Sunday, October 29, 2006

NFL Week 8 Preview

(Not so) fresh off the game known as "The Play at RayJay"

Plenty going on around the league as we hit the halfway point- Chargers LB Shawne Merriman will play today pending his appeal for his steroid suspension, Ravens head coach Brian Billick takes over the offense from fired coordinator Jim Fassel, troubled Raiders receiver Joey porter will rejoin the team & play- and there are a slew of interesting games. So without further delay (and after a week off), let's rundown each game for Week 8:

Tampa Bay (2-4) @ NY Giants (4-2)
The Bucs are coming off that miraculous victory over the Eagles (you know, the one I still have a headache from) , and the Giants are coming off that 36-22 beatdown of Tuna, T.O.D., Bledsoe & the Cowboys. The Barbers brothers square off for the first time since Tiki announced he will retire at the end of the year and Ronde had 2 TDs last week, 2 more than Tiki has this season. I look for a 'welcome to the Big Apple (actually New Jersey, but close enough) game for Rocket Gradkowski & the Bucs, and I look for Tiki to get even with his bro in the touchdown department.
MY PICK: Giants 27, Bucs 13

49ers(2-4) @ Chicago Bears(6-0)
Ah let's see: the Bears are the best team in the NFL and boast an explosive offense and suffocating defense. Meanwhile the Niners are just getting acclimated to the Alex Smith/Frank Gore era; they're improving, but they are still no match for the juggernaut that is the Monsters of the Midway. This could get ugly for San Fran, early & often.
MY PICK: Bears 39, Niners 9

Falcons (4-2) @ Bengals(4-2)
This is an important game for the Bengals, but not as much for Atlanta. The Falcons travel out of conference again for this meeting after having won a thriller, 41-38 in OT over Pittsburgh, and the Bengals got back on the winning track vs. Carolina. But that 17-14 win did little to quiet the critics who are blasting the anemic Cincy offense, and Chad Johnson is acting more confused about his identity than Clay Aiken. The Bengals need a statement win & an offensive explosion to prove they are the AFC beast everyone though they would be at the beginning of the season. But Mike Vick is coming off a huge game(4TD passes) and the Falcons running game is an absolute terror. Cincy may be in trouble after this one.
MY PICK: Falcons 28-24

Seattle (4-2) @ Chiefs (3-3)
Speaking of 'in trouble', the Seahawks limp into this one with their staring QB, Matt Hasselbeck, out with an injury sustained in last weeks' 31-13 loss to Minny. That leaves college (Iowa St.) phenom Seneca Wallace as the man behind center in notoriously brutal Aarowhead Stadium as the calender nears November. there will be a definite chill in the air and it could get pretty dangerous on the turf for Mr. Wallace. Oh, by the way, reigning MVP RB Shaun Alexander will not return to the lineup as the 'Hawks had hoped, still not fully recovered from that broken foot.
Deion, still happy with your decision, buddy?
MY PICK: Chiefs 35, Seahawks 21

Cardinals (1-6) @ Packers (2-4)
Let's name this pile of puke game, shall we? How 'bout the classic "Toilet Bowl?" No? Okay what about "D-Day in Green Bay?" Alright, what about "If the Cardinals Lose This Game Dennis Green Might Be in the Unemployment Line Tomorrow" Game? Not very catchy? Doesn't matter because that could be what's at stake for the reeling Cards following their soul-crushing home, 24-23 come-from-ahead loss to the Bears 2 weeks ago. They followed up that bomb with another putrid effort in handing the Raiders their first victory of the season, and to say that Green is on the hot seat is akin to saying that the Tigers pitchers sucked in the World Series.
MY PICK: Packers 19, Cardinals 10

Jags (3-3) @ Eagles (4-3)
Two teams that are freefalling from their once lofty NFL perches meet in this one, a game both need desperately but that one has a much better chance to win. The Eagles are coming off consecutive heartbreaking, last second FG losses (@ NO, @ RayJay) to come back to the NFC pack, and the Jags have ruined their impressive early start with a 36-pt OT loss to the Skins and a 27-7 stinker loss to the Texans. More bad news for J'Ville though is that QB Byron Leftwich is injured and quality backup Davis HGarrard will take over the offense. But the Linc is not a place for a raw QB to play, and Philly will be salivating to take out its frustrations on a team with a backup behind center.
MY PICK: Eagles 27-13

Texans (2-4) @ Titans (1-6)
Now this one should be called The Toilet Bowl. Wow, will there be a stench around the city of Nashville today or what. Although the Texans are coming off that confidence-boosting victory over J'ville last week and the Titans got their first victory of the season, and the first of QB Vince Young's career two weeks ago against Washington, which might give these two rebuilding squads a little bit more oomph today. Still, thank God this game is not being televised anywhere other than the 2 home cities; will anyone in those burgs be watching, either?
MY PICK: Titans 10-9

Ravens (4-2) @ Saints (5-1)
B'more has undergone some changes the last week, namely head coach Brian the Brain Billick firing his "good friend", offensive coordiantor Jim Fassel. Question: if the guys are such chums, how comes Billick gave him the boot a mere 6 games into the season? Because Baltimore's offense has been nearly non-existent despite the addition of QB Air McNair, averaging under 14PPG the past month. McNair should play today after suffering a concussion 2 weeks ago vs. Carolina. But the saints have been impressive in rolling to a 3-0 mark at their refurbished digs, the Superdome, and Drew Brees, Reggie Bush, Joe Horn & Co. appear to be on a magic carpet ride of good karma after a year & a half in NFL purgatory. Also, rookie receiver Marques Colston (from?- Hofstra!) has been an absolute find(27 recs, 414 yds, 15/YPC, 4TDs), and could steal the Rookie of the Year award from his more highly touted teammate, Mr. Bush.
"The Saints, are comin', the Saints, are comin'"
MY PICK: Saints 23, Ravens 17

Rams (4-2) @ Chargers (4-2)
Wow, talk about reeling teams. The Chargers are not only coming off a 30-27 loss to the Chiefs, but they will lose the start LB, the Defensive ROY in 2005, Shawne Merriman, to a 'roid suspension after this game. San Diego has already lost 3 defensive players for off-field related incidents this year, and the pending loss of
Merriman could prove to be a season-killing blow for the Chargers. Meanwhile the Rams look to rebound after a 30-28 loss to Seattle 2 weeks ago, and hot QB Marc Bulger (1619 yds, 10 TDs) may be catching the Chargers at the right time.
MY PICK: Rams 27-24 ***UPSET SPECIAL***

Steelers (2-4) @ Raiders (1-5)
A-Ben-dicitis is suffering the lingering effects of his second concussion in less than 4 months last week in that thrilling loss to Atlanta. The Raiders are coming off their first win of the season over the Cardinals last week. But put it this way-be it Roethlisberger or Charlie Batch behind the line, the Steelers had better win this game, or the defending champs season is OFFICIALLY over before the midway point.
MY PICK: Steelers 21-6

Colts (6-0) @ Broncos(5-1) GAME OF THE DAY
What do you get when you cross the Regular Season Wonders with the stingiest team in the league? We'll find out today when the undefeated Mannings travel to Mile High Denver for a battle to determine supremacy in the AFC. The Broncs have been allowing a minuscule 7.3 PPG, while the high-scoring Colts have averaged 28 PPG. What will give today, the irresistible force (Indy 'O') or the immovable object (Denver 'D'?)
Should be a good one at Invesco- hopefully there will be a littl;e white stuff flying around- Pats fans know how well Mr. Cut That Meat plays in the snow.
MY PICK: Broncos 17-14

NY Jets (4-3) @ Browns (1-5)
It pains me to even write about this one. No one outside of Cleveland, NY/NJ, and Mike Greenberg should give a crap about this one. Question: when the Browns fire their offensive coordinator, and nobody cares, does it make a sound?
MY PICK: J-E-T-S 19-6

Cowboys (3-3) @ Carolina (4-3) Sunday Night Football
The Romo Bowl gets underway tonight, and I for one am already sick & tired of hearing about Parcells, Romo, Bledsoe, T.O.D. and the rest of the Cowboy soap opera. I am hoping the Panthers rip Romo a new one, Parcells asks Drew to go back into the game, he gives Tuna the finger, and Jerry Jones & Owens run off to get married.
Panthers 24-13

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