Week 8 on the NFL schedule has arrived hitting the midway point of the season. There are headlines all over the place! One of the big stories thus far is how well the New Orleans Saints are playing on both sides of the ball. Drew Brees is looking great, Mark Ingram is running with force and the defense is causing turnovers and making big stops in critical situations. I for one didn’t predict the Saints would be (4 – 2) leading the NFC South by week 8 of the season.
If the Saints want to be a real contender then it may be a good idea for the organization to look for another weapon on offense and defense. Maybe they can grab Vontae Davis (CB) from the Colts or Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (DB) from the Giants. We know Martavis Bryant is very unhappy with his limited role in Pittsburgh so maybe the Saints make an attempt to bring the speedster to the Big Easy! Terrelle Pryor could be another option as things haven’t been working out for the former quarterback in Washington. Let’s see if they make a move to strengthen the defense and find a replacement for Brandin Cooks.
Week 8 in the NFL started out with a prediction I myself, (The Sports Prophet) couldn’t even foresee. I don’t think the Ravens scored 40 points all season but on Thursday night they did! Baltimore beat down Miami (40 -0) in a unwatchable game. Kiko Alonso was penalized for a dirty hit on Joe Flacco that knocked him out of the game with concussion-like symptoms. Longtime backup quarterback Ryan Mallet came in to finish the job. Let’s check out the rest of the games on the schedule with the point spreads and make our predictions.
Bears vs Saints: It really cracks me up that Mitchell Trubisky can complete a total of 12 passes in two games and Chicago won both of them! The Saints will not allow that nonsense to take place in the dome simply because they have more offense than the Bears can handle. Chicago can’t move the ball unless Jordan Howard is on his game. Other than that, the Bears only hope is that their defense continues to make plays giving the offense a short field. However, I expect Brees to have a field day and have his best game of the season. Saints 33 – Bears 15
Vikings vs Browns: Back to London we go! Cheerio! Minnesota is looking to take control of the NFC North with Rodgers out for the year and the Lions falling fast. I love their defense and Case Keenum has done a very good job managing the game even without their best receiver Stephon Diggs. The Browns need to focus more on Duke Johnson and Isaiah Crowell making plays out of the backfield. Their passing game is awful so head coach Hugh Jackson needs to simplify the offense as best he can for rookie DeShone Kizer and/or Kevin Hogan. Rookie pass rusher Myles Garrett won’t make the trip across the pond as he deals with a concussion which means it’s less likely that Keenum will suffer one himself. Vikings 23 – Browns 10
Raiders vs Bills: The Raiders are back in playoff contention as is their opponent Sunday in Buffalo. The Bills have home field advantage and a little extra help before the game as Oakland travels across the country for a 1:00 pm EST game. We all know that’s a tough task for the road team. Given how good the Bills defense is, Derek Carr won’t be tossing the football all over the place like he did against the Chiefs last week. I expect Buffalo to apply a lot of pressure and trust their cornerbacks in cover zero. That will help the Bills against the run game as well and remember, no Marshawn Lynch. I think the Bills defense creates enough plays to give their mediocre offense great field position. Bills 23 – Raiders 20
Colts vs Bengals: This was a matchup many of us looked forward to until just recently. Indy has no Luck and the Bengals are underachieving again. By the way, Marvin Lewis is still their head coach. The Colts are (2 – 5) and Cincy is (2 – 4). You can say the Bengals are desperate because a loss means they’re all but completely out of playoff contention. Expect A.J. Green to have a big game and watch Joe Mixon have his best day as a pro. Bengals 29 – Colts 18
Chargers vs Patriots: The Chargers lost their first 4 games and won their past three against some pretty good opponents. They beat Denver, Oakland, and Miami who was considered a decent team until Thursday night concluded in a Baltimore beat down. Rivers is a gamer and has had success against Brady and the Patriots in the past. They haven’t beaten New England much in the past 12 years or so but Rivers always comes to play. The Pats have suddenly become one of the best teams in the league again. Believe it or not, they have one of the best defenses in football. Bend but don’t break is the philosophy. Brandin Cooks has really stepped up lately as he continues to build rapport with Brady. New England may run the ball more often in this game since Los Angeles is the 2nd worst team against the run and overall 19th defense in the NFL. One thing they do well is rush the quarterback which is why the Patriots game plan will consist of a lot of run calls and short passes. Patriots 35 – Chargers 23
Falcons vs Jets: What has happened to the defending NFC champs? They look terrible on offense right now. Maybe their MVP from last season should have been Kyle Shannahan and not Matt Ryan. So far it seems Steve Sarkisian isn’t cut out to be an NFL offensive coordinator. It’s easy to look good when you coach at Alabama who look like men playing against boys most of the time. The Jets have been a nice surprise winning three more games than anyone expected this year. Basically, the Jets play hard for their head Coach Todd Bowles which says a lot about him. Just imagine if they had more talent! The Jets will give you a fight every Sunday and I expect nothing less this weekend. They could have over 200 rushing against Atlanta and that usually means a win. Jets 24 – Falcons 21
49ers vs Eagles: This may be a game between the best and worst teams in the NFL. This could get as ugly as last Sunday when the Cowboys rode into town and destroyed San Francisco. Philadelphia should do the same. Eric Reid was moved to linebacker which I find a bit strange since he’s one of the best safeties in football. This means the high flying Eagles will be throwing the ball all over Lincoln Financial Field. Carson Wentz may have 300 yards passing by halftime. Eagles 38 – 49ers 13
Panthers vs Bucs: Both teams need this game especially because they play in the same division. Tampa Bay is (2 – 4) so a loss to Carolina in The Big Sombrero could be season-ending. The Panthers are (4 – 3) coming off a brutal loss to the Bears in which Cam and company only managed to score three points on a field goal by Graham Gano. This is a get right game for Carolina. Expect a lot of straight up, no gimmick plays early as the Panthers will come right at the Bucs with all those weapons. I still don’t know why so many people thought Jameis Winston and the Bucs were a playoff team but I will say that there’s no quit in these guys. It will be a close score but not a close game as I expect Cam to play angry and awesome. Panthers 31 – Bucs 24
Texans vs Seahawks: This should be a good one. DeShaun Watson has the Texans offense moving in the right direction but will face his biggest test against Seattle’s defense. Watson will be on the run early and often as the Hawks will rush the rookie QB from the outside so he can’t break a big run play. Richard Sherman should shadow DeAndre Hopkins and let Earl Thomas worry about Fuller on the deep passes. The Seahawks are absent of a running game so they’ll have to get creative on run/pass options. Look For Jimmy Graham to have a big game as the Texans don’t defend well against receiving tight ends. Seahawks 20 – Texans 17
Cowboys vs Redskins: One of the best rivalries in football! Both teams are (3 – 3) looking up at the division-leading Philadelphia Eagles (6 – 1). Washington always puts up a fight and can score quickly. Their trio of running backs could cause problems for the Cowboys lackluster defense. Josh Norman will be back after missing the previous two games. But he’s not going to miss the opportunity to shut down Dez Bryant who have their own rivalry. The winner of that battle will likely win the game. I expect both teams to score a bunch of points. This may come down to who has the ball last. If Dallas is smart then they’ll feed Zeek all day and keep Cousins on the sideline. But the Redskins defense will be well prepared for Elliott and stack the box against him. Redskins 31 – Cowboys 29
Steelers vs Lions: The Steelers are improving and the Lions roar has come to a whisper. Stafford is still banged up and that’s a problem going against a top three defense in Pittsburgh. The Steelers will blitz and blitz and blitz some more to force Stafford into errant throws creating turnovers and a bunch of 3 & outs! Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown will do their thing as usual. If Detroit wants a shot at winning this crucial contest they’ll have to take advantage of the Steelers one mediocre spot on defense which is running the ball up the gut. But the Lions aren’t built that way. If not for home field advantage the Lions might get shut out. Steelers 28 – Lions 14
Broncos vs Chiefs: Will Kansas City lose their 3rd straight game after looking invincible through the first 5 weeks of the season? I doubt it! Denver has looked awful lately losing to a winless Giants team and then getting shut out by the Chargers last weekend. Trevor Siemian has come back to earth showing us he’s not ready for prime time football. However the Chiefs are, as it seems they play every Monday, Sunday or Thursday night. Good job by the schedule makers. This game will be won by the Chiefs defense. I predict Siemian will have at least three turnovers and the Chiefs taking advantage of each one. The Chiefs use a lot of trickery and they’ll have to against a solid Broncos defense. Denver is desperate but desperation alone can’t win you a pro football matchup. Chiefs 30 – Broncos 21