After a somewhat poor showing in Week 7, I finally got back on track with my picks for Week 8, going 9-5. My upset special almost came through, too, but the Rams weren’t able to hold on against the Buccaneers. It’s been a rough and wild year so far, but the last couple weeks have started to show some teams emerging as clear-cut favorites, which couldn’t be said of any team the first four or five weeks of the season.
Last week’s prediction record: 9-5
Record on the season: 51-37
Upset Special record: 3-3
Here are my predictions for Week 8 of the 2010 NFL season:
Bye Week Teams: Baltimore Ravens (5-2), Atlanta Falcons (5-2), New York Giants (5-2), Chicago Bears (4-3), Philadelphia Eagles (4-3), Cleveland Browns (2-5)
Pittsburgh Steelers (5-1) at New Orleans Saints (4-3)
The New Orleans Saints have struggled against mediocre defenses like those run in Cleveland and Carolina. Is there any reason to believe they’ll be able to get their offense going against the Steelers, who have one of the strongest defenses in the NFL?
2010 Week 8 Prediction: Pittsburgh Steelers defeat New Orleans Saints
Buffalo Bills (0-6) at Kansas City Chiefs (4-2)
Buffalo’s offense has seen a lot of improvement after Ryan Fitzpatrick took over for Trent Edwards in Week 3, but their defense still has trouble keeping their opponents from scoring. The Chiefs are well on their way towards winning the AFC West, and their defense should be able to slow down the Bills offense.
2010 Week 8 Prediction: Kansas City Chiefs defeat Buffalo Bills
Miami Dolphins (3-3) at Cincinnati Bengals (2-4)
The Cincinnati Bengals are in disarray. They’ve dropped three straight games, and can’t find any measure of consistency, either on offense or on defense. The Dolphins have struggled on offense, but their defense has kept them from being blown out. The Bengals look like the team with more pure talent, but the way they’ve been playing, I wouldn’t bet on them winning this matchup.
2010 Week 8 Prediction: Miami Dolphins defeat Cincinnati Bengals
Jacksonville Jaguars (3-4) at Dallas Cowboys (1-6)
The battle of two teams in complete disarray. The Jaguars have looked dispassionate the past two weeks in blowout losses to the Titans and the Chiefs. The Cowboys have put up big yardage this season, but have seen their games ruined by penalties and turnovers and now have to deal with an injury to starting quarterback Tony Romo. Without the Romo injury I would’ve gone with the Cowboys in this game, but I don’t think a Jon Kitna-led offense can win too many games in the National Football League.
2010 Week 8 Prediction: Jacksonville Jaguars defeat Dallas Cowboys
Washington Redskins (4-3) at Detroit Lions (1-5) **Upset Special**
The Lions are pretty good for a one win team. They only have one loss by more than eight points, and they should have quarterback Matt Stafford back for this matchup against the Redskins. Washington has four wins, but their largest win has been by only six points and their offense has been decidedly mediocre all season. The Lions are hungry for another victory, and Washington isn’t as strong as their 4-3 record indicates.
2010 Week 8 Prediction: Detroit Lions defeat Washington Redskins
Carolina Panthers (1-5) at St. Louis Rams (3-4)
Sam Bradford has been terrific in his rookie season for the Rams, already tripling St. Louis’ win total from last year. The Panthers got their first win of the season against the 49ers, but still look like one of the worst teams in the league. All three of the Rams’ wins have been at home, and I see no reason to believe they won’t extend their home winning streak to four.
2010 Week 8 Prediction: St. Louis Rams defeat Carolina Panthers
Green Bay Packers (4-3) at New York Jets (5-1)
Green Bay pulled off a terrific win over division rival Minnesota last Sunday night, but their injury-depleted lineup will be on full display against a New York Jets team coming off a Bye Week. The Jets have been terrific for most of the season, and their week off let them get over some of their injuries, including the hamstring injury that has limited Darelle Revis in past weeks.
2010 Week 8 Prediction: New York Jets defeat Green Bay Packers
Denver Broncos (2-5) at San Francisco 49ers (1-6)
If the Broncos seemed to be stumbling after Week 6’s loss to the Jets, they’re in a full-fledged freefall after being on the wrong end of a 59-14 beat down. The San Francisco 49ers have actually played relatively well the last four weeks yet have still dropped three of the contests. I originally was going to pick the San Francisco 49ers to win this game, but considering Troy Smith will be making his first start in years and David Carr’s poor play last week, I’m going to change it up and go with the Denver Broncos.
2010 Week 8 Prediction: Denver Broncos defeat San Francisco 49ers
Tennessee Titans (5-2) at San Diego Chargers (2-5)
The Titans are finding their groove, even with Vince Young missing last week’s game. Young will hopefully be back for Tennessee when they travel to San Diego, but even if he isn’t, Kerry Collins has played strong the last game and a half filling in. The Chargers have gained more yards than their opponents in six of their seven games so far this season, yet they are sitting at an abysmal 2-5 record. The Chargers have suffered costly mental lapses in every game this season, and they’ll be hard pressed to beat the Titans if they continue making mistakes.
2010 Week 8 Prediction: Tennessee Titans defeat San Diego Chargers.
Seattle Seahawks (4-2) at Oakland Raiders (3-4)
The Seahawks are a tough team to pin down. They blew out the 49ers in Week 1, have played relatively mediocre since then, yet still remain atop the NFC West at 4-2. The Raiders have looked lost for most of the season, but managed to put everything together for their enormous 59-14 win over the Broncos last week. I’m not sure which team is actually better, but if the Raiders even play half as good as they did against the Broncos they should be able to win this matchup.
2010 Week 8 Prediction: Oakland Raiders defeat Seattle Seahawks
Minnesota Vikings (2-4) at New England Patriots (5-1)
The Patriots haven’t lost a regular season game at Foxboro since 2008 and haven’t lost a regular season game at Foxboro with Tom Brady as their quarterback since 2006. The Vikings, meanwhile, have lost six straight regular season road games. It looks like age has finally caught up with Brett Favre, and I don’t see Minnesota escaping this game with a victory.
2010 Week 8 Prediction: New England Patriots defeat Minnesota Vikings
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-2) at Arizona Cardinals (3-3)
How are the Arizona Cardinals 3-3? They have looked spotty on offense all season behind the poor play of Derek Anderson and Max Hall, and now have to face a Tampa Bay Buccaneers team that is constantly trying to prove to the world that their strong start is not a fluke. I haven’t always believed in the Bucs this season, but I believe they can win against an Arizona team that ranks near the bottom of the league in both total offense and total defense.
2010 Week 8 Prediction: Tampa Bay Buccaneers defeat Arizona Cardinals
Monday Night Game: Houston Texans (4-2) at Indianapolis Colts (4-2)
The Colts are going to be looking to avenge their 34-24 loss to the Texans in Week 1. Neither team has a strong enough defense to stop the other team, but the Colts should be able to beat Houston playing in Indianapolis this time.
2010 Week 8 Prediction: Indianapolis Colts defeat Houston Texans
All stats and standings from espn.com