Sunday, October 30, 2011

Week 8: The Saints Come Marching In

Sean Payton is the only Saint not
operating at 100% right now. (Getty)
So, we spent all weekend hanging out in New York City together and still couldn't manage to finish up the blog until after kickoff.  Oh well, they say it's the city that never sleeps, but we both slept until about 11 a.m. each day and then limped uncomfortably through the cold wet snowy-rain substance all of last night.

We did the weekly draft in person, which was fun and Kelli and Justin (two of our three-and-a-half or so loyal readers) got to witness the draft.  After the Saints shellacked Indy last week and with the Packers on bye, it was back to well for the week's top draft pick.

Stally (Seven-Point Pick) - New Orleans over @St. Louis

Stally: This pick is pretty clear.  The Saints just beat up the Colts by a score of 62-7 and the St. Louis Rams aren't a whole lot better than that.  My only reservation is that it's a road game, but we're getting to a point that the Saints are the second-best team in the NFC (behind Green Bay, of course) and the Rams are probably the worst.

Austen: Did you see what the Saints did last week to the Colts? If you did, then you know this is the best pick of the week against a Sam Bradford-less Rams.

Austen (Seven-Point Pick) - @Baltimore over Arizona

Austen: The Ravens had a devastating loss against the Jags last week and I cannot see them falling two weeks in a row to subpar team, especially at home. And, the Cardinals are one of the worst teams in the NFL, especially on the road.

Stally: I can't argue with this pick.  It's definitely a leap of faith for Austen, though, to go back to the Ravens after they torched him last week.

Stally (Six-Point Pick) - @Tennessee over Indianapolis

Stally: Sure, the Colts lost 62-7, but the Titans lost 41-7 at home last week.  That said, I can't see the Titans losing this one.  That Houston team blew 'em up, but the Colts don't have that same fire power in any way, shape or form.

Austen: I started the trend early this season by taking every team that was playing the Colts each week and Stally has caught on. This Colts team is a total mess and the Titans are playing decent football. That's all they should need to knock off this god awful team. If Chris Johnson does not finally put together a good game this week, his $50 million contract is really going to have to be scrutinized.

Austen (Six-Point Pick) - @New York-G over Miami

Austen: The Dolphins are probably the worst team in the NFL and they are down their starting running back and their best cornerback. The Giants should easily take care of this team at home.

Stally: While Austen wants to take credit for picking against the Colts, I'm the one that truly developed the idea that if you pick against a team that never wins, you'll never lose.  I've made it common place to draft against Miami early in weekly drafts, and if it weren't for my lukewarm (or lukecold) feeling on New York (since it snowed here yesterday), I would have picked against the Dolphins already.

Stally (Five-Point Pick) - @Houston over Jacksonville

Stally: Good job by the Jags to upset the Ravens, but I can't see that happening here.  They stood a chance against Baltimore, because it's offense is its weakness.  The Texans offense is the strength and Jacksonville doesn't have one that can keep up the pace on the scoreboard.

Austen: I completely agree with Stally. On top of the Texans having a big offensive advantage, their defense is playing extremely well and I cannot see them allowing the Jags offense to do much against them.

Austen (Five-Point Pick) - San Diego over @Kansas City

Austen: I am not completely sold on this pick, but I have to believe the Chargers will bounce back after a tough loss to the Jets. Unless Rivers makes a lot of poor decisions in this game, I cannot see the Chargers losing.

Stally: You know what?  I've fought this one all day and I just have some sort of hunch to go with the underdog.  The Chiefs have recovered since losing two star players in the first two games of the season.  They lost to the Chargers by just three in San Diego in Week 3 and have won all three since.  They also beat them last year on Monday night at Arrowhead and went on to win the division.

Stally (Four-Point Pick) - @San Francisco over Cleveland

Stally: The 49ers are 5-1, so why I'm so apprehensive to make this pick at home, I don't know.  Perhaps it's because I'm wondering if I should take New England over Pittsburgh, but this game seems like a pretty sure bet.  I mean, the Browns aren't any good, right?

Austen: The Browns are better than advertised, but the 49ers are a far superior team. If this team cannot down the Browns at home, I am going to start to question if they can even win their awful division.

Stally: That's not a question I'll raise.  I think 7-9 takes this division again.  With five wins already, the 49ers only need to split with the Rams and Cardinals to make the playoffs.  If they can't do that, then, yes, you can start the questioning!

Austen (Four-Point Pick) - New England over @Pittsburgh

Austen: Stally really wanted this pick, so I nabbed it away from him. The Steelers have not look very impressive in any of their games, despite their 5-2 record. Wes Welker is playing out of his mind and his quick routes are the perfect blitz beater to keep Tom Brady upright.

Stally: Yes, expletives were yelled and couch arms were punched when this pick was taken.  I'd planned on getting this one at three and had that thought when I let it go at four.  I'd assumed Austen would stay away since it was in Pittsburgh, but it turns out he didn't know where the game was.  New England seems to always edge the Steelers, so I definitely think they're the pick in this one.

Stally (Three-Point Pick) - @Buffalo over Washington

Stally: This is it for Buffalo.  If they want to be a playoff contender, they absolutely need to win games like this.  I don't see them losing, because Washington is in disarray.  However, this game is in Toronto, so some of the home-field advantage will be lost.

Austen: The Bills tend to lose their "home" game in Toronto every year, boring all Canadians to death with their miserable play. However, the Redskins are terrible and the Bills have to win this game. It might be closer than people think though.

Austen (Three-Point Pick) - @Carolina over Minnesota

Austen: This was a tough game for me to take because I think Jared Allen could have a big game against Cam Newton, but I still think the Panthers are playing too well to fall at home against a defense that has really struggled to stop anyone's passing game.

Stally: I think you made the right pick, but I was very optimistic about the way Christian Ponder played against the defending champ Packers last week in his debut.  I didn't want to have to pick this one, so I'm glad you did.

Stally (Two-Point Pick) - Detroit over @Denver

Stally: Denver probably should have lost to winless Miami last week.  It's unlikely that the team will be in a position for Tebow heroics last in the game, not to mention, it's usually Detroit that plays great second halfs.

Austen: If Matthew Stafford is out this game, the Broncos might pull off another miracle win. However, it looks like he will play and he should have a good game. This game could be closer than expected, but the Broncos are still one of the worst teams in the NFL.

Austen (Two-Point Pick) - Cincinnati over @Seattle

Austen: I don't like betting against the Seahawks at home, but considering how well the Bengals have played, and how poorly the Seahawks have played, I had to take them with my last pick of the week. I think Sidney Rice is going to be shut down by Leon Hall and I don't know anyone else on this team who can produce any type of offense.

Stally: I don't bet against the Seahawks at home either, not against mediocre to bad teams at least.  Even though they're playing better than we both expected, the Bengals fall somewhere in that category.  They might be 4-2, but they're still far from making the playoffs.  I'm sticking with my guns and picking Seattle.

Stally (One-Point Pick) - Dallas over @Philadelphia

Stally: This is a very big game for these two disappointments.  I fully expect we'll see the Giants tank when their insanely hard schedule kicks in next week, but with Dallas at 3-3 and Philadelphia at 2-4, neither team can afford to lose.  They were both expected to be playoff contenders and I feel like Dallas has suffered some unlucky, late losses and are closer to returning to expected form.

Austen: I think this game comes down to how well these two secondaries hold up against these explosive wide receivers. Most people think this game will be a shootout, but both of these teams struggle to put up points, so this should be a great game to watch. The Eagles are the better team, but I think the Cowboys will find a way to win this game.

Pick 'Em

Indianapolis @ Tennessee  - 1 p.m.
Stally: Tennessee
Austen: Tennessee

New Orleans @ St. Louis - 1 p.m.
Stally: New Orleans
Austen: New Orleans

Miami @ New York-G - 1 p.m.
Stally: New York-G
Austen: New York-G

Minnesota @ Carolina - 1 p.m.
Stally: Carolina
Austen: Carolina

Arizona @ Baltimore - 1 p.m.
Stally: Baltimore
Austen: Baltimore

Jacksonville @ Houston - 1 p.m.
Stally: Houston
Austen: Houston

Washington @ Buffalo - 4:05 p.m.
Stally: Buffalo
Austen: Washington

Detroit @ Denver - 4:05 p.m.
Stally: Detroit
Austen: Detroit

New England @ Pittsburgh - 4:15 p.m.
Stally: New England
Austen: New England

Cleveland @ San Francisco - 4:15 p.m.
Stally: San Francisco
Austen: San Francisco

Cincinnati @ Seattle - 4:15 p.m.
Stally: Seattle
Austen: Cincinnati

Dallas @ Philadelphia - 8:20 p.m.
Stally: Dallas
Austen: Dallas

San Diego @ Kansas City - Mon, 8:30 p.m.
Stally: Kansas City
Austen: San Diego

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