Week 8 Winners: NYG, TEN, MIN, STL, BAL, HOU, BUF, DET, PIT, SF, CIN, PHI, KC
Ryan: NYG,TEN, CAR, NO, BAL, HOU, BUF, DET, NE, SF, CIN, PHI, KC (11-2)
Thomas: NYG, TEN, MIN, NO, BAL, HOU, BUF, DET, NE, SF, CIN, PHI, SD (12-1)
Daniel: NYG, IND, MIN, NO, BAL, HOU, BUF, DET, NE, SF, CIN, PHI, SD (11-2)
Chris: NYG, TEN, CAR, NO, BAL, HOU, BUF, DET, NE, SF, CIN, DAL, SD (10-3)
WEEK 9 PICKS
New York Jets @ Buffalo Bills –
This is the first of two showdowns between these two AFC East Rivals, as they’ll butt heads in 3 more weeks. The Jets are coming off a bye week following their come from behind win against San Diego, a team that looks like it’s in the middle of a meltdown. That being said the Jets are still contenders, mainly due to their defense, despite the fact that their offense tends to get in its own way. The Jets offense is 22nd in passing yards, 28th in rushing yards, and 30th in 3rd down percentage, they need to be able to move the ball and keep the Bills at bay. The Bills give up a lot of yards and don’t apply too much pressure, but lead the league in interceptions (14), and have forced 4 fumbles. In other words, they’re opportunistic, and all it takes is an arid or tipped pass to give their offense another chance. The key to this game will be ball control, if the Jets can keep Greene and Tomlinson (if he gets carries) going, they keep Fitzpatrick off the field and don’t allow him a chance to get hot. But if the Bills catch fire, it could be a long day for New York.
Seahawks @ Cowboys
Seattle is 2-5 coming into this contest against a Cowboys team that just suffered an embarrassing loss to the Eagles. Seahawks have virtually no running game (31st) and have only had a passing game emerge in the last few weeks as Jackson has thrown for at least 250 yards in the 3 of the last 4 games, excluding the Cleveland debacle (to his defense, he got hurt 9 passes in). The Cowboys are 16th in passing yards allowed and 4th in rushing yards allowed, meaning Seattle is going to have to beat them through the air. It should be easy for Dallas to put clamps on the Seattle offense: Jackson has been inefficient in passes over 20 yards (2/14 84 yards, TD, 2 INTs), but we’ve seen stranger things happen.
Cleveland @ Houston
Without Peyton Hillis the Browns’ offense looks sloppy and inefficient. Colt McCoy is playing ball-control style QB without having a ball-control style offense, add to that the fact that Monterio Hardesty is a little banged up and you have a recipe for an offensive disaster. Enter Houston who hasn’t been TOO impressive, as of late since they seem to turn it on and off. A win Saturday puts them at a comfortable 6-3 record, and what could end up being a 2-3 game lead over the Titans and enough to walk away with the AFC South crown at ease.
Atlanta @ Indianapolis
Looks like Julio Jones is back for the Falcons, but we’ve yet to see how this offense is going to work with Jones in tow. The Falcons tried to hard to force the deep passing game and stretch the field when there was nothing to stretch. Matt has been pretty bad when the Falcons have had the LEAD (strange right), and have only completed 3 passes over 20 yards, what’s worse is that as stated before, the Falcons have yet to find an offensive identity. This is very well a trap game for the 4-3 Falcons, who could very well leave Indianapolis wondering just what happened if they don’t get in there, establish an identity, and take care of business.
Miami @ Kansas City
Somehow the Chiefs have found themselves back in the fight for the AFC West, off a huge win Monday night that took guts, among other things (one being pure luck). The Dolphins have been playing hard the last few games, but can’t seem to find a way to close them out. There really isn’t much more the Dolphins can do, Moore hasn’t been awful, but he hasn’t been great, and his sloppy footwork leads to arid throws. Marshall and Bess have been very inconsistent, dropping catchable passes or messing up routes, the offense just overall seems like a mess, while the defense has seen some improvement, but still ranks among the league’s lowest. The Chiefs control their own destiny, and should easily handle the Dolphins this Sunday.
Tampa Bay @ New Orleans
The last time these two clashed, they went down to the wire, ending with the Buccaneers picking off Brees and ending all hopes of a Saints win. This time around they’re in the Superdome, which last saw New Orleans shred the hapless Colts 62-7, although we know that won’t happen to Tampa Bay, we DO know that it’s one of the most dangerous places for opposing teams to play. This game is for the NFC South lead, a Buccaneer win would put them at 5-3 and the Saints at 5-4, giving the Buccaneers the season series and a considerable lead in the division.
San Francisco @ Washington
There may not be a better candidate for Comeback Player of the Year than Frank Gore. After missing 5 whole games, and a better part of 3 last season, Gore is back and better than we’ve seen him in a long time. He has 675 yards on 140 attempts (4.8 average), and 5 TDs, all of which have kept this 49ers offense in ball control mode while their defense knocks heads around. Enter Washington who’s lost three straight games and just gave up 9 sacks to a Bills defense who only had 5 coming into the game. The 49ers are first in rushing defense and will be sure to have their ears pinned back if they get the Redskins down (7th in the league in sacks). But don’t completely discredit the Washington defense, they have 23 sacks on the season and have caused 15 turnovers so far this season. They’ll be facing the league’s 31st ranked passing attack, so once again, expect these defenses to cancel each other out, and may the best quarterback win.
Denver @ Oakland
Two weeks ago Carson Palmer was unexpectedly thrown in the beatdown the Chiefs gave the Raiders after Kyle Boller tossed 3 interceptions in the first half. Palmer has noted that at the time he only knew 15 plays and those are the ones they ran the entire second half. Fast forward to now and Palmer has had a little bit longer to take in the playbook, while we probably won’t see any significant change in the Raiders offense (takes a long time to learn and digest a playbook, and then execute it effectively), we will probably see a sharper Palmer. The Broncos come in with a stumbling offense led by one of the most hyped QBs in the league, Tim Tebow, who has been atrocious over 7 of the last 8 quarters he’s played. We know Tebow is a passionate leader, but the Raiders are a hungry, playoff bound team ready to get back to their winning ways. The only fair shot Denver has is for Darren McFadden to miss out another week, and give their 18th ranked rushing defense a shot at making Palmer beat them, or getting their running game (which averages 126ypg) going.
Cincinnati @ Tennessee
If there’s one thing that’s been impressive this season, it’s Cincinnati’s defense. The Bengals allow a 9th best 212 passing yards per game, and a 2nd best 85 rushing yards per game. Their defense has gone from middle of the pack, to 4th in yards allowed, they’re stifling, brutal, and relentless, and have an offense being led by an accurate rookie quarterback that won’t get them into trouble. Tennessee hasn’t been disappointing either, as a matter of fact, the team is doing a lot better than many experts predicted heading into 2011. Hasselbeck was supposed to be the aging QB who should have given way to Jake Locker by now, but instead, all he’s done is make this offense efficient, even with a slacking CJ2K. Hasselbeck has completed 63% of his passes for over 1700 yards, 11 TDs, and only 6 INTs, if Javon Ringer and Chris Johnson can at least eat up a little clock, the Titans just may pull this one out.
St. Louis @ Arizona
Anyone who says they saw the 31-14 beatdown the Rams gave the Saints coming last week they’re either a delusional Rams fan, or lying. Steven Jackson showed us why many considered him one of the Top 3 running backs in the league by rushing for over 150 yards, and 2 scores, he made AJ Feeley’s backup job easier by putting the Rams in a lot of 2nd and 3rd and short situations. Now here comes an Arizona team who’s been limping ever since holding on to beat Carolina week 1, on top of that they’ve lost Kevin Kolb for the week. If Jackson is still in full form, this could get ugly quick. Can the Rams win two in a row?
New York Giants @ New England Patriots
You all know what happened the last time these two teams faced off, one of the most epic catches in the history of the Super Bowl. The Patriots come in off a huge loss to Pittsburgh where Tom Brady threw for less than 200 yards in a start for the first time all season, and the Giants are coming off a win in which they struggled to put the Dolphins away. History of these two teams this season would say that the Giants get trampled right? Not so fast. The Giants are actually a top 5 team in passing yards, averaging 287.6 ypg, while the Patriots are dead last in the league at stopping the pass (allow 323 ypg). So expect a shootout between these two teams, in a game that won’t be anywhere near as entertaining as Super Bowl 42, but a good one nonetheless.
Green Bay @ San Diego
This is a tale of two teams heading in two different directions right now. The Chargers just blew a game against Kansas City to hold onto their small AFC West lead, while the Packers have been riding a winning streak since late 2010. Something has to give right? Probably not. In all but two games this season, Philip Rivers has thrown 2 interceptions, he’s not going up against a great passing defense this week, but it’s still something to consider. On the other hand, Aaron Rodgers has been hot, and he hasn’t really been depending on his running game to do it. With a 71.5 completion percentage, 323 yards per game, 20 TDs and 3 INTs, Rodgers is making playing quarterback look easy.
Baltimore @ Pittsburgh
Sunday night’s matchup features the twice-a-year slugfest that is Pittsburgh/Baltimore. In Week 1, Baltimore beat down the Steelers and made us all wonder if the defense is just getting “way too old”. Fast forward to Week 9 where the Ravens are the ones that look sloppy and the Steelers look like they’ve found their pace. The Ravens forced 7 Steeler turnovers that game, but over the last 8 weeks the Ravens have turned the ball over 13 times, compared to Pittsburgh’s 6. Flacco has been bad all-around over the last few weeks, especially against Jacksonville, but redeemed himself slightly against Arizona. Can Flacco overcome the ghosts that often haunt him in Pittsburgh and get over the hump? Or will the Steelers stay on the roll they’re on?
Chicago @ Philadelphia
Monday Night’s matchup is one that features two of the worst offensive lines in the entire league, but still shapes up to be a good game nonetheless. The Bears have Matt Forte, who’s out to prove exactly why he deserves to be paid the big money, which has kept some pressure off Cutler over the last few weeks. The Eagles in return have LeSean McCoy and the #1 rushing offense in the league, they also have the 9th best passing offense behind Michael Vick and his slew of playmakers. Vick has 8 picks this season, compared to 2 through his first 9 starts last year, and has to keep the ball in his team’s hands in order for this offense to achieve its full potential. The Eagles defense is 6th in the league in sacks, against an offensive line that has allowed 21 sacks this season (3 per game), if they can get pressure on Cutler, he’s been known to make bad decisions. But the exact same can be said of Michael Vick.
Ryan: DAL over SEA, KC over MIA, NO over TB, SF over WAS, HOU over CLE, BUF over NYJ, ATL over IND, OAK over DEN, CIN over TEN, GB over SD, STL over ARI, NE over NYG, PIT over BAL, PHI over CHI
Chris: DAL over SEA, KC over MIA, NO over TB, SF over WAS, HOU over CLE, BUF over NYJ, ATL over IND, OAK over DEN, TEN over CIN, GB over SD, ARI over STL, NE over NYG, PIT over BAL, PHI over CHI
Daniel: DAL over SEA, KC over MIA, NO over TB, SF over WAS, HOU over CLE, BUF over NYJ, ATL over IND, OAK over DEN, CIN over TEN, GB over SD, ARI over STL, NE over NYG, PIT over BAL, PHI over CHI
Thomas: SEA over DAL, KC over MIA, NO over TB, SF over WAS, HOU over CLE, BUF over NYJ, ATL over IND, OAK over DEN, CIN over TEN, GB over SD, STL over ARI, NE over NYG, PIT over BAl, PHI over CHI