Thursday, October 24, 2013

NFL Week 8 Picks: Atlanta Falcons Will Continue Their Winning Ways

Carolina (3-3) at Tampa Bay (0-6)

Mike Glennon and Vincent Jackson are connecting well for the Buccaneers, but that’s about all that’s going well for them, especially with Doug Martin out for this game due to injury.

The Panthers are on their first winning streak of the season and have one of the better pass defenses in the league that could take away from what Glennon and Jackson do.

Carolina wins.

San Francisco (5-2) vs. Jacksonville (0-7) – GAME IN LONDON

After putting up a fight against the Broncos two weeks ago, the Jaguars put up a dud against the Chargers last week, failing to score a single touchdown all game.

The 49ers took care of a more competitive Titans team last week and shouldn’t have much trouble here.

San Francisco wins.

Cleveland (3-4) at Kansas City (7-0)

The Chiefs are the only undefeated team in the league. They play efficient, if not pretty, football and are a tough team to go up against when they’re home.

Brandon Weeden has struggled immensely this season and was finally benched for Jason Campbell. He’ll be the third quarterback to start for the Browns this season.

Kansas City wins.

Miami (3-3) at New England (5-2)

Ryan Tannehill might have had his worst game in the NFL last weekend against the Bills. It’s not entirely his fault they lost, but his two interceptions and one fumble lost certainly helped.

For whatever reason, the Dolphins have regressed since opening the season 3-0. The play calling seems more conservative and Mike Wallace still isn’t being used to his full potential.

The Patriots have proven they are beatable, but they are playing better than Miami and also have home field advantage.

New England wins.

Buffalo (3-4) at New Orleans (5-1)

The Saints really are one play away from still being undefeated, losing to the Patriots two weeks ago on a touchdown pass with 30 seconds left.

New Orleans just didn’t do enough to close the game out and wind down the clock.

That being said, they should be able to regroup after the bye, at home, against a sub-.500 Bills team.

New Orleans wins.

Dallas (4-3) at Detroit (4-3)

After maybe the best game of his career against the Broncos three weeks ago, Tony Romo has come out fairly flat the past two weeks. Dallas has won those games despite mediocre performances from their quarterback.

The Lions played a good game against the Bengals before an untimely special teams miscue led to their demise. They were the first team to throw for at least 300 yards against the Bengals defense in nearly 40 games.

At home against a leakier pass defense of Dallas, the Lions should do the same but with a better result.

Detroit wins.

New York Giants (1-6) at Philadelphia (3-4)

The Giants may be 10th in the league in passing yards per game, but a contributing factor to that could be because they find themselves down for most of the game. Really, Eli Manning and his receivers have not been in sync. The Giants are sixth in the league with 18 drops. Again, that could be aided by the fact that the team throws a lot but three of the team’s ahead of the Giants on the list have winning records, something New York does not have.

The team is only 16th in the league in receiving touchdowns and is 24th in the league in receptions inside the opponents red zone. It’s not like once the Giants get in the red zone they pound the ball on the ground either: they are 16th in the league in rushing touchdowns. Eli Manning also leads the league in interceptions, with 15.

With inconsistent play in the passing game and a very banged up running game, it does not look good for the Giants on the road.

Philadelphia wins.

Pittsburgh (2-4) at Oakland (2-4)

It looks like the Steelers defense is finally starting to clamp down. In their recent two-game winning streak they’ve allowed only 11 points per game, compared to 27.5 in their four losses. The key will be getting off to an early start against the Raiders.

Oakland is last in the league in passing yards per game and the Steelers are fourth in the league in passing yards allowed per game. Pittsburgh has scored first in three of their six games this season. If they can jump on Oakland early and force the Raiders to pass the ball, they could force Oakland into some mistakes. All of Terrelle Pryor’s interceptions thrown have come in games they lost. He threw three interceptions in the team’s last game, against the Chiefs.

Pittsburgh wins.

New York Jets (4-3) at Cincinnati (5-2)

The Bengals are 3-0 at home this season and have won three straight games. They haven’t won by big margins, the largest being 10 points in Week 2 against the Steelers, but they grind games out. A.J. Green has been hot lately, going for over 100 yards receiving and a touchdown in each of the past two games.

While the Jets have been better than anticipated this season they have been inconsistent. They have yet to put together a win streak, losing every other game. This would put them on pace to lose this weekend. The team is also only 6-13 on the road going back to 2011.

Cincinnati wins.

Atlanta (2-4) at Arizona (3-4)

Last week, on a day where the Falcons managed to run for only 18 yards, Matt Ryan was 20-26 for 273 yards and three touchdowns to help the Falcons beat Tampa Bay by eight points.

Amidst a rough season so far for the team, with Roddy White hampered by injuries and Julio Jones now out for the season, Ryan has still put up good numbers. It looks like he’s getting Steven Jackson back for some carries this week, which should help their red zone offense.

Atlanta wins.

Washington (2-4) at Denver (6-1)

RGIII had one of his best games all season last week against the Bears and the running game was very good, especially Roy Helu, who ran for three touchdowns.

This week is a very difficult test though.

The Broncos may have lost their first game of the season, but this is still one of the top teams in the league. Von Miller will be back for his second game, and another week can only help him feel more comfortable.
Washington’s defense has just been terrible this season. If Josh McCown can complete 70 percent of his passes for just over 200 yards and touchdown, I wonder what Peyton Manning can do.

Denver wins.

Green Bay (4-2) at Minnesota (1-5)

Josh Freeman was 20-53 passing for 190 yards and an interception. He looked even worse than his stats suggest. His passed were extremely off-target and he was constantly rushed playing behind a porous offensive line. He also reportedly suffered a concussion. If he can’t go it will be Christian Ponder starting, and that’s more of the same.

The Packers jumped on Browns quarterback Brandon Weeden last week, who is similarly ineffective this year. It should be a similar result for the cheese heads this week.

Green Bay wins.

Seattle (6-1) at St. Louis (3-4)

The Seahawks handily beat division foe Arizona on the road last week on Thursday night.

Their aggressive secondary should continue to cause the opposition fits, especially against a Rams team that just lost starting quarterback Sam Bradford for the year.

Seattle wins.

Bye Week: Chicago, Tennessee, Indianapolis, San Diego, Baltimore, Houston

Last Week: 10-5

Overall: 68-39

Photo Credit.
Steven Jackson: AP Photo/John Bazemore, File

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