NFL Game Picks: Week 8
Host Jon Draeger and analysts Dale Ostrander, Eric Fenstermaker and Dugan Lloyd preview the biggest games of Week 7 of the 2020 NFL season.
In another wild week of NFL action, contenders looked like pretenders and vice versa. Now, teams must find new ways to bounce back, keep momentum rolling, or save their seasons.
So, here’s my picks for Week 8 of the NFL season.
Atlanta Falcons (1-6) vs. Carolina Panthers (3-4)
While both teams are coming off losses, the Falcons, yet again, lost another game after leading late in the fourth quarter. On the other side, Carolina lost a close game to the New Orleans Saints, and quarterback Teddy Bridgewater looked like the leader the Panthers need in their rebuild.
Atlanta’s season has turned into a nightmare and Carolina will only exacerbate the situation by handing the Falcons another loss.
Prediction: Panthers 35, Falcons 30
New England Patriots (2-4) vs. Buffalo Bills (5-2)
For the first time in years, Bill Belichick and the Patriots go into Buffalo as underdogs, but the Bills looked sloppy and out of tune against a winless New York Jets team. Quarterback Cam Newton needs to step up for the Patriots to win after a 98-yard outing against the San Francisco 49ers.
Although the Patriots haven’t looked like themselves, Newton will bounce back and lead an upset against a tough Bills squad.
Prediction: Patriots 35, Bills 32
Tennessee Titans (5-1) vs. Cincinnati Bengals (1-5-1)
Coming off their first loss of the season, the Titans are still a contender in the AFC and have a great chance to get back in the win column against a battered Bengals team reeling with injuries. Cincinnati’s defense allows over 130 rushing yards, which will allow Derrick Henry to run wild in this game, propelling Tennessee to a win.
Joe Burrow will put up points for this offense, but Cincinnati is far too underdeveloped to give Tennessee a run for their money.
Prediction: Titans 34, Bengals 17
Las Vegas Raiders (3-3) vs. Cleveland Browns (5-2)
Fresh off a beatdown from the Tampa Buccaneers, the Raiders roll into Cleveland to face the Browns who are fresh off a great win against the Bengals. While the Raiders put up a fight in the first half, the offense stalled in the second half and has been wildly inconsistent throughout the season, which doesn’t bode well against the streaking Browns.
On the flip side of this game, Baker Mayfield had his best game as a Brown after finishing with 297 yards, five touchdowns, and only one interception. The Browns defense has struggled but Myles Garrett continued his tear with two sacks.
The Browns are still firmly in the race for the AFC North crown and they’ll stay in it after this week.
Prediction: Browns 35, Raiders 22
Indianapolis Colts (4-2) vs. Detroit Lions (3-3)
One of the more intriguing matchups this upcoming weekend takes place in Detroit as the Colts go into Ford Field to face Matthew Stafford and the Lions, who are fresh off a walk-off win against the Falcons.
The Colts have been one of the most balanced teams this season. but with a suspect Detroit secondary, it is critical that head coach Frank Reich does not get greedy and put the offensive load on Philip Rivers. Rivers is not the quarterback he once was, so utilizing the running game to limit Rivers’ passing attempts and potential turnovers will be critical.
While the Lions are coming off a win, Indianapolis is coming off their bye week and the DeForest Buckner-led defense has been wreaking havoc all season.
Prediction: Colts 27, Lions 24
Minnesota Vikings (1-5) vs. Green Bay Packers (5-1)
The Vikings have been one of the most disappointing teams this season. Kirk Cousins has failed to live up to the $66 million contract extension from this offseason and the defense has been atrocious.
That being said, Aaron Rodgers and the Packers are on fire as Rodgers is putting up to another MVP-caliber season and won’t be stopped by the Vikings.
Prediction: Packers 37, Vikings 21
New York Jets (0-7) vs. Kansas City Chiefs (6-1)
As the Jets limp towards the end of their season, they face the reigning Super Bowl champions in the Chiefs, who are coming in after a dominant win against the Broncos.
While the Jets came within one possession of defeating the Bills in their last game, the Chiefs are simply too dominant and will now feature Le’Veon Bell in his return to MetLife Stadium after getting cut by the Jets.
Los Angeles Rams (5-2) vs. Miami Dolphins (3-3)
One of the most hyped debuts in the last decade, Tua Tagovailoa makes his first career start against a Rams defense that is one of the best defenses in the league. Aaron Donald will get pressure on the quarterback, so Tagovailoa must get the ball out of his hand quickly or rely on Myles Gaskin and Miami’s stable of running backs.
In addition, the Rams’ offense has returned to the rhythm and form that led them to the Super Bowl only a few years ago. Tagovailoa will have a decent outing but the Rams are too complete on both sides of the ball.
Prediction: Rams 32, Dolphins 24
Pittsburgh Steelers (6-0) vs. Baltimore Ravens (5-1)
One of the best rivalries in the NFL is reignited as the Steelers seek to preserve their perfect record against a run-heavy Baltimore offense lead by Lamar Jackson. Although Baltimore will be fresh coming off a bye, this Steelers defense has been outstanding,
Lamar Jackson hasn’t proven that he can beat defenses with his arm, so Pittsburgh’s run defense will be the most critical factor of this game. If Baltimore gets their rushing attack going, Jackson will feel more confident but that is a big challenge for the Ravens.
Although Baltimore is one of the best teams in the AFC, the Steelers’ defense has been astonishingly dominant and there may be no stopping them.
Prediction: Steelers 31, Ravens 24
Los Angeles Chargers (2-4) vs. Denver Broncos (2-4)
Fresh off his first win as a starter, Justin Herbert will take the Chargers into Denver to face a Broncos team in dire need of weapons. Tight end Jake Butt, running back Philip Lindsay, and wideout Tim Patrick are all listed questionable heading into this game, so quarterback Drew Lock will face a massive challenge in keeping pace with this Chargers offense.
Although the Chargers’ season hasn’t gone as they planned, each of their losses have been by single digits so this team is capable of pulling off some upsets to get into the wild card picture. Denver is just stripped of talent due to injuries and Herbert’s arm will carve up Denver’s defense.
Prediction: Chargers 30, Broncos 20
New Orleans Saints (4-2) vs. Chicago Bears (5-2)
The Saints, who beat Carolina by a field goal last week, go into Soldier Field to square up against a Bears team that looks sluggish on both sides of the ball. Although the Saints’ offense hasn’t been the offensive fireworks show we expected, they’ve won games multiple ways, and the Bears have beaten up bad teams (besides the Buccaneers in Week 5) to inflate their record.
Furthermore, Nick Foles has struggled since becoming the starter for Chicago and while this Saints defense is mediocre, Allen Robinson, Foles’ top target, is in the concussion protocol, which leaves Chicago one-dimensional on offense. New Orleans will take advantage of Chicago’s poor offense and leave the Bears in the dust by halftime.
Prediction: Saints 35, Bears 12
San Francisco 49ers (4-3) vs. Seattle Seahawks (5-1)
In a crucial game in the NFC West, Jimmy Garoppolo and the 49ers, who beat down the Patriots in their last outing, turn to the inconsistent Seahawks, who are looking to rebound from an overtime loss to the Arizona Cardinals.
The Seahawks’ acquisition of former Pro-Bowl lineman Carlos Dunlap will give them more pressure on Garoppolo but not enough to overcome one of the best offensive lines in the league, and Garoppolo’s football intelligence will lead to big plays for the 49ers.
Prediction: 49ers 35, Seahawks 26
Dallas Cowboys (2-5) vs. Philadelphia Eagles (2-4-1)
On Sunday Night Football, the Cowboys will come into Philadelphia to somehow steal a win over an Eagles team coming off a divisional win against the Giants. Although both teams have been slaughtered with injuries, the Eagles have shown much more heart and toughness and that will make the difference in this game.
Prediction: Eagles 27, Cowboys 24
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-2) vs. New York Giants (2-5)
In this week’s edition of Monday Night Football, Tom Brady returns to MetLife Stadium to face the Giants, who handed him two Super Bowl losses and has historically given him trouble. However, this Giants team is much worse than those memorable squads from the Eli Manning and Tom Coughlin days.
Coming into this week, the Giants are reeling from a collapse against the Eagles while the Buccaneers have throttled their last two opponents, in the Packers and Raiders. At this point, the Buccaneers are firmly in control of their destiny until they start facing legitimate opponents.
Prediction: Buccaneers 46, Giants 17
Matthew McLaughlin is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Contributors
/ Broadcast Journalism
Freshman / Broadcast Journalism
Matthew “Matt” McLaughlin is a freshman from Abington, Pennsylvania majoring in broadcast journalism at Penn State. He is a writer and analyst in all three departments for CommRadio. He’s been featured as an analyst on live shows such as Daylate Tailgate, State College Saturdays and Hail Mary.
Second Year / Broadcast Journalism
Senior / Broadcast Journalism
Eric Fenstermaker is a senior from Northampton, Pennsylvania, majoring in broadcast journalism. He is also minoring in business and sports studies and pursuing a certificate in sports journalism.
Eric is involved in After the Whistle and Penn State Sports Night (PSSN). For COMM Radio, Eric contributes to a variety of different podcasts and co-hosts the Hail Mary radio show, which is dedicated to analyzing NFL games.