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NFL Picks. Week 8, 2014
San Diego @ Denver- Denver.
This game is tough to call.
Two incredible offenses going head to head in a match that will begin to determine the fate of the AFC West and potentially home-field advantage in the conference.
My gut told me to pick the Chargers but my brain says that the game is in Denver and the Chargers are thin at cornerback.
If rookie Derek Carr could pass for four touchdowns, I hate to think of what the NFL's all time leader in touchdown passes can do.
I think it will either be a low scoring bit where the defenses rise to occasion and get after the passer or one of those good ol' fashioned shootouts.
Either way, I think it will be a good game and the very best that Thursday Night Football has had to offer us so far in 2014.
Detroit @ Atlanta- Detroit.
Man, this is a tough call.
I can't seem to get the pulse of either of these teams.
On paper, this should be an awesome game.
Stafford and Ryan both have exceptional pass-catchers on their teams and if they were healthy, I have a hard time believing that they wouldn't shred the defenses.
However, the Falcons have been difficult to watch, especially last week against the Baltimore Ravens.
Meanwhile, the Lions have played extremely well and even managed to beat the Saints in New Orleans.
Minnesota @ Tampa Bay- Tampa Bay.
Another tough game.
Every time I look at the Bucs, I think that they've gotta get it together and win one of these games eventually... And then they let Joe Flacco throw 5 touchdown passes in 16 minutes.
Meanwhile, the Vikings have had their hands full with the ever-growing Adrian Peterson scandal off the field, and have been suffering growing-pains with their rookie quarterback on it.
Neither of these teams are going to make a real push this season, especially not playing in divisions with teams like Green Bay, Chicago, and New Orleans.
Ultimately, I picked the Bucs because they've had a week to rest and probably have more talent on the roster.
Buffalo @ New York (Jets)- Buffalo.
I always have my doubts when I pick the Bills, but they played some clutch football last week against the Vikings and as long as the Jets offense is... well... the Jets offense, they're not going to beat anybody.
Chicago @ New England- New England.
This is an interesting game.
On one hand, we've got the Bears, a team that followed up a loss to the Bills by blowing out the 49ers, only to lose to the Panthers, and blow out the Falcons in Atlanta.
And on the other, you've got the Patriots, the team who where humiliated by Kansas City on national television before handing the Cincinnati Bengals their first loss of the season. Then they proceeded to win a couple of ugly games against mediocre Bills and Jets teams.
Both of these teams are capable of beating everybody and losing to anybody.
I know that technically, every team is like that, but when it comes to these two, they make it hard to predict.
I was tempted to pick the Bears.
The Patriots are struggling against the run since Jerod Mayo went down, that could mean Matt Forte is set to have a huge game.
But... Then again...
Despite barely having the ball last week, the Patriots were able to outscore the Jets. When I look at this Bears team, I don't see a huge improvement in talent.
That goes without saying that it's a home game for the Patriots, and that Tom Brady is well...
I'll take the Pats by 10.
Seattle @ Carolina- Seattle.
This was actually a really good game last year.
Neither team was able to score, and the Seahawks barely pulled out a win.
You could attribute the Panthers' ability to hang with the eventual Super Bowl champions because of jet-lag or the stellar play of DPOTY Luke Kuechly, and I'd probably agree with you.
But here's another thing.
When you look at the Seahawks, it's quite apparent that they live and die by the play of their secondary.
And lately... They've been dying
If I'm Richard Sherman, I'm not intimidated by Cam Newton or the majority of the weapons the Panthers bring on offense (Benjamin excluded).
I think the Panthers were a trap game for the Seahawks last year, and one that they barely escaped from.
If I wasn't sharing this blog with Fleegle, i'd take a dive at this game, but...
It's hard to bet against one of the best.
If the Hawks don't come away with a win here... We may have to start looking for toe tags.
Miami @ Jacksonville- Miami.
The Dolphins are going to win this game.
That's all anybody who picks games really has to say to justify this pick.
It's not because the Dolphins are even that good, but because the Jacksonville Jaguars have sunk to rock bottom since firing Jack Del Rio halfway through the 2011 season.
Hilariously, 3 wins weren't enough for the Jacksonville brass through 11 games, but the Jags have only been able to scratch out 9 of the following 45 games.
I didn't believe in Blaine Gabbert, I don't believe in Blake Bortles, and I don't know what has to happen to fix this franchise.
Miami gives their in-state "rivals" a beatdown.
Baltimore @ Cincinnati- Baltimore.
Tough game to call.
The Ravens barely lost to the Bengals in week one and have been significantly more impressive since.
While the Bengals were off tying with Panthers and getting hunted by Patriots, the Ravens have been soaring relatively high, spanking the Steelers and competing with an AFC favorite, the Indianapolis Colts.
Now... The Bengals have been spanked by the Colts and Flacco has multiple TDs in each of his last two games.
With the Browns dropping a game to Jacksonville and the Steelers in the dog house, this could be the game the Ravens reward me for giving them the AFC North in the pre-season.
Houston @ Tennessee- Houston.
Remember a time when the AFC South was full of young talent on the rise and we all wondered how much longer Peyton Manning could keep the Colts on top?
What happened to that?
When did the AFC South become such a joke division.
I mean, don't get me wrong, the Colts are great. It's a thing of beauty watching Andrew Luck come into his own in this league, but...
Even if you combined the Titans and Jaguars, they would still be a bad team.
It doesn't matter who gets hurt, who calls the plays, or what the cap looks like.
If you want to win in this league, you need talented players.
I would say that the Texans are another team that can contend seriously in the division, but then I'm forced to remember that they did have the very worst record in the NFL last year, and their QB is a guy named Ryan Fitzpatrick.
Ultimately, I ride with J.J. Watt and the Texans because I believe they have a more talented roster.
St. Louis @ Kansas City- Kansas City.
I know they play in different conferences, so these two teams only play once every four years, but why isn't there more buzz about two teams from the same state playing each other?
Despite how mediocre the Jets and Giants have been for a while now, people still burn barns down every time they play each other.
I'm going with the Chiefs because they've got the hotter hand.
Not a lot hotter, but better than a team that can't seem to get any traction without busting out some freakish special teams plays.
I wonder just how cooler Fisher's seat got with that win over the Seahawks.
Philadelphia @ Arizona- Philadelphia.
Weird Fact- Teams that have beaten the Raiders in 2014 so far are 1-5 the week after playing the Raiders.
The Eagles know how to get off the field on third down and have had a week to rest all of their players.
I fully expect this game to be over by the time the fourth quarter starts, and the Eagles will start looking towards their collision with the Cowboys.
Indianapolis @ Pittsburgh- Indianapolis.
Quite simply, there are few teams that I'm going to take over the Colts.
The Steelers are not that team.
Despite their illustrious history, I think the Rooney's have to mess up their gorgeous average "coach per franchise" percentage and give Mike Tomlin the boot.
He hasn't done much to improve his team since inheriting a talented squad from Bill Cowher, and the 2008 win over the Cardinals is long, long forgotten by all (except Santonio Holmes).
I take the Colts because Andrew Luck is going to pick that ancient defense apart.
Oakland @ Cleveland- Oakland. .
You know, at the beginning of the year, this was one of the "winnable" games I circled on the schedule.
I thought, "By then, they'll have put that idiot, Manziel in, and we might be seeing Derek Carr taking some snaps late in games"
Boy was that entire sentence wrong.
So wrong that it was a sentance.
When you're a Raiders fan, you get frustrated. When you get frustrated, you blog. When you blog, you use crappy word humor, don't be creepy Rob Lowe, root for a team that likes winning games.
Look, I've been nothing but impressed but he play of journeyman QB Brian Hoyer. He's come in and been every bit the savior the Patriots once thought he would be. The defense is just better than the Raiders have to offer and no matter what we saw flashes of last week, Oakland just doesn't have a pass rush. I'm going out on a limb here. I'm gonna take my Raiders and hope they can exploit a beat up offensive line and get some big runs up the middle.
Green Bay @ New Orleans- Green Bay
Washington @ Dallas- Dallas.
RG3 stinks, show us what Kirk Cousins can do!
That's what he can do?
Is Rex Grossman still around? Colt McCoy?
The Redskins are stumbling into the dragon's nest and it appears they're all buttered up and ready to be sacrificed to the rabid hype monster that is the 2014 Dallas Cowboys.
I don't think this game will be very close.
The Redskins secondary is not very good and they have to face off with one of the league's very best in Dez Bryant.
Tick tock me!
Thank you Pittsburgh for scoring 24 points in 2:57 Monday night and re-establishing my one game lead over Ryan! I see a lot of potential swing games this week. Lets get the party started.....
San Diego @ Denver: Hey, we just might get 3 good Thursday Night games in a row!!!! This one should be a doozie. Philip Rivers struggled last week and in turn, the Chargers suffered a defeat at the hands of the Chiefs. Not a terrible loss, but a little head scratcher nonetheless. Meanwhile, Denver just kept on doing what Denver does, beating the hell out of San Francisco. This game should be an awesome way to kick off the week. Remember, a year ago the Chargers went to Denver and beat Peyton's boys. And, this years San Diego team was much better than last years. The schedule after this week lightens up for the Chargers over the next 3 weeks, and it's a good thing, because they'll have to be recovering from back-to-back losses. I fully expect Denver to win this game. San Diego has a good defense, but they haven't faced an offense quite like Denver's this year. The same can be said for Rivers and the Chargers going up against that Denver defense. Should be close for a while, but I expect the Broncos to win.
Detroit @ Atlanta: Don't look now, but the Lions, without Calvin Johnson, have won 2 in a row and sit at 5-2, tied with Green Bay for first place in the NFC North. Meanwhile AtLOLanta are the losers of 4 in a row and all of a sudden, their once explosive offense looks like they couldn't beat the Kent County High School defense (shoutout to the Trojans for beating Queen Anne 21-15 last Friday night!!!). This game is in London and starts at 9:30 in the morning, which means I almost feel obligated to have to watch it. This is a toss up for me. I still haven't been overly impressed with Detroit despite their 5-2 record, while Atlanta seems like they have too good of an offense to be 2-5, even though in reality, they don't. Can I pick a tie in this one, Ryan? No? Well, then, give me.....hell I don't know. I'll take Detroit to get to 6-2, I guess.
Baltimore @ Cincinnati: This should be one of those typical, grind em out AFC North type of games. Cincy got the better of Baltimore in the season opener 23-16. But, that 23 points has been the most allowed by the Ravens defense all year. Baltimore has won 5 of their last 6 games since that season opening Bengals loss, with the only other loss coming to Indy 20-13. The Ravens offense finally looks the way that I think Gary Kubiak envisioned it when the season started. Meanwhile, the Bengals haven't won a single game since starting off 3-0 over a month ago, and the offense was completely MIA last week against the Colts (27-0, ouch). The Cincy defense statistically is one of the worst in the league, and when you combine that with how the Ravens offense has looked lately, I like Baltimore to win this game and get to 6-2 and take control of the AFC North. Still expect one of those grinder type games, but also expecting a Ravens W.
St. Louis @ Kansas City: A pair of teams coming off of surprising wins last week. How bout the Rams beating Seattle? Who the hell saw that coming?!?! Not to mention, they got outgained by almost 200 yards and didn't force any turnovers, but still found a way to shock the Seahawks. Also, Kansas City came off of their bye week, and went and punched San Diego right in the mouth and beat the Chargers. I think this game could be better than people think. That being said, the Rams rushing defense is 28th in the league, while the Chiefs rushing offense is third. Going with the Chiefs at home in that Arrowhead Sea Of Red.
Houston @ Tennessee: Heh, you wanna talk about self destruction? Watch the last 4 minutes of the first half of the Texans' Monday Night game against Pittsburgh. Boy, that was UGLY with a capital freakin U. As for the Titans, they got beat by Colt McCoy last week. That's right. Colt. Freakin. McCoy. Who hasn't been relevant since he was at Texas. I think this is going to be an ugly game....ugly for the Titans. You don't ever wanna face JJ Watt, but you REALLY don't wanna face an angry JJ Watt, and that is exactly what the Titans are going to see this week. Give me Houston to win on the road. There's seats available on StubHub for this game for $16. Anyone wanna take a road trip?
Minnesota @ Tampa Bay: I have no words for this game. Both teams are SO BAD, I'm pretty sure Washington College would give them a competitive game of football (note: WAC doesn't have a football team). Tampa Bay is at home, so I'll give them the nod and the W. Moving on.
Seattle @ Carolina: All of a sudden, the once cocky, swagalicious Seahawks absolutely look vulnerable and beatable. First, they lost their home luster by giving up 30 and losing to Dallas 2 weeks ago, then last week, Russell Wilson throws for 300+ and runs for 100+ (first player ever to do so) and they STILL lost to the Rams. The Rams! The 2-4 RAMS!!!!! As for Carolina, they beat a good Chicago team, earn a decent tie, if their is such a thing on the road at Cincy, then got destroyed by Green Bay last week, which isn't too bad considering that the Packers seem to be beating everyone nowadays. Would you believe that, at 3-3-1, the Panthers LEAD the NFC South by a game and a half?!? Because they do. As for this week, man, this is a tough game to pick. I believe that Seattle can rebound, but something about this game just has Carolina written on it for me. I don't know why. The Panthers, however, still can't run the ball, which means Cam has to attack that secondary, which I don't think he will be able to do. I like Seattle, barely, to rebound with a W this week.
Miami @ Jacksonville: The Battle For The Sunshine State, aka The NOBODY GIVES A DAMN Game! Honestly though, Miami surprisingly made it look pretty damn easy against the Bears last week, which was really surprising. As for the Jags, they finally got win #1 over Cleveland. This won't feel like a road environment for the Dolphins at all. In fact, I'd be willing to bet more Dolphins fans will be there than Jags fans. Give me Miami to win.
Chicago @ New England: Speaking of Da Bears, what the hell happened to Chicago last week? They looked completely out of that game from the start. As for the Pats, they had to survive a scare from the Jets last week but found a way to hold on and win. Chicago on the year is 3-1 on the road but 0-3 at home. And after this week, they're gonna be.....3-2 on the road. Had you for a second, didn't I? I don't see a way Da Bears can win in New England this week. I just don't. Pats win at home.
Buffalo @ New York Jets: Talk about pulling one out by the skin of your teeth. That's exactly what the Bills did against Minnesota last week, winning with one second to play. As for the Jets, Jesus man, how unlucky are they? Last week they became the first team in NFL history to hold the ball for more than 40 minutes, run for over 200 yards, not commit a turnover.....and still lose. How is that even possible? This week, I think the Jets will finally break that long 6 game losing streak. Why? Because they HAVE too. If they lose at home to Buffalo, in that NY media market, Rex Ryan might not make it back to his office before the high above powers throw all his stuff out on the ground. For that reason, I think the Jets find a way to win.
Philadelphia @ Arizona: Welcome back from the bye week, Philly. Arizona, well, they did what they had to do to beat Oakland last week. For this week, I think Arizona will finally be exposed as a shaky 5-1 team. Their offense isn't that great, and sure they have the #1 run defense in football, but it doesn't matter because Philly can't run the damn ball anyhow! I expect the Eagles offense to roll along this week and keep pace with Dallas in the NFC East. Eagles win.
Oakland @ Cleveland: Come on Oakland, I pick you to upset Arizona, AT HOME, and THAT'S how you repay me?!? Poor Raiders, they have to win at some point. As for Cleveland, well, after playing great for the beginning of the year, was their humbling, blowout loss @ Jacksonville (yes, the WINLESS JAGUARS) the game that will bring them back to earth? Luckily for Brownies fans, Oakland comes to town this week, which should help with the healing process. Browns win at home.
Indianapolis @ Pittsburgh: I don't see this game being as close as a lot of other people think it will be. Andrew Luck is playing like he wants to be known as the best quarterback in football, and honestly right now, can you with 100% confidence name a QB who is playing better? It's no secret that his play is the reason why Indy has won 5 in a row. As for Pittsburgh, they forced an epic end of first half collapse against Houston last week, but other than that they didn't really do anything too impressive. The Steelers are still in search of that signature win this season, but I don't think they get it this Sunday. I expect Luck to go big again and for the Colts to win.
Green Bay @ New Orleans: Get ready for offense!!!!! Green Bay made it look easy against the Panthers last week and all of a sudden have won 4 games in a row. As for the Saints? I seriously have no read on this team right now. They look so back and forth from week to week that it's borderline ridiculous. One thing I know for certain is that this game will be an offensive slugfest. When Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees have met head to head in their careers, the two have averaged a combined 70+ points per game. I love it!!!!! I really think that the Saints find a way to win this game. They NEED a win very very very very badly to right the ship. Otherwise, I'd be worried. Both teams score 30+ and the Saints get the win.
Washington @ Dallas: Colt McCoy, welcome back to Texas! This is gonna be the shortest Monday Night Football prediction I have all year. Cowboys roll, BIG.
I see potentially a LOT of disagreement between Ryan and myself this week, but who ever said that was a bad thing?
Fleegle vs. Ryan.
Yet again! Only enough to give me the lead or give Fleegle some cushion.
I'm rolling with the Bills and the Pack, and he's rolling with the Jets and the Saints.
Ironically, two very bad teams in a very bad game and two very good teams in a very good game.
And he's sticking with Cleveland and I'm giving my Raiders one last shot.