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October 25, 2018

Week 8 NFL picks

For the gambling degenerates, here are my Week 8 NFL picks. To note, the team logos 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 Texans (-7.5): After a 3-0 start, the Dolphins have lost three of four. Conversely, after an 0-3 start, the Texans have won four straight. Give me the hot team.


Eagles (-3) at Jaguars: If you think the Eagles are a mess at the moment, the Jaguars have been outscored 90-28 in their last three games, none of which were competitive at all.


Offensively, Jacksonville is 29th in the NFL with 16.6 points per game (they're ranked 27th offensively in DVOA), and their once-fearsome defense is "just" very good (7th in DVOA), as opposed the swarming, ball-hawking, quarterback-punishing unit it was a season ago. 

But beyond the numbers, the Jags seem to be crumbling, as Doug Marrone benched Blake Bortles for Cody Kessler, and then went back to Bortles after the initial switch predictably did not go well.

Jags players were also reportedly fighting among each other after their latest loss to the Texans.

I'm sure James meant "argument," not "agreement." The disturbance likely wasn't. "HEY I LIKE YOUR SHIRT!" "OH YEAH? ME TOO!"

The Jaguars do have the advantage of playing in London every year, in that they know how to prepare for that trip. In fact, they have won three games in a row in London, and put up 30-plus points in each of those games. Playing in London will be much more difficult of a game for the Eagles, in my view, than playing in Jacksonville, where half the stadium would have likely be overrun by Eagles fans anyway.

This game is very simple. The Jaguars are nearly as injury-riddled as the Eagles, as they are missing their starting LT (and then subsequently their backup LT), their starting RB (around whom they are trying to build), and their top two (maybe three) tight ends. They also have a quarterback who isn't good in the first place, and now isn't playing well (even for him), and has to have shaken confidence. 

Traveling to London to play a game cannot be easy for a team doing it for the first time, but it's time that the Eagles suck it up and put a tough W on the board. If they can't take care of business overseas against this team, they should probably forget about being buyers at the trade deadline. 


Broncos at Chiefs (-10): I'm not a big fan of giving up double-digit points in the NFL, but I'm surprised this line isn't higher. 


Browns at Steelers (-8): Ben Roethlisberger is 22-2-1 against the Browns. He's 10-0 against them in Pittsburgh. Is that oversimplifying it? Yeah, probably, but I'm not inclined to pick against it.


Redskins at Giants (-1): What?!? I mean... Huh?!? How in the hell are the Giants favored over a 4-2 team? Yes, please, I'll take the Redskins and a point. Like, seriously? This is really the line?


Seahawks at Lions (-3): After a horrendous start to this season, the Lions have looked much better, and even have a pair of home wins against the Patriots and Packers. It's interesting that the Lions were buyers nearing the trade deadline, as they dealt for Snacks Harrison. The Seahawks, meanwhile, have been better than expected as well. They've won three of four, and are coming off their bye. 


Buccaneers at Bengals (-4.5): After a red-hot starts to the season, the Bucs and Bengals sort of settled back into "We are who we thought they were" kinds of teams. I do think the Bengals have the better overall roster here.


Jets at Bears (-7): I'm tempted to take the Jets (+7), but I just can't trust a rookie quarterback against the Bears' pass rush, even if they've given up 69 points the last two weeks.


Ravens (-2) at Panthers: After having watched the Panthers closely the last two weeks, I've come away unimpressed with their roster, overall. Cam Newton is excellent, and severely underrated, in my view, but he is a one-man offense, and this is not the same imposing defense they once were.

The Ravens lead the NFL with 27 sacks, and the Panthers have had trouble giving Newton adequate protection. I like this matchup for Baltimore.


Colts (-3) at Raiders: The Raiders are in full-on sell mode, and everyone there seems to be miserable under Jon Gruden. I'll take the team that actually likes their coach, even if they aren't very good.


49ers at Cardinals (-1): The Cardinals are the worst team in the NFL. They might be even worse than the Raiders. At least the Niners are somewhat competitive.


Packers at Rams (-9.5): Uh oh. When Vegas starts favoring teams by almost double-digits over a team with Aaron Rodgers at quarterback, you know they may be a juggernaut.


Saints at Vikings (-1): OK, so this is the third one-point road underdog I love this week. Am I being suckered here somehow? But seriously, the Saints are a far better team than Minny, and they're going to want revenge in the worst way against this team.


Patriots (-14) at Bills: Tom Brady is 28-3 against the Bills for his career, and one of those losses was in a meaningless Week 17 game in which he stood on the sidelines for most of the game.

Byes: Falcons, Cowboys, Titans, Chargers.

• Picks against the spread: Redskins (+1), 49ers (+1), Saints (+1).

• Eagles picks: 3-4

• 2018 season, straight up 61-45-2 (0.574)
• 2018 season, ATS: 17-14-1 (.547)
• 2017 season, straight up: 181-86 (0.678)
• 2017 season, ATS: 36-32-2 (0.529)
• 2016 season, straight up: 171-94-2 (0.644)
• 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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