Reid Fischer's World of Rants

Looking at the sports world through orange colored glasses

Week Eight Picks

Posted by mizzou1028 on October 24, 2008

Much needed bye week for my Broncos, who will need it to get everyone healthy they can.  I’ve run out of things to say after the embarrassment in New England, so let’s get right to the picks.  

Last Week: 10-4 (.714)  Season: 63-39 (.617)

– Bills over Dolphins: Buffalo showed it is for real with a huge win last week against San Diego.  Trent Edwards has done a solid job managing the game for the Bills, and their young players really seem to play well together.  The Bills already have a road win over Jacksonville on their resume in addition to the win over the Chargers thanks also to their outstanding defense.  They shouldn’t have much trouble containing Miami’s offense on the road, even though the Dolphins have shown they can score at times this year.  Chad Pennington has had trouble against aggressive defenses and Buffalo is certainly in that category.  Miami will keep it close for awhile but the Bills will ultimately win this one.  

– Patriots over Rams: Who are the real Patriots?  Are they the team that destroyed Denver, or the one that imploded against San Diego?  The real answer probably lies somewhere in the middle, which means that in typical New England fashion they will probably find a way to make the playoffs.  It is interesting to note that Matt Cassel is starting his career in similar fashion to the way Tom Brady started his.  Brady took over early in the 2001 season for an injured Drew Bledsoe and struggled early in the year before rounding into form about midway through.   Cassel turned in his best performance by far last week against the Broncos, and faces a favorable matchup this week as well.   The Rams have won two in a row, and are clearly a different team with Jim Haslett running things, but going on the road and winning in one of the league’s toughest venues is too much to ask for them.  Patriots win easily.  

– Jets over Chiefs: This might have to go down as the most sure fire pick in NFL history.  The line on this game is 13, and I’m frankly shocked it isn’t much higher.  I’m so shocked in fact, that I’m downright giddy that I picked this weekend to go to Vegas, which means I can make easy money on this game.  The Chiefs will start Tyler Thigpen at quarterback, which is bad news for KC automatically because he can’t play worth a lick.  Larry Johnson has had his team ordered suspension extended another game, which means the Chiefs will also have no running game to speak of.  The Chiefs’ defense has also been horrible, or didn’t you see the Titans rush for 332 yards at Arrowhead last week?  (Check out the hole on LenDale White’s 80 yard touchdown run, looking at that you’d be nuts not to start every Jet you have in fantasy this week, especially Thomas Jones).  Throw in the fact that the Jets are hopping mad they gave one away at Oakland last week, and you have a guaranteed Jets blowout.  Needless to say this is my selection in second chance eliminator pool this week.

– Ravens over Raiders: Baltimore’s defense returned to form last week in Miami, where they completely shut down Miami’s trick formations, and even scored a touchdown, which had always been their trademark.  The Raiders snuck away with a win last week thanks to the Jets’ inability to capitalize, but they’re going to find it absolutely impossible to move the ball in any way against Baltimore.  The Raiders can’t run the ball consistently and JaMarcus Russell will have trouble finding throwing lanes against Baltimore’s ballhawking secondary.  The Ravens have been stellar at home this year, with the only loss coming at the end against undefeated Tennessee.  Willis McGahee is finally healthy, which means the Ravens will have no trouble running the ball effectively.  This will be trademark Baltimore Ravens game, where they win with running and defense.  Ravens by at least two touchdowns in this one.  

– Texans over Bengals: Houston has won two in a row, and they’re in the midst of a stretch where five of six games are at Reliant Stadium.  Matt Schaub had a field day against Detroit last week, and that will continue against a Bengals defense that hasn’t come close to stopping anyone.  Andre Johnson is continuing to emerge as one of the league’s top receiving threats and the Texans have also found a running game with Steve Slaton.  Cincinnati kept it close for three quarters against Pittsburgh last week, but they wore down big time at the end.  The Bengals defense is on the field way too much because the offense can’t move the ball with Ryan Fitzpatrick under center.  You do have to figure the Bengals have too much talent not to get a win at some point this season, but I would be highly surprised if it came here.  The Texans keep it rolling at home.  

– Jaguars over Browns: Jacksonville is fresh off a bye week, and that is bad news for the Browns.  The Jaguars in many ways are fortunate to be 3-3, but they are now entering the easier part of their schedule and are primed to make a move.  Jacksonville rediscovered its running game against the Broncos before the bye with Maurice Jones-Drew finally breaking out for a big day (to be fair that could be more Denver’s defense).  The Browns surrendered over 200 yards on the ground to Washington last week, so the Jaguars should have a big day on the ground as well.  Derek Anderson reverted to form in a bad way against the Redskins, completing just 14 of 37 passes for 136 yards.  That does not bode well for Cleveland against Jacksonville’s excellent defense.  Is the Brady Quinn watch back on?  It might be if Anderson has another bad day.  Jacksonville should win this one fairly easily.

– Steelers over Giants: This is quite possibly the game of the year to this point, let alone the game of the week.  I went back and forth on this so much I’ve been wondering if I could get away with picking a tie.  Of course that would be the ultimate copout, so I went with the home team because the Steelers always rise to the occasion for a big game at Heinz Field.  The Giants are an outstanding road team which doesn’t really make that a cinch, but they did implode in Cleveland two weeks ago and slogged their way to an ugly win last week against San Francisco.  Eli Manning is arguably playing better than his brother Peyton this year, so that has really helped the Giants, but Pittsburgh is getting great play from seemingly anyone in the lineup.  Last week Mewelde Moore stepped in for Willie Parker and ran down Cincinnati’s throat (of course it was the Bengals).  This will be a fantastic game that should go down to the wire, but again the home field edge will make the difference for Pittsburgh.  Incidentally, did you see the phenomenal block by Hines Ward on Cincinnati’s Keith Rivers?  Every receiver in the league should be required to watch that video to see how they should block in the running game, as well as to learn there is more to playing wide receiver than catching the ball.  Obviously it’s unfortunate that Rivers got injured on the play, and for the record we never advocate injury here, but it is still an example of why Hines Ward is one of the great teammates in the league, willing to sell out even when he isn’t the focal point of the play.  

– Chargers over Saints: This game will be played in London, which is ridiculous from the Saints’ perspective because they are giving up the home game, even after they had their entire home slate wiped out in 2005 due to Hurricane Katrina.  This puts the Saints at a disadvantage in so many ways, not the least of which is that their division rivals get an extra home game, plus don’t have to deal with a midseason overseas trip.  What’s worse for the Saints is they will be without Reggie Bush, who had arthroscopic surgery on his knee and will miss 2-4 weeks.  New Orleans did get Marques Colston back last week, but he was ineffective and was held without a catch.  San Diego also has its own issues after the loss to Buffalo, and they are still trying to get LaDainian Tomlinson on track.  The fact that the Chargers went straight to London from Buffalo also puts them at a travel disadvantage along with the Saints.  All things considered, this is not looking at all like the showcase game the league hoped it would be when they picked it for the London matchup.  Oh, and both teams are extremely desperate for a win to stay in their respective races.  A hunch says San Diego gets it together and wins a close one.

– Cowboys over Buccaneeers: I’m having a hard time jumping off the Cowboys bandwagon completely for several reasons, not the least of which is that I picked them to win the Super Bowl.  That being said, Dallas is clearly dysfunctional, as proven by their loss to the Rams (which I correctly predicted, but we don’t generally brag here).  Brad Johnson will start at quarterback, but the fact that the entire team has actually been aware of it all week may help.  I really thought the Tony Romo will he or won’t he play situation last week was a real distraction for the team.  It will still be interesting to see how Roy Williams fits into the offense or if T.O. can get back on track after four subpar games in a row.  The Buccanneers are playing extremely well, and their defense will certainly pose a difficult challenge for Dallas, and the Bucs’ offense has been better with Jeff Garcia.  All that being said, Dallas knows their entire season may well hinge on this game, with road games against the Giants and Redskins looming.  One would think that type of desperation should be enough to give Dallas a jolt needed to get a much needed home win, unless of course the soap opera season is already beyond saving.    

– Eagles over Falcons: Philadelphia is coming off a much needed bye, which allowed them to get Brian Westbrook and others healthy.  They’ll need Westbrook against a Falcons team that is arguably the league’s biggest surprise at 4-2.  Matt Ryan is playing as well as any rookie quarterback has in recent memory, and the Falcons are starting to believe they can win, even getting a road win at Lambeau Field in week five.  This will certainly be a more difficult road test though with the notoriously hostile Philly fans, especially against an Eagles offense that has its full complement of players for the first time in awhile.  Philadelphia is already looking up at the Giants and Redskins, plus they may have an opportunity to distance themselves from the Cowboys.  Home cooking and the return of Westbrook lifts the Eagles to the win, but it wouldn’t be surprising if this game is competitive into the fourth quarter.  

– Redskins over Lions: Washington snuck away with one last week against the Browns, benefiting from a late missed field goal by Cleveland.  Still, the Redskins are looking like a playoff team again this year, particularly with Clinton Portis running wild.  Jason Campbell has shown so far that he has been able to make good decisions for the most part.  Detroit meanwhile actually showed some spunk last week, nearly erasing a 28-0 deficit to Houston and making things interesting at the end.  I believe the Redskins will ultimately win, but something does smell fishy here.  The Lions are due for a good performance at home, where they have not played well this year.  Washington is in a potential trap situation with a Monday night game against Pittsburgh on the horizon, followed by a string of big division games.  I say Washington will win, but an upset is not out of the question here.

– Panthers over Cardinals: This is a very intriguing game.  Carolina looked like their old selves last week as they rolled over the Saints, while Arizona is coming off a bye following a dramatic win over Dallas.  Jake Delhomme had one of his best games last week, and the entire offense looks like it is benefiting big time from the return of Mushin Muhammad, who returned after three years with the Bears.  The Carolina running game also has nice balance with DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart.  The Cardinals have also been very stellar offensively, with Kurt Warner having a huge year so far.  The Cardinals also benefit from the return of star receiver Anquan Boldin, who missed several games after getting his bell rung in week four against the Jets.  Still, Carolina is extremely difficult to beat at home, and Arizona hasn’t really proven they can win away from the desert yet.  The Panthers will win a relatively close one here.

– 49ers over Seahawks: San Francisco is the latest team to see if a midseason coaching change will work, having axed Mike Nolan after the Giants loss.  Mike Singletary takes over the coaching duties, and he should bring some intensity to the defensive side of the ball, having been one of the best linebackers in the league himself with the Bears in the 80s.  J.T. O’Sullivan may be on a short leash at QB, so he’ll need a big game heading into the bye week, but he should be able to get it against a Seahawks team that is barely a step above terrible.  Frank Gore should be a guarantee for a huge day, especially with a large chip on his shoulder after being held to 11 yards last week.  The Seahawks are decimated with injuries to be fair, but they don’t seem be playing with any intensity, and they seem to be really overmatched against most teams.  Keep in mind the Niners have already won in Seattle, and are going for a season sweep.  San Francisco wins.

– Titans over Colts: This should be a good Monday nighter.  It will be my first chance to actually sit down and watch Tennessee, since their games are never shown in my area.  The Titans defense has been among the best in the league this year, and means bad news for a Colts offense that really struggled last week in Green Bay.  Indianapolis will once again be without Joseph Addai, which will make it difficult if not impossible to run on Albert Haynesworth and company.  I do expect a better game from Peyton Manning than last week, for he has always had decent games against the Titans, even on the road.  Still, there is nothing the Colts seem to be able to do about their inability to stop the run, which is bad news when you’re facing Chris Johnson and LenDale White.  The Titans will also get a huge lift from what is sure to be a raucous crowd, and that will be one of the sway factors for the Titans.  If there is an early Colts turnover, they could even easily end up at the wrong end of another blowout.  Tennessee gets the win, and with it practically buries the Colts already in the AFC South.

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