NFL Picks - Week 8

Sunday Morning

Seattle @ Atlanta 
The Seahawks gave up two defensive touchdowns in their Week 7 loss to the Ravens. That makes three on the season for Seattle, and actually a couple yards away from a fourth. These are back-breaking plays that can sway an entire game, so the Hawks need to figure out some way to prevent them. My solution: put in a free safety on offense! Line him up about 20 yards behind Russell Wilson and just let him patrol the offensive backfield and eliminate big plays in the opposite direction. And I’m wondering if the Seahawks already had the same idea seeing as how Seattle traded for safety Quandre Diggs on Tuesday. Coincidence? I think not! They’re bringing him in specifically to stop opposing defenses. Will this strategy result in having to basically play 10-on-11 on almost every play? Yes. But sometimes drastic measures need to be taken. Drastic, ridiculously dumb measures. 

Seahawks 31-17

Philadelphia @ Buffalo
Sure the Bills are 5-1, but every one of their wins has come against a team with a losing record. Well sorry Buffalo, because now Philly is coming to town and they’re bringing their ... 3-4 record?!? Hey what the hell? I didn’t realize these guys were under .500 too. Jeez these bully Bills are just going to keep picking on poor, defenseless teams aren’t they? And “defenseless” would be the correct word to describe the Eagles lately. They’re coming off consecutive losses to the Vikings and Cowboys in which they gave up 38 and 37 points, respectively. Yes, Philly registers as a stiffer test than most of the Bills’ previous opponents, but if the Eagles cede any more than 24 points or so they’ll be in bad shape, considering that Buffalo’s D gives up an average of only 15 per game. It certainly seems like the Eagles are in a bad way right now, but they’ll be the more desperate team on Sunday (or at least, they should be), and that means a lot.  My head and heart say take Buffalo, but I'm usually wrong, so I'll go the other way.

Eagles 23-20

Los Angeles Chargers @ Chicago 
One of the more startling stats I saw from last week was the breakdown of the Bears’ play selection in their loss to the Saints. They threw the ball 54 times and ran it 7. Obviously being behind in the second half necessitated that they go to the air more, but that ratio is extreme, regardless of who your quarterback is. As it is though, Chicago’s quarterback is Mitchell Trubisky, which makes those numbers even more outrageous. To make matters worse, after the game Trubisky told reporters that he hopes he gets to throw it 70 times this week. Then he started flexing his muscles and telling everybody what a “strong boy” he was and that he “makes balls go far with (his) big gun.” It was really uncomfortable, especially when he put a reporter in a headlock and bounced a football off his head repeatedly. Clearly Trubisky is over-compensating for something, and I have to believe it’s his play on the field. If there’s any team who can help him get back on the right track it’s the Miami Dolphins. Unfortunately they’re not on the schedule. But the Chargers are, and they really love to lose games, usually in pitiful fashion. So perhaps Trubisky can display his self-professed strength on Sunday. 

Bears 27-24

New York Giants @ Detroit 
The Lions finally lost convincingly last Sunday. Prior to that every one of their games had been a nail-biter with varying degrees of zaniness. Will they be able to recover from this slip up and get back to .500? Well let’s see, do they have a home game against the Giants coming up anytime soon? Oh hey, that’s on the schedule this week! What a windfall! Sure the Giants probably feel like they need a win just as badly as the Lions, but that doesn’t mean they’re capable of actually getting it. It’s like how I need to connect with my kids on a deeper, more emotional level. I understand that, but that doesn’t it mean it will happen. Necessity and ability don’t always line up. That’s a lesson I’d like to impart to the New York Giants and my children, those rotten BRATS!

Lions 33-23

Tampa Bay @ Tennessee
It’s a quarterback showdown between the #1 and #2 picks in the 2015 draft! Well it would be if the Titans hadn’t benched Marcus Mariota a couple weeks ago. So now we’re left with Jameis Winston vs. Ryan Tannehill. A soon to be officially failed first round pick against a failed first round pick. I’ve got goosebumps! Sorry, that was a bit of a grammatical type-o there, it should have read “I’ve got Goosebumps!” with a capital G. Yeah, I used to be a big Stine Stan. I had like the first 45 books in the series, read about half of them too. I’d have to say my favorite was The Barking Ghost, which I highly recommend. And I recommend reading it during this game, because it would be a better use of your time. Also you can probably plow through a 'Bumps in about three hours, so it would fit perfectly. 

Titans 24-17

Denver @ Indianapolis
The Broncos are now 22-33 since they won Super Bowl 50. Can you believe that? The Broncos won Super Bowl 50! I know, it’s hard to fathom. The abysmal record since then though isn’t very shocking considering Denver’s starting quarterbacks have been: Trevor Siemian, Paxton Lynch, Brock Osweiler, Case Keenum, and Joe Flacco. But perhaps the most mediocre of all the Broncos’ QBs over the last four seasons has been John Elway. Ohhh! Sorry Johnny, I just had to burn ya. But it’s true, you can’t blame these quarterbacks on the field for being lousy, that’s just who they are. It’s not their fault that someone bought into them being a viable starter in the NFL. Elway is the one who needs to be held responsible for seemingly having no feel how skilled these players are or how much they should be paid. It’s possible that Elway is a very insecure man and is personally sabotaging his own team to ensure that his legacy as the greatest Broncos quarterback of all time is safe. If that is his goal then bravo John, because Flacco was an inspired choice. I mean, he’s a Super Bowl MVP, how bad could he be? But we knew, we all knew, and so did you Johnny boy, you sly bastard, you quarterback sneak. 

Colts 26-13

Cincinnati @ Los Angeles Rams
The Bengals are mounting a serious challenge to the Dolphins for the #1 pick in the 2020 draft. They technically have the inside track right now at 0-7, but rest assured that after Cincy’s bye in Week 9 the Dolphins will have caught up to them at 0-8. Hey does anybody remember four years ago when the Bengals started the season 8-0? That actually happened. Anyhow, it’s unlikely that two teams would go winless for an entire season seeing as how it’s only happened to two squads since the schedule was expanded to 16 games. I can almost guarantee you that it won’t happen this year either. And that’s because, great news folks, the Bengals and Dolphins play each other in Week 16! Could we have a combined 0-28 clash in the making? I pray that it will be so. The game is set for 12/22, and really it’s all I want for Christmas. Well that and large sums of cash.

Rams 35-14

Arizona @ New Orleans 
The Cardinals have a three game win streak against three of the league’s bottom tier teams. So I guess that means Arizona is above that bottom tier if they’re able to triumph over those sad-sacks. That being said, each win has been close, and looking at their remaining schedule I wouldn’t be shocked if they only won 1-2 more games for the rest of the season. Look for that slump to start on Sunday in New Orleans. It’s not uncommon to visit the Big Easy and come back with a months long hangover, and that’s exactly what I expect to happen to the Cardinals. It’s also not uncommon to visit the Big Easy, change your name to Rodney Chambeaux, jump on board a shrimping boat, and start a new life for yourself, a simpler life. One where you ain’t got no woman or no bossman tellin’ ya how to live. Yeah that’s freedom, or at least a kind of freedom; probably the closest thing you can find to it these days. Now if all of that happens to the Cardinals I’d be a little more surprised and I guess it would mean they wouldn’t win any more games this season. 

Saints 28-16

New York Jets @ Jacksonville
Sam Darnold did not have the best night against the Patriots last Monday. Here’s his stat line: 11-32, 86 yds, 4 INTs. Those are pedestrian numbers, assuming that said pedestrian was hit by a car while crossing the street. Actually, a seriously maimed or possibly even dead person would probably know their limitations, not try to do too much, and as a result end up throwing fewer picks than Darnold did. But hey, throwers gotta keep throwing, and the Jets are hoping hat their thrower does so at higher clip than 2.7 yards per attempt. Meanwhile, if the Jags win this game 16-12 they’ll achieve a sort of perfect mediocrity at the season’s midpoint. They’d be 4-4 will scoring 20.0 points per game and allowing 20.0 per game. Sometimes scores are easier to pick than a Sam Darnold pass. 

Jaguars 16-12

Sunday Afternoon

Carolina @ San Francisco 
Last week the 49ers shut out Washington in a driving rainstorm on a waterlogged version of FedEx Field’s notoriously terrible playing surface. Considering all the factors that’s a pretty low bar to clear for a shutout. Then again, you can’t give up less than zero points, so San Francisco should be given some credit. They’ve surrendered 10 points over their last three games and remain undefeated at 6-0. In a way they're going up against another undefeated team this Sunday, the Kyle Allen Panthers. Carolina hasn’t lost since the undrafted second year man took over for an injured Cam Newton. And so we’re left with a real Jack and Diane special, something’s gotta give! According to the always unimpeachable IMDb trivia Jack Nicholson and Diane Keaton’s roles in Something's Gotta Give were written specifically for them. That’s more than can be said for Kyle Allen who began the season as an understudy but has turned into a leading man. Will his Hollywood story continue in Santa Clara on Sunday? Well it’s like Jack Nicholson always says, “Don’t ask me, I got a Lakers game to get to!” So I don’t know for sure, but I’ll pick the home team.

49ers 20-16

Cleveland @ New England
Mohammed Sanu tweeted “LFG!!!!” after being traded to the Patriots on Tuesday. It makes sense, it must be pretty cool to go from toiling on a 1-6 team to winning the Super Bowl at the drop of a hat. Sure there’s a lot of games left to be played, but at the moment I’d be very surprised if New England isn’t at least playing in Super LIV. Their defense has still only given up 3 touchdowns on the season, and while the Browns offense is probably the best one they will have faced so far, Cleveland is still wildly inconsistent. Baker Mayfield has thrown a league-high 11 interceptions and now finds himself up against a defense that leads the league in picks by a healthy margin. That combination could result in a downright silly amount of bad decisions by Mayfield. Or perhaps the Browns will be so hyper-aware of that possibility that they’ll employ an overly-cautious gameplan in which they don’t throw at all. Though does this look like and overly-cautious man to you?

Patriots 34-9

Oakland @ Houston 
I keep waiting for the Texans to ascend into the upper echelon of the AFC, and after a 53 point performance against Atlanta and a win in Kansas City it seemed like they were poised to. However, last week they stumbled in Indianapolis and now seem destined for another 10-6 type season. That’s nothing to sneeze at (unless you’re allergic to hyphens in which case you’d likely sneeze no matter what their record was), but that loss in Indy ceded control of the AFC South to the Colts, and if Houston can’t get by the Divisional round of the playoffs for the first time in franchise history after trading away so much of their future drafts, this may end up feeling like they’re treading water. Normally a game against the Raiders would represent something of a life jacket, a brief respite for a team trying to keep its head above the surface. This season though, Oakland is a little frisky, like a dog that swims up to you to play, but it doesn’t realize that its kicking legs are scratching the hell out of you. The Texans could easily get nipped by this Raiders team, or they could blow them out by 20. Like I said, it’s Houston, so I’m not sure what to expect.

Texans 30-20

Sunday Night

Green Bay @ Kansas City
What was once a marquee quarterback match-up has become a slightly tainted Sunday Night match-up. That is unless Mahomes really tries to play ... It doesn't seem possible, but let's ask Cris Collinsworth what he thinks:

Nice save CriColl.

Packers 27-17

Monday Night

Miami @ Pittsburgh 
Sometimes scores just pick themselves. Other times you wish they would, and that a write-up would somehow be magically conjured up as well so that you wouldn’t have to spend any time thinking about it. Unfortunately that’s not the case here, and I’m forced to confront this Monday Night Football game. And, in kind, we’re all forced to confront our own mortality. If you dare to watch this it will make you ponder your own death, and whether or not it might be preferable to staring at the screen for another play. I’d caution against taking any drastic measures though, especially if the remote is within arm’s reach. I haven’t checked the listings for Monday night, but I’d guess that something will be on another channel that doesn’t make you long for eternal slumber.

Steelers 23-13


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