RAVENOUS128 PRESENTS: AFCN – Week 8 Speculation

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I’m refraining from calling this a “prediction” piece this season. Predictions indicate one firmly believes something will happen and isn’t afraid to stand behind that judgment. In the NFL, nothing is certain except Roger Goodell’s poor judgment. That said, I’ll offer some form of prognostication, even if it’s lighthearted and not entirely backed up by evidence, but I really have no interest in how “correct” I’ll be.

As usual, these picks are for fun and should in no way be used for actual wagering purposes. That is, unless you want to make a ton of money in a legal forum, because we know more stuff and things about football than you do or something.

On to the games!

Cincinnati Bengals (0-6) @ Los Angeles Rams (4-3)

Sunday, October 27, 1:00 pm ET, CBS
The Bengals’ misery continues on the west coast, where they’ll face the defending NFC champion Rams (-13.5 as of today), who seem to have rebounded after last weeks’ 37-10 demolition of the Falcons. The Bengals should offer the Rams a chance to fine-tune their offense and prepare for the stretch run, provided they don’t take the Bengals lightly. Interesting to note that Bengals QB Andy Dalton and Rams QB Jared Goff have nearly identical stats, albeit with very different results; expect that to change this week with Rams DE Aaron Donald and company facing Cincinnati’s suspect offensive line.

Bengals 13, Rams 31

Cleveland Browns (2-4) @ New England Patriots (7-0)

Sunday, October 27, 1:00 pm ET, CBS
The Browns are returning from their bye week to face the Patriots (-13), who have appeared mostly invincible this season due more to scheming than personnel. Despite their respective records, this game could be entertaining should Cleveland “put it all together” and fully utilize their talent, which might make them, finally and as projected, “the team to beat in the AFC North”. Beating the Patriots in Foxboro would go a long way toward solidifying that perception. Look for Browns QB Baker Mayfield to stay with a shorter, high-percentage passing game to offset an excellent New England secondary, while the Browns will have to be sharp at all levels defensively to stop venerable Patriots QB Tom Brady and a timely New England rushing attack.

Browns 21, Patriots 31

Miami Dolphins (0-6) @ Pittsburgh Steelers (2-4)

Monday, October 28, 8:15 pm EST, ESPN
Even the injury-ravaged Steelers (an eye-popping -14) should be able to take advantage of the NFL’s only unabashed tanking team in the Dolphins, whose woes may actually be compounded by the reinsertion of veteran QB Ryan Fitzpatrick – the lone quarterback on the Miami roster capable of winning an NFL game. Pittsburgh welcomes the return of backup QB Mason Rudolph, whose season looked in jeopardy two weeks ago after suffering what appeared to be a massive concussion, but has recovered sufficiently enough to practice and supposedly play Monday. The Steelers’ defense should have no trouble limiting anything the Dolphins attempt, but “Fitzmagic” tends to rear its’ head at interesting times. With Rudolph and starting RB James Conner returning to action, look for the Steelers to rely on their running game throughout, if only to dominate the time of possession and reduce QB pressure. I expect a Steelers win, but given the circumstances – second-string QB, inconsistent secondary play – it may be closer than many think.

Dolphins 14, Steelers 20

Eat, drink watch. Enjoy!



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