Week Eight

Posted: October 21, 2018 in Football, New entries, NFL

Dave so far:

Week (4) 9-6, Week (5) 8-7, (6) 12-3

DEN over ARI – Denver’s suffered some narrow defeats to two of the NFL’s elites: the LA Rams and the Chiefs. As bad as Case Keenum’s been, Denver fields a more complete roster than Arizona. They are running well with Freeman and Lindsay, they have receiving weapons when Keenum does throw well, and the defense is strong at every level. The Cardinals defense is surprisingly competitive and Josh Rosen hasn’t been too bad for a rookie, but the Cardinals haven’t established a rhythm on offense and are the last place rushing team. Expect several field goals. UPDATE: I expected the game to be a low-scoring affair but Denver’s defense recorded multiple pick sixes and Denver UNLOADED on Arizona. Keenum didn’t play terrific football but the defense and ground game more than won the game even if a lesser QB were at the helm.

LAC over TEN – Tennessee has a home game so they technically have a chance. The Chargers have a plus four turnover ratio (Titans have zero), a successful balanced offensive attack and an OKAY defense. The Titans have been particularly vulnerable to the run this season and the Chargers should be able to punish this. The Titans have a chance if they can limit the Chargers to field goals, but Mariota hasn’t shown success in throwing the team back into the game. Rivers has a deep ball threat in Tyrell Williams and can mount a comeback if needs be.

NE over CHI – Chicago looked to be gaining steam until they fell in overtime to Miami and Brock Osweiler. The Bears still field a strong core on defense. The Bears haven’t been consistent on offense and only seem to be able to capitalize against bottom five defenses. The game should be fairly close as the Bears will at worst have a strong defense. The Patriots defense has been reliable since their two early losses and their offense showed they can score early and often against Kansas City. If you subscribe to the “common foe” theory, both of these teams played the Dolphins. The Patriots whooped their ass and the Bears lost to Brock Osweiler. Super Bear Khalil Mack is questionable for this game.

IND over BUF – What an awful game. I don’t want to try and pick a winner here. The Colts this season have been hamstrung by rampant injuries on their defense. They are less injured than normal and get to play at home. Derek Anderson in at QB for Buffalo is a much better option than Nathan Peterman but the Colts offensive line is much better than Houston’s and shouldn’t surrender as many sacks.

JAX over HOU – On the one hand, Houston has a quarterback, two great receivers and some playmakers on defense. On the other hand, Jacksonville has an offensive line, a pretty good defense and home field advantage. Jacksonville is rocking a -9 (Houston -1) turnover ratio, second to last in the NFL. The difference in talent and competitiveness between Jacksonville’s front seven and Houston’s pass protection is expected to be enough to make Jacksonville heavy favorites by people who know more about this type of thing than I do. While Jacksonville is a flawed team, their defense should propel them to a victory over the woeful Texans.

DET over MIA – Lions HC Matt Patricia is very familiar with how Miami does things from his indentured servitude in New England. While Miami deserves credit for rocking a winning record and playing at home, Detroit is a much more stable roster on October 21st. Brock Osweiler rocked the NFL world with a win over the Chicago Bears, but Patricia’s group is not going to fall to a trap game, especially when they are the team with the worse record at this juncture. The Lions can choose to favor the run with Kerryon Johnson and their revamped offensive line or the pass as Matthew Stafford remains one of the league’s better QBs. There’s no remotely scientific explanation for Miami winning a competitive football team right now.

MIN over NYJ – The Jets defense deserves credit for getting them to three wins and Sam Darnold while not always perfect hasn’t been garbage either. The Vikings offense has taken off with Kirk Cousins likely to set franchise passing records this season with Thielen and Diggs playing EXTREMELY well as the top duo of wideouts in the NFL. The Vikings have backslid from their dominance in 2017, they should be able to win by sticking to the script against a rookie QB and rarely effective running backs Bilal Powell and Isaiah Crowell.

PHI over CAR – Carolina can win football games when they’re establishing a run game rhythm and have an early lead. They didn’t do that last week and tried to pass the whole (3/4ths) of the game and failed in claiming the lead in doing so. If Carson opens the game with a few turnovers, Carolina can score, say, ten points and control the game with Newton, some short passes, and McCaffrey. Carson Wentz is far too talented a passer to do that. The Panthers are a competitive team but the Eagles are more dynamic and can throw when the run is not there, or run when facing extra defensive backs, etc. The Panthers haven’t shown they can reliably do that this season. This could be a preview of a playoff matchup. The Eagles should win this.

TB over CLE – Tampa Bay has an awful defense and we could see Baker’s best game of the year on Sunday. Cleveland has shown grit in close games with heavyweights Pittsburgh and New Orleans but they haven’t been consistent as a unit. Jameis wins the shootout with better weapons that Cleveland simply lacks the depth to cover. Nick Chubb would have to absolutely take the game over for Cleveland to win in Tampa, and he doesn’t have the offensive line play for that to be likely.

BAL over NO – This should be a great game. Drew Brees has certainly been impressive all season but John Harbaugh gets paid the big bucks in part because he’s shown the ability to win chess matches with coaches of Sean Payton’s caliber over the years. The Ravens have excellent depth in the secondary and a strong offensive line which has allowed them to eat the clock when they need. Ravens kicker Justin Tucker can kick it from sixty yards if it gets to that. The Saints offense is elite but their defense hasn’t been dominant like they were in 2017.

WAS over DAL – This almost smells like a tie to me. Washington’s defense should have no problem covering Dallas’s receivers. Dallas defense should also have no problem covering Washington’s backups as Paul Richardson and Jamison Crowder are out. Old timer Redsksin QB Alex Smith has earned his stripes more than Dak Prescott and knows when to throw it away when Dak may still throw an interception in what I expect to be a low scoring game where every PAT counts. It should also be mentioned that the Redskins have a plus four turnover ratio (Cowboys 0), are playing at home, and just outphysicaled (not a real word) a VERY physical Carolina Panthers team last week. Dallas has been great at ATT Stadium but winless on the road.

LAR over SF – San Francisco has no business attempting to win this game. Sure the players naturally want to compete but John Lynch should be wanting his team to be looking forward to 2019. We could see Sean Mannion taking snaps for Los Angeles by the third quarter if both teams are playing in their own best interest. In all seriousness, San Francisco has imitated a competitive team after CJ Beathard has taken over. If Sean McVay gets caught looking ahead to Green Bay, this could be a potential trap game as Matt Breida will want to make his presence felt against a vaunted defense that’s surprisingly soft against the run, though that’s statistically unlikely to be enough to win the game. The Rams should win by 14 plus.

KC over CIN – The Bengals have looked impressive this season with Geno Atkins maybe pacing for his best season ever. The Chiefs went to Foxboro Stadium and lost by three because of a freak accident misplay by rookie defender Breeland Speaks. These Chiefs are not to be trifled with. Dalton and the Bengals can beat teams not on their A game, like an injury-riddled Falcons defense or Miami when they have to go on the road. These Chiefs are on their A game. The game also happens to be in Arrowhead Stadium. We can expect another 70+ point game. The Chiefs win.

ATL over NYG – The Giants offensive line is still awful. Matt Ryan’s offense can score all over the place and Ito Smith has made the loss of Devonta Freeman not hurt so bad. Backup right tackle Chad Wheeler should allow several pressure to Takk Mckinley and Co. limiting the Giants ability to stay on the field.

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