Welcome to my NFL Week 8 Picks. Last week was my best yet. I went 12-3, placing my overall record at 53-53. How will I do in this week’s slate of games? Read below and comment with your thoughts.
Teams on Bye: Arizona Cardinals, Green Bay Packers, Jacksonville Jaguars, Los Angeles Rams, New York Giants, Tennessee Titans
Note: In the images, the team on the top is the road team, and the team on the bottom is the home team.
Lock of the Week
Expect the Saints to continue their momentum and dominate offensively in this game. I know wide receivers Michael Thomas and Willie Snead are banged-up, but that actually opens up opportunities for the offense. WRs Brandon Coleman and Ted Ginn Jr. could step up with big games if Snead and Thomas aren’t at full health. Both have had big games this year.
In addition, the pass should set up the run RB Alvin Kamara breaking out for 100 yards and a TD. The Bears will have to abandon the run to try and keep up with a huge offensive showing by the Saints and it won’t be enough.
Upset of the Week (SNF)
With WR Martavis Bryant out, the Steelers offense may struggle. The Lions defense will have a strong game, pressuring QB Ben Roethlisberger giving him little time to find open receivers. Even with WR Kenny Golladay banged up, the well-rested Lions should have a strong offensive game at home against a young Steelers secondary in this primetime match-up.
TNF (Posted to Twitter on Thursday Night before the game)
Miami’s success has been tied to their running game. The Dolphins have leaned on RB Jay Ajayi all season to take pressure off the passing game sorely missing QB Ryan Tannehill. In this game, I expect the passing offense to step up as Ajayi will struggle against a dominant Ravens defensive front. QB Matt Moore and the Dolphins receivers will help carry the Dolphins in this game. Moore shined in his season debut last week after QB Jay Cutler left with a rib injury. The Dolphins offense will have plenty of opportunities as the Ravens offense will struggle to stay on the field.
The Dolphins defense will shut down RB Alex Collins and the Ravens’ young run game. Baltimore’s banged up receivers will fail to produce, even against a weak Dolphins secondary, and Miami will pull the upset.
London Game (Posted to Twitter this morning before the game)
I don’t care if the Vikings have WR Stefon Diggs or not. The Browns secondary has some serious holes and the Vikings receivers will dominate against them, no matter who is under center for Minnesota. The Vikings receiving game has really stepped it up since RB Dalvin Cook tore his ACL and that has kept Minnesota in the running for playoff contention.
The Vikings D should dominate and shut down RB Isaiah Crowell and the Browns run game. The Browns may find a way to score but their revolving door at QB keep them from having a chance as the Vikings cruise to victory.
The Pats secondary has done surprisingly well of late even without big free agent signing CB Stephon Gilmore. They will have to succeed without him for the 3rd straight game and I expect Belichick to come up with a good game plan to contain the Chargers’ TE duo of Antonio Gates and Hunter Henry. Brady, Gronk and the rest of the Pats offense will keep the Chargers offense on the bench. Expect them to control the time of possession with a 4-headed RB attack against a weak Chargers run defense. Pats should score at least 4 TD on home turf making the Chargers wish they did not have to fly from coast to coast.
The Bills have been on a surprisingly good run this season. Their defense has played will despite losing star CB Gilmore. But I think the Raiders can be the team to shut the Bills down. Their versatile receivers will score multiple touchdowns and challenge the Bills secondary all day. In addition, the Raiders defense will shut down Buffalo’s star RB LeSean McCoy forcing the Bills to rely on their young receivers. They will come up short as the Raiders come up big in Buffalo.
The Jets’ offense will be overmatched by the Falcons D the will bounce back after a tough loss to the Super Bowl champs. The Falcons QB-RB-WR trio will find a way to regain some of last year’s high scoring success and playing against the young Jets defense should give them the confidence to succeed.
The Bengals will thrive against one of the weakest defenses in the league. The Colts offense is still without their star QB Andrew Luck will struggle to stay on the field. I think star receiver A.J. Green will have plenty of chances to dominate against Indy’s secondary, even in double coverage. The Bengals RB duo will have a big game against the Colts depleted front seven and set-up good play-action pass opportunities to Green. The Bengals defense will slow down veteran RB Frank Gore forcing them to the air with young QB Brissett. The Colts won’t score enough especially away from their friendly dome stadium.
Eagles QB Carson Wentz and his versatile receivers will dominate against the weak 49ers secondary. They will put up their sixth game in a row where they’ve scored 25+ points and they will continue to lead the league in PPG this season. The Eagles defense should also have a big game by pressuring young QB C.J. Beathard and forcing him to make bad throws. The Eagles’ will cruise to a league-leading season record of 7-1 as San Francisco remains winless with their 8th straight loss.
The Bucs have blown leads in two straight games but I expect them to bounce back here against their divisional rival. Their receivers will dominate against the struggling Carolina secondary. The Panthers will continue to struggle offensively as QB Cam Newton has been off his game without his star TE Greg Olsen. The Bucs defense will keep him under pressure forcing him to scramble and make bad throws. Bucs win by at least a TD in this key division matchup.
The Seahawks offense will have a better game against the depleted Texans defensive front. The Texans lost DE J.J. Watt (injury), LB Brian Cushing (suspension), and LB Whitney Mercilus (injury) so expect the Seahawks offense to have success. The Texans offense led by young QB will struggle against the Seahawks defense that always plays tough at home. The Seahawks hold on in a close one as their defense gives their offense enough opportunities to outscore the Texans who have shown they can have big offensive games.
The Redskins will win in another high scoring divisional game. The Cowboys offense will continue to thrive after a huge week last week. However, the Redskins will also get into a good offensive rhythm, dominating against a weak Cowboys defense. Look for WR Jamison Crowder and TE Vernon Davis to lead the Redskins in this shootout.
The Broncos will lose their third straight here as they have struggled on the road. The Chiefs offense has been the reason Kansas City has won most of their games, but it’s their defense that will shine in this game. Expect the Chiefs to hold Denver to 10 points o less as the Broncos have averaged just 10.5 PPG in their last four games. QB Trevor Siemian will continue to struggle away from the comforts of home field. The Broncos defense will not be enough to slow down the Chiefs at home.
That’s all for my picks this week. Comment with your thoughts, and stay tuned for more NFL articles including my midseason report.