NFL Week 8 open thread

The Pittsburgh Steelers have a genuine streak going now, beating the Baltimore Ravens 19-16 last week to post their second straight victory after starting the season with a four-game losing streak.  They travel to Oakland today, a team with an identical 2-4 record that has its own problems.  They’re last in the league in passing, and their passing defense is only middling. They beat San Diego two weeks ago and Jacksonville in week 2, but have usually been competitive even in their losses.  Pittsburgh needs to step up their run game and their run defense. Brett Keisel will return this week, so expect to see an improving Pittsburgh beat Oakland, 24-20.

Last week, I finally had a decent slate of predictions, finishing 5-2 to move my season record above .500 for the first time to 24-23.  Can I extend my streak? Let’s see (all times ET):

  • Cowboys at Lions (1 pm, Fox) – Dallas has performed impressively the last couple of weeks, but their only road victory came at the expense of the hapless Eagles. Detroit has similar strengths and weaknesses, but they’re playing at home, and that will make the difference today. Detroit over Dallas, 31-28.
  • Browns at Chiefs (1 pm, CBS) – Kansas City is the last unbeaten team in the league, thanks to the surprising loss by Denver at Indianapolis last week.  The Browns are improving, but, er … not that much, and not on the road. Chiefs go to 8-0 with a 33-21 win at home.
  • Dolphins at Patriots (1 pm, CBS) – It’s a game that has implications for the AFC East, but really only if Miami can beat New England.  The Jets would love to see the Pats lose, being just one game behind them, but even though the Patriots really aren’t excelling in any one area this year, they can put it all together well enough to keep winning, especially at home. Pats over Fins, 28-20.
  • Barrycaders at Broncos (4:25 pm, Fox) – I kid, I kid, but the Redskins won’t be laughing when the Broncos get an opportunity to rebound from last week’s upset at home.  Washington has a high-powered offense, but Peyton Manning will shred their 22nd-rated pass defense and Denver will exploit their 29th-ranked rushing defense to give Peyton lots of play-action sets. Expect a high-scoring game, with Denver winning 52-42. Don’t leave your TV set except at the commercial breaks.
  • Packers at Vikings (8:30 pm, NBC) – Is it worth listening to Bob Costas’ pontifications to watch this? The Vikings’ MNF performance was so bad it made the New York Giants look dominating. The Vikes always rally for a Packers game, but that’ll last until the first three-and-out. Green Bay over Minnesota, 33-13.
  • Seahawks at Rams (MNF, 8:30 pm, ESPN) – The line has Seattle by 13, but the Rams aren’t exactly doormats, and they’re playing at home.  On the other hand, if you look past their 25th-ranked passing offense, the rest of their game is Top 5 in the league.  Seattle beat Arizona on the road last week 34-22, and I’ll call the same result in today’s game with the same score.