From the Desk of Eagles Outsider Barry Bowe
I tied in our weekly football pool at work in Week 7 – but lost the tie-breaker. I picked 54 points. So when the Cardinals beat the Ravens 26-18 for a total of 44 points, I was eight points over what I needed to win.
This week, I’ll try to win once again. There are 14 games this week and here’s the way I see them:
- 7 Easy Picks
- 5 Head-Scratchers
- 2 Upsets
Let’s start off with my Upset Special.
Thursday – October 29
8:25 p.m. – Dolphins (3-3) at Patriots (6-0)
Patriots are 8½-point favorites with an O/U = 45½ points.
I’m sticking my neck out right here by picking the Dolphins to upset the Patriots in Foxboro.
New coach Dan Campbell has the Dolphins fired up and I expect their defense to tear Tom Brady a new one.
I take the Dolphins to win.
As it played out, my Upset Special was way off. The Dolphins received an old-fashioned 36-7 ass-kicking at the hands of Tom Brady and the Patriots easily remained undefeated at 7-0. But I learned three things from that loss:
- Tom Brady is one of the best QBs ever and rarely throws an incomplete pass.
- Ryan Tannehill isn’t a top-flight NFL quarterback.
- I knew the Houston Texans were bad, but they’re even worse than I thought. That same Dolphins team that got whacked by the Patriots rolled up a 41-0 first-half lead against the Texans last Sunday.
BALANCE OF PICKS
Here’s the rest of my picks for Week 8.
Sunday – November 1
9:30 a.m. – Lions (1-6) vs Chiefs (2-5) at Wembley Stadium in London
Chiefs are 3-point favorites with an O/U = 45 points.
EASY pick because I don’t think the Lions will win another game this season. Even though the Chiefs aren’t very good, they should be better than the Lions – even in London.
I take the Chiefs to win.
1:00 – Buccaneers (2-4) at Falcons (6-1)
Falcons are 8-point favorites with an O/U = 48½ points.
EASY pick because the Falcons are pretty good and the Buccaneers – with Jameis Winston at quarterback – are bad. The Bucs blew a 24-0 first-half lead last week and lost 31-30 to the Redskins – but the Bucs may never hold the lead in this game.
I take the Falcons to win wire-to-wire.
1:00 – Cardinals (5-2) at Browns (2-5)
Cardinals are 5½-point favorites with an O/U = 46 points.
EASY pick because we have another good team versus bad team – with the Browns being the bad team.
Josh McCown injured his shoulder last week against the Rams and is still Questionable for this game. If he can’t go, that means that Johnny-Beats-His-Girlfriend will get the start – even though he should’ve already been arrested for DUI and domestic violence and suspended by the NFL.
Where’s Roger Goodell’s balls when you need them?
The creep Johnny Manziel is better suited for sorority house panty-raids than he is to be a quarterback in the NFL.
I take the Cardinals in an easy one.
1:00 – 49ers (2-5) at Rams (3-3)
Rams are 9½-point favorites with an O/U = 39½ points.
EASY pick here. While I disagree with the bulk of Jeff Fisher’s play-calling – much too conservative in regard to passing – the coach seems to be balancing three aspects of the Rams’ game:
- Superior defense that not only holds down the scoring, but also turns the ball over often and gives it to the offense in great field position.
- Todd Gurley eating up tons of yardage on the ground to monopolize the time of possession.
- Nick Foles managing the game and throwing the ball downfield only when absolutely necessary.
Fisher’s strategy is working so well that I’ve already predicted that the Rams will catch the Cards and win the NFC West.
I pick the Rams to win easy.
1:00 – Giants (4-3) at Saints (3-4)
Saints are 3-point favorites with an O/U = 49 points.
HEAD-SCRATCHER here. Both teams are puzzling to me so far. Both have looked good at times, and both have looked dreadful at times.
I believe the Saints – and quarterback Drew Brees – are both aging and waning. The Giants, on the other hand, are in first place in the weak NFC East despite being an injury-riddled team all the way back to the Fourth of July weekend when Jason Pierre-Paul blew off parts of his fingers.
I’m basing my prediction on two points:
- The Giants can afford to lose.
- But the Saints can’t.
So I take the Saints in a cliff-hanger.
1:00 – Vikings (4-2) at Bears (2-4)
EVEN GAME with an O/U = 43½ points.
EASY pick for me. The Vikings are under-rated and the Bears are a bad football team. The Vikings could, in fact, become a Wild Card contender.
I don’t have much interest in this game, but I’m picking the Vikings to win.
1:00 – Chargers (2-5) at Ravens (1-6)
Ravens are 3½-point favorites with an O/U = 50 points.
HEAD-SCRATCHER because the Chargers are bad and the Ravens are worse because Joe Flacco is having one of those down years in his up-and-down career-cycle.
I think the Chargers are better, but I don’t think they travel well when going coast-to-coast.
So I pick the Ravens to survive at home.
1:00 – Bengals (6-0) at Steelers (4-3)
EVEN GAME with an O/U = 48½ points.
HEAD-SCRATCHER because I’m not yet sure if the undefeated Bengals are as good as their record shows – and I also scratch my head every time Andy Dalton takes the field. Right now he’s 14-and-2 in TD passes to INTs.
In regard to the Steelers, if Ben Roethlisberger plays – as he’s supposed to – will he be up to par after several weeks on the shelf?
But if the second-place Steelers win, they’ll move to within 1½ games of the Bengals.
So I’m taking the Steelers to win because I think the defense will throttle Andy Dalton just enough to swing the balance.
1:00 – Titans (1-5) at Texans (2-5)
Texans are 4½-point favorites with an O/U = 43½ points.
HEAD-SCRATCHER for me because both teams are bad.
After what happened to the Texans last week, my impulse is to play against them and jump on the Titans. But the Titans are in last place and Marcus Mariota will miss his second straight game with a knee injury.
Hard to say this, but I’m taking the Texans to win.
4:05 – Jets (4-2) at Raiders (3-3)
Jets are 3-point favorites on the road with an O/U = 44 points.
UPSET – The Jets need this game to remain a Wild Card contender and they should win. They’re better than the Raiders. But I’m starting to like this Raiders team. They’re an up-and-comer and could become a Wild Card contender if they win a few more games.
I picked the Raiders last week and they beat the Chargers 37-29.
So I’m picking the Raiders to make it two straight wins.
4:25 – Seahawks (3-4) at Cowboys (2-4)
Seahawks are 5½-point favorites on the road with an O/U = 41 points.
EASY one here. The Seahawks are trying to save their season and the Cowboys have already lost theirs.
As an Eagles fan, I’m pulling for the Cowboys to lose, drop their record to 2-5, and snuff out any chances of their making a comeback in the NFC East.
So I pick the Seahawks to win.
8:30 – Packers (6-0) at Broncos (6-0)
Packers are 2½-point favorites on the road with an O/U = 45½ points.
HEAD-SCRATCHER because we’ve got a pair of undefeated teams facing off against each other.
Many football “experts” believe the Packers are the best team in the NFC – but the Packers are taking the show on the road and away from Lambeau – and into the thin air of Denver – after their Bye Week.
Will any of those factors make a difference one way or another?
I don’t know.
Many of those same “experts” are discounting the Broncos because they feel that Peyton Manning is finally starting to show his age.
I’m picking the Packers to win because I feel that they’re better than the Broncos and that Aaron Rodgers is way better than Peyton Manning and will prove it.
Monday – November 2
8:30 – Colts (3-4) at Panthers (6-0)
Panthers are 7½-point favorites with an O/U = 47 points.
EASY one here. Not because I believe the Panthers are as good as their undefeated record. In fact, I want to see the Panthers eliminated from the ranks of the unbeaten.
But ever since Andrew Luck arrived in the league with so much gusto, I’ve considered him to be over-rated. I just don’t understand all the hype and fanfare. When I’ve watched him, he’s looked a step above average – but no more.
The Colts are under .500 at 3-4 – yet they’re in first place in the AFC South. I think they’re going to lose to the Panthers and drop to 3-5 – yet they’ll still remain atop a division that’s worse than the NFC East.
I pick the Panthers to win and remain undefeated for at least one more week.
So there you have my picks for Week 8.
They’re free of charge and worth every penny.
In addition to being the official Eagles Outsider for BlameMyFather.com, Barry Bowe is also the author of: