Saturday, October 29, 2016

NFL Picks, Week 8

Home teams in CAPS.

Washington (+3) over "CINCINNATI"
The Bengals are in quotes because this game is being played in England. And honestly, I'm not sure what to make of either team. The Bengals seem a notch below where they have been for the last couple of seasons (they have had a serious assistant coaching brain drain and they've lost all of their receivers minus AJ Green, so it's not altogether surprising), while the Redskins haven't fallen off despite no one knowing just how good Kirk Cousins actually is. The Bengals have consistently put down the bad teams placed in front of them, and they've lost to the decent and good teams they've played. Washington appears to be a decent team, so I'll take the points.

Green Bay (+3) over ATLANTA
The Falcons started off 3-1, and many wrote them off in advance of their back to back trips to Denver and Seattle. After throttling Denver and giving Seattle everything they could handle, many jumped aboard the bandwagon (especially with Carolina providing a vacuum in the division). Then they came home, jumped out to a big lead on the Chargers...and blew the game. This is all a roundabout way of saying that the Falcons are an inconsistent team. Now, so are the Packers, but I'll go with the better quarterback when the teams are the proverbial box of chocolates.

HOUSTON (-2.5) over Detroit
People are pretty down on the Texans, and with good reason. They have been offensively incompetent in all 3 of their losses, and they've looked really ugly on that side of the ball in all 3 of their prime-time games so far (including 2 of the losses). But look at who they've lost to: New England (6-1), Minnesota (5-1), and Denver (5-2). Those are good teams. Now the Lions aren't the joke they've been for years, but they certainly aren't on that level. Houston has taken care of teams outside the top 6-7 in the league, and they'll do so again this week.

Seattle (-2.5) over NEW ORLEANS
This game makes me nervous. Not because New Orleans is a good team (they're offense is good, but the defense is atrocious), but because Seattle's defense was on the field for almost 100 plays over 5 full quarters last Sunday night. There's going to be some fallout this week, especially against this high-powered offense. If Seattle has offensive struggles again, it will get dicey. But Seattle should be able to move the ball at will (look at their games against San Francisco and the Jets), and should be able to squeak out of the Big Easy with a win.

New England (-6) over BUFFALO
Tom Brady is back. LeSean McCoy is almost certainly out. This one won't be close.

CLEVELAND (+3) over New York Jets
There have been 50 seasons in the Super Bowl era. Only twice has a team failed to win a game: the expansion Buccaneers in 1976, and the Lions in 2008. It's hard to go 0-for the season. As rough as the Browns' season has been, they have been competitive despite a revolving door at quarterback. They have Josh McCown back, and the Jets aren't good. I'm assuming the Browns will get at least one win this season, and this is their best chance to do it.

Oakland (PICK 'EM) over TAMPA BAY
The Buccaneers have beaten the Falcons in week 1, the Panthers without Cam Newton, and the 49ers. I know their record says 3-3, but they're not a good team.

Kansas City (-3) over INDIANAPOLIS
Kansas City beats bad and decent teams like clockwork, and they fall short against elite teams because their quarterback is limited. Indy is far from an elite team. They'll put up points, because the Chiefs pass rush isn't what it has been (get back soon Justin Houston), but their offense will run all over the Colts, just like everyone else.

DENVER (-4.5) over San Diego
I'm trusting in the Denver defense at home, and I'm trusting that Trevor Siemian will look appreciably better than he did two and a half weeks ago in a Thursday night loss to these Chargers when he was coming off of his shoulder injury. But make no mistake, the CHargers are a good team(that struggles to finish games) and are dangerous to most of the good teams in the AFC.

CAROLINA (-3) over Arizona
I'm making this pick for two reasons: Arizona is just as beat up as Seattle from the prime time tie last week, and Arizona's passing game has had sufficient struggles this season that I don't believe Carolina's secondary problems will completely sink the Panthers.

Philadelphia (+4.5) over DALLAS
This feels like the game where a rabid defense makes Dak Prescott look like a rookie and kickstarts the "Tony Romo is getting his job back" talk.

Minnesota (-5.5) over CHICAGO
When asked if he believes head coach John Fox has faith in him, Jay Cutler (correctly) replied, 'I guess he doesn't really have a choice." These are your 2016 Chicago Bears.

This week: 1-0 (Whoo-hoo!)
Last week: 7-7-1 (.500)
Season: 45-57-5 (.444)

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