This Halloween weekend, the New Orleans Saints face one of their most hated non-divisional opponents of the past six years, in the Seattle Seahawks. The Seahawks finally come to thunderous New Orleans, rather than the Saints having to travel to Seattle's den of sound and fury in the Pacific Northwest. Both teams will be highly motivated to get a win here, after Seattle's disappointing tie and New Orleans' rough loss in Week 7. Let's take a look at this, and all of the matchups in Week 8.
Last week I went 9-6 (I count the tie as a loss, I picked a winner)
I told you so: Lions over Redskins!
What do I know: Vikings over Eagles?
Thursday, October 27th - Thursday Night Football
In what should be a defensive affair, Tennessee's ground game will be the difference over Jacksonville. Tennessee wins 23-20.
Sunday, October 30th - Very Early Game
This should be an extremely even contest between these two. Cincinnati has finally gotten their ground game going, which has made the offense far less one-dimensional, and reminded fans of what has made them such a well-rounded team in recent years. Washington, despite a crushing late loss last week, has really been hitting their stride as well. It's almost a shame this game is taking place in London instead of Cincy. Washington pulls out a close victory across the pond.
Sunday, October 30th - Early Games
Kansas City's defense will have no answers for Andrew Luck and the Indy offense, while the Chiefs offense will actually also struggle against the poor Colts defense. Skill trumps mediocrity in this one. Indianapolis wins comfortably.
So much for the highly anticipated NFC Championship rematch. Arizona, reeling from disastrously bad special teams play in their Week 7 tie, should rebound nicely in Carolina against the lifeless Panthers. Arizona wins 38-14.
Oakland feels like the obvious choice here, but I get the sense their league-worst ranked defense will cost them a win in the fourth quarter on the road at Tampa in this one.
Detroit just hasn't been as clutch (or lucky) on the road as they've been at home this season. On the other side, every time it seems at though Houston is about to be dead and buried, they find a way to stay afloat in mediocrity limbo the next week. Houston wins a one-score game at home here.
Don't think New England has taken their Week 4 shutout against Buffalo lightly. Not only do the Pats have the motivation to avenge the home loss, this time they have Tom Brady under center. New England wins 30-20.
The quarterback play in this game could be the worst we've seen all season. If Cleveland was destined to win a game, any game this year, this would be it. Surprisingly enough this will be a win for Cleveland, thanks to their ground game, homefield advantage, and some timely turnovers.
Seahawks(4-1-1) at Saints(2-4)
It's the time honored tradition of the immovable object (the Seahawks' defense) vs the irresistible force (the Saints' offense). The problem for the Saints is that in recent Saints/Seahawks history, the immovable Seahawks defense has faced little resistance from the Saints' offensive force. Despite the Saints' offensive firepower on display in the Superdome early this season, this Seattle defense is vastly better than any the Saints have faced so far.
Despite Seattle's defensive pedigree, I wouldn't expect Drew Brees to play poorly against them, especially at home, where he hasn't really had a chance to face this iconic defense. This feels like a game where Brees will have a stat line of 310 passing yards with 2 touchdowns and 1 interception, likely picked by Seattle safety Earl Thomas. Brees won't be bad, just not exceptional, which the Saints rely on him to be far too often.
Of course, the big storyline coming into this game is the highly anticipated return of former Saints superstar tight end Jimmy Graham to New Orleans. Many have joked this week that Jimmy will have a monster game against the Saints and he'll arguably be the best player on the field. The only thing is that this isn't a joke. That's exactly what will happen. Against this ghastly Saints defense, Graham will have a 10 reception, 120 yard, 3 touchdown performance. A frightening proposal to say the least.
By the time this game is over, we'll all just be happy C.J. Spiller wasn't around to have an 80 yard TD run or Brandon Browner wasn't around to get a 70 yard pick-six against Brees. It wouldn't be surprising to see the Saints down by three scores in the first half and furiously rally in the second half, but ultimately be unable to make up the difference of the early hole they created for themselves. Seattle wins 38-28.
Sunday, October 30th - Late Games
This should be a defensive struggle at Mile High. San Diego has been on a roll recently, and that will continue against their rivals in Denver, thanks to a huge defensive effort and timely big plays by Philip Rivers. San Diego wins 23-20.
Green Bay just isn't right. They just aren't the same team, and they lack the explosiveness and killer instinct that has been their trademark in the Rodgers/McCarthy era. As much as I would LOVE an Atlanta loss in this spot, it feels as though homefield on the fast track will help them pull out a win here against the Pack. Atlanta wins 31-23.
Sunday Night Football
Unlike their last opponent's non-existent rushing game, Philadelphia will have to defend against the top rushing attack in the NFL this week. Dallas' ball control and dominant offensive line will test and tire the aggressive Philly defense. As the game wears on, this will be the difference in the game. The unheralded and improving Dallas defense will have some difficulty in their first look against Carson Wentz, but the Cowboys will get the win and remain at the top of the NFC East.
Monday, October 31st - Monday Night Football
Why did the NFL schedule the Bears for so many primetime games this season?! Minnesota's defense will overwhelm the Bears offense in this one. The only chance Chicago has in this game is if the city is carrying over a wave of euphoria from the Cubs potentially winning the World Series the day before this game. Despite any other factors, this Bears team is just flat-out bad.
That's how I see Week 8 playing out, let's see if the Saints can actually win a second game in the Superdome. Leave us your picks, comments, and insight below.