NFL Weekly Predictions: Week 8

Note: the quotes in this article are fictional.

Cleveland @ St. Louis (+3)

Is this what they call a "trap" game in the business? The surprising Browns are 3-3 and rested from a bye week, and travel to St. Louis to face the winless Rams, who couldn't "score" even if Courtney Love's life depended on it. One would think the Rams would be easy pickings, but Romeo Crennel doesn't take any team lightly.

"The giant arch in St. Louis signifies the city's stature as the 'Gateway to the Midwest,'" says Crennel, often mistaken for a jack o'lantern around this time of year. "Legend has it that if you can walk under that thing without bumping your head, you can beat the Rams. I don't know about that, but I've preached to my team not to be overconfident. There's only one thing I'm truly concerned about, and that's blowing a 3-1 lead to the Rams. In baseball, they call blowing a 3-1 lead 'getting an Eric Wedge-ie.' Sounds embarrassing to me. I've had wedgies before, some which resulted in the total disappearance of my underwear. Luckily, they turned up inside John Malcovich's head."

St. Louis coach Scott Linehan's job is in jeopardy, baby, ooo-ooooh. His job's in jeopardy, baby, ooo-ooooh. Yeah, that's right. I just went 'Greg Kihn' on you. The Rams are 0-7 and rumors are rampant that Linehan will be fired unless the Rams win their last nine games and win the NFC West.

"That's incredibly likely," says Torry Holt, who hails from the town of Gibsonville, North Carolina, which is famous for ... well ... I'm not sure if it's famous for anything. So, if anyone is reading out there in Gibsonville, give me a shout out and tell me why Gibsonville is famous.

What, winning your last nine?

"No, silly," replies Holt. "I mean 9-7 winning the NFC West. That would probably win it by two or three games. Anyway, the malicious rumors about Coach Linehan's firing are just that ... malicious. That doesn't mean they're not true. In fact, Coach Linehan's resume is out on He's already looking for work as an assistant special teams coach, or something with light clerical duty."

Browns win, 27-21.

Detroit @ Chicago (-5)

If not for Brian Griese's 15-yard touchdown pass to Muhsin Muhammad with nine seconds left in Philadelphia last week, the Bears would be 2-5 and slap dab at the bottom of the NFC North. Thanks to the their heroics, Chicago is 3-4 and well within the hunt to slip into that last wild card spot and play the NFC's third-ranked team, although the first wildcard spot would be more desirable, since they'd be playing the winner of the NFC West and would probably have a better record than that division's winner.

"We were staring disaster in the face," says Lovie Smith. "An image of Steve Bartman, a billy goat, and a cow kicking over a lantern flashed before my eyes. That kind of thought is erotic to some sick, perverted people, me among them, so I apologize if I didn't erase that mental picture immediately from my mind. Anyway, we've got a long way to go before we can start talking playoffs. Right now, this team bears no resemblance to last year's group, except that, at 3-4, we're still overrated. I guarantee this: the Lions won't score 34 points in the fourth quarter."

That is, Lovie, unless they have to.

Detroit scored a whopping 34 points in the fourth quarter to stun the Bears 37-27 in Week 4. Obviously, the Bears will be out for revenge, but with a win and a Green Bay loss at Denver on Monday, the Lions would be tied with the Packers atop the NFC North. And, the Lions would be halfway to Jon Kitna's preseason prediction of 10 wins.

"Look, I don't practice Santeria," says Kitna. "I don't got no crystal ball. If I had a million dollars, I doubt I'd bet a penny on my prediction coming true. But what's wrong with making guarantees? People do it everyday. Who has the right to say I'm wrong for doing it? George Foreman guarantees that we won't pay a lot for a muffler. Does anyone question him? No. Should we? Absolutely. Big George is nuts, and his word is not reliable. I'm making guarantees, and I don't have five sons named Jon Kitna. So, my guarantees should hold more credence that George's."

The fable of one of Aesop's least known tales is "When you suck, every game is a must-win game." The Bears read that story before bed every night. They've lived, they've died, they've been resuscitated, almost as many times as Mötley Crüe's Nikki Sixx. This time, Chicago doesn't blow a fourth-quarter lead and the Bears win, 27-24.

Indianapolis @ Carolina (+6 ½)

You know, you can't blame the Colts if they are looking ahead to their Week 9 matchup with the Patriots, or if they're looking ahead to their January 20th throwdown with those same Patriots in the AFC Championship Game. In any case, Peyton Manning and the Colts will have to be ready for a Carolina squad primed for the biggest event in Charlotte since Starrcade '83.

"Me? Look past the Panthers?" says Manning. "Why would I look past them when I can look through them? I can see the Patriots in Week 9 and four states. That Carolina secondary is practically transparent. As for Tom Brady assaulting my touchdown record, I faced better defenses in the NFL Skills Challenge."

To get past the Panthers, Manning and company will have to vanquish a Carolina team led by 43-year-old Vinny Testaverde, who's genetically related to dirt. Testaverde is a student of the game and is familiar with the Colts offense.

"I know the Colts very well," says Testaverde. "I've played against the Colts. I played against the Colts when they were in Baltimore. Heck, I was around when they incorporated Baltimore as a city. But my role may still be as backup to David Carr. And David is very familiar with this Colts defense. As a Texan, he was sacked by them on numerous occasions. No wonder the kid has back problems. He's been on it way too much. I always found it odd that when David said he wanted to review game tape, he'd go lay on the field and look at the clouds. Inevitably, he'd always find the shape of a defensive end in the clouds. C'est la vie."

Can the Panthers do their part to ruin the possible Week 9 matchup of undefeateds? I don't think so. Manning will pick apart the Carolina secondary early, then, with a healthy lead, Indy will kill the clock on the ground. Indy's defense is not choosy; they harass quarterbacks young and old, and like Ryan Seacrest, Bob Sanders delivers the hits. Colts win, 29-17.

NY Giants @ Miami (+9 1/2)

Instead of rolling in to Dolphins Stadium with a five-game winning streak and a boatload of confidence, which has a street value in Miami of $4 million, the Giants will head to London, England, to be part of the NFL's "Teach a Bloke The Bloody Game of American Football" enrichment program. The G-Men are playing a relaxed brand of football, which has coach Tom Coughlin rethinking his authoritarian ways. In fact, Coughlin even canceled a walk-through on the trans-Atlantic flight to London, although he insisted his players view a training film on proper British etiquette.

"I just want these guys to understand the English ways," says Coughlin. "The 'Queen Mother' is not a female rapper. A 'beefeater' is a Palace guard, not a woman of the night. The 'throne' is a seat of absolute honor and not a place of reading. And teeth are a privilege, not a right."

The Dolphins are 0-7 and quite possibly the worst team in America with designs on conquering the other six continents. They'll start with Europe, where soccer is king and Elizabeth is queen.

"Look, if you want to crown her, then crown her!" says Cameron, showing the agitated edge reminiscent of Dennis Green, who, incidentally, just stormed from the dais at a Parent-Teacher Organization meeting when his son was edged for top seller at the last minute in the chocolate bar fundraiser. "Oops! I guess I should be careful. If I say that in the United Kingdom, I could end up in the Tower of London, never to be heard from again, or missed for that matter. Maybe I wasn't cut out for coaching. As the name 'Cam Cameron' more aptly suggests, I should have been a local television anchorman. Oh, one more thing that we American footballers should be aware of: a 'set piece' is a designed soccer play, and not a steady girlfriend."

The Dolphins are listed as the home team for this game, which obviously does not give them any type of advantage whatsoever. It does, however, mean that the many acts of hooliganism sure to take place will be perpetrated on their behalf. Let's just hope some real New York Football Giants fans make the trip to present their own brand of drunken violence. Ah, I love football in London.

In England, as in America, the Dolphins go down. Eli Manning throws two touchdown passes, one on a Hail Mary to Plaxico Burress, who, despite coverage by four Dolphin defenders who forget that there is a ball in the air. Giants win, 27-13. Burress is knighted, and Cameron is crowned King Nothing.

Oakland @ Tennessee (-7)

Even without Vince Young, the Titans eeked out a 38-36 win over the Texans behind the steady and sober play of Kerry Collins, and the right leg of Rob Bironas, who kicked an NFL-record eight field goals, including the game-winner.

"Ooh he makes my motor run, motor run, the kicker by the name of Rob Bironas," says Jeff Fisher, who actually sang backup on The Knack's 1983 hit "My Sharona" and also played bass for Pure Prairie League. "Wish he could have gone for number nine, Bironas."

The Raiders dropped a 12-10 decision at the Black Hole to the Chiefs and fell to 2-4, placing them last in the AFC West. Much to the chagrin of owner Al Davis, it looks like the Raiders may be there to stay, as they have three division losses, one each to the Chiefs, Chargers, and Broncos.

"Hey, it's too bad the Titans' home-field is no longer called Adelphia Coliseum," says Davis, replenishing his bodily fluids with his favorite flavor of Gatorade, 'Embalming Fluid Flash.' "Then they could have called it the 'A-Hole.' Former Raiders coach Bill Callahan, now coach of Nebraska, has added a little Raider flavor to his home field, calling it the 'Corn Hole.' The possibilities are endless. Tampa could play at the 'Buc-Hole.' Cleveland could play at the 'Brown-Hole.'"

Expect the Titans to punish the Raiders on the ground and play defense like they did against the Texans for three quarters, in which they didn't allow an offensive touchdown. Tennessee wins, 23-13. Bironas kicks three field goals, then outworks a one-legged man in an ass-kicking contest for first place at the county fair.

Philadelphia @ Minnesota (+1)

After a stunning, last-second loss to the Bears last Sunday in Philly, the Eagles are 2-4 and last in the tough NFC East. The Eagles are 0-2 in the division, and 0-1 in games following training room accidents in which John Runyon falls trying to get into a tub.

"I've heard of quarterbacks with accuracy problems throwing the ball," says Donovan McNabb, "but never have I heard of accuracy being an issue when getting into a tub. I may be injury-prone, but I've never hurt myself trying to get into a tub. My completion percentage is 100% when it comes to entering fixtures of lavatorial hygiene. In layman's terms, I'm not a goof. Is Runyan the guy I want protecting my right side? If he can't get into a tub, can he even get out of a three-point stance? Anyway, I hope we can get back on the winning track. In fact, I'm beside myself at the prospect of going to Minnesota and beating the Vikes, or maybe that's just the sports hernia talking."

After rushing for 224 yards two weeks ago versus the Bears, Adrian "Minnesota Fast" Peterson only had 12 carries in the Vikes' 24-14 loss in Dallas last Sunday. The move had many Minnesota fans scratching their heads and coming to the realization that they have more hair than that over-dressed cue ball Brad Childress, and obviously more brains, since any coach with sense about him would have given Peterson at least 20 carries. Especially in a close game in which the Vikings were successfully moving the ball on the ground. But, like many coaches who are clearly in over their heads, Childress defended his actions with the pure logic of a psychopath.

"Curses!" yells Childress. "If it wasn't for those meddling kids, my plan would have worked. Damn that hippy and his talking Great Dane! I sat in the pumpkin patch all night waiting for the Great Pumpkin to give me that winning game plan."

Wait a minute. Did you just plead the "Sccoby Doo-Charlie Brown Halloween defense?"

Yeah, why not?" replies Childress. "Didn't it work for O.J. Simpson?"

McNabb rediscovers Kevin Curtis, who always seems to appear just when you think he's disappeared.Philadelphia wins, 22-16.

Pittsburgh @ Cincinnati (+3 ½)

Who dey, who dey, who dey think gonna beat them Bengals? Somebody? Anybody? Not the Jets. The Bengals beat New York 38-31 to improve from 1-4 and last in the AFC North to 2-4 and last in the AFC North. That's progress. Two more wins and Chad Johnson can start touchdown celebrations again. Before the Jets game, Johnson vowed not to perform a touchdown celebration until the Bengals winning percentage reaches .500. In the Bengals' locker room, that's called "leadership."

"Yeah, I know, it's going to be tough on my fans to have to wait for a celebration," says Johnson. "But what about my feelings? Do you know how hard it is for me not to celebrate a touchdown? Not as difficult as it was restraining myself from reaching over and slapping Keyshawn Johnson during our interview. But difficult nonetheless. Ocho Cinco just wants to have fun. Hey, I get disgruntled at times, but do you ever see me quit. I've got to be me. Maybe, one day, I'll have a change of heart and become a quitter and a pouter. If that happens, I sure hope I get traded to the Patriots. Now, as far as my celebrations go, I've got a bunch of material queued up. I guess everybody will have to wait for my 'Josephine Baker Banana Dance.'"

Can a game be any more important to the struggling Bengals? Despite all their problems, and 2-4 record, a win by Cincinnati would put them only one game out of first place in the AFC North. It's equally as important to the Steelers, who always seem to falter just when they are on the verge of joining the AFC's elite. Last week, the Steelers grip on the North loosened a bit when they lost to Denver.

"Hey, any given Sunday," says Mike Tomlin.

Yeah, great movie.

"No, I mean any team can beat another on any given Sunday in this league," says Tomlin. "Can Cincy beat us? Sure. Will they? I doubt it. The bengals have the scent of a loser, we'll put the heat on, and they'll be in for a dog day afternoon. Hoo ha!"

A capacity crowd, already giddy with Halloween excitement, have Paul Brown Stadium rocking. Everything and everyone are decked in orange-and-black, including the 'Inmates Working' signs outside the stadium. It's an atmosphere that screams "upset," but the Steelers, like that neighbor that gives you fruit instead of candy, disappoint. Pittsburgh wins, 38-35.

Buffalo @ NY Jets (-3)

The Jets blew a 23-10 lead over the Bengals on their way to a 38-31 loss and a 1-6 record. This time, it all couldn't be blamed on Chad Pennington, although he still shops at The Casual Male and his mother puts that neat little part in his hair every morning, and he threw an interception that was returned for a touchdown. Most of the blame fell on the Jets rushing defense, which surrendered 171 yards. No matter who you choose to blame, ultimately the complicity lies with head coach Eric Mangini, who's very close to having his MENSA membership revoked.

"Chad played well enough for us to win," says Mangini. "Gosh, I can't remember the last time I said that. Anyway, we had some defensive breakdowns that even a genius can't fix. We lack a run-stuffing defensive tackle, preferably one with Jabba The Hut-like size and cat-like quickness of Ernie Ladd. But maybe I could be a little tougher on the players in the locker room. You know, I'm not too proud of the fact that my pre-game speeches have been dubbed the 'Mangina Monologues.'"

Unlike the Jets, the Bills aren't afraid to make a quarterback change. Trent Edwards remained the starter despite the availability of incumbent starter J.P. Losman. Edwards did exactly what the coaching staff asked of him, nothing, as Buffalo whipped the Ravens 19-14.

"Hey, I'm not a big fan of our offense either," says Edwards. "When I asked Coach Jauron to 'open up' the playbook, he did just that. He opened it. And when I saw those pictures of Dick and Jane and their dog Spot, I just knew we would be offensively-challenged. I don't get it. We're in the AFC East, home of the Patriots, who obviously have firepower and then some. We, the Jets, and Dolphins don't present much of a challenge, whereas the Colts, in the South, have to work a little harder to stay unbeaten. The point is: we're never going to win a Super Bowl, much less the division, running an offense like this. So why run it?"

Hey, some offensive coordinators have to eat, you know. Some can get by on bologna sandwiches alone.

Jets win, 17-16.

Houston @ San Diego (-10 ½)

The Chargers return from a bye week with an upgrade at the wide receiver position, obtaining Chris Chambers from the Dolphins for a 2008 second-round pick. That gives the Chargers a wide receiver tandem of Chambers and Vincent Jackson, who are no Wes Chandler and John Jefferson, but Philip Rivers is no Dan Fouts, either. Rivers can't even grow any facial hair, much less a Grizzly Adams beard like the one Fouts sported, and he darn sure is no master of the tippy-toed, back pedal, 17-step drop that Fouts mastered.

"Hey, facial hair does not make the quarterback," says Rivers. "Name me one quarterback with facial hair who's won a Super Bowl. Ha! Didn't think you could do it. I don't want the Dan Fouts beard, nor do I want the full mustache of San Diego Padres hero Kurt Bevacqua. And it's a good thing, because I'm shaving will soap and a butterknife right now. And I'm suddenly interested in women. But seriously, we think we've turned our season around and are headed in the right direction. We can win our division and duke it out with the Steelers for the AFC's No. 3 seed and a sure second-round exit in the playoffs. But if we win a first-round game, our season is a success."

The Chargers will face a beat-up Houston squad reeling from a 1-4 record in their last five games. Injuries forced Matt Schaub out of last week's game twice, the last because of a helmet-to-helmet hit by the Titans' Albert Haynesworth.

"Let's see," says Schaub. "Haynesworth has stomped on a player's face and he cheap-shotted me with his helmet. What's next? Is he going to hip check someone into the boards? Or, worse yet, sit on their head? I understand he's walking around saying 'Wait 'til I get my Haynes (worth) on you.' That's disturbing, much like turning the corner on the sidewalk and seeing Michael Myers of Halloween fame casually, yet menacingly, lounging by a stand of shrubbery. Or seeing Shawne Merriman across the line of scrimmage."

San Diego wins, 32-16.

Jacksonville @ Tampa Bay (-4)

It's a battle of the Sunshine State, but don't expect any sunny smiles from Jack Del Rio and John Gruden. Both the Jaguars and Bucs are coming off losses and have lost some points in the power rankings, but don't expect these two teams to go way. Jack Del Rio is still one of the coolest names ever, right up there with former baseball knuckleballer and nail file collector Gaylord Perry, former two-time Olympic 110-meter hurdles gold medalist Roger Kingdom, and Foo Fighters guitarist Pat Smear. Del Rio also wears the sweaty shirt and tie look better than anyone. Gruden's fashion statements are limited to an endless collection of Buccaneers visors, although, with Halloween approaching, don't be surprised if Gruden appears on the sideline in a real pirate hat.

"Yo ho ho and a rugby scrum," says Gruden. "David Garrard's left ankle is bum. Yo ho ho and a bullfight 'ole,' the Jags' new starter is ... Quinn Gray?"

Yeah, that's right. Quinn Gray gets the start for the Jaguars. And the Jaguars' simple offensive play book just got even simpler.

"Quinn's got to be better about following his progressions," says Del Rio. "I'll make sure he'll be able to do that. It's easier to check down your progressions when you have only one, the handoff to a running back."

There will be nothing cat fancy about the Jacksonville scheme; it's run heavy. Tampa's will be just the opposite: pass heavy. Scoring? Light. Tampa wins, 17-16.

New Orleans @ San Francisco (+2 ½)

The Saints head to San Francisco in a battle of two teams headed in different directions. New Orleans has won two straight after and 0-4 start, while the 49ers have dropped four in a row after jumping out of the gate at 2-0. Despite their differing routes, the Saints and 49ers know that it will lead them to the same destination: home ... for the playoffs. Sunday's outcome will likely hinge on the play of running backs Reggie Bush and Frank Gore.

"I'm carrying my team right now," says Bush, "like they were related to me. There's no 'gold rush' in San Francisco. In fact, there's no 'rush' in 'Frisco. I'm not even sure Gore is the man in San Francisco. Everybody knows Dirty Harry Callahan calls the shots in this town, and he still violates suspects civil rights like no other. On the other hand, I am the man in New Orleans, despite what Aaron Neville says. I was the grand marshall of the Mardi Gras parade. Gore? He was simply a willing participant in downtown 'Frisco's 'Bay Pride' parade. Pound for pound, I'm the better back."

As for quarterbacks, Drew Brees and Trent Dilfer have one thing in common: they both love their eye black. Brees, however, makes better use of it. Before the game, Brees sneaks into the 49er locker room and writes "Helter Skelter" in eye black on Dilfer's locker. Dilfer is shaken up, and throws an interception and fumbles once, proving yet again that the ball is safer in the grasp of Edward Scissorhands than his own. Saints win, 23-20.

Washington @ New England (-16)

Tom Brady threw 6 touchdown passes, the last coming with the Patriots clinging to a tenuous 49-21 lead in the fourth quarter, as New England nipped the Dolphins 49-28 last week. Brady re-entered the game after backup Matt Cassel threw an interception, and Brady tossed a scoring pass to Wes Welker. Asked about the situation later, Bill Belichick, who avoids straight answers like the plague, insisted he was concerned about the Dolphins possibly narrowing the Pats' lead to 14 points.

"Fourteen points is not always a safe lead in this league," says Belichick. "There's nothing wrong with driving another nail in the coffin, even when there's more nail than coffin. You've got to go for the jugular, even when the body has been completely exsanguinated. Sometimes, you just have to reach into a team's body cavity and rip the heart out. I would expect nothing less from my competitors. However, if someone expects to thrust their hand into my rib cage and retrieve a beating, red heart, they'll be sadly mistaken, because my heart is just a mass of cold, black steel."

The Redskins enter certain doom after surviving a last-second touchdown, a missed two-point conversion, a successful onside kick, and a wide-left field goal attempt for the win over Arizona and the bionic left arm of Kurt Warner. Like Belichick, Gibbs has three Super Bowl rings, but has never been caught for illegally filming an opposing coach and therefore has never been fined by the NFL for cheating. As such, Gibbs does not have the reputation as a cheater and thereby does not feel the need to run up the score on teams whose players or coaches may or may have not said or implied that said cheaters' wins were tainted. So Gibbs does not have the grumpy demeanor that makes players, coaches, and even analysts and announcers fearful of speaking a critical word about him, lest he unleash some type of retribution on them.

"So you're saying," says Gibbs, "that Belichick is the Tony Stewart of the NFL? He thinks everyone's out to get him and he's never done anything wrong? You know, the District of Columbia is no stranger to spying scandals. Watergate had 'Tricky Dick;' Spygate has 'Tricky 'Chick.' I commend Coach Belichick on his boldness and shrewdness. He knows players and he knows football. Who else would have taken a chance on Randy Moss? Just for argument's sake, let's say Moss was a former crackhead running for mayor of D.C. Should he get another chance? Maybe. Luckily for Moss, only one person chose to take a chance on him. In the case of Marion Barry, practically a whole city chose to elect an admitted crack user. The point is this: Randy Moss would make a better mayor of D.C. than Marion Barry."

Can the Redskins slow down this Patriot offense? How can you stop a team who uses the "Hail Mary" play on second down, in the first quarter? Then uses it again in the second quarter. How do you stop Tom Brady, who, obviously, is better at "play-action" than anyone else? You could try and have Bridget Moynahan sing the pre-game national anthem, but Brady's proven he's unflappable. New England wins, 33-13.

Green Bay @ Denver (-3)

Jason Elam's 49-yard field goal as time expired lifted the Broncos to a 31-28 win over the Steelers, giving Elam the game-winning kick in all three Denver wins this year. Sure, that's something for Elam to be very proud of, but can the Broncos, as a team, be content that winning in such fashion is something on which they can rely on a weekly basis?

"Why not?" says Denver's Mike Shanahan. "I've been riding my tandem bicycle all by myself since John Elway left. Now, I think it's time to give Elam a seat. Anyway, I've always fancied myself somewhat of a leg man. Besides, Elam presents a much more aerodynamic figure than Elway. John always created a lot a drag, especially when he smiled and exposed those horse teeth to the very wind we were trying to knife through."

The Packers used their bye week for some high altitude training, taking some hot air balloon rides above the Wisconsin plains.

"Most of the guys had been this high before," says Brett Favre, "but we felt it would be a good idea to let some of the others know what it's like to breathe at altitude. To me, air is like receivers: they're pretty much all the same. But personally, I have some unfinished business with the Broncos. They kept me from winning my second Super Bowl. This time, however, we're not going to lay down and let them score the winning touchdown. Unless we need to get the ball back to score the tying touchdown. Then we'll gladly do it."

Can the Broncos get emotional for the second-straight week in a prime time game? Can the NFC get a little respect? The 5-1 Packers are three point underdogs to the 3-3 Broncos? I guess Vegas is buying in to Shanahan's diabolical 'Jason Elam kicks the game-winning field goal in all of our wins' stratagem. Elam kicks the game-winner, again. However, it's an extra point. Denver wins, 23-22.

Leave a Comment

Featured Site