The Cardinals seem to have finally shook off whatever was affecting them at the beginning of the year, as was obvious with their big win on Sunday Night over the Giants. Kurt Warner is finding Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin again, and the defense is making stops when it needs to. This is very bad news for the Carolina Panthers, who desperately need to re-commit themselves to their running game as long as Jake Delhomme is under center.
Vikings (+3) at Packers: If Favre vs. Green Bay goes anything like Round 1 did, then the Vikings will definitely win this game. Jared Allen and the Vikes’ D is going to be gunning for Aaron Rodgers early and often in this one and I expect Adrian Peterson to have a bounce back week after being pretty quiet in Pittsburgh. The Vikings might be the class of the NFC this year and will continue to make their case on Sunday night.
Falcons at Saints (-10): I said it last week and I’ll say it again this week, until some team gives me a reason to not pick New Orleans, I am taking the Saints every week for the rest of the season. Drew Brees should be able to cut down on his mistakes and take advantage of playing against an Atlanta defense that seems to have some growing issues in the secondary. Matt Ryan and the Falcons offense just doesn’t have the firepower to keep up with the Saints in a high-scoring game.