Wild Week Eight Predictions!

Which quarterback will lead his team to victory this Sunday?

As week eight has arrived we are roughly approaching the half way point of the season. The next few weeks will be very critical for a number of teams as teams will determine who are the contenders and who are the pretenders.

Week seven was a redemption week for me as I finished 12-1 on predictions with my only loss on a one-point Tennessee upset over the Bills (c’mon Buffalo, I thought you would do much better this season). With last weeks results, I am back up to 62% winning percentage on the year. Although last week was more of a “favorites” type of week, this week should prove to be much better for the ‘dogs.

To start off the week, I chose incorrectly on Thursday Night Football Game despite touting the Buccaneers to a number of people earlier in the day. I apologize for the lack of proper grammer in the following text message but had to show it for verification purposes (looks as though I was preoccupied doing something else while having a lot to say). I will omit the individual I was texting but they know who they are.

(Yeah Ponder has sucked lately and Freeman playing very well. Ap has that injury. Thursday games are very hard to predict and all have come down to the wire. No time to game plan on a short week. I might take tampa to win outright on the upset.)

But what do you know? I go ahead and make this prediction just a few hours later.

Oh man I was wrong; 0-1 to start the week off. I love Josh Freeman and I have since he arrived in the league. Despite some struggles last season and earlier this season, the Buccaneers are putting it together on offense. With the addition of Vincent Jackson plus emergence of rookie Doug Martin, the Buccaneers are showing signs of life on offense (LeGarrette Blunt is finally not the lead back). The Vikings again will only go as far as Christian Ponder will take them. Adrian Peterson, only 10 months removed from an ACL tear, looks better each week while Percy Harvin looks like an offensive MVP. Are the Buccs that good or are the Vikings just that overrated?

While you Ponder on that (see what I did there?), lets look at the interesting matchups we have for week eight.

New England Patriots “@” St. Louis Rams

Analysis: This is a home game for the Rams but the two teams will be squaring off in England of all places. The Rams have struggled on the road and I dont expect them to change that this week. New England comes back after a close OT game versus the Jets last week.

Key Players: Stevan Ridley. The running back has struggled in his last two games to go along with some problems holding onto the ball. If Ridley gets things going, it will allow the Patriots offense to spread the ball around more effectively.

Indianapolis Colts @ Tennessee Titans

Analysis: Again I bet against the Titans. Although they were road dogs last week and are home favorites this week, I am testing my Luck with the Colts (how many Luck comments can I make in one season?). Andrew Luck should be able to find his targets early and often. I expect this to be a high scoring affair.

Fantasy Stud: Chris Johnson. CJ continues to improve as a runner and the matchup certainly favors him in this game. Johnson’s home run ability has allowed the Titans to stay competitive (as of recently). Johnson is starting to hit the holes much better but which Colts D will show up to play? I expect CJ to have a nice game again this week.

Jacksonville Jaguars @ Green Bay Packers

Analysis: No explanations needed here. Packers will win this one easily. (But I gotta add I feel for Jennings as he is in a contract year and can’t get on the field).

Key Player: Rashad Jennings. This is his opportunity to prove his worth in MJDs absence.

San Diego Chargers @ Cleveland Browns

Analysis: I feel as though this is a trap game of sorts. The majority of betting lines put this game at 3 or 3 1/2. With the way both teams have been playing, I would expect the Chargers to be at least six point favorites. Although the numbers are a bit skewed, Brandon Weeden is playing much better as of lately; his receivers need to learn how to catch the ball (pretend its toilet paper like in the little giants?).

Key Player: Coach Norv Turner. In a twist, Turner is the one to watch. If he loses this game then his seat (as well as GM AJ Smith’s seat) will be just a little hotter. The Chargers consistently underachieve and someone needs to take the blame. On the other side, Browns coach Pat Shurmur must win some games. With a new owner lurking and Holmgren on his way out the door, it doesn’t look like a story book ending for the Browns coach.

Atlanta Falcons @ Philadelphia Eagles

Analysis: Yes, I know the Andy Reid is 13-0 following the bye week and the Falcons have played in a number of close games and are probably due to lose one but I don’t think it is this week. Although the Eagles are favored to win this one, I believe Atl will get the best of this low scoring affair.

Key Player: Michael Vick. If he continues to turn the ball over, the Eagles have no shot at winning this game (don’t expect Matt Ryan to have a high turnover game as he did previously).

Seattle Seahawks @ Detroit Lions

Analysis: I hate to do this but I am picking against the Lions. I thought this team showed so much promise and hope but they look like they are the same old Lions (almost). The Seahawks are keeping games close so I expect them to squeak one out this week.

Keep an Eye on: Seahawks corner Richard Sherman (the self proclaimed Optimus Prime) vs. Calvin Johnson (Megatron). Calvin Johnson was held to 3 catches on 11 targets last week against the Bears (& corner back Charles Tillman who is playing lights out right now!). Megatron isn’t usually held in check for multiple weeks in a row but Stafford & Johnson are struggling to connect. This will be a great matchup to watch.

Miami Dolphins @ New York Jets

Analysis: This has the making to be a brutal game for both teams. Tensions are growing between the two teams with jabs being taken at each other via the media. The Jets looked much better last week agains the Patriots and almost upset New England in OT. I like the Jets to win this close game.

Key Player: You already know- Mr. Mark Sanchez. Which Sanchez shows up to play Sunday?

Carolina Panthers @ Chicago Bears

Analysis: Cam Newton looked great last year (mostly because he was behind every game thus was able to sit back and throw the ball around) but this year is a different story. Newtons play has been subpar (to say the least). Additionally, Newtons leadership is in question as the former number one pick has made a number of negative comments to the media in his post game interviews ( he is starting to sound like JaMarcus Russell and thats a terrible thing). The Bears defense is playing steller right now and I expect them to keep it up against the shaky Panthers.

Key Player: Matt Forte. Forte hasn’t produced as many expected him to at this point in the season. Look for him to get the ground game rolling in this one.

Game of the Week: Washington Redskins @ Pittsburgh Steelers

Analysis: I expect this game to be dogfight from start to finish. Last week the Redskins narrowly lost to the Giants while the Steelers were able to handle the Bengals. While the Steelers are suffering from injuries, the defense finally looks as though things are coming together (even though they are without Troy again this week). It remains to be seen if the Steelers pass rush can disrupt RG3 and slow down the Redskins run game.

Key Player: London Fletcher. The heart and soul of the Redskins defense, Fletcher has never missed a game in fourteen seasons in the league. Although Fletcher is listed on the injury report, I expect him to play. His presence is vital if the Redskins want to be competitive in this game.

Oakland Raiders @ Kansas City Chiefs

Analysis: It looks as though the Matt Cassel era may be over (or temporarily halted – depends on how terrible Brady Quinn plays). The Raiders, per usual, are up and down each week. One week the Raiders play the Falcons tough but the next they lay down and get lucky against a weak Jacksonville squad. Arrowhead is a tough place to play and while I like the Chiefs defense, I expect Quinn to struggle in this one.

Fantasy Stud: Jamaal Charles. Although I think the Raiders will be keying him very closely, I expect him to get plenty of touches in this game to make some noise in the fantasy box score.

New York Giants @ Dallas Cowboys

Analysis: Eli Manning just finds ways to win; it has been the story of this team since he joined. Manning and crew should be able to get the W in this tough division matchup. Although I am a fan of the Cowboys secondary, the absence of Sean Lee may be the nail in the coffin for this defense. Lee, an Upper Saint Clair High School alumni, has been a monster for the Cowboys for years.

Key Players: The Giants Secondary. Last week the Cowboy receivers were relatively held in check by the Panthers secondary but this week may be a different story. After being targeted 28 times in the previous two games, Dez Bryant only had three balls thrown his way. The Cowboys must get more production out of their receivers (including Witten) if they want to win this game.

Keep an Eye on: Felix Jones. Jones has never lived up to the expectations he came into the league with. A homerun hitter, Jones has trouble staying healthy. While he may get the start this week, don’t be surprised if Phillip Tanner has more carries when the game is finished.

New Orleans Saints @ Denver Broncos

Analysis: Peyton Manning and the Broncos look to take control of the AFC West after finishing off the Saints this week; the Saints defense is just too porous to handle the Bronco attack. While I don’t like this matchup for Drew Brees, you have to expect he will keep throwing and putting up stats to keep his team competitive.

Key Players: The Saints Defense. If they allow early touchdowns, expect a long day in Mile High.

Fantasy Stud: Peyton Manning. Expect the quarterback to put up solid numbers this week.

San Francisco 49ers @ Arizona Cardinals

Analysis: The 49ers had plenty of time to get the kinks out after a tough Thursday matchup vs the Seahawks. Vernon Davis must get things going to help open up the niner passing game. The Cardinals just look helpless as they have no offensive line or running game. I still don’t understand how or why John Skelton doesn’t throw the ball to Larry Fitzgerald more often?! Fitz finished with 4 catches on 7 targets but he doesn’t seem to get the passes thrown his way with Skelton at the helm.

Fantasy Stud: Frank Gore & Kendall Hunter.

Well expect another wild NFL week. Thanks for reading.

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