FOX Sports South walks the plank of potential embarrassment by chronicling seven bold predictions for NFL Week 8 -- an ambitious gallery that could be way off the mark come Monday night. There's no fear of failure here, though. Just educated guesses. (Photos: Eric Hartline/Derick E. Hingle/Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports)
BOLD PREDICTION #1: Darren McFadden (right) and Joique Bell (left) each will tally multiple TDs on Sunday ... REASONS TO BELIEVE: 1) The Browns, McFadden's Week 8 foe, rank dead last in rushing defense (allowing 156 ground yards per game). 2) Cleveland has surrendered 100-plus team rushing yards in seven straight outings (dating to last year). 3) Along those lines ... the Falcons (Bell's Week 8 matchup) have given up 100-plus rushing yards in 19 of 20 games. 4) With Calvin Johnson and Reggie Bush nicked up, Bell (two total TDs for Weeks 6-7) should get plenty of red-zone/goal-line chances. 5) The last time McFadden scored twice? In 2013 against the Steelers ... on the last weekend of October. How's that for symmetry? (Photos: Bruce Kluckhohn/Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports)
BOLD PREDICTION #2: The Panthers will earn the biggest upset of Week 8, knocking off the Seahawks ... REASONS TO BELIEVE: 1) Seattle's vaunted defense already has allowed 28-plus points three times. Last year, the champion Seahawks surrendered 28-plus points just once. 2) The Panthers dropped a pair of close-shave home outings to the 'Hawks in 2012 (four points) and 2013 (five). Bottom line: The third time's the charm here. 3) After getting bludgeoned by the Packers last week, the Panthers will treat Sunday's showdown with playoff-like intensity. 4) QB Cam Newton (above) has averaged 300.3 total yards and two TDs in his past three games. 5) A similar 'Bold Predictions' hunch paid off last week ... with the Chiefs upending the Chargers in San Diego.
A Pick & A Promise
BOLD PREDICTION #3: Bills cornerback Leodis McKelvin will tally a pick-six against the Jets ... REASONS TO BELIEVE: 1) McKelvin (above) stands as the NFL co-leader in interceptions (four, along with Browns safety Tashaun Gipson). 2) Of his seven seasonal games, Jets QB Geno Smith has tossed at least one interception six times. 3) Citing two career meetings, Buffalo's defense has combined for five INTs against Smith. 4) The Bills rank fifth in NFL sacks (19). 5) McKelvin (11 career INTs, but none vs. the Jets) is due for a defensive breakthrough against New York.
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What Brown Will Do For You
BOLD PREDICTION #4: Antonio Brown will net his first-ever receiving TD against an AFC South foe ... REASONS TO BELIEVE: 1) On the surface, the above prediction shouldn't have much shock value. But Brown, who had a 3-yard touchdown pass against the Texans on Monday night, has never caught a TD against an AFC South club (eight career meetings). 2) Brown (50 catches, 719 yards, 6 total TDs) has double-digit targets in six straight games. 3) It's been three years since the Colts (Brown's Week 8 matchup) have encountered the Steelers wideout in the regular season. In that time, Brown has transformed from good WR2 --> middle-range WR1 (after Mike Wallace left) --> elite-level receiver. 4) Brown already has two games with more than one TD this season.
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Nothing But Winners
BOLD PREDICTION #5: Every AFC North member will have a winning record by Tuesday morning ... IF THIS HAPPENS: The AFC North would be the NFL's only division without a losing mark. ... REASONS TO BELIEVE: 1) The Bengals (3-2-1) are vying for their fourth three-game winning streak against the North-leading Ravens (5-2) since 1996. 2) In the Ben Roethlisberger era, the Steelers (taking on the Colts in Week 8) have a great track record of winning high-profile games at home. 3) The schizophrenic Browns (3-3) are too good (and hopefully too proud) to lose to winless clubs (Jaguars last week, Raiders this week?) in back-to-back weeks. (Photos: David Manning/Ron Schwane/Aaron Doster/David Manning-USA TODAY Sports)
BOLD PREDICTION #6: Eagles wideout Jeremy Maclin will roll for 140-plus receiving yards ... REASONS TO BELIEVE: 1) The Cardinals (Maclin's Week 8 matchup) rank 31st against the pass (285 ypg). 2) Maclin was the NFL's only receiver to collect double-digit targets for Weeks 1-5. 3) In his past 10 games, Maclin has scored at least one touchdown seven times. 4) In its five victories this season, Philly averages 32.4 points per outing.
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BOLD PREDICTION #7: Saints-Packers will be the weekend's highest-scoring game ... REASONS TO BELIEVE: 1) Check out these per-game averages when Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers meet as starting QBs -- Brees: 396 yards passing/3.3 TDs; Rodgers: 293 yards passing/3 TDs. 2) Until last Sunday's rout of Carolina, Rodgers had never completed four straight games of three or more touchdown passes and zero interceptions. 3) The Packers have the NFL's 31st-ranked rush defense (148 ypg); the Saints rank 28th against the pass (271 ypg). 4) Green Bay's Eddie Lacy holds four-game averages of 76 total yards/1 TD. 5) Nicked-up Saints TE Jimmy Graham (only 30 snaps last week) could be ready for a full workload on Sunday. (Photos: Tim Fuller/Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Images)