Week Eight NFL Picks

Suh and the Lions will attempt to hold off the Cowboys in Detroit

After going 8-6 with my picks (minus the Thursday night game) last week, I’m back with predictions for week eight of the NFL season including the second London game this year, where Jacksonville “hosts” San Francisco at Wembley Stadium. It’s the first time the NFL has held two regular season games here in England with three scheduled for next year, and a successful weekend could go a long way to bringing a franchise across the pond further down the line. Without further ado, here’s what I think will happen this weekend in the National Football League.

Dallas @ Detroit

Although both teams sit at 4-3 the Cowboys, thanks to the frighteningly weak NFC east, are sitting far more comfortably in the play-off race than the Lions. The Dallas defense stifled the high octane Philadelphia offense last week, and they’ll have to be equally on their game this Sunday against the likes of Reggie Bush and Calvin Johnson. The Lions are coming off a disappointing loss against the Bengals so they’ll be looking to bounce back at home in one of just two games this weekend that pits teams with winning records against each other. Unfortunately for Detroit while I think their offense can match the Cowboys for talent I have doubts that their defense can do likewise. It should be close, but I’m going for a road win. Cowboys 27, Lions 24

San Francisco @ Jacksonville

The London faithful are unlikely to witness a close contest in this game with the 49ers looking like one of the best teams in the NFC while these Jaguars may have struggled to win a game in NFL Europe. San Francisco appear to have reverted to running some of the things on offense, such as the read option, that they did last season on their way to the Superbowl and Colin Kaepernick has clearly benefited from the move. The Jaguars defense isn’t as bad as their offense; however it’s still mediocre and if they can keep this one close into the second half I’ll be surprised, as will 85,000 people inside Wembley. 49ers 31, Jaguars 13

Cleveland @ Kansas City

Andy Reid’s men look set to move to 8-0 against the struggling Browns, who have now lost two in a row after they had been 3-2. Jason Cambell gets the start at Quarterback for Cleveland after Brandon Weeden once again demonstrated he’s not a starter in the league, though the Browns problems are more widespread than the identity of the man under centre. The Chiefs also have one of the best homefield advantages in football, not that they’ll need it this week, so expect another efficient victory from KC as they extend what has been a remarkable winning streak. Browns 10, Chiefs 24

Miami @ New England

Following a contentious loss in New York last Sunday Bill Belichick and Tom Brady will know the Patriots need to bounce back against the Dolphins if they’re to  reassert their supremacy in the division. Miami are coming off a poor loss themselves, in their case against the Thad Lewis led Buffalo Bills, but at 3-3 a win puts them just half a game behind New England in the standings. I’m tempted to pick the Dolphins and the upset, however New England could get Aqib Talib and Danny Amendola back from injury and combined with the fact they’re playing at home I’ll side with them this time. Dolphins 23, Patriots 24

Buffalo @ New Orleans

The Bills face a tough task this week as they head into the Superdome to take on the 5-1 Saints, who appear to be firing on all cylinders again this season with Sean Peyton back in charge. Thad Lewis has been a pleasant surprise for Buffalo since he took over for the injured E.J Manuel, however the Saints defense is much improved under Rob Ryan and combined with their high powered offense that combination should be more than enough to handle the Bills and strengthen their grip on the NFC south. Bills 20, Saints 34

New York Giants @Philadelphia

In the win column thanks to their Monday night win over Minnesota, the Giants head to Lincoln Financial Field with the opportunity to somewhat amazingly haul themselves back into the NFC east race. Philadelphia is without Nick Foles at QB and Mike Vick is questionable with his hamstring injury, so if Matt Barkley is forced into action the Giants would fancy their chances after he threw three picks in limited action last Sunday. The Eagles won the return match in New York earlier in the season and their defense has been improving, but without a competent Quarterback all of that is irrelevant. All signs point towards Vick giving it a go, and even if he can’t run at full speed the fact that Philly has DeSean Jackson and LeSean McCoy who can move makes them favourites in a game between two flawed teams.  Giants 24, Eagles 30

New York Jets @ Cincinnati

The second of tonights games featuring two teams above .500 pits both of the Patriots conquerors so far this season against each other. I do think that the Bengals are a better team and Andy Dalton’s encouraging play is a big reason why; although Geno Smith has performed well himself throwing and running the ball for the Jets. It’s difficult to pick against the Bengals in this one, especially at home, but the Jets unpredictability makes it a game that could go in either direction. Jets 20, Bengals 23

Pittsburgh @ Oakland

Having started the season 0-4 the Steelers have won two straight, all of a sudden making them relevant in the AFC again. While Oakland have the same record as the Steelers they appear to be heading in the opposite direction, however Terrell Pryor has played well enough to inspire hope for the Raiders down the line. Whoever loses this game is likely done for the season, and despite them having homefield advantage I think it could be Oakland’s players who are booking tee times for January while the Steelers live to fight another day. Steelers 27, Raiders 21

Atlanta @ Arizona

 Despite having a ten day break since they were taken apart by the Seahawks the Cardinals are underdogs this weekend at home to the Falcons, who just about beat Tampa Bay last Sunday. Atlanta’s status as favourites is largely based on the fact that they have Matt Ryan under centre while the Cardinals have Carson Palmer at QB, although without Roddy White and Julio Jones Ryan is short of options out wide. Steve Jackson could return which will aid the running game and ensure the Falcons have enough offense to outscore the impotent Cardinals. Falcons 27, Cardinals 20

Washington @ Denver

Two weeks ago, the Broncos were the toast of the NFL with a perfect record and the best player in the game at Quarterback. Now they’re coming off a harrowing defeat in Indianapolis and Peyton Manning has two sprained ankles, although he is fit to play against the Redskins. Washington just about held on against Chicago minus Jay Cutler and despite Denver’s recent wobble they should have a field day against one of the worst defenses in the league in the thin Colorado air. Redskins 24, Broncos 38

Green Bay @ Minnesota

Christian Ponder replaces the injured Josh Freeman as the Vikings attempt to rebound from their inept showing on Monday night against the Giants, unfortunately they probably won’t find cooperative opposition in the form of the Packers. Green Bay look every bit the play-off team at this stage of the season – Minnesota don’t. Unless Adrian Peterson has one of the best games of his distinguished career this one won’t even be close. Packers 28, Vikings 14

Seattle @ St. Louis

This NFC west tussle became more predictable the moment Rams QB Sam Bradford was ruled out for the season with a torn ACL. Even though Percy Harvin probably won’t return to action this week the Seahawks have a well balanced offensive attack that hasn’t missed him too much up to this point, and even if Seattle can’t crack 20 points I have a hard time seeing the Rams scoring two or more touchdowns with Kellen Clemens making his first NFL start in over two years against one of the leagues best defensive units. Seahawks 26, Rams 10

 So there are my picks for this week, let me know what you think in the comments or tweet me @fredjstanley. I’ll be back during the week with the American Football Focus podcast. To all of those fans at Wembley, just think: you too could play for the Jaguars!

  

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