We're just about at the midway point of the 2010 NFL season and some things still don't make sense. Preseason sweethearts Dallas and San Francisco are a combined 2-11 on this season. San Diego, despite being statistically fantastic, reside in last place in the AFC West at 2-5. The Bears are still holding onto first place in the NFC North as well.
What does appear evident so far this year is that the best teams reside in the AFC. The Jets, Patriots and Steelers look like they're the class of the NFL this year. Indianapolis can never be written off either, but injuries are taking their toll for Peyton Manning and co.
We'll do our best to look into our crystal ball and correctly pick the Week 8 games. Commentary is again abbreviated thanks to the Rangers being in this thing called the World Series. Standings will return next week as well.
Miami (3-3) at Cincinnati (2-4) - The Dolphins are winless at home but undefeated on the road - though they were robbed of a win last week at home against the Steelers. The Dolphins are tough to figure out - as are the Bengals. The defense has let the Bengals down the past three weeks: in losses to Cleveland, Tampa Bay and Atlanta allowing 23, 24 and 39 points. Ouch.
- Charley Code: Dolphins
- Christopher Fittz: Dolphins
- Maurice London: Dolphins
- Liam Ponting: Dolphins
- Robbie Griffin: Dolphins - I'm done overrating Cincy and underrating Miami. Maybe I should take the home team, but I don't think the Bengals deserve even that.
- JP Starkey: Dolphins - Miami is good, Cincinnati is not.
- Brett Perryman: Dolphins - A lot of stats actually point Cincy's way here, but I believe more in Miami. The Dolphins must avoid more big returns on their coverage units.
Jacksonville (3-4) at Dallas (1-5) - Not much to say about this game. From a national point of view, this game is not going to be fun to watch. Jon Kitna will make his first start in a few years and it will actually be interesting to see if he can build a rapport with Dez Bryant - he's really fun to watch if you haven't noticed - and he did throw two touchdowns to him last week. The Jags are somehow 3-4 and that boggles my mind, they'll add David Garrard back to the fold - he missed last week due to a concussion.
- Code: Cowboys
- Fittz: Cowboys
- London: Jaguars
- Ponting: Cowboys
- Griffin: Cowboys - Dallas can't go 1-15. Here's a game even Jon Kitna should win.
- Starkey: Cowboys - Dez Bryant makes this game worth watching and the Cowboys win their first home game of the year...with Jon Kitna under center.
- Perryman: Cowboys - The fact that the Cowboys are touchdown favorites with Jon Kitna at QB tells you a lot about the Jags. Their average loss is by 25 points.
Washington (4-3) at Detroit (1-5) - Donovan McNabb and his six touchdowns and seven interceptions have led the Redskins to a 4-3 record and in the playoff hunt. Ok, maybe McNabb hasn't led them, but Washington does sit at 4-3. Detroit will have quarterback Matt Stafford back for this game, which should help out an already good passing attack.
- Code: Redskins
- Fittz: Redskins
- London: Lions
- Ponting: Redskins
- Griffin: Redskins - I'm not buying the Lions as favorites, but I do think this is a close game.
- Starkey: Lions - I like the Lions at home here with Stafford coming back. McNabb hasn't impressed me much.
- Perryman: Redskins - The Skins give up 406 yards per game, but they lead the NFC in turnover margin. That +8 number will grow this week.
Buffalo (0-6) at Kansas City (4-2) - Perhaps the most dreary matchup of the week only because it features the Buffalo Bills. Chan Gailey should have been starting Ryan Fitzpatrick from the get-go, but I guess that's why he's Chan Gailey. The Chiefs look to build on their two game lead in the AFC West, and with the Chargers sitting three games back in the loss column, playoffs in Kansas City look more and more likely by the week.
- Code: Chiefs
- Fittz: Chiefs
- London: Chiefs
- Ponting: Chiefs
- Griffin: Chiefs - This seems like the most one-sided game on paper this week. Who thought I'd be saying that in August?
- Starkey: Chiefs - Ryan Fitzpatrick actually looks pretty good, so I wouldn't be shocked if Buffalo pulls off an upset, but Kansas City is the better team. Obviously.
- Perryman: Chiefs - With KC at home, this looks like an easy call. The Bills let a win slip away last week, can't see them bouncing back quickly from that.
Carolina (1-5) at St. Louis (3-4) - John Fox will probably be fired after this year. The Carolina offense is dismal, but it is at least better with Matt Moore starting instead of Jimmy Clausen. The Rams still have a chance to win the NFC West - really, who doesn't? - and Steven Jackson will likely play a big factor in this game against a week Carolina rush defense.
- Code: Rams
- Fittz: Panthers
- London: Rams
- Ponting: Rams
- Griffin: Rams - What a crappy game. Stay off my Red Zone Channel.
- Starkey: Rams - Sam Bradford and the Rams keep their legitimate playoff hopes alive.
- Perryman: Rams - Carolina won last week, but I still think they're the worst team in the NFL.
Green Bay (4-3) at New York (5-1) - The banged up Packers head into New Jersey to take on the Jets in what looks like the best early matchup of the day. The Jets are coming off their bye week and will likely be well prepared while the Packers are coming off a Sunday night win against Brett Favre and the Vikings. Aaron Rodgers will need to have a big day against a tough defense for the Packers to win.
- Code: Jets
- Fittz: Jets
- London: Jets
- Ponting: Jets
- Griffin: Jets - I want both teams to lose.
- Starkey: Packers - Green Bay makes a statement in this game and suddenly everybody flocks back to the Packers bandwagon while Rex Ryan looks for the buffet table.
- Perryman: Jets - The Pack have ten guys on the IR and several more who could miss this game. That doesn't leave enough roster for a tough road matchup.
Denver (2-5) at San Francisco (1-6) - I feel sorry for the English. You lost the war and we give you the Broncos and 49ers to brand the NFL, go crazy Wembley! Kyle Orton will try to keep the Broncos alive in the AFC West while the 49ers just look to save face and look somewhat respectable.
- Code: 49ers
- Fittz: Broncos
- London: Broncos
- Ponting: Broncos
- Griffin: Broncos - It's weird how interested I am in this game. I think the Broncos are less bad.
- Starkey: 49ers - I'm going down with the 49ers ship. They aren't good, but neither are the Broncos.
- Perryman: Broncos - If you lose to Carolina, I'm pretty much done picking you for the season.
Tennessee (5-2) at San Diego (2-5) - Coming into the season I'd think most would have expected the Chargers to be 5-2 and the Titans to be 2-5, but alas, here we are with the 5-2 Titans headed to San Diego. The Chargers are statistically good but it hasn't translated into wins. The Titans currently lead the AFC South and will at the very least be in second place win or lose since Indy and Houston play each other on Monday night.
- Code: Chargers
- Fittz: Chargers
- London: Chargers
- Ponting: Titans
- Griffin: Chargers - I think Rivers will rack up a ton of yards on Tennessee. I think the Titans are good and the Chargers are overrated, but I think San Diego matches up well here.
- Starkey: Chargers - They're desperate for a win and at home.
- Perryman: Chargers - How in the world are the Titans three games better than the Chargers? Basically, they get to play the NFC East.
Seattle (4-2) at Oakland (3-4) - Pete Carroll is doing wonders already in Seattle. OK, maybe the division is really that bad, but the Seahawks are in first place sitting at 4-2 and nobody else in that division looks like they really want to win it. The Raiders dismantled the Broncos last week but will face a tougher task with the Seahawks this weekend. Oakland, like many teams, really could use a win this week to make their playoff hopes realistic.
- Code: Raiders
- Fittz: Seahawks
- London: Seahawks
- Ponting: Seahawks
- Griffin: Raiders - If Seattle wins this game, they run away with the division. Book it.
- Starkey: Seahawks - I've really no interest in watching this game. I'll go with Pete Carroll in this one.
- Perryman: Raiders - I'm wary of a letdown after the Raiders put everything together last week, but I'm still not quite sold on the Hawks on the road.
Minnesota (2-4) at New England (5-1) - Randy Moss returns to New England. That should be the storyline this week, but it's not thanks to Brad Childress and Brett Favre. I doubt Bill Belichick will let Moss beat him this week - and if Favre starts it's unlikely that he will. This is easily the most interesting game of the week with Peterson and Moss vs. the Patriots defense - but Favre, of course, overshadows everything.
- Code: Patriots
- Fittz: Patriots
- London: Patriots
- Ponting: Patriots
- Griffin: Patriots - A disciplined team that finds ways to win even when they've got talent missing vs. the polar opposite.
- Starkey: Patriots - Favre plays and screws the Vikings over. Well, the Patriots would win anyway, but it's fun to blame Favre. Tom Brady has a nice game here.
- Perryman: Patriots - Do we get to see this week why Vikings coaches and players accumulated frequent flyer miles to Mississippi this summer (Tavaris Jackson)?
Tampa Bay (4-2) at Arizona (3-3) - Josh Freeman looks pretty good and is a big reason why Tampa Bay sits at 4-2 this year - ahead of the New Orleans Saints in the NFC South. Rookie quarterback Max Hall looks like he'll start for Arizona despite the head injury last week. Beanie Wells will also start at tailback as Arizona looks to get their offense jumpstarted.
- Code: Buccaneers
- Fittz: Cardinals
- London: Cardinals
- Ponting: Buccaneers
- Griffin: Buccaneers - I might be making a mistake by taking the away team, but I think Max Hall is just that bad.
- Starkey: Cardinals - Beanie Wells will have a nice game and be the difference here - Max Hall certainly won't be.
- Perryman: Buccaneers - Great quote on the NFL's new stance on vicious hits by CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie: "THAT ONE DON'T EVEN REALLY PERTAIN TO ME."
Pittsburgh (5-1) at New Orleans (4-3) - This should be a pretty entertaining Sunday night game. The Steelers have looked like one of, if not the, best team in football so far - even with lucking out last week against Miami. The defending champion Saints have looked pretty pedestrian so far this year, culminating with a loss at home to the Browns. The Saints really need to win with the Falcons and Bucs playing so well.
- Code: Saints
- Fittz: Saints
- London: Steelers
- Ponting: Steelers
- Griffin: Steelers - I'm going to stop expecting New Orleans to be the team they were last year now. I stopped underrating the Steelers a while ago, but they haven't looked as good with Roethlisberger.
- Starkey: Saints - Like the Chargers, I'm taking the home team that is desperate for a victory.
- Perryman: Steelers - The Saints are favored here, but they're only 2-2 at home this year. The Steelers are just better.
Houston (4-2) at Indianapolis (4-2) - The Texans will look to beat the Colts for a second time this year. Indy is banged up - star tight end Dallas Clark is out for the season and Austin Collie will miss several weeks himself. If the Texans are to prove themselves as legitimate playoff contenders, they'll need to go into Indianapolis and win this game.
- Code: Colts
- Fittz: Colts
- London: Colts
- Ponting: Texans
- Griffin: Colts - I'm excited to see if the Texans' defense can stop the Colts. Ever.
- Starkey: Texans - The lack of weapons will hurt Manning just enough to lose this game.
- Perryman: Colts - Houston won their Super Bowl in week one. Indy reminds them this week that they still run this division.