NFL picks, predictions Week 8
- Green Bay Packers at Arizona Cardinals (-3.5)
Both teams are 6-1 ATS in 2021. It’s easy to dream about a shootout with Murray and Rodgers, and the potential absence of Adams takes some shine off the matchup. But the Packers and Cardinals have top-10 statistical defenses, too. Which team stays committed to the running game? Aaron Rodgers has lost two memorable playoff games in Arizona. He delivers this time in the clutch, with or without Adams, to knock the Cardinals off the unbeaten ranks.
Pick: Packers 28, Cardinals 24
- Carolina Panthers at Atlanta Falcons (-3)
The Panthers’ season has spiraled in the wrong direction, which has led to some early cases of Sam Darnold remorse. Carolina needs Christian McCaffrey back in the worst way, but it might not matter. Matt Ryan has 10 TDs and one interception in the Falcons’ last four game. The home team wins this NFC South matchup.
Pick: Falcons 29, Panthers 26
- Miami Dolphins at Buffalo Bills (-13.5)
Buffalo had a bye week and crushed the Dolphins 35-0 in Week 2. Tua Tagovailoa left that game with an injury. He’s completed 74.7 percent of his passes in his heart-breaking losses the last two weeks. It won’t be enough against the Bills, but it will be closer this time.
Pick: Bills 33, Dolphins 22
- San Francisco 49ers (-3.5) at Chicago Bears
The 49ers are a road favorite against the Bears, who continue to struggle on offense. Keep in mind, however, that the 49ers are -7 in turnover ratio. Justin Fields plays a little cleaner at home in this one, and he makes a few dazzling plays in open space. Bears coach Matt Nagy holds off the critics for at least one more week.
Pick: Bears 22, 49ers 20
- Pittsburgh Steelers at Cleveland Browns (-3.5)
Things we never thought we’d say this season: This is a huge game for teams trying to keep pace with the Ravens and Bengals in the AFC North. The Browns have injuries everywhere, but they still have a defense that ranks third in the NFL in rush defense. If they can keep Najee Harris contained, then the turnovers will come against Ben Roethlisberger. This will be close.
Pick: Browns 27, Steelers 24
- Philadelphia Eagles (-3.5) at Detroit Lions
The Eagles are a hot mess right now. They have allowed an average of 310 passing yards the last two weeks, and Detroit has two one-score losses at home. The Lions just can’t score. Perhaps that changes at home against Philadelphia, which needs to find a running game to support Jalen Hurts. Dan Campbell savors his first victory as a NFL head coach.
Pick: Lions 20, Eagles 19
- Tennessee Titans (-1) at Indianapolis Colts
This is the toughest game to pick this week. Tennessee has revived their season with big-time wins against Kansas and Buffalo. The Colts remain in the AFC South hunt. The Titans have won three of the last four matchups, including the last two at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Pick: Titans 28, Colts 24
- Cincinnati Bengals (-9.5) at New York Jets
The Bengals are huge favorites against the Jets, who might be forced to turn to backup quarterback Mike White. The Joe Burrow-Ja’Marr Chase continues to flow, and the Bengals continue on one of the leagues’ most-surprising starts. New York is 1-5 ATS this season, so this line could push into the double digits. Take the Bengals now.
Pick: Bengals 31, Jets 16
- Los Angeles Rams (-14.5) at Houston Texans
The Rams are double-digit favorites for the second straight week. It’s away, which makes it risky, but Los Angeles has covered in their last two road victories. Matthew Stafford keeps it rolling, and the Texans’ struggles continue. There isn’t much else to say here.
Pick: Rams 33, Texans 12
- New England Patriots at Los Angeles Chargers (-5.5)
Can the Patriots make this one interesting? New England has one-score losses against Tampa Bay and Dallas, teams that have elite-quarterback play. Justin Herbert is that, but he will commit a pair of turnovers in this game that allow the Pats to hang around. Mac Jones might even have a shot to win at the end. We’ll stick with the home team.
Pick: Chargers 28, Patriots 25
- Jacksonville Jaguars at Seattle Seahawks (-3.5)
The Jaguars had a bye week, and now they travel to Seattle, which will be coming a short week and is relying on veteran journeyman Geno Smith to keep the offense afloat. Seattle hasn’t been good at home this season, but they find a way to win ugly.
Pick: Seahawks 24, Jaguars 23
- Washington Football Team at Denver Broncos (-3.5)
The Broncos return home, and they have the third-best scoring defense in the NFL (18.1). Washington, meanwhile, has allowed 30 points per game this season. Teddy Bridgewater has taken nine sacks the last three weeks, so look for Washington to dial up the pressure. We’re tempted to take the upset here, but we’ll stick with the home.
Pick: Broncos 28, Washington 21
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-4.5) at New Orleans Saints
It’s a conservative spread for the Buccaneers, who continue to be on a tear around Tom Brady. Tampa Bay is 0-3 ATS on the road, so don’t be surprised if the Saints keep it close coming off a short week. We’re still picking Tampa Bay to win, however.
Pick: Buccaneers 33, Saints 29
- Dallas Cowboys (-2.5) at Minnesota Vikings
The Cowboys are 6-0 ATS and coming off a bye week, but Minnesota had a bye week too and is home. Mike McCarthy knows this road trap well from his days with Green Bay. Minnesota relies on Dalvin Cook and a tough defense to keep Cowboys off the field. The Vikings make it a clean sweep of NFC North underdogs that win this week. It’s another SNF classic.
Pick: Vikings 30, Cowboys 27
- New York Giants at Kansas City Chiefs (-10)
What in the world is going on with the two-time defending AFC champion Chiefs? That question will continue to bubble up, but Patrick Mahomes should return against a Giants team dealing with its own injury issues. Kansas City is 2-5 ATS and this is a double-digit spread, but they get it right in time for a Week 9 showdown against Green Bay.
Pick: Chiefs 34, Giants 23