Week 7 was full of surprises, and I still ended up picking 10 games correctly. Week 8 is likely to be a bit more predictable, but if the trend of 2017 being weird continues, we could all be shocked by some of the outcomes. I’m a bit late getting my column written, so for now, I’m posting my picks for the first six games of the week. I’ll update this a bit later with the remaining games. Here’s to Week 8!
Miami Dolphins (4-2) @ Baltimore Ravens (3-4)
Thursday Night Football pits the 31st ranked offense and 18th ranked defense of the Ravens against the 32nd ranked offense and 10th ranked defense of the Dolphins. With rankings like those, it’s pretty clear this game will be decided by the defense that plays the most complete game.
It was supposed to be the perfect Packers watching day. I was at one of my favorite client’s sports bars and was going to watch the Packers vs Vikings game with my favorite Vikings fan. Before he even arrived, he was smack talking my team, and I was pretty smug, *knowing* I would easily win the day.
Within only seven minutes my perfect day was shattered along with quarterback Aaron Rodgers’ collarbone. At first, when Rodgers went down after being tackled by Vikings linebacker Anthony Barr, it looked to me like perhaps he had hit him hard in the stomach, and maybe he got the wind knocked out of him. Then the replays began and I saw just how hard Rodgers landed on his right shoulder. His right shoulder. His throwing side.
I woke up this morning with a gut feeling that if the Packers beat Minnesota today, the road to claiming the NFC North would be a walk in the park. A few hours later, the game began and it didn’t look too bad for the Packers. True, the team’s injury roster has gotten longer with each passing week, but the presence of amazing rookie players and the optimism that invaded the fans after that Dallas game seemed enough to get us through.
And then quarterback Aaron Rodgers got sacked and injured on Green Bay’s second drive in the first quarter. The shoulder injury turned out to be a collarbone fracture that could keep him off the field anytime from four weeks to the rest of the year. Worst news of the 2017 season.
by Wanda Wiedman // @WandaW63 Bears 17 – Vikings 20
In his first NFL debut, rookie quarterback Mitchell Trubisky entered the stadium with swagger. He had been waiting all his life for this moment and what better way to display his talents than on a Monday Night stage. But with a close game, the Chicago Bears fall to 1-4 in the NFC North division.
The Minnesota Vikings did not hesitate to put pressure on him from the get-go, but he found a way to get out of the pocket and move around trying to make a play. His footwork looked clean, his trajectory was almost on point with a few low throws that could not be caught. And let’s not forget his confidence in the pocket and his mobility outside the pocket. No nerves or fear there.
It all went terribly bad quickly on a bad, bad, terrible night in Viking land.
Shades of Brett Favre and the 2009 NFC Championship game haunted this game when comparing how the franchises seem to be going in opposite directions. Even memories of the famous kick by Garrett Hartley could not make this game palatable.
Not only was the loss of Zach Strief and Terron Armstead felt but Max Unger and Larry Warford both struggled mightily according to Profootball Focus (PFF) stats. The run game was non-existent (Adrian Peterson–come on down) and the loss of Willie Snead was felt. Most players stayed in on offense to protect Brees leaving precious few wide receivers against the Vikings secondary.