NFL Picks Week 8: Bleacher Report's Expert Consensus Predictions
Was Week 7 really the NFL, or was it replaced with some medical drama?
Throughout the season, every team will be beset with injuries at some point, but rarely do we see the jarring spate of injuries we saw this past week. Some injuries are hurdles that teams will need to be near-perfect to overcome. Others have season-ending ramifications. And then there are some that could change the direction of the entire franchise.
What do the St. Louis Rams do without quarterback Sam Bradford? They face the dangerous Seattle Seahawks this week on Monday Night Football. Does Kellen Clemens even stand a chance?
Tampa Bay gets to host the Carolina Panthers this week, but what will the Buccaneers be able to accomplish without running back Doug Martin?
The Green Bay Packers have an easy matchup against the hapless Minnesota Vikings, but they'll be playing without tight end Jermichael Finley, who was sent to the ICU after suffering a bruised spinal cord in Week 7.
As we hope and pray for fewer injuries, our experts will be picking all of the aforementioned games, as well as every other matchup in the Week 8 slate. Don't like our picks? Feel free to make yours in the comments below!
Name: Last Week; Overall
Consensus: 10-5; 56-30
Matt Miller: 9-6; 73-34
Matt Bowen: 11-4; 72-35
Andrea Hangst: 10-5; 71-36
Zach Kruse: 11-4; 69-38
Brad Gagnon: 11-4; 68-39
Chris Hansen: 10-5; 68-39
Erik Frenz: 8-7; 67-40
Ty Schalter: 5-10; 67-40
Michael Schottey: 8-7; 65-42
Tyson Langland: 8-7; 64-42
Knox Bardeen: 9-6; 63-43
Mike Freeman: 10-5; 62-44
To see how Bleacher Report's experts are faring against the best at other media outlets, check out Pickwatch.
Carolina Panthers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
B/R Consensus Pick: Panthers (12-0)
Schottey: Panthers, 24-10
Both teams are more of a mess right now than they should be. The difference here is that quarterback Cam Newton can make up for the Panthers' shortcomings while the Tampa Bay Buccaneers need a hazmat team. Schiano should be fired. If he's not, there are even bigger problems going on here.
Bowen: Panthers, 23-16
The Bucs are a mess, and the Panthers are playing their best football of the season. I'm going with Cam Newton to pick up the divisional win.
Schalter: Panthers, 21-17
Contrary to the narrative, the Buccaneers have talent and are playing hard for Schiano. Underrated Panthers finally on a roll, though.
Freeman: Panthers, 24-17
The Panthers beat a hapless Bucs franchise that stinks out loud.
Miller: Panthers, 24-13
Will this be the week Greg Schiano gets fired? Moving to 0-7 gets the Buccaneers one week closer to salvation.
Frenz: Panthers, 14-9
It goes against every instinct I have to pick a team that hasn't won a game. Won't do it here, either. The Panthers are finding their form, finally, and the Buccaneers are ripe for a beating.
Hangst: Panthers, 23-10
The Panthers have been impressing all season long with their defense, and now they're being matched by the intensity of their Newton-led offense. The only thing the Buccaneers have to their advantage this week is the home field. This is a game the Panthers are built to win.
Hansen: Panthers, 24-17
The Panthers have quietly built a very good defense, and that might be all that's needed to beat a team with Mike Glennon at quarterback. The Buccaneers are close to quitting on Greg Schiano, and Cam Newton is playing some of his best football of the season.
Bardeen: Panthers, 34-17
The Panthers defense is one of the best in the league, and the offense is finally starting to wake up. Carolina has scored 30 or more points in three of its last four games. Tampa Bay won't get its first win of the season at home in Week 8.
Gagnon: Panthers, 24-21
Two NFC South teams going in completely opposite directions. The Bucs have been competitive in the majority of their losses, though, so I think they keep it close at home.
Langland: Panthers, 21-13
Cam Newton has found himself a nice little groove, and the Panthers defense is playing at a high level. This, in turn, should allow them to make quick work of rookie signal-caller Mike Glennon and the Buccaneers.
Kruse: Panthers, 27-13
Cam Newton is rolling (passer rating of nearly 140.0 the past two weeks), and the Panthers have made easy work of back-to-back teams resembling Tampa Bay (Minnesota, St. Louis).
Buffalo Bills at New Orleans Saints
B/R Consensus Pick: Saints (12-0)
Schottey: Saints, 30-17
The Bills defense is a big part of their success this season, but the Saints offense is going to pour it on just to show former Saints coach Doug Marrone that they're doing just fine without him.
Bowen: Saints, 37-17
I don't see the Bills limiting Drew Brees in the Superdome. Saints roll at home.
Schalter: Saints, 28-14
Were this in Buffalo, I'd be tempted to think about the Bills. But it isn't, so I'm not.
Freeman: Saints, 38-20
Maybe the biggest lock of the weekend. The Saints. At home. Coming off a bye.
Miller: Saints, 28-17
Thad Lewis has been a feel-good story, but the Bills defense is the real hero. It may pressure Drew Brees, but not well enough to shut down the Saints offense.
Frenz: Saints, 34-14
The Bills got a raw deal with back-to-back road games against opponents coming off byes. They squeaked by against the Dolphins last week, but the Saints are a different animal (though also a mammal). Drew Brees simply has too many weapons for a defense that is still battling injuries.
Hangst: Saints, 30-20
The Saints are as dangerous as ever, both on offense and defense, and they should only look better coming off of the bye. Buffalo quarterback Thad Lewis has stepped up, handling his new job well, but he can't do enough to defeat the Saints.
Hansen: Saints, 30-24
Buffalo figures out how to keep games close, but it doesn't have the firepower to hang with the Saints on the road. Drew Brees will have his way with a suspect secondary.
Bardeen: Saints, 24-17
If the Bills are going to have a shot, they'll need to power up their running game because that's the best way to move the football against the Saints. The Saints dropped their first game of the season in Week 6 then had a bye week to stew. That's bad news for Buffalo.
Gagnon: Saints, 34-17
The Bills have been far from consistent, and now they're on the road again for a superior Saints team coming off a bye. I'm not sure they'll be able to keep it close.
Langland: Saints, 31-20
Buffalo impressed the masses last week with a road win over Miami, but going on the road and winning in the Superdome is near impossible. Thad Lewis will keep the Bills in the game, but Drew Brees will prove to simply be too much.
Kruse: Saints, 31-20
You better be able to throw the football to beat Drew Brees and the Saints in New Orleans. I'm not confident the Bills can do that, especially with the Saints coming off a bye.
Cleveland Browns at Kansas City Chiefs
B/R Consensus Pick: Chiefs (12-0)
Schottey: Chiefs 27-9
The best pass rush in the loudest stadium against a Browns quarterback who wilts under pressure? Yikes.
Bowen: Chiefs, 20-12
Look for the Chiefs to grind out another win with their pass rush and coverage ability in the secondary versus the Browns.
Schalter: Chiefs, 21-14
I am officially the last one off the Browns bandwagon. I killed the engine, shut off the lights, locked the door and took the keys with me.
Freeman: Chiefs, 17-7
Browns hang in because of that defense, but Cleveland's QB play is putrid.
Miller: Chiefs, 20-9
Is Brandon Weeden playing quarterback? OK, then I'm picking the Browns to lose.
Frenz: Chiefs, 20-16
The Browns had a difficult time trying to move the ball against a suspect Packers defense, so imagine what will happen when they face off with Andy Reid's stifling group. Alex Smith isn't a game-breaker, but if he can just manage the game against a tough Browns defense, the Chiefs should get the win.
Hangst: Chiefs, 23-17
After a year of supporting Brandon Weeden, there's just nothing left in the tank. Should the Browns replace him this week with Jason Campbell, they'll be in better shape, and the defense cannot be ignored. But the Chiefs are undefeated for a reason and won't lose to the Browns at home.
Hansen: Chiefs, 24-10
The Chiefs are winning with a great defense and very little offense. The Browns might be able to win the same way if they didn't have a quarterback that turned the ball over. The Browns are capable of pulling off the upset, but they will have to beat the Chiefs at their own game.
Bardeen: Chiefs, 17-16
In a game that's going to be a lot closer than most think, the Chiefs will stay perfect but be exposed by a darn good defense. If this game were in Cleveland, it might be Kansas City's first loss.
Gagnon: Chiefs, 30-10
That Browns offense is really starting to look bad again. Against the league's hottest defense and on the road, I think they're in for their third straight double-digit loss.
Langland: Chiefs, 24-16
The Chiefs are 7-0, and the Browns have Brandon Weeden as their starting quarterback. No further explanation needed.
Kruse: Chiefs, 37-17
The fact that the Browns are deciding between Brandon Weeden and Jason Campbell at quarterback seals this one. Kansas City has three or four takeaways in its immediate future.
Dallas Cowboys at Detroit Lions
B/R Consensus Pick: Lions (8-4)
Schottey: Lions 35-33
Similar pick and reasoning as last week's home game against the Bengals. The Lions can't stop the Cowboys offense, but I'm not sure the Cowboys can stop the Lions either. It should be a shootout, and I'll take the Lions at home.
Bowen: Lions, 37-24
Calvin Johnson versus a Cover 2 defense? Take the Lions to hold on versus Tony Romo and the Cowboys.
Schalter: Lions, 33-30
The Lions had the Bengals dead to rights and lost at the last second in Week 7. Meanwhile, the Cowboys offense fell apart without DeMarco Murray in the backfield.
Freeman: Cowboys, 30-27
Romo continues his solid play and is the difference.
Miller: Cowboys, 34-31
Calvin Johnson could carve up this Cowboys secondary, but Tony Romo should have a field day against the Lions defense.
Frenz: Cowboys, 38-34
This is exactly the kind of game the NFL loves: two franchise quarterbacks in what's sure to be a fireworks show. The Cowboys pull it out because they have more weapons, although the Lions could win if they rediscover some balance on offense.
Hangst: Lions, 36-27
Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant should have a good week against the Lions secondary, but Dallas cannot be trusted on the road. Megatron is back, the Lions can run the ball well, and their front-seven pressure should all be enough for Detroit to win.
Hansen: Lions, 30-27
Trusting the Dallas Cowboys and Tony Romo in a key road game is unwise. Both teams will put up points, but another key Romo mistake will lead to a Lions victory.
Bardeen: Lions, 30-20
The Cowboys rank 30th in the league in pass defense, allowing 291.9 yards through the air each week. The Lions have the fifth-best passing offense, averaging 294.7 yards per game. At home, Detroit will stop Dallas from getting its third win in a row.
Gagnon: Lions, 34-31
This one is giving me headaches, mainly because neither team is known for being consistent. Dallas is the better team, but Detroit has been good at home. Still, I have a feeling Brandon Carr and that Dallas defense can contain Calvin Johnson and hang on for the win.
Langland: Lions, 35-30
After a heartbreaking loss last week to the Cincinnati Bengals, I'm expecting the Detroit Lions to bounce back in a big way. To secure the W, they will need to do a better job of run-blocking upfront for Reggie Bush. He only averaged 2.5 yards a carry versus the Bengals.
Kruse: Lions 37-30
This is one of the better matchups of the weekend, especially for offense enthusiasts. Stafford vs. Romo, Johnson vs. Bryant. The Lions defense will make the one big play to turn the game.
San Francisco 49ers at Jacksonville Jaguars
B/R Consensus Pick: 49ers (12-0)
Schottey: 49ers, 28-10
For the second week in a row, the 49ers will just run, run, run it down the Jaguars' proverbial throats as they look to reestablish themselves as the dominant physical team in the NFL.
Bowen: 49ers, 27-9
The 49ers have quietly won four in a row by controlling the line of scrimmage and leaning on the run game. Look for that to continue as the Jags stay winless on the year.
Schalter: 49ers, 21-10
Again, I think the Jags can and will surprise somebody, but it won't be the 49ers.
Freeman: 49ers, 28-9
The Jaguars haven't scored an offensive touchdown at home. They may not in London. They may never.
Miller: 49ers, 30-10
Well, at least the Jaguars get to see London before the 49ers hang 30 on them.
Frenz: 49ers, 24-13
It's easy money picking against a winless team. It's easier money when that winless team is facing a well-rounded unit like the 49ers.
Hangst: 49ers, 27-10
London, Jacksonville, San Francisco—it doesn't matter where this game is played, the 49ers get the win. The disparity in overall talent will be just too much for the Jaguars to overcome.
Hansen: 49ers, 27-13
The 49ers have finally gone back to what worked for them for the last two seasons. Nothing has worked for the Jaguars in the last two seasons. Do the math.
Bardeen: 49ers, 27-13
The Jaguars aren't ready to win, especially not against the 49ers, who have shaken off their slow start and rattled off four wins in a row. The four wins haven't come against terrific teams, but no one will use "terrific" to describe the Jags either.
Gagnon: 49ers, 38-13
The Niners have really turned it on, and the Jaguars are just such a mess. Don't overthink it; this is a blowout.
Langland: 49ers, 31-10
Since the 49ers have gotten back to doing what they do best (running the football), they have been unstoppable. Expect that unstoppable streak to continue this week. The Jaguars are dead last against the run.
Kruse: 49ers, 37-16
London will get its first installment of the Jaguars, who are set to play overseas the next four seasons. The guess here is that the teal and gold won't be winning over many lifelong fans Sunday.
Miami Dolphins at New England Patriots
B/R Consensus Pick: Patriots (12-0)
Schottey: Patriots, 26-14
The Brady-led offense gets the reeling Dolphins as they continue to try to put some rhythm together. If the Dolphins play up to their actual talent level, this one could go the other way in a hurry.
Bowen: Patriots, 27-19
The Patriots couldn't close out the Jets in Week 7, but that won't happen at home versus the Dolphins. Tom Brady leads a fourth-quarter drive to shut down Miami.
Schalter: Patriots, 21-7
Is there anything in the world more terrifying than a motivated Bill Belichick? (ed. note: Yes, Ty, clowns.)
Freeman: Patriots, 21-16
Don't see Tom Brady losing back-to-back division games.
Miller: Patriots, 27-20
Bill Belichick and Tom Brady won't lose two straight division games. Especially not to a Miami team that can't protect Ryan Tannehill.
Frenz: Patriots, 30-20
The Patriots defense has lost some of its most reliable run defenders in Jerod Mayo and Vince Wilfork, but luckily, the Dolphins don't have much of a running game to speak of. The Patriots defensive line should be able to put the pinch on Ryan Tannehill, as most teams have done rather easily this season.
Hangst: Patriots, 30-21
A letdown loss on the road against the Jets should be the perfect motivation for the Patriots to get a home win against the division-rival Dolphins. The Patriots handle Miami easily at home with a healthy Rob Gronkowski leading the way.
Hansen: Patriots 28-27
The Patriots are a dangerous team after a loss, but Miami is going to keep it close to prove it belongs in the conversation in the AFC East. A healthy Rob Gronkowski may prove to be the difference.
Bardeen: Patriots, 24-21
The Patriots are trying to figure things out after losing some major firepower to injuries, and it's not going so well. New England has lost two of its last three. Miami seems completely lost after losing three in a row. That 3-0 start is starting to look like a mirage.
Gagnon: Patriots, 27-20
I was tempted to take Miami here just because it feels like the wheels could begin to come off for New England. But the Dolphins have lost three straight, can't protect their quarterback and don't really have the running chops to take advantage of that depleted New England front seven. It just doesn't add up.
Langland: Patriots, 30-23
Miami is a hard team to figure out. After starting the season 3-0, the Dolphins have now dropped their last three games in a row to a couple of subpar opponents. Beating the Patriots at home is incredibly challenging, so don't be surprised when you see another "L" in the loss column.
Kruse: Patriots, 27-21
Both Bill Belichick and Tom Brady have that extra touch of motivation coming off last week's letdown. That's a scary combination.
New York Giants at Philadelphia Eagles
B/R Consensus Pick: Eagles (8-4)
Schottey: Giants, 23-20
The Giants can make runs. We know they can. They should be able to put up points against the Eagles, but it all comes down to who makes the most (or last) mistakes.
Bowen: Eagles, 30-24
LeSean McCoy will be too much for the Giants front seven in this one. Take the Eagles to pick up the win at home.
Schalter: Giants, 24-23
Reports are that Vick will play in Week 8, healthy or not. There's the Giants' opening.
Freeman: Giants, 20-17
Don't see how Vick can be effective if he plays. If he doesn't, Eagles get destroyed by a bad team.
Miller: Eagles, 24-17
As long as Michael Vick is healthy by week's end, the Eagles' fast-paced offense should be able to move the ball on the overmatched Giants.
Frenz: Eagles, 35-27
Chip Kelly's uptempo offense and the dominant ability of LeSean McCoy should get the Giants defense gassed rather quickly.
Hangst: Eagles, 23-17
A less-than-healthy Mike Vick gets the start at quarterback for the Eagles, but that's actually good news, considering how Nick Foles and Matt Barkley looked in Week 7. The Giants may have a bounce-back at some point, but it won't be this Sunday. Their front seven is just not capable of stopping Philadelphia, hobbled Vick or not.
Hansen: Eagles, 30-21
The Giants can't stop anyone, and Michael Vick will start at quarterback for the Eagles. Expect a big win for the Eagles as the Giants continue to falter coming off a short week.
Bardeen: Eagles, 27-24
The Giants notched their first win Monday night in an ugly game, but momentum only goes so far. While the Eagles don't register a ton of sacks (Eli Manning can breathe easier), they run the football extremely well. New York can't stop the run at all and won't string two wins together this week.
Gagnon: Eagles, 20-17
The Giants didn't look good despite the victory over Minnesota, and now they have to go on the road to play a much better Eagles team that is trying to stay in the hunt. I think the Eagles prevail in a close, surprisingly low-scoring game.
Langland: Eagles, 24-21
The Giants may have won their first game of the season on Monday Night Football, but as Brad Gagnon would say, "They are still terrible." Mike Vick's return to the starting lineup will give the Eagles the boost they need to put them over the top in this game.
Kruse: Giants, 24-20
The Giants put out a terrible product Monday night and likely would have lost to 28 or 29 of the other 31 NFL teams. But you just never know how a first win can galvanize a team so many have written off.
New York Jets at Cincinnati Bengals
B/R Consensus Pick: Bengals (10-2)
Schottey: Bengals, 28-13
The Bengals are the far better team on paper, but on the field, things are a little more even. I'm taking the Bengals and their front line to win at home by pressuring Geno Smith into some rookie mistakes.
Bowen: Bengals, 24-16
Schalter: Bengals, 27-17
I've been a Geno Smith fan, and I love how the Jets are getting better, but the Bengals are just much better.
Freeman: Jets, 24-21
I'm betting the Jets D continues to play lights out and forces Dalton into picks.
Miller: Bengals, 21-14
Rex Ryan is coaching as well as anyone right now, but a lack of talent will catch up to the Jets this week.
Frenz: Bengals, 28-20
The Jets have won after each of their losses this season, but they've also lost after each of their wins. After an emotional upset of the Patriots, the Jets are ripe for a letdown on the road against a talented Bengals squad.
Hangst: Bengals, 27-17
At 5-2, the Bengals have the best record in the AFC North. A win over the New York Jets on Sunday means they might run away with the division at the season's halfway point. Cincinnati lost top cornerback Leon Hall to a torn Achilles tendon, but they have too much talent at every position to let it hurt them too much. The Jets are simply outmatched this week.
Hansen: Jets, 24-20
The Jets defense is getting the job done, and it's not that hard to make the Bengals one-dimensional. The Jets' defensive front will stuff the run and make Andy Dalton's day miserable.
Bardeen: Bengals, 21-20
The Bengals will win this game because Andy Dalton is going to take over and move the ball through the air when the Law Firm and the rookie rusher (BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Giovani Bernard) can’t get it done. Dalton will take his lumps, and though he’s not going to light the scoreboard up, but the Bengals will get win No. 4 in a row.
Gagnon: Bengals, 30-20
The Bengals have quietly won three straight. At home, that red-hot offense should have no problems with a D that lacks consistency.
Langland: Bengals, 27-24
You have to applaud Rex Ryan and the job he has done with the Jets this year. They are playing better than anyone could have imagined. However, they only have one win on the road. Until they start playing better away from home, I have to go with the home team. The Bengals win with a late field goal.
Kruse: Bengals, 20-13
I like the Bengals defensive line to control the contest and keep Geno Smith uncomfortable. On the other side, Andy Dalton will make one fewer error than his rookie competition.
Pittsburgh Steelers at Oakland Raiders
B/R Consensus Pick: Steelers (7-5)
Schottey: Steelers, 23-16
Pressure Terrelle Pryor up the middle and make sure you have contain—force him to be a passer. That's the way to beat Oakland, and the Steelers know it. The question, of course, is whether or not they have the bodies to do it.
Bowen: Steelers, 21-16
The Steelers get their third win in a row because of their defense forcing turnovers and limiting Terrelle Pryor out in Oakland.
Schalter: Raiders, 24-20
The Steelers have bounced back from an 0-4 start with a two-game win streak, but it might be the least impressive win streak ever. I'll take Terrelle Pryor and Oakland at home.
Freeman: Steelers, 30-14
I think Pittsburgh sees a chance to make a run, and the Raiders won't stop it.
Miller: Steelers, 28-20
Mike Tomlin's Steelers have found their mojo, and with it a run game that the Raiders won't be able to stop.
Frenz: Steelers, 13-7
The Steelers are finally starting to build some momentum, and while both teams have a suspect offense, the more experienced quarterback gives the Steelers the edge.
Hangst: Raiders, 19-13
The Steelers have a two-game win streak after starting 0-4, but their early-season issues aren't behind them. They still lack a pass rush, they have generated just two turnovers all season, and Week 7 marked their only good run-game performance. The Steelers historically struggle in Oakland and won't win this week.
Hansen: Raiders, 28-24
The Raiders played one of their best games of the season last year in a win at home against the Steelers. They played their other best game of the season coming off the bye week in a loss against the Falcons. Oakland has both scenarios working in their favor in Week 8.
Bardeen: Steelers, 14-10
These two teams are going in different directions. Pittsburgh’s won two in a row after a horrendous start, and the Raiders have lost three of their last four. Both defenses are solid, but I think Pittsburgh will be able to shut down Oakland’s run game as it focuses on stuffing the box because the Raiders passing game isn’t working.
Gagnon: Raiders, 23-20
The Steelers have bounced back, but with two less-than-impressive victories back East. Now they have to travel three time zones to face a Raiders team coming off their bye. Trouble.
Langland: Raiders, 19-13
Even though the Steelers have been playing better as of late, the Raiders are coming off of their bye and are at home. Assuming he's healthy, expect Terrelle Pryor to have a big day against an aging defense.
Kruse: Steelers, 20-17
Going on the road after the always-physical rivalry game with Baltimore won't be easy for Pittsburgh. In a sloppy game, Ben Roethlisberger leads a late drive to secure a third straight win.
Washington Redskins at Denver Broncos
B/R Consensus Pick: Broncos (12-0)
Schottey: Broncos, 41-28
Manning is going to take out some serious pent-up aggression on this Redskins secondary.
Bowen: Broncos, 38-22
Peyton Manning and the Broncos will bounce back after the Colts loss and go to work on an average Redskins secondary for the win.
Schalter: Broncos, 34-20
Loss to the Colts aside, the Broncos are still the second-best team in the NFL, and Peyton is no Josh McCown.
Freeman: Broncos, 38-21
Peyton Manning at home after a loss...um, yeah. No way he falters.
Miller: Broncos, 38-20
Peyton Manning's rebound game will be a win as long as his arm holds up better than it did in Week 7.
Frenz: Broncos, 27-17
Peyton Manning against the Redskins secondary is just an unfair matchup, especially since the Broncos will be hungry to bounce back after their tough loss in Indianapolis.
Hangst: Broncos, 37-27
A loss to the Colts won't throw Peyton Manning and the Broncos off course—not when they have the defensively porous Washington team this week. Granted, this could be a shootout, but Manning won't lose one against Robert Griffin III—not with his knowledge of defenses and his incredibly talented group of receivers.
Hansen: Broncos, 38-27
The Broncos have some issues, but they also did a lot of things to beat themselves against the Colts. Washington doesn't have the defense to slow down Manning, and Von Miller should be able to limit RG3.
Bardeen: Broncos, 42-34
While the playing styles of Peyton Manning and Robert Griffin III couldn’t be more different, they have something in common: They can put points on the board. Denver ranks first in the NFL with 42.6 points per game, and Washington is 10th with a 25.3. The Broncos win at home because their defense is better than that of the Redskins.
Gagnon: Broncos, 38-30
The Broncos might have finally lost, but this is still a team that has hammered all four of its home opponents this season. The Redskins are starting to get into an offensive groove, though, so they'll keep it respectable.
Langland: Broncos, 35-24
Washington showed new signs of life against Chicago, but you know Peyton Manning is pissed off because of the loss to Indianapolis on Sunday night. Broncos roll at home and get back on track.
Kruse: Broncos, 48-31
Josh McCown just carved up the Washington defense. Can you imagine what Peyton Manning, fresh off a loss, will do? Denver rolls with a return to big offensive numbers.
Atlanta Falcons at Arizona Cardinals
B/R Consensus Pick: Falcons (7-5)
Schottey: Falcons, 13-9
The game could easily be much more lopsided, but I expect the Cardinals to get Ryan out of his comfort zone and grab a few picks along the way. In the end, the better team wins—even on the road.
Bowen: Falcons, 19-17
I like the Falcons in this one because of the inability of the Cardinals offensive line to protect Carson Palmer. Look for the Falcons defense to set up Matt Ryan with some easy scoring opportunities.
Schalter: Cardinals, 17-14
The Falcons did it once with no Julio Jones, Roddy White or Steven Jackson, but Patrick Peterson will eat Harry Douglas alive. Carson Palmer is struggling, but he and the entire Cardinals offense can outscore Tony Gonzalez solo.
Freeman: Falcons, 25-24
Matt Ryan barely saves a horrible Falcons defense.
Miller: Cardinals, 21-17
The Falcons have to get back on track after barely beating the Buccaneers. I'm not sure they can rush the quarterback or get open against this Cardinals defense.
Frenz: Cardinals, 24-21
The Cardinals and Falcons both have major problems, but with so many of their key players injured, the Falcons are turning into a one-man show on offense. If the Cardinals defense can take advantage of a suspect Falcons offensive line, Arizona will pick up the home win.
Hangst: Falcons, 21-20
Matt Ryan put the Falcons on his back in their win over the Buccaneers in Week 7. Without Roddy White, Julio Jones, Steven Jackson and other key members on both offense and defense, the Falcons have been forced to get creative. Even though this is a tough road game against a good defense, Atlanta should be able to pull off a close win.
Hansen: Falcons, 27-20
The Falcons are going to need wins on the road if they are going to turn their season around. The Cardinals are a below-average team, and Carson Palmer is throwing gobs of interceptions.
Bardeen: Falcons, 23-20
It’s hard to forget last year’s debacle in the Georgia Dome when Matt Ryan threw five picks and still beat the Cardinals. Ryan’s day will likely be better on Sunday, but Atlanta still isn’t playing well enough for this to be a rout. Look for the Falcons to have trouble running the football—even if Steven Jackson returns—and for Ryan to bail out his team at the end.
Gagnon: Falcons, 28-20
Atlanta is going to start making a run now. I can feel it. Even with those injuries on offense, the Falcons are too good to remain out of the hunt. They'll hand the Cards their third straight loss.
Langland: Cardinals, 21-20
Arizona looked hapless at times versus Seattle, but Todd Bowles' defense has been keeping the Cardinals in every game week in and week out. Despite Carson Palmer's downfalls, the Cardinals are a better team than the Falcons right now.
Kruse: Cardinals, 23-20
This is a strong matchup for the Cardinals, and playing at home should provide an edge. The Falcons have yet to win away from Atlanta this season.
Green Bay Packers at Minnesota Vikings
B/R Consensus Pick: Packers (12-0)
Schottey: Packers, 28-16
Sam Shields and the defense shuts down the Vikings offense, while Eddie Lacy paces the Packers against the Vikings defense. This is an easy win that isn't nearly as close as the score would indicate.
Bowen: Packers, 23-14
The Packers are beat up at key positions, but Eddie Lacy produces over 100 yards on the ground and Aaron Rodgers throws two touchdown passes in the Green Bay win.
Schalter: Packers, 28-10
I'm bound by the conventions of this article to say more than "Ha, nope," but that's about the size of it. Rodgers and the Packers will quickly overwhelm the Vikings defense.
Freeman: Packers, 30-10
Freeman will be terrific...just not now.
Miller: Packers, 31-20
Aaron Rodgers vs. Josh Freeman. Who do you think I'm picking?
Frenz: Packers, 28-17
Aaron Rodgers vs. Josh Freeman. I shouldn't have to say anything more than this.
Hangst: Packers, 31-14
The Packers didn't look beleaguered by their many injuries in their Week 7 31-13 drubbing of the Browns, which bodes well for their Sunday night road trip. As the quarterback carousel keeps spinning in Minnesota, the Packers will just keep winning.
Hansen: Packers, 30-19
The Packers are playing great football despite being plagued by injuries. The Vikings are imploding with three shaky quarterbacks. If Adrian Peterson doesn't put the team on his back, this game will get ugly.
Bardeen: Packers, 30-17
Eli Manning has looked awful all season, but new Vikings quarterback Josh Freeman truly defined awful on Monday Night Football. It’s not Freeman’s fault he hasn’t had enough time in the system. The Packers don’t care whose fault it is; they’re going to punish the Vikings.
Gagnon: Packers, 30-16
The Vikings looked like the worst team in the league Monday, and now they have to battle the high-powered Packers on short rest. Even with all those injuries, this is a no-doubter.
Langland: Packers, 31-17
Another week of Josh Freeman in prime time, huh? Aaron Rodgers and Co. should make quick work of the woeful Vikings.
Kruse: Packers, 27-20
Josh Freeman has a short week to shake off a nightmare start, and the Packers have taken away the run as well as anyone this season. But the final Packers vs. Vikings game under the Metrodome roof can't be a clunker, can it?
Seattle Seahawks at St. Louis Rams
B/R Consensus Pick: Seahawks (12-0)
Schottey: Seahawks, 23-13
Look for some new-QB surprises as Kellen Clemens has literally nothing to lose by airing it out in this one. Still, come on. If this were in Seattle, I'd probably give Russell Wilson and the Seahawks a 50-spot.
Bowen: Seahawks, 27-6
Without Sam Bradford, the Rams are in trouble versus the Seahawks secondary. Seattle takes this one easily.
Schalter: Seahawks, 28-9
The Seahawks aren't quite as unstoppable on the road, but the Rams without Bradford can't even compete.
Freeman: Seahawks, 28-10
Sam Bradford wasn't very good, but his backup is worse and the Hawks crush.
Miller: Seahawks, 31-20
No Sam Bradford? No wins for St. Louis.
Frenz: Seahawks, 26-6
The Rams have only been competitive against the NFL's worst teams this year. The Seahawks are susceptible to a road letdown, as usual, but an injury to Sam Bradford forces backup Kellen Clemens into the spotlight, which does not bode well for the Rams.
Hangst: Seahawks, 30-6
The Rams weren't in good shape with quarterback Sam Bradford, but now they're in a crisis mode without him. Now they have to host the division-leading Seahawks and will be blown out on national television. Things have gone from bad to worse in St. Louis.
Hansen: Seahawks, 26-13
The Seahawks don't play as well on the road, but the Rams aren't really playing well anywhere. Marshawn Lynch will have to wear down the Rams' defensive front, so don't expect a ton of points. However, Seattle's defense should have its way against a team with no Sam Bradford.
Bardeen: Seahawks, 31-10
One of the things Seattle does really well is run the football. There are only two teams in the NFL that allow more rushing yards than St. Louis. That’s a recipe for success for the Seahawks, who also should shut down the Rams’ rather inept offense.
Gagnon: Seahawks, 38-13
If the 49ers can beat the Rams by 20-plus points on the road, then I'm sure the Seahawks can do the same thing, especially considering that St. Louis has lost Sam Bradford.
Langland: Seahawks, 28-10
With Sam Bradford out for the season with a torn ACL, Kellen Clemens takes over signal-calling duties. Which begs the question: Will the Rams win another game this season? No. It's going to be a long finish to the season for Rams fans.
Kruse: Seahawks, 35-16
St. Louis would have been home underdogs in this one even with Sam Bradford. Expect Seattle to run the ball down the Rams' throat.
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