Week 8 NFL picks: Lions, Packers will continue to share NFC North lead
By Doug Halberstadt
The defending Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks are a .500 team this season. They have the same 3-3 record as Miami, Kansas City, Cleveland and Pittsburgh. This Sunday, they travel cross country to play the Carolina Panthers, who are 3-3 but also have a tie to add to their record. Both teams have elite NFL quarterbacks — Russell Wilson for Seattle and Cam Newton for the Panthers. Both teams suffered losses last week and need this win. I’m going to give the edge to Seattle in what could end up in a shootout.
In the NFC North, the Detroit Lions and the Green Bay Packers are tied for the division lead at 5-2. I expect them to be tied again when this week is over at 6-2. The Lions are in London, England, to face the Atlanta Falcons (2-5). The Packers face the Saints in New Orleans in the nationally televised game on Sunday night. That should equate to another victory for both teams.
The other two NFC North teams, the Minnesota Vikings and the Chicago Bears, are also on the road this week. The Vikings (2-5) are in Tampa Bay against the Buccaneers (1-5), while Chicago (3-4) travels to Foxboro to take on the Patriots (5-2). I’m giving the Vikings their third win, and I’m giving the Bears their fifth loss.
Tomorrow night’s game (Thursday, Oct. 23) features two of the top tier teams in the league. The San Diego Chargers (5-2) have the tough task off going to Denver and trying to knock off the Broncos (5-1). Denver quarterback Peyton Manning is now the all-time leader in touchdown passes. I look for him to just keep adding to that record. He should get at least two or three more against the Chargers as the Broncos pick up their sixth win.
Elsewhere around the league on Sunday, the Baltimore Ravens (5-2) are in Cincinnati to meet the Bengals (3-2-1). These two teams faced one another in their season opener, and the Bengals won that game in Baltimore 23-16. I think the Ravens will return the favor and knock off the Bengals on their home turf this time.
Bragging rights in the state of Florida will be on the line when the Dolphins (3-3) swim into Jacksonville to face the Jaguars (1-6). Both teams won in week seven. I look for Miami to stop the Jaguars’ one-game win streak.
Now that the Jaguars have broken into the win column, the only team without a “W” is the Oakland Raiders (0-6). This week, Oakland has to face the Browns in Cleveland. The Browns should make it seven straight losses for the silver and black.
Two other teams with modest one-game win streaks face one another in Kansas City this week — the Chiefs (3-3) host the St. Louis Rams (2-4). I look for the Chiefs to make it two in a row and improve to 4-3.
The New York Jets (1-6) have lost six straight games and have a home game this week against their neighbors from Buffalo. The Bills (4-3) escaped with a last-second win against Minnesota last week. The Bills will hand the Jets their seventh straight loss.
A pair of 5-1 bird teams will go feather to feather in the desert Sunday. The Eagles and Cardinals will meet one another in Arizona. This could be the game of the week. I’m going with the Eagles, as they should be a little better rested coming off a bye week.
The Houston Texans (3-3 at press time) and the Tennessee Titans (2-5) will square off in Nashville. I like the Texans, even though they are coming off the short week.
After starting the year with two losses, the Indianapolis Colts have won five straight. To make it six in a row, they will have to get by the Steelers (3-3 at press time) in Pittsburgh. I think the Colts will come away with a 6-2 record.
Speaking of six straight wins, that brings us to the Monday night game, where the Cowboys (6-1) host their rivals, the Washington Redskins (2-5). Historically, this is usually an entertaining game. This season, it’s pretty clear the Cowboys are the better team. I look for Dallas to make it seven in a row.
The San Francisco 49ers and the New York Giants have their bye this week.
Last week, after Sunday’s games, I was 10-4 with only the Monday night game left to be played. I took the Texans over the Steelers in that game.
Doug Halberstadt can be reached via e-mail at Dougster61@aol.com.
From the Oct. 22-28, 2014, issue