So it's finally here. Hard to believe it's been a year not only since this blog has been started up (happy anniversary)but since the first NFL London game hit our shores between the Dolphins and Giants. I was there and deemed it to be a slight success that will hopefully be fixed in time for todays game between the Chargers and Saints. The NFL has committed to play games here for the next three years so here's hoping that the 49ers are involved. It does make sense since the Niners are one of the more decent supported teams in Britain but we shall see. Regardless I wish any fan going to the game to have a good time and that the miserable weather we had last year never happens
Week 8 matchups
San Diego (3-4) @ New Orleans (3-4) International Series 2008 Last season UK fans had the good fortune of witnessing the Giants make their Superbowl run here. This year it's too early to suggest either the Chargers or saints are Superbowl calliber. Without Reggie Bush the Saints lose a big part of their Offensive game and I think the Chargers can handle the Saints offense better than the Saints D will handle the Charger O. In other words the Chargers are more balanced to take this.
Arizona (4-2) @ Carolina (5-2). What is it with the Cardinals and their miserable east Coast record. Travelling to Carolina to play a team that just came off a big performance over the London bound Saints isn't the good cure. Based on the Rams last two wins the NFC West won't be as easy as they expected either.
Tampa Bay (5-2) @ Dallas (4-3) Wow are the Cowobys slipping. Comfortably beaten by the now inspired Rams and todays matchup doesn't help matters either. The Bucaneers are heading in a different direction rounding nicely into playoff form helped by their excellent Defense. Brad Johnson gets the start at QB for Dallas but if anything like the Saints-Chargers game the Bucs are much more balanced offensively and will take this.
Washington (5-2) @ Detroit (0-6) Zorn might try and keep Washington in check against winless teams since the Rams game but either way the Lions run defense (31st in the League) will have difficulty containing Clinton portis and Shan Alexander who should have a big day. Eventually the Lions will win a game and it should be later then the Dolphins last season but either way as long as Clavin Johnson is contained it's Washington's game to lose.
Buffalo (5-1) @ Miami (2-4) The Bills seem to be for real and right before the Toronto game later this year they head down to Miami to face a comfortable win against the Dolphins. Yes Miami has doubled their win total from last season but they had an agonising loss in Houston and as expected the Ravens Defense had all sorts of answers for the Wildcat Offense. Buffalo are better then both and will prove it today in Tony Soprano's first real coaching test.
St Louis (2-4) @ New England (4-2) Who are these Rams. They looked a hopeless case when Linehan was calling plays now that Haslett is interim coach they appear to be more inspired and are right back in the battle for the weakest division in the NFL. However against a team that gained a massive confidence boost in a Monday night football rout over the Broncos this might be a bridge too far. Sammy Morris is doubtful but McDaniels should outwit opposite number Al Saunders in the playcalling stakes
Kansas (1-5) @ NY Jets (3-3) Both teams woefully inconsistent the Jets fustrated yours truly with a bad overtime loss in Oakland but either way my tactic of picking anyone playing against the Chiefs has worked up to this point.
Atlanta (4-2) @ Philadelphia (3-3). Somebody send Mike Smith a memo the Falcons were suppossed to be garbage this year!. Things come back down to earth however and I have my doubts about Matt Ryan being able to adjust to Jim Johnsons blitz meaning Turner and Norwood will have to carry the bundle of the offense if the Falcons will have to emerge victorious here. However with Brian Westbrook and Kevin Curtis possibly back the Eagles will get back in the race for the NFC East.
Cleveland (2-4) @ Jacksonville (3-3) Derek Anderson was nothing short of woeful last week and this week well expect more of the same. The Browns are without Kellen Winslow and really all the Jags have to do is run, run and run some more such was the difficulty in the Browns having trouble in stopping Portis last week.
Ny Giants (5-1) @ Pittsburgh (5-1) Not just the 5-1 bowl but the Plaxico Burress game. I have a feeling the Steelers are for real this year and with their Defense just playing unbelievable they should do to Eli what the Browns did to him. with the Steelers O-line possibly struggling against the Giants pass rush Willie parker needs to get involved early and often if Pittsburgh are to get the W
Cincinatti (0-7) @ Houston (2-4) The Bengals are an utter shambles and it's quite incredible how Marvin lewis has survived in this win at all costs environment. After their jaw dropping win against Miami things are looking up for Houston and with Slaton running the ball better then expected combined with Schaub finding Andre Johnson rather comfortably the Texans should take this.
Indianapolis (3-3) @ Tenessee (6-0) The first real test for the Titans to prove the nation that they are geunine Superbowl contenders. And what better way to do that then Monday night Football against the Colts who's run defense looked better off staying at home then being in Green Bay last week such was the ease of Ryan Grant running through it. By logic expect Lendale White and Young to run through the Colts Run D quite comfortably and with a Defense only allowing 66 points in 6 games it should be Tenessee's. A win here makes the Titans not just 7-0, but 3-0 in the division and 6-0 in the conference. Probably too early to talk about the playoffs but still
Bay Area Football
Oakland (2-4) @ Baltimore (3-3) Even with the Raiders fortunate 57 yard FG win in OT I'll still pick the Ravens. Their defense can bottle up the Raiders run game and even though if you can protect your QB you can get after the Ravens secondary, I don't think Russell or the Raiders receivers can take advantage of that.
Seattle (1-5) @ San Francisco (2-5) For the first time in Weeks I'm picking the 49ers to win. Singletary now gives them a sense of a new direction and it helps that in his debut they face a team that is just a mess. Even with no Receivers Seattle were an OT away from beating the 49ers but blew it and since then they have just been downhill. This time I expect them to lose because they aren't playing that well and I think the 49ers can lift their game above the level of the struggling Hawks.
Last week 7-7
Overall accumulated score 59-43