The always unpredictable NFL heads into Week 8 with several intriguing storylines. From the return of Dez Bryant in Dallas to Big Ben coming back in Pittsburgh, there’s a lot to watch come Sunday. Hopefully I can finish my first set of weekly picks with a winning record.
Detroit Lions @ Kansas City Chiefs (KC -3)
At this point, the Lions are just due. Matthew Stafford has six touchdowns against one interception the past two weeks look for him to continue the solid play in London. Lions win 20-17.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Atlanta Falcons (ATL -7.5)
Coming off an ugly 10-7 victory over the Titans, look for Matt Ryan and the offense to get back on track facing a Bucs defense that blew a 24-point lead against the Redskins last week. Atlanta wins 27-17 and covers the spread.
Arizona Cardinals @ Cleveland Browns (+7)
The revitalized Chris Johnson will have a field day against the Browns last ranked run defense. Patrick Peterson and the Arizona defense (321.1 yards/game, 4th in league) will keep the Browns offense in check. Arizona rolls 34-14.
Cincinnati Bengals @ Pittsburgh Steelers (Even)
The undefeated Bengals face the division rival Steelers in Big Ben’s return to action. No one is happier about Roethlisberger’s return than Antonio Brown (only 17 receptions 235 yards since the injury). Pittsburgh hands Cincinnati their first loss 23-20.
San Francisco 49ers @ St. Louis Rams (-9.5)
All signs point towards a blowout in this matchup. The 49ers last ranked scoring offense (14.7 point/game) takes on the Rams third ranked pass rush (23 sacks) in St. Louis. The Rams are coming off an impressive 24-6 over the Browns last week, look for Colin Kaepernick’s struggles to continue. Rams win 23-10 and cover the spread.
San Diego Chargers @ Baltimore Ravens (-3.5)
Two struggling teams faceoff in Baltimore, somebody has to win. The Chargers give up 28.3 points per game (28th in the league). The Ravens give up 26.9 points per game (26th in the league). The Chargers win a shootout 37-30.
New York Giants @ New Orleans Saints (-3)
After a 1-4 start, the Saints have reeled off back-to-back victories against the Falcons and Colts. Drew Brees leads the NFL’s third ranked passing attack (297.1 yards/game) against the Giants 30th ranked passing defense (288.3 yards/game). The Saints win 27-14 at home.
Tennessee Titans @ Houston Texans (-4)
Second overall pick Marcus Mariota has been ruled out of the contest due to a knee injury suffered Week 6, adding to an already dismal matchup. Zach Mettenberger will make his second consecutive start for the 1-5 Titans. Alfred Blue will head the Texans rushing attack, looking to take advantage of the Tennessee’s 30th ranked run defense (129.2 yards/game). Houston wins 23-20, but does not cover the spread.
Minnesota Vikings @ Chicago Bears (Even)
Look for Adrian Peterson to run all over the NFL’s 26th ranked rush defense (124.8 yards/game). The bipolar play of Jay Cutler will be tested against a Vikings defense conceding only 338.8 yards/game (5th in the league). Vikings win the division rivalry 23-13.
New York Jets @ Oakland Raiders (+3)
The Jets proved they were for real during last week’s 30-23 loss to the defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots. Derek Carr will have his work cut out for him against a Jets defense ranked second in yards per game (283.2). Jets win a close one 20-14.
Seattle Seahawks @ Dallas Cowboys (+5)
The Legion of Boom got back on track last week against the 49ers. Matt Cassel will start for the Cowboys again, coming off of a three-interception performance Week 7 against the Giants. Despite the return of Dez Bryant, the ‘Boys offense will struggle again. Dallas’ defense will need to take advantage of struggling Seahawks offensive line (league leading 31 sacks allowed) to stand a chance in this contest. Seahawks win and cover 24-17.
Green Bay Packers @ Denver Broncos (+2.5)
The Packers allow 16.8 points per game, first in the league. The Broncos allow 17 point per game, tied with Minnesota for second in the league. The game of the year thus far features a quarterback matchup between struggling all-time great Peyton Manning, and a red-hot Aaron Rodgers in the prime of his career. Manning will turn the ball over, the difference maker in a tightly contested contest. Packers win 17-9.
Indianapolis Colts @ Carolina Panthers (-7.5)
Colts Head Coach Chuck Pagano is fighting for his job coming off of back-to-back home losses. It won’t get any easier on the road against the undefeated Panthers. The Colts have a turnover differential of -8 (31st in the league), not exactly a recipe for success on the road. The strong play of Cam Newton and return of Luke Kuechly on defense could spell doom for Pagano and the Colts. Panthers win and cover 30-13.
(spreads according to OddsShark)
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