Mac's NFL Picks - Week 8

Seahawks.net's Brian McIntyre takes aim at the NFL's Internation regular-season game initiative and makes his weekly "For Entertainment Purposes Only" picks.

For the second year in a row, the NFL has ordered two of its franchises to pack up their operations and move them to the United Kingdom for a week.

More importantly, they're also telling an NFL fanbase that in order to better promote their product to a nation of fans who aren't interested in the first place, they'll have to sacrifice one of the eight guaranteed times per year they get to see their team in a "for realsies" game.

As you can probably tell, I'm not a fan of the "NFL Goes International" initiative. While I understand that the league plans on going back to the United Kingdom once a year through 2010, I hope that this experiment is halted before more teams, and more importantly their fans, are subjected to this madness.

I also hope that this is the only time that the NFL is heartless enough to send a team from the west coast all the way to the U.K. to play one of these games.

You want the Arizona Cardinals, San Diego Chargers or one of the Texas teams to play in Mexico City? Alright, fine. You want the Seattle Seahawks to host a game in Vancouver, British Columbia? Alright, fine.

But don't send the Chargers all the way to London, England for a game, when you've got 18 teams in the Eastern United States to choose from.

That's just cruel.

Speaking of cruel, how would you like to be Steve Weatherford this week? You have a bad game punting in Charlotte, and as your teammates are boarding a chartered flight to London, you're handed a pink slip and a plane ticket back to New Orleans.

And to make matters worse, he's picked up by the Kansas City Chiefs!

Speaking of rough weeks, I was heading towards one last week with my picks, but was bailed out by two beautiful words: Backdoor cover.

Thanks to 49ers rookie wide receiver Josh Morgan kicking the ball out of the end zone for a late New York Giants safety, that gave the Giants (-11) a 12-point win, and Seahawks' quarterback Seneca Wallace hitting rookie tight end John Carlson for a meaningless touchdown late in the 4th quarter that gave the Buccaneers (-11) a 10-point win, I managed to go 7-7 (.500) in Week 7.

2008 Season: 49-52-1

Oakland at Baltimore (-6 ½) – Here's a drinking game idea for you Raiders and Ravens fans: Whenever CBS has a split-screen of the Ryan brothers, do a shot. You'll be drunk enough to throw at Nnamdi Asomugha by halftime. Pick: Ravens -6 ½

Arizona at Carolina (-4 ½) – There has been two startling developments in Arizona this week, both appearing on Kent Somers' blog in The Arizona Republic.

First, there was a post discussing how the Cardinals' December 28th home game against Seattle would be Mike Holmgren's last game coaching the Seahawks. The second came in another Somers post where the Cardinals media relations are reportedly banging the Kurt Warner for MVP" drum.

Look, I know that the Seahawks aren't likely to bounce back from their 1-5 start and that the Cardinals are poised to run away with the NFC West. But we're talking about the Arizona Cardinals here.

This is a franchise that hasn't won 10 games in a season since 1976, yet the local media and the team's PR staff are declaring the divisional race as over and nominating their players for the highest individual award a player can receive?

That's some bad ju-ju they're messing with. Pick: Panthers -4 ½

Washington (-7 ½) at Detroit – Unfortunately for Rod Marinelli, the Washington Redskins have already experienced their "trap game". Unlike most Lions fans, the Redskins won't be caught napping on Sunday. Pick: Redskins -7 ½

Tampa Bay at Dallas (-2 ½) – There's still a part of me that thinks the Buccaneers are a wee bit fraudulent, but I watched quite a bit of the Cowboys debacle last Sunday and that team is falling apart. Also, Wade Phillips getting more involved in the game-day operations? That can't be a good thing. Pick: Buccaneers +2 ½

Buffalo (-1 ½) at Miami – It took a few weeks, but someone finally figured out how to stop the Miami Dolphins' "Wildcat" offense, which is why Chad Pennington and a collection of below-average wide receivers could only muster 13 points last week. Pick: Bills -1 ½

St. Louis at New England (-7 ½) – History tells us that the St. Louis Rams have won 4 of their last 5 meetings against New England. In the two meetings since November 2001, however, the Patriots are 2-0 against St. Louis, including a win in Super Bowl XXXVI, which started the Patriots dynasty. Pick: Patriots -7 ½

San Diego (-3) at New Orleans – Reason #872 for why these international games are a bad idea: NFL players as tourists, which results in a massive defensive lineman asking "Is this where Harry Potter lives?" to no one in particular on the streets of London.

Jacques Cesaire, who asked that particular question, is from Gardner, Mass., a town about 20 miles from where I live. Knowing that area like I do, I'm not so sure he was joking. Pick: Chargers -3

Kansas City at NY Jets (-12 ½) – How far off the national radar screen has Herm Edwards fallen? He's making his second trip back to the Meadowlands on Sunday, and nobody cares.

As far as the game goes, Tyler Thigpen will be the starting quarterback and Larry Johnson will be inactive. The Jets could be giving 25 points and I'd still take them. Pick: Jets -12 ½

Atlanta at Philadelphia (-8 ½) – Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Johnson is going to make sure that Falcons rookie quarterback Matt Ryan has a rude homecoming this Sunday, but 8 ½ point is far too many to pass up. Pick: Falcons +8 ½

Cleveland at Jacksonville (-6 ½) – Cleveland crashed back to Earth last week against Washington and this week, Braylon Edwards is saying that the offense hasn't been able to find it's groove from last season. Jacksonville isn't known as a place where opposing offenses go to find their grooves.Pick: Jaguars -6 ½

Cincinnati at Houston (-10) – The Texans are beginning to play like the playoff-caliber team I thought they were before the season. The only thing the Texans lack, and this came up last week against Detroit, is the killer instinct. Until they get that, 10 points is too many to give to a team with Chad Johnson and T.J. Houshmandzadeh on it. Pick: Bengals +10

NY Giants at Pittsburgh (-2 ½) – I love how all the pundits like to use the "Super Bowl Preview?" when two good teams from an opposing conference meet in October. I'm sure plenty of people were saying similar things when Indianapolis and Carolina or New England and Washington met up in Week 8 of last season, which just proves one thing: There's way too much football left to be played this season to start talking about the Super Bowl. Pick: Steelers -2 ½

Seattle at San Francisco (-5) – Here's what I never understood about this whole Mike Holmgren situation:

Even if the Seahawks' front office and Holmgren definitively knew that 2008 was going to be Holmgren's final season on the Seahawks sidelines, why didn't they just add a "dummy" year or two to his contract to completely remove the words "lame" and "duck" from the equation?

The Seattle media had been, for the most part, pretty quiet about this being Holmgren's final season in Seattle. San Francisco's firing of Mike Nolan this week changed that, much more so than the Seahawks' miserable 1-5 record did.

If the Seahawks were 5-1 right now, in what was known to be Holmgren's final season in Seattle, the firing of Nolan would still allow the San Francisco media to write and talk about Holmgren coming back to his native Bay Area to coach his childhood team that gave him his start in the NFL.

And it all could've been avoided had the Seahawks front office and Holmgren either extended his contract or remained tight-lipped about when it expired. Pick: Seahawks +5

Indianapolis at Tennessee (-3 ½) – Like the NFC West, there appears to be a changing of the guard in the AFC South. Pick: Titans -3 ½


Brian McIntyre lives in the Boston area. In addition to writing for Seahawks.Net, Brian maintains his own blog (www.macsfootballblog.com) and charts games for Football Outsiders. If you'd like to e-mail Brian, you may do so here.


SeahawkFootball.com Top Stories