Let's talk some game picks ...
Look, I'm not dumb. I know you usually skip this part to get straight to your team's blurb. I can write all I want about "The Cannonball Run" or "13 Going on 30," and you'll never notice. I could tell you Jennifer Garner is in fact prettier than Angelina Jolie, and you won't argue. I might even be able to sneak some Power Rankings opinions through without thousands bashing me for not ranking the Detroit Lions and their back-to-backone-point wins higher.
So you're selling a teal 1993 Probe GT with an equalizer, too?
E.H., if there's anything I know, it's this: 1) You shouldn't power rank, 2) you have an incredibly sexy name, and 3) pick the Broncos this week. You'll sound cool. Good luck with your hamstrings (I read y'all's Twitter walls. Be wary.)
Now, let's get to it!
Elliot Harrison went 10-5 on his predictions for Week 8, giving him a record of 76-44-1 so far this season. How will he fare in Week 9? His picks are below.
Can Carson Palmer put together four productive quarters for the Cardinals? Can Tony Romo stay upright for four quarters for the host Cowboys? Romo was walking around between plays during overtime of Monday's loss to the Redskins like that Spartan who switched sides in "300" ... Gollum looked more mobile. And, like Aaron Rodgers with a tweaked hamstring, Romo was doing his best Tim Wakefield impression. If Romo can't get any juice on his fastball, the club must turn to Brandon Weeden. And maybe run DeMarco Murray until the De falls off and he's just Marco Murray. Thinking Dallas' nickel and dime coverage will have trouble with Arizona receiver John Brown. You can expect Cards back Andre Ellington to get 20 touches after what Alfred Morris did against the Cowboys on Monday (85 total yards and a touchdown). #AZvsDAL
Now that we got that out of the way, how will Michael Vick fare against a Kansas City defense that's been dominant on pro football's most important down? The host Chiefs are holding opponents to a 32.9 percent conversion rate on third down, the third-best mark in the NFL. You want bananas stats, consider this: Alex Smith averaged 2 air yards per throw in last week's win over the Rams. He might not be Checkdown Charlie, but he certainly isn't Big-Air Al, either. Not that he needs to be. Just think that's a cool stat. #NYJvsKC
These two teams will presumably be fighting for an AFC wild-card spot, unless Denver or New England falls off. The cool thing is that the Broncos and Patriots are playing each other Sunday, meaning Week 9 might present the best chance for the winner of this one to gain ground in their division, depending on the outcome in Foxborough. Miami still has no vertical game, as evidenced by the fact that the host Dolphins are the only team in the league that has scored zero offensive touchdowns from outside the red zone. #SDvsMIA
Of course, most fans outside of Lake Minnetonka are wondering about the readiness of Robert Griffin III, who's been out of action since Week 2. Let's just say this: If Washington's pass rush and blitz packages get going in Minnesota like they did in the upset win over the Cowboys at JerrahWorld, what RGIII does won't matter so much. #WASvsMIN
-- @ChristensenDrew, NFL stats maven.
Spoken like a true Raider fan (which he is). As for the Rams' trade with the Buccaneers to acquire Barron, St. Louis could use some quality safety play. Forget coverage duties; how about having an extra guy in the box to stop the run? (The Rams are allowing 144.3 yards per game.) Or how about a safety blitz? That St. Louis pass rush has six sacks on the year -- a figure the group exceeded in two different games last season. I anticipate the host 49ers, who are coming off their bye, running right at the Rams, with a rested Frank Gore getting 15 to 20 carries and Carlos Hyde being sprinkled in. Which old 49ers receiver will make the big plays this week? Anquan Boldin? Steve Johnson? Brandon Lloyd? Iheanyi Uwaezuoke? Maybe Tai Streets? Unless Austin Davis goes for 350 yards and three scores against zero picks, I don't see the Rams winning. #STLvsSF
Can the host Patriots' high-powered offense (ranked third in points scored) rack up touchdowns against a Denver defense that is ranked sixth in points per game allowed? Will New England tight end Rob Gronkowski pull a Smaug again a week after swatting Bears defensive backs away like a bunch of clunky Dwarves? Will Bill Belichick use his ground attack more than he did in last year's AFC Championship Game, when the Pats ran the ball just 16 times?
Hmm. Is there anything else about this one that I'm missing? #DENvsNE
The final score you see above is not so much an indictment of the Raiders as it is a reflection of my feeling that Seattle is ready to explode. Historically, the Seahawks have played cruddy teams tight at home -- think of the 20-13 win over the Titans or the 27-24 win over the Buccaneers last season -- but I'm not seeing it this Sunday. In other news, Raiders running back Darren McFadden broke the 4-yards-per-carry barrier for just the second time in 13 games last Sunday in Cleveland. At least his teammates made up for it by averaging 1.2 yards per rush. Good stuff. I still like rookie quarterback Derek Carr, just not this week. #OAKvsSEA
Speaking of New York's running backs, with Rashad Jennings out for another week, Manning will be leaning on Andre Williams, who has plenty of opportunity here. That said, the rookie's production has been limited. Look for Manning to take his shots against a Colts defense that just gave up over 500 yards to Ben Roethlisberger. Hey, this is a rematch of "The Greatest Game Ever Played." #INDvsNYG