Heading into week 8 of the NFL season we have a better understanding of who are the contenders and who are just pretenders. The clarity of this understanding makes predicting the winners at week 8 far less risky than at week 3 or 4. So here are my NFL winners for week 8:
Minnesota Vikings at New England Patriots: The weekly drama that surrounds Viking QB Brett Favre continued heading into week 8. During the loss to the Packers in week 7 Favre suffered 2 bone fractures in his surgically repaired ankle. Due to the injury all hype this week was if he was going to play or not against the Patriots. What you didn’t hear in the news hype was his ankle is as bad as it will get, meaning further injury is not a risk. So considering he is on a farewell tour in the league he will suck it up and play no matter what. But what remains to be seen is how much Favre plays within the system of Coach Brad Childress. Favre and Childress have always had an awkward relationship and now that the end is getting closer look for this relationship to be the news of next week if they lose. As for the Patriots? They are on fire after winning 4 straight. Look for the Patriots to take out some rage on their former star wide receiver Randy Moss and limit him to 2 receptions due to the solid play of rookie Devin McCourty . The Patriots will do what they do best and win as they beat the Vikings 36-14 inciting a riot in Minnesota.
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Green Bay Packers at New York Jets: With the Packers being injured this season they have been forced to place several rookies in key situations. With the injury to tight end Jermichael Finely, rookie Andrew Quarless has moved up the depth chart. He cashed in his increased play against the Minnesota Vikings with his first career touchdown reception. Look for Quarless to see a fair workload this weekend against the Jets. Historically the Packers always seem to have someone new step up when an injury occurs, this can be attributed to General Manager Ted Thompson and his draft picks. The Jets are on a roll and coming off a bye week. Apparently CB Darrelle Rivas will be 100% this weekend which will help a defensive secondary that has been shaky at times. It remains to be seen how his hamstring will react to game day conditions. Look for the Packers to beat the Jets in a close game 24-20. QB Aaron Rodgers will have a solid game completing 24 of 30 passes for 270-yards, two touchdowns and one interception. Quarless will finish with 6 receptions for 72-yards and one touchdown.
Miami Dolphins at Cincinnati Bengals: Both the Dolphins and Bengals are coming off close losses heading into this game in Cincinnati. The Dolphins played a thriller with the Pittsburgh Steelers and had the game end on a controversial call to drop their record to 3-3. In order to stay in the playoff race a win is needed this weekend against the Bengals. The Bengals have been more flash than substance this season. They have the star wide receivers (Terrell Owens and Chad Ochocinco) and the quarterback (Carson Palmer) needed to make this team a Super Bowl contender. But with all the big names they have on their roster they sit at week 8 with a 2-4 record and one loss away from being out of contention. So how does this game break down? Look for the Owens and Ochocinco to have a big day against an inconsistent Miami defense on Sunday. The Dolphins have yet to put together a string of solid defensive efforts and I don’t see them doing it thing weekend, especially against a potent offense. The Bengals will beat the Dolphins 36-13, Owens has 6 receptions for 106-yards and 2 touchdowns.
Pittsburgh Steelers at New Orleans Saints: The return of QB Ben Roethlisberger has been wonderful for the Super Bowl contending Steelers. Although they beat the Dolphins on a controversial referee call in week 7 it doesn’t take away from the win for this solid team. And by the way…. That is what good teams do, they always find a way to win. Now the Saints are having a tough time coming off the Super Bowl victory of a year ago. Injuries have decimated their rushing attack and since the loss of RB Reggie Bush the Saints have been forced to rely strictly on the pass. In order for them to beat the Steelers rookie RB Chris Ivory will need to have a decent day and eat up some game clock. If the Saints have too many 3 and outs the Steelers will tire down a solid Saint defense and take advantage of them late in the game. The Steelers will win 23-15 with Big Ben completing 18 of 22 passes for 220-yards.
Tags: Aaron Rodgers Andrew Quarless Ben Roethlisbegrer Brad Childress Brett Farve Carson Palmer Chad Ochocinco Chris Ivory Cincinnati Bengals Devin McCourty Green Bay Miami Dolphins Minnesota Vikings New England Patriots New Orleans Saints New York Jets Nfl Predictions Pittsburgh Steelers Randy Moss Reggie Bush Super Bowl Terrell Owens Tom Brady