Site Editor Matt Loede’s NFL Picks for Week 8

Big Ben with former Bengals signal caller Ken Anderson 

A better week last week with picks, as overall I was 7-4, which puts my mark at 47-49-4 for the 2007 season. Lots of games to get to, so here we go with picks for week 8.

Indianapolis (-6.5) at Carolina

While the Colts continue to roll week in and week out, the Panthers remain a team no one can figure out. They are 4-0 on the road, yet just 0-2 at home. Things for them won’t get much better here, as the Colts will attack either David Carr or Vinny Testaverde all day long, and the running game will struggle against the ever improving Colts defense. Look for Peyton and company to keep on rolling, as they have won 15 of their last 18 against the NFC, and for the Panthers to keep on wondering why they can’t win in front of their home fans. Indianapolis 27 Carolina 14

Detroit at Chicago (-5)

The Bears are a team that simply won’t go away. We wrote them off after their loss two weeks ago to the Vikings at home, and then they go on the road and pull off a huge comeback against the Eagles. Detroit has had its share of issues on the road, and in Chicago they have been outscored 72-13 in their last two games. Yes, this is a new Lions team and they are playing better, but I think the Bears flex their muscles here and get a bit of revenge for that earlier loss in Motown. Chicago 17 Detroit 10

Pittsburgh (-3.5) at Cincinnati

Why the Steelers didn’t run better or more for that matter against Denver last week is still beyond me. They had a shot to move to 5-1 and be in total control of the AFC North, but now need a win here before they host the Ravens next Monday night. As for the Bengals, they saved their season with a comeback win over the Jets last week at home, but still have plenty to work on to be able to beat a team like the Steelers. This is always a very emotional game, and the Steelers always seem to give Carson Palmer problems. Look for Fast Willie Parker to continue to gouge the Bengals, as he averaged 133 yards in two games against them in 2006. Pittsburgh 27 Cincinnati 20

New York Giants (-4) at Miami {in London}

The story to me here is how are these two teams going to be after a long flight and clearly playing out of their element. The overall advantage in this one has to go to the Giants, as the Fins look like a team that could very well lose 14-15 games in 2007. New York needs to put any doubt of making this game close away early, and use their running game and the Manning to Burress combo to build a lead to not allow the Dolphins to think they can hang around. This one could be somewhat interesting if the Dolphins can force some Giants mistakes. New York 30 Miami 17

Philadelphia (-1.5) at Minnesota

My question in this one is why are the Eagles favored? While the Vikings are not making a run to Super Bowl 41 anytime soon, they still are at home, have a great run defense, and can and I think will use rookie stud Adrian Peterson more than they did last week vs the Cowboys. Philly can’t score inside the red zone, and it won’t be any easier here against the solid run defense of the Vikings. I think Minnesota is primed to put up some points, and they haven’t played a home in awhile, so the crowd will be a factor. Minnesota 23 Philadelphia 13

Cleveland (-3) at St.Louis

The Browns offense has been steller at home, scoring in bunches, but on the road they tend to struggle, and that will give the Rams a shot here. St.Louis simply must find a way to score points, and with Marc Bulger back at QB and RB Steven Jackson in the lineup, they should be able to have success against the Browns somewhat soft defense. Consider that if you subtract the Rams 31-point outing vs the Cards in week five, they have scored a combined 48 points in 6 games. Ouch. I have a strange feeling the Rams realize they have a shot here, and an even stranger feeling they will find a way. St.Louis 24 Cleveland 23

Oakland at Tennessee (-7)

Vince Young should be back against the Raiders this week, but I don’t feel strongly that the Titans are going to score nearly as much as last week vs the Texans. Last time they were at home, they needed help from the defense just to score 20 points in a win over the lowly Falcons. Yes, the Raiders are starting to come back to earth after a 2-2 start, and things there are getting bleaker as they can’t pass and the running game was in stall mode against KC last week. Things won’t get easier against the Titans, who are allowing just 59.6 yards per game on the ground. I just think that this will be a tight, ugly game, so take the points. Tennessee 17 Oakland 13

Buffalo at New York Jets (-3)

The Jets offense showed signs of life last week against the Bengals scoring 31 points, but considering they had a lead at the half and into the third quarter, last weeks loss was a complete letdown. This team was 10-6 last year, and this year are at 1-6 through seven. The Bills are playing better, and now that they know Trent Edwards is their QB for good, the offense should slowly get better. Buffalo beat the Jets back in Buffalo 17-14 in week four, and I think we’ll have a basically a repeat here. Buffalo 17 New York Jets 13

Houston at San Diego (-10)

The Chargers have had a tough week with having to practice on the road in Phoenix, but they do get their home game, which ought to make things a little better Sunday. As for the Texans, they had an amazing comeback vs Tennessee wiped away when the defense couldn’t stop Kerry Collins on the final drive in a 38-36 setback at home that puts them at 3-4. San Diego is starting to get that swagger back, and despite the large point spread here, I think they put their long week behind them and get the cover. San Diego 31 Houston 17

Jacksonville (-2.5) at Tampa Bay

Why do I sense that the Jags are going to go from 4-2 to 4-6 by the time we hit November 25th. One reason – Quinn Gray. The Jags backup QB looked like a lost puppy vs the Colts last week, and if Jacksonville thinks they have enough to win with Gray as their starter, I think they will find out quickly that is not the case this week. Tampa Bay is much better at home, and Jeff Garcia STILL has yet to throw a pick, and I think he will keep that streak alive here. The Bucs look like they might be the sleeper team to take home the NFC South this year. Tampa Bay 20 Jacksonville 10

Washington at New England (-17)

Earlier this week I wrote a piece about how the Skins could stay with the Pats, and possibly pull of the monster upset. Will it happen? No. The Pats will not fall into the trap of looking ahead to the Colts next weekend, and I think their defense against a struggling Skins offense will be the story here. Look for New England to do what they do best – throw, and to force Jason Campbell into some mistakes on the Skins side. Will the Pats cover? I think the Skins may have just enough offense to break that streak, I’ll play that here. New England 35 Washington 20

New Orleans (-3) at San Francisco

Alex Smith is back under center this week for the 49’ers, but does it even matter? San Fran is just terrible on offense, putting up 78 points total in their first 6 games (13 per game). Smith was not doing much to push those numbers any higher when he was in there, so why all of a sudden would the 49’ers offense be any better here? The Saints have won two in a row, and if they want to make a run at the medicare NFC South, they cannot afford a letdown against this team. New Orleans 21 San Francisco 13

Green Bay at Denver (-3)

Do you trust the Broncos to have two solid weeks on the national spotlight? I do. The Packers have had a week to get ready for this one, but their running game is banged up again, as Deshawn Wynn could miss the game with a neck injury. Denver scored 31 against a good Pittsburgh team last week, and it looked like they had new life on both sides of the ball. Green Bay still has plenty of question marks, and I think that in this spot with the lights on bright they will be a bit overwhelmed. Denver 26 Green Bay 17

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