NFL Week Eight: thoughts and predictions (part two)

Well, I was a little busy last night (I was on call for trauma) and never had an opportunity to finish this post. Now, with blurry eyes, let’s do it.

Waiting for the real Joe Flacco to show up

Arizona Cardinals versus Baltimore Ravens – What happened to the Baltimore Ravens last week? To say that they came out flat would be the understatement of the decade. They stunk. They were terrible on both sides of the ball (and special teams and coaching decisions). They certainly have to do better this week. Arizona is rebuilding. This should be an easy victory for the Ravens.

Minnesota Vikings versus Carolina Panthers – Both teams have a lot of problems. Their defenses are porous. Both offenses are struggling. Adrian Peterson should get his yards. Cam Newton should get his in the air and on the ground. I simply believe that the Carolina Panthers should be able to score more points and therefore I’m leaning towards them.

Jacksonville Jaguars versus Houston Texans – Neither team has shown any consistency so far this year. I look for the Houston Texans to begin to make a move to try to get Terrell Owens. They desperately need a big play receiver while Andre Johnson is healing. I’m not sure what the Jaguars need. Their defense seems to be improving. I look for the Texans to win this one.

Miami Dolphins versus New York Giants – Miami proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that they are one of the worst teams in the league. Their performance in the last two minutes of the Tim Tebow “miracle fest” was more than embarrassing. The New York Giants are playing some extremely mediocre football. In spite of Eli Manning’s outstanding passer rating, he continues to struggle against the blitz. I look for the Giants to figure out a way to win and win big against the Miami defense that doesn’t seem to be able to do anything particularly well.

New Orleans Saints versus St. Louis Rams – look for New Orleans to continue their winning ways. They should roll over the Rams.

Indianapolis Colts versus Tennessee Titans – The Indianapolis Colts got torched by the New Orleans Saints last week. I don’t think they’re going to get torched this week. The Titans defense is playing relatively solid football. Their struggling offense will figure out a way to score points against the Indianapolis Colts defense, which is simply having trouble stopping the run, the pass and anything else that the offense will throw at it. Tennessee should win this one by little but more than a touchdown.

Washington Redskins versus Buffalo Bills – The Redskins started off this year red-hot. Since then, they’ve benched a quarterback, Rex Grossman, and they are continuing to struggle on offense. Their defense looked great early in the year, but they’ve run into some significant troubles over the last two or three weeks. The Buffalo Bills also started off red-hot. Their victory over the New England Patriots was clearly the high point of their season so far. I have no idea what to expect in this game. If the Bills are able to get the running game established with Freddie Jackson, the Bills should be able to win this game relatively easily. Ryan Fitzpatrick must not turn the ball over in order for them to be successful.

Detroit Lions versus Denver Broncos – Every week, from here to the end of the season, some team is going to face a must-win situation. In this case, it is the Detroit Lions. Detroit was thinking of themselves as one of the best teams in the NFL just two or three weeks ago. Now, after back-to-back losses, they really need to prove that they’re not the same old, losing Detroit Lions. They have to be able to beat, and beat handily, a much weaker Denver Broncos team. Detroit has to control the line of scrimmage on defense. They cannot allow Tim Tebow to run, at all. They must force him to throw the football. I think that Matthew Stafford is healthy enough to play. This should be an easy victory for the Lions. If the Lions fail to win this game, look for this team to implode in a huge cloud of infighting.

New England Patriots versus Pittsburgh Steelers – This is clearly the game of the week. Both teams could use a strong victory. A victory by the New England Patriots would clearly cement them as the second-best team in the NFL (behind the undefeated Green Bay Packers). A win by the Pittsburgh Steelers would shake off the nasty taste of the first several games of this year in which they did not play well. It would also put the Pittsburgh Steelers into the conversation as one of the best teams in the National Football League. The key to this game is the Pittsburgh Steeler offense versus the New England Patriots defense. Are the Steelers going to be able run the football? Will there be wide open holes in the secondary? I’m leaning towards the Pittsburgh Steelers because they’re playing at home and I’m not sure that the New England Patriots are as good as we think they are.

Cincinnati Bengals versus Seattle Seahawks – The Cincinnati Bengals have been playing extremely good defense lately. I’m still not sure that Seattle has done anything extremely well. Cincinnati, with their young quarterback, should be able win this game.

Cleveland Browns versus San Francisco 49ers – Multiple different websites have the San Francisco 49ers in the top five or six teams in their power rankings. I tend to believe them. It is not that I believe that the San Francisco 49ers are one of the best teams in the league, I simply believe that they don’t suck. In order to lose to the Browns, you need to be relatively awful. I look for San Francisco to continue their winning ways.

Tashard Choice

Dallas Cowboys versus Philadelphia Eagles – The Philadelphia Eagles have issues on both sides of the football. Their defense has not been particularly good. Their offense has not generated the big plays that we all expected. Yes, they’ve made some big plays. They’ve also had a significant amount of trouble moving the football and keeping Michael Vick upright. If the Dallas Cowboys can consistently find a running game, this may protect some of the weaknesses that Tony Romo shows relatively frequently. I look for the Dallas Cowboys to be able run the football effectively against the Philadelphia Eagles. I think the Dallas defense will make enough plays to keep the Cowboys in the game. This game really hinges on Tony Romo and the offensive line. The Dallas Cowboys will win this game, but it’s going to be close. (The Cowboys released Tashard Choice today. He was an exciting player who was almost good in the wild cat. He was almost good receiving passes out of the backfield. He almost blocked well. He almost ran with power. He was almost fast. He did have the disastrous play in the opening game against the Redskins last year and was the only bright spot in a bad loss to the Steelers two years ago.)

Monday Night Football
San Diego Chargers versus Kansas City Chiefs – The Kansas City Chiefs stopped crying over their misfortune a couple weeks ago and began to play some solid football. Matt Cassel is throwing the ball pretty well. Surprisingly, they’re running the ball fairly well. The San Diego Chargers are missing something. Philip Rivers is throwing too many interceptions. His receivers don’t seem to have the same separation that they did one or two seasons ago. I think that this game will be extremely close. I think there’ll be several turnovers on both sides of the football. I think that the San Diego Chargers, in the end, will pull this one out.

Your thoughts?

Game winning percentages:

Pwin GAME Pwin
0.24 Arizona at Baltimore 0.76
0.32 Minnesota at Carolina 0.68
0.22 Jacksonville at Houston 0.78
0.26 Miami at Giants 0.74
0.59 New Orleans at St. Louis 0.41
0.30 Indianapolis at Tennessee 0.70
0.51 Detroit at Denver 0.49
0.38 Washington at Buffalo 0.62
0.52 Cincinnati at Seattle 0.48
0.28 Cleveland at San Francisco 0.72
0.37 New England at Pittsburgh 0.63
0.47 Dallas at Philadelphia 0.53
0.52 San Diego at Kansas City 0.48