NFL Week 8 Picks

A win is a win. That’s what I have been telling myself and my girlfriend since the Giants’ 27-7 “win” over her Vikings on Monday Night Football. I say “win” because I’m not sure beating Josh Freeman and his 33 incompletions should really be considered a win. But a win is a win and the Giants desperately needed one (one as is one win this season) and if they have

I’m not sure how to act in a lost season that goes missing in September with three months still to be played. I’m used to watching the season unravel in November or December with a second-half collapse ruining what once looked to be a division title and possible first-round bye. I know how to deal with that type of season. I don’t know how to deal with this.

All Monday’s win did was take the Giants out of the Jadeveon Clowney sweepstakes and give Antrel Rolle another week of “winning out” proclamations to spew on sports radio. It didn’t give any more realistic hope to an epic comeback and possible playoff berth and a win this weekend in Philadelphia won’t do that either. Win this weekend and then beat the Raiders and then the Packers and then the Cowboys and we’ll talk.

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As the Giants season goes, my picks season goes. And with the Giants’ first win of the year on Monday Night Football, I enjoyed my first over-.500 week of the season at 9-6. Thank you, thank you.But with a 9-6 week comes expectations and if my picks season is going to really, truly mirror the Giants season then expectations are the last thing I need just when it looks like I might be ready to turn around the first half debacle.

Week 8 … let’s go

(Home team in caps)

Carolina -7 over TAMPA BAY
If I only had to pick the Thursday games, I would be having a great year at 5-2. But aside from that …

Somewhere someone who isn’t a Panthers fan or a Buccaneers fan is going to bet on this game and watch it in its entirety. Think about that.

San Francisco -16.5 over JACKSONVILLE
After earning some respect in their loss to the Broncos and getting Vegas to lower their next line to just — at home against the chargers, Vegas isn’t willing to make things so easy for the Jaguars anymore. The Jaguars have now scored in single digits in four of seven games and have lost by an average of 31.7-10.9.

Dallas +3 over DETROIT
Let’s pretend for a second that the Giants could eventually have a chance at playing in the postseason. (Yes, I know how ridiculous that sounds.) Now if the Giants are going to get there, the Cowboys and Eagles would have to go into the tank and that means losing games like this one on the road in Detroit. But for as much as I despise the Cowboys and I greatly despise the Cowboys, this year feels like their year. Not “their year” in the sense that it’s “their year to win a championship.” No, no, no. I mean “their year” as in “their year to win the division and reach the postseason.” And with the Cowboys in 2013, that’s all their goal should really be.

New York Giants +5 over PHILADELPHIA
It shouldn’t matter if Michael Vick starts or Nick Foles or Nick Vick or Matt Barkley, the Giants should be able to keep this game close.

KANSAS CITY -7.5 over Cleveland
You never want to pick for the team whose quarterback situation is such a mess that they have Jeff Garcia saying he is willing to try out to be their quarterback if they are willing to let him, considering Garcia is 43 and last threw a pass in the NFL in 2008. I think I’ll take my chances with the undefeated 7-0 team against that team.

NEW ORLEANS -11.5 over Buffalo
My apologies to Thad Lewis who I greatly underestimated last week as he and the Bills went to Miami and upset the Dolphins. (OK, maybe it was more like the Dolphins offense and the Bills defense that were responsible for the upset, but Thad still gets the W for his resume.) The problem with trusting Thaddeus now is that he isn’t going to South Beach to face a Dolphins team that last won on Sept. 22. He’s going to the place where all quarterbacks (even great ones) and all opponents (even worthy ones) go to lose and lose big.

The Saints’ last home loss with Sean Payton as head coach came in Week 17 in 2010 when they had nothing to play for. Including the playoffs, the Saints have won their last 12 home games since that loss and here are their margins of victory going back from Week 4 in 2013 to Week 2 in 2011 with Payton as head coach: 21, 24, 6, 17, 28, 29, 14, 25, 11, 55, 7 and 17.

So what’s the best medicine for the Saints to get back in the win column after losing in Foxboro on an improbalby last-minute touchdown coming off their bye? How about the Bills in the Superdome?

Miami +7 over NEW ENGLAND
Playing in Foxboro against the Patriots isn’t what it used to be in terms of losing, but that has more to do with what the Patriots offense has become and not what their defense is. Sure, teams still have a hard time winning game at Gillette, but we’re not picking winners here and no one says the Dolphins are going to win, but covering a touchdown on the road against a division rival?

Aside from their 20-point blowout of the Buccaneers, who might very well be worse than the Jaguars, here are the margins of victory in the Patriots’ other six games: 2, 3, 7, 7, 3 and 3. (The Patriots went 4-2 in those six games.)

New York Jets +6.5 over CINCINNATI
The Giants are 1-6. The Jets are 4-3 and with a win and a Patriots loss, they will be tied atop the AFC East with the Patriots at 5-3. Back in 2010, I feared that the Jets might take over the New York football landscape after they went to back-to-back AFC Championship Games while the Giants missed out on the playoffs in both 2009 and 2010. But then the Jets lost to the Giants on Christmas Eve in 2011 and the Giants beat the Cowboys the following week for the division title and then ran the table in the playoffs and won the Super Bowl and the landscape never changed. It’s not going to change in 2013, but I don’t like there even being a possibility that it could.

Pittsburgh -3 over OAKLAND
There are very few teams I would trust picking the Steelers to cover three points on the road against. The Raiders happen to be one of them. And with the Steelers riding back-to-back wins, a win in Oakland and a 3-4 record will keep their postseason hopes alive with New England, Detroit, Baltimore, Miami, Cincinnati and Green Bay still on the schedule.

Washington +13 over DENVER
Do I trust the Redskins on the road with their defense against the Broncos offense? Of course not! But I think I have been trusting the Broncos a little too much lately and it’s time to realize that the Broncos defense just isn’t good and certainly isn’t a championship-caliber defense. And it seems like RGIII has put an end to his early-season sophomore slump.

ARIZONA -2 over Atlanta
I think Kurt Warner was the Cardinals quarterback the last time I picked the Cardinals. But after getting burned by Arizona seemingly every week since then, it’s time I turn my back on the Falcons. When I first looked at this line I couldn’t believe the Cardinals were giving points and it seemed like taking the Falcons was easy, actually too easy, and whenever you’re presented with a game like this and a line like this, you get the feeling that something is off. And oh yeah …

Somewhere someone who isn’t a Cardinals fan or a Falcons fan is going to bet on this game and watch it in its entirety. Think about that.

Green Bay -9.5 over MINNESOTA
Josh Freeman was historically bad on Monday Night Football after Leslie Frazier did the opposite of what any coach in any sport tries to do by putting their players in the best position to succeed. Frazier started Freeman and stuck with him despite the obvious lack of chemistry between the quarterback and his receivers. This week Frazier isn’t starting Freeman, but is instead going back to Christian Ponder, who got the Vikings off to an 0-3 start to the year. Ponder wasn’t good enough to start in Week 7 over a guy that had been a Viking for two weeks and had never taken a snap as Vikings quarterback, but now he’s good enough to start against the Packers? I know the first game everyone will be putting in their teasers this week.

Seattle -11.5 over ST. LOUIS
The Seahawks are trying to win the Super Bowl this year and the Rams reached out to Brett Favre about returning to the NFL to play quarterback for them.

Last week: 9-6-0
Season: 44-59-4

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