Walk the Line: Week 8
Published: Thursday, October 25, 2012
Updated: Monday, November 5, 2012 20:11
It’s finally here. After seven weeks, my column has finally earned the credibility I have been waiting for: an undefeated week. Well, kind of. The 49ers - Seahawks game resulted in a push. But hey, that’s not a loss. And now my streak of going 1-1 every week is finally over.
The Packers (-5.5) took down the Rams by 10, and the Texans (-6.5) dismantled the Ravens by 30, leaving the city of Baltimore with an empty heart, although I’m sure most fans saw it coming. It was only one week and the Texans are the best team in the AFC, but every Ravens fan has to be deeply concerned about Baltimore’s ‘D’ without Ray Lewis and Lardarius Webb.
Houston ran the ball and showed Baltimore what it should be doing. The Ravens’ stronghold on the AFC North is now only a 1.5-game lead over the Steelers, who got a much-needed win in Cincinnati last week. Troy Polamalu will be coming back soon, and Big Ben is on top of his game right now. If the Ravens keep trying to run their offense through Joe Flacco instead of Ray Rice, the Steelers will slowly but surely pass the Ravens and become the AFC North Champions.
But enough of the past; let’s look at this week. There are only a couple games to choose from for the “Matchup of the Week.” I hate to go against the Sunday night prime-time game of Brees vs. Peyton Manning, but their teams are a combined 5-7. So I’m going to dive into the game of undefeated teams. That’s right – the Falcons aren’t the only remaining undefeated team in the NFL this week.
Note: Lines as of Oct. 25, via: sportsbook.ag
Matchup of the Week (4-3)
Atlanta Falcons (+2) at Philadelphia Eagles (-2)
Don’t be confused – I know the Eagles (3-3) aren’t undefeated, but they’ve won 13 straight games coming off of a bye week. The Falcons (6-0) are also coming off a bye and are the last undefeated team in the NFL, so whose streak will be put to an end? I’m going to have to go with the Eagles’. The firing of defensive coordinator Juan Castillo won’t fix the Philly’s problems: turnovers. Michael Vick can’t continue to give away free possessions, especially to the Falcons. Atlanta got through a tough stretch to get to its bye (the Falcons’ past three wins came by a combined 12 points), and a fresh Falcons offense will be too much for a revamped Philly D.
Falcons 23, Eagles 20
Washington Redskins (+4.5) at Pittsburgh Steelers
Going to have to go with RG3 and the Redskins here, although I see the Steelers pulling out the win. Regardless of the Redskins’ 3-4 record, they have only lost by an average of 5.25 points. Big Ben has been solid but not electrifying. Expect a three- or four-point win for Pittsburgh.
Steelers 27, Redskins 24
New England Patriots (-7) at St. Louis Rams
I know: never a good idea to involve the same team in back-to-back weeks (I took the Packers over Rams last week), but this is a statement game for the Patriots. Bill Belichick has to be embarrassed after his team only beat the Jets by three in overtime. He’s going to let Tom Brady sling over the St. Louis backfield, regardless of how much the Pats are up by. The Rams (3-4) aren’t a bad squad this year, but I’m expecting them to come out slow and tired this week after hanging with the Packers for four quarters.
Patriots 34, Rams 20