[sc name=”Author Seth I Finkelstein”]
What a boring Sunday that was. The matchups were bad and the games even worse. I love good defensive battles, but on Sunday that wasn’t even the case. The Titans and Browns combined scored 21 points on seven field goals.
Three teams were blanked. Seven teams could not muster a single offensive touchdown. Once again London had to sit through an awful game.
Let’s get right to the madness for week 8.
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Observations from Last Week
- The Titans really struggle to score touchdowns. They are 21st in touchdowns scored. All they could muster was four field goals against the Browns. Perhaps it’s time to question Marcus Mariota‘s potential.
- Jay Cutler walked off after getting injured even though he looked fine and, of course, he doesn’t show any emotion. The Dolphins were much better after Cuter’s injury. Matt Moore should be the new starter.
- The Jaguars continue their good week, bad week routine. I’m also shocked Blake Bortles has not thrown a pick-six all season.
- The Bears beat the Panthers behind Mitchell Trubisky’s four completed passes and five total first downs. The Panthers had the edge in time of possession, 38-21.
- This is the second year in a row the Broncos got off to a hot start. So many people LOVED Trevor Siemian after TWO games, but then he flamed out and the offense couldn’t score. Kind of like last season. There’s only so much the terrific Broncos defense can do.
- Seattle has flipped the switch. Get ready for them to go on a long winning streak. Here’s their upcoming schedule; vs. Texans, vs. Redskins, @ Cardinals, vs. Falcons, @49ers. It may seem daunting, but they get the tough matches at home, where they are 41-6 since 2012.
Rant of the Week
Martavis Bryant, get out. Who needs you? Pittsburgh sure doesn’t. Last week Bryant denied trade rumors, but now he’s saying he does indeed want to be traded. Well, have fun playing with some other awful quarterback.
You are making a grave mistake, “wanting out,” Martavis. You should really value what you have, a two-time Super Bowl winning Hall of Fame quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. But, if you’d rather have Drew Stanton or C.J. Beathard throwing to you, well, have fun.
You could also learn from the NFL’s best wide receiver, Antonio Brown. We all know how great he is on the field, but maybe you could learn something from his work ethic off the field. Here’s one snippet, “the Steelers’ brass has consistently said that Brown is the last player off the practice field, whether its OTA, training camp or a regular season practice.” And that’s just one of the many rave reviews people say about him. There are so many other reasons why Brown is someone to look up to. You could learn so much from him.
The Steelers don’t need you. They produce such great wide receivers from Hines Ward to Santonio Holmes to Mike Wallace to Antonio Brown. Ask Holmes and Wallace what happens when you leave Pittsburgh? Holmes played four seasons in Pittsburgh and had at least 800 yards receiving in each season. In his fourth and final season, Holmes had career highs, 79 receptions and 1,248 yards. He then got into trouble off the field, and the Steelers shipped him to the Jets where he failed to eclipse 800 yards the rest of his career. As for Mike Wallace, he had good years since leaving Pittsburgh in 2012, but you haven’t really heard from him when he was in Miami, Minnesota, and now the abysmal Ravens.
Martavis, you are entitled and you have no reason to be. It was your fault you were suspended for the entire season last year for repeated drug violations. Pittsburgh will fulfill your wish and you will regret it for the rest of your career.
Survivor League Strategy
For those of you unfamiliar with survivor pools, it’s very simple; pick a team to win each week, if they win you move on to the next week. But you cannot use that team ever again. There is no point spread involved.
It’s survive and advance at this point. There may be 10% of entries remaining. Or some of you, survivors leagues have restarted so it’s like Week 1 all over again.
Before making any picks, look at the point spreads. Vegas has the best minds, smarter than any of us, use them to get a glimpse at how each team is projected to fare that week. There will be a game or two a week where the line makes NO SENSE which means Vegas is giving you an inside scoop and they’re mostly always right.
The biggest favorites in Week 8 per sportsbook (home team in caps):
- EAGLES -13 vs. 49ers
- BENGALS -10 vs. Colts
- Vikings -9.5 vs. Browns (in London)
- SAINTS -9 vs. Bears
- PATRIOTS -7.5 vs. Chargers
- CHIEFS -7.5 vs. Broncos
Teams on bye: Cardinals, Packers, Jaguars, Rams, Giants, Titans.
Thanks to six teams being on bye, and the stupid 9:30 a.m. London Game, there are ONLY two 4 p.m. games. Come on NFL scheduler. That’s awful. I will admit the two games, Texans at Seahawks and Cowboys at Redskins are very good games, but you just can’t have two. Move the Panthers Bucs or the Chargers and Pats to 4. The RedZone channel will be useless after the early games on Sunday.
If you’re reading this article on Thursday or later, these lines were from Tuesday. Check the current spreads and see how the line moved.
Top Survivor Picks for Week 8
BENGALS -10 vs. Colts
This will be the only time you can pick the Bengals. I liked how the Bengals played in Pittsburgh on Sunday. They hung with them for a half, until Marvin Lewis abandoned the run in the second half (five rushing attempts for 17 yards). Whereas in the first half they ran 12 times for 54 yards. If the Bengals stick to the run this week, they will destroy Indy. The Colts just gave up 188 yards, five per carry, to a Jaguars team that didn’t have Leonard Fournette. The Colts defense also gave up 330 yards passing to Blake Bortles and lost their first round pick, safety Malik Hooker, for the year to an ACL injury. While the Bengals are bottom five in offense, they get the second worst rush defense. I think Marvin Lewis tries to establish the run early in this one and sticks with it.
The Colts are a disaster. They are dead last in DVOA, behind the Browns, and as I’ve been saying this all year, Andrew Luck will not play a down this season. Their season is over. It’s only a matter of time until Chuck Pagano is fired. I’d highly advise reading this column by Colts beat writer Gregg Doyle, who completely destroys the team. They are just so bad. To get shutout at home and allow 10 sacks at home to the Jaguars… how can it get any worse?
Vikings -9.5 vs. Browns
This game is in London so that makes me a little nervous, but then I realize it’s the Browns. Do I really need to throw stats out to show how bad the Browns are? It seems pretty obvious. Besides for a stupid garbage time touchdown in Houston two weeks ago, the Browns have not scored a legitimate offensive touchdown since Week 5 against the Jets. Minnesota isn’t a juggernaut of an offense, but they run the ball effectively, 124 yards per game. Case Keenum doesn’t make mistakes. He’s thrown two interceptions in six games. But the Vikings defense is the heart of this team. They are really really good defensively, 10th in DVOA. When the Vikings win on Sunday, they will move to a quietly surprising 6-2 and the clear cut favorite to win the NFC North.
Eagles -13 vs. 49ers
This may be a letdown game for the Eagles after their spectacular showing on Monday Night Football, but even their worst game isn’t bad enough to lose to the 49ers. The Niners are back on the east coast after they played in Indy and Washington in Weeks 5 and 6. How does that make any sense NFL? Schedule better. My point is this is a early game on the east coast for a west coast team. If the Niners were to win, that would be the most shocking win of the season.
SAINTS -9 vs. Bears
I have been against the Saints all season, but now I am backing them so watch them lose. The Saints score 28 points per game while the Bears score 17. I’d love to see the Bears try and attempt eight passes all game again. Mitchell Trubisky will need to make passes to compete in this game. Unless the Saints offense completely fizzles out, the Bears have no chance. Also, the Saints are 5th in DVOA while the Bears are 27th.
Chiefs -7.5 vs. Broncos
I hate picking divisional matchups, but Andy Reid is 16-3 as a head coach off a bye. Granted, the Chiefs are not off a bye, but they did play on Thursday Night Football so they had a mini-bye of sorts. Those extra three days will be enough to beat the Broncos, who have not scored multiple touchdowns in one game since Week 2. They have scored three touchdowns in their last four games. Another reason to pick the Chiefs, they are 3rd in DVOA, while the Broncos are 23rd.
Top Survivor Picks to Avoid
Falcons -4.5 @ JETS
The Jets will either get blown out here and the game be over in the first quarter or it’ll come down to the final drive. The Jets have looked surprisingly good, while the Falcons offense has scored seven points in the last six quarters and have looked miserable. These teams are also so even in touchdowns scored, 3rd down conversions and opposition defense, DVOA, turnover differential, passing offense, and they have the same exact amount number of rushing yards, 723. The Jets are a frisky team with a nice defense who can cause a little trouble for middle of the road quarterback Matt Ryan.
- RAVENS -3.5 vs. Dolphins- This may be the worst Thursday Night Football game ever. I will not watch a second of this. Take your girlfriend or wife to a movie for this one.
- BUCS -2 vs Panthers- A divisional matchup with two teams that are so inconsistent.
- BILLS -3 vs. Raiders- Early game on the east coast for a west coast team. It’ll be a three point game.
- PATRIOTS -7.5 vs. Chargers- How do you beat the Patriots? Elite pass rushing. The Chargers have that with Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram. The team is T-4 with 23 sacks. The Pats allow 116 yards on the ground, which may bode well for Melvin Gordon.
- SEAHAWKS- 5.5 vs. Texans- I think this will be a three point game with DeShaun Watson‘s ability for a backdoor cover. The Texans are also 3-0 after a bye under Bill O’Brien.
- Cowboys -2.5 @ REDSKINS- Sit back and enjoy this NFC East battle that is a crucial game for both teams. The Cowboys have yet to beat a good team. So far they’ve beaten the Giants, Cardinals, and 49ers. The Redskins are 2-0 after losses this year.
- Steelers -3 @ LIONS- What a big Sunday Night game this is for the Lions. They are 3-3 and need to keep pace with the Vikings. Matthew Stafford will need to play out of his mind against a Steelers team that usually plays its best in front of a national television audience. Antonio Brown loves the spotlight and the Lions will need to find a way to slow him down.