Week 8 NFL Picks: Analyzing and Predicting Every Game
Week eight of the 2016 NFL season arrives on Thursday night, when the Jacksonville Jaguars and Tennessee Titans jockey for position in the AFC South. The fact that Thursday night’s game has any divisional ramifications is both embarrassing and exciting, as the league’s worst division arguably doesn’t have a true “best team” almost halfway through the year.
Naturally, that game kicks off our week 8 NFL picks, and also looks to be a bit of a toss-up. That TNF contest joins six other NFL games this week with -3.5 spreads or worse, showcasing just how tight some of the battles could be this week.
We’re finally heading into dangerous waters, too, with the Minnesota Vikings being handed their first loss in week seven. Could the first win of the year be around the corner for the Cleveland Browns? For the answer to that and more, read on for our week eight NFL predictions:
Thursday Night Football continues to try to live up to its “bad football” label, as the Titans and Jags face off in what should be a simply awful game. Both of these teams do have a shot at inching closer to the top of the AFC South here, however, which betting sites like Bovada seem to think should keep this game fairly close.
That’s probably true, but the one thing we can probably bank on is Blake Bortles failing under the spotlight. Not only do the Jags have issues under center, but they can’t run the ball and their defense hasn’t been good enough to make up for their offensive mistakes. It’s unlikely to revert course this week in Tennessee.
Pick: Titans 27, Jaguars 20
Kirk Cousins and co. found a way to lose in Detroit last week, so instead of sitting pretty at 5-2, they’re in London this week against the Bengals trying not to fall to 4-4. The Redskins are still a dangerous team, but they’re suddenly in a really tough spot against a desperate/hungry Cincy squad that is better than their 3-4 record suggests.
Tyler Eifert should be more involved this week and something tells me Andy Dalton and co. are just about to settle into a groove. If the Bengals’ defense can step up, Cincy should finally get back to .500.
Pick: Bengals 24, Redskins 20
This is a tough game to gauge, as New Orleans is traditionally very good at home and Seattle looked horrendous in a tie last week. Seattle does get a major upgrade in opponent here, however, as the Saints sport quite possibly the worst defense in football.
Russell Wilson and co. need a pick-me-up after whatever it was they did on the field last week, and a date with the Saints should be just what the doctor ordered.
Pick: Seahawks 31, Saints 20
This is another tough game to figure out, as Kansas City’s defense looks like it’s back to an elite level after two strong weeks, but a road date with Andrew Luck could be problematic.
On paper Indy might be a sexy pick because they excel at home, but the reality is they’re overmatched here. The Colts still have bad pass protection and can’t stop opposing offenses on a regular basis. Expect a big game from Chiefs rusher Spencer Ware and some sacks and turnovers out of KC’s defense.
Pick: Chiefs 26, Colts 19
Arizona is at a crossroads and Carolina is likely just now realizing their season is over. The 3-3-1 Cardinals can still turn things around and take down the NFC West, however, while the Panthers (1-5) are probably down for the count.
Carolina could be tough after being well rested from their bye week, but Arizona’s defense has been performing on an elite level over the past few weeks.
Pick: Cardinals 20, Panthers 16
Oakland is oddly the mild underdog in a pick’em game this week, largely because it’s on the road. No matter, as the Raiders bounced back nicely last week and should move past the Bucs with a superior offense.
Tampa Bay doesn’t have the defense to shut down Derek Carr, which could promote a full-blown shootout. Jameis Winston did look good last week and could make this a game, but his tendency to turn the ball over should give Oakland all the edge it needs in a potentially high-scoring affair.
Pick: Raiders 34, Buccaneers 31
Another shootout could reside in Atlanta, where the Falcons and Packers combine for a ridiculous Total. Green Bay isn’t really the reason why, as their offense has been up and down all year and they continue to shove their way through their schedule without several key bodies.
Atlanta tends to play very well at home and Green Bay doesn’t have a single person that can slow down Julio Jones. The Packers will need to have an A+ offensive day just to keep this one interesting.
Pick: Falcons 37, Packers 27
It’s rookie vs. rookie in a huge NFC East showdown this week, as Dak Prescott and the Cowboys host Carson Wentz and the Eagles. Philly comes in riding high, having just taken down the previously undefeated Minnesota Vikings.
Wentz is still raw and has been making mistakes, but he was masked last week by a top shelf effort by the Eagles’ defense. It will take more of that for the Eagles to nab their second straight win and drop the ‘Boys from the top of the division.
Pick: Cowboys 24, Eagles 17
Here starts our “n/a” lines, as the Jets are sure to be heavily favored over the winless Browns, but we have yet to learn the identity of Cleveland’s starting quarterback for week eight.
Kevin Hogan wasn’t good as the replacement for injured starter Cody Kessler last week, and he’d probably be in some serious trouble if placed under center again this week. Whispers of a Josh McCown give Cleveland hope (and possibly better odds), but the Jets are likely to escape unscathed when they exit Cleveland.
Pick: Jets 27, Browns 13
New England got blanked in a loss to the Bills the first time around, but they didn’t have Tom Brady or a fully healthy Rob Gronkowski. Both will be on hand this week, as the Pats try to get to 6-1 while handing the Bills their second straight loss.
Rex Ryan is sure to dial up some blitzes and make this a tough, grind-it-out contest, but a LeSean McCoy injury makes a win tough to see for the Bills.
Pick: Patriots 17, Bills 13
San Diego eyes a massive sweep in Denver this week, having beaten the Broncos two weeks ago and followed that up with a huge OT win in Atlanta. San Diego’s season is still on life support, but a big win this week could vault them into the discussion atop the AFC West.
The Bolts are a fun team to watch and potentially a feel good story, but they’re not the better team. Beating Denver on the road is much easier said than done, too.
Pick: Broncos 26, Chargers 17
The last game of the week gives the Vikings an immediate chance to make up for their first loss of the year. Luckily it also comes against the Bears, who are just 1-5 and seem to be falling apart at the seams.
Chicago has some mild hope with Jay Cutler (thumb) returning under center, but his days with the team appear to be numbered and his support in the organization is lacking. An elite performance against one of the league’s best defenses would be quite the shocker.
Pick: Vikings 28, Bears 6