NFL Picks: Week 8

Our three NFL experts,  a mere four games bellow .500, are back with picks for week eight. Dick is the veteran of the group, with a long record of picking NFL games. If you want more picks and some hockey talk, follow Espo on twitter. If you enjoy seeing TCOTs reduced to ashen husks, follow Dan K.


DAN K: 1-3

ESPO: 3-1

DICK: 1-3


DAN K: 6-7

ESPO: 7-5

DICK: 4-7




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The Seattle Seahawks are possibly the most interesting team in the NFL. From their bruising, Skittles-loving, diamond-grille-having running back, to their cornerback who can shut down any receiver in the league and still have time to punk Skip Bayless on his own show, to their coach who thinks that 9/11 was an inside job (not a joke), the team has a cast of characters that makes them a must watch any time they’re on. I mean it helps that they’re actually good, but the team is entertaining regardless of their play on the field. This week they go up against the Rams, who just lost their QB for the season and have so little faith in his backup that they reportedly called Brett Favre to ask him to come out of retirement (also not a joke). Noted coach who looks like an asshole cop Jeff Fisher has done a good job in making the Rams semi-competitive but all of that went out of the window when Bradford got injured. Kellen Clemens hasn’t started a game for a few years and when he did he was pretty bad. He’s going up against a Seattle defense with the fourth-most sacks in the league, while the Rams O-line gave up four sacks just last week. Meanwhile, Seattle may have Percy Harvin back for the first time all year, which only adds to their already potent offense. Taking a double digit road favorite is usually considered bad policy, but Clemens is terrible and Seattle runs away with this one. I don’t really have much to say about this game aside from that, although with the way my picks have gone the last two weeks there’s an equal possibility that Clemens sets the single-game passing record and wins 58-0 just to spite me. Honestly though, the only way I think St. Louis covers is if the Seahawks players have spent too much time away from the practice field playing the new Pokemon. THE PICK: SEAHAWKS -10.5



As I’ve mentioned previously, I’m a Steelers fan, and there’s always a certain difficulty in looking at a game objectively when your team is playing in it. Here goes nothing though. I pretty much wrote the season off after an 0-4 start where the Steelers looked completely inept on both offense and defense. However in recent weeks they’ve managed to put together 2 solid victories, culminating in a win over the hated Ravens that brought a large percentage of the fanbase down from the ledge. Seriously, if we went 2-14 on the season with the only two victories being against the Ravens, I’d consider the season a success. A key to last week’s win was rookie back Le’Veon Bell finally giving the Steelers a running game, which took a lot of pressure off of the inept, Bondo-patched offensive line. The return of TE Heath Miller helped as well, adding his blocking skills and a reliable set of of hands so the Steelers weren’t hamstrung on third-and-longs. The defense finally figured out how to tackle and force punts, even if they still were lacking in turnovers and sacks. The Raiders surrendered a ridiculous nine sacks last week and that bodes well for the Steelers pass rush. Keeping Terrelle Pryor in the pocket will be crucial in this game, because while amazingly talented, he still is relatively undeveloped as a pocket passer. If he’s able to use his feet to pick up first downs and buy time to throw downfield to his speedy receivers, it could mean trouble for the Steelers secondary. Plus, the Raiders will have their very talented and oft-injured running back Darren McFadden back for at least half of the game until he breaks his foot for the 50th time.The stats are a bad omen for the Steelers as well – they are 1-6 straight up AND against the spread on the West Coast in the last decade, and the Raiders have gone 3-1 in their previous 4 meetings with their 1970s arch-rival. I think the Raiders are ranked about equally with the Steelers, and since they’re a home underdog, I’m taking the Raiders in this game. If I’m wrong, at least I’ll have the consolation of the Steelers winning. Terrelle Pryor, pride of Jeanette PA, comes back and gets a win in his hometown. Fuck this shitshow of season, shut it down! THE PICK: RAIDERS +2.5

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There’s no way to mention this Jets game without at least briefly addressing the weird call last Sunday against the Pats. While everyone watching was confused as to what the fuck was going on, apparently the Pats had been warned by the refs before about whatever the hell that pushing was. It was a moot point because the Pats had plenty of chances to win the game and bungled it away. While it was a very lame call, it was still funny seeing guys like Bill Simmons complain. In any case, the real story was Geno Smith, as he continued to be calm and collected under pressure, mobile, and accurate, aside from a bad pick six. Meanwhile, the Bengals pulled out a victory as time expired on a field goal against a good Lions team after Detroit’s rookie kicker shanked a punt that would have all but ensured overtime. This week, the Bengals match up against a team that could be their foul-mouthed Guido cousin, the New York Jets. I make that comparison because they’re two teams with excellent, pass-rushing defenses and average offenses. They also both play in states that I likely would not visit willingly. This season, Bengals QB Andy Dalton has been a solid game-manager, not making mistakes or turnovers, but there’s something about him that makes you think he’s not the QB to drive down down the field and win the game. He’ll be throwing to one of the best receivers in the league in AJ Green, but Jets CB Antonio Cromartie matches up well against him. As far as the Jets offense Smith has a bit of that intangible quality that I don’t see in Dalton, but he’s a rookie and has thrown a shitload of picks and suffered with bouts of inconsistency. The Jets offense is workmanlike, with OK players at every position, but nobody that really jumps out at you. The place where both of these teams excel is defense, especially on the D-line. Cincy has an absolutely terrifying front four that will likely sack Smith a number of times. The D-line putting pressure on Smith is crucial, as the Bengals just lost their best cornerback Leon Hall for the season. However, the Jets’ defensive line is equally potent, and their defense has the third most sacks in the league. Both defenses are solid against the run as well. The similarities of these two teams are why I’m surprised the spread is so high. It seems like the Bengals should be favored by three at most. I think they still win this game but the Jets cover in what is likely a low scoring game. In light of that, I’m making this is my Rex Ryan Commemorative “Shoe-In of the Week.” THE PICK: JETS +6.5




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How bout those plucky Bills! Refusing to acknowledge that they are a team that plays in Buffalo, the Bills have finally been mostly healthy and looking pretty ghat damn respectable! I think the most impressive thing is that win or lose, they’ve been in every one of their games. Their only losses of more than three points were losing by seven at the Jets, and by 13 in the Browns game where EJ Manuel got injured. Unfortunately (for them), I feel that stretch may be coming to an end when they visit the Superdome this week. Fresh off a bye, the Saints have to be just a wee bit pissed at the way they lost that Patriots game – a game that, and I say this as a Patriots fan, they had NO BUSINESS losing. Just a brutal loss. Brutal. They are probably champing at the bit to get a piece of another AFC East foe here. Thad Lewis has played pretty well for a quarterback named Thad, but playing in front of a voracious crowd at the Superdome is a little bit different from being in friendly Buffalo, and only slightly-less-friendly Miami. Adding to the problem is that both his stud running backs are dinged up… CJ Spiller is already a straight game-time decision, and Fred Jackson is going to be suiting up on a sprained MCL, which I’m sure feels just awesome. The Bills defense has been the thing keeping them in games, anchored by Rookie DPOY candidate, middle linebacker Kiko Alonso, tied for the league lead with 4 interceptions and fourth with 70 tackles. However, some things just can’t be contained, and out-for-justice Drew Brees is one of them. Saints take an early lead and just keep pouring it on. THE PICK: SAINTS -11


Bird Bowl! The Falcons come off their second win of the season to visit the 3-4 Cardinals, who last week had a different bird shit all over their barn as the Seahawks relentlessly pounded on Carson Palmer and company. It’s a bit hard to tell what to make of this Cardinals team. On one hand, their defense is pretty fucking awesome. That defensive line is full of playmakers, and they have two studs in the secondary with Patrick Peterson and Tyrann HONEY BADGER Mathieu. Meanwhile, Carson Palmer has been pretty much as advertised. He can “make all the throws”, which is to quarterbacks as “he’s nice” is to people, that is to say, you can’t think of anything else to say so you say the most generic compliment possible. Palmer can certainly make all the throws – when his sieve of an offensive line can give him about 3 seconds to actually see the fucking field before he’s on his back. He’s an old, crotchety statue back there, I mean, he makes Tom Brady look like Usain Bolt. Luckily for him, the Falcons should be just what the doctor ordered. They have been straight up bad versus the pass, due to their inability to generate a consistent pass rush and a group of unimposing defensive backs. Bruce Arians loves to throw, throw, and throw some more, and he’ll have room to do it this week. Larry Fitzgerald had a long week to rest his ailing hammies, and he’s HUNGRY! On Atlanta’s side of the ball, I predict a long day for Matty Ice, one of those where his face gets redder than the Cardinals mascot. He gets Steven Jackson back, but still is without those guys, you know the ones, the best receiving duo in the NFL. The Cardinals defense should be able to shut down their replacements, while stuffing the run and chasing Ryan around. This will be a close game turned blowout as the Cards get some big turnovers in the 2nd half and cash in. The Falcons are just not very good. THE PICK: ARIZONA -2.5


Full disclosure – before the season I took a bet on the Browns to win over 6 games this year. Weeden’s not so bad, I thought. Trent Richardson is a stud, I thought. Their defense is legit! The AFC North is weak! These are all things I told myself. Some things were correct, like the defense being a’ight and the AFC North being a shitstorm. Some things were not correct, like Brandon Weeden being a superior quarterback to a scarecrow. When the Richardson trade happened, I fell to my knees and threw my hands in the air, like Willem Dafoe in Platoon. “NO!” I exclaimed. “WHY! WHY DID I BACK A TEAM THAT’S GOING TO TANK THE SEASON!?” This was cosmic justice, I thought. Like a gambling Icarus, I flew too close to the shit-Sun that is Cleveland. Its scorching, shitty rays burned off my wings of money and I was plummeting to the jagged rocks below. And then the Browns rattled off 3 wins in a row, behind the surprisingly solid Brian Hoyer, the return of Josh Gordon, and um, Willis McGahee. Then Hoyer got hurt, and the Browns lost 2 more. Now, this week, word has come down from on high that Weeden has been benched for JASON FRIGGIN’ CAMPBELL, checkdown artist extraordinaire. I mean, that’s got to hurt. No injuries or nothin’. Just sit down, you suck… Jason, with yer Billy Dee Williams ‘stache, get in here! And they travel to the historically loud (literally) Arrowhead Stadium, fresh off a blowout in Lambeau. Fun fact – that game was the first time the Browns had gone trailing into the half. Weird right? The Chiefs meanwhile, as we all know, are the final undefeated team in the league, outscoring opponents 169-81, which seems pretty unsexy, but is actually good for 88 net points, second in the league only to Denver’s 101. However, that’s been mostly on the back of their defense, which just sucks the life out of you all game, forces you to make a mistake, and cashes in with the defensive TD or a short offensive field. The offense is mostly one-dimensional, with a lot of Alex Smith checkdowns and Jamaal Charles rushes. Dwanye Bowe has gone totally missing, unable to separate from coverage, and when he does, Smith just doesn’t have the arm to hit him down the field, or is reluctant to do so. The Chiefs have had a few blowouts, Week 1 over the Jags which totally doesn’t count, they beat the Eagles by 10 on TNF, blew out the Giants the following week, and beat the Fitzpatrick-led Titans by 9, and smothered the Raiders. So this 8 point spread is probably right where it should be. I’m going to take the Browns here, only because I still think their defense is legitimate, especially against the type of ground offense the Chiefs field. They lost the last 2 games to two explosive offenses in Green Bay and Detroit… for this, I’m picturing more of a 17-13 type of affair. Browns cover. And take the under, too. THE PICK: BROWNS +8





Brady usually bounces back well after a tough loss which means he’s double due this week, right? I think so. From day one I felt like Miami was over-hyped and I stand by that. Brady is supremely pissed, has Gronk back, and his running game is nowhere near the complete fuck that it was in the first couple of weeks. If his defense wasn’t staffed with inexperienced dipshits and guys who don’t seem to remember who they are supposed to be covering or what part of the field is their responsibility this would be a double-digit spread. Expect Brady to manage the game and try to keep his defense off the field, which is something I can’t say Ryan Tannehill is really capable of. THE PICK: PATRIOTS -6


The spread doesn’t scare me since the Packers have established Eddie Lacy as their feature back which takes a ton of pressure off of Aaron Rodgers. What’s more, the Vikings are back to starting Christian Ponder which means all sorts of yuck. Josh Freeman may very well work out in Minnesota, but Ponder is the modern-day Todd Blackledge: Bland, predictable, not at all good, and about as charismatic as the color beige. Adrian Peterson might break off a couple of big runs and even keep the Vikings in the game, but the Packers are fully capable of turning this one into a laugher by the start of the third quarter. The value is with the Vikings and the public is probably going to be 90 percent Packers, but even that doesn’t convince me I should be laying points on this almost dead dog. THE PICK: PACKERS -9.5


The Broncos are a double-digit favorite again even though they have been going backwards in almost every defensive metric you can imagine. They got outright smoked by an inspired Colts offense, looked like absolute crap against the Jaguars, damn near lost to Dallas, and are still a 13-point favorite? This one screams “sucker” because even though RGIII should be finishing up his rehab this week instead of taking snaps, Daniel Snyder’s Wagon Burners are fully capable of hanging 27 points on the Donkeys’ “defense” because beyond Wesley Woodyard and Von Miller no one seems capable of tackling anyone tougher than your dead grandmother. Watch this, Denver will use my obscure pick and mild insults as bulletin board material that inspires them to break RGIII’s tender right knee a-la Theismann. THE PICK: PRETENDIANS +13


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[Ed Note: Starting this week and going forward as his schedule permits, the much loved Ragin’ Cajun Ron Mexico will be weighing in on our Game of the Week. Readers of the site are likely familiar with his many excellent articles but Ron is also a die-hard New Orleans Saints fan and student of the game dating back to his days as a bayou football legend, where teams comprised of Mannings, alligators, and half-alligator-half-Mannings laid vicious hits on each other under the hot Louisiana sun.]

RON MEXICAUX: Look, I’m not going to bet on a mistake-prone quarterback, an over-matched coach, and position players riddled with nagging injuries. You really don’t know which team I’m talking about, do you? Me either. These teams are very similar, both ranking at the bottom of the league in defense and at the top of the league in offense. I’m going to go with my gut here, and my gut hates Jerry Jones. How many surgeries has he had? How do we know the team doctors aren’t neglecting the injured players and spending all of their time playing Frankenstein? I bet Miles Austin’s hamstring has never healed because it’s holding Jerry’s jaw into place as we speak. And how does his face look so wrinkled yet so young at the same time? It’s like a baby’s nutsack or something. Anyway, if this game was a movie, it would be Prometheus: A beautifully flawed action-packed mess. Jerry Jones is Wayland. Tony Romo is Wayland’s android, and Ndamukong Suh is the mega-ripped Engineer who rips Romo’s head off and bashes Jones to death with it. Eat that America’s team. I have Detroit winning this by at least seven at home. Megatron scores twice. Believe it. THE PICK: LIONS -3

DAN K: There are not a lot of exciting games this week. In our discussions for which one to pick for GOTW this was by far the best option and we still weren’t that enthused about it. Anyway, we do get to see a matchup between two high-flying offenses, so for fans of teams like the Steelers and Pats, or sports like baseball and soccer, that’s something at least. I’d picked the Eagles to beat the Cowboys last week, but didn’t rely on their QB getting knocked out of the game and the backup throwing three interceptions. It probably wouldn’t have made a difference because Foles wasn’t getting much done while he was in the game, even with Dallas’ defensive line missing three starters. Obviously this week will be different, because shutting down a rookie QB seeing his first game action is much easier than stopping Matthew Stafford throwing to Calvin Johnson. On the other side. Detroit has a weak secondary that Dez Bryant will be able to capitalize on. Meanwhile, Detroit lost in a close, high-scoring heartbreaker of a game against the Bangles and have a bye next week, so this is the perfect spot for a letdown. I think that Stafford and Johnson will definitely put up some stats. but Dallas outguns them and wins on the road in a shootout. Also relevant: Dallas has the best record against the spread this year at 6-1. Right-Wing America’s Team takes it. THE PICK: Cowboys +3

ESPO: Man… this is a pretty shitty week in the NFL. In one of the only good matchups of the day, the 4-3 Cowboys visit beautiful Detroit to take on the 4-3 Lions, and holy shit, both teams have something to play for. The Lions are quietly keeping pace in the hotly contested NFC North, and the ‘Boys are searching for a little separation in the NFC East after dropping the 2nd place Eagles last week. Megatron and Dez Bryant are tied for the NFC lead with 6 touchdown catches, and Romo and Stafford have both thrown for 15, also tied for the NFC lead. This should be a straight up back-and-forth shootout. Stafford has had a surprisingly clean pocket this season – of all the every-week QB starters, Stafford is tied with Peyton Manning for a league-low 9 sacks taken this year. That should continue this week with Dallas’ defensive line all types of banged up, including DeMarcus Ware. On the other hand, Detroit’s ferocious front 4 is mostly healthy, and should be able to get after Romo a bit in this game. DeMarco Murray is also questionable, and the Cowboys are a noticeably worse team without him running the ball. Meanwhile, Calvin Johnson and Reggie Bush are both healthy, and they’ve proved pretty much unstoppable when both playing. Bush feasts underneath when Calvin Johnson is drawing double coverage, and even triple coverage, and even that doesn’t matter, as we witnessed last week when Megatron somehow came down with a touchdown pass while having THREE defenders draped all over him. Shootout where the Lions edge out the Boys. THE PICK: DETROIT -3


DICK: Call me old-fashioned, but it’s not like either of the teams have proven that they are capable of winning a “big game,” so forgive me if I default to trusting the team with the better defense, the only problem is that both defenses are pretty shitty. Detroit’s excuse is that their coach is a psychotic and their defensive linemen spend more time trying to break people’s legs than tackling. I love Dallas and the points because I can’t picture Jim Schwartz managing the game very well down the stretch. He’s more likely to throw a temper tantrum or call a FUCK IT, I’M GOING FOR IT play because he has the mind of a child. Even if DeMarco Murray doesn’t play (he won’t), Romo has enough of a passing game to not only keep up with Detroit, but pull one out at the end. This game comes down to who has the ball last and I think it’s gonna be the Cowboys sitting on it as the clock runs down because Stafford will have thrown one more pick than Romo. THE PICK: COWBOYS +3


About Dan K

Dan is a Southern hip-hop historian who hitchhiked from his home in rural Pennsylvania to Montreal to pursue his dream of working in a call center. Within days of seeing his first computer, @dankmtl became a twitter celebrity by skewering the evil and stupid in immensely entertaining fashion.