Originally posted on Football Nation  |  Last updated 10/25/12
It's Week 8 in the NFL, which means that we are on the brink of the halfway point of the season. This is the time where we ought to have a pretty good handle on who is hot and who is not. But it has been an unusual year with lots of old faces in strange places and rookies running the show in their place.Is it mediocrity, parity, or something out of the Twilight Zone? Perhaps we will have an answer as we spill into the second half of 2012. Many teams have looked inconsistent at best, showing blow out power in one game and lackluster play in the next. And the New England Patriots have been one of those teams. No one doubts that Tom Brady can put up gaudy numbers and score more points than their defense allows. The same cannot be said for Sam Bradford, although he possesses similar talent to his more accomplished counterpart.This week's game will be a showdown between two tough teams, no doubt. But I don't think it will surprise anyone that I am favoring the Patriots in the UK. The Patriots won their only contest in London, while this will be The first appearance there for the Rams. Interest in the annual NFL event in The British Isle has gradually waned since its inception in 2005, so I could make the bold prediction that this year the trend will reverse itself due to the Patriots being one of the teams on the card, but that would be much too bold for me... oh what the heck! I'll say it anyways! Let's look for a 50% increase over attendance at last year's contest!Well, that's one down and two to go.Let's get serious and look at the game itself; I'm not gonna bore you with the likes of "'Tom Terrific' passes for 500 yards" or "Patriots destroy Rams 59-0" although it just might happen...No, I'm leaning towards the Patriots, and Josh McDaniels specifically, figuring out that they have a dominant running game and that's what wins them games. That's right, I predict that the Patriots win this one on the ground. Sure, Brady will throw for three or four hundred yards and the Patriots will score a bunch of points, but the big difference between winning and losing this year has been the running game.Just look at the difference: in losing efforts, they have run the ball fewer times, especially in the fourth quarter and nursing a lead, than in their wins. Am I going out on a limb when I criticize the play calling? I've done it before and I will do it again... and again... and again! Run the ball, Josh! Hey, Bill, tell Josh to run the ball!Ok, I got that off my chest. Patriots to run the ball... and run it some more.Finally, I predict that the Patriots secondary wakes up and gives Bradford lasting nightmares from the trip over the pond. That's right, the secondary of the New England Patriots picks off an opposing quarterback multiple times in one game. They will cover tightly, knock down passes, knock receivers down, and otherwise give him bad dreams over throwing the ball past the line of scrimmage.With the help of a relentless pass rush, the defense will shut him down and make the Rams turn to its running corps which has struggled to perform to its potential. And that's how the Pats earn their second overseas victory this Sunday.A near record crowd for Wembley Stadium.A dominant running game... once again.And a shut down performance by the defense, the secondary in particular.And Josh McDaniels finally figures out how to use the talent he has been gifted (or else gets run out of New England for making a great team look like it is struggling, but I didn't tell you that).Patriots win big this week!
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