NFL Picks - Week 8

Sunday Morning

Philadelphia vs. Jacksonville 
I took Week 7 off, but I’m back and ready to expertly dissect this league again. Alright, what did I miss? Last time I checked in with Jacksonville them they were 3-2, and looked like a contender in the AFC. So what’s new with the Jags? Ohhhhh Bortles. Ah jeez. Blake and the gang have been outscored 60-14 in consecutive losses. And one of the members of that aforementioned gang is Cody Kessler, who came in for Bortles and actually led Jacksonville to their only TD in last week’s loss to Houston. Doug Marrone has confirmed that Bortles will be the starter going forward, but the mere fact that that had to be stated when the other option is Cody Kessler means the wheels have really come off. But it’s a good thing you don’t need wheels to cross the pond, because this game’s in London, the Jags’ second home. On second thought, you do need wheels, otherwise you won’t be able to land the plane. You gotta admit though it sounded cool in the moment. Ok fine, you don’t have to admit it; you’re lying to yourself, but whatever. I know that the trip to London has been fortuitous for Bortles in the past, but against a desperate Eagles team I’m not sure we should expect the same this time around. In fact it’s probably a good idea to relinquish all expectations regarding this year’s Jaguars.

Eagles 24-13 

New York Jets @ Chicago
The Bears came agonizingly close to converting a game-tying Hail Mary at the end of last week’s game against New England. Kevin White caught the ball but could not extend his arms to get it across the goal line. It must have been heartbreaking for Chicago, but what more could they have done? I’ll tell you what, ensure that it never happens again. And how do they guarantee that? Simple ... the Bears need to sign Gheorghe Muresan. He’s 7’7”, with a 7’10” wingspan. He’d easily be able to outreach a crowd of players and reach the ball over the goal line. He’d be unstoppable. This isn’t just some tall schlub we’re talking about here, he’s a former professional (dare I say world class) athlete. Now, some critics may argue that Mitchell Trubisky would be sacked 5-6 times in the amount of time it would take Muresan to lumber down to the end zone. I would counter that argument by asking those naysayers to imagine Gheorghe Muresan wearing a football uniform. 

Bears 31-20 

Tampa Bay @ Cincinnati 
Buccaneers vs Bengals may seem like an innocuous matchup to you, however it’s anything but on a certain intersection in Las Vegas. Every four years this game is the physical manifestation of a longstanding rivalry between Strip neighbors the Treasure Island and Mirage hotels. Obviously the T.I. folks side with the Bucs, while the Mirage staff favors the Bengals due to the hotel’s famed Siegfried & Roy show featuring white bengal tigers. Sure it may seem silly, and possibly even made up for the sake of a gag on a lightly-trafficked blog, but don’t tell that to the good folks that operate those two hotels. They pin their hopes, pride, and, if the rumors are true, a good chunk of their paychecks on this quadrennial clash. Keep that in mind when you hunker down to watch this one on Sunday; but definitely don’t bet on it, because it will definitely be fixed by one of the sports books involved.

Bengals 34-27 

Seattle @ Detroit
Both of these teams are 3-3 and on the fringes of wild card contention in the NFC. Odds are there won’t be room for both though, so it’s safe to consider this a playoff elimination game. One could argue that that isn’t true since both teams will still have more than half the season to play afterwards. To me that’s a bunch of new age, sabermetric nonsense though. We’re dealing with sudden death in Detroit! Coincidentally that was also the Chamber of Commerce’s slogan last year. 

Seahawks 24-19 

Denver @ Kansas City 
The Chiefs’ offense is on pace to score the second most points in NFL history. The top scoring team in NFL history? These Denver Broncos. Well no, not these Denver Broncos, the 2013 version. These Broncos are coming off a 45 point effort in Arizona though, so they’ve at least proven that they could possibly keep pace with Kansas City. That is, as long as Kansas City plays a lot like the Cardinals. Based on what we’ve seen so far this season I don’t think that’s a reasonable expectation. And that’s coming from a man who’s renowned for his reasonable expectations ... Look, all I’m saying is who’s getting above Muresan for that ball? He has experience boxing out!

Chiefs 35-23 

Washington @ New York Giants 
The Giants have started the season 1-6 and have begun to unload their assets. They’ve sent Eli Apple to the Saints and Snacks Harrison to the Lions. Geez, I knew a lot of trading happened in New York, but I thought that was on the floor of the stock exchange! But seriously, what’s going on with these stock brokers? Buy! Sell! Buy! Sell! It’s like, uh guys, have you ever thought about just buying something to keep? I bought a TV years ago and I’ve had it for years now. It’s worked out great! Maybe you ought to try it ya wacky brokers! ... Um look, I’m 32 years old and I don’t understand how the stock market works. I uh, I guess I make these jokes so that I don’t have face reality or accept any responsibility ... So yeah, I think the Giants will get the upset. 

Giants 23-20 

Cleveland @ Pittsburgh 
It’s Week 8, and as promised LeVeon Bell has reported to the Steelers. And by “reported” I don’t so much mean that he’s shown up for work, but that his continued absence is basically Bell reporting to the Steelers that they can go fugg themselves. If I were him I would have made it a point to be back for this game, because with October 31st only a few days away it’s the perfect Halloween matchup. Orange vs. black, what a combo! You just know that the NFL schedule maker had a wry smile on his or her face when they concocted this. Oh wait, the schedule is created by a computer now. So did the computer do this on purpose? If so that’s pretty clever. TOO clever. This is the first warning sign. We have to destroy the NFL’s scheduling computer. 

Steelers 26-23 

Baltimore @ Carolina 
The Ravens lost in stunning fashion last week when Justin Tucker’s game-tying PAT hooked wide in the final minute. A turn of events that was unthinkable considering it was the first PAT Tucker has missed in his NFL career. In other words, before Sunday it seemed like it would have taken an act of God for Tucker to miss that kick. And I think it’s possible that that’s exactly what happened. Have you seen the kick? Look at the video.  The trajectory of the ball looks perfectly straight off of the foot, until it suddenly takes a hard right turn and narrowly misses the upright. If I didn’t know any better I’d say there was some type of Angels in the Outfield shenanigans at play. And guess what, I don’t know any better, so as far as I’m concerned that’s precisely what’s going on. Think about it, Baltimore was playing the SAINTS. It makes too much sense. The Ravens likely won’t have to worry about supernatural interference this week, but the fact that they’re on the road probably means they’ll lose anyway. 

Panthers 27-24 

Sunday Afternoon 

Indianapolis @ Oakland
Jon Gruden continues to insist that the Raiders aren’t tanking. Some might find that hard to swallow after Oakland traded away Amari Cooper this week, but I finally think Gruden’s telling the truth. Cooper was average at best, and the Raiders simply don’t accept average. They’ll take above or below, but not average. Unfortunately they have more below than above at the moment, but Oakland now possesses 5 first round picks over the next two drafts. With that kind of capital they can either rebuild from the ground up with young talent or trade for a marquee player. For instance, Khalil Mack cost the Bears two first rounders earlier this season; Oakland has the stockpile to make a similar move. Can you imagine if the Raiders could get a player like Khalil Mack?!? Oh. Oh boy.

Colts 33-21 

Green Bay @ Los Angeles Rams
The Packers are in the NFC mix as usual. They come into this game at 3-2-1, but that record might as well be a countdown to what’s about to happen. Four of Green Bay’s next five games are on the road against the Rams, Patriots, Seahawks, and Vikings. The Packers have not yet won a game away from Lambeau this season. My advice to them would be to brace themselves. Yet now I hear that Aaron Rodgers is hoping to shed his knee brace that he’s been playing with since Week 1 prior to that upcoming gauntlet. What are you doing Rodgers?!? I just told you to brace yourself, not de-brace! God you’re such a maverick Rodgers. Don’t you ever get tired of having more guts than brains? Which is saying a lot by the way, because you are an extremely intelligent individual. Alas, some heroes are just too brave for their own good. 

Rams 36-28 

San Francisco @ Arizona
It’s a rematch of a game you don’t remember happening! Shame on you, it was only 3 weeks ago. Also it was Rosen/Beathard I, you should really try to recall where you were so that you’ll be able to accurately pass the story down to future generations. I know where I’ll be for RB II, and that’s in front of the TV, with my butt glued to the seat. At least I imagine it will be glued, otherwise I’ll just get up and walk away, because I have to imagine I’ll have better things to do than watch two 1-6 teams go at it. I can’t think of any specific better things at the moment, but if I were a more serious, adult man I probably could.

49ers 24-20 

Sunday Night 

New Orleans @ Minnesota
It's the playoff rematch that Saints fans have been waiting for and simultaneously dreading because of the ad nauseam replays they'll be forced to watch in the lead up to it. What sort of unimaginable drama can we expect this Sunday night? Let's ask the best color commentator in the game, Cris Collinsworth:
Looking good brother.

Vikings 26-23

Monday Night

New England @ Buffalo
Wait a minute, Derek Anderson is starting for Buffalo? How long was I gone? Did I travel back in time on that plane? What year is it? Who’s the president? Oh. Shit. Ok, I guess it’s still 2018. Apparently Anderson started last week as well, throwing for 175 yards and 3 interceptions in a 37-5 loss to the Colts. Bills coaches and fans alike agreed that it was a marked improvement over the other option, which would have been starting Nathan Peterman. Is there any chance Buffalo can win this game? In reality even if I had traveled back in time, it’s still Derek Anderson vs. Tom Brady, the year is inconsequential. 

Patriots 27-13 



NFL Picks - Week 8 Thursday

Miami @ Houston
On the surface this looks like a lousy game, but dig a little deeper (and by that I mean take a cursory glance at the standings) and you’ll see that both of these teams are 4-3. Barring a tie, one of these two will be 5-3 come Friday morning. Let’s take a second and think about how that makes us feel. Don’t get me wrong, coming into the season I thought the Texans would be good, but I now realize I was wrong. That’s what makes it so surprising that they could reach the season’s halfway point two games above .500. Their season reminds me of the scene in Vacation when Clark falls asleep while driving, wakes up in a panic, veers away from oncoming traffic, and somehow spins neatly into a parking spot at a motel. Nobody in the car is really sure how they got there, or how close they were to absolute disaster, but they’re safe and sound for now. One more thing, this is a Brock Osweiler revenge game. And by that I mean the Texans want revenge on Osweiler for being such an abysmal waste of time and money. Look for that passion to carry Houston.

Texans 23-16


NFL Picks - Week 6

Thursday Night
Philadelphia @ New York Giants
Last week the Giants suffered a tough luck loss via a last-second 63 yard field goal from Panthers kicker Graham Gano. That leaves New York with a 1-4 record, which is devastating when you consider that that’s tied for the worst record in the league, but encouraging when you realize that they’re only a game and a half behind Washington for first place in the NFC East. Sandwiched between those teams (wit some onions and whiz) are the defending Super Bowl champions and the Giants’ Week 6 opponent, the Philadelphia Eagles. Philly is 2-3 and look to be suffering the dreaded, and cliched, Super Bowl hangover. But let’s face facts, hangovers don’t last eight months. It’s time we addressed the obvious, the Eagles have a drinking problem. And trying to go out there and perform every Sunday when you’re hungover is just not going to produce positive results. Luckily for them this game is on a Thursday night, so if they can resist getting so loaded on Wednesday that they’re still feeling it at 8:20p the next day they have a decent shot at winning. 

Eagles 23-19 

Sunday Morning 

Seattle vs. Oakland
Chim chim Cher-ee! It’s that time of year again i’tis i’tis. Time for another round of jolly ol’ American, pigskin football in London! And in keeping with tradition each player’s helmet will be swapped out with a bowler cap for the occasion. It makes the game a might bit more dangerous, certainly, but it adds the touch of class that this boorish brute-fest so sorely needs. And in a new wrinkle this season the normal NFL referees will be replaced with the Queen’s guard, who will be spaced out evenly along the sidelines and end zones since they’re forbidden from leaving their post and running around the field would violate that. As a result, there likely won’t be a lot of penalties noticed from such distances, and if a flag is thrown don’t expect much of an explanation. But indeed a rollicking time will be had by all! Frabjous day, callooh callay! 

Seahawks 27-20 

Tampa Bay @ Atlanta 
The Bucs were on a bye last week, so we missed out on our weekly Ryan Fitzpatrick MVP status check. Let's make-up for that: Is Ryan Fitzpatrick the MVP of the NFL right now? Sadly, I have to say that he’s not, and if I’m being honest his stock is trending downward. He was benched at halftime of a Week 4 48-10 loss at Chicago. It has since been announced that Jameis Winston will be back at starter for at least this game, and likely going forward. It will be tough for Fitzpatrick to maintain a healthy MVP campaign from the bench. That being said, I have little confidence that Winston will perform well enough to keep Fitz on said bench, meaning that in due time the Ryan Fitzpatrick MVP status check will be relevant again. Until then however, I’m forced to retire it, and lament the $5,000 I laid down on him winning the award. He was lighting up scoreboards! He had Tampa at 2-0! It was a sure thing! 

Falcons 31-21 

Pittsburgh @ Cincinnati 
Yowza, this is definitely going to be a physical match-up. And by that, of course, I mean that each and every player participating has had their physicals and returned to their team with a signed doctor's note clearing them to play football this Fall. There was a brief lice scare with Andy Dalton, but it turned out to just be severe dandruff. The Bengals come into this game at 4-1 and have an opportunity to take a stranglehold on the division with a win. To do so they’ll have to make sure that Vontaze Burfict doesn’t literally put a stranglehold on any Steelers during the game. If Cincy can keep their heads (and most of their other body parts) I think they’ll get the win. 

Bengals 33-27 

Los Angeles Chargers @ Cleveland 
The Browns could have easily had three ties in their first 5 games. We knew they were a ridiculous team coming into the season, but I can’t say we expected this kind of absurdity. It’s fitting that this week they’re facing off against the Chargers, a team that has made wackiness their stock and trade over the years. This season, however, they’ve only had one game decided by less than 10 points. This reminds me of a romcom where the former party animal, adventuresome guy (Chargers) has grown up and started living a sensible life until he meets an exciting, free-spirited, devil may care girl (Browns) who reignites a spark within him that he thought was permanently extinguished. Basically I’m saying that the Browns are the manic pixie dream girl of the NFL. As such I expect them to inspire the Chargers to reach deep within themselves and find the power to lose ridiculous games again. 

Browns 27-26 

Chicago @ Miami 
If I were in the Dolphins PR department (and God willing one day I will be) I would propose a jersey exchange for this game in which any Bears or Dolphins fan with an old Jay Cutler jersey can bring it to the game and swap it for a different player’s. Of course, the whole thing would be a ruse and what would really happen to any Miami fan who came to exchange their jersey is they’d have their tickets shredded and be banned from the stadium for a full season because they were stupid enough to purchase a Cutler jersey in the first place. Also we would keep the jersey. And if anybody from Chicago wanted to take us up on the offer we’d gladly hand over a #9 David Garrard from the back stock.

Dolphins 20-17 

Arizona @ Minnesota 
Uh oh Vikings fans, don't look now but your worst nightmare is recurring in Minnesota, you’re being visited by a lousy team with a rookie quarterback named Josh. It’s your Achilles heel! This same scenario played out three weeks ago when the Vikings, as 17 point favorites, lost 27-6 to Josh Allen and the Buffalo Bills. It was an embarrassing effort that figures to still be lingering in the players’ heads as they prepare for Josh Rosen and the Cardinals this Sunday. I can see this going one of two ways: Either the Vikings take out all their frustration on Zona and beat them by 30, or they give up an early touchdown and become crippled by the stress of the situation causing them to go into a Baumer-esque funk that results in another shameful loss. Let’s hope for the sake of any of the Vikings’ fathers, who have money on the game, that it’s the former not the latter. 

Vikings 27-16 

Indianapolis @ New York Jets
The Jets can only win via blowouts. New York is 2-3 on the season, and is +49 in those wins. They’re like the Adam Dunn of teams. If they make contact they’re gonna cream it, but otherwise it’s merely a strike out. Meanwhile, the Colts can only win games via Washington. In other words they’ve only won one game this season. Which I guess would make them the Mario Mendoza of teams since they’re currently batting .200. In this analogy I suppose I’d rather be Dunn. I also suppose that picking a football game based on a baseball analogy I came up with is probably not the right move, but screw it, we’re talking about Colts/Jets here, this whole game is basically a can of corn. 

Colts 23-20 

Carolina @ Washington
For years the Panthers had the NFL shield logo painted on their 50 yard line. That makes sense if you’re dealing with a shared stadium, like MetLife, but for a field with only one home team it’s a bizarre, and frankly quite lame choice. This offseason, Carolina’s new ownership made a point of finally painting the Panthers logo at midfield, and it’s already paying dividends. Last Sunday Carolina kicker Graham Gano made a 63 yard game-winning field goal as time expired. A field goal of that distance means the ball was spotted on the Carolina 47 yard line, square in the middle of the Panther logo’s neck. Is there any chance Gano makes that kick if he’s kicking off the NFL shield? I say no. He probably would’ve looked down and briefly forgotten who he was playing for. This momentary confusion would have caused him to lose focus and shank the kick. But with the appropriate logo staring back at him, Gano confidently swung his leg through and booted an awe-inspiring kick with the full power of the panther behind it. This week, however, there will be a Native American painted on the field, and Gano will be too conflicted to focus.

Washington 19-17 

Buffalo @ Houston
With how these teams have been playing over the first five weeks of the season this one doesn’t look so hot. I’ll put it this way, if you walk into the Sport Clips and ask for this game to be put on, we’re gonna laugh ya out the place. Sure both of these teams were victorious last week, but the Bills won 13-12, and the Texans got by 19-16. That’s pretty lackluster stuff. If you want to get on a Sport Clips screen you need to bring the excitement, you need pizzazz, and you need to be on a local channel, because the Clips does not get Sunday Ticket. 

Texans 26-16 

Sunday Afternoon

Los Angeles Rams @ Denver
The Broncos are a lousy road team and a decent home team. Luckily for them this game is in Denver. Their luck ends there though, as they have to go up against the 5-0 Rams on Sunday. However, LA showed that they’re beatable last week, and their defense is definitely struggling at the moment. Struggling badly enough to let Case Keemun and the Broncos beat them? Well that’s another story. And the title of that story is “No, Probably Not”. It’s not a very exciting story, and about 3/4 of the way through you already know how it’s going to end. 

Rams 34-24 

Jacksonville @ Dallas 
Before we go any further please familiarize yourself with the following clips: Here and here. Good god Bortles. I mean we know we’re getting a mixed bag with you but this was something else. The helmet ricochet was sloppy and unfortunate, but the pick six on the screen was next level. You could make the case that he only threw that pass because he didn’t see the defender; but then you’d be arguing that Blake Bortles didn’t see a 310 pound man wearing bright red, standing four yards from him. But the thing is, that’s the argument that makes the most sense. The other explanation is that Bortles thought the Chiefs lineman would be so confused by a ball thrown directly to him that he’d fall on his face and let the ball sail through to the running back. Regardless of what Bortles’ thought process (or lack thereof) was, the play, and most of the game was a mess. Of course this means that Blake Bortles will throw for over 300 yards in a win against Dallas this Sunday. 

Jaguars 16-13 

Baltimore @ Tennessee
The Ravens and Titans are coming off respective 12-9 and 13-12 losses against the Browns and the Bills. So in other words they’re both badly in need of a win this week. But just how desperate are they? Are they willing to take the life of the man in front of them? Whoa! What? No! Man you are one sick pup to even consider that. It’s just a game folks. I mean maybe if this were a late season divisional matchup or something I could envision a manslaughter or two taking place, but c’mon we’re talking Week 6 here guys. The most I could advocate for is a cleat stomp, or maybe knee clubbing with a foreign object that has been snuck on to the field. And sure, if any of these players want to utilize brass knuckles have at it, I mean that goes without saying. I just assume every player is sporting knucks to begin with. 

Titans 21-18 

Sunday Night

Kansas City @ New England 
Hold on to your hats folks, and if your hatless, hold your neighbor's. This game should be a wild ride. Here to make sense of it all is NBC's Sunday Night Football analyst Cris Collinsworth:
CriColl, I feel like you're making more and more sense by the week.

Chiefs 38-35

Monday Night

San Francisco @ Green Bay
After losing to Cardinals at home last week the 49ers have firmly established themselves as the team to beat in the NFC. Most people use that term to describe the best team in the league, or the defending champion. Not me. When I say someone is the “team to beat” that means that everyone else should beat them. It just makes more sense. It’s like when someone gets an award and says it’s a humbling experience. No it’s not, everyone’s telling you how great you are. A humbling experience would be writing a weekly blog post and having no one read it. Fortunately I have no idea what that feels like ... right guys? You’re out there, aren’t you? Anybody ...? 

Packers 27-12

Speaking of “weekly” blog posts, that’s a bit of a misnomer for these picks since I’ve decided that Week 7 will be my bye week. I need to rest my thumbs. See ya in Week 8 suckers!