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- Week 8 Predictions: Happy Halloween

Chris Pokorny October 29, 2005
Chris Pokorny
PFC Owner & Writer

Tell Chris your opinion.

After Week 8 is over, it will officially be the second half of the NFL season. At this point of the season, if you're not in it, then you can start kissing your season goodbye. As you will see in our games of the week, there are several big divisional games taking place on Sunday. The Bills and the Patriots, Redskins and the Giants, and the Chiefs and the Chargers will be heavily watched due to the major impact it'll have on the playoff race.

For once, I can't pick the Colts this week, simply because they're not playing. Monday Night Football falls on Halloween this year. If you remember last year, the Steelers upset the Patriots on Monday Night. This year, the Ravens have the chance to upset the Steelers. Unfortunately for the Ravens, this game shouldn't even be close.

Now, let's begin with the Week 8 games of the week.

(Red = Prediction).

Here We Go Bruschi, Here We Go!
Buffalo Bills vs. New England Patriots
The big story of this game will be the return of one man: Tedy Bruschi. It was believed that he would not return this year, but he has decided otherwise after the Patriots suffered numerous injuries. New England is coming off of a bye week, giving them extra time to prepare for this game. Bruschi's presence alone should fire up the entire Patriots' defense.

The Bills offense has looked much better under Kelly Holcomb than JP Losman early on, but the Bills still can't compete unless they have a commanding lead early on. If they fall behind, it gets difficult for them to stay with their game plan and move the ball effectively. With Buffalo's run defense being very suspect, the Patriots playing in Foxboro, and the return of Bruschi, the Bills will be severely under-matched in this game. Tom Brady leads New England to victory, keeping their lead in the division.

Highly Powered Offenses
Washington Redskins vs. New York Giants
Before the season began, I didn't think I'd be considering the Giants and Redskins as powerful offensive teams. I'm especially surprised with how well Mark Brunell and Santana Moss have performed together. The Giants have only really had one bad offensive game this season, and their come-from-behind victory last week will allow the Giants to believe they can contend in any game.

Even though I've liked what the Redskins have been able to do offensively, they're still not as good as the Giants. I could see this game going back and forth, coming down to the last second. Eli Manning won't have to come from behind this time, but I think he'll be driving his team down the field with the game tied. A field goal will do it.

Time For a New Streak
Kansas City Chiefs vs. San Diego Chargers
For the first time in over a year, LaDainian Tomlinson was unable to score a touchdown last week. Not only that, but he couldn't do a single thing against the Eagles' defense. The Chiefs showed signs of collapsing early on in the season, but they have regrouped and won their last two games by utilizing their church backfield of Priest Holmes and Larry Johnson.

If the Chargers want to win, they have to remember that Tomlinson's struggles last week will not likely occur again. You have to feed the ball to Tomlinson over and over again, because he will find success against Kansas City. His touchdown streak will only be at one after this game, but the Chargers will take it as long as it gets them an actual "win".

Roles Should've Been Reversed
Philadelphia Eagles vs. Denver Broncos
Last week, the roles should have been reversed. The Eagles should have lost theoretically, but they got a break by returning a blocked field goal for a touchdown. For the Broncos, they should have won theoretically, but fell victim to a great comeback by Eli Manning. This week, both teams will have their roles reversed from last week.

The Eagles offense is clearly hurting after doing so well early in the season. McNabb is throwing the ball way too often, it's not even like the Eagles need to claim that Westbrook is a running back anymore. He's just a guy who receives out of the backfield. The Broncos defense will be looking to prove that there "collapse" last week will not remain a tendency. Broncos win convincingly.

And now, the rest of the week...

Arizona Cardinals vs. Dallas Cowboys
Even though I'm behind Josh McCown as the Cardinals' quarterback, he has made some mistakes along with his production. If he makes a mistake against the Cowboys' defense, they will capitalize. Dallas knows that they've already lost two games they shouldn't have. They want to make sure that the same story doesn't occur here, which means that they can't rely on Drew Bledsoe in a pressure situation late. The Cowboys need to score fast, and early. Although dropping Jose Cortez was probably a good answer as well.

Cleveland Browns vs. Houston Texans
Both of these teams are playing bad right now, but more so the Texans. The Texans have not done a thing offensively, their defense hasn't been very good, and they can't stay competitive for four quarters. The Browns defense has actually done very well in regards to the amount of points they allow, but Trent Dilfer has only managed to give the offense six points the past two weeks. You can't imagine Dilfer wills struggle for a third week in a row. The Texans may stay competitive since they believe they can win, but the offensive line won't turn into Pro Bowlers overnight.

Jacksonville Jaguars vs. St. Louis Rams
The Jaguars are coming off of a big win over the Steelers, while the Rams are coming off of a surprising win over the Saints in my opinion. The Rams were able to rally against the Saints' defense, but it'll be much harder to do so against the Jaguars. Even though Leftwich will be on the road and possibly without Fred Taylor, they can beat the Rams defense for some big plays.

Minnesota Vikings vs. Carolina Panthers
The Vikings played very well in the second half last week, but you have to consider the fact that they did it against a depleted Packers team. Carolina has given up some yards through the air this year, but they've been able to make up for it with their turnovers forced. The Panthers defense will force Culpepper into some key turnovers, which will cost the Vikings the game. However, I don't think the Vikings will lay a complete egg.

Chicago Bears vs. Detroit Lions
Jeff Garcia will be going against a much tougher defense this week, but I really liked what he was able to do last week. The Lions defense has done a good job this season in not allowing points, so the Bears' struggles in the passing game will play as a benefit to them. This should be a close game, similar to what both teams played in last week. And as "incomplete" as I feel both teams are, one of them will be leading the NFC North after Sunday.

Green Bay Packers vs. Cincinnati Bengals
As much as I'd like to pick the Packers, I simply cannot do it based on how bad they are on the depth chart offensively right now. On top of that, their defense isn't the greatest unit in the world. The Bengals have lost two of their last three, but Carson Palmer will find his success this week. I wonder if Chad Johnson has not one, but two touchdown celebrations for how often he'll be seeing the ball.

Oakland Raiders vs. Tennessee Titans
I have only picked true "upsets" twice this year, and have lost both of them. I'm going for an upset for the third time this week for numerous reasons. LaMont Jordan finally had a breakout game last week, as did the entire Raiders offense. The Titans will see not only the return of Steve McNair, but Travis Henry this week. The Titans have stayed competitive in games, but haven't been able to keep the lead in the end. I'm taking the Titans, simply for the fact that they'll be overlooked.

Miami Dolphins vs. New Orleans Saints
Honestly, how many losses can the Saints suffer that are so crushing? The Saints are due for a win and can take advantage of a falling Dolphins team. Even though Ronnie Brown has performed pretty well the past few weeks, Ricky Williams needs to be given some more touches so he can find his groove. Most of all, Gus Frerotte has to cut down on the mistakes. Aaron Brooks will have a big enough day in the end for the victory.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. San Francisco 49ers
Did you realize that this game will feature two new starting quarterbacks for their respective teams? Chris Simms will take over the Buccaneers for the injured Brian Griese, while Ken Dorsey will take over the 49ers for the injured Alex Smith. Simms could hand the ball off all game and let the defense do the rest, and still win by 20. The Buccaneers will cruise to victory, as the 49ers suffer another dismal defeat.

Baltimore Ravens vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
Please, Baltimore, please, make this game competitive at least. The Steelers should blow the Ravens out of the water, but I want to see the Ravens with their "A" game to keep me entertained on Halloween. Without Ray Lewis or Ed Reed though, they've already lost two of the members that make their "46" defense dangerous. Ben Roethlisberger needs to be protected throughout the game though.

That's it for this weeks predictions. I extended my survivor winning streak to six last week by picking the Falcons to beat the Jets. Things went as expected, as Testeverde couldn't keep the Jets in the game. This week, I'm taking the Pittsburgh Steelers to defeat the Baltimore Ravens on Monday Night. The Ravens defense can pull off the upset in some games, making them dangerous. Fortunately for me, I haven't picked them yet, and they're already without two of their defensive stars this week.

Predictions Record to Date: 60-42
Last Week: 8-6
Survivor Streak: Won 6(Pit over Hou, Dal over SF, Ind over Ten, Cle over Chi, Atl over NO, Atl over NYJ)

It's not quite time yet, but Happy Halloween everyone. Who knows. Maybe the "spooky" feeling of Halloween will make this a wild week of football.

-Chris Pokorny

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