Posted: Thursday October 27, 2011 10:46AM ; Updated: Sunday October 30, 2011 5:38PM
Peter King
Peter King>WEEKEND PICKOFF

NFL Week 8
 
Last week: 6-7 (.462); Season: 71-32 (.689)
 
Sunday, Oct. 30
 
1 p.m. ET (FOX) Arizona Cardinals (1-5) at Baltimore Ravens (4-2)
And the little man shall lead them. Ray Rice's 165 total yards get the Ravens back on track. Meanwhile, all over M&T Bank concession stands Sunday afternoon, fans in purple from head to toe ask each other: "How is it possible in this day and age of the air filled with footballs that our quarterback is barely completing five of every 10 throws?"
 
1 p.m. ET (FOX) Minnesota Vikings (1-6) at Carolina Panthers (2-5)
Lots of interesting matchups this weekend. Mike Wallace-Devin McCourty. Tim Tebow-Ndamukong Suh. There's a great one in this game: Jared Allen (league-leading 11.5 sacks) versus Cam Newton (phenom). Worth watching, even when the two teams are a combined 3-11.
 
1 p.m. ET (CBS) Jacksonville Jaguars (2-5) at Houston Texans (4-3)
Question for Maurice Jones-Drew: Can you beat an NFL division leader all by yourself?
 
1 p.m. ET (CBS) Miami Dolphins (0-6) at New York Giants (4-2)
Brandon Jacobs returns. Good for the Giants. Dolphins at the Meadowlands for the second time in 13 days. Bad for Miami. Why do I get the feeling that some teal-dressed transplant will hold up a sign at one point Sunday reading, "WE WANT COWHER?"
 
1 p.m. ET (FOX) New Orleans Saints (5-2) at St. Louis Rams (0-6)
Another defense for Drew Brees to riddle. At this rate, he'll pass Dan Marino before Thanksgiving.
 
1 p.m. ET (CBS) Indianapolis Colts (0-7) at Tennessee Titans (3-3)
Be a man, Chris Johnson. Break a tackle, please.
 
4:05 p.m. ET (FOX) Washington Redskins (3-3) at Buffalo Bills (4-2)
Rex Grossman, Tim Hightower and Chris Cooley have turned into John Beck, Ryan Torain and Fred Davis, which, to some who love this team, is actually not a negative. But the Washington point-producers won't be enough to outscore Fred Jackson and his friends (including Ryan Fitzpatrick, completing 74 percent over his last two games) coming off a bye.
 
4:05 p.m. ET (FOX) Detroit Lions (5-2) at Denver Broncos (2-4)
Matthew Stafford has played 20 games and sat 19 due to injury in his three-year NFL career. He's in the trainers' room as I write this (and probably as you read it), rehabbing his sprained right ankle, trying to make sure he doesn't become a 20-20 player. "It feels OK," he said hopefully on Wednesday. Hard to pick a game when you don't know if The Franchise is going to take the field. Thus the middling close score.
 
4:15 p.m. ET (CBS) New England (5-1) at Pittsburgh Steelers (5-2)
Game of the Week, obviously. Hard to pick against the Patriots, because of their recently resurgent defense (18.7 points per game allowed in the last three), but I do so because of Pittsburgh's deep passing game. Between them, Mike Wallace and Antonio Brown are averaging 17.9 yards per catch. I expect bombs away by Ben Roethlisberger in this one.
 
4:15 p.m. ET (CBS) Cleveland Browns (3-3) at San Franciso 49ers (5-1)
The more I see of the Niners, the more respect I have for Patrick Willis and NaVorro Bowman, the best size-speed three-down linebackers playing in tandem today. Cleveland's not only going to struggle to run it against a very good defensive front (Justin Smith is a monster every week), but also won't be able to get around the edge either against Willis and Bowman.
 
4:15 p.m. ET (CBS) Cincinnati Bengals (4-2) at Seattle Seahawks (2-4)
Best young safety tandem in football? Seattle's Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas. They force the run well, are like linebackers when they rush, and are good hitters with very good ball skills down the field. Chancellor's got a sack and two picks and a forced fumble in his last three games. He idolized the late Sean Taylor and, at 6-foot-3 and 218 pounds, packs the same kind of wallop Taylor did. Chancellor and Thomas will be the key to making Andy Dalton turn it over, if he does, and turning this game Seattle's way. I say Dalton is affected by them but not ruined, and makes enough plays to move Cincinnati to a surprising 5-2.
 
8:20 p.m. ET (NBC) Dallas Cowboys (3-3) at Philadelphia Eagles (2-4)
Biggest surprise of this game? That it's more a LeSean McCoy-DeMarco Murray show than one between Mike Vick and Tony Romo. Murray won't be any secret, coming off his 253-yard rushing game against the Rams Sunday. But if you heard him on my podcast this week (shameless plug) or on any other of his countless interviews in the wake of the better-than-Emmitt game in his sixth NFL outing, you know it won't go to his head. That's good. I think regardless of how it goes down, Murray will have some gashings of the Eagles Sunday night, but Vick and McCoy will be a little bit better, running and passing.
 
Monday, Oct. 31
 
8:30 p.m. ET (ESPN) San Diego Chargers (4-2) at Kansas City Chiefs (3-3)
I know, I know. Thirty-three points. Odd, considering Philip Rivers is playing like Marty Domres these days. (Google him, young 'uns.) I think the Chargers are so ticked off -- at the officials, at their own ineptitude, at clock management, at Norv's cowlick, at everything -- and are due for an explosion in front of the Arrowheads Monday night.
 

 
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