2013 Regular Season: 70-37 (65.4%)
2012 Regular Season: 164-91-1* (64.3%)
Last Week: 10-5 (66.7%)
All-time Colts Predictions: 17-7 (70.8%)
Another solid (but ordinary) week for me, finishing with a 10-5 record. I'm still ahead of last year's pace at this time (65-40) and I can live with that.
The Colts and Broncos lived up to the hype this past Sunday night. The stadium was electric, the crowd was loud and Jim Irsay's "controversial" comments were barely a story at all by the end of the week. Oh yeah - and the Colts won. See? Everything turned out alright... (and you were worried).
As always, Peyton Manning handled himself with absolute class while he was back in Indianapolis. He stopped to sign autographs for fans outside his hotel, waved to and thanked the fans after the video tribute and did several interviews where he gushed over Indianapolis. You could tell it was hard on him.
Indianapolis gets a much-needed bye this week as injuries continue to mount. The Colts lost their veteran leader, Reggie Wayne to a torn ACL this past Sunday. The team is now without five players that were expected to have huge impacts this season (Vick Ballard, Ahmad Bradshaw, Donald Thomas and Dwayne Allen) - and that doesn't even count rookie Bjoern Werner.
UNDEFEATED WATCH (1): Kansas City Chiefs.
Here's a recap of my best picks from last week:
Broncos at Colts - I told you the Colts would handle the emotion of this game better than the Denver Manning's and I told you they'd win the game - that's two for two. Manning admitted after the game that he was "tired" and that the week took a toll on him... well, that and Robert Mathis.
"This game will come down to one thing: Emotion. Whoever handles it better is going to win the game. Manning will undoubtedly be dealing with a swell of emotions and he will want to play well - which may work against him. On the other hand, the Colts don't have many holdovers from the Manning Era and shouldn't be as emotional. Indianapolis seems to win these types of games (Packers, 49ers, Seahawks) more often than they lose them - and Manning seems to lose them more than win them (but I still love Peyton).
I'm taking the Colts to win it.
COLTS WIN 34-31"
Cowboys at Eagles - People everywhere were thinking that the Eagles were about to seize control of the NFC East - especially since the Cowboys would be without starting running back DeMarco Murray. I hope you listened to me when I said they Eagles weren't ready and to take the Cowboys.
Chargers at Jaguars - I received several emails, tweets and comments claiming that the Jaguars would be the upset of the week and shock the Chargers. I told you I'd take a team called the LOSERS before I'd pick the Jaguars. (By the way the Jaguars weren't even close again, losing 24-6)
Before we get to the games, here are some other fearless predictions, news and notes for Week 8:
- Going into this week, the Colts opponents during the first seven weeks have a combined 24-16 record against the rest of the NFL (besides their games against the Colts). The teams they've lost to (Dolphins and Chargers) are 5-6 against the rest of the league - while they teams they've beat (Seahawks, 49ers, Broncos, Raiders and Jaguars) are 19-10. (If you remove the lowly Jaguars the record is 19-4)
- I'm glad the Colts/Broncos game lived up to the hype. This past Monday we got the 0-6 Giants against the 1-4 Vikings. Sadly, NBC went "all-in" with the Vikings too - who are on Sunday Night Football this week against the Packers. Safe to say I won't be "waiting all day for Sunday night..."
- I think the Jaguars have a real shot at 0-16. Looking ahead at their schedule I don't see too many winnable games: 49ers, Titans, Cardinals, Texans, Browns, Texans, Bills, Titans and Colts. You could possibly argue that they could beat the Browns, Bills or Cardinals - but I wouldn't pick them. The Colts play Jacksonville in Week 17 and could finish off the "perfect season."
- Pat McAfee will probably be autographing pictures of his hit against Trindon Holliday until the day he retires. I know I want one.
On to the picks!
Carolina Panthers (3-3) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-6)
Line - Panthers by 6
Don't look now, but the Panthers are looking like a pretty decent football team the last few weeks. With the Falcons struggling, there is talk of a Wild Card chance for Carolina. For what it's worth, I don't think the Panthers will make the playoffs - but I do think they will beat the Buccaneers (everybody does).
PANTHERS WIN 24-13
Dallas Cowboys (4-3) at Detroit Lions (4-3)
Line - Lions by 3
There is something different about Dallas this year - I just can't put my finger on it. The Cowboys definitely seem to be playing more like a "team" this year than in season's past... maybe that's it. The Lions, on the other hand, aren't clicking on all cylinders yet. This game will be a shootout and(I can't believe I'm saying this) I'm taking the Cowboys on the road.
COWBOYS WIN 34-31
Cleveland Browns (3-4) at Kansas City Chiefs (7-0)
Line - Chiefs by 8
This game will be a lot closer than you think. Yes, the Chiefs will win and get to 8-0 - but don't be surprised if this is as close as the game against Houston last week. I'm taking the Chiefs but I think the Browns beat the spread.
CHIEFS WIN 23-17
Miami Dolphins (3-3) at New England Patriots (5-2)
Line - Patriots by 7
I was shocked to see the Patriots lose to the Jets last week. I thought that the return of tight end Rob Gronkowski would help correct some of the offensive issues (and I was right) - it's the defense that doesn't have any answers. The teams that will give the Patriots fits the rest of the way will be able to run effectively - and the good news for New England is that Miami isn't one of those teams. Take the Patriots.
PATRIOTS WIN 27-20
Buffalo Bills (3-4) at New Orleans Saints (5-1)
Line - Saints by 11.5
The Saints are coming off a bye to play a Buffalo Bills team that has been surprising to this point of the season. Unfortunately for the Bills, the Saints will be rested and at home - and won't be sleeping on Buffalo. Take the Saints to roll and bring the Bills back down to earth a little.
SAINTS WIN 34-17
New York Giants (1-6) at Philadelphia Eagles (3-4)
Line - Eagles by 5.5
I've heard some people talking about how the Giants may finally be getting something going after their win over the Vikings last week. Don't listen to them. If you watched the game (I'm sorry) you know that this team is pretty lifeless and don't have the answers to beat a decent Eagles team.
Besides that, the Eagles are at home.
EAGLES WIN 27-24
San Francisco 49ers (5-2) at Jacksonville Jaguars (0-7)
Line - 49ers by 16.5
Things just keep getting worse for Jacksonville. This one won't be pretty.
Of course it's the lock of the week.
49ERS WIN 34-13
New York Jets (4-3) at Cincinnati Bengals (5-2)
Line - Bengals by 6.5
I was close to picking the Jets this week after what I saw against New England last week - but then I remembered how the Bengals looked against the Lions last week. The Bengals are ALMOST as big a mystery as the Colts to this point in the season - they will look great one week and then average the next. I'm thinking the Bengals may still be "looking great" against the Jets - but there is no way I'm betting on this game.
BENGALS WIN 27-24
Pittsburgh Steelers (2-4) at Oakland Raiders (2-4)
Line - Steelers by 2.5
The Steelers are looking like a team that got it together during their bye week. They've won two in a row and tight end Heath Miller has helped Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers offense. The Raiders are coming off their bye this week - but I don't see a rebirth for the Oakland franchise.
Take the Steelers.
STEELERS WIN 23-20
Washington Redskins (2-4) at Denver Broncos (6-1)
Line - Broncos by 13
The Redskins played pretty well last week against Chicago (especially after Jay Cutler went down) and may be able to give Denver a little bit of a challenge. The Broncos are definitely going to be looking to rebound after losing to the Colts and Washington's defense hasn't stopped anybody.
Remember, I said the Redskins could give the Broncos a "little bit" of a challenge. Take the Broncos.
BRONCOS WIN 38-24
Atlanta Falcons (2-4) at Arizona Cardinals (3-4)
Line - Cardinals by 2.5
I'm surprised to see that the Cardinals are the favorites headed into this game. I know that the Falcons haven't shown themselves to be the team that has been dominant over the last several regular seasons - but the Cardinals haven't been either! I have more confidence in Matt Ryan than Carson Palmer and I'm taking the Falcons to win this one.
FALCONS WIN 27-24
Green Bay Packers (4-2) at Minnesota Vikings (1-5)
Line - Packers by 9.5
The Vikings looked completely lost last week against the Giants (maybe it was Josh Freeman's concussion). The Packers keep losing key offensive playmakers (like the Colts) but they keep on winning. You'd be a fool to pick the Vikings right now - and I'm not a fool... at least I don't think so.
PACKERS WIN 24-10
Seattle Seahawks (6-1) at St. Louis Rams (3-4)
Line - Seahawks by 11
The Seahawks get a gift - not only because they get to play the Rams, but St. Louis will be without starting quarterback Sam Bradford. Usually the Rams can compete on the field and at least keep a game from getting out of hand - but I don't think that'll happen this week.
Seahawks win big.
SEAHAWKS WIN 31-13
BYE WEEKS: Indianapolis Colts, Houston Texans, Tennessee Titans, Baltimore Ravens, San Diego Chargers and Chicago Bears
Agree? Disagree? As always, comments are welcome! I will track my picks during the season and brag when I'm right (and pretend I was right when I'm wrong). Pick against me if you dare - remember, I'm a Predictificationist.
Follow me on Twitter at @USAFootballBlog