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Week 8 NFL Picks

The Steelers are winners of two straight. With a relatively soft schedule the rest of the way, is there hope for the playoffs?

Last Week:  10 – 5 – 0
Season:      67 – 40 – 0

Gearing up for the NBA Season (Bye Week)

Bears
Jay Cutler’s injury is obviously a big problem for Chicago’s playoff hopes. It’s not their biggest problem, though. That distinction belongs to the defense. Chicago’s defense has held opponents to less than 20 points exactly zero times. The 2012 version did so seven times. Hashtag defense problems.

Titans
Tennessee looked like a playoff team before Jake Locker’s injury. Now that he’s back, it’s probably too late for the Titans, right? Right. Well, maybe. Actually, no. The Titans are only one game out of the last Wildcard spot. Of their remaining nine games, only three are against playoff contenders, and two of those are against the Colts. I’m not sleeping on the Titans. Neither should you.

Colts
Aside from their pass rush, I’m still trying to figure out how the Colts are 5-2. They have no running game, no game-changing receivers, and yet, they’ve beaten what many would call the three best teams in the league. Go figure. Also, Andrew Luck must feel awful about Reggie Wayne. If Luck doesn’t BADLY underthrow Wayne on that 3rd down, Wayne doesn’t tear his ACL.

Chargers
I just heard of the ESPN Reporter who asked Philip Rivers how he could be a good parent to seven kids. I’m still shocked. Good for Rivers for not punching the guy in the face. I know I would have. More importantly, how much outrage would there have been if a reporter asked a player why he irresponsibly has multiple kids with different women? The media would have burned that reporter to the ground. Our world is so backwards. I’m having 20 kids just to piss people off.

Ravens
Remember when you won that Super Bowl last year? Remember when you stunk immediately after?

Texans
I liked Case Keenum last week. He was by far the Texans best quarterback this year. At 2-5, the season is likely lost, so Houston has plenty of time to get a good look at Keenum. Gary Kubiak on the other hand? I think we’ve seen enough.

Thursday Recap

Panthers 31 at Buccaneers 13
I was in the car and only caught bits and pieces of the game when I was able to find the broadcast. From what I heard, and what my brother shared, it was every bit the convincing win I wanted to see from the Panthers. Now I just need to see it against teams with winning records.

Early Games (1:00PM ET)

Cowboys at Lions
Dallas’ offense hasn’t played well since going toe-to-toe with the Broncos. The Cowboys special teams and defense were dominant enough to beat the Redskins, and Nick Foles was awful enough to eliminate any chance the Eagles had of winning. I can’t decide if this is still a hangover from the Denver game or if Dallas’ offense isn’t as good as I thought. I don’t want to pick the Cowboys but I have to keep with my “can’t take the Lions under Jim Schwartz against good teams,” rule. COWBOYS If I were Charles Barkley; Cowboys +3

Browns at Chiefs
Andy Reid – fired Eagles head coach made a brief return to the NFL last week with his comical goal line play calls. Not only did it nearly cost Reid and the Chiefs the game, but it also would have cost them down the road in any tiebreaker with the Broncos. I like the Chiefs, and unlike others, don’t believe they’ll fold come playoff time under Alex Smith. However, seeing Reid revert to his former foolish ways makes me nervous about Kansas City winning a tight game in January. CHIEFS If I were Charles Barkley; Browns +7.5

Dolphins at Patriots
Tom Brady’s on pace to throw the fewest touchdowns of his career. His quarterback rating is 10 points lower than any of his previous 11 seasons. I belong to the “Brady has no one to throw to” camp, but I’m becoming more and more open to the possibility that age may be creeping up on the Golden Boy. Brady needs a vintage 300 yards, 4 TD performance pronto. By the way, what happened to the Dolphins? They looked playoff bound a few weeks ago. Now they look like they’ll be lucky to win seven games. First job for the Dolphins: Fix Ryan Tannehill’s turnover problem. PATRIOTS If I were Charles Barkley; Patriots -7

Bills at Saints
If you’re ever bored on a Sunday afternoon during a Bills game, hop on Twitter and search “CJ Spiller.” The excessive vitriol for Spiller and his disappointing fantasy football season is comical, pathetic, embarrassing, scary, and ultimately sad. Twitter is this generation’s version of beer muscles. SAINTS If I were Charles Barkley; Saints -12

Giants at Eagles
Michael Vick doesn’t play this week if Matt Barkley doesn’t throw three interceptions in his 4th quarter NFL debut. That doesn’t make me feel good about where Vick is at health wise. Then again, even if Joe Montana were under center I still wouldn’t take the Eagles at home. GIANTS If I were Charles Barkley; Giants +5.5

49ers at Jaguars
Congratulations to the 49ers on their two week bye. I’m beginning to think Jim Harbaugh purposely got slaughtered by the Seahawks and Colts in consecutive weeks so we would all stop talking about the 49ers as Super Bowl contenders. 49ERS If I were Charles Barkley; Jaguars +17

Afternoon Games (4:05PM ET)

Jets at Bengals
After several devastating injuries, it appears the Patriots are on a downward slide. That leaves the AFC’s second seed up for grabs. I like the Bengals to grab that second seed over the Colts. I also like the Jets to come out flat after beating the Patriots. (While re-reading this I remembered Leon Hall is out for the year. That’s a disaster for Cincy. Pacman Jones and Terrence Newman are not Leon Hall. I think I’m retreating from my earlier statement.) BENGALS If I were Charles Barkley; Bengals -6.5

Steelers at Raiders
As you can see, I foolishly love talking about playoff possibilities in October. On that note, the Steelers aren’t completely dead. While I don’t think they can rally to win the AFC North, they’re not too far removed from the AFC Wildcard mix, especially when you consider their head-to-head wins over the Jets and Ravens. You’re right; it’s way too early to consider this stuff. My bad. STEELERS If I were Charles Barkley; Steelers -3

Redskins at Broncos
The Colts deserved to win last week’s showdown against the Broncos, but I can’t help but think the Broncos gave the game away as much as the Colts took it. The Broncos were foolish and sloppy. The decisive personal foul-roughing the passer call was the epitome of stupid. If quarterbacks are the President, NFL officials are equivalent to the Secret Service. You can’t touch the quarterbacks unless that brown ball is in their hands. To belly bump Andrew Luck for no reason was a “cutable” offense. Worse, it ultimately cost Denver a shot at another epic Peyton Manning comeback. As a fan, I felt cheated. BRONCOS If I were Charles Barkley; Broncos -13.5

Falcons at Cardinals
Stephen Jackson thought he’d finally return to the playoffs this year. Whoops. Instead, Jackson will look forward to his return to the field, where he hasn’t been since Week 2, to play for another lousy, underachieving, non-playoff team. FALCONS If I were Charles Barkley; Falcons +1.5

Sunday Night (8:30PM ET)

Packers at Vikings
The Packers keep winning as players keep falling. By Week 12, Antonio Freeman, Robert Brooks, Donald Driver, and Sterling Sharpe will be running routes for Aaron Rodgers. Also, congrats to the Vikings for giving up on a young quarterback that won ten games last season. Well done. PACKERS If I were Charles Barkley; Packers -9.5

Monday Night (8:30PM ET)

Seahawks at Rams
I feel bad for Sam Bradford and awful for the Rams. Bradford must now prove he’s a franchise quarterback while battling back from an ACL tear. Ask Robert Griffin III, Donovan McNabb or Tom Brady how much fun that is. Even worse, the Rams are now handcuffed. What do they do? Bank on Bradford continuing the improvement he displayed this season and hope he grows into a franchise quarterback? Or draft a new franchise quarterback with one of the high 1st round picks the Rams will have in the QB loaded 2014 NFL draft? I don’t envy St. Louis’ position. Good luck. SEAHAWKS If I were Charles Barkley; Seahawks -11.5

*****

If I were Charles Barkley…
Last Week: 8 – 7 – 0
Season:    47 – 56 – 4


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