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NFL Everything you need to know: Week 8 | Fox Sports

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Louis Rams quarterback Kellen Clemens fumbles the ball after being hit by Carolina safety Mike Mitchell
I guess I would float ridiculous rumors too if this guy was my quarterback.

 Joel Beall

Updated Oct 26, 2013 12:07 PM ET

Who’s ready for Week 8 action?! A preview of this weekend’s slate:

Last week’s record: 8-7 (My bad)
2013 record: 70-37

Dallas Cowboys at Detroit Lions

The Lions fell short to the Bengals last weekend, and the secondary continues to be an issue, giving up 282 yards per game (28th in the NFL). However, there was a big sigh of relief in Motown following Sunday’s contest, as Calvin Johnson illustrated no lingering effects from a knee injury, hauling in nine catches for 155 yards (including this ridiculous Hail Mary grab) in defeat. With the backfield receiving presence of Reggie Bush, combined with the emergence of Kris Durham, Joseph Fauria and Joseph Fauria’s celebrations, the Lions are an unstoppable force through the air. If the defense can hold up its end of the bargain, watch out.

Key injuries: DAL RB DeMarco Murray – Knee (Probable); DET WR Calvin Johnson – Knee (Probable), DET TE Brandon Pettigrew – Hamstring (Questionable)

Line: Detroit -3, 51 points

TV: FOX – 1:00 PM EST

The Cowboys win if… Dez Bryant and Terrance Williams exploit Detroit’s secondary, the Dallas front line encumbers Bush from doing much of substance.

The Lions win if… Matthew Stafford has another banner day (seven touchdowns in last two games), a Ndamukong Suh cheap-shot leads to the following: “And now warming up on the Dallas sidelines, Kyle Orton…”

Cleveland Browns at Kansas City Chiefs

By the way, to whoever created the Andy Reid as Kool-Aid Man GIF: you’re doing the Lord’s work, friend.

Key injuries: KC WR Dwayne Bowe – Groin (Questionable), KC TE Anthony Fasano – Ankle – Probable; CLE RB Willis McGahee – Knee (Probable)

Line: Kansas City -9, 39 points

Fantasy impact: Unless it’s Jamaal Charles or Jordan Cameron, keep all Cleveland and Kansas City entities on the bench. Kansas City’s secondary should give Josh Gordon fits, and Dwayne Bowe simply lacks the looks in his direction to be a consistent fantasy force.

TV: CBS – 1:00 PM EST

The Chiefs win if… KC continues its lights-out routine on D (league-best 11.6 points per game), Smith stays out of trouble.

The Browns win if… For real, you’ve seen how bad Richardson has been for Indy, right? That trade is as close to victory as the Brownies will get the rest of the season.

Prediction: Chiefs 20, Browns 14

Miami Dolphins at New England Patriots

Key injuries: MIA WR Brandon Gibson – Shoulder (Questionable), MIA LBDannell Ellerbe – Shoulder (Questionable); NE WR Danny Amendola – Concussion/Groin (Questionable)

Line: New England -7, 44.5 points

Fantasy impact: Just short of the halfway mark of the 2013 campaign, Brady is 21st in total quarterback points, extremely disconcerting considering the Patriots’ Bye isn’t until Week 10. Brady’s 55.4 completion percentage is a career-low and he’s on pace for his fewest touchdown passes since 2001 (his first season as starter). It sounds blasphemous, but keep Brady on the fantasy pine.

TV: CBS – 1:00 PM EST

The Dolphins win if… Mike Wallace hands in a stellar day vs. a strong-but-wounded New England secondary, Brady’s connection with receivers is still off.

Buffalo Bills at New Orleans Saints

Key injuries: BUF RB C.J. Spiller – Ankle (Questionable), BUF LB Manny Lawson – Hamstring (Doubtful); NO TE Jimmy Graham – Foot (Questionable)

Line: New Orleans -13, 49 points

TV: CBS – 1:00 PM EST

The Saints win if… They still have that Brees guy, right? Yes? In that case…

Prediction: Saints 37, Bills 13

New York Giants at Philadelphia Eagles

Key injuries: PHI QB Nick Foles – Concussion (Doubtful), PHI QB Michael Vick – Hamstring (Probable); NYG RB Brandon Jacobs – Hamstring (Doubtful), NYG CB Corey Webster – Groin (Questionable)

Line: Philadelphia -5, 51.5 points

Fantasy impact: Those viewing Eli Manning as a possible start this weekend must have serious bye-week issues or are hurting something fierce at the position. Despite Manning’s atrociousness this year, the G-Men QB offers upside in Week 8. The Eagles are giving up the second-most passing yards in the NFL at 311.6 a pop. Manning’s lack of end-zone excursions since Week 1 could keep owners at bay, but this play is not as much of a gamble as perceived.

TV: FOX – 1:00 PM EST

The Eagles win if… Just remember, the Giants have Eli and his 15 interceptions as starting quarterback.

Prediction: Giants 34, Eagles 33

San Francisco 49ers at Jacksonville Jaguars

The lowdown: It was bad enough we sent over Pittsburgh and Minnesota to London in Week 4. Now we’re dispatching Jacksonville? C’mon, enough people hate America as is, we don’t need the Brits turning on us.

On the heels of rushing for 22 yards or less in five of his first six games,Colin Kaepernick finally got going on the ground last week, taking 11 attempts for 68 yards and a score. It may seem trivial, yet with Kaepernick’s accuracy, or lack thereof (56.6 percent, 28th in the NFL), he needs to be doing work with his legs to offset this flaw.

Helping Kaepernick’s cause has been the rejuvenation of Frank Gore, who, following just 60 combined yards in the first two weeks of the season, has averaged 97.4 yards per outing in the last five games. And it doesn’t hurt that the Niners defense, in spite of numerous injuries and the sabbatical ofAldon Smith, is one of only eight teams holding opponents to fewer than 20 points per game.

As for the Jags…Justin Blackmon is looking like the real deal, but after that, it’s bupkis for this lineup. Maurice Jones-Drew might have some gas left in the tank, yet it’s hard to tell behind such a putrid offensive line. Prizes for those that can name three players on the defense. Blaine Gabbert is healthy, but the team is sticking with Chad Henne. All of which is roundabout way of saying Jacksonville is looking at 0-7 after Sunday’s London soiree.

Key injuries: SF WR Mario Manningham – Knee (Out), SF DT Justin Smith – Shoulder (Questionable); JAX WR Justin Blackmon – Hamstring (Probable), JAX WR Cecil Shorts – Sprain SC Joint (Questionable)

Line: San Francisco -17, 40.5 points

TV: FOX – 1:00 PM EST

The 49ers win if… The Niners front seven contains MJD, Kaepernick takes care of the pigskin.

Prediction: 49ers 28, Jacksonville 14

New York Jets at Cincinnati Bengals

Key injuries: CIN CB Leon Hall – Achilles’ Tendon (IR), CIN CD Terence Newman – Ankle (Questionable); NYJ WR Santonio Holmes – Hamstring (Doubtful), NYJ TE Jeff Cumberland – Hamstring (Questionable)

Line: Cincinnati -7, 41 points

Fantasy impact: Following his first conquest with Gang Green, Chris Ivoryhas become a scorching-hot addition in the roto realm. While I’m generally a proponent of Ivory, going to have to rain on this parade, at least in terms of Week 8 production. The former Tiffin Dragon needed 34 attempts to hit 104 yards, his role in the receiving arena is almost nonexistent and the Jets take on a Bengals resistance containing rushing adversaries to the seventh-lowest fantasy output. I do think Ivory takes the reins as New York’s primary back. Unfortunately, that sentiment doesn’t translate to a start in your lineup this weekend.

TV: CBS – 4:05 PM EST

The Jets win if… Ivory and Bilal Powell keep the Bengals offense off the field, Dalton scuffles against a resilient secondary.

The Bengals win if… Geno AtkinsCarlos Dunlap and Michael Johnsonforce Smith into multiple errors, Ryan skips the game to set-up shop at Skyline Chili.

Prediction: Bengals 21, Jets 17

Pittsburgh Steelers at Oakland Raiders

He doesn’t have much to work with, and Oakland’s shabby defense often puts him in situations where he has to abandon the run. Even factoring in these detriments, don’t think Terrelle Pryor is a suitable starting quarterback. I suppose there’s room for growth; he is just 24 years old, and, again, I don’t know if any field general could succeed in such surroundings. Unfortunately, it’s hard to spin five touchdowns versus eight turnovers, and subtract Pryor’s 112 rushing yards from Week 1, and his terrain output is a more modest number.

Key injuries: OAK CB Tracy Porter – Shoulder (Questionable); PIT LB Jarvis Jones – Concussion (Probable)

Line: Steelers -2.5, 40.5 points

TV: CBS – 4:05 PM EST

The Steelers win if… Le’Veon Bell continues to emerge as a sound back, the Steelers defense overwhelms McFadden.

The Raiders win if… Roethlisberger and his receivers can’t get on the same page…um… Sebastian Janikowski kicks seven field goals? This is not going to be a pretty one…

Prediction: Steelers 23, Raiders 17

Washington Redskins at Denver Broncos

On the bright side, a teed-off Peyton Manning and a suddenly-revitalizedRobert Griffin III against two exploitable defenses! Mentioned above, while I don’t condone gambling…58 points? If I was a gambling man, and I’m not, that over looks pretty enticing. You know, if I was in to that sort of thing.

Key injuries: DEN WR Wes Welker – Ankle (Questionable), DEN LB Wes Woodyard – Neck (Probable); WAS WR Leonard Hankerson – Foot (Questionable)

Line: Denver -13, 58 points

TV: FOX – 4:25 PM EST

The Fighting Shanahans win if… RG3 proves that last week’s dividends were no fluke, Denver secondary continues to struggle.

The Broncos win if… Miller can be more of active over the middle than in his season debut last week, Fumblin’ Ronnie Hillman stays on the sidelines.

Prediction: Broncos 45, Fighting Shanahans 30

Atlanta Falcons at Arizona Cardinals

Somewhat of an ominous forecast in the ATL as well. Simply too many offensive injuries to foresee a quick turnaround. Sure, Harry Douglassubmitted a career day as a proxy for the Dirty Birds last week (seven grabs, 149 yards, touchdown), although getting a third of that production is a likely expectation going forward. Additionally, we tend to view Matt Ryan as a respectable arm, a sentiment the numbers support. The game logs speak a different story, with a disconcerting inconsistency presented. Things could improve with Steven Jackson and Roddy White nearing return, but coupled with a feeble defense (26.2 points surrendered, 23rd in the league), the Falcons will be far from an intimidating foe.

Key injuries: ARZ LB Karlos Dansby – Quad (Questionable), ARZ RBRashard Mendenhall – Toe (Questionable); ATL RB Steven Jackson – Hamstring (Questionable), ATL WR Roddy White – Ankle (Doubtful)

Line: Arizona -2.5, 45 points

Fantasy impact: A matchup with Atlanta’s defense should serve as platform for second-year receiver Michael Floyd to shine. In his last four games, the Notre Dame product has hauled in 20 catches off 32 targets for 250 yards and a score. Somewhat flabbergasting is that Floyd has only one fewer catch on the season than Fitzgerald. As a WR3 or Flex play in deeper leagues, give Floyd a go.

TV: FOX – 4:25 PM EST

The Cardinals win if… Palmer curtails his passes to the wrong team, Arizona’s feast-or-famine secondary gets its fill.

Prediction: Falcons 28, Cardinals 27

Green Bay Packers at Minnesota Vikings

The lowdown: Amazing that the Vikings were a playoff team last year, isn’t it? I know Antoine Winfield’s gone and Harrison Smith’s hurt, but most of the integral components from 2012 remain. The armchair analysis could point toAdrian Peterson’s decreased output (131.1 yards per game last season to this fall’s 85.2 mark), but that would be a misnomer, as AP is actually aheadof last year’s torrid pace. The Christian Ponder/Matt Cassel/Josh Freeman trifecta from hell probably has something to do with it, but it wasn’t like Ponder was a paragon of success last fall. So what’s the catalyst for this downfall? KARMA. Moral of the story: never trust a man with the name “Zygi.”

Jarrett Boykin was poised to see a steady stream of balls in replacement ofRandall Cobb last week. In wake of Joe Haden blanketing Jordy Nelson andJermichael Finley’s injury, Boykin turned into the de facto No. 1 target forAaron Rodgers and didn’t disappoint, hauling in eight receptions for 103 yards and a touchdown. What the 23-year-old lacks in speed is countered with good route running, a physical build and sure-handedness. Taking on a Minnesota defense that is yielding 301 receiving yards per game (fourth-most in the NFL), Boykin has another prime opportunity to twinkle. WithJames Jones likely out again this week, Boykin’s performance is imperative for a Cheeseheads victory.

Key injuries: GB WR James Jones – Knee (Doubtful), DB TE Jermichael Finley – Neck (Out); MIN QB Josh Freeman – Concussion (Doubtful), MIN LBChad Greenway – Wrist (Questionable)

Line: Green Bay -10, 47 points

Fantasy impact: Andrew Quarless has been getting some run on the waiver wire with the possibility of Finley missing the rest of the season, yet the Green Bay backup has done little to showcase he’s ready for such responsibility. In replacement of Finley in Week 3, Quarless pulled in only three catches for 21 yards. Perhaps he will receive a handful of red-zone looks, but it would have to be a deep league to warrant consideration.

TV: NBC – 8:30 PM EST

The Vikings win if… Peterson goes for 250 yards and four scores. Even then, game is still in doubt.

Prediction: Packers 27, Vikings 16

Seattle Seahawks at St. Louis Rams

The lowdown: Sorry, I know it helps search engine optimization, but I refuse to acknowledge a certain 44-year-old gray-haired gunslinger. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not above playing dirty for page views. After all, CAN TIM TEBOW SAVE THE ST. LOUIS RAMS?!?! See? That sentence just drove another 10,000 people to this article. But with The One Who Shall Not Be Named? We went through this song and dance in 2007! I know you’re desperate St. Louis, seeing how Kellen Clemens is your quarterback and everything, but if rousing excitement is your end game, you can at least give TIM TEBOW a call.

If you get a chance, take a gander at Seattle’s remaining schedule. Aside from battles with San Francisco and New Orleans, nothing pops up as mildly threatening. I know, I know. “On any given Sunday,” save the platitude buddy. If the Seahawks go 1-1 in those matchups, not out of the realm of possibility this squad goes 14-2. With a top-notch running game, Russell Wilson transforming from field general to straight-out solid quarterback and the league’s best defense, why wouldn’t this happen? Very impressive, not only with parity more universal than ever, but….MAYBE I lied about that whole betting ordeal from above. And, in theory, if one did, perhaps, make a bet, it might have concerned a certain team’s over/under win total…I’ve said too much…

Key injuries: STL QB Sam Bradford – Knee (IR), STL CB Cortland Finnegan– Hamstring (Questionable); SEA WR Percy Harvin – Hip (Doubtful)

Line: Seattle -11.5, 42.5 points

TV: ESPN – 8:30 PM EST

The Seahawks win if… Marshawn Lynch cashes in on a Rams defense giving up the third-most rushing yards in the league, Seahawks defense preys on Clemens.

The Rams win if… Seriously, they considered Brett Favre over TIM TEBOW? (That’s right, Favre and Tebow in the same sentence. I know, I’m a sell-out.)

Prediction: Seahawks 24, Rams 7

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