This week marks the midway point of the NFL season, so this is the time when we roughly know which teams are looking most likely to go deep in the playoffs, while one or two teams might put together a run in the second half that propels them into January with the sort of momentum that led the Ravens and Giants (twice) to recent Super bowl wins. Here’s a look at the main talking points from Week 8:
- In the first game of 15 almost continuous NFL action last Sunday, Detroit came from 21-0 down at half time to beat the Falcons 22-21 at Wembley Stadium in London. The winning field goal as time expired was fortuitous for the Lions, who missed the original kick but were called for a delay of game and kicker Matt Prater made his second effort from five yards further away.
- It was not so much the fact that Green Bay lost to the Saints that bothered me – New Orleans has a fantastic home record and they are hard to beat in the Super Dome – but the fact that during a first half drive, on a second and goal play the Packers put in defensive linesman Julius Peppers as a wide receiver, then Aaron Rodgers threw to him and the former Bears man could not catch a ball that hit his chest. Green Bay ended up getting just a field goal from that drive and did not score another touchdown until the contest was well beyond them.
- Washington not only beat the Cowboys in Dallas, but also knocked Tony Romo out of the game for much of the second half with a back injury. Romo was able to come back to try to lead a drive at the end of regulation and in overtime, but Washington’s defense was fantastic all night and helped Colt McCoy enjoy a victory in his first start at quarterback in the NFL since 2011.
- After their lopsided week 4 loss to the Chiefs, many were writing off the Patriots as a spent force; their 51 point tally against the Bears last week brought their total to 158 in the last four games, during which time they are 4-0. This weekend, it is Brady vs Manning XVI as the Broncos head to Foxborough to take on New England.
- The Colts were considered to have one of the best defenses in the league, then gave up 53 points to the Steelers in Pittsburgh. Cincinnati overcame Baltimore and Cleveland defeated Oakland, so all four AFC North teams currently have a winning record.
- In the battle of Missouri, the Chiefs beat the Rams in St. Louis, though the week continue so well for Kansas City, as the Royals lost in game 7 of the World Series to the Giants last night. Since I’m not going to write a separate MLB post, let me just say: Madison Bumgarner. Wow.
Week 9 Picks
Last week, 8-7; Season, 66-55
Home teams in bold
Panthers +2.5 over Saints
Bengals -11.5 over Jaguars
Buccaneers +6.5 over Browns
Cardinals +4.5 over Cowboys
Chiefs -9.5 over Jets
Chargers +1.5 over Dolphins
Washington +1.5 over Vikings
Eagles -2.5 over Texans
49ers -9.5 over Rams
Patriots +3.5 over Broncos
Seahawks -14.5 over Raiders
Ravens +0.5 over Steelers
Colts -3.5 over Giants
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