NFL: Week 8 Picks

So there were a lot of strange happenings last week in the National Football League.  A bunch of last play games, a lot of statement games and a number of big injuries.  Not to mention a record breaking performance from one Peyton Manning, and the number of winless teams moving to just 1.

Took a step back this week at 7-8.  Two of those wins came on final second scores by Washington and Buffalo to save me from a truly terrible week of picks.  Time to rebound. Giants and the 49ers are on their byes this week.

Thursday Night Football

  • Chargers @ Broncos: The two best teams in the AFC West get this week’s slate of games started.  San Diego lost just it’s second gmae of the season to another division foe a week ago, while Denver saw Peyton Manning’s record breaking 509th TD pass in a blowout win over the 49ers on Sunday night.  It’s still early, but this game is more important for the Chargers who have yet to have their bye, and a loss would give them 3 losses to the Broncos 1.  That being said, while I think they are well-matched, Denver has the edge at home. DENVER WINS

Sunday 1PM Games

  • Lions @ Falcons: Detroit’s defense saved them from another home loss a week ago, where as Atlanta continues to struggle, particularly on defense.  Matt Ryan has needed all the help he could get from that side of the football, but hasn’t gotten it consistently. This may not be a high scoring affair, but much as it did in week 7, I think the Lions defense more than their offense wins this game for them.  DETROIT WINS
  • Vikings @ Buccaneers: Minnesota let one slip away on the road in week 7.  The Bucs are coming off their bye week losers of two straight.  So what gives in this one?  It’s going to be ugly, maybe the worst game of the week, and I think it ends with a road win for the Vikings, who at least know how to play some defense.  MINNESOTA WINS
  • Bills @ Jets: Buffalo pulled off the last second comeback win a week ago, but it came with a price.  They lost both halves of their high powered rushing attack in CJ Spiller and Fred Jackson.  But Kyle Orton and Sammy Watkins with a little help from their defense got them over the .500 mark. As for their AFC East rivals, the Jets lost their 6th straight, falling by just 2 points to the Patriots on Thursday night. New York looked better in some ways then they have in a while, but still ended up with another loss.  I want to say that forcing the Bills into a pass first game would be good for the Jets, but their secondary has been horrendous.  I also want to say that the Bills defense can do a number on Geno Smith.  So which team am I picking?  I picked New York to make the playoffs before the season, and while that would take a lot to happen, I am going to think if there’s a game they can win on their schedule, I think it has be this one.  NEW YORK WINS
  • Bears @ Patriots: Chicago is a mess both on the field and off, while the Patriots continue to prove early season doubters wrong.  There is a question of a lack of trust between Jay Cutler and his receiving core, which can be explosive.  New England wasn’t sharp on Thursday Night against the Jets, but made the plays when they needed to.  Another home game to prove themselves against a team in shambles usually means a win for Tom Brady and company. NEW ENGLAND WINS
  • Seahawks @ Panthers: Is it time for the defending champs to panic?  Probably.  Is it time for Carolina, also a playoff team a year ago to panic? Yes.  Seattle has an improved Arizona team to deal with in its own division, while the Panthers are just lucky the Saints have gotten off to such a terrible start.  The Seahawks are in better shape though, despite shipping out the dynamic Percy Havin and losing two straight for the first time in two years.  They know how to win and aren’t having major struggles on either side of the football.  It’s the Carolina defense that has been very disappointing so far.  And even though they are at home, I have more faith in the defending champs. SEATTLE WINS
  • Dolphins @ Jaguars:  Ryan Tannehill and the fins took advantage of a trouble Chicago squad to move to .500.  Tannehill was efficient, connecting on his first 14 passes in route to the road win.  Now they take on a Jacksonville squad that finally picked up their first win of the season over a much improved Cleveland team.  Denard Robinson broke out for 127-yards on the ground and a score to help Blake Bortles get his first career win.  I like Miami and the progress Tannehill is showing, but you can’t say enough for a team that isn’t playing for much and knows how to win now.  So I like the Jags to get another win this week.  JACKSONVILLE WINS
  • Ravens @ Bengals: Baltimore’s offense continues to shine without Ray Rice in the backfield, and it’s helped them build a lead in the AFC North over their week 8 opponents.  Cincinnati has looked bad since their week 4 bye, with the low point a shutout a week ago in Indianapolis.  I liked the Bengals to win this division before the season, and if they have hopes of doing so, this is a must win game.  So give me the home team to bounce back, because they have to. CINCINNATI WINS
  • Texans @ Titans: Both teams had a chance to pick up wins in week 7,  but neither capitalized.  But looking at the overall picture, Houston has been the far superior team on both sides of the football, so I think they get back on track, picking up a big road win in Tennessee.  HOUSTON WINS
  • Rams @ Chiefs: St. Louis feels really good about themselves coming off a win over the defending champs.  Sure they almost blew a big lead, but they held on and showed something late.  That being said, the Chiefs win in week 7 was even more impressive against a hotter Chargers squad.  So give me KC to continue a good month of sports in Missouri.  KANSAS CITY WINS

Sunday 4/4:25PM Games

  • Eagles @ Cardinals: This is the game I am looking forward to most this weekend.  Two of the best teams in the NFC that both enter action at 5-1.  The key to this one?  Philly’s quick paced offense versus Arizona’s defense, which is allowing less than 20 points a game.  Even deeper, Arizona has the best rush defense in the game, going against duel threat LeSean McCoy, that could be where the game is won or lost for either side.  So who team flies higher, extends their win streak to 3 and improves to a sparkling 6-1?  Give me the red birds at home.  ARIZONA WINS
  • Colts @ Steelers: Remember when Indy started off 0-2 and everyone was freaking out?  Yeah, me neither.  Andrew Luck has this team on a 5-game win streak, and the Colts are coming off a complete team win, an impressive shutout of the Bengals.  Pittsburgh is also coming off a win, a much-needed one.  It wasn’t super impressive, but they did score 24-unanswered late to upset the Texans on the road. So the Steelers feel a little bit better about themselves, but I just can’t pick against the red hot Colts, even on the road.  INDIANAPOLIS WINS
  • Raiders @ Browns:  Oakland needs a win, but so do the Browns after a bad loss to the Jaguars last week.  Going into the season I would’ve thought this was a battle for the number 1 seed.  But it’s not.  The Browns are better than last season, and they just looked bad on the road last week.  I think they can bounce back and keep the Raiders looking at a winless season. CLEVELAND WINS

Sunday Night Football

  • Packers @ Saints: Aaron Rodgers is the reigning offensive player of the week for the red hot Packers. New Orleans had a chance to get a much needed win on the road in Detroit to move to .500, but they couldn’t hold on and dropped to a surprising 2-4.  I think the Superdome gets LOUD this week and gets Drew Brees and company going.  NEW ORLEANS WINS

Monday Night Football

  • Redskins @ Cowboys: Did you know that Colt McCoy still exists?  Yeah, neither did the Titans defense.  Washington broke their slide on a last second field-goal, but it wasn’t an impressive game.  Dallas is now on a 6-game win streak and don’t look like they are going to slow down any time soon.  So give me the Boys at home to improve to a very surprising 7-1. DALLAS WINS
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NFL: Week 6 Picks

Week 5 was nothing short of interesting with it’s blowouts and come-from-behind victories.  We still aren’t at the point where too many teams have separated themselves from the pack as the league’s best and worst, but we are getting there.

We’ve got another nearly full slate with just two teams on byes this week in the Kansas City Chiefs and the New Orleans Saints.

I had a good week 5, going 12-3 to improve to 48-28 on the season (not to shabby if I do say so myself).  Now here are my week 6 picks.

Thursday Night Football

  • Colts @ Texans: How about a close Thursday Night game for once? I do think we finally get one with this AFC South match-up.  It’s an early battle for the division.  The Colts have been led by their offense this season, the Texans by their defense.  Which wins out?  I think Andrew Luck does. INDIANAPOLIS WINS

Sunday 1PM Games

  • Steelers @ Browns: Ben Tate is back and looked good in week 5.  The Browns are finding ways to win, even when they don’t make it easy for themselves.  But it’s hard to win in the NFL, and they’re already half way to their 2013 win total.  As for the Steelers, they moved above .500 last week, but it wasn’t a pretty 17-9 game against the 0-5 Jaguars.  So I think Cleveland finds a way to get themselves above .500 at home. CLEVELAND WINS
  • Patriots @ Bills: It’s the final regular season match-up between the AFC East rivals, and New England is in Buffalo looking for revenge.  It’s also a game that could very well determine the division.  The Pats had their best game of the season last week against a very good team in Cincinnati.  But the Bills are also coming off a good road win over Detroit.  So which team keeps the good feelings going and stays above .500?  I think Tom Brady and company find a way to build off their drubbing of the Bengals and get a big road victory. NEW ENGLAND WINS
  • Panthers @ Bengals: The Bengals didn’t come out of their bye week like a team that had been previously undefeated and making other teams look silly.  They came out and let a struggling Patriots team walk all over them. As for the Panthers, they eked out a good win over a strong Ravens squad.  If this were a home game for Carolina, I might choose them, but I think Cincy rights the ship in front of their fans to improve to 4-1. (though they could be without AJ Green along with Marvin Jones, meaning the run game MUST step up for my prediction to come true) CINCINNATI WINS
  • Jaguars @ Titans: The Jaguars are bad enough to continue their 0-fer of a season.  But this might be one of their only good chances for a win. Tennessee blew a 25-point lead to the Browns last week.  And Jacksonville should feel good about holding Pittsburgh to 17 points in week 5.  Let’s see what Blake Bortles can do against a porous Titans defense on the road. JACKSONVILLE WINS
  • Packers @ Dolphins: Ryan Tannehill has started to show Miami fans what they’ve wanted to see for a few years now. But with the pats and bills having strong years, it’s going to be hard to make noise in the AFC East. As for the Packers, they are starting to round into shape after a shaky start. I like Aaron Rodgers on the road here. GREEN BAY WINS
  • Lions @ Vikings: Detroit was less than impressive at home a week ago, and continue to get little from the injured Calvin Johnson.  But the defense was still solid, and I think they can continue this on the road against the overachieving Vikings. DETROIT WINS
  • Broncos @ Jets: Rex Ryan’s team is in shambles. And now they have the defending AFC Champs coming to MetLife. Yikes. No cornerbacks against Peyton Manning, a struggling quarterback and an improperly used running game. Triple yikes. I though New York would be good this season, but unless a lot goes wrong fro a Denver, I just don’t see them breaking their skid. >DENVER WINS
  • Ravens @ Buccaneers: Baltimore is coming off a tough loss to Indianapolis, but it’s not as bad a loss as Tampa suffered to the Saints. There are just too many questions on defense for this Bucs team. BALTIMORE WINS

Sunday 4/4:25PM Games

  • Chargers @ Raiders: Sure there is a chance Oakland upsets the streaking Chargers at home, I just don’t see it happening. SAN DIEGO WINS
  • Bears @ Falcons: This might be the most intriguing matchup outside of Giants-Eagles for me. Two high powered offenses with questions on defenses that need to get back on track. Both squads surrendered 30-plus points on the road in week 5, so expect a shootout. I’m taking the home team here behind a big performance by Matt Ryan. ATLANTA WINS
  • Cowboys @ Seahawks: The Boys passed their first real test a week ago against Houston. Tony Romo and Dez Bryant found a way around the ferocious JJ Watt. But now they’re in 12th man territory taking on the still hungry and explosive Super Bowl Champions. DeMarco Murray is on pace for a record season on the ground, and Dallas will need a huge day from him if they’re to have any chance in Seattle. And even that might not be enough. SEATTLE WINS
  • Redskins @ Cardinals: Washington gave themselves a chance against the Seahawks, but couldn’t convert. Things don’t get any Easter on the road this week. Arizona has been a surprise after losing Carson Palmer, mostly on the strength of their defense. Until Kirk Cousins can get better on 3rd down, and until the Skins can stop the run, I can’t pick them consistently. ARIZONA WINS

Sunday Night Football

  • Giants @ Eagles: Talk about a big game! Philly has been atop the division all season, while the Giants are making a surge after an 0-2 start.  I haven’t been too impressed with Philly of late, especially when they almost blew a big lead to the lowly rams a week ago.  Their run game isn’t as potent as we thought going into the season.  But they are still a 4-1 football team.  That being said, I think Eli Manning and the offense are clicking and the defense has been stout in the 2nd half f games.  To me, this might come down to special teams.  The Eagles have been forcing turnovers galore, and New York has been having issues in the return game.  NEW YORK WINS

Monday Night Football

  • 49ers @ Rams: An NFC West clash caps off Week 6. While The Niners haven’t been nearly as impressive as I thought they’d be this year, they’re better than the Rams on both sides of the football. And that’s why I think they pick up their 4th win of the season.
    SAN FRANCISCO WINS

NFL: Week 5 Picks

Just two teams on bye this week, Miami and Oakland after their trip across the pond.

Week 4 finished 8 and 5 for me, bringing my season total to 35-26.  Here are my week 5 predictions.

Thursday Night Football

  • Vikings @ Packers: Both teams are coming off impressive wins of the blowout variety. No Matt Cassel.  No Teddy Bridgewater.  No Adrian Peterson.  So yeah, I like Aaron Rodgers to get above .500 in a big way. GREEN BAY WINS

Sunday 1PM Games

  • Bears @ Panthers: Chicago was manhandled a week ago by a hungry Packers team.  Carolina’s defense hasn’t been what we all thought coming into the season.  So what gives? While I have more confidence in the offensive weapons of the Bears, I’ve see the Panthers D rise to the occasion.  And in front of their home crowd, this is the perfect time to do just that. CAROLINA WINS
  • Browns @ Titans: Fresh off a bye, the Browns get a rested Jordan Cameron back, and should have running back Ben Tate ready to get the majority of the carries.  Tennessee hasn’t put up much of a fight this season, while Cleveland has.  While I don’t see many wins in the Browns future, I see them competing hard, and that is why I am taking them to win this game. CLEVELAND WINS
  • Rams @ Eagles: I am going to regret this one, but sometimes you have to go out on a limb.  St. Louis’ defense is where I thought they’d take a step forward.  And with how bad Philly’s run game has looked the past couple weeks, look for Nick Foles to feel the pressure of the Rams front 7.  So give me a close road win. ST LOUIS WINS 
  • Falcons @ Giants: The Giants look like a contender the past two plus games, while Atlanta has been inconsistent.  Matt Ryan’s offense has been potent, but the defense hasn’t been up to the task.  And that is why I think a red hot Eli Manning gets the home win and moves his G-Men above .500. NEW YORK WINS
  • Buccaneers @ Saints: Tampa should be riding high off their first win of the season, a comeback victory over Pittsburgh.  This while the Saints have to try and figure out how to right the ship defensively and pull themselves out of a 1-3 hole.  Luckily for New Orleans, Tampa’s defense hasn’t been holding many down, so it’s a good team to face at home. NEW ORLEANS WINS
  • Texans @ Cowboys: Never thought this would be a match-up of two 3-1 teams.  Houston has been carried by their defense, while the run game and a better-than-previously thought defense has lifted Dallas. Jerry World has been surprisingly unkind to the boys, and I think it continues to be. HOUSTON WINS
  • Bills @ Lions: A good defense versus a very good defense.  Kyle Orton versus Matthew Stafford.  A road game for Buffalo.  I think you know where I am going with this. DETROIT WINS
  • Ravens @ Colts: This might be my favorite match-up of the week.  Andrew Luck has looked every bit as good as you’d have thought he should the past two weeks.  Baltimore has put up huge numbers despite being without Ray Rice.  Both squads are on win streaks coming in.  Indy’s defense is a concern, so I’m thinking this will be a high scoring affair, with the edge going to the home team.  INDIANAPOLIS WINS
  • Steelers @ Jaguars: Pitt is coming off a stunning loss to the Bucs, while Jacksonville just looks to make strides as they march towards a top pick. PITTSBURGH WINS

Sunday 4/4:25PM Games

  • Cardinals @ Broncos: The only game featuring two teams coming off byes, so in that respect they’re even.  With a combined 5-1 record, we also get to see two teams looking to push themselves above the rest in their respective conferences.  But let’s be honest, a home game for the Broncos, coming off a tough loss to Seattle.  Of course I am going with Peyton Manning. DENVER WINS
  • Chiefs @ 49ers: Kansas City did some things against New England.  Jamal Charles looked healthy and Alex Smith did a good job milking the clock with short completion passes.  It’s hard to trust Colin Kaepernick right now, but I think if Frank Gore continues to play well, this team can grind out a home win. SAN FRANCISCO WINS
  • Jets @ Chargers: I really thought New York would be better.  They upgraded the skill positions, bu the secondary has looked paper thin, and Geno Smith hasn’t proven to be the answer at quarterback yet. The Chargers are 3-1, including a big win over Seattle.  Philip Rivers has looked like the 2nd half quarterback that helped lead San Diego into the playoffs last season.  So to me, it’s a simple game to pick. SAN DIEGO WINS

Sunday Night Football

  • Bengals @ Patriots: Tom Brady is 4-1 in his career against the Bengals.  But Tom Brady also has a struggling offense that couldn’t stop the Chiefs defense.  And Cincinnati’s defense so far has been a lot better than the Chiefs.  Give me the road team to be the only 4-0 team in the league. CINCINNATI WINS 

Monday Night Football

  • Seahawks @ Redskins: The defending champs are rested following a bye, while the Skins are rested after playing on Thursday Night in week 4.  Washington is in a shambles, while Seattle looks like a team poised to make a serious run at repeating.  SEATTLE WINS