NFL Game Picks: Week 8
By Week 8, who would’ve thought that the Kansas City Chiefs would be hanging onto their playoff hopes by a thread, with Joe Burrow’s Bengals holding the top seed in the AFC? How about Kyler Murray leading the Cardinals out of the desert to the franchise’s best start since 1974?
As playoff seeding across the league remains wide open, let’s look at a pivotal Week 8 full of trap games, divisional rivalries and potential postseason matchups.
Green Bay Packers (6-1) @ Arizona Cardinals (7-0)
Without receivers Devante Adams and Allen Lazard amongst others, Aaron Rodgers will have an even more daunting task of taking down the NFL’s only remaining unbeaten team.
Regardless, don’t ever consider counting out Rodgers; he’s made a career out of lighting up the scoreboard with backup receivers.
If anything, this is setting the stage for a vintage performance from the future Hall of Famer.
Prediction: Packers 34, Cardinals 30
Washington Football Team (2-5) @ Denver Broncos (3-4)
This game features two offenses that have struggled mightily as of late. However, Denver is getting a major weapon back in Jerry Jeudy, who is returning from injury.
It might get ugly, but expect Denver to bounce back from a four-game skid behind a defense that tends to thrive against poor quarterback play.
Prediction: Broncos 20, Washington 16
Carolina Panthers (3-4) @ Atlanta Falcons (3-3)
Thanks to the emergence of Kyle Pitts and resurgence of Cordarrelle Patterson, the red-hot Falcons have come out of nowhere to win three of their last four.
Sam Darnold is seeing ghosts all over again, throwing seven interceptions during Carolina’s four-game losing streak. If Darnold keeps firing passes to the wrong jerseys, Atlanta will be in prime position to sneak above .500 for the first time since 2017.
Prediction: Falcons 31, Panthers 23
Miami Dolphins (1-6) @ Buffalo Bills (4-2)
With Deshaun Watson trade rumors heating up in Miami, it’s clear that the team’s focus is beyond 2021.
Even with Tua Tagovailoa back in action, I’m not convinced that Sunday’s outcome will be significantly different than the 35-0 Week 2 slaughter when these teams last met.
Prediction: Bills 38, Dolphins 20
San Francisco 49ers (2-4) @ Chicago Bears (3-4)
Even with San Francisco’s playoff hopes slipping away in a highly competitive NFC West, Kyle Shanahan is content with Jimmy Garoppolo as his starting quarterback.
Luckily for Garoppolo, he should have plenty of opportunities to put scoring drives together against a stagnant Chicago offense, in hopes to change the narrative that his limitations are holding back the 49ers.
Prediction: 49ers 27, Bears 16
Pittsburgh Steelers (3-3) @ Cleveland Browns (4-3)
With Baker Mayfield’s status up in the air for Sunday, Pittsburgh could be set to face a backup quarterback for a second consecutive week in an attempt to leap over Cleveland in the AFC North standings.
Father Time appears to be doing everything he can to get Big Ben in the playoff hunt one last time.
Prediction: Steelers 24, Browns 23
Philadelphia Eagles (2-5) @ Detroit Lions (0-7)
Eagles’ head coach Nick Sirianni will certainly have his special teams on high alert on Sunday, following a week where Detroit successfully converted an onside kick and two fake punts.
Dan Campbell’s Lions have come awfully close to grabbing hold of that elusive first victory, but Philly will be hungry for a win after a stretch of games against some tough opponents.
Prediction: Eagles 26, Lions 20
Tennessee Titans (5-2) @ Indianapolis Colts (3-4)
Derrick Henry has terrorized the Colts in recent memory, rushing for 543 total yards in their last four matchups.
Coming off a game where Tennessee terrorized Patrick Mahomes, Carson Wentz and the Colts may have too much on their plate to handle in this 60-minute slugfest.
Prediction: Titans 30, Colts 28
Cincinnati Bengals (5-2) @ New York Jets (1-5)
Following a massacre of the Ravens last week, the leaders of the AFC are being treated to a Week 8 cakewalk against the Jets.
If you have any Bengals on your fantasy football team, start them immediately.
Prediction: Bengals 37, Jets 13
Los Angeles Rams (6-1) @ Houston Texans (1-6)
While there’s not much to cheer about in Houston right now outside of the Astros’ playoff run, Texans fans can look forward to the possible return of Tyrod Taylor on Sunday.
It’s easy to look past this game, but if Taylor plays anything like he did in the first six quarters of the year, this one will be much closer than expected.
Prediction: Rams 30, Texans 20
New England Patriots (3-4) @ Los Angeles Chargers (4-2)
Coming off a humbling 34-6 defeat to the Ravens, will Justin Herbert’s Chargers fare any better this time around against the Pats after they were dismantled by them last year?
While the result certainly won’t be anywhere close to the 45-0 bloodbath from 2020, look for Bill Belichick to capitalize on an L.A. team that is still searching for its identity.
Prediction: Patriots 26, Chargers 24
Jacksonville Jaguars (1-5) @ Seattle Seahawks (2-5)
Without Russell Wilson at the helm, Seattle has dropped three straight games for the first time in 10 years.
Trevor Lawrence will pounce all over the depleted Seahawks, grabbing his second career win in a hostile environment.
Prediction: Jaguars 27, Seahawks 21
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-1) @ New Orleans Saints (4-2)
With all things considered, the Saints gave Tom Brady’s Bucs some trouble last year and are slowly getting back to full health.
We’re in for a typical NFC South brawl, but Tampa Bay looks more lethal than ever behind a rejuvenated rushing attack, led by Leonard Fournette.
Prediction: Buccaneers 24, Saints 13
Dallas Cowboys (5-1) @ Minnesota Vikings (3-3)
While it’s undeniable that Captain Kirk is balling out for Minnesota, they’re going up against perhaps the hottest team in football.
With the Vikings coming off a bye week, Dallas will be forced to load the box against a healthy Dalvin Cook, allowing Minnesota’s aerial threats to run wild.
Prediction: Vikings 34, Cowboys 27
New York Giants (2-5) @ Kansas City Chiefs (3-4)
An unforeseen 3-4 start for Kansas City won’t stop them from continuing to sail smoothly through NFC East opponents this year.
As the Chiefs begin to enter panic mode in the basement of the AFC West, they surely won’t hold back on Monday night.
Prediction: Chiefs 38, Giants 24
Grant Sheets is a first-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email him at email@example.com.