Friday, October 29, 2004

Football Picks, NFL Week 8

Last week was a crazy one in the NFL. Lots of strange things happened, topped off by Cincinnati defeating Denver on Monday Night Football. I didn't see that one coming, but I loved every minute of it. The crowd was electric and the Bengals played really well for the most part. Hopefully that will jump-start them for the rest of the season.

Brandi and I tied in our competition last week, both of us going 16-9 (7-7 NFL, 9-2 NCAA). Somehow I still ended up buying dinner not once but twice, but that's okay. There are some great matchups this weekend:

(4-2) NY Giants @ Minnesota (5-1)
(4-2) Baltimore @ Philadelphia (6-0)
(3-4) Green Bay @ Washington (2-4)
(5-2) Jacksonville @ Houston (3-3)
(2-4) Arizona @ Buffalo (1-5)
(4-2) Detroit @ Dallas (2-4)
(2-4) Cincinnati @ Tennessee (2-5)
(4-2) Indianapolis @ Kansas City (2-4)
(5-2) Atlanta @ Denver (5-2)
(1-5) Carolina @ Seattle (3-3)
(6-0) New England @ Pittsburgh (5-1)
(2-5) Oakland @ San Diego (4-3)
(1-5) San Francisco @ Chicago (1-5)
(1-6) Miami @ NY Jets (5-1)

The most important game on that slate, of course, is Green Bay at Washington. Go Pack!

In the Big Ten, I was really close to taking Penn State over Ohio State. If the game was in Happy Valley I would have, but in Columbus I can't. Both offenses will struggle, I think, so it'll be a close, low-scoring game. Also, I'd like to wish the best to Northwestern's head coach Randy Walker, who is from my hometown. Walker was in the hospital earlier this week to be treated for myocarditis, but I think he'll be on the sidelines on Saturday.

(5-2) Purdue @ Northwestern (3-4)
(5-2) Iowa @ Illinois (2-6)
(2-5) Penn State @ Ohio State (4-3)
(6-2) Minnesota @ Indiana (2-5)
(4-3) Michigan State @ Michigan (7-1)

The most interesting matchup in the MAC doesn't take place until Tuesday night, with Toledo traveling to play Miami. That game is on ESPN (maybe ESPN2, I'm not sure) and may get some good ratings with people looking for anything other than election coverage. I don't think Miami is very good this year, but the game is at their house and Toledo's defense sucks. I'm taking Toledo, but I'm pulling for the Redhawks.

(1-6) Western Michigan @ Central Michigan (2-5)
(3-5) Ohio @ Kent State (1-6)
(0-7) Central Florida @ Marshall (4-3)
(6-2) Northern Illinois @ Ball State (1-7)
(3-4) Eastern Michigan @ Bowling Green (5-2)
(6-2) Toledo @ Miami (5-3)

In other football news, tonight is judgment night for the Troy Trojans. They need to take care of business against Trotwood and hope for some help in order to get into the playoffs. They're in good shape right now at #7 in Region 3, but a postseason berth is by no means assured even with just a win. I'll be going into the game operating under the assumption that this will be the last time this team will play together, and I'll appreciate it as such. Then if they do get into the playoffs, it'll be a bonus. At the very least, barring a crazy set of circumstances, this will be their last game at Troy Memorial Stadium. I'll be enjoying the atmosphere there one last time before sinking into another long season of discontent that will run through next August. I really hope they make it into the playoffs, though--this team is good enough to deserve a shot at some other good teams.

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