After a disheartening, dismaying, and depressing week 7 of NFL Football, week 8 is here, and so are my predictions:
Indianapolis Colts @ Tennessee Titans- It’s seems surreal that the Colts are 0-7, which is their worst start since 1997 where they started 0-10. As if that wasn’t enough, they lost last Sunday Night in New Orleans, 62-7, and the 55-point loss was the worst loss for the Colts in 49 years. On the Titans side of the football, they are 3-
3 and coming off of a 41-7 home blowout loss to the Texans. Chris Johnson is 32nd (yes, 32nd!) in the league with only 268 rushing yards. Look to see him step up his game greatly with only his 2nd 100 yard game of the season.
Prediction: Titans 27, Colts 13
Difference Maker: Chris Johnson
Arizona Cardinals @ Baltimore Ravens- The Ravens’ offense is coming off of a horrific performance on Monday Night Football. Joe Flacco had only 1 passing yard at the half in a 12-7 loss to the Jaguars. The Cardinals also need Kevin Kolb to step up his game if they want to walk out of Baltimore with a victory. Kolb is 25th in the league with a measly 78.8 passer rating. In the end, the Ravens defense will pull through for the team, and unless Kevin Kolb can play a flawless game, the Ravens will win and revive themselves.
Prediction: Ravens 30, Cardinals 14
Difference Maker: Redemption
Minnesota Vikings @ Carolina Panthers- This is an engrossing game that consists of two losing teams being led by rookie quarterbacks. Number 1 overall pick Cam Newton is an instant success in Carolina, as he has already broken the rookie quarterback record for rushing touchdowns in a season (FYI- It’s only week 8). On the other side of the spectrum, rookie Christian Ponder impressed in his first start for the Vikings, throwing for 219 yards and 2 touchdowns against the Packers. This game should certainly be an interesting one, but look to see Cam Newton outplay Christian Ponder to bump the Panthers to 3-5.
Prediction: Panthers 23, Vikings 17
Difference Maker: Rookie inexperience
Jacksonville Jaguars @ Houston Texans- These are two teams that are coming off of colossal wins against tough opponents. The Jaguars defense shut down Joe Flacco, Ray Rice, and the rest of the Ravens’ offense in a 12-7 Monday night win. So did the Texans, though. Like the Jaguars, they held the Titans to only 7 points in a 41-7 blowout victory. With Andre Johnson out of the game, opportunities arise for the Jaguars defense to penetrate a fragile Texans offense.
Prediction: Jaguars 21, Texans 17
Difference Maker: (Once again) The Texans’ lack of Andre Johnson
Miami Dolphins @ New York Giants- It’s that time of year again, the Dolphins are already hearing the “Suck for Luck” chants at home. Now they are in the meadowlands, playing a 4-2 Giants team. The Dolphins are coming off of a 15-point 4th quarter collapse against Tim Tebow and the Broncos. There is no way that the 0-7
Dolphins who are widely commended as the worst team in the NFL can compete with the Giants.
Prediction: Giants 41, Dolphins 14
Difference Maker: Futility
New Orleans Saints @ St. Louis Rams- In another game featuring a winless team facing off against a team that they shouldn’t even be allowed to step on the same field with, the Saints are playing the Rams. The Saints are coming off of a 62-7 blowout win over the Colts, in which the Saints scored the most points in an NFL game since 1970. Now they get to play a winless team for the second game in a row! As if they even had a chance to begin with, Rams quarterback Sam Bradford will miss his second straight game with a high ankle sprain, A.J. Feeley will start. The Rams’ defense gave up 253 yards to backup running back DeMarco Murray last week, so the Saints offense should have success. This one won’t even be a contest.
Prediction: Saints 38, Rams 17
Difference Maker: (More) futility
Detroit Lions @ Denver Broncos- Tim Tebow and the Broncos are coming off of a miracle victory in Miami- coming back to win after being down 15 in the 4th quarter. The Lions had quite the opposite result, losing at home to the Falcons, and almost losing their quarterback in the process. Matthew Stafford suffered a sprained right ankle on the last play of the game last week. He is probable to play, and should be almost 100%. These are two teams who are known for getting off to shaky starts. This being said, look for the Lions to get off to the better start, but in the end, Tim Tebow will lead another Broncos’ comeback and lead them to another miracle
victory. “Miracle at Mile-High?”
Prediction: Broncos 24, Lions 23
Difference Maker: (Everyone’s favorite) Tim Tebow
Washington Redskins @ Buffalo Bills- Since he led the Bills to a 4-2 start with the 5th most touchdowns in the NFL, the Bills offered Ryan Fitzpatrick a $59 million contract extension. Between him, Fred Jackson, and a stellar defense, the Bills are looking good. For the Redskins and quarterback John Beck, this game is for them to prove that they can compete on the road. Look for the Bills’ defense to get in Beck’s head early on, and then for Fred Jackson to run the Bills to a win.
Prediction: Bills 27, Redskins 17
Difference maker: Fred Jackson
Cincinnati Bengals @ Seattle Seahawks- The Bengals are having a surprisingly stellar season so far. Rookie QB Andy Dalton has led them to a 4-2 record which is surprising many folks around the league. They are coming into Seattle with this precious record, and also the second best defense in the NFL. The 2-4 Seahawks, led by Tavaris Jackson will have trouble with finding openings in that defense.
Prediction: Bengals 17, Seahawks 6
Difference Maker: Bengals’ Defense
Cleveland Browns @ San Fransisco 49ers- It’s hard to explain, but the 49ers just keep winning games. Alex Smith is perfecting the west-coast offense, and with Frank Gore running the ball well behind him, it opens up the play-action pass game. The Browns come in to this game stagnant on offense, and with the 49ers defense looking strong after a massive win in Detroit, the 49ers should win this one easily.
Prediction: 49ers 31, Browns 10
Difference Maker: The ghost of the Browns’ week 7 offensive performance
New England Patriots @ Pittsburgh Steelers- This has got to be one of the candidates for game of the year.
Last year, when these two teams faced off, the Patriots won in a shootout, 39-26. Bill Belichick has never lost a game after a bye week, but this game is different. The Patriots are facing off against a strong Steelers’ defense, but that might not be the matchup to watch. I am interested to see if Ben Roethlisberger can exploit a struggling Patriots defense. History would say that, of course, Tom Brady would win this game for the Patriots, because, well, he is Tom Brady. Although this is true, Big Ben is one of the best in the business at finding a way to win, especially at home. This game will be a thriller, but look to see Big Ben come up in the clutch and lead a game-winnning drive against a putrid Pats’ defense.
Prediction: Steelers 31, Patriots 28
Difference Maker: Ben Roethlisberger
Dallas Cowboys @ Philadelphia Eagles- The Eagles are struggling this year, but they finally grabbed their 2nd win of the year in Washington against the Redskins. Even though the “Dream-Team” Eagles are playing unbelievably below expectations, I still believe in them. When there is a virtual fantasy team on an NFL roster, how can you not believe? The Cowboys are 3-3 coming off of a blowout win against the Rams. Rookie DeMarco Murray ran all over the Rams for 253 yards. It will be riveting to see if Murray can keep this up against a struggling Eagles defense. Also, after a week of controversy between him and the Eagles’ front office, I expect to see Asante Samuel get a pick-6 in this one. Look for the Eagles to be in the driver’s seat for most of the game and hold out for a victory.
Prediction: Eagles 28, Cowboys 23
Difference Maker: Michael Vick
San Diego Chargers @ Kansas City Chiefs- After starting 0-3, the Chiefs are on a 3-game winning streak and they are absolutely rolling. For the Chargers, they are coming off of a giant loss at the Meadowlands against the Jets. Arrowhead Stadium is one of the most electric environments in the NFL, and especially on Monday
night, this crowd will be going insane. Earlier this year, the Chargers slammed the Chiefs in San Diego, 20-17. This is a different Chiefs team, though. Even though they don’t have Jamaal Charles, Matt Cassel has stepped up his game, and the emergence of Jackie Battle at running back should help the Chiefs win this Monday night battle. (Pun intended)
Prediction: Chiefs 24, Chargers 17
Difference Maker: Chiefs fans
Bye weeks: Bears, Buccaneers, Falcons, Jets, Packers, Raiders
Game of the week: Patriots @ Steelers
NFC Offensive Player of the Week: Drew Brees Defensive: Asante Samuel
AFC Offensive Player of the Week: Tim Tebow Defensive: Darrelle Revis
After a week of football that was both unimpressive and monotonous, let’s hope for one that is gripping and even awe-inspiring.
Each and every team will be fighting vigorously for a win this week, except for some of the teams that are a
part of the “Suck for Luck” movement. But here’s a message to those teams, in the words of the man, the myth, the legend; Vince Lombardi:
“Winning isn’t everything, but the will to win is everything.”
By Sam Brief