NFL Week 8 Preview and Picks

By October 29, 2016 All Sports, NFL, NFL News No Comments
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Week 7 record: 10-4-1

Overall record: 60-46-1

Jacksonville Jaguars (2-4) @ Tennessee Titans (3-4)

Game Pick: Titans – Game already played, pick was as follows:

Take the to win a shootout at home thanks to their dominant rushing attack. This could be  coach Gus Bradley’s last stand.

Washington Redskins (4-3) @ Cincinnati Bengals (3-4) – Game being played in London

Game Pick: Redskins – The Redskins looked to be on their way to their fifth straight victory after QB Kirk Cousins ran for a 19 yard touchdown with just over a minute remaining in Detroit. However the defense couldn’t hold, allowing the Lions to march down the field and score a game winning touchdown with just 16 seconds remaining. It was a great spot for the Bengals to get back in the win column last weekend, and they did just that with a 31-17 win over Cleveland last weekend, thanks to a balanced offensive attack.

This game appears to be quite evenly matched, and the fact this game is being played on a neutral field makes it even more even. The Bengals should be able to run against a suspect Redskins run defense, but Washington seems to have more in their favor with CB Josh Norman being able to shadow WR A.J. Green and the return of TE Jordan Reed giving them another weapon for the Bengals to worry about. Expect this game to be back and forth and come right down to the final minutes, but take the Redskins to win in a squeaker.

Seattle Seahawks (4-1-1) @ New Orleans Saints (2-4)

Game Pick: Saints – The Seahawks were involved in the strangest game of the week, and perhaps even the strangest game in quite sometime period when they battled the Cardinals to a 6-6 tie on Sunday night. The Seahawks were were like a cat with nine lives in this one, and if not for an inexplicable shanked short field goal by Steven Hauschka in the dying second of overtime, they would have won. It was a valiant effort on the road by the Saints in Kansas City but they unfortunately came up short in a 27-21 loss to the Chiefs. QB Drew Brees racked up 367 yards passing and three touchdowns in the defeat.

Upon a quick first glance at the game, the Seahawks would seem to be the logical pick to win. Delving a little deeper though and the conditions appear to be ripe for an upset at home for the Saints. Sure the Seahawks will probably have no issue scoring against a subpar Saints defense. But QB Russell Wilson is really banged up, and the Saints may get CB Delvin Breaux back from injury. The Seattle defense will be able to slow down the Saints somewhat, but they were on the field for an obscene 46:21 on Sunday night and will be without DE Michael Bennett and S Kam Chancellor. Those factors are a big reason why the Saints are going to pull off the upset at home.

 

Arizona Cardinals (3-3-1) @ Carolina Panthers (1-5)

Game Pick: Panthers – From a statistical standpoint, the Cardinals dominated the Seahawks on Sunday night. However the one place and really the only place that matters where they didn’t dominate was the scoreboard where they played to a 6-6 tie with Seattle. They had numerous chances to put the Seahawks away in regulation and overtime, but just couldn’t find a way to come out on top. The Panthers had an extra week to lick their wounds, as they had a bye after losing their fourth game in a row, a 41-38 heartbreaker to the Saints in New Orleans.

At the beginning of the season, this looked like one of the marquee matches on the schedule. Now, it’s a game where one team is looking find some consistency and the other is looking to keep their dwindling playoff hopes alive. The Cardinals have to be both physically and mentally drained from their tie against the Seahawks, and though they do have the revenge factor going for them from the NFC Championship game against Carolina last year, having to travel cross country is coming at a bad time for Arizona. The Panthers are rested, and desperate. Take the home team to win.

Oakland Raiders (5-2) @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-3)

Game Pick: Raiders – It was a big bounceback outing from the Raiders who followed up their worst game of the season with perhaps their best in a 33-16 drubbing on the road in Jacksonville against the Jaguars. There wasn’t a dominant performer for Oakland, as it was just an all around complete performance by the silver and black. The Buccaneers fell behind 14-0 early in the first quarter to the 49ers but they outscored San Francisco 34-3 the rest of the way in a 34-17 victory. RB Jacquizz Rodgers had his second straight dominating performance on the ground, rushing for 154 yards on 26 carries.

This is a big game for both teams in what could be the highest scoring game of the week. The Raiders haven’t been overwhelming their opponents this season aside from last week and want to carry some momentum into next weekends divisional showdown against the Broncos. Meanwhile, the Buccaneers need this one to keep them in the conversation for the NFC South crown. Oakland has fared much better on the road this season, while the Buccaneers struggles at home lately are well documented. Whomever has the ball last wins this one. Oakland wins by three.

Kansas City Chiefs (4-2) @ Indianapolis Colts (3-4)

Game Pick: Chief– It was the Spencer Ware show in Kansas City last weekend as the breakout running back had 131 total yards of offense in the Chiefs 27-21 victory at home over the Saints. He’s quelled any concerns the Chiefs may have had having to start the season without RB Jamaal Charles. QB Andrew Luck had his best game of the season for the Colts in their 34-26 win over the Titans. He passed for 353 yards and three touchdowns as Indianapolis bounced back from a gut wrenching loss last week to the Texans.

This is a tough game to prognosticate. From top to bottom, the Chiefs look to be the better team. But the Colts have the better quarterback in Luck and they are always a little tougher to beat at home. They also get back WR Donte Moncrief from injury, which will make Luck all the more dangerous. However, Kansas City’s ground game matches up well with the Colts battered and bruised defensive line and they should be able to ground and pound with Ware and be able to control the clock. In what could be a sneaky high scoring game, take the Chiefs to find a way to come out victorious.

New England Patriots (6-1) @ Buffalo Bills (4-3)

Game Pick: Patriot– It was more of the same for the Patriots last week against the Steelers on the road as QB Tom Brady and company took down Pittsburgh 27-16. They took a while to get going, but for the most part this game wasn’t really in much doubt. RB LeGarrette Blount rushed for 127 yards and two touchdowns to lead the way offensively. The same can’t be said for the Bills as they blew a 17-6 second half lead against the Dolphins, eventually losing in Miami 28-25. Their defense gave up a season high 256 rushing yards, a key factor in the loss.

This is not a good spot at all for the Bills, even though they are the home team this week. RB LeSean McCoy is highly unlikely to play this week, as he aggravated a hamstring injury last week against the Dolphins. In hindsight, letting McCoy play last week was probably a bad decision. The Patriots no doubt haven’t forgotten the embarrassing 16-0 loss they had to Buffalo early in the season, the last game they played without Brady. In a classic revenge game spot, New England coach Bill Belichick will have his squad ready to fire on all cylinders, and without a healthy McCoy, the Bills don’t stand much of a chance. The Patriots should win this one quite handily.

New York Jets (2-5) @ Cleveland Browns (0-7)

Game Pick: Browns  The Jets broke their four game losing streak with a 24-16 victory over the Ravens last weekend. RB Matt Forte led the way offensively with 100 yards rushing and a touchdown on 30 carries. It was the same old sorry for the sad sack Browns as they were competitive in the first half against the Bengals before ultimately falling to them 30-17. Cleveland was forced to use their sixth quarterback of the season, as QB Kevin Hogan replaced Cody Kessler who suffered another concussion.

There don’t appear to be many games left on the Browns schedule that look winnable, but this one against the Jets represents a good opportunity for Cleveland to win their first game of the season. QB Josh McCown will get the start this week, which is part of the reason the Browns appear to be in a favorable spot to pick up a win. The Jets did get back in the win column this week, but it wasn’t without controversy. QB Ryan Fitzpatrick was benched, then forced back into the lineup when Geno Smith tore his ACL. His comments after the game suggest the team may not be fully focused this week. If Cleveland doesn’t win this one, an 0-16 season isn’t out of the question. Take the Browns.

Detroit Lions (4-3) @ Houston Texans (4-3)

Game Pick: Texan–  Thanks to a Matt Stafford 18 yard touchdown pass to WR Anquan Boldin with 16 seconds left in the game, the Lions were able to win their third straight game, coming from behind to beat the Redskins 20-17. All three of these Lions wins all came at home. The Texans meanwhile didn’t put up much of a fight on Monday night against the Broncos, as they were beaten 27-9 in Denver. QB Brock Osweiler’s homecoming was an abject disaster, barely completing 50% of his passes for just 131 yards.

These teams appear to be going in the opposite direction, but this could be a good get right spot for the Texans and their struggling offense at home. Sure the Lions have won three straight games, but they all came at home and none of the three wins were exactly convincing. They will also be missing shutdown CB Darius Slay for this game, which is a big upgrade for the Texans woeful passing game. Houston’s offense desperately needs to get in gear, specifically Osweiler and the passing game. If they can’t get things going this week, it could be a long rest of the season for the Texans. Take Houston to win by field goal.

San Diego Chargers (3-4) @ Denver Broncos (5-2)

Game Pick: Bronco– Are things finally starting to go the Chargers way? Instead of blowing a lead and coming up short, San Diego rallied from 17 points down and eventually upset the Falcons on the road in overtime 33-30. RB Melvin Gordon continued to be a touchdown machine, scoring three times to add to his league leading total of 10 scores. The Broncos rudely welcomed back QB Brock Osweiler to Denver as they throttled the Texans 27-9 on Monday night, keeping the Houston offense out of the endzone. RB’s C.J. Anderson and Devontae Booker combined for 190 rushing yards and two touchdowns.

The Chargers knocked off the Broncos in San Diego two weeks ago, so expect the Broncos to be a little more prepared in this one and have a better game plan. That all being said, the Chargers defense might be able to keep the Broncos ground game under control again, especially considering Anderson is out indefinitely with a knee injury. This one is shaping up a low scoring slugfest in Denver, and while the Chargers will give the Broncos a scare, look for Denver to eke out a three point victory. It’s just too much to expect San Diego to beat the same team in such a short period of time again.

Green Bay Packers (4-2) @ Atlanta Falcons (4-3)

Game Pick: Packer– It may have not been perfect, but the Packers got back to their winning ways with a 26-10 victory over the Bears last Thursday night. They trailed at one point in the second half, but once the Bears lost QB Brian Hoyer to injury, there was just no way the Packers were going to lose. QB Aaron Rodgers went 39 of 56 for 326 yards and three touchdowns. The Falcons were in a tough spot at home against the Chargers after two grueling road games and they unfortunately came up short in overtime, 33-30 to San Diego. A questionable decision to gamble on 4th and 1 by Atlanta coach Dan Quinn backfired and helped set the Chargers up to win.

Are the Falcons about to start another mid-season swoon after another strong opening set of games? Simply put, they have to win this game or it could be a repeat of last season. QB Matt Ryan and WR Julio Jones should be able to take advantage of a banged up Packers secondary, but they will be missing RB Tevin Coleman. The Packers have a good run defense and may be able to defend the Atlanta passing attack better as a result. Green Bay also has the offensive personnel to be able to attack the Atlanta defense like the Chargers did last week. Take the Packers to win.

Philadelphia Eagles (4-2) @ Dallas Cowboys (5-1)

Game Pick: Cowboys – While it wasn’t stunning to see the Eagles knock off the undefeated Vikings at home, it still can be classified as one of the surprising results of last weekend. Thanks to a dominating performance from their defense and another return touchdown from their special teams, Philadelphia bounced back in a big way after dropping two straight. The Cowboys are fresh off their bye week and feeling great about themselves as they went into Lambeau Field in Green Bay an knocked of the Packers 30-16 two weeks ago to move to 5-1. Dallas dominated from start to finish, as rookie RB Ezekiel Elliott continued his sensational rookie season.

As has been noted before, these NFC East games can be very difficult to project. The road team in the Eagles/Cowboys games has fared very favorably in recent games, but this time could be different. Dallas is humming along, and will welcome back WR Dez Bryant back this week. There is a chance they could be a little overconfident, but this just seems like a different Cowboys team. This will be close, but the Eagles defense has just not played as well on the road this season, and that will be the difference in this one.

Minnesota Vikings (5-1) @ Chicago Bears (1-6)

Game Pick: Vikings – There are no longer any undefeated teams left in the NFL after the Vikings fell 21-10 to the Eagles after coming off of a bye week. Minnesota couldn’t protect QB Sam Bradford or generate any offense, scoring their only touchdown in garbage time in the fourth quarter. The Bears were hanging tough with the Green Bay Packers on Thursday night, but all hope for a victory dissipated when QB Brian Hoyer suffered a fractured forearm and is now out indefinitely. Back up Matt Barkley just isn’t a quality NFL quarterback.

This looks like a good get right game for the Vikings, as they will look to get back on another winning streak in Chicago. It is concerning how poor their offensive line played against Philadelphia, but they might be able to get away with it against a Bears defense that is good, but not great. Chicago will reluctantly turn back to enigmatic QB Jay Cutler at the controls, who essentially is only playing because the Bears don’t have a better alternative. Maybe the Bears will hang around for half or so like they did against the Packers, but the Vikings should get back in the win column. Th

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