NFL Week 8 Predictions

After a hectic week 7, it’s time to look ahead to Week 8 with some predictions.

Dolphins (4-3) at Texans (4-3) TNF

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While this Thursday Night Football matchup between the Dolphins and Texans may not seem appealing at first glance, it actually is an extremely important game for two AFC playoff hopefuls. Both teams are at 4-3 and could boost their playoff chances with a win. So which 4-3 team will move on to 5-3? That team would be the Texans. Houston has a lot of momentum right now, with 4 straight wins, and seems to finally be clicking on all cylinders. Their defense looks much improved from the begging of the season and they were able to run the ball efficiently in last week’s win at the Jaguars. That’s crucial, because against Miami, the Texans will have a chance to run all over the 29th ranked rush defense. Houston is also at home and has the clear quarterback advantage with Deshaun Watson over journey man (and former Texan) Brock Osweiler. Miami will also be without wideouts Kenny Stills and Albert Wilson, so their passing game could be close to non-existent. The Texans have struggled to put away inferior opponents, while Miami continues to play teams tough despite not having a whole lot of talent, so this game should be somewhat close. Nevertheless, Houston will win this game and will move to   5-3. Prediction: Dolphins 16 Texans 23

Eagles (3-4) at Jaguars (3-4) LONDON

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There may not be a game with more on the line than this week’s matchup between the Eagles and Jaguars in London. Despite being 3-4, both teams are within reach of their weak divisions, but a loss would put either team 2+ games back and out of the playoff picture for the time being. The team that seems to be in the most trouble is the Jaguars. After a promising start to the season, Jacksonville has faded with three straight blowout losses. Blake Bortles tends to be the scapegoat for his poor performances, but these last three games have been horrible team efforts at all fronts, so this isn’t just a Bortles issue that can be easily fixed. The Eagles may have given up 21 unanswered points in a loss last week, but they were up 17-0 heading into the fourth quarter, and Bortles and the Jags don’t have the big play ability to lead a comeback if the Eagles start out strong once again. London games are practically a home game for the Jags, but they’ve been so flat the last three games and now have to travel to a different country. This isn’t ideal circumstances for either team, but Philadelphia looks to be the better team and will save their season with a big win. Prediction: Eagles 21 Jaguars 19

Ravens (4-3) at Panthers (4-2)

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The Ravens and Panthers had severely different outcomes in their respective games last week. Baltimore blew a ten point lead in the fourth quarter at home and lost on missed extra point by Justin Tucker against the Saints, while the Panthers came back from 17 down in the fourth quarter in win in Philadelphia. However, these two teams are incredibly similar as defensive teams that aren’t flashy, but are consistent. Therefore, the Ravens and Panthers match up evenly to one another, and this game should be extremely close as a result. If it is indeed a close game, Carolina should have the advantage. The Panthers have won eight straight games at home, while Joe Flacco has thrown all four of his interceptions on the road. They also have all the momentum after an impressive win, while the Ravens still may have not recovered from last week’s rough loss. This game should go down to the wire, and if that’s the case, I’ll take Cam Newton and the Panthers, who have a knack for being clutch.                                                 Prediction: Ravens 17 Panthers 19

Jets (3-4) at Bears (3-3)

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It a matchup between two young quarterbacks, Sam Darnold and the Jets will face against Mitchell Trubisky and the Bears in a very important game for two young, up and coming teams. Neither team has a lot to gain with a win, but a loss would put either team  in a very rough position to make the playoffs. Now, neither of these teams look like Super Bowl contenders at the moment, but making the playoffs is the next steps as both are near the end of their respective rebuilding phases. However, despite their similarities, Chicago is clearly the better team and shouldn’t have much trouble winning this game. The Bears are excellent at forcing turnovers, while Sam Darnold has been turnover prone this season. Furthermore, the Bears are at home, while the Jets are extremely banged up on offense. This one could get out of hand in a hurry, but who knows with these two young and inconsistent teams. Prediction: Jets 14 Bears 26

Buccaneers (3-3) at Bengals (4-3)

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This matchup between the Bucs and the Bengals may be the most overlooked game of the week. Both teams are at .500 or above, and are currently in the playoff mix. They also are   evenly matched for the most part, as the Bucs have the statistical advantage in yardage, but the Bengals have the advantage in the turnover battle and are at home. Fortunately for Cincinnati, winning the turnover battle tends to be a much bigger deal than yards, especially in a close game. Jameis Winston has thrown for 360+ yards in his first two starts this season, but he’s also thrown four interceptions, which is why Tampa lost his first start against a depleted Falcons team and should have lost at home against Cleveland in his second start if it wasn’t for the Browns finding yet another way to lose a game. The Bengals on the other hand, have been able to scrap together wins this season, and were 20 seconds away from beating the Steelers in their last home game. Andy Dalton has awful last week against the Chiefs on Sunday Night Football, as usual in prime time, but he’s been excellent so far besides that game, and should once again produce in a low-key game without the spotlight. Prediction: Buccaneers 28 Bengals 30

Seahawks (3-3) at Lions (3-3)

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The toughest game to pick this week is without a doubt this matchup between the Seahawks and Lions. Both teams have rediscovered themselves after rough 0-2 starts and are definitely in the playoff mix. Both of these teams are evenly matched among all notable stats, thus making it that much harder to declare a winner. In that case, it makes sense to go with the home team. While their records may be the same, Detroit has been more impressive this season. Their three victories are against teams with a combined 12-8-1 record (vs NE, vs GB, at MIA), while Seattle’s three victories have come against teams with a combined 5-15 record. The Lions are also on a roll, while Seattle’s bye may actually hurt them, as it may hurt some of the momentum they had. I expect this game to be extremely close, one where Matthew Stafford may need to perform late game heroics, but I expect Detroit to pull out a crucial victory.     Prediction: Seahawks 20 Lions 24

Broncos (3-4) at Chiefs (6-1)

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Earlier in the year, the Broncos and Chiefs played an extremely competitive game in Denver on Monday Night Football. But don’t be fooled. That Week 4 game was Patrick Mahomes’ first game in prime time and these teams have gone in completely different trajectories since then. Despite a 45-10 win on Thursday Night Football last week against the helpless Cardinals, the Broncos have struggled on both sides of the ball. The Chiefs, on the other hand, have continued to put up godly offensive numbers while their defense has improved, despite a rough outing at New England in Week 6. Denver comes in with just the 31st ranked rush defense, which doesn’t void well against Kansas City’s prolific rushing attack led by Kareem Hunt. The Broncos are also at their best when they can get pressure on the quarterback, but the Chiefs have allowed the least amount of sacks in the league. Kansas City also has arguably the best home field advantage in the league, and it’s hard to imagine a scenario in which the Broncos come out victorious in this game. Prediction: Broncos 24 Chiefs 30

Redskins (4-2) at Giants (1-6)

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Are the Redskins for real? Washington is 4-2 and 1.5 games up in the NFC East, and have a chance to go to 5-2 in an extremely winnable game against the 1-6 Giants. New York started a minor fire sale this week, trading corner Eli Apple and defensive tackle Damon Harrison. It’s unclear how their defense will fare without those two, while Washington has been a steady force this season. The Redskins have the third ranked rush defense, while the Giants have struggled to run the ball. That’ll make New York’s offense one-dimensional towards the pass with Eli Manning, which should cause trouble. Washington also is in good position to win the turnover battle and is the clear better team. Because it’s a rivalry game, this game should be closer than it should be, but the Redskins will be flying high to 5-2. Prediction: Redskins 23 Giants 19

Browns (2-4-1) at Steelers (3-2-1)

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In a rematch of Week one’s infamous tie, the Browns and Steelers will matchup in Pittsburgh. A lot has changed since that tie – the Browns have inserted Baker Mayfield under center, while the Steelers have found their groove. It’s anyone’s guess how Sunday’s affair turns out between two inconsistent teams, but the Steelers should come out victorious. Pittsburgh’s pass rush should feast against the statistically worst offensive line in football, while Ben Roethlisberger should do the same against one of the worst pass defenses in football. Mayfield has a relatively calm demeanor, but Heinz Field is a tough environment for almost every quarterback. The Steelers are back, and they should continue to roll this week against the Browns, who seem to finally have come back to reality. Prediction: Browns 16 Steelers 28

Colts (2-5) at Raiders (1-6)

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The Colts and Raiders will face off in Oakland on Sunday in a game that will draw the attention of probably no one besides the few Colts and Raiders fans that are able to watch. Its tough to pick a winner because both teams have been awful so far this season, but Indianapolis definitely looks to have the edge in this game. Indianapolis has one of the best pass rushes in the NFL, while Oakland’s left tackle Kolton Miller has struggled recently. The Colts also have a much better turnover differential than Oakland and have a lot less moving parts than an Oakland team that is completely disfunctional right now. They should be able to win this game. Prediction: Colts 28 Raiders 23

49ers (1-6) at Cardinals (1-6)

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Similar to the Colts-Raiders game, this 49ers-Cardinals matchup has more draft implications than anything else. Therefore, its impossible to know how this game will turn out. It should be close, hard fought game, and one that San Francisco should win. The 49ers have the league’s second ranked rush attack, and should dominate against the worst ranked rush defense. On the other hand, the Cardinals have struggled to run the ball while the 49ers have been solid stopping it. The poor pass offenses cancel each other out, so the 49ers being able to run the ball will be the difference maker in this game.         Prediction: 49ers 23 Cardinals 17

Packers (3-2-1) at Rams (7-0)

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In what may the game of the week, the Packers and Rams will face off in a matchup between two top offenses. The most exciting part of this matchup may be the quarterback matchup between Aaron Rodgers and Jared Goff, but Los Angeles’ rushing offense may be the X-factor in this game. Green Bay has a top five pass defense, but have just the 22nd rush defense. Meanwhile, the Rams have the best rushing attack in the NFL behind star running back Todd Gurley. As their rushing attack dominates, Los Angeles will have a chance to keep Rodgers off the field, which may prove to be too much for the Packers to overcome. The Rams just look unstoppable at the moment, and a flawed Green Bay team that barely beat the 49ers at home isn’t the team that is going to stop them. Prediction: Packers 17 Rams 27

Saints (5-1) at Vikings (4-2-1) SNF

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In a rematch of the “Minneapolis Miracle”, the Saints will look to get revenge on Sunday Night Football after being elminated by Minnesota in the 2017 divisional round  on a miracle play be Stefon Diggs. However, they won’t be able to get their revenge this week. The Vikings are scorthing hot, have one of the league’s top pass offenses and stop the run. The Saints, on the other hand, should’ve lost last week at Baltimore, have one of the league’s worst pass offenses, and need the rushing game to be strong in order to succeed. Minnesota looks to have the advantage in all facets of this game, and are at home in prime time. Expect them to once again provide nightmares for the Saints.                             Prediction: Saints 17 Vikings 29

Patriots (5-2) at Bills (2-5)

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On Monday Night Football, the Patriots and Bills will matchup in a divisional game that many believe could get ugly in a hurry. However, a couple factors may make this game closer than it should be. The Bills are at home and have have a top five pass defense. They may actually be able to slow down New England’s offense, which should keep it close. However, Buffalo’s offense has been historically bad, and even though they should fare slightly better against a weak Patriots defense, they could giveaway the ball just enough to hand the Patriots a win. This could be a trap game for New England, but the Bills are just too weak of a team to pull of an upset against a team that has owned them for a long time. Prediction: Patriots 27 Bills 19






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