NFL Week 8: Previews and Predictions
Bye Week: Baltimore Ravens, Chicago Bears, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, San Diego Chargers, Tennessee Titans
Carolina Panthers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
This NFC South divisional match-up boasts little for the Home side, as they come into the game with a record of 0-6. Unlike their opposition they are yet to get going this season and sit 31st on overall offense. Going against the Panthers defense which is currently ranked 3rd in the league Mike Glennon and the Tampa Bay offense will struggle, especially now that their star running back Doug Martin is likely to be out for the rest of the season having torn his labrum last Sunday against the Atlanta Falcons. I see this being a rather one sided affair with Cam Newton leading Carolina to their 4th win of the season and improving the Panthers’ record to 4-3.
Prediction: Panthers 24-10 Buccaneers
San Francisco 49ers at Jacksonville Jaguars
The NFL comes to Wembley on Sunday with this game which will most likely end in another blowout loss for the Jaguars. As much I love to root for the underdog, the Jacksonville Jaguars have the worst ranked offense in the NFL(32nd) coupled with nearly the worst ranked defense(28th) and are going up against a 49ers side that seem to be finding their momentum having won 4 straight games. Colin Kaepernick and Frank Gore will have a field day against the Jaguars this week and the 49ers will find themselves coasting to victory yet again without even a brush of sweat on their brows.
Prediction: 49ers 27-3 Jaguars
Cleveland Browns at Kansas City Chiefs
The Kansas City Chiefs have made an incredulous start to the season thus far, going 7-0 for only the second time in franchise history. Having notched this many wins already I can’t see them stopping now, despite Alex Smith making some mistakes late in last week’s game, the Chiefs can topple the 7th ranked defense in the league. Though most of the plays will no doubt be made by the Chiefs’ stalwart defense, stopping the veteran Jason Campbell from getting anywhere. Players to look out for in this game? Tamba Hali and Justin Houston. The dynamic linebacker duo will be tearing through the Browns’ offensive line this Sunday. But you know what they say, the best offense is a good defense!
Prediction: Browns 6-17 Chiefs
Miami Dolphins at New England Patriots
Oh, how the mighty have fallen. Tom Brady and co. got dealt a divisional blow last week as they fell to defeat at the hands of the Jets after an overtime field goal. They face another divisional opponent this week in the form of Ryan Tannehill and the Miami Dolphins. The second-year Quarterback has blown hot and cold this season, at times showing a great arm and a lot of ability, while at others he has made game-changing, and losing, decisions. Saying that, I think this is Tannehill’s chance to really show what he’s got against the toughest team in the AFC East. They still won’t win though. This one goes to Brady’s 16th ranked offense, despite offensive line injuries, it’ll hold up against a mediocre Dolphins’ pass rush.
Prediction: Dolphins 13-21 Patriots
Buffalo Bills at New Orleans Saints
The New Orleans Saints come fresh off their bye week to face an interesting match-up in the Buffalo Bills, who have proven to be a tough side to beat so far in 2013, despite their 3-4 record. But I can’t see the Bills’ defensive star Mario Williams having quite such a big game this week as he will be going against a far more solid offensive line. Drew Brees will be itching for a comeback after the Saints’ last minute loss to the Patriots 2 weeks ago, as such, I see this being a good Sunday for New Orleans’ fans, their team should be able to brush aside the surprisingly high-performing rookie quarterback Thad Lewis without much trouble.
Prediction: Bills 9-20 Saints
Dallas Cowboys at Detroit Lions
Last week saw an impressive show from receivers A.J. Green and Calvin Johnson when the Lions took on the Cincinnati Bengals. This Sunday should provide another great receiver match-up as Dez Bryant will be in town and says he can go ‘play for play’ with arguably the best receiver in the league, Megatron. The Cowboys will be looking to improve their playoff hopes as they sit first place in the AFC North with their 4-3 record. This game will most likely end up in a firefight as Matthew Stafford and the passing game of the Lions’ offense will be taking shots at an occasionally shaky Dallas secondary. Moreover, with key injuries to DeMarco Murray and DeMarcus Ware the Cowboys’ are slightly worse for wear at the moment. However, I still see them getting the W on Sunday.
Prediction: Cowboys 27-21 Lions
New York Giants at Philadelphia Eagles
So the Giants finally notched their first win this season against the Minnesota Vikings on Monday! It was about time, too. For a team that has won 2 Superbowls with Eli Manning at the helm this has been a truly disastrous season so far. They visit Philadelphia this Sunday, who have Michael Vick coming back from injury to take his place at QB of the 3rd ranked offence in the NFL. This game, could really go either way; ‘Any Given Sunday’ is certainly the perfect term for this match-up. If the Giants take their momentum from Monday and Eli Manning keeps improving his consistency with only 1 fumble and 0 interceptions Monday they could take this one, however, the Eagles could easily run all over the Giants defence, with DeSean Jackson and LeSean McCoy players to watch out for.
Prediction: Giants 13-17 Eagles
Pittsburgh Steelers at Oakland Raiders
Both these teams head into this Sunday with 2-4 records and have generally been average with some star plays popping up every now and again. However now that Heath Miller is back at Tight End for the Steelers, Big Ben has one of his favourite weapons at his disposal. Last week showed an immense improvement from the Steelers’ offence, beating the Ravens in a close divisional match-up. The Raiders currentlly sit 32nd in the NFL in passing and are facing the 6th place Steelers defence, this could spell trouble for Terrelle Pryor who will be needing to make the best use of his legs as possible in order to get the win this weekend.
Prediction: Steelers 21-10 Raiders
New York Jets at Cincinatti Bengals
Having beaten the New England Patriots last Sunday the Jets will be full of confidence visitiing Ohio this week. But the Bengals have a defence that is no pushover as well as quarterback Andy Dalton improving every week. Though Geno Atkins hasn’t quite been the impact player of last year; Carlos Dunlap has been picking up the slack, blocking a field goal to help the Bengals beat the Detroit Lions last Sunday. The Jets have been somewhat unpredictable this year, with rookie QB Geno Smith blowing hot and cold but will definitely give the Bengals a run for their money. This game will come down to which offence strings together the most big plays against equally hard-to-overcome defences. But if A.J. Green plays anything like he did last Sunday, this match easily goes to Cincinatti.
Prediction: Jets 17-27 Bengals
Atlanta Falcons at Arizona Cardinals
The strangely 2-4 Atlanta Falcons come to an up and down Arizona at the University of Phoenix Stadium this Sunday. Matt Ryan has been dealt a bitter blow with both his star receivers Roddy White and Julio Jones being out for the rest of the season. Having said that, Harry Douglas stepped up substantially last week and I can see him doing the same again on Sunday. The Cardinals rank 29th on offence compared to the Falcons’ 9th place, so there is a substantial difference between the two sides on that side of the ball. Barring any incredible special teams plays, this game should go to the Falcons without a great deal of hassle as an averagely ranked Cardinals’ defence(16th) should not be able to stop Matt Ryan and co. this week.
Washington Redskins at Denver Broncos
This could turn out to be one of the better games of the season. Veteran Quarterback Peyton Manning tasted defeat for the first time in 2013 last Sunday at the hands of Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts so will be looking to bounce back against an incredibly pourous Washington defence. While RGIII of the Redskins will be looking to prove that he is truly recovering from his ACL injury. The second-year QB has been seemingly getting back to the RGIII we know and love to watch, showing his accuracy throwing the ball deep last week against the Chicago Bears. This is going to be an offensive match-up all the way, whoever comes out and throws the best on the day is going to win as neither defence has been able to do a great deal to help out so far this season.
Prediction: Redskins 24-34 Broncos
Green Bay Packers at Minnesota Vikings
This game is going to be a complete blowout. There’s no two ways about it. Aaron Rodgers is a stellar quarterback and can make use of whatever weapons he is given to produce the yards and the points for the win. The Packers’ offence does rank 2nd in the league after all, no matter what the injuries to James Jones and Jermichael Finley suggest. Furthermore, rookie RB Eddie Lacy has been dominant on the ground this year, finally giving Rodgers a great option there. As for the Vikings, QB Christian Ponder will be hard-pressed to find his feet during this game, not just because of all the previous drama surrounding him, but because he has been thrown into the front line of a desperate team with little time to prepare himself. Relax Green Bay fans, your team is going to be just fine this week.
Prediction: Packers 24-6 Vikings
Seattle Seahawks at St. Louis Rams
This season has now turned into turmoil for the Rams as Sam Bradford went down with a season ending injury last week. This has led them to sign Brady Quinn to take over at QB this week which, with a match-up against the 6-1 Seattle Seahawks and their quality on both sides of the ball, including ‘The Beast’ Marshawn Lynch and one of the best Quarterbacks to come out of the 2012 draft in Russell Wilson, will more than likely end in a big loss. Though the Rams have played reasonably well so far this season it is all going downhill from here, though being at home at the Edwards Jones Dome might help a small amount. This week’s Monday Night Football goes to Seattle, in what will probably turn into a rampage of Pete Carroll’s side over the unfortunate St. Louis Rams.
Prediction: Seahawks 31-10 Rams