Welcome to Week 8 of the NFL season. I am finally going into this week with some confidence after a solid record of 10-4 in the Week 7 slate. The Packers and Buccaneers and their elderly QBs could have gotten me to 12-2, but they’d rather lose to Taylor Heinicke and PJ Walker. Nothing I can do about that though. Through seven weeks of frustrating and nail-biting pick ems, I have managed a total record of 61-46. Not bad, but not as good as I am used to given the performance over the last few years in this department. Week 8 will be filled with some great games where teams that are falling behind get more desperate, and teams gaining steam may slip up. This will likely lead to some upsets and exciting games throughout the league. Whether it’s a former XFL QB embarrassing a geezer, a New York team continuing to do the unthinkable, or even an NFC South team not looking awful, this week will likely continue the trend of unlikely events and exciting play. Enough rambling though, let’s try and ride the hot hand into another successful week here and get into it.
Baltimore Ravens at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Winner: Baltimore Ravens
Summary: Neither one of these teams has looked very promising to start the season, considering they were both Super Bowl bets going into it. This will be a huge game for both of these teams, as they try and avoid falling back in the playoff hunt which is starting to solidify. These offenses are structured very differently, and this should be quite a chess match. I don’t think Brady and his Bucs will right the ship here though, as their stagnant offense just won’t get quite enough going until it’s too late. The Bucs keep the Ravens out of the end zone quite a bit, but Justin Tucker delivers four great field goals that prove to be the difference maker. Lamar Jackson throws for 250 yards and 2 touchdowns, as Gus Edwards gets one on the ground as well. Brady throws for over 300 yards and 3 touchdowns as they play catchup, but it won’t be enough as the Bucs fall to a shocking 3-5.
Denver Broncos at Jacksonville Jaguars
Winner: Jacksonville Jaguars
Summary: Both of these teams are sputtering and are in desperate need of a win. The reports about Russell Wilson are unclear at the time that I am writing this, but I think he will be in line to play here. This game could go either way, but I really like the Jaguars here. Despite being 2-5, I think they are a talented roster that is overdue for a game to go their way. It will take a good offensive showing, but they are capable of doing just enough here. Trevor Lawrence throws for 200 yards and 2 touchdowns, while Travis Etienne takes the reins and tallies over 100 all-purpose yards and a score himself. Russell Wilson throws for 250 yards and a touchdown in the losing effort, as Jacksonville gets a good win and Denver continues to leave games with more question marks than answers.
Las Vegas Raiders at New Orleans Saints
Winner: Las Vegas Raiders
Summary: If shooting yourself in the foot was an Olympic sport, the Saints would hoist the gold. They are plagued by injuries and bad mistakes that often turn games in which they should win into close losses. They are 2-5, but could easily be 5-2. The Raiders finally looked good and need to ride that into this matchup. I think they will do that, as they play their brand of football and allow the Saints to mess up on their own. New Orleans, who has been surprisingly susceptible to the run this year, will probably see at least 30 carries against them here. Josh Jacobs should have a field day, amassing 150 total yards and 2 touchdowns. I see Andy Dalton starting under center for New Orleans, as he throws for 250 yards and a touchdown. Alvin Kamara finally gets in the end zone and has over 100 yards but it won’t be enough as New Orleans falls to 2-6 and the Raiders get another much-needed win.
Arizona Cardinals at Minnesota Vikings
Winner: Minnesota Vikings
Summary: This should be one of the more exciting games of the week as two high-flying offenses go to battle in Minnesota. Both teams have their WR1 ready to go and this should be a back-and-forth air raid battle. The Cardinals are coming off a great game, and the Vikings are well-rested after a bye week. Kirk Cousins throws for 300 yards and 3 touchdowns in the win, while Justin Jefferson has over 150 yards and 2 touchdowns himself. Kyler Murray tries to match it with 300 yards and 4 touchdowns of his own, with 100 yards and a score going to Deandre Hopkins, but it won’t be quite enough as Minnesota outlasts them here.
Carolina Panthers at Atlanta Falcons
Winner: Atlanta Falcons
Summary: Both of these teams have looked pretty poor this season, but both have a tendency to fight hard and hang with good teams. This will be an interesting battle with lots of ground game for each side. I think this is a perfect matchup for the Falcons and this is an opportunity to take a lead in the division somehow. Marcus Mariota will continue to play well with 200 yards passing and 50 yards rushing with 2 total touchdowns, putting the team on his back along with three Younghoe Koo field goals. PJ Walker will do what he can with 200 yards and a touchdown, along with a great ground game by Chuba Hubbard and D’Onta Foreman. Carolina will fall just short of their division rival here though and fall deeper into the hole, while the Falcons get a much-needed win.
Chicago Bears at Dallas Cowboys
Winner: Dallas Cowboys
Summary: This is a matchup of historic franchises and will definitely stir up the diehard fans of each team. The Bears are coming off by far their best performance of the season, and the Cowboys are coming off a bounce-back win. This could end up being a battle of the ground games, as Dak Prescott could benefit from more workload being given to Zeke Elliott and Tony Pollard. David Montgomery and Khalil Herbert form a talented tandem that should lead to some old-school football. Dak throws for 250 yards and a touchdown in the win, while Zeke and Pollard each score and combine for 150 yards on the ground. Justin Fields throws for under 150 yards with no touchdowns, which proves to be the difference maker as the Bears backfield duo’s 150 combined yards and 1 touchdown aren’t enough to keep them in the game as the Bears fall to 3-5 and the Cowboys keep on rolling at 6-2.
Miami Dolphins at Detroit Lions
Winner: Miami Dolphins
Summary: The Dolphins benefitted from having a healthy offense back on the field last week. Well, it was really the defense that won them that game, but they seemed more confident on both sides. Detroit, on the other hand, is spiraling down in the standings as the losses pile up. They have looked talented at times, but this team doesn’t turn that into wins. They also look fully healthy for the first time in a while, so they may look better than in weeks prior. The Dolphins will do what they need to do to get the win here though, picking on the weak Lions’ defense all day. Tua throws for 300 yards and 3 touchdowns, while Raheem Mostert accrues 100 total yards and a score himself. D’Andre Swift makes his much-anticipated return, as he and Jamaal Williams each score once, but Jared Goff struggles here with just 150 yards and a touchdown. That will be the difference maker as the Dolphins move to 5-3 and the Lions sink to 1-6.
New England Patriots at New York Jets
Winner: New York Jets
Summary: We have a divisional matchup here between the Patriots and their little brother, the New York Jets. The little brother is getting bigger though, and he wants revenge for all the years of bullying. That is just what they’ll get here too. The Jets will come in with a chip on their shoulder and their morale high, while the Patriots are coming off a tough loss to a weak team that wasn’t even close. We don’t know who will start for the Pats on Sunday at this point in time, but I am going to go with Mac Jones. It won’t matter though. Zach Wilson throws for 200 yards and a touchdown, while James Robinson has 100 total yards and a touchdown in his debut for the Jets, and his partner Michael Carter has 75 yards and a touchdown as well. Mac Jones throws for 250 yards and 2 touchdowns, while Rhamondre Stevenson has 75 yards and a touchdown himself in the losing effort as the Jets get a win that is bound to come with a sigh of relief.
Pittsburgh Steelers at Philadelphia Eagles
Winner: Philadelphia Eagles
Summary: The Eagles are likely licking their lips heading into this matchup with the Steelers. The Pittsburgh offense is stumbling and very susceptible to turnovers, which is the bread and butter of the Eagles. They will use their opponents’ mistakes to get an early lead and then run the ball the rest of the way to coast to a win. The Steelers will try and get a comeback brewing but fall well short of the goal in a coast-to-coast win for Philly. Jalen Hurts has 200 yards and a touchdown through the air, and 75 yards and another touchdown on the ground. Miles Sanders shines with 100 yards and 2 touchdowns as well. Kenny Pickett has plenty of ups and downs, ending with 300 yards and 2 touchdowns, but 3 turnovers as well. The Eagles get a resounding victory to move to a whopping 7-0, while the Steelers fall to 2-6.
Tennessee Titans at Houston Texans
Winner: Tennessee Titans
Summary: The Titans come into this one with a lead in the AFC South, while the Texans sit at the bottom of it. You have to think that the Titans know how much of a must-win game this is, as it will improve their division record and shoot them further away from their division rivals. Mike Vrabel will make sure they come to play on Sunday, and he will rely on the ground game to do it. Derrick Henry will look vintage here with 150 yards and 2 touchdowns, while rookie Dameon Pierce tries to match the legend with 100 yards and a touchdown of his own. It will be the Titans that come out on top though, as they move to a 5-2 record despite shaky play all year, and the Texans stumble to 1-5-1.
Washington Commanders at Indianapolis Colts
Winner: Indianapolis Colts
Summary: I don’t even really want to talk about this game, because I fear how boring it just might be. We will be seeing a matchup of Taylor Heinicke and Sam Ehlinger here. The XFL legend against the long-time Texas starter. I have to imagine it will be a relatively low-scoring affair, with neither team having much going for them on offense. This could be the game that Jonathan Taylor needs to get going though, and that will be the difference maker. Taylor will rush for 100 yards and a score here, allowing Ehlinger to do his job with 200 yards and a touchdown through the air. Taylor Heinicke will throw for 250 yards and a touchdown, but turnovers will bite him hard. The Colts win one of the more boring games of the entire season to move to 4-3-1, while the Commanders fall to 3-5.
San Francisco 49ers at Los Angeles Rams
Winner: San Francisco 49ers
Summary: A west coast matchup looms here between two teams that are often a thorn in each other’s side every year. This will be no different, as they will battle all day long to try and get much-needed wins in the tight NFC West. The Rams’ Super Bowl hangover just hasn’t seemed to have lifted all year, but the bye week could bring back a better team for the 49ers to deal with. The newly acquired Christian McCaffrey will prove to be the difference maker in this close matchup. Jimmy Garappolo throws for 250 yards and 2 touchdowns, while Christian McCaffrey cleans up with 150 total yards and 2 scores of his own. Matt Stafford finally looks alive with 350 yards and 3 touchdowns, and Darrell Henderson manages 75 yards and a touchdown as well. This game will go to overtime, where the 49ers will seal the deal and head back to San Francisco with a key divisional win in their back pocket.
New York Giants at Seattle Seahawks
Winner: New York Giants
Summary: This was the hardest game of the week for me to pick, as these teams are very similar. They are led by quarterbacks that are vastly outperforming expectations and have a stellar run game. That has both of these teams above .500, which would have come as a shock to many before the year started. Daboll continues to be the runaway favorite for Coach of the Year, and Pete Carroll is proving he can survive in a post-Russell Wilson world. Both of these teams will likely come to play and I see this game heading to overtime before it’s all said and done. It will be Daniel Jones and company who touches the ball first, and they won’t look back with an overtime touchdown. Jones throws and runs for a total of 250 yards, and Saquon has a score along with 100 all-purpose yards as well. Geno Smith throws for 300 yards and 2 touchdowns, and Kenneth Walker eclipses 100 yards with a score in the close loss.
Green Bay Packers at Buffalo Bills
Winner: Buffalo Bills
Summary: This should have been a matchup of powerhouses at this point of the season, but the Packers have been flat-out bad this season. The Bills have held up their end of the deal though, as they look fluid and strong. They should have no problem knocking off Aaron Rodgers and company here. The Bills will lean on Josh Allen per usual and he will give them 400 yards and 3 touchdowns. The Packers will likely be forced into passing by the early deficit, and Aaron Rodgers will struggle to mount a comeback. He will throw for 300 yards and 2 touchdowns, but it will be far from enough as the Packers drop another and the Bills stay atop the league. The future is now, old man.
Cincinnati Bengals at Cleveland Browns
Winner: Cincinnati Bengals
Summary: The early season doubters of the Bengals after two games probably feel pretty stupid right now. Rightfully so. This team is red hot and walks into this division matchup with a lot of confidence. A division matchup can always be tough though, and the Browns are no exception. They will run the ball down the Bengal’s throat all game, and it will take a prolific performance by Burrow to get them out of Cleveland safely. Unfortunately for the Browns, he will deliver just that. A 350-yard, 3-touchdown performance on a cold Monday night in Cleveland will be the death blow. A valiant effort by Nick Chubb with 150 yards and 2 touchdowns, as well as Jacoby Brissett with 200 yards and a passing touchdown will come up just short here as the Bengals keep rolling.