NFL Picks Week 8: Picking the Top Performers in Each Game

Pauly Kwestel@pkwestelWFAN Correspondent IOctober 27, 2010

NFL Picks Week 8: Picking the Top Performers in Each Game

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    SAN DIEGO - OCTOBER 24:  Quarterback Philip Rivers #17 of the San Diego Chargers rolls out of the pocket against the New England Patriots during NFL game on October 24, 2010 at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, California. (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Imag
    Donald Miralle/Getty Images

    Who will be the top performers in Week 8 of the NFL? This is a question many fans, and fantasy are asking as they prepare for Sundays games. 

    With six teams on their bye weeks in Week 8, there are just 12 games on the slate for this Sunday, and one more on Monday night. This is one of the least busy weeks of the season. 

    Here is a prediction of who will the top performer in each week 8 NFL game. 

Miami Dolphins at Cincinnati Bengals: Carson Palmer

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    ATLANTA - OCTOBER 24:  Quarterback Carson Palmer #9 of the Cincinnati Bengals looks to pass upfield against the Atlanta Falcons at Georgia Dome on October 24, 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Carson Palmer has finally leveled out his play this season. Palmer now has thrown 10 touchdown passes against just six interceptions. 

    When the Dolphins come to town for Week 8 Palmer will need to be at his best for the Bengals to pull out a win. The Dolphins come in with a very strong defense against the run. This will not go well with the Bengals who have not ran the ball well at all this season. 

    The weight of the Bengals offense is going to fall onto the shoulders of Carson Palmer. 

    The Bengals still have two great receivers in Chad Ochocinco and Terrell Owens. Both of them will cause matchup problems for the Dolphins defense so Palmer should have plenty of options. 

    Palmer will sit back and make plays in this game, as he leads the Bengals to a win. 

Jacksonville Jaguars at Dallas Cowboys: Dez Bryant

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    MINNEAPOLIS - OCTOBER 17:  Wide receiver Dez Bryant #88 of the Dallas Cowboys catches a pass for a touchdown as Lito Sheppard #29 of the Minnesota Vikings misses the tackle during the fourth quarter at Mall of America Field on October 17, 2010 in Minneapo
    Jeff Gross/Getty Images

    This is a very difficult game to pick a top performer for. I like the Jaguars to win this game, but they have been very weak offensively. On the other side, Dallas has been very strong defensively, so that ruled out players on the Jags offense. 

    The Cowboys on the other hand are filled with stars on offense. Only QB Tony Romo broke his collar bone and will be out for up to 10 weeks. The Cowboys will turn to 38 year old Jon Kitna. 

    In other words, the Cowboys may find it very difficult to get the ball into their stars hands. 

    With Dez Bryant returning punts, he will get his hands on the ball. The Cowboys best chance to win this game will ultimately come down to, how much can Dez Bryant do when he gets the ball. The Jags are likely to punt often, which will give Bryant many chances to make plays. 

    Bryant is also a dynamic receiver who will be able to make plays, regardless of the level of play the Cowboys are getting from Kitna. 

    If the Cowboys are going to win this game, they will have to follow the lead of Dez Bryant. 

Washington Redskins at Detroit Lions: Calvin Johnson

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    EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - OCTOBER 17: Calvin Johnson #81 of the Detroit Lions catches the ball on an 87-yard touchdown run in the third quarter against the New York Giants at New Meadowlands Stadium on October 17, 2010 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The Gian
    Andrew Burton/Getty Images

    The Lions have had recent success against the Redskins, when they beat Washington for their first win in over a year last season. 

    The Redskins are still learning their new defensive system and the complaint around Washington has been that the pieces don't fit the puzzle. This has led to a good Washington defense from last year, becoming a very weak Washington defense this year. 

    The biggest area where the Redskins have struggled is against the pass, where they are dead last in the league in passing defense. 

    The Redskins have already shown that they have trouble containing big dynamic wide receivers, as they let Houston's Andre Johnson run all over them in Week 2. Calvin Johnson will present even bigger problems for the Skins defense. 

    Matthew Stafford returns at quarterback this week for the Lions, and expect him to look towards his big receiver often. The Redskins don't have anyone who can cover Johnson, and the big wide receiver is poised to have a monster game this week. 

Buffalo Bills at Kansas City Chiefs: Thomas Jones

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    HOUSTON - OCTOBER 17:  Running back Thomas Jones #20 of the Kansas City Chiefs scores in the fourth quarter agasint the Houston Texans at Reliant Stadium on October 17, 2010 in Houston, Texas. Houston won 35-31.  (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
    Bob Levey/Getty Images

    Thomas Jones has been waiting for this game since the NFL schedule was released. If there is one thing the Buffalo Bills don't do well it is stop the run. On the other side of the ball the Kansas City Chiefs are No. 2 in the league in rushing. 

    On a personal note, Jones has had great success against the Bills. Last season, the first time the Bills faced Jones, who was then with the Jets, Jones rushed for a team record 210 yards.

    In their second meeting, Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez went down with a knee injury. When backup quarterback Kellen Clemens came into the game, the Bills knew the Jets were going to try to run the ball. Jones finished with 109 yards on 23 carries, averaging 4.7 yards per rush. 

    Despite Kansas City surplus of running backs, Jones is still going to get the most carries against the Bills. While he may not lead the team in rushing yards right now, his personal history says that he will have a monster game this week against Buffalo. 

Green Bay Packers at New York Jets: Aaron Rodgers

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    GREEN BAY, WI - OCTOBER 24:   Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers passes against the Minnesota Vikings at Lambeau Field on October 24, 2010 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Jim Prisching/Getty Images)
    Jim Prisching/Getty Images

    The Packers are finally starting to put things together and figure things out after injuries nearly derailed their season so early on. The Green Bay offense is becoming potent once again, and Rodgers is beginning to fire on all cylinders. 

    The Packers now head to the swamps of New Jersey to face the New York Jets who will be coming off their bye week. The Jets could come out in one of two ways, fired up, refreshed, and ready to play football, or a little bit rusty from having the week off. 

    Defensively the Jets have been terrible against the pass this season. They have been getting better and have improved to now being ranked 15th against the pass. They will be aided by CB Darrelle Revis being fully healthy, but even then they have still struggled in games where Revis has played. 

    Most Jets games have started the same way this season. The opposing teams offense struggle in the first quarter, but the Jets eventually stop blitzing and the opposing team eventually gets going. In six games this season, the only quarterback that didn't have a good game against the Jets is Tom Brady. 

    Rodgers may get off to a slow start against the Jets, but by the second half he will settle into a groove. Rodgers will find his receivers in the second half and make enough plays to lead the Packers to an upset win. 

Carolina Panthers at St. Louis Rams: Steven Jackson

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    TAMPA, FL - OCTOBER 24:  Running back Steven Jackson #39 of the St. Louis Rams runs the ball against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the game at Raymond James Stadium on October 24, 2010 in Tampa, Florida.  (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)
    J. Meric/Getty Images

    Who would have thought that the Carolina Panthers would be leading the league in passing defense? When Rams rookie quarterback Sam Bradford welcomes the Panthers into town in Week 8 he will have to be very careful with what he throws down the field. 

    While the Panthers may be bad, the Rams aren't good enough that they can take it for granted. The Rams will have to rely on running back Steven Jackson to break down the Panthers defense, and open things up for Bradford. And even after things open up for Bradford, they must continue to pound the ball with Jackson. 

    Luckily for the Rams, Jackson has proven to be an incredibly durable back during his years in St. Louis. This past week against Tampa Bay, Jackson became the all time franchise leader in rushing yards. 

    While Carolina is great against the pass, they are just 21st against the run. The Rams will be giving Jackson a bunch of carries, setting the stage for Jackson to have a big game against the Panthers. 

Denver Broncos at San Francisco 49ers: Kyle Orton and Frank Gore

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    BALTIMORE, MD - OCTOBER 10: Kyle Orton #8 of the Denver Broncos passes against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium on October 10, 2010 in Baltimore, Maryland. Players wore pink in recognition of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The Ravens defeated the
    Larry French/Getty Images

    This one is a toss up. Both teams have gotten off to awful starts this season, and while it may be unclear if Denver is better then their record shows, the 49ers actually are as bad as their record shows. 

    Denver does posses the leagues second pass passing offense. Led by Kyle Orton, the Broncos will be taking on the leagues 22nd best pass defense. Orton will use weapons Brandon Lloyd and Eddie Royal all day, and shouldn't have much trouble throwing all over the 49ers. 

    On the other side of the field the 49ers posses the always dangerous Frank Gore. Head Coach Mike Singletary has named Troy Smith the starting quarterback for this game, meaning Frank Gore will get a healthy dose of carries. 

    Lucky for Gore, he'll be going against the leagues worst run defense. With the inexperienced quarterback the 49ers will be looking to get the ball into Gore's hands as often as possible, setting him up for a big game. 

    On the other side, Kyle Orton may just be too much for the 49ers to handle. 

Tennessee Titans at San Diego Chargers: Phillip Rivers

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    SAN DIEGO - OCTOBER 24:  Quarterback Philip Rivers #17 of the San Diego Chargers throws the ball against the pressure of the New England Patriots defense during NFL game on October 24, 2010 at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, California. (Photo by Donald Mi
    Donald Miralle/Getty Images

    Phillip Rivers is looking to get the Chargers back on the winning track. The Chargers 2-5 record is an enigma in itself as the Chargers are at the top of the league in both offense and defense. 

    In Week 8 the polar opposite 5-2 Tennessee Titans come to down with their struggling defense and good record. While its unclear who will win this game, one thing is clear, Phillip Rivers will put up big numbers. 

    Phillip Rivers has led the Chargers to the best passing offense in the league. The Titans are 26th against the pass. When teams like that meet, it is almost a guarantee that Rivers will have another big game. 

    The question is, with an offense and a defense this statically good, how are the Chargers so bad? 

    The Chargers will push all the critics aside this week as Phillip Rivers will lead them to a win over the Titans. 

Seattle Seahawks at Oakland Raiders: Darren McFadden

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    DENVER - OCTOBER 24:  Running back Darren McFadden #20 of the Oakland Raiders runs against the Denver Broncos at INVESCO Field at Mile High on October 24, 2010 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
    Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

    Another very difficult game to predict who will have the biggest impact. What the Seahawks struggle at, both passing and running, Oakland doesn't do a great job stopping, and what Oakland does do well, running the ball, Seattle does a good job stopping. 

    Nonetheless at this stage right now Oakland is leading the league in rushing. As the Jets proved last year, being the best running team can take you very far, and often it says more about your offensive line then it does your running back. 

    Seattle will be ready though, as right now they are the second best team at stopping the run. The Seahawks numbers are skewed though, because they have yet to face a team that runs the ball really well. 

    The Seahawks run defense has not been tested against a good running team. The Raiders will provide that test, and the Raiders offensive line is going to win the battle at the line of scrimmage. 

    The Raiders line will open up holes and McFadden will be able to prevail. It may not be his best game of the season, but McFadden will have the best game out of anyone in this one. 

Minnesota Vikings at New England Patriots: Tom Brady

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    SAN DIEGO - OCTOBER 24:  Quarterback Tom Brady #12 of the New England scrambles with the ball against pressure from the pass rush of Antwan Barnes #98 of the San Diego Chargers during their NFL game on October 24, 2010 at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, Ca
    Donald Miralle/Getty Images

    One of the most intriguing games on the schedule as Randy Moss makes his return to New England. On a usual day you would have no choice but to pick Randy Moss to be the top performer in this game, as he will be extra motivated and will be giving extra effort against his former team. 

    But this isn't any usual day. No one knows what the Vikings quarterback situation will like on Sunday. It is still unclear if Brett Favre will start, and if he does how effective will he be. Could Tavaris Jackson even get Randy Moss the ball? 

    On the other side you get the always solid Tom Brady. While New England may not have the big play dynamic receiver in Moss anymore, Brady still knows how to use his weapons. 

    Deon Branch won't put up the numbers that Moss had, and he surely won't put up big numbers every game. And where has Wes Welker been since Moss left?

    The Vikings have a great run defense, but that won't matter much since the Patriots rarely run the ball and don't have a strong running game to begin with. 

    Instead, this could turn out to be an ugly game, but Brady will find his weapons enough times to be the games best performer. 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Arizona Cardinals: Josh Freeman

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    TAMPA, FL - OCTOBER 24:  Quarterback Josh Freeman #5 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers points out the defense of the St. Louis Rams during the game at Raymond James Stadium on October 24, 2010 in Tampa, Florida.  (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)
    J. Meric/Getty Images

    Just two years ago, the Arizona Cardinals were in the Super Bowl with a dynamite passing attack that had Kurt Warner, Anquan Boldin and Larry Fitzgerald. Now the Cardinals are dead last in the league in passing and are starting an undrafted rookie. While Kurt Warner was also undrafted, Max Hall's career hasn't quite taken off like Warner's did. 

    Statistically it is amazing that the Bucs are 4-2 and that the Cardinals are 3-3. Neither team really does anything particularly well. 

    This is going to be a low scoring defensive battle. It will likely be decided by a turnover that gives one team the ball deep in their opponents territory. 

    For games like this, there won't be a mega-performer, but Josh Freeman will stand above the rest. This game will come down to which quarterback is the better game manager and that is one thing that is definitely in Josh Freeman's corner. 

Pittsburgh Steelers at New Orleans Saints: Ben Roethlisberger

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    MIAMI - OCTOBER 24:  Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger #7 passes against the Miami Dolphins at Sun Life Stadium on October 24, 2010 in Miami, Florida.  (Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images)
    Marc Serota/Getty Images

    Another matchup of two teams strengths going head to head. Even better, this game pits the Super Bowl winner from two seasons ago against last seasons Super Bowl winner. 

    The Saints have gotten off to a slow start, and have struggled offensively. This is definitely not a good time for them to be playing the Steelers. 

    The Steelers are 5-1 and are tied with the Jets for the best record in football. The Steelers have done it with defense though as starting QB Ben Roethlisberger was suspended for the first four games. 

    The Steelers offensive numbers are currently skewed because they played four games with Charlie Batch calling the shots. We still don't know exactly how good the Steelers offense is. 

    This Sunday night Big Ben will show us exactly how good the Steelers are, when he leads the Steelers into New Orleans to run wild over the Saints. 

Houston Texans at Indianapolis Colts: Peyton Manning

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    LANDOVER, MD - OCTOBER 17:  Quarterback Peyton Manning #18 of the Indianapolis Colts throws a pass against the Washington Redskins at FedExField on October 17, 2010 in Landover, Maryland.  (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
    Win McNamee/Getty Images

    Indianapolis ranks 24th at stopping the run, so it would be very easy to go with Texans running back Arian Foster after he ran for 231 yards and three touchdowns against the Colts in Week 1. 

    But have you ever seen Peyton Manning play a night game on national TV. Despite Manning having a quiet personality off the field, he lives for the spotlight on the field. Manning uses the nationally televised games to remind the country of exactly how good he is. 

    Now factor in the revenge factor. the Colts and Texans are both 4-2. There is no way Peyton Manning is going to allow the Texans to beat the Colts twice in one season, essentially giving the Texans a two game lead over the Colts for first place. There is also no way Manning will allow the Colts to get beat at home on national television. 

    Peyton Manning is going to bring his A game to this one, and when Peyton Manning has his A game going, there is no one in the league who can stop him. This one is just too easy.