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NFL Week 8 2009

By: Nick Popyack

[Have a comment? Click the title of this article and go crazy!]

       Man, what a week in the NFL! Larry Johnson was suspended for racial slurs on his Twitter, the Redskins have banned signs in their stadium, and quarterback changes are happening all around the league! Not to mention, Brett Favre is returning to Green Bay for the first game since the loss to the Giants in the playoffs. This week is too good. Here’s week 8.

Denver Broncos @ Baltimore Ravens
[Sunday 1:00]

       After a 3-0 start, the Ravens have been less than convincing in their three consecutive losses. When I look at their wins, though, they don’t seem very convincing anymore either. As their records currently stand, Baltimore hasn’t beaten a team over .500 yet this year, and they can only blame their defense. For what seems like the first time in the past decade, the offense is ranked higher [5th] than their defense [19th]. They really can only blame their pass defense, which is allowing their opponents to complete 62.8% of their passes. The Denver defense, however, has been lights out, and has only allowed six touchdowns on the year. Compare that to ten for the Ravens, and you know why I’m taking Kyle Orton.
Denver Broncos

New York Giants @ Philadelphia Eagles
[Sunday 1:00]

       The Giants, after dominating the first five weeks of their schedule, have dropped their last two games to the Saints and the Cardinals. The main reason they lost their last two is not because of their defense being susceptible to the pass, but rather Eli Manning’s incompetence. After four straight weeks of passer ratings of 100+ points [capped off by a perfect passer rating against Oakland], he’s had two weeks with 61.0 and 47.5 points against New Orleans and Arizona, respectively. In the first five weeks, he threw ten touchdowns against two interceptions, and he was sacked only twice. In the last two weeks, he’s thrown only two touchdowns against four interceptions while being sacked four times. Opponents have turned up the pressure and are getting to Manning. Against the Eagles, tied for second in the league with 21 sacks, pressure will be the difference.
Philadelphia Eagles

Miami Dolphins @ New York Jets
[Sunday 1:00]

       The top two rushing teams go against each other in a rematch of the thrilling Monday Night Football game against the Jets and the Dolphins. Though these teams both have incredible rushing games, I think the key to winning this one will be whichever team passes the ball better. In their first matchup, Chad Henne bested Mark Sanchez, and in the past three games, Henne is averaging 17 completions per game, while Sanchez is only averaging ten. In a game dominated on the ground, I expect the Dolphins to avenge themselves from the South Park episode this week, in which they were all brutally killed by the Japanese before the opening kickoff. How’s that for an obscure reference? Better hope it’s dollar dog day in the Meadowlands, Mark Sanchez, cause you’re gonna need more than one to beat the Dolphins.
Miami Dolphins

San Francisco 49ers @ Indianapolis Colts
[Sunday 1:00]

       What a week for the 49ers. Not only do they get Michael Crabtree, who is averaging 56 receiving yards per game [second among rookie receivers] thanks to his NFL debut, finally on the field, but another top draft pick, Alex Smith, is back to being the starter! After throwing three touchdown passes off the bench last week against the Texans, narrowly missing a come from behind win, Smith is under center once again, and he has some great options to throw to in Crabtree and Vernon Davis. This is good for him, because knowing the Colts, Peyton Manning will either throw for three touchdowns or 300 yards. Whichever suits him. Manning is having a great year, and has been incredible. Nothing is convincing me that San Francisco can stop him. And here’s an interesting stat: The Colts have allowed the fewest passing touchdowns in the league so far with two.
Indianapolis Colts

St. Louis Rams @ Detroit Lions
[Sunday 1:00]

       Who else thinks we have a game here? Yes, the two worst teams from a year ago square off in a game that will be more exciting than people think. While I am firm in my beliefs that the Rams are the worst team in professional football, I think they might get a win here. The Lions quarterbacks are banged up; whether it’s Matt Stafford’s knee or Daunte Culpepper’s hamstring, they are hurting at that position. I don’t think Drew Stanton can lead his team to victory. I think this is the week that Steven Jackson, who accounts for 41.5% of the entire Rams’ offense, will finally get a touchdown. In a game that must be played on the ground [for the sake of those watching], I’m taking the back with the third most yards in the league [though it should be noted that I’m only picking the Rams because of the Lions’ current QB situation].
St. Louis Rams

Seattle Seahawks @ Dallas Cowboys
[Sunday 1:00]

       What a terrible week for Seahawks fans. They lose their starting Pro Bowl left tackle Walter Jones for the season, and shortly thereafter place their star middle linebacker, Lofa Tatupu, on IR. This is not the week to root for Seattle. Conversely, it is a great week to love the Cowboys. I don’t personally like Tony Romo, but I really have to respect him as a player after he dipped, ducked and dodged Falcons defenders to find a wide open Patrick Crayton. The Cowboys have made a lot of big plays this season, many coming from Miles Austin, who is the only player this season with 425+ yards and less than 22 receptions. The Cowboys, with the second highest gaining offense in the league, should win this one easily.
Dallas Cowboys

Houston Texans @ Buffalo Bills
[Sunday 1:00]

       Both of these teams, after lackluster starts, are back. Both defenses have really kicked it up a notch, and the Bills are tied with the Saints in interceptions with 13. The Bills, in their last two wins, have intercepted 9 passes, but Matt Schaub is on fire. He isn’t a rookie [Mark Sanchez], a punter on a fake play [Steven Weatherford] or a quarterback that leads the league in interceptions [Jake Delhomme]. Matt Schaub is leading the league in passing yards and touchdowns, and, in his past three games, he’s averaging 40 pass attempts and 27 completions per game. Truly, he will be the key.
Houston Texans

Cleveland Browns @ Chicago Bears
[Sunday 1:00]

       The Bears were humiliated against the Bengals and Cedric Benson, the running back they let go. Benson ran for 189 yards and a touchdown, and the Bears surrendered 45 points while only scoring ten. This means that the one good face of the Bears defense, the run defense, is also not as good as people think. That said, the Browns are even worse. They’ve allowed more yards than anyone this year, 414.9 per game. While the Bears are struggling, they don’t even compare to the Browns. I think Matt Forte will get back on track this week, and the Bears will gain some much needed momentum.
Chicago Bears

Oakland Raiders @ San Diego Chargers
[Sunday 4:05]

       The Raiders are hopeless. Richard Seymour, you guaranteed that the Raiders would make the playoffs, but your team couldn’t stop the Jets’ rushing attack [316 yards on the ground] and couldn’t even get close enough to attempt a field goal. JaMarcus Russell was benched, but he’s back under center after a few hours. Maybe Phillip Rivers will get a hot dog in the middle of the fourth quarter in this game. As great as LaDainian Tomlinson used to be, Rivers is just as great now, if not better. Tomlinson has only 243 total yards this year, and hasn’t seen the end zone since week one, against the Raiders. I think LT will finally get another touchdown, among others.
San Diego Chargers

Jacksonville Jaguars @ Tennessee Titans
[Sunday 4:05]

       Vince Young. He’s back, and it looks like he’s gonna be there for good. The Titans haven’t won a game since December 21, 2008. That’s a long time, but was the quarterback position really the place to point the finger? If you had to ask me, I’d get a new defensive coordinator, because that’s the reason they’re losing games. A running team like the Titans needs to be able to stop the pass, because they’re not as good at moving the chains through the air. When you’re allowing the most passing yards per game and the most points, you don’t need a quarterback to compete. You need a better defense. The Jaguars torched the Titans last time, and I don’t expect much less here.
Jacksonville Jaguars

Minnesota Vikings @ Green Bay Packers
[Sunday 4:15]

       Ah, the game of the week. I am really looking forward to seeing how Lambeau Field reacts to Brett Favre arriving on the field, throwing a touchdown pass, eating a hotdog… Basically, doing anything, because I know he’s going to be booed worse than he’s ever been booed in his life. Not that I want to see that… Alright, I do. Anyway, the Packers offensive line had a first last week: A game without allowing a sack. Granted, they were playing against a team that gave up 460 total yards, but it’s still a feat to stop Shaun Rodgers. They’ll face a much tougher defensive line against the Vikings, but they have one key injury playing in their favor: Pro Bowl CB Antoine Winfield is out with a foot injury. With the great year that Aaron Rodgers is having, he’ll have an even easier day without the Vikings’ best defensive back. If the Packers can block better than they did last time, they’ll have this game in the bag.
Green Bay Packers

Carolina Panthers @ Arizona Cardinals
[Sunday 4:15]

       Though they won two in a row, and had me convinced for a brief while, the Panthers are struggling again. Jake Delhomme is leading the NFL in interceptions, but Carolina is sticking with him. Even against the Cardinals this week, the team that dismantled Delhomme in the playoffs last year by forcing six turnovers, they’re still going with Delhomme. The one thing that I’m going to look at is the Cardinals defense. They’re the best team at stopping the run, which is clearly the Panthers’ strength. They’ve forced seven turnovers this season, and Jake Delhomme has thrown 13 interceptions already this year. This pick is easy for me.
Arizona Cardinals

Atlanta Falcons @ New Orleans Saints
[Monday 8:30]

       After two weeks of dominance, the Falcons are in trouble again. The Cowboys went blitz happy against Atlanta, and Matt Ryan paid, with three sacks, two interceptions and a lost fumble. The stout defense that the Falcons had shown in their last two wins was abysmal, letting Tony Romo get a 141.6 point passer rating. This is the perfect precursor of Drew Brees having a great game. The top offense in the league, playing from behind last week, still was able to win after falling behind by 21 points, and put up their fourth 40 point game of the season. The Saints offense is simply unstoppable, and their defense has improved so much. I’d like to think Atlanta can give them a run for their money, but I doubt it.
New Orleans Saints

Recap:
Denver Broncos
Philadelphia Eagles
Miami Dolphins
Indianapolis Colts
St. Louis Rams
Dallas Cowboys
Houston Texans
Chicago Bears
San Diego Chargers
Jacksonville Jaguars
Green Bay Packers
Arizona Cardinals
New Orleans Saints

Bye weeks: Cincinnati Bengals, Kansas City Chiefs, New England Patriots, Pittsburgh Steelers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Washington Redskins

Last week’s winner: Nick [9]
Season totals:

Nick: 66
Kavik: 61
Pat: 59

Fantasy Football: The story of Team Nate Kaeding [1-6]

MY FIRST WIN! The team is only going up from here. Even with my opponent having not played for weeks, I still put up convincing numbers, and won 114-35.

For those of you unfamiliar to my blog, I post every week on Eaglesmix and my Facebook page. Thanks for your support! Follow me here:

http://www.new.facebook.com/pages/Nick-Popyack/158180878321?ref=ts



This week’s unfounded rumor: After banning all signs in their stadium because they obstruct people’s views and could poke people, the Redskins are going to take it one step further by not letting their fans come to games anymore. They were distracting the players, and that’s the REAL reason Washington wasn’t winning games.

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