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Oct. 31, 2009

NFL - Week eight predictions

by Dennis Chae, Staff Writer, Ava Wallace, Online Editor-in-Chief and Rose Wynn, Online Sports Editor
We've got quite a lineup of games in NFL Week Eight. The Colts play the 49ers, undefeated Denver takes on the Ravens at home and the Dolphins swim against the tide of the division rival Jets. Last week we were treated to explosive performances from Dallas WR Miles Austin (three touchdowns and 171 yards) and Miami RB Ricky Williams (two touchdowns and 80 yards). We also saw a performance from Browns QB Derek Anderson that was not as stellar; he only has two touchdowns for the whole season. But last week aside, the upcoming NFL match-ups are poised to be some of the most entertaining of the season. What makes this week truly great, though, is that Blazers get three days to soak up all of the football fun.

Standings:
Rose: 68-34
Dennis: 69-33
Ava: 71-31

Sunday, Nov. 1

Seattle Seahawks (2-4-0) at Dallas Cowboys (4-2-0)

Rose - Dallas
Dennis - Dallas
Ava - Dallas

Rose says:
The Seahawks wish they had as much passing chemistry as number one Cowboys WR Miles Austin. The Dallas player seems to be the solution to every passing problem, as the team has seen great success since he joined the starting lineup. Matt Hasselbeck and T.J. Houshmandzadeh can't even compare. At this point, Seattle's Lofa Tatupu has joined Walter Jones as a member of the Seahawks's injured reserve list, which means that both of their seasons are officially over. In fact, Jones's injury may even end his career! Regardless, the Seahawks just don't have the oomph they'll need for a victory.
Dennis says:
WR Miles Austin, the number one receiver on Dallas? Believe it. He's broken out this season with four touchdowns in just three weeks. Expect even more out of him against the 16th-ranked pass defense in Seattle. 'Boys win it.
Ava says:
Dallas beat a top 15 team last week at home, and they should expect the same outcome against mediocre Seattle. All Tony Romo has to do is steer clear of turnovers and picks (like he did last week), and the Cowboys will be fine! Romo doesn't have the best track record for consistency, but all we can do is hope. Also, Miles Austin has asserted himself as the best wide receiver in Texas as of last Sunday. Two touchdowns and 171 yards? Dallas won't lose this week.

Houston Texans (4-3-0) at Buffalo Bills (3-4-0)

Rose - Houston
Dennis - Houston
Ava - Houston

Rose says:
When Buffalo's Trent Edwards went down, Ryan Fitzpatrick stepped up to make plays. Now that Andre Johnson is injured, the Texans need someone talented enough to do the same. Fitzpatrick has served the Bills decently, but his mediocre passing statistics may put the team at a disadvantage. Terrell Owens has also recently been pinpointed for his 14th NFL season performance, which leaves something to be desired. The high-scoring Texans will pull through for this one.
Dennis says:
Houston won a close game against San Fransisco that could have gone either way. For Buffalo, S Jairus Byrd has solidified the Bill's secondary and needs to continue making interceptions. The Texans have the ever-emerging pass offense led by QB Matt Schaub. By the way, WR Andre Johnson is officially a freak of nature. Houston wins.
Ava says:
The Texans did a good job last week, as they beat a pretty decent team. Buffalo also got a win last week, but it was against the struggling Panthers. On top of Houston's superior win, Matt Schaub is leading the league in both touchdowns and yards. Only halfway through the season, and it looks like Shaub is destined for the Pro Bowl!

New York Giants (5-2-0) at Philadelphia Eagles (4-2-0)

Rose - New York
Dennis - New York
Ava - New York

Rose says:
It's the battle of the NFC East Rivals and a lot is at stake. The Giants have still not forgiven the Eagles for stealing their chance of receiving a second Super Bowl trophy last year, and the fact that it's a Philadelphia home game adds more tension to the mix. Eagles coach Andy Reid is still holding on to Brian Westbrook as a potential player for Sunday's game, even though the running back is still recovering from his concussion. Such desperation leads some spectators to believe that Philadelphia is unstable and unsure of its ability to win. New York takes last year's playoff revenge, and the game victory.
Dennis says:
Brace yourselves for another NFC East rivalry. Despite losing two straight, New York still has a top-tier defensive line. The Giant's key to winning is the ability of QB Eli Manning to emerge out of his two-game slump to showcase his skills over Philadelphia. The Eagles have been experimenting with the Wildcat formation, so it will be interesting to see how they utilize QB Mike Vick - that is, if they do use him. Giants win their first in three weeks.
Ava says:
The Giants fell to Arizona last Sunday, and the Eagles had an unconvincing win. Unfortunately, neither team was on fire for Week Seven, but fans can still expect a heated NFC East match-up this week. The Eagles played worse than the Giants, so I'm going to predict Eli and his team will prevail this time. Regardless of the outcome, this will be an interesting game to watch. The winning team will have proven their dominance in the league.

St. Louis Rams (0-7-0) at Detroit Lions (1-5-0)

Rose - Detroit
Dennis - St. Louis
Ava - Detroit

Rose says:
While the Rams may be the worst team in the league right now, at least the Lions can relate. They recently ended a 19-game losing streak, a number comparable to St. Louis's current 17-game slop. While Detroit has only one win behind them, the Rams take the cake for the fewest points, most yards lost and lack of a rushing touchdown. There's no way they'll break that kind of a streak, even if it is against the Lions.
Dennis says:
A team with one win against a team with none. Detroit has earned their lone victory over Washington weeks ago, but St. Louis is still scratching for one; this is the week they get it. While neither of the teams are impressive, St. Louis has the benefit of the pressure and RB Steven Jackson has been on a surge as of late. Rams finally win a game!
Ava says:
My goodness. Who's going to want to watch this game (besides Missouri and Michigan natives, of course)? Two of the worst teams in the league are going head to head, and it's going to be an ugly game no matter who comes out on top. Despite their record, the Lions are coming off of a bye week and ready to pounce. The Lions will win, but it'll definitely be a close one.

Miami Dolphins (2-4-0) at New York Jets (4-3-0)

Rose - New York
Dennis - Miami
Ava - Miami

Rose says:
After their victory last Sunday, the Jets are up at the top of the AFC East and closing in on the Patriots for the division top spot. At the same time, Miami is wallowing at the bottom and waiting for an opportunity to pounce. Unfortunately, the Jets are not ready to hand that to Miami; they're looking for revenge against an archrival and sure to bring power and strength to the field. Jets defense is formidable; it caused four turnovers against Oakland last week, even without nose tackle Kris Jenkins. New York takes it.
Dennis says:
This is my choice for game of the week. These are two up-and-coming teams that aren't afraid to put everything on the line to get a step ahead in the AFC East. Simply, Miami has the Wildcat offense and the Jets have to stop it. Miami sweeps their division rivals.
Ava says:
I'm going to bet on the Dolphins even though they're 2-4. Their offensive performance was pretty solid against the Saints last week, and they'll use that momentum to beat a slightly struggling Mark Sanchez. Another factor cinching their victory is Ricky Williams, who had an explosive three-touchdown game last Sunday.

San Francisco 49ers (3-3-0) at Indianapolis Colts (6-0-0)

Rose - Indianapolis
Dennis - Indianapolis
Ava - Indianapolis

Rose says:
For any other team, being undefeated in Week Eight comes with a thrilling sense of accomplishment. But for the Colts, their 6-0 record merely meets expectations. Peyton Manning is still a Colts power figure, averaging a 114.5 passer rating and 313.3 passing yards. He has also thrown 15 touchdowns throughout the season. The team as a whole has prevented touchdowns for their last eight quarters, even without CB Marlin Jackson. With this kind of history, there's no stopping Indianapolis now.
Dennis says:
Indianapolis is arguably in the NFL's top spot right now. They've been doing just about everything right; QB Peyton Manning is near-perfect as usual and DE Dwight Freeney is still a dominant force on defense. Meanwhile, RB Frank Gore on San Fransisco needs this game to reinvent himself as an elite rusher. Colts hurdle over the 49ers.
Ava says:
The Colts have been doing well overall, but they've also had a pretty easy schedule so far. That will change for Manning and Co. in the coming weeks, so they really have to prove themselves on Sunday. Though the 49ers will be testing out a new quarterback, the game isn't a total giveaway this time. Indianapolis will still have to give a solid performance.

Cleveland Browns (1-6-0) at Chicago Bears (3-3-0)

Rose - Chicago
Dennis - Chicago
Ava - Chicago

Rose says:
Cleveland QB Derek Anderson is likely the worst in the league right now. In fact, we can probably attribute the Browns's abysmal record to his consistent fumbles, stumbles and poor throws. Unhappy Cleveland fans are even planning to stage a late arrival to the upcoming Browns home game. On the other hand, the Bears are coming off what may be the worst day in the team's history. Cincinnati's dominance led to a shocking 45-10 victory. While the Bears may not be able to overpower the Bengals, they certainly have some leverage over the Browns.
Dennis says:
Chicago shouldn't struggle too much with Cleveland if past performance is any indication. The Browns have very little to no cohesion and they seem to be falling apart on defense. That's not saying their offense has been doing fine either - QB Derek Anderson leads the team in passing touchdowns with - wait for it - two touchdowns.
Ava says:
So Chicago lost to Cincinnati last week. Big deal. The Bengals have been pretty strong this season and should have won that game. Luckily for Chicago, the Browns are simply awful, and we can't forget that the Bears are 2 0 at home so far.

Denver Broncos (6-0-0) at Baltimore Ravens (3-3-0)

Rose - Denver
Dennis - Baltimore
Ava - Baltimore

Rose says:
While both these teams ended their first three weeks undefeated, the Ravens continued the 2009 NFL season by pulling nothing but losses. The Broncos have pulled nothing but wins. Part of this success can be attributed to outside linebacker Elvis Dumervil, who has served as a catalyst for Denver's overwhelming defensive line. This defense ranks top in the AFC for only 11 points allowed per game and 262.5 defensive yards. Stats like these show Broncos potential for yet another impressive win this Sunday, and another disappointing loss to shove Baltimore further on their downhill spiral.
Dennis says:
Choosing Baltimore is on pure instinct. Denver has seen some unprecedented play from both sides of the ball. QB Kyle Orton has only one turnover this season. The key for the Ravens is in making him cause more. Ravens get the upset.
Ava says:
To the delight of many Blazers, the Ravens will come out on top. They've had a tough schedule this year, and their next game against the undefeated Broncos is no exception. Despite Denver's undefeated record, I think the Ravens will soldier on and get the "W." Baltimore has a lot more potential than their 3 3 record would lead us to believe. Denver won't be easy, but the outcome will be worth the fight.

Jacksonville Jaguars (3-3-0) at Tennessee Titans (0-6-0)

Rose - Jacksonville
Dennis - Jacksonville
Ava - Jacksonville

Rose says:
With Tennessee still stuck in no-win territory, the team has booted Kerry Collins and replaced him with starter Vince Young. This seems like a good decision, considering the fact that Collins went for minus seven yards in the team's loss to New England two weeks ago. Young, on the other hand, had an interception in relief of Collins. With this starter trouble brewing, the Jaguars should find it relatively easy to pull up their .500 on Sunday.
Dennis says:
Jacksonville has usually been victorious in games where their running game is in tact. RB Maurice Jones-Drew is capable of explosion and if he does so this week, the Jaguars may very well have a win in their pockets. All eyes are on RB Chris Johnson in Tennessee, as fans place their remaining hope in the star to lead their team to their first win. Too bad that's not happening.
Ava says:
The Jags are doing to well right now; the Titans are doing worse. That's why Jacksonville will take this game on Sunday, along with the fact that Maurice Jones-Drew has played stupendously against every bad team (such as the Rams) so far. If Jones-Drew plays well, the Titans don't have much of a chance.

Oakland Raiders (2-5-0) at San Diego Chargers (3-3-0)

Rose - San Diego
Dennis - San Diego
Ava - San Diego

Rose says:
Last week's game against the Jets was an embarrassment for the Raiders, especially QB JaMarcus Russel who was pulled from a game for the first time in his life. But with one of the worst passer ratings in the NFL and a 46.3 percent throwing completion rate, the two-touchdown quarterback's punishment makes sense. The Chargers shouldn't have any difficulty achieving their 13th consecutive victory over Oakland.
Dennis says:
On NFL Primetime, sports analyst Deion Sanders brought up an important point about the Oakland Raiders; "Who hasn't had a big game against the Raiders?" With a mediocre rushing attack and a passing attack that is inconsistent, San Diego needs to show why they were such a force on offense in seasons past. On the other hand, Oakland QB JaMarcus Russell is on the hotseat this week after being benched last game for turning the ball over one too many times. Chargers take it easily.
Ava says:
While researching, I discovered that these two teams have more similar records than I thought, although the Raiders have the worse reputation. Both reputation and statistics speak true in this situation: the Chargers will be 4-3 after Sunday.

Minnesota Vikings (6-1-0) at Green Bay Packers (4-2-0)

Rose - Minnesota
Dennis - Minnesota
Ava - Minnesota

Rose says:
No doubt Brett Favre will be anxious this week. Returning to the field on which he played 16 outstanding seasons can't be easy. Not to mention the fact that the Vikings are coming off a disappointing 30-23 defeat against the Steelers. The team failed to generate any pass rush, and the Packers's defensive stronghold may move forward more aggressively. But Minnesota will maintain a strong hold, as they're known to do. The Vikings won't let another team overtake them.
Dennis says:
This week, Minnesota QB Brett Favre returns to his previous team's Lambeau Field for the first time this season - this year, as an opposing player. That's the story of the game and Green Bay's chances lie in stopping Favre's pass attack. Vikings sweep the Packers.
Ava says:
Ah, lucky us. We get to see this classic match-up two times this season! Adrian Peterson didn't play very well last week, but will definitely show up for the show down, as will team leader Favre. Normally, I'd take the Packers at home, but the Vikings just lost a winnable game and will be hungry for redemption.

Carolina Panthers (2-4-0) at Arizona Cardinals (4-2)

Rose - Arizona
Dennis - Arizona
Ava - Arizona

Rose says:
Despite his 18 interceptions and three lost fumbles over seven games, QB Jake Delhomme still seems to be the best starter for the job, according to coach John Fox. But against the Cardinals, the team that initiated his extended losing streak, Delhomme may not keep up. Arizona takes the win.
Dennis says:
Carolina had two key players that it needed to emerge for their game-winning chances. While DE Julius Peppers has made some strides in past weeks, WR Steve Smith has yet to have a big game this season. Arizona is coming off of a big win over New York and is looking to do the same against the Panthers. Cardinals fly high in a win over the Panthers.
Ava says:
Recently, the Cardinals played very well with a big win over the Giants. The Panthers are sill amazingly unremarkable, and this will be a routine win for Arizona.

Monday, Nov. 2

Atlanta Falcons (4-2-0) at New Orleans Saints (6-0-0)

Rose - New Orleans
Dennis - New Orleans
Ava - New Orleans

Rose says:
A victory against the Falcons may be exactly what the Saints need to pave the way to a division title. Atlanta defense will need to step its game up if it wants to make a mark on the strong and mighty Drew Bees. With a top-ranked offensive line and the drive to keep their clear 6-0 record, New Orleans will come out on top. Although the Falcons should put up a good fight, and the game will definitely be engaging.
Dennis says:
This has always been an overlooked, but fierce rivalry. Atlanta has proven their offensive has a formidable offense with the likes of young QB Matt Ryan and TE Tony Gonzalez. However, that doesn't change the fact that New Orleans looks almost flawless on both sides of the ball and hasn't lost a game yet. Saints march on at home.
Ava says:
The Falcons need this win if they want to have a hope of winning the division, but I can't pick them when Drew Brees is still on a roll (he threw for 298 yards last week). This Sunday, the Saints will march on towards a win.



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