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October 26, 2017

Week 8 NFL picks

For the gambling degenerates, here are my Week 8 NFL picks. To note, the helmets indicate who I think will win the game, not cover the spread. At the end of the picks, I'll note a few teams that I like based on the spread.

Dolphins at Ravens (-3): If you think the Eagles are a banged-up team, consider this chart from the website, which shows that the Ravens are the most injured team in the NFL:

On the season, the Ravens have lost a cumulative 108 games from their players due to injury this season.

Vikings (-9.5) at Browns: The Browns have benched rookie DeShone Kizer in two of the last three games. He'll start again Week 8 against Mike Zimmer's relentless A-gap blitz schemes. Benching No. 3 is on the horizon.

Raiders at Bills (-2.5): Above, we showed that the Ravens are the most injured team in the NFL. The least injured team in the NFL is Buffalo, who have lost a cumulative 18 games from their players due to injury this season.

Colts at Bengals (-10): It's not often you see a 2-4 team (like the Bengals are this year) favored by double digits, but that's how bad the Colts are.

Chargers at Patriots (-7): Hey, maybe the Chargers aren't awful? After dropping their first four games, the Chargers are suddenly on a three-game winning streak, two of which were on the road. (By road, we actually mean the road, not their own stadium which in dominated by fans of the other team.)

Still, that winning streak ends in New England.

Bears at Saints (-9): The Bears had a grand total of five first downs last week, and somehow won. That's the kind of crap you see when football is played in a blizzard, or a hurricane or something. The Saints should be able to easily outscore them.

Falcons (-4.5) at Jets: This is something of a "must win" game for the Falcons, who would fall two games behind the Saints with a loss and an expected Saints win.

49ers at Eagles (-13): In a matchup of the best record in the NFL and a winless team, it's hard to come up with any reasons the Eagles could lose this one other than the notion of a "trap game." While the Eagles have lost four of the last six games in which they were favored by at least 10 points, I believe Doug Pederson, Jim Schwartz, and Carson Wentz truly have the team focused on the "next opponent," and should win comfortably.

Panthers at Buccaneers (-2.5): Ah the NFL, where one week a team can beat the Patriots on the road, and then another week lose to a hapless Bears team that can only muster five first downs. That would be this year's Panthers, who are a complete enigma.

MORE ON THE EAGLES : Eagles would be wise to beware the heavy underdog | Eagles sign an offensive tackle, place Jason Peters on IR | Eagles QB Carson Wentz named NFC Offensive Player of the Week | How will the Eagles move forward without Jordan Hicks? | How will the Eagles move forward without Jason Peters?

At least the Panthers play defense, as they allow just 261.9 yards per game, while the Bucs have allowed 408.5 yards per game.

Texans at Seahawks (-6): Like Carson Wentz found out a year ago, it's not an easy task playing the Seahawks in Seattle. We'll forecast similar struggles for Deshaun Watson, although to be fair, at least Watson has better weapons than Wentz did a year ago.

Cowboys (-2.5) at Redskins: Even if they end up playing this Sunday, to say that the Redskins' offensive line is in trouble would be an understatement.

In total, the Redskins have 17 players on their injury report, and they have to play on a short week. Good luck.

Steelers (-3) at Lions: After an embarrassing 30-9 loss to the Jags Week 5, the Steelers have a pair of impressive wins against the Chiefs (in KC) and the Bengals. Meanwhile, the Lions have failed to protect Matthew Stafford, particularly on the left side of their line.

Broncos at Chiefs (-7): Just put me down for the Chiefs pretty much every week. I'm still a believer.

BYE: Packers, Titans, Rams, Giants, Cardinals, Jaguars.

• Picks against the spread: Falcons (-4.5), Cowboys (-2.5), Steelers (-3).
• 2017 season, straight up: 67-39 (.632)
• 2017 season, ATS: 17-11 (.607)
• 2016 season, straight up: 171-94-2 (.644)
• 2016 season, ATS:  41-34 (0.547)
• 2015 season, straight up: 163-93 (0.637)
• 2015 season, ATS: 46-30-2 (0.605)

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