Week 8 record: 9-4
Overall record: 69-51
Atlanta Falcons (5-3) @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-4)
Game Pick: Falcons – Game already played, pick was as follows:
New York Jets (3-5) @ Miami Dolphins (3-4)
Game Pick: Dolphins – The Jets were sleepwalking through their game against the Browns last weekend, and were down 20-7 at halftime. QB Ryan Fitzpatrick and the rest of the team finally decided they’d had enough and eventually found their footing in a 31-28 win over Cleveland. Things are starting to slowly get better in Miami for the Dolphins as they won two straight going into their bye week on the strength of RB Jay Ajayi, who rushed for over 200 yards in each of the Dolphins last two victories.
The schedule finally eases up for the Jets after an early season gauntlet, however the Dolphins improved play after a sluggish start won’t make this one any less difficult for New York. The Jets might be breathing a bit easier after surviving a scare against the Browns, which may make them more vulnerable on the road against the Dolphins. Sure the Jets elite run defense may keep Ajayi in check. But their terrible secondary has been getting picked on all season long and the Dolphins have weapons to take advantage of it, as long as QB Ryan Tannehill is on his game. Miami wins by a field goal.
Philadelphia Eagles (4-3) @ New York Giants (4-3)
Game Pick: Eagles – Things were looking great for the Eagles when they were up 20-10 late in the third quarter against the Cowboys, but Dallas chipped away at the lead and eventually sent the game to overtime where they eventually took out the Eagles 29-23. The Giants are well rested, having beaten the Rams in London 17-10 two weeks ago. That win was propelled by the New York defense that had four interceptions, including one that S Landon Collins returned for a touchdown.
The NFC East is incredibly tight right now so every divisional game takes on that much more significance. While both these teams have identical records, the Eagles record seems much more legit than the Giants, who haven’t won any of their four games by more than seven points. The road team in this series has had more success lately, and though New York may be well rested an prepared for this one, this just seems like the type of game that they will find a way to lose. It will likely come down to the final few minutes, but the Eagles will eke out a big division win.
Jacksonville Jaguars (2-5) @ Kansas City Chiefs (5-2)
Game Pick: Chiefs – It was an embarrassment of epic proportions last Thursday night for the Jaguars as they were humiliated 36-22 to the Titans. They were down 27-0 at half time, and while the loss didn’t cost coach Gus Bradley his job, it did cost offensive coordinator Greg Olson his job. Despite playing most of the game without QB Alex Smith and RB Spencer Ware, the Chiefs had a pretty easy time with the Colts last weekend, defeating Indianapolis 30-14. TE Travis Kelce caught seven passes for 101 yards and a touchdown in the victory.
To be frank, it’s hard to see the Jaguars beating a much better Chiefs team, especially on the road in a tough environment at Arrowhead. Maybe their dysfunctional offense will at least wake up with the change at coordinator, but it’s highly unlikely that it’s going to be enough to upset the Chiefs. Perhaps they will at least be more competitive. QB Nick Foles, who came in and played well in place of Smith last week, will get the start for Kansas City, which shouldn’t be too much of a downgrade. Take the Chiefs to win by a touchdown.
Detroit Lions (4-4) @ Minnesota Vikings (5-2)
Game Pick: Vikings – After winning three straight at home, the Lions went on the road and laid an egg in Houston as the Texans beat Detroit 20-13. The game was never really out of reach for the Lions, but it just seemed like the Texans were in control for most of the contest, especially defensively. So much for the Vikings being in a good spot to bounce back on Monday night in Chicago. They did not look prepared to compete as they lost 20-10 to the Bears, in a game that really wasn’t even close. Minnesota’s offense couldn’t get anything going at all.
The Vikings have been absolutely dreadful the last two weeks. The defense may have just had an off week last week, but the offensive struggles are definitely a legitimate concern. The offensive line has been horrendous, making QB Sam Bradford look very skittish in the pocket. Offensive coordinator Norv Turner surprisingly resigned early this week, but that alone isn’t going to get the Vikings offense on track. Luckily for them, they’re back at home where they’ve been tough to beat at their new stadium. The Lions keep it close, but the Vikings will end their two game skid.
Dallas Cowboys (6-1) @ Cleveland Browns (0-8)
Game Pick: Cowboys – It wasn’t looking good through three quarters, but rookie QB Dak Prescott overcame some early struggles to help lead the Cowboys to their sixth straight win, 29-23 in overtime over the Eagles, after a season opening loss to the Giants. The Browns just can’t seem to sustain early success in games, as they let another first half lead get away from them in a 31-28 loss to the Jets, that saw them drop to 0-8 on the season.
The Cowboys weren’t at their best last weekend, but they found a way to win a tough divisional game and put a little distance between themselves and the rest of the division. And now they get what looks like a cakewalk of a game against the winless Browns. As long as they don’t take Cleveland too lightly, a seventh straight win should be in the cards for the Cowboys. The Browns will probably do what they’ve done all season in this game. They’ll get off to a decent start and be competitive, but as the game goes on, they’ll start to fade. Take the Cowboys on the road.
Pittsburgh Steelers (4-3) @ Baltimore Ravens (3-4)
Game Pick: Steelers – The bye week came at a perfect time for the Steelers. They gave the Patriots a good battle in the first half, but ultimately fell 27-16 to New England two weeks ago. Without QB Ben Roethlisberger, beating a team like the Patriots was practically an insurmountable task. The Ravens 3-0 start seems like ages ago as they went into their bye week on a four game losing streak thanks to a 24-16 loss to the Jets. It wasn’t as close a game as the score indicates as Baltimore failed to record an offensive touchdown.
If Pittsburgh had to play this one without Roethlisberger, the edge would decidedly go to the Ravens. However the Steelers bye has allowed him enough time to recover from his knee surgery to play this week. They will also get back DE Cameron Heyward and have a fully healthy Ryan Shazier at linebacker. The Ravens offensive line has also had an extra week to get healthy, so that might negate any edge that the Steelers have defensively. Something else to consider is that Baltimore beat Pittsburgh both times last year, something that the Steelers surely remember in this fierce rivalry. The Ravens keep it close, but Pittsburgh pulls away late for the win.
New Orleans Saints (3-4) @ San Francisco 49ers (1-6)
Game Pick: Saints – It came right now to the wire, but the Saints held on for a 25-20 upset victory over the Seahawks at the Superdome on Sunday. Instead of QB Drew Brees leading the way, it was RB Tim Hightower who came in for RB Mark Ingram after he fumbled early and ran for 102 yards on 26 carries. It was more of the same for the 49ers two weeks ago as they lost their sixth game in a row to the Buccaneers 34-17. They jumped out to an early 14-0 lead, but that didn’t take long to disappear.
After losing their first three games, the Saints have won three of four. Despite being on the road where they often don’t play as well, 4-4 is well within reach against a 49ers team that has been downright awful this season. A bye week can often help get a team back on track, but it’s hard to see that helping San Francisco much. They are just devoid of talent and since losing LB Navarro Bowman to a season ending injury, they have been getting gashed on the ground. New Orleans has too many weapons and are starting to play better on defense. They should win quite easily.
Carolina Panthers (2-5) @ Los Angeles Rams (3-4)
Game Pick: Rams – Coming off a bye and playing at home against an exhausted Cardinals team that had to travel to the east coast after an overtime game, it was the perfect storm for the Panthers. They got back into the win column, jumping out to a 30-7 lead and eventually winning 30-20. The Rams were on a bye last weekend after travelling to London to play the Giants. They jumped out to a 10-0 lead, but a multitude of mistakes, including four interceptions by QB Case Keenum led to a 17-10 loss. This is a game Los Angeles certainly could have won.
Despite being on the road and just snapping a four game losing streak, somehow the Panthers are favored on the road against the Rams, which just doesn’t seem right. That isn’t to say they aren’t capable of beating the Rams though. If they smother RB Todd Gurley and get after QB Case Keenum like the did to Carson Palmer last week, it could be a long day for Los Angeles. But the Rams are well rested, and have a stingy defense of their own that should almost be back to 100% healthy. Keenum has struggled at times this year, but the Panthers secondary is a mess and he might just do enough to take advantage of it and lead the Rams to a win in what should be a low scoring game.
Tennessee Titans (4-4) @ San Diego Chargers (3-5)
Game Pick: Chargers – Though the 36-22 score may have looked somewhat respectable for Jacksonville, the Titans were in control of the Jaguars from start to finish. Two late time garbage scores made the game look a lot closer than it really was. The Chargers modest two game winning streak came to a halt on Sunday as they were narrowly beaten by the Broncos in Denver 27-19. San Diego more than held their own, but turnovers, missed kicks and a lack of finish in the redzone ultimately did them in.
This is one of the more intriguing games of the week. The Chargers desperately need to win to keep their season from falling off the rails. The Titans are brimming with confidence though and will not be an easy out by any means. San Diego is still getting ravaged by injuries, with inside linebacker being the latest position group to take a hit. Tennessee may be able to take advantage of that with their great ground attack. The Chargers and QB Philip Rivers on the other hand should be able to air it out with ease against a below average Titans secondary. San Diego finds a way to win this one, but in typical Chargers fashion, it will come down to the wire.
Indianapolis Colts (3-5) @ Green Bay Packers (4-3)
Game Pick: Packers – It was an ugly game at home for the Colts on Sunday, as they were whitewashed 30-14 by the Chiefs. It was an all around bad performance, as their offensive line gave up six sacks and their defense allowed 334 passing yards against. The Packers just couldn’t hold on in a shootout against the Falcons as they gave up a touchdown in the dying seconds of the game, losing 33-32 to Atlanta. QB Aaron Rodgers looked sharp in defeat, throwing for 246 yards and four touchdowns.
This game could have a familiar feel to it for the Packers as this is again shaping up to be a high scoring, pass happy game. The big difference for Green Bay is that they’re at home, and they’re going up a less complete team in the Colts. Indianapolis and QB Andrew Luck should be able to put up their fair share of points against a banged up Packers secondary, but that’s about the only chance the Colts have of keeping things respectable. Their defense is putrid and the Packers offense is heating up. Green Bay should win by a couple of scores.
Denver Broncos (6-2) @ Oakland Raiders (6-2)
Game Pick: Broncos – It was a familiar theme going back to last year for the Broncos as they relied on their aggressive and opportunistic defense in a 27-19 win over the Chargers on Sunday. They produced four sacks and three interceptions, including a pick six by CB Bradley Roby. It was a wild one in Tampa as the Raiders overcame 23 penalties to beat the Buccaneers late in overtime on a walk off touchdown 30-24. QB Derek Carr went 40 of 59 for a staggering 513 yards and four touchdowns in the victory.
This is definitely the game of the week, and it gets a primetime spot on Sunday night in Oakland. Whomever wins this game will be in the drivers seat to win the AFC West. Though the Raiders are 6-2, they’ve had to earn all of those victories, often finding ways to win late in the fourth quarter, and they’ve yet to face a defense like the Broncos. They should be able to keep a red hot Carr and a suspect run game in check. Denver doesn’t have an elite offense, but they have enough weapons that they should be able to put up some points and edge Oakland in a tight game. This is a pressure game for the Raiders that they just might not be fully prepared for.
Buffalo Bills (4-4) @ Seattle Seahawks (4-2-1)
Game Pick: Seahawks – Not surprisingly, the Bills got steamrolled by the Patriots 41-25 last weekend in a classic revenge game for New England. It was a tough spot Buffalo to be in, especially given that RB LeSean McCoy was unavailable to play because of a hamstring injury. Speaking of tough spots, the Seahawks came up short on the road in New Orleans 25-20 after a long and grueling overtime game the week before on Sunday night. They had a chance to win on the last play of the game, but QB Russell Wilson led WR Jermaine Kearse out of the back of the endzone.
McCoy’s availability again is going to have a big impact on whether or not the Bills can hang around against the Seahawks. Travelling cross country to play in Seattle on Monday night is just another thing going against Buffalo. The Seahawks aren’t exactly playing great football either with a beat up Wilson and an offensive line that is struggling to keep Wilson upright. The Bills have a good enough defense to give Seattle some fits, but it’s too much to expect them to beat the Seahawks on the road, even if McCoy plays. They may keep it within a touchdown, but Seattle should win.