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Oct. 29, 2010

NFL Week Eight Predictions

by Blake Morgan-Gamber, Online Features and Sports Editor, Eli Schwadron, Online Sports Editor and Melissa Haniff, Online Managing Editor
Redskins cornerback DeAngelo Hall picked off four passes on Sunday, tying an NFL record. He'll look to shut down the Lions offense when Washington faces Detroit on Halloween. Courtesy of Yahoo Sports
Redskins cornerback DeAngelo Hall picked off four passes on Sunday, tying an NFL record. He'll look to shut down the Lions offense when Washington faces Detroit on Halloween.
Trick or treat! We've reached the halfway point of the season, and our experts are still going strong. Eli has held a commanding lead thus far, but that could all change in the blink of an eye — or, after another week of SCO football picks. So on Sunday, get your costumes on, munch on some Halloween candy and watch some week eight games — we know that’s what we’ll be doing!

Standings:
Eli: 65-39
Blake: 60-44
Melissa: 54-50

Sunday, Oct. 31

Jacksonville Jaguars (3-4) at Dallas Cowboys (1-5)
Blake- Jaguars
Eli- Cowboys
Melissa- Jaguars
Blake says:
The only thing that has been impressive about the Cowboys so far this season was their win against the Texans. Since that game, they haven’t shown any true talent on either the offensive or defensive end. The Jaguars will advance to an overall record of .500 after a fairly unexciting game.
Eli says:
Dallas is 1-5 and Romo is hurt — you love to see that as a 'Skins fan. Anyway, I still think the Cowboys will win this week against the Jags, who got blown out 42-20 last week v. Kansas City. And yes, Jacksonville, you're going to lose to Jon Kitna—you will feel embarrassed.
Melissa says:
Jacksonville should be able to easily defeat the Cowboys, who are 1-5 and have been playing miserably. With Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo out due to a broken collarbone, there’s just no chance for struggling Dallas. Jags win on Sunday.


Miami Dolphins (3-3) at Cincinnati Bengals (2-4)
Blake- Dolphins
Eli- Dolphins
Melissa- Dolphins
Blake says:
The Bengals haven’t had a win yet this month and they’ve begun to fall very far behind. They definitely haven’t proved their true potential—they have allowed their opponents to score an average of 23.5 points on them and have not shown much power on the defensive end. On top of all of this, the Dolphins haven’t yet lost on the road.
Eli says:
The Dolphins got robbed of a win last week against the Steelers. They'll take care of a Bengal team that just gave up 39 points to the Falcons.
Melissa says:
This game’s tough because it seems like Cincinnati has finally realized that they actually have to score points in order to win games. But Cincy’s second half comeback wasn’t enough to beat the Falcons, who were led by quarterback Matt Ryan (299 yards and three touchdowns) and receiver Roddy White (eleven catches, 201 yards and two touchdowns). Miami just barely lost to a strong Pittsburgh team last week, proving that they have what it takes to hang with the elite teams in the NFL. Overall, I think Miami’s got more determination and will be able to pull out the win.


Washington Redskins (4-3) at Detroit Lions (1-5)
Blake- Redskins
Eli- Redskins
Melissa- Lions
Blake says:
The D.M.V. is ecstatic that the ‘Skins have finally found their rhythm, and there is no better way to keep their momentum alive than to play the mediocre Detroit Lions. Sunday will serve as Washington’s fourth win on the road and fifth overall.
Eli says:
The 'Skins were sloppy to say the least in their 17-14 win over Chicago last week. Luckily, Jay Cutler and the Bears were just a tad bit sloppier–Washington corner DeAngelo Hall caught more passes than most Chicago receivers. I'm still going to go with the Redskins, even after that disgrace of a game they played last week. I'm banking on the 'Skins D to continue their success, and hopefully McNabb and the gang can get it together on offense.
Melissa says:
I can just imagine Redskins’ fans reading this prediction and either being extremely amused or extremely confused. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve seen the ‘Skins win their last two games and it’s pretty exciting to see them actually playing well. But the games that the Redskins have won are ones they’ve barely won. If it wasn’t for ‘Skins cornerback DeAngelo Hall’s four interceptions last week, I’m not so sure Washington would have won. Plus, it didn’t hurt that the ‘Skins were taking on the always unprotected Chicago quarterback, Jay Cutler, who seems to get sacked at least four times every game. Detroit’s coming in off of a bye week and they should be well rested. The Lions have managed to get a lot of points on the board each game; it’s just a matter of playing the whole game and not depending on first half points to earn a “W.” I’ll be honest, it’s most likely that Washington comes away with the win—I just can’t pick against my Lions.


Buffalo Bills (0-6) at Kansas City Chiefs (4-2)
Blake- Chiefs
Eli- Chiefs
Melissa- Chiefs
Blake says:
This one is easy, and even a little sad. The Chiefs are at the front of the pack while the Bills still haven’t gotten their first win yet. Kansas City will win handily and Buffalo will receive its seventh straight loss.
Eli says:
This one could be closer than many think. The Bills gave Baltimore a spook last week but came just short of their first win in a 37-34 overtime loss. The Chiefs should be able to put Buffalo away as long as they prevent them from scoring like they did last week.
Melissa says:
The Chiefs demolished Jacksonville last week 42-20 and have been proving to the non-believers that they might actually be a good team. Buffalo, on the other hand, has been playing dismally— there’s no way they can win this game. And if they do, Kansas City should be embarrassed.


Carolina Panthers (1-5) at St. Louis Rams (3-4)
Blake- Rams
Eli- Rams
Melissa- Rams
Blake says:
So far into the season, the Rams have flown fairly under the radar. With a close loss to Tampa Bay last week, the Rams are looking to prove themselves as well as advance to an overall record of .500.
Eli says:
This is going to be a brutal game, but I'll take the Rams at home where they're 3-1. The Panthers are just 1-5, with their only win coming against the lowly 49ers.
Melissa says:
I was pretty surprised last week when Carolina, who was previously 0-5, beat the 49ers. After seeing the 49ers win two weeks ago, I thought they had that one in the bag. But I’m not so sure Carolina is actually any good. On the other hand, the Rams just barely lost to the Bucs last week and as long as they can score early and keep their lead late in the game, I think they’ll be able to defeat Carolina easily.


Green Bay Packers (4-3) at New York Jets (5-1)
Blake- Jets
Eli- Jets
Melissa- Jets
Blake says:
Although they showed an impressive start, the Packers haven’t found their rhythm. On the other side, the Jets are coming off a by and should be well rested coming into week eight, ready to do some damage to Green Bay.
Eli says:
The Pack beat the Vikings last week on Sunday Night Football, but they won't be so fortunate on Halloween against the J-E-T-S Jets Jets Jets. New York is 5-1 and is well-rested coming off their bye. They'll defend their home turf against a banged up Green Bay squad and proceed to pop candy corn all night long.
Melissa says:
No doubt, this is the game of the week. No team has the advantage here because both teams are led by strong quarterbacks in Aaron Rodgers (GB) and Mark Sanchez (NYJ). Adding to that, both defenses are solid and have been able to pressure the other team’s quarterback and slow down offenses around the league. But the Pack has a ton of injuries to worry about and the Jets are coming off a bye week, during which they were able to rest their injured players. My heart says Green Bay, but my head says New York.


Denver Broncos (2-5) at San Francisco 49ers (1-6)
Blake- Broncos
Eli- 49ers
Melissa- Broncos
Blake says:
Both of these teams need to use this game as a chance to prove that they are not at the lowest of the competition. What is working against both of these teams, however, is their lack of consistency, but I’m predicting that the Broncos will show their true potential in Sunday’s match-up.
Eli says:
Wow this game is ugly. Both teams are coming off losses to awful teams –Denver got blasted by Oakland 59-14, and San Fran fell to Carolina 23-20. I'll go with the ‘Niners after seeing Darren McFadden run absolutely wild on the Bronco defense, rushing for 165 yards and three scores. Frank Gore should have a monster game against the horrid Denver run defense.
Melissa says:
Denver was embarrassed by Oakland last week. Their defense let Oakland score 59 points and let Oakland running back Darren McFadden run for four touchdowns and 165 yards. The Broncos know that they need this win, and I think they’ll be able to beat San Francisco. However, both teams haven’t been playing consistently and either team could come out on top.


Tennessee Titans (2-5) at Sand Diego Chargers (5-2)
Blake- Titans
Eli- Chargers
Melissa- Titans
Blake says:
Although they don’t have the record to show all the obstacles they have faced, the Titans have played some tough teams and have already shown a lot of improvement from the beginning of the season. Look for Tennessee to capitalize on several Chargers’ fumbles and lack of communication on offense.
Eli says:
Even though the Chargers are really, really bad, they’re not as bad at home. They're 2-1 at Qualcomm Stadium and they're due for a win after three straight losses. I'm picking San Diego even though Tennessee looked good in a win v. Philly in week seven.
Melissa says:
The Titans were impressive last week, scoring 27 points in the fourth quarter and making sure that the Eagles had no chance of catching up. Even with quarterback Vince Young out, Titans backup quarterback Kerry Collins was able to guide the team downfield, and connected with wide receiver Kenny Britt for two touchdowns. Tennessee proved that they don’t have to rely on running back Chris Johnson to bring the offense and showed that they have the skill to win big games. This week, they take on a frustrated San Diego team. Even though they lost a close one to the Pats last week, the Chargers just haven’t been able to capitalize offensively and hang on for a win. Titans win big on Sunday.


Seattle Seahawks (4-2) at Oakland Raiders (3-4)
Blake- Raiders
Eli- Raiders
Melissa- Seahawks
Blake says:
The Raiders broke a franchise scoring record last week when they completely destroyed the Broncos last week. The Raiders can surprise anyone—even the Seahawks who are resting comfortably at the top of their division. I’m expecting Seattle to underestimate this unpredictable Oakland team.
Eli says:
Oakland scored a whopping 59 points on the Broncos as they defeated Denver on the road. Wait a second...a team led by Jason Campbell put up 59? What kind of sick joke is that? If the Raiders can pick up where they left off, they'll smoke the Seahawks on Sunday. Forget witches, ghosts and monsters –the Raiders are what scare the Broncos the most.
Melissa says:
This game should be kind of interesting, seeing as the Raiders annihilated the Broncos last week and the Seahawks scored 22 points against the Cardinals. Although It’s kind of a toss up, I’ll take Seattle. Oakland hasn’t played consistently enough to convince me that last week’s win was the real deal.


Minnesota Vikings (2-4) at New England Patriots (5-1)
Blake- Patriots
Eli- Patriots
Melissa- Patriots
Blake says:
Tom Brady v. Brett Favre? This match-up of young v. old doesn’t seem to compare. If the Pats can get their defense to be as strong as their offense, New England will remain in front of the pack.
Eli says:
The Pats are 5-1 and riding high thanks to Tom Brady's dynamite arm (not to mention his dreamy locks). Although they only just snuck by San Diego, I'm confident that New England will play well enough offensively to put pressure on Brett Favre and his shattered ankle (assuming he plays).
Melissa says:
When the Lions aren’t playing, the Patriots are usually the team I’m rooting for. Last week’s game against San Diego was close, and if it wasn’t for a missed field goal, the Patriots probably would have lost. New England has been playing great this year and is definitely one of the better teams at the moment. They’re also in a tie with the Jets for first place in the AFC East, so it should be pretty interesting to see who comes out on top. As for the Vikings, I don’t really see them being that much of a challenge for New England; however, the Pats defense has some issues they need to work out. If Favre can find a way to use those problems to his advantage, the Vikes have a chance at wining. Personally, I’d pick Pats quarterback Tom Brady over Favre any day, especially now that Favre’s around 60 years old... Patriots win a close one.


Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-2) at Arizona Cardinals (3-3)
Blake- Buccaneers
Eli- Buccaneers
Melissa- Buccaneers
Blake says:
One thing is for sure about the Buccaneers: quarterback Josh Freeman can get the job done. And although he doesn’t necessarily stand out from a statistical standpoint (actually, he ranks below 19th out of the league’s starters), Freeman connects with his offensive line and can get them to rally in crunch time. Expect another one of Tampa’s seemingly notorious rallies in this match-up against Arizona in week eight.
Eli says:
The Bucs are tied for first in the NFC at 4-2, while the Cards sit at 3-3. Head coach Raheem Morris has done a fantastic job with his team so far and they should get the job done against Arizona.
Melissa says:
Tampa Bay’s running back Cadillac Williams scored a late touchdown with ten seconds left in the game last week to put the Bucs ahead and get them the win. Consistent play by quarterback Josh Freeman also helped Tampa Bay move downfield and throw the touchdown that won them the game. Freeman threw no interceptions in last week’s game as well. Arizona got a measly ten points on the board last week and gave away five turnovers. Adding to their misery, rookie quarterback Max Hall was taken out of the game after suffering a hit to the head. Their backup quarterback Derek Anderson is probably in the top five most unreliable quarterbacks in the NFL and if he starts, I doubt the Cards will win.


Pittsburgh Steelers (5-1) at New Orleans Saints (4-3)
Blake- Saints
Eli- Saints
Melissa- Steelers
Blake says:
This should definitely be the match-up of the week considering it’s between two of the best teams in the league. But the Saints have yet to prove they are at the same caliber they were as last year’s Superbowl champions, while the Steelers only seem to get better and better each week.
Eli says:
The defending champs lost to the Browns last week 30-17 while Pittsburgh stole one from Miami. Karma for the Steelers in week eight as the Saints (trick-or) treat themselves to their fifth win of the season.
Melissa says:
The Saints haven’t been playing well while Steelers have been outshining opponents both offensively and defensively. Coming into this season, I would picked New Orleans to crush Pittsburgh. But at this point, it looks like the Saints might be heading downhill after a demoralizing loss to the Browns. Saints quarterback Drew Brees has been playing averagely and I’m just not too confident in the Saints’ ability to pull off a win at the moment. Steelers will win on both sides of the ball.


Monday, Nov. 1

Houston Texans (4-2) at Indianapolis Colts (4-2)
Blake- Colts
Eli- Colts
Melissa- Texans
Blake says:
Since both of these teams are 4-2, whichever team wins will move closer to the front of the pack. In the past nine times they have played Indianapolis, the Texans haven’t been able to deliver, and Sunday will serve as their tenth failure to win.
Eli says:
Both teams just had their bye week and should be rested and ready to go on Monday night. Manning came out blazing two weeks ago against the Redskins and I expect more of the same this week. Arian Foster poses a threat to the Colts weak run defense but Peyton and the Colts should be able to score enough points to hold off their division counterparts.
Melissa says:
Indianapolis has always been a good team, but this year they just haven’t shined. This week, they come in off of a bye week which leaves them well rested and chock full of practice—but so are the Texans. With both teams sitting at 4-2 overall, it should be a pretty intense game. But the Colts have four players sitting out due to injuries, including wide receiver Austin Collie, who just had surgery on his right thumb. Tight end Dallas Clark, a favorite of quarterback Peyton Manning, was also placed on injured reserve this past week. Yet another toss up, but I’ll take the Texans to overcome the Colts’ banged up offense.




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