Poore's Picks: Week Eight
By Jim Poore
Now that the 2005-2006 NFL season is almost half over, it is starting to become pretty clear what teams are good and which are the has-beens. Right now, there are more of the latter than the former, with the majority in the AFC. The Indianapolis Colts are the lone undefeated team, but there are critics out there who feel their early season schedule is lacking in competition. The Denver Broncos are right behind them with only one loss, but their late season collapses the last few years is a concern. The Bengals have slowed a bit after a fast start, but still appear to be one of the better AFC teams right now. The Steelers are another solid team. Even though they are only 3-3, the New England Patriots could still make a rapid climb back to the top after a much needed bye week and an easier schedule.
Whether or not the NFC should even be mentioned is another story. There are some decent teams out there, depending on what one's definition of decent is. The class of the NFC could be the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, though their record is not quite the indication of what their team really is. The NFC North, as usual, is a joke of a division where the winner could very likely have a record below .500 when the regular season is over. The NFC East has been its usual competitive self, and very possibly could produce the NFC's two wild card teams. The NFC West has only one decent team, Seattle, and they are about as inconsistent as they come. The Falcons and Carolina, both in the NFC South, could emerge but likely will not make any splash come playoff time.
The rest of the NFL season could get interesting. Inconsistency is a common trait among all team, making the picks more and more difficult to make. But the picks will go on, and here are the picks for week number eight.
NEW YORK GIANTS
It looks like Eli Manning is really starting to come into his own, showing a lot of poise in last week's thrilling win over the Broncos. And as much as I hate to say it, I think the Redskins are a pretty decent team. This is one of many very important NFC East matchups that will be going on in the coming weeks. The entire NFC could depend on the results. Well this result is one: the Giants will cover in this one.
Poore's Pick: Giants 24-20
7 1/2 Green Bay
The Bengals have started to falter a bit after a strong start, but are poised to make a playoff run. The Packers on the other hand just need to run. I think many people thought they might get back on track a bit after their blow out win a couple of weeks ago, then they lose to the Vikings. Now they lose Ahman Green for the season. It won't get any easier for the Packers, who are going into Cincinnati to face a Bengals team that really needs to get back on track.
Poore's Pick: Bengals 34-16
DETROIT 3 Chicago
As much as it pains me to say this, this is actually an important game this week. Both teams coming off of wins, and sadly a win here by either team could give them the edge in the division sweepstakes. Jeff Garcia has given the Lions a small spark on offense, and truthfully the Bears really haven't been all that bad this year. I have to give the edge here to the Lions, just by being at home. The Lions in first place in the NFC North? Now THERE is a scary thought.
Poore's Pick: Lions 26-20
CAROLINA 7 Minnesota
The Panthers coming off of a bye week must have been happy to see the Vikings as their next opponent. Panthers have been about as inconsistent as it gets, but the Vikings have been very consistent. Consistently bad. I don't see any improvements this week. Take the Panthers, especially after a bye week.
Poore's Pick: Panthers 27-17
The Raiders have been playing better lately, but the Titans have not been. After losing my upset last week, the Titans are home to a Raiders team that has actually been playing pretty well all year. Tennessee is just too young right now, and of course Steve NcNair is always hurt. I don't see the Raiders making any sort of dash to the playoffs, but they could end up being the perfect spoiler team late in the year. Take the Raiders this week.
Poore's Pick: Raiders 23-14
DALLAS 7 1/2 Arizona
The Cowboys lost another close game last week, and they finally waived kicker Jose Cortez. I don't know what took so long. He has been awful all year. The Cardinals should be what the Cowboys need to get back on track. Though winning last week, the Cardinals simply aren't that good, at least not this year. Dallas needs a win to keep pace in the competitive NFC East, and I don't see any problems here.
Poore's Pick: Cowboys 31-10
HOUSTON pick Cleveland
This could be the perfect week for the Texans to finally win a game. The Brownies are inconsistent like anyone else, and Houston at home is as good a pick as any here. But the Texans are like any other team, so who knows at this point.
Poore's Pick: Texans 17-14
NEW ORLEANS 2 Miami
This is another game that is tough to call. Miami is coming off of some extra rest, and that can only help. It is a good thing they got Ricky Williams back. He has done squat since his return. The Saints are coming off of another controversial loss. Ask Jim Haslett he'll tell you what he thought. My original instinct was to go with the Dolphins here, but after further review I'll go with the Saints.
Poore's Pick: Saints 26-21
Jacksonville 3 ST. LOUIS
The Jags are coming off of a much needed bye week, and that should give them an edge in this matchup. Mike Martz is going to be out for the rest of the year, and last week the Rams responded positively. Jacksonville has proven to be a pretty good team this year. The Rams, like most teams in the NFC, are not very good. Take the Jaguars here even away from home.
Poore's Pick: Jaguars 27-21
SAN DIEGO 4 1/2 Kansas
The Chargers let another win slip by them last week, on a botched field goal of all things. The Chiefs blasted Miami, but one never knows what Chiefs team is going to show up to play. They have had an extra couple of days of rest, but the Chargers really have been playing pretty well all year, as two of their losses were last second. This is a very big game in the AFC, let alone just the West division. I like the Chargers at home.
Poore's Pick: Chargers 26-17
Bay 10 SAN FRANCISCO
The 49ers have been double digit underdogs two weeks in a row, and have covered neither time. This is the third week, and I think the third time will be the charm. Tampa is still not a great team, and now Brian Griese is out. I just think the Niners are in a good spot here. They are a lousy team, but a chance to knock off the NFC leading Bucs should give them some incentive here. I don't see an upset, but covering the points is a good bet.
Poore's Pick: Buccaneers 24-17
DENVER 3 Philadelphia
Perhaps this is the start of the annual Bronco swoon after last week's loss. Philadelphia coming off of an emotional win and that should give them some lift here. I still have trouble trusting Jake Plummer. I do, however, trust Donovan McNabb. I am still amazed at his level of play even with his injury. This is my upset of the week. At this point, it would be an upset if I actually nail one of these picks. Take the Eagles in this one.
Poore's Pick: Eagles 23-21
The Patriots getting a much deserved rest after their tough early schedule. It looks like they are going to get some bodies back on defense. I think they might overlook the Bills a little bit. Buffalo not a great team but might still be a bit better then people give them credit for. Buffalo is 2-0 in the AFC East and would love to go 3-0. But it isn't going to happen. Pats might look
past them a bit but they shouldn't have too many problems, especially after an extra week of rest. Take the Pats, but it I don't see the complete blowout that some do.
Poore's Pick: Patriots 30-17
The Steelers took a big step last week in beating Cincinnati, and now face a poor Ravens team at home. Baltimore's offense came alive a bit last week, but it will definitely struggle at the Heinz. I have heard that Jamal Lewis has lost a bit of interest this year, and I can't say as I can blame him. Playing the Steelers this week in Pittsburgh isn't going to get his interest back. Take
Pittsburgh this week.
Poore's Pick: Steelers 29-10
Week's record: 6-7-1 ( 9-5 without the spread )
Record Through Week Seven: 46-54-2
Upset Special Record: 0-7
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[Editors Note: Jim submitted his picks before the Miami game on Friday night. PI was typically posts Poore's Picks Saturday morning due to previous scheduling commitments. Look for the column earlier on weeks with a Thursday, Friday or Saturday game.]
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