28 October 2015

2015 NFL Predictions: Week 8

(USATSI)
There is only one matchup of 6-0 clubs this week and it takes place on Sunday night in Denver between the Packers and the Broncos. It is obviously the showdown of the week and therefore there may possibly be only one undefeated club in the NFL come next week. Who will come out on top this week? My picks, right now.

Last Week: 10-4
2015: 67-57
Locks: 6-1

Thursday, October 29th
Dolphins (3-3) vs. Patriots (6-0) - CBS/NFLN, 8:25
Miami Dolphins (2013 - Pres)Boston Patriots (1965 - 1970)
Something has worked out for the Dolphins under interim coach Dan Campbell as a listless team has shown some pop and some fire in demolishing two straight AFC South clubs. Granted, both teams are dreadful but it is certainly an improvement from what we saw under Joe Philbin. I don't think they will take out the best team in the league on the road this week, but I think they will keep it competitive.
Patriots 31 Dolphins 23

Sunday, November 1st
Lions (1-6) vs. Chiefs (2-5) - London - Fox, 9:30 am
Detroit Lions (2009 - Pres)Kansas City Chiefs (1972 - Pres)
Let's just hope that London keeps on accepting our bad football matchups because this will be a doozy with the struggling Lions defense facing off with the struggling Chiefs offense. Kansas City did get off the losing schneid last season in Pittsburgh, but that was against Landry Jones making his first start. However, the Lions are just so one-dimensional right now and can't seem to do anything right at the moment.
Chiefs 18 Lions 13

Buccaneers (2-4) vs. Falcons (6-1) - Fox, 1:00
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2014 - Pres)Atlanta Falcons (1966 - 1989)
His start of the season was brutal but Jameis Winston has been getting better every week and as such, the offense has started to look better as well. What has killed them this season is taking too many penalties as well as giving up more points than anybody else. I'm starting to think that the Falcons are not as good as their record indicates, but they'll take advantage of Tampa Bay's problems.
Falcons 31 Buccaneers 19

Cardinals (5-2) vs. Browns (2-5) - Fox, 1:00
Phoenix Cardinals (1988 - 1993)Cleveland Browns (2003 - 2014)
Following a disappointing loss in Pittsburgh, the Cardinals rallied at home to take out the Ravens on Monday night and now they get their third straight AFC North opponent. Cleveland's offense was wholly stagnant against the Rams on Sunday and it seems that Josh McCown has come back to Earth. Arizona gets the road win.
Cardinals 25 Browns 14

49ers (2-5) vs. Rams (3-3) - Fox, 1:00
San Francisco 49ers (1946 - 1967)St. Louis Rams (2000 - Pres)
St. Louis is going to make themselves a player in the wild card race in the NFC. Todd Gurley has been spectacular running the ball and that combination with a very solid defense will make them a sneaky playoffs contender, even as we have truly found out that Nick Foles is not good. And good thing for them, the Niners are awful!
Rams 23 49ers 12

Giants (4-3) vs. Saints (3-4) - Fox, 1:00
New York Giants (2000 - Pres)New Orleans Saints (1976 - 1984)
I'm still not a huge fan of either of these two teams, even as the Giants sit in first place in an awful NFC East after winning four of five and New Orleans has won two games in a row and three of four. This is the kind of game that screams a shootout and I think that favors a resurgent Drew Brees, particularly as New York is not good against the pass.
Saints 38 Giants 34

Vikings (4-2) vs. Bears (2-4) - Fox, 1:00
Minnesota Vikings (2013 - Pres)Chicago Bears (1974 - Pres)
If you have not been paying close enough attention this season, you would have missed that the Vikings have made themselves a legitimate playoff contender in the NFC. The Vikings run the ball very well and don't give up a lot of points while the Bears are awful against the run and can't score. Even for a divisional matchup, that's not a great sign.
Vikings 17 Bears 10

Chargers (2-5) vs. Ravens (1-6) - CBS, 1:00
San Diego Chargers (2002 - 2006)Baltimore Ravens (1996 - 1998)
Both of these teams are disappointments in their own right (with Baltimore clearly being more than San Diego) and have seen their respective seasons spiraled down the toilet. Since Baltimore has lost every game by no more than eight points, I do think they are a little better than their record indicates, but San Diego, garbage points aside, got whipped by the Raiders at home. Give me the Ravens.
Ravens 24 Chargers 16

Bengals (6-0) vs. Steelers (4-3) - CBS, 1:00
Cincinnati Bengals (2004 - Pres)Pittsburgh Steelers (1969 - 2001)
As CBS's John Breech always notes, the Bengals under Andy Dalton are very strong in 1 pm contests. In fact, they are 21-3-1 in early games since October of 2013 and that is pretty good. That numbers are hard to ignore but now with the Steelers getting Ben Roethlisberger back for the first time in a month and it will be the first full game where he will have Le'Veon Bell for a full game. I'll take the Steelers here.
Steelers 31 Browns 30

Titans (1-5) vs. Texans (2-5) - CBS, 1:00
Tennessee Titans (1999 - Pres)Houston Texans (2002 - Pres)
You could make a good case that these are two of the four worst teams in the NFL. Both teams have quarterback issues as Marcus Mariota, who sat out last week after suffering a sprained MCL, is not certain to return this week while the Texans are now set to go with Brian Hoyer after cutting Ryan Mallett. I'll keep an eye out on Mariota's availability but Tennessee has themselves a pretty good defense and Houston's offense, with Arian Foster out for the season, is now a freaking joke.
Titans 10 Texans 9

Jets (4-2) vs. Raiders (3-3) - CBS, 4:05
New York Jets (2002 - Pres)Oakland Raiders (1995 - Pres)
New York showed a lot of game against the Patriots in Foxborough before faltering late, proving themselves to be one of the better teams in the AFC. And while they are better than a resurgent Raiders team, following up a road game in New England with one on the West Coast can be difficult and thus I think this will be a close one.
Jets 20 Raiders 17

Seahawks (3-4) vs. Cowboys (2-4) - Fox, 4:25
Seattle Seahawks (2002 - 2011)Dallas Cowboys (1964 - Pres)
As expected, Matt Cassel really was not that much better under center for the Cowboys than Brandon Weeden was. Dallas has now lost four straight games without Tony Romo and so their only hope is to run the ball, run the ball, run the ball. If Cassel will struggle against a dreadful Giants pass defense, he has no chance against the Seahawks.
Seahawks 24 Cowboys 19

Packers (6-0) vs. Broncos (6-0) - NBC, 8:30
Green Bay Packers (1968 - 1979)Denver Broncos (1993 - 1996)
Green Bay is a club that hasn't had those dominant victories thus far against a relatively weak schedule, and they could very well have lost both of their past two games had things broken another way. However, unlike the Broncos, their offense has still looked strong (having Aaron Rodgers helps) and their defense has looked a lot better. Denver has the best defense in football but their offense has been so bad this both passing and running that if they don't completely keep Rodgers in check, they'll be out of it.
Packers 27 Broncos 20

Monday, November 2nd
Colts (3-4) vs. Panthers (6-0) - ESPN, 8:30
Baltimore Colts (1961 - 1978)Carolina Panthers (2012 - Pres)
The Colts should be damn lucky that they are in the worst NFL division I have ever seen (yes, even worse than the NFC South a year ago) because they simply aren't any good. Andrew Luck has taken poor care of the football (an awful offensive line doesn't help) and given that the Panthers have been very aggressive on defense in picking off passes, that's not a good matchup. Indianapolis also has the worst defense statistically in the NFL and so Cam Newton should take plenty advantage of that. The Panthers are my Lock of the Week.
Panthers 28 Colts 12

1 comment:

  1. Hi Ben
    I would have chosen the Pats over Miami as the LOTW had I posted this yesterday so instead I shall choose the Rams over the 49ers. As you quite rightly say, there is no obvious improvement in SanFran and the Rams are tough at home and have a more talented squad, particularly on defence. I just don't get why so many teams are playing poorly: Indy being one of them. On top of that we have ANOTHER Cowboys game to endure AND Thom Brennaman... hope the Jets at Oakland is competitive so NFL Redzone focusses on it instead.

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