Antigonish - October 28, 2012 - With a 4 for 5 showing in Week 7, Pigskin picks moves to a middling 17-30 on the season. In an attempt to make up some ground, I am going to go off the map somewhat in picking some decided underdogs in Week 8. Fasten your seatbelts!
Game of the Week - Giants at Cowboys - These teams have certainly gone in different directions since the Cowboys victory in Week 2, as Dallas stumbled, and the Giants sprinted to Week 8 on a veritable tear. With the Cowboys down a starting RB, and relying on the oft-injured Felix Jones to make the running game work, as well as the return to health of Giants star WR Hakeem Nicks, the stage would seem to be set for a Giants rout. Not so fast. The Cowboys are still a dangerous team, and while Romo is undoubtedly inconsistent, he is also talented, and will certainly be motivated to prove that he is the man not only of the present but of the future in Dallas. Look for a tight game, but as it is one that the Cowboys need to win, they do. Giants win!
Upset of the Week - Colts at Titans - The titans and their red-hot RB, Chris Johnson, are winners of two in a row, and their early season struggles seem behind them. The much maligned CJ2K, who started the season so horribly, is the NFL's leading rusher over the past three weeks, and he faces a run defence that has struggled, to say the least. It seems a recipe for a one-sided match, especially when it is considered that the Colts rely heavily on a rookie QB, and are without their coach, who is battling serious illness, as well as their starting RB Donald Brown, and pass rusher in Robert Mathis. When that QB is Andrew Luck, however, the outlook becomes murkier, especially when the chemistry he has developed with WR Reggie Wayne is considered. This should be a tight divisional matchup, and in a projection that may be wishful thinking as much as anything, look for Indianapolis to find a way to stop the surging Chris Johnson. Colts prevail.
Patriots vs Rams - In another game that looks like a big mismatch, the Patriots take on the Rams in London, England! The Rams are definitely a team on the rise, with young QB Sam Bradford flourishing despite a lack of star options at WR, and a O-line that struggles by times to keep him upright. The Patriots,meanwhile, have some injury issues of their own, with star TE Aaron Hernandez not making the trip due to continued ankle issues, leaving the heavy lifting to fellow star TE Rob Gronkowski. While the Rams will certainly make this game interesting with a young, strong defence that gets great defensive line play in addition to a group of speedy LB's and a secondary bolstered by the additions of rookie star in the making Janoris Jenkins and vet Cortland Finnegan, look for Brady to rise to the big stage as he has so many times before. Patriots win!
Redskins at Steelers - While RGIII came close to pulling off the upset I predicted last week, he put on display the skills that have many in the league lauding him as the most dangerous player in the league. Think Michael Vick running ability combined with Peyton Manning's accuracy. Steelers QB Ben Rothlisberger is no slouch himself, and with Pittsburgh down to their 3rd string RB in Johnathon Dwyer, look for Big Ben to continue to transform Pittsburgh from a run first offence to a pass happy attack with weapons Mike Wallace and Heath Miller as beneficiaries. While the Redskin's shaky defence will struggle to contain Pittsburgh's arial attack, the Steelers will also find RGII exceedingly difficult to defend, and even though the amazing rookie is without his favourite target in injured TE Fred Davis, he will still find a way to win. Redskins win!
Falcons vs Eagles - The Falcons are undefeated at 7-0, while the Eagles are an inconsistent mess, so much so that they fired their defensive coordinator, and are looking at potentially major changes from head coach to starting QB. It comes as no surprise then, that QB Michael Vick will be motivated, and when it is considered that he finally has a fully healthy WR corps to throw to, with Jeremy MacLin and Desean Jackson both dangerous players, the Eagles will be tough for the Falcons to contend with regardless of what their record is. In what should be a real test for QB Matt Ryan and the passing game, which has been dynamite, look for the Eagles talented and aggressive defensive line to put just enough pressure on Ryan to disrupt the passing game, and for the equally talented secondary to capitalize to give the embattled Eagles the upset win! Eagles win!