By Josh Kramer
The Philadelphia Eagles appear to have finally woken up from their nearly two month slumber. Green Bay seems poised to repeat as Super Bowl Champions. The Rams finally got a W. And the Cincinnati Bengals are 5 and 2. Yes, let me repeat that. The team out of Cincinnati commonly referred to as the “Bungles” and run by that psycho owner is currently tied atop the AFC North with a rookie QB out of TCU.
Week 8 was great, but you better believe that Week 9 has the makings to be even better.
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 8, here is the scoreboard.
Miami Dolphins (DC) at Kansas City Chiefs (CB, TSK, CV3)
-The Word: One of the League’s hottest teams takes on one of the League’s most woeful teams. You do the math.
Atlanta Falcons (CB, TSK, CV3, DC) at Indianapolis Colts
-The Word: In the crowded NFC South, games like this for Matty Ice and the Falcons are must wins.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at New Orleans Saints (CB, TSK, CV3, DC)
-The Word: A rematch battle for NFC South supremacy. Will the home team come out victoroius again?
New York Jets (CB, TSK, DC) at Buffalo Bills (CV3)
-The Word: How will “Moneybags” Fitzpatrick deal with being the hunted?
Seattle Seahawks at Dallas Cowboys (CB,TSK, CV3, DC)
-The Word: Which team will be more resilient after being embarrassed last week?
Cleveland Browns (DC) at Houston Texans (CB, TSK, CV3)
-The Word: Cleveland has never been known for their luck. Well with the likely return of Andre Johnson, their luck continues to get worse.
San Francisco 49ers (CB, TSK, CV3) at Washington Redskins (DC)
-The Word: Not much has gone wrong for Jim Harbaugh and Co. lately. As for the Redskins, well, their past much has been woeful.
Cincinnati Bengals (CB, TSK, CV3, DC) at Tennessee Titans
-The Word: I never thought I would see the day that a team which featured a healthy Chris Johnson would rank last in the NFL in rushing yards per game. But I also never thought I would see the day that a Bengals team led by a rookie QB out of TCU would be 5 and 2.
Denver Broncos at Oakland Raiders (CB, TSK, CV3, DC)
New York Giants at New England Patriots (CB, TSK, CV3, DC)
-The Word: The Giants shocked the world in the 2007 Super Bowl. Brady has won 31 straight at home. Can the Giants shock the world again?
St. Louis Rams (CV3) at Arizona Cardinals (CB, TSK, DC)
-The Word: Which team will climb out of the NFC West cellar?
Green Bay Packers (CB, TSK, CV3) at San Diego Chargers (DC)
-The Word: At a time, many wondered if Aaron Rodgers was worthy of being considered in the same class as Philip Rivers. Boy have times changed.
Baltimore Ravens (TSK, DC) at Pittsburgh Steelers (CB, CV3)
Chicago Bears at Philadelphia Eagles (CB, TSK, CV3, DC)
-The Word: The “Dream Team” appears to have finally awoken from their extended slumber. Can the Bears handle Philly’s playmakers?
Game of the Week: Baltimore Ravens at Pittsburgh Steelers
-As if this was a question. Back during the opening weekend, this was the “Game of the Week.” Generally when these two AFC North powers get together, there is a ton at stake. When are these teams not in playoff contention? In addition, both of these teams always feature some of the League’s most tenacious defensive units. Ray Lewis, Troy Polamalu, among others always provide excitement.
-Sadly for Pittsburgh, they have two major factors playing against them on Sunday. First of all, they are very beat up at the linebacker position. And linebackers are always essential to success on the defensive side of the ball. Secondly, they are coming off of a major victory over New England. As you all know, after every high comes a low. Baltimore punished this team in Week 1. And sure Pittsburgh is playing better, but you do not have to give the Ravens bulletin board material to get up for this one. Despite being the road team, the edge goes to Baltimore.
Stat of the Week:
-The Ravens/Steelers have split their regular season matchup each of the past three years. Sadly for Baltimore though, they have been unable to defeat the Black and Yellow in the playoffs (0 and 3 all time). Baltimore laid the smack down in Week 1 defeating the Steelers by 28 points. Can the Ravens get back up and return the favor?
CV3: The game of the week is the hardest hitting rivalry in the NFL, Steelers vs Ravens. The outcome of this game will not reflect their first meeting. In fact, the roles will be reversed. The Steelers offense is currently hitting on all cylinders. With both defenses being stout, I would bet for the Steelers offense to beat the Ravens offense. The Ravens need defense and special teams to score in this game to have a chance, but the Steel Curtain will make that difficult. If Big Ben can manage the game with one turnover or less, this should be a win for the Steelers. If the Steelers turn the ball over twice or more, then the game will be up for grabs. I think the Steelers take this one, but in a perfect world it would end in a tie! Go Bengals!
CB: Baltimore at Pittsburgh.. that’s all I have to say. Just like the last 20 times they’ve played, I expect a physical battle on the gridiron. This rivalry is always a fun game to watch. But, I expect a lot this week out of the offenses. Both offenses have been pretty good so far this year, so I don’t expect them to slow down here either. I look for Flacco and Roethlisberger to have big games as well. Which means that the starting running backs on each team will be targeted frequently by their QB’s on short routes and dump passes because of the swarming defenses that each team possess. No matter who wins this game, I expect the Cincinnati Bengals to continue their tie for first place in the AFC North this week, after they defeat the Titans! Who Dey!
DC: Finally, the NFL is giving us some good games to watch on Sunday and Monday night. The primetime games present the best matchups for the fans to partake in this week. Look for a Steeler letdown after a monstruous W against the Pats. The “Dream Team” is back and Mike Vick is going to show it against the Bears on Monday night for the entire nation to see. I also like the Chargers to bounce back with revenge in their eyes against the Packers. Green Bay is good– but they are not going to go undefeated. I like the Bolts in the desert.
TSK: All eyes will be on Heinz Field this week when the Ravens and Steelers go to war for a second time on the year. Bring an extra chin strap, because this one will get chippy. In addition, can the Packers continue their undefeated march yet another week? You better believe that Philip Rivers will be seeking redemption. And finally, will Michael Vick put on another show on the big stage like he did last year against Washington? If he does, Brian Urlacher will not be demonstrating much swag on Monday night.
Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.