Analysis

Spoiler Alert: Week 8

Game picks coming up in just a sec, but a few quick thoughts...

There's a decent chance the Seahawks will be home for the playoffs ... and I don't mean at the C-Link. At 3-3, it's not as though the defending champs are in a hole too deep to dig out of, but it's worth noting the second half of their schedule is rugged. Even if we assume wins at home against the Raiders, Giants and Rams, the 'Hawks will have trouble getting to double-digit wins if they can't go over .500 during a brutal six-game stretch that starts in mid-November: at Kansas City, vs. Arizona, at San Francisco (on Thanksgiving night), at Philly, vs. SF and at Arizona. Meantime, this one in Carolina on Sunday is no gimme (nor is any other Panthers game so long as the extraordinary Cam Newton is on the field).

By the way, shame on you if you haven't seen who Football Baby thinks will win the Seahawks/Panthers game.

I'm aware the Seahawks got to the Super Bowl last year without the help of Percy Harvin ... but this isn't the same team. The weekend before Halloween 2013, they were 7-1 and had the best defense in the league. Now they're not in the top five defensively and down Harvin and Golden Tate on offense. Last year, the 'Hawks were a picture of chip-on-the-shoulder happiness. This year, Marshawn Lynch -- via his charming(?) Twitter comments -- has made it clear his relationship with management has turned ... unpleasant (and ensures his expiration date in Seattle will be Feb. 1, 2015, at the very latest). On the face, it makes sense for the team to abandon whatever they were doing with Harvin in favor of the more direct approach they used on the way to last year's title. "Give the ball to Beast Mode 25 times a game" is the simple solution offered by most professional and amateur analysts right now. Just don't be surprised if Beast Mode grows even more discontent if he feels like the team is running him into the ground because a divorce is imminent sooner rather than later.

One more massive obstacle that the Seahawks will have to contend this year: The first-place Arizona Cardinals. We've given Bruce Arians great credit here before, but give it up for defensive coordinator Todd Bowles, too. The D was down Daryl Washington, Karlos Dansby and Darnell Dockett before Labor Day, and Bowles still somehow has 'em at fifth in points per game against.

I won't be floored if Seattle wins the Super Bowl. I'm just pointing out what you already knew: There are lots of ebbs and flows within any football season. For most teams in most seasons, there are a lot more ebbs. That's why it's hard to win a title ... let alone repeat.


If the latest rumors about Los Angeles getting not one but two NFL teams sooner rather than later are true, I'm hoping for those teams to be the Rams and Chargers -- and not just because the stadium designers could apply a blue and gold color scheme without feeling as though they're slighting either organization. For all the silver-and-black diehards who still populate Southern California, the Raiders have always belonged to the East Bay. When Al Davis moved 'em down to L.A. in the early '80s, it felt like he'd hooked up with a foxy young mistress ... only to run back to the ol' ball-and-chain named Oakland when push came to shove.

As for who will make the AFC playoffs, Daniel Jeremiah and I figured it all out on the Dave Dameshek Football Program earlier this week.

The cat's out of the bag. The picks below aren't really mine. They're (mostly) Football Baby's. See what I mean here

WARNING: Do NOT continue reading if you don't want to know the scores of the Week 8 games.

(1-0 this week, 9-5 last week, 66-40-1 on the season)


DETROIT LIONS 26
ATLANTA FALCONS 24

Joique Bell: 18 car, 105 yds, TD
Julio Jones: 7 rec, 120 yds, 2 TDs


SEATTLE SEAHAWKS 17
CAROLINA PANTHERS 10

Christine Michael: 8 car, 40 yds, TD
Kelvin Benjamin: 3 rec, 50 yds, TD


BALTIMORE RAVENS 19
CINCINNATI BENGALS 23

Lardarius Webb: 35-yd INT TD return
Mohamed Sanu: 40-yd TD rec


ST. LOUIS RAMS 14
KANSAS CITY CHIEFS 21

Austin Davis: 19-31, 260 yds, TD, 2 INTs
Travis Kelce: 4 rec, 80 yds, TD


CHICAGO BEARS 20
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS 28

Matt Forte: 110 yds/scrimmage
Rob Gronkowski: 8 rec, 130 yds, 2 TDs


BUFFALO BILLS 13
NEW YORK JETS 16

Bills defense: 6 sacks
Percy Harvin: 3 rec, 40 yds


PHILADELPHIA EAGLES 27
ARIZONA CARDINALS 23

Riley Cooper: 2 TDs
Andre Ellington: 130 yds/scrimmage


MIAMI DOLPHINS 30
JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS 21

Mike Wallace: 4 rec, 120 yds, TD
Blake Bortles: 22-38, 320 yds, 3 TDs, 2 INTs


HOUSTON TEXANS 22
TENNESSEE TITANS 21

Texans defense: 2 INTs, 6 sacks
Bishop Sankey: 130 yds/scrimmage


OAKLAND RAIDERS 19
CLEVELAND BROWNS 22

Derek Carr: 2 INTs
Billy Cundiff: GW 35-yd FG (in OT)


INDIANAPOLIS COLTS 34
PITTSBURGH STEELERS 28

Coby Fleener: 4 rec, 40 yds, 2 TDs
Heath Miller: 4 rec, 40 yds, TD


MINNESOTA VIKINGS 13
TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS 24

Cordarrelle Patterson: 99-yd kick return TD
Vincent Jackson: 6 rec, 100 yds, TD


GREEN BAY PACKERS 33
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS 24

Randall Cobb: 5 rec, 125 yds, TD
Mark Ingram: 15 car, 90 yds, TD


WASHINGTON REDSKINS 17
DALLAS COWBOYS 27

DeSean Jackson: 70-yd TD rec
DeMarco Murray: 20 car, 100 yds, TD

Enjoy the Week 8 games! I hope your team wins (unless it's playing my team).

Follow Dave Dameshek on Twitter @Dameshek

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