Welcome to Week 8 of the 2012 NFL season.
Nearly midway through the schedule, and things are looking up. Last week we ended up 10-3 to improve to 56-48 overall, which, I’d like to point out, is tied with Tom Jackson on ESPN’s NFL Expert Picks. And this week I’ll have the chance to see some football action up-close and personal in Philly–more on that later.
For now though, let’s just get through this Thursday night game. It’s almost Friday, people.
Let’s hit it.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Minnesota Vikings–8:20pm
Two steps out of bounds (after being shoved) were all that separated the Bucs from going to overtime against the Saints. It was also the likely difference between me losing and winning in fantasy last week–Drew Brees and Vincent Jackson were on fire in this one and either would have ended up making up the seven point difference… Anyway… The fact is, Tampa Bay showed they have grit. They hung in there, and Josh Freeman held his own in a shootout against Drew Brees. Hell, they were up 14-0 and 21-7 at different points in the game; they probably should’ve walked away with it. The offense has the ability to be dominant. Problem is, while they dominate the teams they should, they fold against some pretty average defenses.
What I’m most looking forward to in this matchup, though, is on the other side of the ball. The Bucs’ defense has been one of the best at stopping the run, ranked third in the league allowing just over 75 yards a game. The run-game for the Vikings has been the key to their success; it’s also taken a lot of the burden (and criticism) off of Christian Ponder, who leads the leagues 27th ranked passing attack. In both of the Vikings’ losses this year, Adrian Peterson has had his fewest carries and was held to under 80 yards rushing. In those same games, Ponder had to throw the ball 52 and 35 times, the highest and second highest totals of the year.
While I’d rather not rely on the home and away trends (the Vikings are 4-0 in the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, and the Bucs are 0-2 away from South Florida), I think they’ll hold true here. I’m looking for an awfully high score here. Vikings win 38-34
Now about that live action.
Come sometime early next week, I’ll have a full recap up of my experience attending the Eagels-Falcons game this weekend, complete with beautiful images, my in-game tweets, and anything else I can come up with.
Check back later this week for the rest of our Week 8 picks.