Week 8 Picks: Part 2

I hate Thursdays. Plain and simple. They suck.

Moving on.

Atlanta Falcons @ Philadelphia Eagles—1pm

So much is on the line in this game, all the more reason to be supper friggin’ pumped that I’ll be in the stands. Mike Vick goes up against his former team; Asante Samuel does the same. The Falcons are 6-0 this season (never mind the fact they haven’t beaten a team with a winning record). The Eagles are 13-0 following their bye week under Andy Reid. Juan Castillo is gone. I’d say it’s too early in the season for this game to be a must win, but that’s basically what this is. Philly can’t afford to fall below the Mendoza Line nearly halfway through the season, and after starting 3-1. Something somewhere is going to have to give here. Eagles win 24-23

Carolina Panthers @ Chicago Bears—1pm

It’s actually painful to watch how terribly Cam Newton’s career is crashing and burning right out of the gate. The Panthers seemed to have such promise at the outset of the season, but it turns out one young quarterback surrounded by a bunch of decrepit old talent and a below average defense is not the recipe for success. Chicago, thanks in small part to the play of their “most-hated player” Jay Cutler, sit at 5-1. Tops in the NFC North. Newton struggles against good defenses and it could be argued that there’s none better than Chi-town’s right now—they’ve only allowed 78 points to be scored against them all season; the only team left below the century mark. Bears win 28-10

San Diego Chargers @ Cleveland Browns—1pm

Something about this game has me feeling uneasy. I can’t put my finger on it, but for some reason I want to go with the upset. Let’s talk it through. Looking at Philip Rivers and Brandon Weeden, the respective QBs, let’s compare some numbers. They’re not terribly dissimilar: completion percentages, 56.6 and 65.5 (Weeden, and Rivers respectively); interceptions, 10 and 9 (same order); QB rating, 72.3 and 85.3 (again, same order); passing yards, 1,783 and 1,492 (believe it or not, same order). Rivers has danced the dance a few more times than Weeden, and he’s expected to do well. His numbers should be far better than they are, but then again this is the early-season Chargers we’re talking about. Against any other team on the road at this point in the season, I’d gladly pick against them, but I just can’t make myself do it here. Chargers win 20-12

Seattle Seahawks @ Detroit Lions—1pm

Seattle is God awful on the road. Detroit has been god awful this year (except that miraculous comeback that I’m still bitter about two weeks later). So who pulls this one out? (That’s what she said.) One interesting note about the games these two teams have been in this season. Of the 13 that they’ve played, 12 have been decided by eight points or less. Another interesting note about games between these two teams. They’ve played each other three times since 2003 (most recently in 2009), and Seattle has won all three. But that was then. These two teams are remarkably different since they last saw one another. New coaches, quarterbacks, wide receivers, among other things. The schedule doesn’t get any easier for the Lions, who play teams with records of at least .500 (right now anyway) in nine of the next 10 games. They better pick their spots and take advantage. Lions win 26-24

Jacksonville Jaguars @ Green Bay Packers—1pm

I’m going on a words strike against the Jags. They got lucky in a win against the Colts early in the season and don’t deserve any of my time and analysis. Sorry to the Packers for being the first innocent bystander of this strike, but such is life. Packers win 78-3

Indianapolis Colts @ Tennessee Titans—1pm

The days when this matchup mattered, well, I’m not sure if or when they existed. But they aren’t here, and they aren’t now. Tennessee has been teetering on the verge of contending and collapsing all season, and Chris Johnson finally (FINALLY!!!) had a breakout performance that was reminiscent of 2010. The Titans have dropped six of the last seven vs. the Colts, but that was during the Peyton-era, and that one win was against the Peyton-less Colts last season. Maybe Andrew Luck can inject some excitement into this AFC South contest. They (the Colts) haven’t played well, at all, on the road—they lost both road games by a combined 46 points this year. As much as I like Luck moving forward, I’m gonna keep picking against him and the Colts until they prove  they can travel and win. Titans win 26-17

New England Patriots @ St. Louis Rams—1pm

Who the hell is the team suiting up in the Patriots’ uniforms, and what have they done with the team that’s appeared in five and won three Super Bowls over the last decade plus? They’re missing, or, if not, they’re falling apart at a speed faster than the Philadelphia Phillies.  St. Louis, on the other hand, is showing they can hang tough with the big boys of the NFL. With the exception of a dud against the Bears, they’ve been in games against the Packers, Lions, and Dolphins (a 3-point dud on the road). Even though it shouldn’t be, this is a tossup. I’ll pretend that’s not the case. Pats win 36-16

Miami Dolphins @ New York Jets—1pm

S-U-C-K! SUCK! SUCK! SUCK! Dolphins win 24-10

Washington Redskins @ Pittsburgh Steelers—1pm

Bill Barnwell of Grantland recently released his “entertainment factor” power rankings of the 32 NFL teams. The Steelers were in the mid 20s while the Redskins, more specifically RGIII, topped the list. They’ll square off this Sunday and I’m sure the excitement factor of this game will end up somewhere in the middle. The Steelers are hurting to get back above .500, and the Redskins would really like to just be able to hold a 4th quarter lead for once. Pittsburgh is only two games removed from facing a similar quarterback in Mike Vick, who they were able to stymie quite well. Robert Griffin has been quite an exceptional rookie, but he hasn’t gone up against anything like a Dick LeBeau defense. Should make for a nice (or rude?) awakening. The boring Steelers will slow it down and play their kind of game. Steelers win 27-23

Oakland Raiders @ Kansas City Chiefs—4:05pm

Carson Palmer to D.H.B. > Brady Quinn to Steve Breaston. Raiders win 13-6

New York Giants @ Dallas Cowboys—4:25pm

Oh Lordy. This one could be an instant classic. Since their Week 1 meeting, which Dallas walked away with somehow, these two have gone in nearly opposite directions. The Giants got off to an average start by their standards, while the Cowgirls looked like the team with high expectations from a year ago, with the same underachieving results. The interesting part of this game, for me, is going to be how the oft-troubled Giants defense fares against the oft-troubled Dallas offense. These teams have basically traded blows for the better part of the last decade, so I’ll go with that trend. Giants win 32-23

New Orleans Saints @ Denver Broncos—8:20pm

Talk about must-see TV. Drew Brees vs. Peyton Manning. It can’t get much better. This is the first meeting between these two since their Super Bowl matchup which saw Manning come out on top. The all-time series between them is tied at two apiece, and this is likely the last time that they’ll square off, unless something special happens and they wind up in another Super Bowl. The Saints have a good thing going, winning two in a row after dropping the first four games of the season, albeit against some belowish average defenses. Denver’s a top-10 D, and they’re playing at home, and they have Peyton Manning. Nuff said. Broncos win 32-21

San Francisco 49ers @ Arizona Cardinals—Monday 8:30pm

Yet another primetime battle in the NFC West. They’ve all been smash-mouth, hard-fought games and this one should be no different. This one’s going to be all about defense. Both have been fantastic for the better part of the season, and they’re top-10 statistically in the league—San Fran’s number-one, Arizona sits at seven. Points are going to be hard to come by, and I could see it coming down to the last possession. Looking at the offenses, I like what the 49ers have going for them: a solid running game, smart ball thrower, and speed on the outside (not quite like Mr. Fitzgerald, but still). Convincing enough for me. 49ers win 13-7


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I'm an editor for Associations Now, a magazine pubished by ASAE: The Center for Association Leadership. I live in Springfield, VA with my amazing wife, and am enjoying the ride that life is taking me on.


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