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Everything You Need to Know  
By xiguai on Jul 07, 2014 06:09 AM
<P>Everything You Need to Know for Week 8</P>
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<P>You can blame St. Louis for supposedly gauging the interest of a certain 44 year old gray haired gunslinger. The Rams already have the second lowest attendance in the NFL. Considering the franchise upcoming Monday night home game coincides with Game 3 of the World Series at Busch Stadium, it going to be slim pickings at the Edward Jones Dome. Might as well give your fan base, at least what left of it, a glimmer of hope that Kellen Clemens won be under center.</P>
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<P>Who ready for Week 8 action?! A preview of this weekend slate:</P>
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<P>The lowdown: Entering last week showdown versus Philadelphia as one of the worst ranked resistances in the NFL, the Cowboys defense proved its merit against the Eagles, holding their divisional rivals to a lone field goal in a 17 3 victory. Granted, this resurgence came against Nick Foles and Matt Barkley, the latter who appeared to be a cross of Shane Falco and a monkey with a Nerf football at the zoo, but beggars can be choosers. Dallas will get a chance to demonstrate Week 8 was no fluke confronting a Detroit offense averaging 294.7 pass yards per game, fifth most in the league.</P>
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<P>The Lions fell short to the Bengals last weekend, and the secondary continues to be an issue, giving up 282 yards per game (28th in the NFL). However, there was a big sigh of relief in Motown following Sunday contest, as Calvin Johnson illustrated no lingering effects from a knee injury, hauling in nine catches for 155 yards (including this ridiculous Hail Mary grab) in defeat. With the backfield receiving presence of Reggie Bush, combined with the emergence of Kris Durham, Joseph Fauria and Joseph Fauria celebrations, the Lions are an unstoppable force through the air. If the defense can hold up its end of the bargain, watch out.</P>
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<P>Key injuries: DAL RB DeMarco Murray Knee (Probable); DET WR Calvin Johnson Knee (Probable), DET TE Brandon Pettigrew Hamstring (Questionable)</P>
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<P>The Lions win if Matthew Stafford has another banner day (seven touchdowns in last two games), a Ndamukong Suh cheap shot leads to the following: now warming up on the Dallas sidelines, Kyle Orton Lions 27, Cowboys 20</P>
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<P>Cleveland Browns at Kansas City Chiefs</P>
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<P>The lowdown: Don misconstrue this as patronage for Brandon Weeden, but has Jason Campbell ever been the solution to a team problems? Dude is 31 40 as a starter with a pedestrian 60.8 completion percentage. I know the defense is a wrecking crew and Cleveland has a better than average offensive line the Browns don think they can actually make the playoffs, do they? I suppose you can make a case that they two games out of the division; I would counter they just a loss away from the cellar, with remaining battles against Kansas City, Baltimore, Cincinnati, New England and Pittsburgh (twice). Maybe we should give Cleveland some slack for hoodwinking Indianapolis into trading a first round pick for Trent Richardson, although that forgetting the team just spent the third overall pick on the running back a season ago, followed by their second first round pick on Cleveland the best.</P>
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<P>If you wondering when Alex Smith stink bomb is going to come, this may be the juncture. The Browns secondary is suffocating quarterbacks to a league low six yards per attempt and allowed only nine touchdowns (four of which derived from Matthew Stafford two weeks ago). I know Smith is lauded for his guidance and management, and the Kansas City receivers don do him any favors, but the Chiefs need a little more production than hitting 58 percent of intended targets (26th in the NFL) if they plan on going far in the playoffs.</P>
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<P>By the way, to whoever created the Andy Reid as Kool Aid Man GIF: you doing the Lord work, friend.</P>
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<P>Key injuries: KC WR Dwayne Bowe Groin (Questionable), KC TE Anthony Fasano Ankle Probable; CLE RB Willis McGahee Knee (Probable)</P>
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<P>Line: Kansas City 9, 39 points</P>
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<P>Fantasy impact: Unless it Jamaal Charles or Jordan Cameron, keep all Cleveland and Kansas City entities on the bench. Kansas City secondary should give Josh Gordon fits, and Dwayne Bowe simply lacks the looks in his direction to be a consistent fantasy force.</P>
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<P>The Browns win if For real, you seen how bad Richardson has been for Indy, right? That trade is as close to victory as the Brownies will get the rest of the season.</P>
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<P>Prediction: Chiefs 20, Browns 14</P>
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<P>Miami Dolphins at New England Patriots</P>
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<P>The lowdown: The Pats are atop the AFC East, but not all is well in Foxborough. New England has lost two of its past three, and needed a last minute miracle to upend New Orleans in Week 6. Rob Gronkowski is back in the mix and flashed little rust in his season debut last week, snagging eight catches (albeit on 17 targets) for 114 yards. Moreover, Stevan Ridley has turned in consecutive admirable outings after stumbling out of the gate. However, with a porous defensive line (127.1 rushing yards allowed, second worst in football) and Tom Brady failing to build rapport with his new receiving corps (more on this in a moment), the Patriots are more vulnerable than their record indicates.</P>
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<P>This fallibility offers a chance for the Miami Dolphins to insert themselves in the playoff conversation, though the Fins have experienced similar struggles. After a promising start, the Dolphins have lost their last three ballgames, including a heartbreaking 23 21 defeat to the Bills in Week 7. Miami has a decent foundation, and Ryan Tannehill is quietly developing into a solid arm under center. Even so, if the Dolphins hope to make that next step, the defense has to raise its level of execution (20th in points allowed) and Lamar Miller and Daniel Thomas have to give Tannehill some semblance of help from the backfield, as the duo is averaging a meager 78 rushing yards per contest. Facing New England front seven, it an opportunity Miller and Thomas can afford to miss.</P>
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<P>Key injuries: MIA WR Brandon Gibson Shoulder (Questionable), MIA LB Dannell Ellerbe Shoulder (Questionable); NE WR Danny Amendola Concussion/Groin (Questionable)</P>
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<P>Line: New England 7, 44.5 points</P>
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<P>Fantasy impact: Just short of the halfway mark of the 2013 campaign, Brady is 21st in total quarterback points, extremely disconcerting considering the Patriots Bye isn until Week 10. Brady 55.4 completion percentage is a career low and 49ers Brandon Thomas Jersey he on pace for his fewest touchdown passes since 2001 (his first season as starter). It sounds blasphemous, but keep Brady on the fantasy pine.</P>
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<P>The Patriots win if Ridley stays strong with the rock, Brady sorry, but can we address the ridiculousness of the illegal push call? Not the call, but the coverage of the Wait, Bill Belichick got caught doing something prohibited? How is that news? And do you really think he didn know it was a rule? Anyone who has read David Halberstam wonderful The Education of a Coach knows the meticulousness of Belichick, so let not play the ignorance card. If anything, the story should be Rex Ryan outfoxing Belichick. To paraphrase the great Ellis Redding, like to think that the last thing that went through Belichick head, other than that hoodie, was to wonder how the hell Rex Ryan ever got the best of him. Patriots 23, Dolphins 20</P>
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<P>Buffalo Bills at New Orleans Saints</P>
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<P>The lowdown: Good luck trying to figure out this Bills squad. Buffalo three wins have come by a whopping six points. Yet before casting condemnation, the deficit in the Bills four losses has been a touchdown or less. So, in theory, one could make the case Buffalo, with a few favorable bounces, could be undefeated, and in that same breath, winless. This is why I don bet on NFL games anymore. (But for those who 49ers Carlos Hyde Jersey do legally, of course apparently I still first overall in picking close games, so be sure to check out our FOX NFL predictions here.)</P>
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<P>Seattle and San Francisco are garnering most of the attention as Super Bowl favorites from the NFC, yet New Orleans belongs in this stratum as well. The return of Sean Payton has restored the Saints high octane ways, averaging 397.7 total yards per game (sixth best in the NFL). What makes this team a contender, however, is the facility of its defense. Under the direction of new coordinator Rob Ryan, the Big Easy resistance is quashing opponents to 17.2 points per contest, fourth lowest in the league. Flaunting dexterity on both sides of the ball, New Orleans will be a tough out in January.</P>
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