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I served in the US Navy from 2002-08; four of those years were as a Nuclear Propulsion Operator aboard an aircraft carrier. I engage in political activism in various Democratic circles when I am able to. I have a cat, and I am an uncle.

All opinions that I express are my own and do not reflect the views of any organization that I represent.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

2014 NFL SEASON WEEK 8





WINLESS WATCH

Raiders (0-6): at Browns


MUST WATCH GAMES

Chargers at Broncos

The Thursday Night football package has lucked out over with the last two games being decided by 8 points or less. Through the first five weeks of the season the Thursday Night game turned out to be a dud.

Maybe instead of campaigning to re-elect Senator Mark Udall and elect Andrew Romanoff, I stay home and watch the game…

NAH!!!!

There is a chance for a third consecutive game to be competitive.

San Diego had their five game winning streak in their 3-point loss at home to division rival Kansas City while on Sunday Night Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning threw four touchdown passes to become the NFL's all-time leader in passing touchdowns.

There are talks that Manning could go for 600 in part due to NFL's rule changes to emphasize more offense and that there is no one that could catch him at this time. It is possible to get to 600 despite Manning's age at 38, but he seems to be playing as well as he did during mid 20s in Indianapolis as he is in his late 30s in Denver.

His contemporaries, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and Saints quarterback Drew Brees, are the likely candidates to challenge his record but Brady is 37 and has 372 touchdowns while Brees is 35 and has 372 touchdowns. It is likely that they could enter the 400 passing TD club this season and pass Dan Marino sometime next season, but to get to 500 would be a daunting task.

The thing that impressed me with the Broncos on Sunday Night was not the offense, but the Broncos defense and their ability to keep Colin Kaepernick from making the big play. Maybe we are witnessing Orange Crush 2.0?

With that performance maybe 9 News' Drew Soicher is correct with his claim that the Broncos will win Super Bowl XLIX.


Falcons vs. Lions (at London)

A while back I wrote this piece calling for the NFL to end its experiment of playing meaningful games in London.

While it is nice to see an NFL game early in the morning, the concept of playing in London has lost its luster. And now the NFL is blackmailing teams into giving up a home game in order to be considered hosting a Super Bowl.

While the Lions have been without their talented wide receiver Calvin Johnson, it has been their defense that has stepped up. Last week the Lions intercepted a Drew Brees pass that set up a game winning score and stopped the Saints from leading a drive to set up last score.

The Lions defense will have to be on their A game against Matt Ryan and the Falcons receiving corps. Already they have taken down Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees.


Seahawks at Panthers

Last season these two teams met in the first game of the season. The Seahawks won that game 12-7 and it had long lasting effects on who had homefield advantage in the playoffs.

This game could determine who makes the playoffs or not.

Carolina was steamrolled by Green Bay last Sunday. By the time it was 38-3 in the third quarter, Fox took pity on their test subjects loyal viewers and showed the rest of the Rams upset of Seattle.

The Seahawks have lost two in a row and are at 3-3. Seattle lost 3 games last season. Right now they are trailing division leader Arizona and second place San Francisco. If the playoffs started this weekend, Seattle would be out.

Carolina through 7 games is also .500 (a 3-3-1 record is 3.5-3.5 because a tie counts as half a win and half a loss and 3.5 divided by 7 is .500), but since no one wants to win the NFC South as of now the Panthers are the division leader and would host a playoff game.

One thing that the Seahawks have going for them is the play of quarterback Russell Wilson. In the loss, Wilson threw for 313 yards, rushed for 106 yards, and scored three total touchdowns.


Ravens at Bengals

A rematch from Week 1 shows two totally different teams. Based on Week 1 it looked the Bengals were primed to win the AFC South and a possible deep playoff run while the Ravens looked like they were headed towards a season of missed opportunities.

Now it is October and the Ravens are in the thick of the AFC #1 seed race while the Bengals have not won a game this month. After starting 3-0, the Bengals were humiliated by the Patriots and Colts, and tied the Panthers. Joe Flacco appears to be on a hot streak of sorts and has been targeting wide receiver Smith.

That would be both Torrey Smith and Steve Smith.

If the Bengals are to return to their winning ways, they can start with stopping the Ravens surge.


Dolphins at Jaguars/Raiders at Browns

Why are these games listed in must watch? Last week the Browns gave the Jaguars their first win of the season. So good news for all ten fans of the Jaguars, your team is not going 0-16. Maybe 2-14 if you split the season series with the Titans.

I cannot see the Dolphins lose this game. Especially after their last two games where they beat the Bears in Chicago and nearly upset the Packers at home. I think this team is better than expectations, but I need to see more to determine if the Dolphins are a playoff team.

Maybe the Browns have learned their lesson after watching the game film against Jacksonville and won't repeat those mistakes with the Raiders. This could be the Raiders only chance at a W this season. As I look at their remaining games… it's not favorable. Their next four are against 2013 playoff teams (at Seattle, Denver, at San Diego, Kansas City) followed by at the Rams who are another better than expected team, they home against the 49ers, at Kansas City, home against the Bills, and at Denver. Maybe the Bills game is their second chance at a win, but with the way things are looking the Raiders are looking at 0-16.

The best way to describe the Raiders is with this phrase I picked up in the Navy: "The beatings will continue until morale improves."


Colts at Steelers/Eagles at Cardinals

Most of the country will see Colts at Steelers while a select few will see Eagles at Cardinals.

The Colts are riding a now 5 game winning streak while I don't think anyone can made out this Steelers team. They dominated Carolina with their running game, but they allowed the Buccaneers to score a game winning touchdown in the waning seconds of that loss. They have split the season series against the Browns including a 31-10 loss. They spotted the Texans a 13-0 lead and then put up 24 points in the second quarter.

Running back Le'Veon Bell has emerged as the Steelers' offensive weapon. Bell has rushed for 599 yards and caught 36 passes for 339 yards making him a good option in fantasy, but I wish that he scored more touchdowns. So far he only has two total touchdowns.

The Eagles and Cardinals is another good game and it is a shame that it will probably not receive as much coverage as the Colts at Steelers. When we last saw the Eagles, Chip Kelly's high powered offense and defensive unit blanked the Giants on national television.

The Cardinals have given up the fourth fewest points, the seventh fewest yards, and intercepted 8 passes. Right now Arizona is on top in the NFC West and their only loss was to Denver back in Week 5. The Cardinals have been playing Blackjack this season. In their five wins, their opponents have scored 21 or less. In their loss at Denver, the Broncos put up 41. In the Eagles' five wins, they have scored more than 21 points. In their loss at San Francisco, they scored exactly 21.

21 seems to be the name of the game in this matchup in Phoenix.


Packers at Saints

Since telling the press and fans to relax after the team's 1-2 start, quarterback Aaron Rodgers has averaged 244 yards passing, thrown for 13 touchdowns vs. 0 interceptions, and most importantly a 4-0 record in this span. So, yes, the Packers have been consistently good in this span.

One thing that has been consistent about the Saints this season: win at home, lose on the road. And even their home wins have not been that impressive. They beat the Vikings for their first win of the season and had to go to overtime to beat the lowly Buccaneers.

Still this is a marquee matchup featuring Brees and Rodgers. Since being the head coach of the Saints in 2006, Sean Payton has a 2-1 record against the Packers. However Aaron Rodgers is 2-1 against the Saints, but both those wins were in Green Bay in 2011 and 2012. This is the Packers first visit to New Orleans since a 51-29 defeat in 2008.


Washington at Cowboys

The Cowboys continue their winning ways. The only way I can possibly explain it is maybe someone sold their soul to the Devil for the Cowboys to be good again, but like all deals with the Devil it will come with an ironic twist. So I will try to have fun while it lasts.

DeMarco Murray is still the NFL's leading rusher but there are concerns about his workload and whether he can keep up the pace to eclipse the 2,105 rushing yard mark set by Rams running back Eric Dickerson in 1984. Many have come close, but none have broken that record.

Washington has turned to former University of Texas quarterback Colt McCoy as their starter due to the sudden ineffectiveness of Kirk Cousins. McCoy since arriving in the NFL has been a journeyman and will try to shore up Washington's quarterback problem.


And now the picks.

Kickoff times are mountain time, games airing in Denver are noted by (DEN), and picks are in BOLD.



Me
WEEK 7
11-4
10-5
11-4
TOTAL
70-35-1
68-37-1
68-37-1


BYE WEEK
49ers, Giants


THURSDAY NIGHT, CBS/NFL 6:15 PM
Chargers at Broncos


FOX 7:30AM
Falcons vs. Lions (at London, DEN)


CBS 11AM
Ravens at Bengals (DEN)
Seahawks at Panthers
Bills at Jets
Dolphins at Jaguars


FOX 11AM
Bears at Patriots (DEN)
Rams at Chiefs
Vikings at Buccaneers
Texans at Titans


CBS 2PM
Colts at Steelers (DEN)
Raiders at Browns

FOX 2PM
Eagles at Cardinals


SUNDAY NIGHT, NBC 6:15 PM
Packers at Saints


MONDAY NIGHT, ESPN 6:15 PM
Washington at Cowboys


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