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NFL Top 10, Week 8

   by Wayne Root - 10/25/2012


1) Atlanta---The Falcons are coming off their bye-week rested. With the new required days of mandatory rest and no practices, the return to game time conditions has been very good ATS. With a road trip to Philadelphia on the schedule for Week 8, Atlanta will get one of its first big tests of the season. The Falcons have won close, they've won coming from behind, and they've won ugly. No matter how you look at it, winning is all the Falcons have done this year. It seems that they have home-field advantage and the top spot in the NFC-South locked up so high intensity this week may be a challenge against Philadelphia.

2) Houston---It was a nice bounce back game after losing to the Packers the previous week. And it came against a quality team in the Baltimore Ravens. So far, Houston Texans' Week 7 throttling of the Baltimore Ravens has to be the high point of the season. J.J. Watt continued his MVP-caliber season, and the team got big plays from Johnathan Joseph one week after he was taken to school by Aaron Rodgers and the Packers. The Texans were favored to win this game, thanks to the injuries on the Ravens defense, but the way Houston handled Joe Flacco and the Ravens offense wasn't expected. It was impressive. They savor their victory with a bye-week.

3) NY Giants---The Giants avoided the dreaded trap game by taking care of business against the Washington Redskins. It was a close win, and the Giants needed some luck to get it done, but in a tight race for a top seed in the NFC, Tom Coughlin and Eli Manning will take what they can get. In the fourth quarter, the Giants defense started hitting Washington QB Griffin III and the momentum of the game shifted noticeably. Their biggest game of the year is Sunday in Cowboy Country and already the money is flying in as both teams have been the favorite in a pointspread fervor. You can be sure, Wayne Root will be all over this "money trail".

4) San Francisco---This was a great division win for the 49ers as they beat Seattle 13-6. Both teams knew it would be a difficult test. Seattle has one of the NFL's best defenses, and the fact that the 49ers were able to get 13 points is a good sign for the team's playoff hopes. The 49ers have now proved to the NFL world (and themselves) that they can win a tough, hard-hitting football game. After week 1, week 5 and today, we all thought the 49ers were the most complete, dominant team in football. They're not far from being that team again. But, and in the NFL there's always a But, they travel to another good defensive team with great special teams and great fans as they take on the Arizona Cardinals.

5) Green Bay---As soon as you and I think "the Pack is Back", something happens. The Green Bay Packers have been a bit schizophrenic this season, but it seems like they've found the right prescription over the last two games. Their team Doctor prescribed a mega-dose of Aaron Rodgers!! Rodgers has been otherworldly these last two weeks—and if you want to be technical, you could say these last two years. The Packers got off to a rough start, but they've found their rhythm and are playing like a legitimate Super Bowl contender now. With youngsters Randall Cobb and Casey Hayward stepping up, Green Bay has the depth and talent to replace injured and aging players. Can they get up for Jacksonville this week or is the week for a schizophrenic letdown?

6) Chicago---Talking about an "under-the-radar" team. In Chicago there is a tough football team who can run the ball, play tight defense and open things up with a solid passing game. What more do you need? There are no off-field distractions and no health problems...yet. They do have one thing to correct: As good as the Bears have been this year, at some point their offensive line will be their undoing. When facing a team with an elite pass rush, Chicago will be at a disadvantage. The Bears are what black and blue hard nose football is all about and it's nice to see they are just off a divisional game with rival Detroit and outplayed them for 59 minutes for the easy victory!

7) New England---For the first time in years, I have no idea which Patriot team I'm watching. There are the Patriots who can sprint out to early leads, but there are the same Patriots who have faded late in games. On both sides of the ball. I didn't even know Tom Brady was human until this season. Their offensive line may be their undoing. Kudos to still knowing how to win for Coach Belichick. Now it's off to London, England to play the Rams where this year the AFC is losing against most NFC Teams.

8) Minnesota---How many know the Vikings are ahead of the Packers in the NFC-North? Leslie Frazier has done an amazing job with this group. The defense is elite. On offense we see the re-emergence of Adrian Pederson. At QB, Ponder no more as Christian manages the offense in the most humble way!
The Purple People Eaters are Relevant! They take on the Buccaneers this Thursday to show the Nation. Exactly what that might be will be given by Wayne Root as a Primetime game on Thursday.

9) Seattle---The Seattle Seahawks have a league-leading defense, but their offense must help out too. Scoring six points in their Week 7 outing against the San Francisco 49ers simply isn't enough. They may want to re-think their play calling. It seems like Lynch can run with anybody and Wilson is a sound Quarterback with good receivers. Maybe they are just too predictable. With their defense, they should win 10 games and make the playoffs. It would be sad to not have the fun-loving Pete Carroll and great defensive team in the playoffs.

10) Baltimore---This may be a sign of a great team moving in the wrong direction. It seems the bigger the game, the more disappointing Joe Flacco is. The Ravens didn't move down last week in spite of their losing Ray Lewis and Lardarius Webb for the season. Even Terrell Suggs was out there giving it his all. It was the offense that let them down. They had the lead and then scored no more. They are definitely looking at giving up their lead in the AFC North. They have a bye-week to sort things out.


11) Denver---I would hate to be the Saints defensive Coach this week with Peyton throwing the ball. After what he did in the 2nd half against San Diego, it could get ugly.

12) Pittsburgh---The Steelers played very well against the Bengals. This week is another strong test against Washington. With Baltimore suffering from injuries, this may be the time for the Steelers to move up.

13) Washington---The Redskins were close to knocking off the defending Super Bowl champions, but in the end the team came up just short. Let's watch to see how they bounce back at Pittsburgh.

14) St Louis---Head coach Jeff Fisher's thumbprints are all over this team: hard-hitting defense, a strong running game and smart, efficient passing from quarterback Sam Bradford.

15) Dallas---A win is a win, and the Dallas Cowboys survived in Week 7 to move their record to the .500 mark. Now they have to keep winning to get ahead even knowing Jason Garrett is not a good head coach!!

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