NFL Week 8 Picks: Last-Minute Expert Predictions from Around the Web
And then there was one.
When the Indianapolis Colts defeated the Denver Broncos last week, it left a single undefeated team in the NFL:
The 7-0 Kansas City Chiefs.
Will the surprising Chiefs run their record to 8-0? Will the Broncos rebound from their first loss of the year?
Can the Jacksonville Jaguars notch their first victory of the season, or will they join the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Winlessville?
Here's a look around cyberspace at how the experts expect the eighth week of the 2013 NFL season to unfold.
Experts Roll Call
Before we move on to Week 8's games, let's take a look at our panel of experts.
ESPN: ESPN's picks are a combination of the selections of 13 experts. Those experts include writers like Chris Mortensen and Adam Schefter as well as former players such as Mike Ditka and Cris Carter.
USA Today: As with the other sites on our panel, USA Today uses a committee approach, with seven writers offering their picks for this week's games.
Bleacher Report: I would be remiss not to include the prognostications of my esteemed colleagues here at Bleacher Report. This year's starting lineup for Bleacher Report's picks team features each of the national lead writers as well as the lead writers covering the NFL's divisions.
There you have it: over 40 NFL experts (plus one computer) all giving their takes on this week's games.
Week 7 went very well for the panel, who got nine games right for the second straight week.
Last Week: 9-5
San Francisco 49ers (5-2) at Jacksonville Jaguars (0-7) [London]
Final Verdict: The outcome of Sunday's matchup between the 49ers and Jaguars was a surprise...to absolutely no one on earth.
San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick threw for one touchdown and ran for two more, and the 49ers demolished the winless Jaguars 42-10 at Wembley Stadium in London.
The 49ers head into their bye at 6-2, while the Jaguars can finally look forward to an upcoming weekend where they're guaranteed not to lose.
ESPN: 49ers (12-0)
CBS Sports: 49ers (8-0)
Fox Sports: 49ers (5-0)
USA Today: 49ers (7-0)
Bleacher Report: 49ers (12-0)
Overall: 49ers (45-0)
The second London game of the 2013 season takes place in Week 8, with the 49ers and Jaguars traveling across the pond to show the United Kingdom what a ridiculously overmatched football team looks like.
The Jacksonville Jaguars remain winless on the year after a listless loss to the San Diego Chargers, while the 49ers look to be firing on all cylinders after tearing apart the Tennessee Titans.
Gee, I wonder who the experts think will win?
Let's ask Bleacher Report NFC West Lead Writer Tyson Langland:
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.
Cleveland Browns (3-4) at Kansas City Chiefs (7-0)
Final Verdict: If nothing else, Sunday's 23-17 victory by the Kansas City Chiefs over the Cleveland Browns at least contained a bit of a silver lining for the Browns.
Sure, the Browns lost to the undefeated Chiefs, but the competent quarterback play of Jason Campbell (293 passing yards, two touchdowns) gives fans of the Browns something to cling to as they navigate yet another losing season.
ESPN: Chiefs (13-0)
CBS Sports: Chiefs (8-0)
Fox Sports: Chiefs (5-0)
USA Today: Chiefs (7-0)
Bleacher Report: Chiefs (12-0)
Overall: Chiefs (45-0)
One year after going 2-14, the Kansas City Chiefs stand alone, the last undefeated team in the NFL.
The Chiefs have ridden a stingy defense and fearsome pass rush to those heights, and this week the Chiefs welcome in a Cleveland Browns squad with loads of questions at quarterback.
As Mary Kay Cabot reports for The Cleveland Plain-Dealer, veteran Jason Campbell will start under center in Week 8 in place of Brandon Weeden.
The panel doesn't expect that change under center to make a bit of difference in this game.
In the words of Bleacher Report NFC East Lead Writer Brad Gagnon, "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."
Buffalo Bills (3-4) at New Orleans Saints (5-1)
Final Verdict: Apparently quarterback Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints didn't forget that last-second loss to the New England Patriots in Week 6.
Brees threw for 332 yards and five scores, rookie wideout Kenny Stills had a career day and the Saints moved to 6-1 with a 35-17 win over the Buffalo Bills.
Hot start for the experts this week.
ESPN: Saints (13-0)
CBS Sports: Saints (8-0)
Fox Sports: Saints (5-0)
USA Today: Saints (7-0)
Bleacher Report: Saints (12-0)
Overall: Saints (45-0)
The New Orleans Saints went into their bye week on the sourest of notes, the victims of that last-second scoring pass from Tom Brady to Kenbrell Thompkins two weeks ago.
That throw sent the Saints to their first loss of 2013, and the experts are unanimous in their belief that New Orleans will take out their frustrations from that game on the Bills Sunday.
Bleacher Report NFC South Lead Writer Knox Bardeen explains:
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.
Dallas Cowboys (4-3) at Detroit Lions (4-3)
Final Verdict: In a week that was short on big matchups, this one lived up to the billing and then some.
Matthew Stafford threw for 488 yards, Calvin Johnson caught 14 of those passes for a staggering 329 yards, and a late Stafford touchdown run gave the Lions a 31-30 win over the Cowboys.
Another crushing defeat for the Cowboys, who for the second time this season came up short in the waning seconds against a good team.
ESPN: Lions (7-6)
CBS Sports: Lions (6-2)
FOX Sports: Lions (3-2)
USA Today: Lions (7-0)
Bleacher Report: Lions (8-4)
Overall: Lions (31-14)
There aren't a lot of big matchups in Week 8, but one of the bigger ones takes place in the Motor City.
The 4-3 Lions are attempting to bounce back from a tough loss to the Cincinnati Bengals a week ago, while the Cowboys took over sole possession of first place in the NFC East after downing the Philadelphia Eagles 17-3 last week.
It's the Lions who are the experts' pick, with Bleacher Report NFL National Lead Writer Ty Schalter remarking that last week's results were something of a mirage.
"The Lions had the Bengals dead to rights and lost at the last second in Week 7," Schalter said. "Meanwhile, the Cowboys offense fell apart without DeMarco Murray in the backfield."
Miami Dolphins (3-3) at New England Patriots (5-2)
Final Verdict: If we told you that a quarterback in this game would throw for all of 116 yards, you would likely make two assumptions:
1.) It was Ryan Tannehill of the Miami Dolphins
2.) The Dolphins lost the game.
You'd be half right. That was Tom Brady's stat line, but despite those paltry numbers the Patriots strengthened their hold on the top spot in the AFC East with a 27-17 win.
ESPN: Patriots (12-1)
CBS Sports: Patriots (8-0)
Fox Sports: Patriots (5-0)
USA Today: Patriots (7-0)
Bleacher Report: Patriots (12-0)
Overall: Patriots (44-1)
The New England Patriots sit in first place in the AFC East, but it doesn't really feel like it.
Sandwiched around the Patriots wild Week 6 win over the New Orleans Saints is two losses in which quarterback Tom Brady has failed to throw a touchdown pass. He's been sacked 14 times in the last three games.
The Patriots may have problems, but Bleacher Report AFC East Lead Writer Erik Frenz is among the overwhelming majority of experts who expect New England to get past the Miami Dolphins this week:
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.
New York Giants (1-6) at Philadelphia Eagles (3-4)
Final Verdict: Like any winning streak, our experts' run to start Week 8 had to end sometime.
When a clearly hobbled Michael Vick left Sunday's game against the New York Giants, so did any chance the Philadelphia Eagles had of winning.
It was without question the ugliest of the early games in Week 8, but the Giants will take an ugly 15-7 win that moves them to 2-6 heading into their bye.
ESPN: Eagles (7-6)
CBS Sports: Eagles (6-2)
Fox Sports: Eagles (3-2)
USA Today: Eagles (6-1)
Bleacher Report: Eagles (8-4)
Overall: Eagles (30-15)
Philadelphia Eagles season-ticket holders are not very happy at the moment.
That's probably because they haven't witnessed a victory live in quite some time. The Eagles have dropped their last nine home games. The last time the Eagles tasted victory in Philadelphia was September of 2012...
...against the New York Giants.
The G-Men hardly looked impressive in beating a bad Minnesota team for their first win of the season last week, and the majority of the experts think the Eagles' home skid ends on Sunday.
According to Bleacher Report NFL National Lead Writer Matt Bowen, "LeSean McCoy will be too much for the Giants front seven in this one. Take the Eagles to pick up the win at home."
New York Jets (4-3) at Cincinnati Bengals (5-2)
Final Verdict: This game was a trip behind the woodshed.
The Cincinnati Bengals pounded the New York Jets in every imaginable way in Week 8. Andy Dalton threw five touchdown passes, including four to wide receiver Marvin Jones.
Throw in a pair of interception returns for touchdowns by the Cincinnati defense, and you have the recipe for a 49-9 drubbing.
The Bengals look like the real deal, folks.
ESPN: Bengals (11-2)
CBS Sports: Bengals (6-2)
Fox Sports: Bengals (5-0)
USA Today: Bengals (6-1)
Bleacher Report: Bengals (10-2)
Overall: Bengals (38-7)
It may not have been circled on many calendars entering the 2013 season, but Sunday's matchup between the New York Jets and Cincinnati Bengals is one of the biggest games of Week 8.
The Bengals are in control of the AFC North at 5-2, while a surprising 4-3 Jets team is riding high after a huge win over the division rival New England Patriots.
It's the Bengals who are the experts' pick, and as Bleacher Report NFL National Lead Writer Michael Schottey points out the Bengals' talented front four is the tipping point for many:
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.
Pittsburgh Steelers (2-4) at Oakland Raiders (2-4)
Final Verdict: It's time for both the media and fans of the Pittsburgh Steelers to move on to the last stage of grieving.
Oakland quarterback Terrelle Pryor set a franchise record with a 93-yard touchdown run in the first quarter, and while the Steelers tried to make a game of it their comeback came up short.
The Steelers fall to 2-5 after losing 21-18, and Pittsburgh sits alone in the AFC North cellar.
ESPN: Steelers (8-5)
CBS Sports: Steelers (7-1)
Fox Sports: Steelers (4-1)
USA Today: Steelers (5-2)
Bleacher Report: Steelers (7-5)
Overall: Steelers (31-14)
After a disastrous start to the 2013 season, the Pittsburgh Steelers have won two games in a row, including a victory last week over the defending Super Bowl champions.
The Oakland Raiders share a similar 2-4 record, with the Raiders coming off their bye week after a lopsided loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.
Bleacher Report NFL National Lead Writer Matt Bowen is among the majority of pundits who feel the Steelers will notch a third straight win on Sunday. "The Steelers get their third win in a row," Bowen wrote, "because of their defense forcing turnovers and limiting Terrelle Pryor out in Oakland."
However, more than a few experts think the Raiders will pull off the upset, including NFL National Lead Writer Ty Schalter. According to Schalter, "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."
Atlanta Falcons (2-4) at Arizona Cardinals (3-4)
Final Verdict: Speaking of accepting that a team just isn't good. Ladies and gentlemen, the 2013 Atlanta Falcons.
It's not hard to find a reason for the free-fall. The Falcons have been absolutely ravaged by injuries on both sides of the ball.
Whatever the reason, the Falcons now sit at 2-5 after losing to the Arizona Cardinals 27-13, and whatever fading playoff hopes Atlanta may have had are now all but gone.
ESPN: Falcons (9-4)
CBS Sports: Falcons (5-3)
Fox Sports: Falcons (4-1)
USA Today: Cardinals (4-3)
Bleacher Report: Falcons (7-5)
Overall: Falcons (28-17)
Sunday's game between the Atlanta Falcons and Arizona Cardinals may not be a marquee matchup, but it's an important contest for the teams involved.
If the Falcons can squeak out a win, the lagging playoff hopes from last year's top seed in the NFC would get a boost. The Cardinals would love to head into their bye week a .500 team.
The Falcons are the pick, but it was a fairly close call.
Bleacher Report NFC South Lead Writer Knox Bardeen went with the majority and Atlanta:
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.
However, NFL National Lead Writer Matt Miller sees an upset on the horizon. "The Falcons have to get back on track after barely beating the Buccaneers," Miller wrote. "I'm not sure they can rush the quarterback or get open against this Cardinals defense."
Washington Redskins (2-4) at Denver Broncos (6-1)
Final Verdict: At halftime of Sunday afternoon's game between the Washington Redskins and Denver Broncos, the score was knotted at 7.
Then the Redskins reeled off 14 straight points, and it looked like the Broncos might be in danger of losing for the second straight week.
Denver quarterback Peyton Manning and the Broncos calmly peeled off 38 unanswered points, an onslaught that left the Redskins staring at a 45-21 deficit and wondering what happened.
ESPN: Broncos (13-0)
CBS Sports: Broncos (8-0)
Fox Sports: Broncos (5-0)
USA Today: Broncos (7-0)
Bleacher Report: Broncos (12-0)
Overall: Broncos (45-0)
The Washington Redskins are coming off their best game of the season, a Week 7 win over the Chicago Bears in which quarterback Robert Griffin III accounted for over 375 yards of offense.
The Redskins have their work cut out for them this week, heading west to take on a Denver Broncos team seething after their first loss of the season last Sunday night.
The panel is unanimous that it will be Denver who wins this game. In fact, Bleacher Report NFL National Lead Writer Mike Freeman doesn't think it will be especially close.
"Peyton Manning at home after a loss...um, yeah," Freeman said. "No way he falters."
Green Bay Packers (4-2) at Minnesota Vikings (1-5)
Final Verdict: For the second time in a week, the Minnesota Vikings played in prime time.
For the second time in a week, it was ugly.
The Green Bay Packers controlled their Sunday night showdown with the Vikings throughout, coasting to a 44-31 win that wasn't nearly as close as the final score indicates.
ESPN: Packers (13-0)
CBS Sports: Packers (8-0)
Fox Sports: Packers (5-0)
USA Today: Packers (7-0)
Bleacher Report: Packers (12-0)
Overall: Packers (45-0)
2013 has not been kind to the Minnesota Vikings.
After making the playoffs last year, the Vikings have struggled mightily this season. Last week's Monday night loss to the previously winless New York Giants was simply the latest letdown in a season full of them.
Quarterback Josh Freeman was not just awful in that game. Freeman also suffered a concussion against New York, pushing Christian Ponder back into the starting lineup under center this week at the Metrodome.
Bleacher Report AFC West Lead Writer Chris Hansen doesn't think it makes much difference who starts at quarterback for the Vikings:
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.
Seattle Seahawks (6-1) at St. Louis Rams (3-4)
Final Verdict: Well, the streak of virtually unwatchable primetime NFL games lives on.
The Seattle Seahawks were outplayed by the St. Louis Rams. The Rams had as many sacks (seven) as Seattle had first downs.
However, the Seahawks did one thing that the Rams could not.
They found the end zone twice, and that was enough in a 14-9 win.
ESPN: Seahawks (13-0)
CBS Sports: Seahawks (8-0)
Fox Sports: Seahawks (4-0)
USA Today: Seahawks (7-0)
Bleacher Report: Seahawks (12-0)
Overall: Seahawks (44-0)
Last week's Monday night game between the New York Giants and Minnesota Vikings was indescribably bad.
If you watched the game, you know what I mean. If you didn't, then count yourself lucky.
This week's game probably won't be much better.
With quarterback Sam Bradford done for the year with a torn ACL, the St. Louis Rams are forced to start Kellen Clemens against a ferocious Seattle defense.
The experts, including Bleacher Report AFC East Lead writer Erik Frenz, are unanimous in their belief that does not bode well for the Rams:
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.