PFT’s Week Eight picks

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It would be fair to call Week Eight the first unofficial lull of the 2013 season.  Six teams are off, including the defending Super Bowl champions.  The other Super Bowl team has been exiled to London, for a friendly against the Jaguars.

Of the 13 games on the slate, some of the worst teams will play in prime time.  Tonight, it’s the winless Bucs.  Sunday night, the hapless Vikings.  Monday night, the listless Rams.

Throw in recent Monday night game between Minnesota and the Giants and technically the evening kickoff in London and it’s as bad a five-game cluster of football under the lights that the NFL ever has seen.

But we’ll still watch, because it’s the NFL.  And it’s on TV.  And in three-and-a-half months it’ll be gone until next September.

I’ll be paying particular attention to two of the games, since MDS and I disagree on the outcomes.  Our full slate of Week Eight picks appears below.

Last week, I swept the two games on which we differed, finishing 10-5 to his 8-7.  For the year, he’s now 71-36, and I’m 67-40.

Panthers at Buccaneers

MDS’s take: Looking at the Buccaneers’ remaining schedule, this actually appears to be one of their more winnable games, at home on a short week against a .500 team. But the Panthers have been playing good football, and they’re not going to get tripped up in Tampa.

MDS’s pick: Panthers 21, Buccaneers 6.

Florio’s take:  The Panthers have been taking care of business against bad teams.  They get another chance to do it on Thursday night, against one of the worst teams.  The next challenge for Carolina will be to beat a good team.

Florio’s pick:  Panthers 24, Buccaneers 17.

Cowboys at Lions

MDS’s take: This is a tough one. The Lions are favored and I rarely pick against a team with a winning record at home. But the Lions’ secondary was leaving receivers wide open all day against the Bengals, and Tony Romo and Dez Bryant should be able to put up big numbers in Detroit. Meanwhile, the Cowboys’ defense looked outstanding last week against Philadelphia. I see the Cowboys winning a close game.

MDS’s pick: Cowboys 28, Lions 27.

Florio’s take:  A shootout could be coming at Ford Field, and the Lions know their margin for error is shrinking.  The Cowboys, at 4-3 and in the NFC East, won’t have a margin for error until late December.

Florio’s pick:  Lions 38, Cowboys 35.

49ers at Jaguars

MDS’s take: This is an easy one. The 49ers are playing tough, physical football on both sides of the ball, while the Jaguars are making mistakes all over the place. The fans in London are going to see the Jaguars and be horrified at the idea that this is the quality of football the NFL plans to send across the pond on a regular basis. (Next year the Jaguars “host” the Cowboys at Wembley Stadium, and we can already pencil in the Cowboys as 14-point favorites in that game.)

MDS’s pick: 49ers 34, Jaguars 10.

Florio’s take:  The good news?  Folks in Jacksonville don’t have to witness this “home” game in person.  The bad news?  It’ll be on TV.

Florio’s pick:  49ers 40, Jaguars 13.

Browns at Chiefs

MDS’s take: I keep thinking the Chiefs are ripe for an upset, and then I keep looking at their schedule and thinking they’re a lot better than every team they’re going to play, at least until the Broncos come to town on November 17. Jason Campbell might be a better option than Brandon Weeden, but the Browns just aren’t good enough on offense to move the ball effectively against that tough Chiefs defense.

MDS’s pick: Chiefs 20, Browns 10.

Florio’s take:  The Chiefs continue their tour of backup quarterbacks.  A loss feels inevitable before the home-and-home showdowns with the Broncos, but it’s not likely to happen this week.

Florio’s pick:  Chiefs 27, Browns 13.

Dolphins at Patriots

MDS’s take: With all their injuries, I don’t think the Patriots are any better than the Dolphins on either offense or defense. But I do think the Patriots are a lot better than the Dolphins on special teams, and I look for a big play in the kicking game to be the difference.

MDS’s pick: Patriots 17, Dolphins 13.

Florio’s take:  The two teams that most (like us) assumed would be battling for supremacy in the division are now struggling to stay competitive.  The Dolphins don’t have the running game to take advantage of the Pats’ porous post-Wilfork run defense, or the offensive line to keep Patriots defenders off of Ryan Tannehill.

Florio’s pick:  Patriots 24, Dolphins 20.

Bills at Saints

MDS’s take: Buffalo has a better defense than most people realize, and the Bills’ pass rush is going to give Drew Brees a tough time. But the Bills’ offense will struggle in front of a hostile New Orleans crowd, and the Saints will win in a closer game than most people are expecting.

MDS’s pick: Saints 23, Bills 20.

Florio’s take:  With or without tight end (receiver) Jimmy Graham, the Saints are too tough to beat in their own building, even though the Bills are looking better than anyone thought they would.  As long as Drew Brees can avoid getting flattened by Mario Williams, the Saints should continue to strengthen their grip on the NFC South.

Florio’s pick:  Saints 35, Bills 20.

Giants at Eagles

MDS’s take: The NFC East is so bad that the Giants could get themselves into the division race with a win in Philadelphia. I don’t see it happening, though. Monday night’s win was about as ugly a win as an NFL team can earn, and the Giants still look like a lousy team.

MDS’s pick: Eagles 24, Giants 13.

Florio’s take:  The Eagles haven’t been much more this year than the best of some bad teams.  They’ll get another chance to do it on Sunday, and in the process snap a nine-game home losing streak.

Florio’s pick:  Eagles 27, Giants 17.

Steelers at Raiders

MDS’s take: The Steelers have a history of dropping games on the road against bad Raiders teams, but I don’t think it will happen this time. Pittsburgh looks like it’s turning things around and should roll against a Raiders team that isn’t playing particularly well in any phase of the game.

MDS’s pick: Steelers 24, Raiders 10.

Florio’s take:  Another week, another once great rivalry that has lost its luster.  Pittsburgh is starting to get on a roll; the Raiders aren’t as bad as we thought they’d be but still not good enough.

Florio’s pick:  Steelers 20, Raiders 13.

Jets at Bengals

MDS’s take: This doesn’t exactly have the feel of a huge game, but it’s one of only two this week matching up two teams with winning records. Give the Jets a lot of credit for getting to 4-3, but I’m still not convinced that they’re actually a good team. The Bengals should take this one and solidify their status as one of the top teams in the AFC.

MDS’s pick: Bengals 27, Jets 17.

Florio’s take:  The Jets have beaten the Bengals four straight times, and nine out of 10 dating back to 1992.  The trend gets reversed on Sunday, thanks to the fact that Cincinnati has the superior team on both sides of the ball.  Hopefully the locals will realize that, and buy up the remaining tickets.

Florio’s pick:  Bengals 24, Jets 13.

Falcons at Cardinals

MDS’s take: I think the Falcons are better than their 2-4 record suggests. And I don’t think the Cardinals are any better than their 3-4 record suggests. So I’m tempted to take Atlanta in a slight upset. But the Falcons’ injuries on offense, combined with the impressive way the Cardinals’ defense is playing, makes me believe Arizona will win a close, low-scoring game.

MDS’s pick: Cardinals 14, Falcons 13.

Florio’s take:  At 1-4, the Falcons knew they weren’t dead yet.  At 3-4 after Sunday, they’ll be in position to chase a wild-card berth in the NFC.

Florio’s pick:  Falcons 27, Cardinals 17.

Redskins at Broncos

MDS’s take: If Peyton Manning wants to shake off last week’s disappointing loss in Indianapolis, he could hardly have picked a better defense to do it against than Washington’s, which has struggled all season and will now be without suspended starting strong safety Brandon Meriweather. This won’t be close.

MDS’s pick: Broncos 31, Redskins 17.

Florio’s take:  Mike Shanahan returns to Denver, the Mile High location of his mile-long house.  At least he’ll still have that after the game.

Florio’s pick:  Broncos 48, Redskins 21.

Packers at Vikings

MDS’s take: Everyone is focusing so much on the Vikings’ problems at quarterback that hardly anyone has noticed how bad the Vikings’ defense is. Aaron Rodgers should have a field day, and the Vikings’ offense will continue to struggle no matter who’s playing quarterback.

MDS’s pick: Packers 31, Vikings 13.

Florio’s take:  Since 1992, the Packers have had three starting quarterbacks:  Brett Favre, Aaron Rodgers, and Matt Flynn (twice).  In that same time, the Vikings have had Rich Gannon, Sean Salisbury, Jim McMahon, Warren Moon, Brad Johnson, Randall Cunningham, Jeff George, Daunte Culpepper, Todd Bouman, Spergon Wynn, Gus Frerotte, Brad Johnson (again), Tarvaris Jackson, Kelly Holcomb, Brooks Bollinger, Gus Frerotte (again), Tarvaris Jackson, Brett Favre, Joe Webb, Donovan McNabb, Christian Ponder, Matt Cassel, Josh Freeman, and Christian Ponder (again).  That pretty much sums up the state of this rivalry for the past 21 years.

Florio’s pick:  Packers 34, Vikings 10.

Seahawks at Rams

MDS’s take: Pity Rams quarterback Kellen Clemens having to take on that nasty Seahawks defense in his first start in two years. It’s going to get ugly in St. Louis.

MDS’s pick: Seahawks 34, Rams 6.

Florio’s take:  After the Rams have moved and people in St. Louis are tempted to lament the fact that their NFL franchise is gone, they’ll be able to look back on this game, and it will make them feel a little bit better.

Florio’s pick:  Seahawks 38, Rams 13.

58 responses to “PFT’s Week Eight picks

  1. The hated Oakland Raiders will beat my beloved Steelers.

    I don’t think the Steeler defense can put up another under 20 point performance in a row and of course that’s all Roethlisberger does.

  2. Maybe it’s time the NFL start instituting earlier flex-scheduling or picking potentially interesting games instead of just loading the national schedule with big-market teams.

    You’ll always get good ratings IN those big cities, but the rest of the NFL-loving America is not going to tune in to watch a Vikings-Giants snoozer.

    Even the Bills-Browns Thursday game was way more enjoyable than watching the useless Vikings over and over.

  3. If the World Series reaches Game 5, I’d be very curious to see how many people show up for the Seahawks/Rams game versus going across the street to Busch Stadium.

  4. No Champ Bailey and the Redskins will only pick up 17/21 points?!?!?!

    We lose this one, but expect another big game from Jordan Reed and Roy Helu as RGIII continues to get back on track.

    Hail!

  5. Hail to the Redskins!
    Hail Victory!
    Braves on the Warpath!
    Fight for old D.C.!
    Run or pass and score — we want a lot more!
    Beat ’em, Swamp ’em,
    Touchdown! — Let the points soar!
    Fight on, fight on ‘Til you have won
    Sons of Wash-ing-ton. Rah!, Rah!, Rah!
    Hail to the Redskins!
    Hail Victory!
    Braves on the Warpath!
    Fight for old D.C.!

  6. Rick Spielman is a Magician . I Live in MN . don’t be acting as if your fellow Viking Fan’s don’t engage in Barn Yard activities .. I’ll be glad to pull up some stories .

  7. I think it would be hilarious if the Jaguars had their one fluke win of the season against the 49ers. There’s a chance of .001% it will actually happen, but you never know. On any given Sunday…

  8. These National games are wretched. Bucs/Panthers Thursday, Vikings/Packers Sunday & Seattle/STL Monday night.

    Usually you can count on the Sunday Nighter to be a quality game. It must not be deep enough into the season for NBC to flex outta Pack/Minny cause you gotta think they woulda grabbed Dallas/Detroit if they could.

    Brutal.

  9. Panthers are going to dismantle the Bucs on National TV tonight.

    I wish Bradford was playing so Seattle could have a real coming out party. This one feels more Rams are being matched on front of a firing squad.

    Jags get this first win of the season in London. They played the Broncos far harder than anyone expected.

  10. There are very few scoring offenses worse than the Steelers’ 29th-ranked scoring offense, but the Raiders’ scoring offense is among them. If Oakland wins this game, Tomlin should either resign or be fired. Immediately.

  11. So I read:

    If Peyton Manning wants to shake off last week’s disappointing loss in Indianapolis, he could hardly have picked a better defense to do it against than Washington’s, which has struggled all season and will now be without suspended starting strong safety Brandon Meriweather. This won’t be close.
    __________________________________

    Interesting since the Broncos defense is ranked 30th and against worst foes somewhat and yet the Redskins defense is ranked 15th, if the Redskins have been struggling what would be the description of the Broncos defense?

  12. I have a question since the Broncos defense is ranked 30th and against worst foes somewhat than the Redskins, and the Redskins defense is ranked 15th, if the Redskins have been struggling what would be the description of the Broncos defense?

    Inquiring minds want to know…

  13. its funny cause every time i look at comments I’m always thinking about what are the Seahawks fans saying about this, I’m thinking watch some crazy Seahawks fan is going to be calling the jaguars beating my Niners, then I was like nah, they ain’t that crazy…then there it was ,twice…..

  14. ok here are some stats since its slow at work:

    in the NFL since 1992 there have been 547 starting Quarter backs

    Since Mike decided to point out the vikings have had 20 i wanted to know the league average during that period. 547/32 teams= 17.09 qbs per team in that time period- take out the panthers, jags and texans since they were not around during the whole period 508/29- 17.51 qbs in that time period.
    teams with equal or more the the vikes in that period:
    vikings 20
    lions-20
    dolphins-21
    browns-21
    rams-23
    browns-ravens-23
    cardinals-24
    Redskins-25
    Bears 26
    Raiders-26

    9 teams more then the vikes, also the average number tells me its more of a league issue then you think, the packers are the abnomality, not the norm also since 1992 the pack holds a 22-19 record vs the vikes and 23-20 record if you count the play offs, much closer then one would think with 2 hof’s playing qb for the pack in the past 20 or so years

  15. A perfect storm = Denver’s current offense vs Redskin’s current “defense”.

    Denver 7 offensive tds and less than 2 punts
    Washington will surrender more than 350 air yds before 3rd qtr.

    I am a fan of neither team. That really tall kid from Arizona is gonna get to play more than a full qtr.

  16. It’s almost crazy to pick the Eagles at home. However, I can actually see the Eagles defense keeping Eli in Check. The question is whether or not the offense can score points in front of those loveable Philly fans. The players are never quite sure whether the fans hate the visitors or the home team more.

  17. I loved having Shanahan as a coach, but man, his Defenses always stunk it up. Swiss Cheese comes to mind.

    Unfortunately for Mike, he has a dog pile sandwhich coming his way.

  18. calicokiller49 says:Oct 24, 2013 1:16 PM

    its funny cause every time i look at comments I’m always thinking about what are the Seahawks fans saying about this, I’m thinking watch some crazy Seahawks fan is going to be calling the jaguars beating my Niners, then I was like nah, they ain’t that crazy…then there it was ,twice…..
    ——————————————————-
    And I was like, let me see if some niner fan wants to take a crack at the Seattle fanbase because they can’t say anything about our team. You know, the one that crushes the niners on a regular basis now. That’s what’s really funny.

  19. Well the Raiders defense has played well…

    They held KC to 17 offensive points, 10 of those points came on drives that started at the Oakland 23 and the Oakland 29. The other 7 points started at the Chiefs 45. Plus one long TD drive.

    The Chargers 17 offensive points, one drive started at the Oakland 11 and they were held to a FG, a touchdown drive started at the Chargers 46. One long TD drive in the game.

    Redskins 17 offensive points, one TD from the Oakland 42 and one from the Washington 42.

    Oaklnad’s defense is getting it done. I think that’s a phase of the game…

  20. “Cincinnati has the superior team on both sides of the ball.”

    jets are ranked 4th on D vs cincy being 9th. they absolutely do not have a better defense, especially with leon hall done for the year.

    whatever though, we’ll see what happens.

  21. “Spergon Wynn”

    idk why, but that name always sounded cool to me.

    Along with Steve AT-WATER!
    and …idk, there’s other awesome NFL player names out there.

  22. Cincy won’t be running the ball on the Jets D and a healthy Cromartie will lock down Green. Cincy won’t be able to move the ball, and as long as Geno doesn’t turn the ball over, the Jets will roll to 5-3 and put the NFL on notice.

  23. if the steelers defense would get a turnover within the last 5 years maybe their offense wouldn’t have to go 80 yards every drive!!! steelers defense worst in the league every year in turnovers. if it wasn’t for ben this offense would be last in the league in points every year!!

  24. revischrist16 says:
    Oct 24, 2013 2:17 PM
    Cincy won’t be running the ball on the Jets D and a healthy Cromartie will lock down Green. Cincy won’t be able to move the ball, and as long as Geno doesn’t turn the ball over, the Jets will roll to 5-3 and put the NFL on notice.

    I’ll give the Jets run D some credit, they’re good. But they won’t completely shut down the Law Firm and Gio. Just won’t happen. As far as Cromartie… check out this quote just before the Pats game:

    From PFF “Antonio Cromartie has been extremely disappointing this year. He has the worst grade of any corner (-9.2), and has a negative coverage grade in every single game in 2013.”

    Good luck against A.J.

    Bengals 31, Jets 12

  25. A couple different articles mention how bad the NFL match ups are this week and both articles say that we’ll watch anyway, because it’s the NFL. I, for one lifelong NFL fan, will not watch. Last week was just as bad. We need some good games.

  26. you jets fans are delusional, look who cincy has played compared to the jets much tougher offenses, geno better play smart or he’s in for a long day

  27. Steelers have lost their last 7 west coast trips. Mike White was Oakland’s coach the last time the Steelers beat Oakland in Oakland. 1995 for those that are interested….. Not saying Steelers won’t win.. but it’s not as much of a lock as the media will make it out to be. The Raiders defense has been playing quite well.

  28. @fishguy1812,

    You’re saying that the packers offense will only score ONE touchdown against that absolutely terrible defense??? You do realize how bad they are in their secondary, correct? With a more balanced offense this year, one touchdown against them is too unrealistic.

    Saying that the vikings can upset them is one thong, but to say they only score 16 points is downright hilarious.

  29. hendawg21 says:
    Oct 24, 2013 1:05 PM
    I have a question since the Broncos defense is ranked 30th and against worst foes somewhat than the Redskins, and the Redskins defense is ranked 15th, if the Redskins have been struggling what would be the description of the Broncos defense?

    Inquiring minds want to know…

    ——————————————–

    Smart Minds know the Redskins wont come within 2 touchdowns of Denver. So justify it however you please

  30. Even though they’re one of the “newer” teams in the big picture, the Seahawks have more MNF shutouts than any other team.
    We have 5; going for 6. Now where have I heard that before?

    Oh, and best all-time MNF winning % in the NFL too. Our trophy case may be empty for a few more months, but we got that.

  31. foosball1984 says: Oct 24, 2013 3:29 PM

    you jets fans are delusional, look who cincy has played compared to the jets much tougher offenses, geno better play smart or he’s in for a long day

    CORRECT…I know this because I was once a delusional Bengals fan. I have been in the seat of hope that Jets fans are now..but the smoke and mirrors collapse on Sunday, as the Bengals are beginning to live up to their expectations.

    My take on this game is that the Bengals STOMP the Jets. This is not close…a marginal rookie QB against Zimmer’s D (yes I know without Leon…big loss) I’ll take it. The Bengals offense that has been hitting on most cylinders lately will hit on all of them on Sunday. You heard it here first, they WILL run on the Jets and lotsa luck picking your poison with AJ, Marvin Jones (4 TD’ last two games) and the tight ends…I especially expect Eifert to rise to the occasion. Stats are for Fantasy…i’ll take my chances with the Jets! Lay the points….

  32. As usual, Raider fans cling to the past,

    Steelers are going to beat the Raiders by forcing Pryor into more mistakes and hitting him hard. The word is out on Terrell Pryor: He’s soft and can’t take physical football. Look at how he cried after the Broncos beat his butt and how the Chiefs beat on him.

    Steelers will do the same and send Mr. Pryor to nite-nite land like the other two teams I just mentioned did.

  33. The list of Viking qbs is staggering, and not in a good way.
    Many were former and future Washington qbs.

  34. Remember a couple years ago when people on this board were talkin how Minnesota would be the next dynasty and how every free agent will want to go there and blah blah blah…???? Good times..lol

  35. Detroit is a real test for the Cowboys. To travel and play another slightly-above-mediocre team for an unheard of 3rd win in a row.

    Also this:
    Broncos 4.54 x 10^6
    Racists 13

  36. I wonder how they get all these players into the country for these foreign games. When I was growing up we would take groups of friends over the border to Canada to party and without fail they would turn away somebody for getting arrested at some point in their past. How do you get 6 NFL teams into England without someone being classified as Persona Non Grata.

  37. hendawg21 says: Oct 24, 2013 1:05 PM

    I have a question since the Broncos defense is ranked 30th and against worst foes somewhat than the Redskins, and the Redskins defense is ranked 15th, if the Redskins have been struggling what would be the description of the Broncos defense?

    Inquiring minds want to know…
    ——————————————–
    Maybe because the Broncos defense has actually played with several large leads this year. To the uninformed, teams usually go to the air when they are behind, thus deflating defensive stats. It’s not rocket science. Is Denver’s D good? No. Is it better than the REDSKINS D? Absolutely. Quit crying about the “ranking” of your team’s awful defense, it’s not going to matter in this beat down. And especially don’t cry about it under 2 usernames, then type some bogus post about how you agree with “the other guy”. Weak sauce.

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