This Halloween weekend, the New Orleans Saints face one of Who Dat Nation’s most hated non-divisional opponents of the past decade, in the Minnesota Vikings. The story tells itself, from the haunting 34-point loss in the Saints’ first playoff game in January 1988, to the Joyous NFC Championship in January 2010, to the fruitless “Minneapolis Miracle” in January 2018, bad blood remains between the two fanbases.
Now, the murderous stretch of the schedule becomes even more chilling, as the Saints face four of last season’s NFC playoff teams in four of the next five games. Fortunately for the Saints, three of those games will take place at home in New Orleans. Unfortunately, this week’s game isn't at home in New Orleans, but in Minneapolis, the scene of the most frightening finish from a season ago. Let’s take a look at this, and all of the matchups in the halfway point of the season, Week 8.
Last week I went 10-4
I told you so: Saints over Ravens (by the score of 24-23)!
What do I know: Bills over Colts?
Thursday, October 25th - Thursday Night Football
Dolphins(4-3) at Texans(4-3)
Houston’s balanced attack and resurgent defense will lead them past a Miami team that, despite a winning record, can't seem to get out of its own way. Houston wins 28-27.
Sunday, October 28th - Very Early Game
Eagles(3-4) at* Jaguars(3-4) - Wembley Stadium - London, England
Philly will rebound from a gut-wrenching loss a week ago, by smashing a Jacksonville team that is falling down like London Bridge. Philadelphia wins 31-10.
Sunday, October 28th - Early Games
Broncos(3-4) at Chiefs(6-1)
Thanks to their running game and KC’s dreadful defense, Denver will keep this game relatively close, but Kansas City is too good to be beat in this matchup. Kansas City wins 27-22.
Browns(2-4-1) at Steelers(3-2-1)
The last time these two teams met, the game ended in a tie. That won't happen this time around in Pittsburgh. The Steelers will get the overtime touchdown to win the game outright here at home. Pittsburgh wins 28-21.
Redskins(4-2) at Giants(1-6)
Washington’s defense will grind the Giants offense to a dead halt in this one. The Giants trading away their best defenders won't help their cause here either. Washington wins 20-9.
Seahawks(3-3) at Lions(3-3)
Detroit is relentlessly average at everything they do, and that’s not gonna cut it against Seattle in this one. Seattle wins 21-14.
Buccaneers(3-3) at Bengals(4-3)
Mediocre quarterbacks Jameis Winston and Andy Dalton will look fantastic against these far below mediocre defenses. Tampa wins 29-27.
Jets(3-4) at Bears(3-3)
Mitchell Trubisky will be the next quarterback who has a huge game against this Jets team. Chicago wins 24-17.
Ravens(4-3) at Panthers(4-2)
Baltimore will struggle to run the ball against the Panthers defense on the road in Carolina. The Panthers will catch a few lucky breaks and take advantage of them in a very close game. Carolina wins 28-24.
Sunday, October 28th - Late Games
Colts(2-5) at Raiders(1-5)
Despite suffering through rough seasons, both Derek Carr and Andrew Luck will shine in this one. Luck gets the better of the Silver and Black in Oakland. Indianapolis wins 26-24.
49ers(1-6) at Cardinals(1-6)
Is this really necessary? Arizona wins 19-14.
Packers(3-2-1) at Rams(7-0)
All of the attention in this one will be given to Aaron Rodgers and Jared Goff, but the true star of the day will be Todd Gurley and his relentless attack on the Green Bay defense. Green Bay’s inability to run the ball against the Los Angeles defense will be their undoing. Los Angeles wins 34-21.
Sunday Night Football
Saints(5-1) at Vikings(4-2-1) - Game of the Week
Much will be made of the “Minneapolis Miracle” in the lead-up to this game, and while Saints fans will have to endure the relentless rehashing of that event, this Saints team should have all the fuel they need. They cannot find themselves trying to climb out of the type of hole they faced in both of last season’s pivotal games. Getting more help on the outside, in the person of Eli Apple, couldn't have come at a better time, against the Vikings’ deadly passing attack, but ultimately the Saints offense will be the key to victory in this game.
A Saints win here won’t change anything about that game back in January. It can’t fix anything from that moment, just like Minnesota’s win that day couldn't make up for their loss in New Orleans with a trip to Super Bowl XLIV on the line. That was the past, and this is the present, in the present the Saints are a better team than they were in January. This Saints team will secure a type of victory they couldn't complete to begin and end last season in Minnesota. This victory will go a long way in fortifying the Saints’ place as a favorite to advance to the Super Bowl this season. Saints win 29-26.
Monday, October 29th - Monday Night Football
Patriots(5-2) at Bills(2-5)
This is going to be a frightfully bad game, as New England will massacre Buffalo in their own house for an early Halloween trick. New England wins 35-16.
That’s how I see Week 8 playing out, let’s see if the Saints will win their sixth consecutive game, making it a Happy Halloween for us all. Leave us your picks, comments, and insight below!