Happy Halloween to all! As the World Series rages on, The NFL’s week 8 slate features more “tricks” than “treats”. In my estimation, there are four really interesting games this week. Two are obvious. Let’s take a look.
Bengals (6-0) at Steelers (4-3)- Have the Bengals finally arrived? If they win this game the answer is yes, but Big Ben is back and the Steelers are at full strength for the first time in over a month. This is typically bad news for Cincinnati as the Steelers have won eight of ten meetings this decade. Unlike recent years, this will be a high scoring affair. Big Ben, Le’veon Bell, and Antonio Brown vs. Andy Dalton and his bevy of weapons is enticing. However, the winner here will be the team that gets a late defensive stand. I’ll go with the Steelers until the Bengals show me they can knock off big brother. Even with a loss, Cincinnati would still control the division, but objects in the rear view mirror are closer than they appear. Pit 28 Cin 24
Packers (6-0) at Broncos (6-0)- Believe it or not, Sunday Night Football really does feature two undefeated teams this week, despite the talking heads on TV and the internet already putting Green Bay in the Super Bowl and writing Denver’s eulogy. If you have read this blog or know me at all, you know where my allegiance lies. The keys to this one are as follows. Denver must find a run game similar to the one they had in Cleveland two weeks ago. It may come from CJ Anderson, Ronnie Hillman, or both, but it has to come from somewhere. They must also rush the passer and continue to get sacks at will. Aaron Rodgers will make this harder than it has been with his lightening quick release. Peyton Manning is actually playing okay. He just needs to cut out the turnovers. My head: GB 31 Den 20. My heart: Den 24 GB 21
Jets (4-2) at Raiders (3-3)-These last two games are fairly cut and dry for me. After playing New England to the wire on the road, the Jets cemented themselves as the most underrated team the league. The Raiders may be the most improved, but this is a mismatch. Young QB Derek Carr was shelled against Denver. That is the only defense he has faced that is anywhere close to the caliber he will see tomorrow. Look for the Jets to run over Oakland behind Chris Ivory. NYJ 31 Oak 13
Panthers (6-0) at Colts (3-4)-The Colts are a mess. 40 year old Matt Hasslebeck has been more effective than golden boy Andrew Luck who still doesn’t look quite right and it’s not 2008 anymore for high priced signings RB Frank Gore and WR Andre Johnson, but they are in first place. This test on Monday night against the hard hitting Panthers led by freakishly talented QB Cam Newton will either bring them together or spark a mutiny. I’ll go with the option B. Car 24 Ind 10.