Week 8 is here at last, and with it comes Drew Brees vs. Troy Polamalu, the Miami Dolphins vs. the Cincinnati Bengals in the matchup of the underachievers, the improved Detroit Lions vs. the Donovan McNabb-led Washington Redskins, the QB carousel in the Tennessee Titans camp battling a San Diego Chargers team that everyone is just waiting to get going and the legendary Brett Favre leading the Vikings into Foxboro to take on the AFC East incumbent champion New England Patriots.
In this article, I'll give my picks for every one of these matchups. Some picks you'll see coming, and some may surprise you. It'll be a fun week to watch, and there are many more games to watch, but these are my picks of the week.
Both the Redskins and the Lions are better this season than they were last year, and this is a needed win for each of these franchises. The Lions have been close in a few contests, but they just couldn't pull out the wins. The Redskins have managed to eek out some close ones, and Donovan McNabb seems to be doing just enough to allow the Redskins to overachieve this year.
The Lions get starting QB Matthew Staford back this week, and that should be just the piece the Lions need to get this offense where they need to be. They've been playing well as it is, but getting their leader back will do wonders for this team.
The Redskins have won just one more game than they've lost, and Donovan McNabb isn't the reason they have four wins. He's having one of his worst years as a pro, and I look for his woes to continue in Week 8.
Lions 24, Redskins 13
The Dolphins and Bengals have both had their ups and downs this season. The Bengals are trying to get their dynamic offense to play four full quarters of good football, while the Dolphins can't seem to play the same week to week.
The Dolphins are statistically a below average team. Their running game of Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams aren't playing nearly as well as they did last year. Starting QB Chad Henne is showing that he's not quite good enough to win in the NFL right now, and this doesn't bode well for the Dolphins for the rest of this season.
The Bengals are the perfect example of underachievers. They're ranked eighth in total offense and sixth in passing offense, and yet they are only 16th in points scored. They have all of the weapons to win football games, but more disciplined teams have been beating them due to their inconsistent play.
I look for the Bengals to get it going this week in an attempt to salvage their 2010 season.
Bengals 27, Dolphins 21
The Titans are winning no matter what QB they have in the game, while the Chargers have one of the league's top passers and the No. 1 offense and defense in the league and can't seem to win games.
The Chargers always start slow, but this year feels different. Their offense is moving the ball every week, but they turn the ball over every time they get moving. The Chargers have an astounding 18 turnovers in only seven games.
The Titans are the polar opposite of the Chargers. They are ranked 24 in total the offense, but they are the second-highest scoring team in the NFL. They've also held teams to very few points this year as the third ranked defense in points allowed. After a rocky start, the Titans are really on the move in 2010. I'm picking the Titans in this one.
Titans 23, Chargers 21
This is a big game on a big stage. This week's Sunday night game features the Patriots and the Vikings in Randy Moss's return to Foxboro. The Patriots traded Moss to the Vikings after the Pats Week 4 win over the Miami Dolphins. There are a ton of story lines in this game, many of which would be a little more relevant if the Vikings were playing the football that people expected them to.
The Patriots are playing as good as they ever have, minus their near-perfect season. They won their three Super Bowls playing the brand of football that they're playing right now, but this week is going to be a tougher matchup than the records indicate.
The Vikings have been losing the hard way. They seem to be in every game they play right up until the end, but future HOFer Brett Favre has been hurt and as a result he's thrown interceptions at the most inopportune times. WR Percy Harvin is playing great football and RB Adrian Peterson is having a phenomenal year.
It's only a matter of time before the old gunslinger does his part, and I believe that this week is the time.
Vikings 31, Patriots 20
The Saints passing offense looks similar to the offense that led them to a 13-0 start last season, but it isn't translating into wins. The Steelers don't look anything like the team that went 8-8 last year, and with a healthy Troy Polamalu, they're beating teams down this season.
The Steelers defense has given up the least amount of points per game in the NFL this season. They're No. 4 in total defense and No. 1 against the run. On the other side of the ball, QB Ben Roethlisberger has been playing stellar football since returning to the team after his suspension with a QB rating of 122.4 in the last two Steelers games.
The Saints are just shooting themselves in the foot week after week. QB Drew Brees is having a wonderful year, despite throwing a league-high four interceptions last week against the Cleveland Browns. Brees has 2,019 yards and 14 TDs in only seven games, but the loss of RB Reggie Bush has hurt the team in ways that few saw coming, and he's finally back in practice.
The Saints have one of the biggest home field advantages in the league, and this week I look for them to end up on the winning side of the scoreboard.
Saints 24, Steelers 17
Well, there you have it. Love 'em or hate 'em, they're my picks, and I'm sticking by 'em. Good luck to all the teams on and off the list. It should be an exciting week of NFL action with plenty of twists and turns—just like the rest of the NFL action we've already seen. I'm pumped to see what will happen next, and whatever's next is mere hours away. Cheers, here's to Week 8!