We are way overdue for a winning week here as we took down another split of our picks in our week 8 NFL picks. The Lions were slow out of the gates on both offense and defence in the first half of their victory over Atlanta, while the Texans ran over the Tennessee Titans, who are looking more and more like one of the worst teams in the league this season.
Detroit dug themselves an early hole in their game Sunday morning against the Falcons from London, England. Detroit’s defence uncharacteristically gave up two first quarter touchdowns, another in the second quarter, and found themselves in a 21-0 deficit at the half. At that point, however, Detroit’s defence had enough and put the Falcons offense on lockdown for the rest of the game while Mathew Stafford and the Lions offense found another couple of gears and engineered a comeback that was completed on a last-second field goal from new Lions kicker Matt Prater. Prater originally missed the game-winning fieldgoal, however a delay of game penalty saved Detroit on the play and Prater nailed his second attempt from five yards further back in a stunning Lions victory. However, the one-point victory was not enough for us to cover the 3.5 point spread on this one.
The Houston Texans responded nicely in their convincing win this weekend over the Titans as Houston essentially beat themselves last Monday night against the Steelers. Arian Foster ran all over the Titans defence and accumulated 100+ yards for the fifth straight contest. His 151 yards and two touchdowns, J.J. Watt’s big day on the other side of the ball, and the Texans taking advantage of rookie Zach Mettenberger’s two turnovers sent Houston to a 30-16 win to get back to .500 on the season at 4-4.
The halfway point for most teams has come and gone and the playoff picture starts becoming the main focus for fans and teams alike as we approach week 9 of the season. Let’s get in to the action as see if we can find some winners to start the second half of the season on a positive note.
Arizona Cardinals @ Dallas Cowboys
Lines – Dallas -4 (-110)
OVER 48 (-110)
My Pick – COWBOYS -4 (-110)
The 6-1 Arizona Cardinals will travel to Jerry’s World this Sunday afternoon to do battle with the former 6-1 (now 6-2) Dallas Cowboys. The Cowboys are coming off of a Monday night loss to their division rival Washington Redskins, a game that certainly was winnable for Dallas despite turning the ball over and despite losing Tony Romo for a good chunk of the second half. The Cardinals knocked off the Eagles in a thriller in week 8 as a potential playoff preview saw the Cardinals score a late touchdown on a bomb to the speedy John Brown to obtain the NFC’s best record. Many questions are swirling about the health of Romo coming into this matchup, but the veteran QB has played through many injuries before and my guess is Romo does play and will take advantage of a Cardinals defence that is surprisingly poor against the pass this season. It will be interesting to see if the Cardinals run-stuffing defence (77 rushing yards against per game) can handle the push from the impressive Dallas offensive line and get to the NFL’s leading rusher DeMarco Murray, however Murray’s MVP-type season opens up the passing game for Dallas and that is something the Cardinals would be wise to keep on eye on. The Dallas O-line is due for a bounce back game as they didn’t hold up particularly well last week against pressure from Washington, giving Romo the least amount of time he has had in the pocket all season. The Cardinals Patrick Peterson is banged up with concussion issues but still might play, but this Cardinals defence surrendered 303 yards through the air per game, the worst in the NFL. To boot, they will face the NFC’s second-best passer rating QB in Romo who currently sits at 103.9. Romo will be looking for his favourite target in Dez Bryant who has 48 receptions and five touchdowns on the season compared to 49 receptions and four touchdowns from Arizona’s top two receiver combined in Larry Fitzgerald and Michael floyd. Dallas’ strong run game will once again be the basis for their offense on Sunday, but my prediction is it will be the pass game that nets them their 7th win this season. Take the Cowboys minus the points from AT&T Stadium this Sunday.
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Denver Broncos @ New England Patriots
Lines – Denver -3 (-120)
OVER 54.5 (-110)
My Pick – BRONCOS -3 (-120)
One of football’s best rivalries is renewed on Sunday afternoon as Tom Brady and the New England Patriots collide head-on with Peyton Manning and his Denver Broncos. The two former AFC East foe’s will meet for the first time since last season’s AFC Championship game where Denver knocked off the Pats by a 26-16 score, which healed some wounds for the Broncos considering the 24-0 lead they blew to Brady’s Patriots in an eventual 34-31 overtime loss. Manning leads the NFL in touchdown passes this year with 22, but Brady isn’t far behind with 18 of his own, and Manning has only thrown for 75 more yards this season despite having many more targets at his disposal than Brady. However, in this head-to-head matchup, it will be Manning who will retain bragging rights between two of the best QB’s to ever play the game. I realize Rob Gronkowski is back to elite-level status in the pass game and he is having a great year, however he is just one man and if Denver can limit his receptions, this Patriots team is very beatable. It is easier for Denver to limit Gronk than it will be for New England to limit DeMaryius Thomas, Julius Thomas, and Emmanuel Sanders all at once. Last week Julius Thomas was not a factor and that’s usually a good thing for the opponent, however it was Sanders who has the monstrous evening, hauling in three touchdown passes from his future Hall of Fame Quarterback. Denver also plays well against the run, surrendering just 72 yards per game on the ground so it will really be up to Brady to get points on the board for New England, like it usually is. Brady will try and keep the ball from Aqib Talib in the Denver secondary as he was a Pro-Bowler with New England last season, and whoever is not covered by Pats Cornerback Darelle Revis will get most of the looks for the Broncos. This is easily the game of the week to watch and most of North America will be tuning in to this one to watch these two greats go head-to-head. I will enjoy this game even more when the Broncos cover the small 3 point spread.