NFL Week 8
The NFL needs more Mike Zimmer.
The man in charge of the Minnesota Vikings is my kind of guy. He just knew a letdown was coming after his team jumped to a 5-0 start with a matchup against the Philadelphia Eagles.
He had to find some motivation fast. So, he did what anyone else would do: He butchered a bunch of stuffed cats – he cut their throats, to be exact – and left the carcasses all around the practice facility splattered with fake blood. He even strung one large (fake) cat up in the locker room with a sign saying, “fat cats gets slaughtered.”
Makes sense, right?
And when his team didn’t respond to the warning and got smacked around in Philly on Sunday, Big Zimm unleashed his inner Jeffrey Ross on everyone – but mainly his offensive line — at the postgame press conference.
“It was embarrassing in at least two of the phases,” Zimmer told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.
“We turned the ball over offensively, we didn’t block people, we dropped balls, we got the quarterback hit, we [need] two inches and we can’t convert on third down or fourth down, we got three shots in the red zone in the first half, we throw an interception, we gave up a 98-yard kickoff return, we fumbled a punt.”
He wasn’t done.
“We were soft. We got overpowered.”
But other than that, it was a pretty good day, right? I wonder if he went home and just kept going.
“The washing machine doesn’t get all the detergent out. My kids are a pain in the ass. The gardener let the tulips die. The drycleaner shrank my favorite shorts. The chicken was dry. I woke up twice in the middle of the night to pee. My salted caramel ice cream was more salt than caramel.”
Everyone loves a curmudgeon. And Mike Zimmer is everyone’s grumpy uncle. Please continue to provide us with entertainment.
Week 7 picks: 8-6-1
(You can discuss this on the BSL Board here.)
There’s nothing like grilling up some quality carne asada on a Sunday night because you’re all jazzed to watch a hard-hitting Seahawks-Cardinals test. A real back-and-forth slugfest that only the manliest of men can survive.
Jump cut three hours later and you’ve got a full belly that’s rumbling because what you’re watching isn’t just boring, it’s upsetting. A 3-3 score at the end of regulation, really? I know these are two solid defenses, but come on …
Great meat shouldn’t be wasted on crappy football.
Thankfully, the overtime was entertaining enough to save the day, but let’s not have any repeats, please. The “NFL ratings are slipping because the product is awful” storyline is already played out, but games like this just adds fuel to the hipster fire.
Raise your glass to: Jay Ajayi
Man, this guy has come far. Just back in Week 1, the Dolphins running back was left home for the game at Seattle because he allegedly threw a fit when he lost his starting job to Arian Foster.
Look where he is now. Ajayi has put in back-to-back games with more than 200-yards rushing and was just named the AFC Offensive Player of the Week. And if that wasn’t enough, Foster retired.
Let that be a lesson to all of you: just keep plugging away and things can work out.
Boo this man: Case Keenum
I’m not trying to pile on here. The Rams did a lot of things wrong in their 17-10 debacle against the Giants. But four interceptions – not all of them his fault – really stand out in the box score.
Stupid Rams. This team is just going to irritate me year after year. But, I wanted the NFL back in Los Angeles and I’m happy to have it. That will be my mantra going forward.
Plus, my Aaron Donald throwback jersey just arrived and I’m super pumped to impress my fellow bandwagon fans.
OK, on to the picks!
JAGUARS AT TITANS
Put Norah Jones on Pandora and commence eye-rolling. This game is exactly why I have to read 25 “the NFL is a terrible product” hipster blog posts every day. Sigh, let’s break this down.
We’ve got the Jaguars, arguably this season’s biggest disappointment, taking on the Titans with a starting quarterback who has a 2-8 record at home.
On a week with short rest, no less.
Give me the Jaguars here, for no other reason than head coach Gus Bradley has to be feeling the heat from his scorching seat.
REDSKINS AT BENGALS
What a bummer for Washington. Kirk Cousins was in full “you like that” mode after scoring the go-ahead touchdown with 1:05 left in the game, only to watch Matthew Stafford lead the Lions to the win with a precise drive that left one breathless.
And to top it all off, they had to listen to Stephen A. Smith, a man whose cluelessness is matched only by the size of his receding hairline, tear them apart on ESPN for having a loser’s mentality. And to make matters worse, head coach Jay Gruden took time on Monday to blast Smith for his comments, which of course, is exactly what SAS wanted.
You see, because nothing feeds his ego more than knowing that someone out there is listening to him. Big mistake, coach. Big mistake.
Anyway, the Redskins have the Bengals this week in London. Running back Matt Jones has had a fumbling issue as of late, and that’s not going to get easier against a strong Bengals front. Plus, Washington’s defense is bad, at best.
Look for Cincy here.
RAIDERS AT BUCCANEERS
The Raiders have faced four 1 p.m. ET starts this season and have won all four. And the schedule-makers did them somewhat of a favor by keeping them in Florida after taking down Jacksonville on Sunday.
So, they’ll have a nice week, practice a little bit and get some rays and cocktails. And come Sunday, they should be nice and relaxed. Which means they could definitely come out flat as an hour-old vodka soda.
The Buccaneers have won two straight and looked good against the 49ers last Sunday. Tampa has a juicy opportunity to get over .500 and I think it does that.
CARDINALS AT PANTHERS
The Cardinals are the better team on paper. David Johnson has been tearing up the league on the ground and they have a capable QB and solid weapons against a faltering Panthers defense.
However, Arizona played five quarters of football in Week 7 and couldn’t get a win. That’s demoralizing, no matter how much Bruce Arians and every player on that roster wants to deny it.
Now they get to travel east for a 1 p.m. start in Carolina. I’m sensing a letdown here.
CHIEFS AT COLTS
The Colts are still a mess and they get the Chiefs and their mistake-free brand of football in their building this week.
Nope, expect Kansas City’s running game to own the day and keep Indy from getting back to .500.
SEAHAWKS AT SAINTS
As opposed to the Cardinals, the Seahawks played five quarters of football, didn’t get a win and are probably not all that bummed about it. The way their offense played, getting out with a tie is a win. Especially for a first-place team.
There are still plenty of points of concern. Russell Wilson is clearly not the same played with a hobbled left leg. He can deny it, but we all have eyes. We can see it.
And that offensive line? Good god, what a dumpster fire. Thankfully, the Seahawks have the Saints this week, a team that can’t stop anyone.
This one will be close and somewhat low-scoring, but I think the Legion of Boom comes up big once again.
LIONS AT TEXANS
Matthew Stafford always had a security blanket in the NFL. That blanket was Calvin Johnson and whenever things went sour, Stafford always knew he could chuck the ball up to Megatron and more often than not, he would come down with it.
Now, Calvin is gone. And Stafford has never been better. He’s spreading the ball out to many different receivers and if he keeps going at this pace, he’ll have to be in the MVP discussion at season’s end.
The 4-3 Lions are rolling after back-to-back wins. They’ll keep their mojo going against a Texans team that’s struggling to find an identity (hot take language!) at the moment.
PATRIOTS AT BILLS
You know Rex Ryan was strutting around Orchard Park like the cock of the walk after his Bills went to 4-2. Then, they got curb stomped by Jay Ajayi and the Dolphins in Week 7 and now they get the Patriots at home.
The same Patriots team the Bills beat when Jacoby Brissett was taking snaps for Bill Belichick’s bunch. Tom Brady is in the lineup this week.
This will get ugly fast. And New England will score without mercy.
JETS AT BROWNS
So, the Browns are down to Kevin Hogan and the Jets have a grumpy Ryan Fitzpatrick who has the starting job again after Geno Smith went down with a torn ACL
The Jets’ front seven did well against the Ravens last week. I expect more of the same.
CHARGERS AT BRONCOS
It’s strange that these division rivals face each other twice in the first half of the season, but whatever.
Denver Head Coach Gary Kubiak missed the first meeting with a migraine condition and his team promptly fell to a bad loss on a Thursday night. The Broncos get another short week here, but you know they’re angling for some payback.
The Chargers are a frustrating team to watch. When they’re good, they can beat anyone in the league. Philip Rivers was unstoppable late against the Falcons, but I doubt he’ll have that kind of fortune in a second straight road game.
This one will be tight, but I’ve got the home team.
PACKERS AT FALCONS
The Falcons got robbed in Seattle two weeks ago and couldn’t quite close out the Chargers last week. They should be 6-1, but instead are 4-3 and they get the mercurial Packers in their building.
My brain tells me to take the Packers. However, I shan’t because Green Bay’s running game is suspect and while Atlanta’s defense isn’t great, that might not matter in the end.
For further proof, Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel writer Bob McGinn published an intriguing preview of this matchup and the experts he interviewed were all-in on Atlanta.
“The decisive factor to me is the Packers’ secondary vs. Julio Jones. That secondary is beat up. They don’t have anybody who can match up. (Matt) Ryan will exploit that,” one executive said.
“Atlanta’s defense isn’t anything great but the (offense) has been able to score a lot of points. And it’ll be a challenge playing in Atlanta,” said another.
“I like Atlanta to stop their bleeding at home in the dome,” an AFC personnel man said. “Matt Ryan, Julio and the passing game get back on track against Green Bay’s backup cornerbacks.”
That’s all I need.
EAGLES AT COWBOYS
After watching the putrid offensive line play all over the NFL, I really have a newfound love for Dallas’ big men.
The Eagles defense made mincemeat out of the Vikings’ beat-up offensive line in Week 7. That’s not going to happen in Big D. The Cowboys will control the line of scrimmage and time of possession, which will allow defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli to take more chances with blitzes, etc.
Dallas all day.
VIKINGS AT BEARS
Man, ESPN is really getting the scheduling shaft this year. Here were have yet another boring primetime matchup.
I’ll go with Minnesota and there’s no need to break down this one.
Currently a Mobile Editor at Yahoo, Saraf spent 5.5 years (Oct. 2010 - Feb. 2016) working for FOX Sports as an NFL Editor and Writer. Prior to that, Saraf worked for CBS Interactive for 4.5 years (May 2006 - Oct. 2010) as a Staff Editor.