NFL Week 8: 10 Bold Predictions
It's been a typical, weird season full of paradoxes that has some divisional favorites trying to tread water with concrete shoes.
The Cowboys, Packers, Vikings, 49ers, and Chargers all came into the season with playoff aspirations and now find themselves dangerously close to completely foiling their seasons.
But it's only Week 8, meaning there's still half the schedule to right the ship, get a little lucky and make a run at the postseason. After all, once the playoffs start it won't matter if you won 14 games or 8 in the regular season. The team that plays the best will win. With that being said, here's a look at 10 bold predictions that will make me look like either Rain Man at the tables or Pete Griffin playing Trivial Pursuit.
Bold Prediction No. 10: Jon Kitna Will Lead the Cowboys to a Lopsided Victory
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Even with the 1-5 Cowboys losing franchise QB Tony Romo to a possibly season-ending injury last Monday against the Giants, they still have one of the more talented rosters in the NFL.
It would be one thing if Jon Kitna was inheriting the Bills offensive personnel, but these are the Cowboys. Jacksonville is far and away the least talented team Dallas has played so far, and they have plenty of anger and motivation to come out and wipe the floor with the 3-4 Jags to get their first win at home.
Look for offensive coordinator Jason Garrett to script simple plays early on for Kitna that allows threats like Miles Austin and Des Bryant to get the ball with space to work with. Jacksonville gives up 129 yards per game on the ground, so expect the Cowboys' offensive line of till through the Jags' defense and open things up for Felix Jones.
Once the running game gets going, Kitna will open things up and have a big day for the Cowboys.
Bold Prediction No. 9: The Dolphins Will Remain Undefeated on the Road
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The Dolphins are a perplexing case. They are 3-0 on the road and 0-3 at home. Is South Beach to blame or is it just a random phenomenon? What millionaire twenty-something would want to party in Miami anyway?
Cincinnati's night life isn't quite on the same level. More importantly, the Bengals' defense is struggling to stop anything on the ground. Heading into Sunday's game, Cincy is 22nd in the league in defending the run, so expect the physical Dolphins and Ronnie Brown to gash the Bengals all day long.
The Dolphins have already won tough road games against the Vikings and Packers, and are not at all afraid to hit people in the mouth away from Miami.
Bold Prediction No. 8: Troy Smith Will Lead the 49ers to a Win in London
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The 49ers lead the NFL in loses and head across the pond to London after giving the Carolina Panthers their first win of the season. Roger Goodell can't be thrilled that 1-6 San Francisco and 2-5 Denver will be representing his fine product to the people of Europe.
With Alex Smith out for the next 2-3 weeks after sustaining a shoulder injury, Mike Singletary elected to start third-string quarterback Troy Smith over David Carr, who gave away last week's game with an awful performance. With the Broncos' defense struggling to stop anything, Smith provides a new look for the impotent 49ers' offense.
Having not started since 2007, Denvers' defense will be forced to game plan on the fly. San Francisco's young offensive line has struggled in pass protection all season and Singletary hopes Smith's mobility will remedy the situation.
Denver is giving up 156 yards per game on the ground, so expect Frank Gore to have a huge day and help set things up for Smith to head the 49ers to their second win of the year.
Bold Prediction No. 7: Jahvid Best Will Run Wild Against 'Skins
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Going on the road and facing a team that is coming off its bye-week is always a difficult task no matter the opponent. The Redskins face that challenge Sunday when take on a healthy Jahvid Best and the Lions.
Best had struggled in recent weeks while dealing with turf toe. After the bye, he has said the toe is as close to 100 percent as it was before he sustained the injury. Best scored five touchdowns in the season's first two weeks prior to hurting the toe.
Washington comes in allowing 406 total yards per game to opponents including 114 on the ground. With Best fresh of the bye week, look for him to have a big day leading the Lions to their second victory of the season.
Bold Prediction No. 6: The Panthers Will Win Their Second Straight Game
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Sometimes you just need a little luck to get things started.
That's exactly what the 1-5 Panthers got last week when David Carr threw a costly interception directly to Richard Marshall with just over a minute left to lead to the go-ahead score.
Looking to build a little momentum, Carolina faces the Rams on the road this weekend and hopes for another solid performance from its defense. St. Louis is a young team looking to rebound after a tough loss last week to Tampa Bay, but it won't happen this weekend against the Panthers.
Rookie Sam Bradford only threw for 126 yards last week and has seen his production fall in four consecutive weeks since throwing for 289 in week four. The Panthers are only giving up 182 yards per game through the air, so expect Bradford to have another tough day en route to a Rams loss.
Bold Prediction No. 5: Tampa Bay Will Remain Hot and Beat the Cardinals
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Josh Freeman has led his Buccaneers to a surprising 4-2 start that includes a 2-0 record on the road. The Cardinals are coming off a miserable road loss to Seattle on the road and are still unsure who will start under center.
Arizona is favored by three, but Tampa Bay is no stranger to being the road underdog and Freeman has proven he can get it done when it counts. The Buccs simply have too much momentum in their favor while the Cardinals have had extremely inconsistent quarterback play. Tampa wins on the road to shock and becomes the surprise story of the NFL.
Bold Prediction No. 4: San Diego Gets It Together to Beat Tennessee
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The Chargers and Cowboys suffer from the same disease. Symptoms include being extremely talented and under-coached by guys who should have stuck to being coordinators.
San Diego comes into the week with the NFL's top rated offense and defense. It's been a combination of the "little things" and special teams that has caused for the rough 2-5 start. But this is the time of the year the Chargers always seem to get hot.
Vince Young is banged up and will go against a San Diego pass defense that is only giving up 158 yards per game. The Chargers will likely pack defenders in the box against Chris Johnson and force Young to beat them. They will be unsuccessful as San Diego once again makes a mid-season statement that catapults them into the second half of its schedule.
Bold Prediction No. 3: Saints Regain Championship Form and Beat Steelers
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The Super Bowl hangover is over.
It's been a an interesting first half of the season for the defending champs as everyone waits for them to regain their dominate form. Last week's loss to Cleveland in the Super Dome only fuels the Saints to come out like a ball of fire against Pittsburgh.
Much has been made about New Orleans' lack of a running game because of injuries to Reggie Bush and Pierre Thomas that has forced the offense to count on Drew Brees more than it ever did at this point last season.
There are no sensible statistics that can make an argument in favor of the Saints in this match up, especially without Thomas or Bush. But the Super Dome will be rocking in prime time on Halloween. It will be loud and emotional with one of the most avid fan bases begging their team for a huge victory. The Saints win in one of those games that can't be explained.
Bold Prediction No. 2: Randy Moss Will Be Shut Down Against the Patriots
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Bill Belichick is no dummy.
After dealing Randy Moss on to the Vikings on Oct. 6, the Patriots have had two straight impressive victories proving he wasn't as valuable to his team as everyone thought.
With Brett Favre playing on a broken ankle, expect New England to do everything they can to avoid being embarrassed by Moss on its home field. Being the prideful, defensive guru that he is, expect Belichick to double Moss all night and frustrate the big receiver to the point where he shuts down half way through the game.
Bold Prediction No. 1: Arian Foster Leads Texans to Huge Road Win at Indy
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In Week 1, Arian Foster went absolutely bananas in Houston against the Colts by rushing for 231 yards and three touchdowns.
While the Colts are at home on Monday night, their defense hasn't gotten better since they last played. The unit is banged up as Bob Sanders, Indianapolis' best run defender will be out and Foster will be looking for a repeat performance to once again assert the Texans as a contender to win the division.
The Colts are giving up 137 yards per game on the ground, and will also be without their own running back Joseph Addai. Without any running game, Indianapolis will likely lose the time of possession battle and Foster will run aplenty with the Colts safe-guarding against a healthy Andre Johnson attack over the top.