I'm still on vacation, but of course watching football is definitely on the agenda this weekend. Watching the news, with the kind of week it's been, I think we all could use a little escape, so hopefully this week's slate will oblige us by producing some entertainment.
There's nothing wrong with that, right?
So, I'll skip the preliminaries this week and get right down to business.
Week Eight Picks
Winners in Bold:
Philadelphia at Jacksonville FC
Philly looked pretty good for three quarters against Carolina, but lost it all in the 4th. Jacksonville hasn't looked good in weeks, and inspires no confidence in any facet of its game.
Denver at Kansas City
Denver thumped a weakling last week, and Kansas City is not a weakling.
Cleveland at Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh was lucky (the league even said so) to escape with a tie against Cleveland in Week One. Since then, Cleveland has gotten a bit of a lift on offence by switching to Baker Mayfield, and Pittsburgh has gradually started playing better. The home team is a pretty safe pick here.
Washington at NYG
In the sudden hurry to jettison players, I half expected New York's addled brain trust to accidentally swap players with the similarly tanking team from Oakland. Washington continues to surprise by playing competent if unspectacular football (which would be an appropriate description of Alex Smith's career). New York aspires to competent. The most entertaining thing about this game might be OBJ and Josh Norman vying for the title of biggest idiot on the field, and that's just sad.
Seattle at Detroit
Seattle is another team that has surprisingly not completely sucked this year. This is a tricky one, but I'm leaning towards Detroit because I like the dimension that RB Kerryon Johnson has added to the offence.
Tampa at Cincinnati
Cincy is a puzzling team. They have plenty of talent on both sides of the ball, but struggle at times on defence, and last week, against a very limited Kansas City defence, could not generate very much offence. I've said it before, and I'll say it again, it all comes down to coaching, and that's where Marvin Lewis's charges always come up short. Having said that, they should be able to handle Tampa easily at home. Perhaps the absence of Vontaze Burfict this week will be a case of addition by subtraction.
NYJ at Chicago
New England definitely had the right gameplan to handle Chicago's defence last week, but I liked how Chicago's offence responded to the challenge. I expect that Chicago will have an easier time at home to New York this week.
Baltimore at Carolina
Completing 16 out of 22 passes for 201 yards, 2TDs and no INTs would be a decent QB stat line for a game, phenomenal for a half; that's what Cam Newton did to the defending champs in the 4th quarter last week, leading TD drives of 80, 87, and 69 yards. When Newton is on, he's nigh-unstoppable. Baltimore's defence will give him all he can handle this week, but I think that Joe Flacco will have it just a bit worse against Carolina's defence.
Indianapolis at Oakland
Andrew Luck continues to shine, and the Jon Gruden-led Oakland fire sale has gutted the team of both its personnel and its spirit.
San Francisco at Arizona
This game is meaningless; two teams coming off hellacious beatdowns, going nowhere.
Green Bay at LAR
Hard to completely count Aaron Rodgers out, but they're really overmatched in this one. If I were a Green Bay fan, I'd be hoping that Rodgers just makes it out of this one uninjured.
New Orleans at Minnesota
Everson Griffen returns to a Minnesota defence that is a littled dinged-up. I think that this will be the best game of the week. The key here is that I think that Minnesota's offence can keep pace with New Orleans.
New England at Buffalo
I see absolutely no reason to believe that this game will even be close.