My Week 8 NFL Picks

Last week I had my best picks record of the year. I got 10 of the 14 games right, which was a welcome change from the way I had been doing previously. My key to success last week was to against my gut for each and every game, and it worked. But that was just in an effort to get me back on track. This week, I’m back to trusting my gut. I can’t fade myself every week because that would be ingenuine. So, here are my picks, my true picks, for each of the 15 games this week.

Baltimore Ravens (+1.5) over Tampa Bay Buccaneers

I’m very intrigued about how the Bucs’ defense plans to defend Lamar Jackson. He is one of the most explosive and dynamic players in the entire league and is a handful for any defense to contain. Tampa Bay has the talent on that side of the ball to get the job done, mainly the uber-athletic Devin White who they can use as a spy. That is the part of the game I’m most interested in but the part I’m most concerned about is the Bucs’ offense. I have written multiple times about how I’m legitimately worried about how they have looked on offense. Tom Brady doesn’t look comfortable with the line and the receivers at times and the running game is horrible despite a good back in Leonard Fournette. Even though the Ravens’ defense has been far from a shutdown unit this year, I don’t trust the Bucs’ ability to move the ball and score enough to keep up with Jackson. So, give me the Ravens on the spread as well as to win straight up because right now I think they’re the better team.

Jacksonville Jaguars (-2.5) over Denver Broncos

I have made my thoughts on both of these teams very clear throughout the season. I’m still a big fan of the Jaguars despite some of their recent struggles and I’m very much out on the Broncos with the way they have looked on offense this year. I do think that Denver can give Trevor Lawrence and company some issues because that unit is elite, but it won’t be enough to overcome the poor offensive showing. The Broncos just have not proven that they can be competent on that side of the ball, and until they do, I won’t feel confident in picking them to win just about any game. Yes, this game is in London so something weird (like a good game from Russell Wilson) could happen. But I fully expect to wake up at some point during the third quarter of this game and see the Jaguars holding a lead that they will keep for the rest of the game.

Dallas Cowboys (-9.5) over the Chicago Bears

If you think this game is hard to pick, luckily there is a blueprint for this type of matchup from just last week. The Cowboys handily covered a seven-point spread against the Lions last week, and the Lions and Bears are two comparable teams. I’m not fully buying the Bears’ fantastic performance from Monday Night Football either, so I don’t have faith in them covering this spread. Chicago is starting to look better on offense as it uses Justin Fields’s legs more, but it’s not going to work against a very good Dallas defense. I’m also anticipating a better game from the Cowboys and their offense as Dak Prescott will be in his second game post-injury.

New Orleans Saints (+1.5) over Las Vegas Raiders

The NFL is an incredibly complex league, with some very smart people spending hours and hours developing very pointed game plans on both sides of the ball. But sometimes a matchup is simple, and I think this game is one of those. This game will be decided by the Raiders’ running game. If the Saints can stop Josh Jacobs from continuing the absolute tear he has been on, then they’ll win the game. If Jacobs has another dominant performance and shreds the Saints on the ground, then the Raiders will leave victorious. I have faith in the Saints’ defense, although they haven’t been the best unit statistically this season. But with such a clear strategy from the Raiders coming in, I expect Dennis Allen to get the New Orleans defense ready to stop the run. And then I think Andy Dalton will do just enough to beat a lackluster Raiders defense and get the win.

Carolina Panthers (+4.5) over Atlanta Falcons

If there was an option to pick neither of these teams, I would take it. I think both of these squads are in the bottom tier of the league. The Falcons have been incredibly scrappy this year and actually covered their first six matchups but they failed to cover last week so now I think the magic has worn off. And let’s also not forget that the Panthers beat the Bucs last week in their first game after trading Christian McCaffrey so maybe they’re starting to figure something out. I don’t think that is necessarily the case, But I am going to ride the hot hand and actually pick the Panthers. Even if they don’t win, I see this being a close game, largely due to ineptitude, so Carolina should at least cover.

Philadelphia Eagles (-10.5) over Pittsburgh Steelers

I almost went with the Steelers to cover this game but then my senses kicked in. I think for a second I was buying too much into how competitive Pittsburgh has looked in its two games with Pickett as the starter, in which they covered both. But then I realized that the Eagles are a different breed of team than the Buccaneers and Dolphins. Philadelphia is a very good team and it for sure isn’t going to lose to Pittsburgh. Add in the fact that the Eagles are coming off a bye week, and this matchup figures to be a blowout. A rested and prepared Eagles team should have no problem beating a bad Steelers team by double digits. And if they don’t, then that would not be a great sign for their chances of staying undefeated moving forward.

Miami Dolphins (-3.5) over Detroit Lions

It seems like the luster of both these teams, who I had first and second in my watchability rankings a few weeks ago, has worn off. The Lions have lost in uncompetitive games in its last two contests and the Dolphins don’t seem to be the same high-flying offense they were to start the season. With that being said, I still firmly believe that the Dolphins are the better team. Detroit has the worst defense in the league, which is something Miami should certainly be able to take advantage of. Jeff Okudah has been a promising young piece for the Lions this year but he won’t stand a chance against Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle. And then the Miami defense is quietly pretty solid and has a good matchup against a floundering Lions offense. I’m hoping this game is as entertaining as it would have been a few weeks ago, but in all likelihood this will be a pretty easy win for Miami.

Minnesota Vikings (-3.5) over Arizona Cardinals

A team coming off a bye should always have the advantage in their next matchup. Even though the Cardinals had some extra rest after playing on Thursday, it doesn’t compare to a full two-week break. And when the team coming off the bye is already a better team, it all lines up for them to get the win. Even with the Cardinals’ win last Thursday, I’m still not convinced that they are any good. So I fully expect the Vikings to exploit them and take advantage of their weaknesses. Specifically, their weakness in the secondary, where Justin Jefferson will be no match for any corner that Arizona throws out there. Kyler Murray is obviously a dynamic player and can make some plays against an average Minnesota defense, but I don’t think that will be enough. The Vikings should continue their under-the-radar great start to the season and earn another victory on Sunday.

New York Jets (+1.5) over New England Patriots

Sometimes I like to use some math to justify my picks. It isn’t real matt, but it’s as close as I’m going to get to real math since I never have to take an algebra class ever again. So here’s the math. Last week the Bears beat the Patriots by a lot. The Jets are better than the Bears in like basically every way. So, when you add those two things together, you get the Jets beating the Patriots this week. Boom, simple as that. Ok, so the game probably won’t actually be as simple as that, but the point still stands. It’s weird to say that the Jets are the better team than the Patriots right now but that is the world we’re living in. New York is a stout team on defense and has leaned into the run game on offense. How the Jets will be able to do the latter without star rookie Breece Hall will be worth monitoring, but I still expect the Jets to outplay the Patriots on both sides of the ball and earn the win.

Tennessee Titans (-2.5) over Houston Texans

Whoever set this line must not like the Titans very much because this is preposterous. The Texans are nowhere near 2.5 points as good as the Titans. Did they not see the Texans lose to the Raiders last week by a pretty wide margin? Tennessee somehow manages to be an under-the-radar team every year, even though that seems impossible. The Titans are once again churning out solid result after solid result, this time leaning on a very good defense to do so. Yet, they still have Derrick Henry, who can break out for 200 yards at any possible moment. The Texans have been showing some fight this year in some close games but there is a reason one of these teams is a perennial division contender and the other is a perennial top-of-the-order drafter. The Titans should handle this game easily and win by much more than 2.5 points.

New York Giants (+3) over Seattle Seahawks

This is one of those games where I take the team getting points because I feel it could go either way. There are so many possible outcomes for this game, but I feel like each team has an equal chance of winning. Both of these teams have been surprising this year but could also come back down to earth at any moment. When two teams are so closely matched, I like to side with the unit I trust the most or against the unit I trust the least. Well, in this case, both of those units are on the Seahawks. They have one of the most efficient offenses in the league this year but at the same time have one of the worst defenses. But I think the Giants may be able to successfully attack that defense on the ground with Saquon Barkley and Daniel Jones. This game is definitely the one I’m the least confident in so I’m hoping that it just ends up being close and that the Giants cover no matter who actually ends up winning.

Washington Commanders (+3) over Indianapolis Colts

It doesn’t sound right, but Taylor Heinicke is the better quarterback in this matchup. Now, it’s not fair to judge the entirely unproven Sam Ehlinger yet, but I do have more faith in Heinicke at the moment. I have been a fan of Heinicke since his days at Old Dominion (shootout NCAA 14 dynasty mode) so it feels good to be able to pick him here. I also just think that the Commanders have more things going right for them at the moment, mainly because their quarterback change was at least prompted fully by injury. They have several players that have been playing well this year, most notably Montez Sweat who should be able to wreak havoc against a disappointing Colts offensive line. As long as Heinicke doesn’t go out and throw too many picks, I like Washington’s chances to win this game.

San Francisco 49ers (-1.5) over Los Angeles Rams

The Rams finally exorcised their demons when they beat the 49ers in the NFC Championship Game last year, but I have little faith that they can continue their winning ways in this matchup. First off, Nick Bosa should have a field day against the Rams’ offensive line. I feel like I talk about how bad that unit is every week, but it is really bad so I’m not going to stop mentioning it. But that 49er defense is going to give the Rams some serious trouble on offense. And if the Rams’ own defense can’t hold the Niners to less than 20 points, I don’t see how they can win. The 49ers scoring 20 points is far from a given due to Jimmy Garoppolo’s inconsistency, but the arrival of Christian McCaffrey should give the offense enough firepower to score even when Garoppolo is playing poorly. I am always prepared to be wrong when I make these picks but this one feels pretty solid unless the Rams come off the bye week looking like a completely revamped team.

Buffalo Bills over Green Bay Packers (+10.5)

The Bills are not going to lose this game. Write it in permanent marker, set it in stone, do whatever you do when something is fully guaranteed because that is the case. But whether they will win by more than 10 points is the bigger question. Honestly, I think Buffalo is that much better than Green Bay right now given the way both teams have been playing. But due to some unexplainable loyalty to the Packers (probably because I thought they would be good this year) I have to pick the Packers with this spread. I just find it unfathomable to assume that a team led by Aaron Rodgers is a double-digit point underdog ever. I’m really making this pick due more to hope that it happens than belief that it will, but sometimes that works. Hopefully, we will get the marquee matchup that this was supposed to be when the NFL scheduled it, and not the Buffalo blowout that it seems poised to be. Also, this game is the perfect time for Rodgers to just hand over the MVP trophy to Josh Allen because we all know that’s what’s going to happen at the end of the year.

Cleveland Browns (+3.5) over Cincinnati Bengals

You know how in the intro I mentioned that I went completely against my gut last week and it worked? Well, this is one of those gut picks that normally don’t go well. I can’t really explain why I like the Browns in this one, I just do. I guess I’m just hoping for one of those weird divisional matchups where the familiarity between the two teams leads to the underdog pulling off an upset. The Browns certainly do have the means to win this game. Nick Chubb is one of the best running backs in the league. Myles Garrett is an all-world defender. And the secondary is plenty talented enough to hang with the Bengals’ great group of wide receivers. Can Jacoby Brissett outplay Joe Burrow? Absolutely not. But can the Browns as a whole outplay the Bengals? Possibly. So I’m banking on that second part happening and the Browns at least keeping this one close enough to cover the 3.5 points.