So, 7-6 isn’t the glorious same as 10-3 but it’s a winning week nonetheless – yet another winning week, and the season continues to be good. Week 8’s preview is short and sweet, but you’ll see 7 winners and 6 that didn’t go so well. Here goes…
Atlanta Falcons (+12) @ New Orleans Saints: (WINNER) “It’s Monday Night Football, these are two good football teams, it’s an NFC South rivalry game, the Saints are coming off a lucky comeback win, the Falcons are coming off a disappointing loss, 12 points is just too much on that stage with those circumstances. I know the big favorites have dominated the season thus far, but games like this just don’t get 12 points – that’s way too many.” I hope everyone going with the Saints learned a valuable lesson, no matter how good you are, the value can easily fall with the challenger.
Minnesota Vikings (+3.5) @ Green Bay Packers: (WINNER) “Now it’s very hard to beat a good opponent twice in the same season, but I just don’t see these two teams as equals.” I think that’s what it came right down to. The Packers have some great pieces, but the Vikings have a better offense and a better defense, and they showed that by beating the Packers twice in as many tries.
Jacksonville Jaguars @ Tennessee Titans (-3): (WINNER) It’s awkward, but Vince Young wins. His numbers aren’t great, but with a rushing attack like the Titans have, and now teams have to pay attention to Vince, that just opens up the run game for the Titans. Vince didn’t run for tons of yards, but him being a threat gave Chris that little extra room he needed – either that or the Jaguars are just brutal defensively – either one, got this one right on.
Oakland Raiders (+17.5) @ San Diego Chargers: (WINNER) “The Chargers aren’t a great football team. They aren’t in the Patriots, Giants, Colts, Saints, Vikings, type group. That pretty much makes them a bad-value-bet as a double digit favorite. When that double digit favorite moves over 3 scores (a couple touchdowns and a field goal) they move even farther away from value and into a whole new category of auto-fade. Can the Chargers beat the Raiders by 3 touchdowns? You bet. It’s just not a great bet to happen.” Like I said, the Chargers aren’t one of the best teams in football, and are basically an auto fade as a HUGE dog like there were on Sunday.
Carolina Panthers @ Arizona Cardinals (-10): (LOSS) “Many sharp bettors see this game as great value for the Panthers. They have a rushing attack that should be able to get some yards against an Arizona front 7 that has basically eliminated rushing attacks all season long (ranking #1 in stopping the run) and Arizona is coming off a huge win, almost surely ready for down game. And this line, in my opinion, is too close to wager too much, but I like the Cardinals despite the inflated spread.” So, everything except that last part pretty much spot on. The Panthers did run on that vaunted Cardinals defensive front, but even more surprising was the fact that their defense suckered Warner into a half a million turnovers. If John Fox (or whomever is in charge of the Panthers offense) doesn’t get in the way of Jonathan Stewart and DeAngelo Williams, this team can do some damage going forward.
St. Louis Rams @ Detroit Lions (-3.5): (LOSS) The Lions, in my opinion, have hit a new low. Sure, you say they’ve won a game, and that’s true, but last year they didn’t lose to the worst team in football. This year they did, well, they lost to Steven Jackson, and Jax is the greatest player on the worst team in football. I watched a lot of this game, because I’m a little bit sick, it was just as painful as it seemed.
San Francisco 49ers (+13.5) @ Indianapolis Colts: (WINNER) “I liked the 49ers at -12 to start the week, but this one has a chance of getting to 14 points. Oh, that would make me feel so good. Still, 13 is a good number to get past as well, that way a touchdown and a couple field goals up still keeps me in the money. An out right win would surprise me, but don’t put it past the 49ers, staying within 13 seems like a good bet to me.” The bottom line is, and this should be universal, you don’t give a good team nearly two touchdowns. Say what you want about the Niners, but I’m thinking that by years’ end, you’ll come around, you’ll label them a good team. They proved their worth while holding Peyton without a passing TD, but some key injuries might hurt them a little.
Miami Dolphins @ New York Jets (-3): (LOSS) The Jets dominated this game offensively, but the Dolphins had Ted Ginn Jr. – NOw lately that has been a bad thing to have, dropped passes, basically unreliable and almost a liability because defenses hardly have to get in his way because he’ll drop the passes all by themselves. But this week he was a kick returner, and on one return he was the sole reason for the touchdown. They say it’s the blocks and the lanes, but Ginn Jr. sat in one place, had 4 tackles go past, and went from 0-60 in about .5 seconds. It was dirty. Those special teams’ covers will kill a cover, just ask the Jets who played well both defensively and offensively.
New York Giants (+1) @ Philadelphia Eagles: (LOSS) Am I wrong about the Giants? I know Ellie is back in full force, but is this team really going to break my balls a fourth week in a row? I might just take them again. The Eagles have showed me some strength against a solid defense, they are really playing well, I’m sure that will come back to haunt me soon.
Denver Broncos (+3.5) @ Baltimore Ravens: (LOSS) The Broncos ran into a buzz saw Ravens defense that was tired of being labeled “losing their dominance” and they certainly got handled. It was a close game at half, but that kick off return TD reared it’s head again, and from then on the Ravens put it to the Broncos hard. I guess Josh McDaniels had to lose one sooner or later.
Houston Texans (-3) @ Buffalo Bills: (WINNER) It took a quarter or two, but the Texans just started handling the Bills. Buffalo is an absolute mess and Houston proved they can win running the ball as well, even if it’s with Ryan Moats. That’s right Moats blew up the Bills’ weak spot, run defense, while Matt Schaub took a back seat to get the W. Houston won easily.
Cleveland Browns (+14) @ Chicago Bears: (LOSS) The Browns have lost it, maybe even Raiders style. I didn’t know what I was getting myself into, the Bears -14 seemed like suicide, but I have to realize going forward that some numbers look bad but some opponents look worse. Even Matt Forte ran well in this one – we’ll see how it goes next time out for Jay Cutler and the boys.
Seattle Seahawks @ Dallas Cowboys (-9.5): (WINNER) “The Hawks have only played well against the league’s lesser teams, and while Dallas might not be Super Bowl bound, they are definitely a team fighting for a playoffs spot this season. All things considered, I just think Dallas’s pass rush will be too much.” That was a big difference in the game, the Hawks completion numbers were pretty high, but they had too many negative plays, and the Cowboys brought too much pressure for the Hawks to burn them deep. Matt just didn’t have enough time. Until the Hawks get healthy, pass rushing teams will eat them up.