All we had to do was start all over again. Last week I was so frustrated by how confusing and random this season had been and decided that I was starting from scratch - last week was the first week of my new season. It was a solid week, too - the teams that were supposed to win mostly did, and a couple of small gambles paid off (thank you, Oakland!). Now it's time for the second straight good weekend to start the new season. Here's how the straight up picks play out this week for your office pools:
Miami at New England: I have real respect for what the Dolphins have done the last two weeks. The truth is, though, that it came against the Titans and Texans. This is a whole new level, and Miami has a short week to get ready for it. The Patriots showed how versatile they are - yet again - by totally ignoring the run to dismantle a previously dominant defense last week. Take the Patriots.
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Detroit vs. Kansas City: This is the latest dud in London - man, do they ever get a whole lot of lousy games over there. The Lions overhauled their offensive coaching staff this week, but it's tough to see how much that can help in one week. The Chiefs showed surprising spunk to win last week, and I'll bet they can do it again. Take the Chiefs.
Tampa Bay vs. Atlanta: The Falcons are showing some mortality in recent weeks, but they are still clearly the better team right now. The Bucs could suffer a real letdown from throwing away a clear win last week. Take the Falcons.
Arizona vs. Cleveland: The Cardinals looked good for the first two thirds of their Monday night game. I don't trust them as much on the road, but it's only the Browns, and Josh McCown is banged up and could be out. Take the Cardinals.
San Francisco vs. St. Louis: These are two bad teams. The Rams aren't nearly as bad, though, and they are at home. San Francisco is without hope at this point, and Colin Kaepernick will struggle against this defensive line. Heck, he'd struggle against no defensive line right now. Take the Rams.
New York Giants at New Orleans: I don't really trust either of these teams, though both are coming off of one of their better games. It's close to a coin flip, so I'll give the benefit of the doubt to the home team. Take the Saints.
Minnesota at Chicago: The Bears are coming off a bye week, and they are at home, but I'm not convinced that that is enough to help them out here. Minnesota isn't remarkable, but they are reliable. Take the Vikings.
San Diego at Baltimore: San Diego is a mess. The Ravens, though, are a bigger mess, and they are coming off a short week. San Diego can at least pass like crazy, and that should be enough. Take the Chargers.
Cincinnati at Pittsburgh: The Bengals haven't lost, but I don't truly believe in them, so they are going to lose at some point. This would be as good a spot as any - especially if Big Ben does indeed come back this week. Take the Steelers.
Tennessee at Houston: What a really, really ugly game. Houston is on the verge of self-destruction. The story that Coach O'Brien tried to cut Ryan Mallett and was overruled by the GM shows how messy it is. That's hard to overcome - and clearly they won't. Take the Titans.
New York Jets at Oakland: It's shocking how good of a game this has the potential to be. Never would have guessed before the season. The Jets have a good defense but one that can clearly be exploited. Oakland showed last weekend how explosive they can be. It's a risk, but take the Raiders.
Seattle at Dallas: Dallas is two players away from relevance, and they aren't getting them back yet. Seattle is a long way from good right now, but they should be the better squad here Take the Seahawks.
Green Bay at Denver: How can a game between unbeaten teams in Week 8 be such a mismatch? I have very little respect for the Broncos despite their record - the offense is a mess, and they have benefited from their schedule. Green Bay, on the other hand, is completely legitimate. Take the Packers.
Indianapolis at Carolina: Indianapolis can't get out of their own way this year. Carolina is not a team anyone wants to get in the way of right now. This shouldn't be a mismatch, but it really is. Take the Panthers.
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