I had a great Week 8 of predictions, missing on just two games. Carolina’s upset victory over the Cardinals and the Rams’ first victory of the season on the road against Detroit were the two games that tripped me up.
Here’s a look at this week’s matchups and how I think they’ll play out.
Last Week: 11-2
This Week: 8-5
Washington Redskins (2-5) at Atlanta Falcons (4-3)
I doubt the Redskins are equipped to go into Atlanta and come out with a victory. The Falcons have too much firepower and the Redskins are a bad football team right now.
Prediction: Atlanta 27, Washington 17
Actual Score: Atlanta 31, Washington 17
Arizona Cardinals (4-3) at Chicago Bears (4-3)
This is one of those head-versus-heart predictions. The Bears and Cardinals both have had their struggles defending the pass this year and both are in the bottom seven of the league in running the football. The Bears rank ahead of the Cardinals in both of those categories and are also a fraction of a point ahead of the Cardinals in points scored this season. Needless to say, my heart is telling me that the Bears will win this important conference game at home, where they’ve been dominant lately. But my head is telling me different after seeing the Bears get shredded by quarterbacks all season. I’m going to have to go with my head in this one.
Prediction: Arizona 21, Chicago 20
Actual Score: Arizona 41, Chicago 21
Baltimore Ravens (4-3) at Cincinnati Bengals (5-2)
The Bengals are entering this game following their bye week, which followed their 45-10 beating of the Bears. They have to be feeling good about themselves. The Ravens do likewise. They just knocked off the previously-unbeaten Broncos. I know the Ravens have revenge on their minds after Cedric Benson rushed for 120 yards against them a few weeks ago, ending their long streak of consecutive games without a 100-yard rusher. It’s a road game, but I like the Ravens in this one.
Prediction: Baltimore 24, Cincinnati 21
Actual Score: Cincinnati 17, Baltimore 7
Houston Texans (5-3) at Indianapolis Colts (7-0)
The Colts lost two defensive backs for the season this week and that’s not good when they’re facing one of the league’s top passing offenses. But they’ve got the No. 1 passing offense themselves engineered by Peyton Manning. I think they’ll hang on for the victory in this one.
Prediction: Indianapolis 27, Houston 20
Actual Score: Indianapolis 20, Houston 17
Kansas City Chiefs (1-6) at Jacksonville Jaguars (3-4)
What can you expect when two bad football teams play? An ugly game. Typically, teams are bad because they play inconsistently, and when you’re deciding between two inconsistent teams, the result is hard to predict. I like the Jaguars in this one because they have home field advantage and I’ve seen more success out of them this year.
Prediction: Jacksonville 22, Kansas City 20
Actual Score: Jacksonville 24, Kansas City 21
Miami Dolphins (3-4) at New England Patriots (5-2)
Ah, yes, the Dolphins against the Patriots, a rematch of the game that really put the Wildcat system on display last year. I’d be shocked if Bill Belichick’s team failed to adequately prepare for the Dolphins this week. I think the Patriots win handily.
Prediction: New England 28, Miami 17
Actual Score: New England 27, Miami 17
Green Bay Packers (4-3) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-7)
The Buccaneers are the NFL’s last remaining unbeaten team, and they’ll remain that way for at least another week. Despite all the Packers’ troubles along the offensive line, they’re too good a team to drop one to the Buccaneers, and they’ll win the battle of the Bays with ease.
Prediction: Green Bay 30, Tampa Bay 16
Actual Score: Tampa Bay 38, Green Bay 28
Carolina Panthers (3-4) at New Orleans Saints (7-0)
The Panthers may have sneaked into Arizona and defeated one high-powered offense on the road, but I don’t see them doing it twice in a row. The Saints are one of the two best teams in football right now and they’re playing too well to stumble over a team like the Panthers.
Prediction: New Orleans 31, Carolina 20
Actual Score: New Orleans 30, Carolina 20
Detroit Lions (1-6) at Seattle Seahawks (2-5)
Ick. Bad football. I don’t like the way either team has played of late. This game marks the return of Lions linebacker Julian Peterson to Seattle, but does anybody care? I’ll give the edge to the Seahawks because Seattle is a tough place to play.
Prediction: Seattle 24, Detroit 17
Actual Score: Seattle 32, Detroit 20
San Diego Chargers (4-3) at New York Giants (5-3)
The Giants have dropped three in a row and they still face another month of tough opponents. The Giants still have the league’s No. 5 offense and No. 3 defense, and I have to think they’ll be ready to go in this one, no matter how well the Chargers have played of late.
Prediction: New York Giants 24, San Diego 20
Actual Score: San Diego 21, New York Giants 20
Tennessee Titans (1-6) at San Francisco 49ers (3-4)
The Titans picked up their first victory of the season last week, but I don’t expect them to start stringing together a bunch of them. They’re traveling west to face a tough 49ers team and could struggle to stop Frank Gore and the Niners’ run game.
Prediction: San Francisco 24, Tennessee 17
Actual Score: Tennessee 34, San Francisco 27
Dallas Cowboys (5-2) at Philadelphia Eagles (5-2)
I love watching NFC East battles and this one should be a good one. The Cowboys and, specifically, Tony Romo have been playing real well lately but could struggle on the road against a stout Eagles defense. I like McNabb and Co. in this one.
Prediction: Philadelphia 27, Dallas 24
Actual Score: Dallas 20, Philadelphia 16
Pittsburgh Steelers (5-2) at Denver Broncos (6-1)
The Ravens defense gave Kyle Orton and the Broncos fits all game last week and now Denver will face an even tougher defense this week. I like the Steelers to go on the road and hand Denver its second straight loss.
Prediction: Pittsburgh 23, Denver 20
Actual Score: Pittsburgh 28, Denver 10