Week 8 Predictions for the 2014 Season
The Friday trade between Seattle and New York was one that snuck up on us when nothing was happening, and it would give some the thought of "Why did the trade happen?; Why so soon?" A little over two years ago, Seattle traded for Harvin from Minnesota and gave up some nice picks to the Vikings. It is unknown what the Jets' gave up but it is safe to say it wasn't much. Some games weren't as exciting as the weeks prior, especially the Sunday night game (Jets-Patriots was the best one for the week). The season is halfway through so there is still time. Some flip-of-the-coin games this week which should bring some fun. This upcoming Tuesday also marks the trade deadline so it should be interesting there. Good luck to your team.
Bye: Giants, 49ers
Chargers @ Broncos: Congratulations are in order for Peyton Manning as he passed Favre's record for total passing touchdowns. When the season is done, there is a pretty good chance he could get to the 600 mark. I'll leave that up for discussion. For the game, Denver and San Diego have a short week for preparations. The Chargers did beat Denver last season at Mile High, but each team has gone through some transitions since that game. San Diego suffered a bad loss on Sunday and won't have there two best cornerbacks for at least this game. And then you have Denver which we all know: lots of offensive weapons and a pretty good and improved defense. I do think that Philip Rivers will make it a close game. Should be a fun and exciting Thursday Night game for the second week in a row.
Lions @ Falcons: A very early game here (9:30 ET) across the Narrow Sea in London. At this point it doesn't matter if the game is in Atlanta, because the Falcons haven't been great. At least one turnover per game has been lost by the Falcons. Their offense is something to pay attention to but the defense hasn't done well. Didn't think they would be this bad. It will not be an easy task (nor hard) against Detroit but there has to be something to look forward to when their bye week hits after this game. They are just one game behind the division leader so there is still a chance. Meanwhile, Detroit is headed in the opposite direction in a good way.
Vikings @ Buccaneers: At least the Vikings were consistent in allowing 17 points each the past two games. Turnovers are still a concern offensively in addition settling for field goals instead of six points. That will have to turn around soon. I'm still amazed Minnesota gave up 20 or so yards on 4th down. That really hurts. This won't be a cake-walk for either team. Minnesota has the ability to get to the quarterback and force turnovers. Tampa Bay doesn't give up that many yards per attempt and have Leslie Frazier, former Vikings head coach, who will be looking to challenge Teddy Bridgewater, the Vikings rookie quarterback. It will be a weird game but Minnesota's defense will be the hero after making some key stops that weren't made last week.
Bills @ Jets: Geno Smith and the Jets held their own and made a game of it last week at New England. Solid defense and a good ground game is Gang Green's way of playing. The Percy Harvin addition will help the offense even more giving Smith an extra body to throw to as well as another weapon in the run game. In Buffalo, Sammy Watkins is finally making an appearance in the football scene but they will have to find something with running the ball with C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson out for some time. This will give Rex Ryan and the Jets' defense an advantage.
Bears @ Patriots: Chicago's defense will experience a world of hurt when going against New England which is to say that Tom Brady won't come up empty on drives as opposed to last week. It is known to say that turnovers make or break this offense. There is either a period of brilliance leading to touchdowns or of disappointment where a turnover halts drives. Chicago will have to play a perfect game offensively to keep up with New England and it is tough to see that happening.
Seahawks @ Panthers: I am rolling the dice on the Panthers here just because of the "away game factor" and the three hour time difference between East Coast and West Coast. I can see Seattle winning this game as a "rebound win" but their defense doesn't look the same from last year. They are tied at second to last in interceptions and are allowing opposing quarterbacks to complete 68.4% of their passes, which is the fourth highest in the NFL. I think Carolina's defense will be a surprise in this game and Cam Newton will have some success against Seattle. Marshawn Lynch is hardly being used which will hardly pose an issue for Carolina.
Dolphins @ Jaguars: Another coin-flip game between Miami and Jacksonville. Both teams played great last week to get the win but one of these teams will disappoint for this game. Ryan Tannehill has been inconsistent this season, let alone the team itself. The Jaguars defense has played well over a three-game stretch but the offense has not been doing well overall aside from the emergence from Denard Robinson against Cleveland. Because of that, I think we will see more "Shoelace" over the course of the season than what some of us might have thought prior. The writing is on the wall on which team I am picking to not have a letdown.
Ravens @ Bengals: The Bengals stole a win from Baltimore at M&T Bank Stadium. This will be one of those games where you want to get back at the guy whole stole your lunch money. The Ravens, right now, are looking like the best of the two teams since that opening loss to begin the season. The Bengals, meanwhile, haven't won a game yet in October and won't have A.J. Green and his magic hands that helped them in week 1.
Texans @ Titans: Houston nearly had a chance Monday night with the onside kick. I didn't really watch the game, just the last bit of it. The bright spots for Houston is that Arian Foster had three straight games with at least 100 yards rushing and the return of, former first-overall selection, Jadeveon Clowney. What a way to start your first NFL game, Zach Mettenberger. Good luck to him. Getting back to Foster, I'm sure Ryan Fitzpatrick is thankful that he came out of hiding. Expect Foster to have another big game and for Clowney to record a sack or two.
Rams @ Chiefs: It's easy to look at these teams that they came away last week with a big win. What might have been a Cardinals-Royals World Series this week, instead fans will get the second-best thing. Benny Cunningham and Tre Mason will now be featured in the runningback rotation to accompany Zac Stacy, which won't be good news for the latter. The Rams also racked up a few more sacks to add which is a good sign. So why will they lose? Well, Kansas City will be fired up obviously and I have trust in Alex Smith leading the Chiefs in the hunt to be above .500.
Eagles @ Cardinals: This is a game that will have determination on playoff seeding. Looking forward, both of these teams have a shot at getting in. A loss for either team could give them a road game in January. Philadelphia needs a win so they can keep up with the surging Cowboys. Arizona needs a win so they can extend the division lead further after Seattle's and San Francisco's mishap last week. The Eagles are coming off of a bye to heal some bumps and bruises which was well needed for them. I'm banking on that LeSean McCoy will make a statement, Nick Foles will shake out of his slump, and that Darren Sproles will play.
Colts @ Steelers: Indianapolis has a chance to move up further away from New England in the standings for the playoff bye-week with a win at Heinz Field. They will get the win because they have more of an identity and emerging run game than the Steelers. Pittsburgh in itself have gone back-and-forth this season and haven't found something offensively to stick with.
Raiders @ Browns: The looming reports around Cleveland about Johnny Manziel jumping up the depth chart will cause Bryan Hoyer do too much than needed. Oakland stands as the lone team without a win. Two close losses the past few games look to be boost that will give the Raiders their first win over the now-down-to-Earth Browns. I'm willing to take that chance.
Packers @ Saints: Remember when these two teams met to open up the 2011 season at Lambeau field? It was quite a game that came down to the last possession and gave us a very quick glimpse on then-rookie receiver Randall Cobb. I think he got a touchdown off a returned kick-off that game. Anyway, I think New Orleans should not rely too heavily on playing at home. Seems to me that after a loss, they don't panic because they know they will be at the Big Easy for their next game. Grant it, it is a difficult place to play in for an opponent but I view it as a cop out for an underachieving team who, luckily, are playing in the NFC South (also underachieving). The Saints will have to prove something on the road eventually.
Redskins @ Cowboys: Redskins vs. Cowboys at this point of the season doesn't have that luster anymore as opposed to a few years ago. Dallas has their quarterback in Tony Romo while Washington will have to wait a few days to make their decision at QB. Regardless who starts for the Redskins, Dallas is the more complete team.
Bonus: I got the Giants over the Royals in the World Series.