Week 8 Picks Against the Spread for Every NFL Game
I backed off in prior installments of my NFL picks against the spread, making comparisons to running backs and basically saying that my time will come.
My picks haven't been as terrible as the record. Two late losses (Titans and Cowboys) is the nature of the gambling world, these things are supposed to be toss ups.
Want further proof that I've just been unlucky?
Look at the Detroit Lions. If they kick one extra field goal instead of turning the ball over in the red zone, they cover instead of push.
But that's been my season. And that's gambling.
So, I'm back for another helping of humbling. Click through for my Week 8 picks against the spread.
Last Week's Record: 5-7-1
Current Record: 44-57-1
All lines provided by bovada.lv, sportsbook.ag, and espn.go.com
TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS (+7) vs. Minnesota Vikings
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have played much tougher than you think. For instance, they've never lost by more than a touchdown.
Additionally, Christian Ponder has been making a few mistakes recently. After not throwing an interception over the first four games, he has thrown two in each of his last three outings.
The Bucs defense isn't great against the pass, but is very stout against the run. Which, based on the above, puts the Minnesota Vikings at a disadvantage.
Josh Freeman, Vincent Jackson and Doug Martin are capable of putting up some points. The passing duo especially gives them a decent shot at a garbage-time cover if things go much more poorly than I anticipate.
Lastly, my first instinct was the Vikings. Since I actually won a Thursday nighter last week going with my second pick, I'll stick with the philosophy and grab the seven points.
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (-7) vs. St. Louis Rams in London
The New England Patriots have only turned it on once this season during a two-quarter demolition of the Buffalo Bills.
It's coming, and London seems like the perfect place for a team called the Patriots to launch an attack.
Last week's struggle with the New York Jets can partially be chalked up to a bitter division rival (guess who didn't see that angle until now), and there may even be some benefits to the closer-than-necessary game. Bill Belichick is now armed with his favorite tool: the nobody-believes-in-us angle.
The St. Louis Rams have been feisty at home, but the Gateway to the West does not rise up in England.
INDIANAPOLIS COLTS (+3.5) vs. Tennessee Titans
Both of these teams have been killing me all season. Aside from winning with the Indianapolis Colts against the Green Bay Packers, I'm not sure I've won or pushed one other pick with either team.
So you should listen very intently to my reasoning here, because it has to be sound.
The Tennessee Titans have the momentum, but they have zero wins by more than three points.
The Colts have played terribly on the road, but the Titans have no one to cover Reggie Wayne.
Thus, the Titans will either lose because they are supposed to win or the Colts will win because they shouldn't.
Makes sense right?
Forget it. I've done well with the half-point-too-much plays and this game fits the bill.
Jacksonville Jaguars vs. GREEN BAY PACKERS (-13)
That's a lot of points.
But have you seen the way Aaron Rodgers has been playing lately? Dude has gotten straight nasty, throwing for nine touchdowns and zero interceptions.
Have I mentioned that the Green Bay Packers are playing the Jacksonville Jaguars?
You know, the Jags team whose only offensive star will either sit or be ineffective. And the Jags team that could possibly turn to Chad Henne at some point just to see how long he can extend his no-third-down-conversions streak.
Is that still a lot of points?
SAN DIEGO CHARGERS (-3) vs. Cleveland Browns
Maybe Stick-'Em-gate will have the same effect that Spygate had on the New England Patriots.
Perhaps the San Diego Chargers will unleash the offense like they did in the first half against the Denver Broncos. Perhaps they'll come out all 2007-New-England-Patriots-ish while stomping on the necks of any opponent who dares mock them.
Maybe Norv Turner will develop a Bill-Belichick-ian smirk and make snide remarks in postgame press conferences.
No. None of that is happening.
However, I'm much more uncomfortable putting my money in a shaky rookie quarterback's hands who will likely be without an effective Trent Richardson.
Atlanta Falcons vs. PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (-1)
Because Andy Reid always does well coming out of a bye week (13-0).
Because Michael Vick has to inspire a few hundred more stories about how he's back.
Because the Atlanta Falcons are not going undefeated.
Because, the way this season has gone, it would make sense for unfocused Philly to beat unbeaten Atlanta.
Or it's because LeSean McCoy should see a steady dose of action against a defense that gives up 143.8 yards per game on the ground.
Plus, the Philadelphia Eagles have plenty of cornerbacks to match up with the Atlanta Falcons wide receivers.
Seattle Seahawks vs. DETROIT LIONS (-1)
The Seattle Seahawks have a great defense.
But so do the Detroit Lions. It's just that nobody ever talks about theirs.
Lost in all the despair about the Lions 13-7 loss to the Chicago Bears was the great job done by the defense. They shut down a relatively explosive offense.
If the Lions kick field goals instead of turning the ball over three times in the red zone, they win. And this conversation is much different.
Seattle has had trouble with its offense, especially on the road. Marshawn Lynch is one of the best backs in the league, but he'll find tough sledding in Detroit.
Can Russell Wilson score enough on his own to overcome a possibly explosive Detroit offense?
Here's to betting no.
Miami Dolphins vs. NEW YORK JETS (-1)
The biggest storyline that isn't being discussed is that Rex Ryan is doing his best coaching job. Ever.
He has his ragtag bunch of backups fighting on every play. He's taking the Ewing Theory to new heights.
No one is exactly sure how the New York Jets are doing it, but they've demolished the spread the past three weeks.
The Miami Dolphins have been exceeding expectations all year too. But I figure taking a one-point home favorite is the equivalent of taking the points.
Carolina Panthers vs. CHICAGO BEARS (-9)
At this point, there isn't one possible reason to have faith in the Carolina Panthers. Cam Newton is starting to look eerily similar to Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh.
I can't believe I just made that comparison. I don't even have kids. But it was the only possible person, thing or character that I could think of that fit the description.
The idea of him turning it around against the Chicago Bears on Solider Field is incredible.
Additionally, the Panthers defense lacks the pass rush to disrupt the Bears offense. Somewhere, Brandon Marshall is picking out a new Bentley based on the bonus he'll receive from this week's performance alone.
WASHINGTON REDSKINS (+5) vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
I'm scared of Ben Roethlisberger and the Pittsburgh Steelers here. Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown and Mike Wallace could have a good time against the league's worst secondary.
However, Robert Griffin III isn't just exciting, he's actually pretty darn good.
Despite a limited defense, he has kept the Washington Redskins in every game he's played. Plus, Troy Polamalu is hurt and James Harrison is old. He can't keep up with RG3.
Griffin isn't Colt McCoy after all.
There are some concerns about taking the points, but not nearly as many as laying them.
OAKLAND RAIDERS (+2) vs. Kansas City Chiefs
There isn't a good reason to bet on either team. So, when faced with this type of circumstance, take the better quarterback and the points, if possible.
I can't believe I'm typing these words, but Carson Palmer is the better quarterback. That shows you just how bad things are for the Kansas City Chiefs.
Brady Quinn is not the answer. Unless the question is who is A.J. Hawk's brother-in-law.
Basically, the Oakland Raiders will win this game. Because somebody has to, and the Chiefs are that bad.
NEW YORK GIANTS (-2) vs. Dallas Cowboys
There is only one thing you need to know for this game: The New York Giants have Jason Pierre-Paul, Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiora.
Just yesterday, I compared the Dallas Cowboys offensive line to a bunch of air traffic controllers. Essentially, the linemen are more conduits to the quarterback than protectors.
Poor Tony Romo.
As for the Dallas defense, the running game will help offset the Cowboys' "top-ranked pass defense" that only has two interceptions. And Eli Manning will do what he does.
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (+6) vs. Denver Broncos
This line is troubling. I thought I had explained that the Denver Broncos are not that good.
Yes, they had a historic comeback against the San Diego Chargers. That's great. If Philip Rivers doesn't contribute with his epic meltdown and just holds on to the ball, that's probably a different story.
However, the Broncos cannot expect to keep doing the comeback thing week after week. It's not what good teams do.
As for the New Orleans Saints, they're not that great either.
However, Drew Brees is at the height of his powers (sorry Peyton) and he won't choke like Rivers. I'll take the six.
SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS (-7) vs. Arizona Cardinals
I would need double digits before I would begin to consider the Arizona Cardinals here. When we add the three for home-field advantage, we actually do get to 10, but I don't care.
That's not nearly enough.
The San Francisco 49ers will have had nine days to prepare for John Skelton and the matadors. That's about eight more days than the Smith brothers need.
The Cardinals defense is still good, but there has been too much pressure put on the unit. The defense simply won't be able to stand up to the heat.