By Josh Kramer
The NFL season rolls on to Week 8. Up to this point in the season, we have learned a lot. The Packers are living up to all of the hype and more, appearing poised to repeat as Super Bowl Champions. Teams like the San Francisco 49ers and the Cincinnati Bengals missed the memo and have decided to be contenders. And people are finally starting to realize just how valuable Peyton Manning was to his team.. Football fans across the country are witnessing what the Colts are like without #18.
As has become the tradition, we are once again having “TheSportsKraze Pick’em Challenge.”
The participants this season are as follows:
TheSportsKraze (TSK) (defending champion)-Josh Kramer-Founder/Editor-In-Chief of “TheSportsKraze” and former ESPN intern.
CV3-Chad Vordenberge-An elite high school wide receiver and a very successful business owner.
CB-Craig Baker-A former collegiate baseball player and current special education teacher.
DC-David Clark-A dedicated sports fan who was coached by TheSportsKraze on his fraternity flag football team. After playing for TheSportsKraze, he has developed a slow but steady motivation to show his coach who the real pick’em champion is.
After Week 7, here is the scoreboard.
Arizona Cardinals at Baltimore Ravens (CB, TSK, CV3, DC)
-The Word: Will the Jekyll or Hyde version of the Ravens show up this week? If it is the good one, it will be a blowout at M&T Bank Stadium.
Minnesota Vikings (TSK , CV3, DC) at Carolina Panthers (CB)
-The Word: Expect a field-day for both AP and Cam Newton. The question is who will have the bigger day?
Jacksonville Jaguars at Houston Texans (CB, TSK, CV3, DC)
-The Word: Houston looked like the Texans everyone expected last week. Let’s see if they can keep rolling.
Miami Dolphins at New York Giants (CB, TSK, CV3, DC)
-The Word: On paper, this matchup appears to be a blowout in the making at the Meadowlands.
New Orleans Saints (CB, TSK, CV3, DC) at St. Louis Rams
-The Word: You thought the beating Brees and Co. laid on the Colts was bad last week? This one could end up being just as bad.
Indianapolis Colts (CV3) at Tennessee Titans (CB, TSK, DC)
-The Word: I never thought that I would see the day where a team that featured a healthy Chris Johnson in the backfield would rank dead last in the League in rushing yards. Luckily for the Titans, they get to host the Manning-Less Colts on Sunday.
Detroit Lions (CB, TSK, DC) at Denver Broncos (CV3)
-The Word: Suh and the vicious Lions defensive line are anxiously awaiting introductions to Mr. Tebow.
Washington Redskins (DC) at Buffalo Bills (CB, TSK, CV3)
-The Word: Buffalo’s defense is surprisingly bad. Luckily for the Bills, they play host to the turnover happy Redskins.
Cincinnati Bengals (CB, TSK, CV3, DC) at Seattle Seahawks
-The Word: By 8PM on Sunday, it is widely expected that the Cincinnati Bengals will be 5 and 2. Did anyone in America see this coming?
Cleveland Browns at San Francisco 49ers (CB, TSK, CV3, DC)
-The Word: The 49ers should walk away from this one with their 5th consecutive victory. Is Jim Harbaugh a magician?
New England Patriots (CB, TSK) at Pittsburgh Steelers (CV3, DC)
-The Word: A good old-fashioned AFC rumble between two of the best teams around.
Dallas Cowboys (TSK, CV3) at Philadelphia Eagles (CB, DC)
-The Word: This is one of those rivalry games that regardless of if you are a fan of either team, you won’t want to miss it.
San Diego Chargers (CB, TSK, CV3, DC) at Kansas City Chiefs
-The Word: Kansas City is just one game out of first place after an abysmal start. Can they take down Philip Rivers and the lethal San Diego offensive attack?
Game of the Week: New England Patriots at Pittsburgh Steelers
-Tom Brady has been blowing kisses at the Pittsburgh Steelers all week. He has showered them with laud and praise. It feels like he is treating Pittsburgh probably better than he treats his gorgeous wife, Gisele. Well I hate to break it to Tom. James Harrison and the tenacious Steelers defense are not going to kiss him goodnight. Now I will never question Tom Brady’s tactics in that the guy flat-out knows how to win.
-Both of these storied franchises currently find themselves atop their respective divisions. Is anyone really surprised? Seven of the past ten AFC Champions have been one of these two respective teams. Neither of these franchises ever have a “real” down year. A down year for one of these teams is a 9 and 7 season where they sneak in with a wild card or just miss out on postseason football. Losing seasons are not an option. Tom Brady, Wes Welker, and the lethal Patriots offensive unit are going to have to bring it all and more. This is your classic offense versus defense matchup. And though it is hard for me to say, I am going to take the Pats despite being the road team. It is very hard to bet against Tom Brady in a big game.
Stat of the Week:
-It is no secret that Tom Brady is a winner. The man has three Super Bowl rings for a reason and looks poised for number four any day now. Not only is the man a winner though, but he wins against the Steelers. Since 2001, Mr. Brady is 6 and 2 against the Black and Yellow. Hard to bet against that.
CV3: Can the Steelers derail the Pats? The Pats can put up outrageous offensive numbers, however, their defense is capable of allowing just as many yards as their offense logs. Will we see an offensive outburst from both teams or will they try to slow the other team down with the run game? Should be a playoff type of atmosphere with two teams that could meet again this year.
CB: Most interesting game of the week by far is the Cowboys at the Eagles. This is an important game for both teams, whomever loses, most likely will not have a shot at the playoffs. This game has all the hype of explosive offenses, great defenses, America’s team and the “Dream Team” (Dream Player-Mike Vick). I look for this game to be very intense. The Cowboys love to blitz, which could make Mike Vick’s day either miserable or he will have a career type day. I look for the Eagles to pull this one out and continue to make their run for the playoffs!
DC: The game of the week is obviously at Heinz Field this week. The Steel Curtain enter Week 8 at 5-2 and after watching the Ravens falter against a woeful Jags squad, experts believe this has the potential of being a preview of the AFC Championship game in January. Brady and Belichick laid it on thick calling the Steelers defense “legendary,” but I think Pitt shows it against the AFC’s top rated team thus far. Big Ben will unfortunately lead the Steelers to a 34-27 victory at home. Lets all hope the Bengals get another easy W this week in Seattle.
TSK: This week features the type of games that you wouldn’t want to miss in a 1,000 years along with some real stinkers. So in terms of the can’t miss games. The battle in Pittsburgh will be your classic offensive versus defensive war. Flip a coin on which wins out. Then in the city of Brotherly Love, two bitter rivals go head to head in a must win type of game for both teams. Who will be more clutch down the stretch? Romo or Vick?
Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.