NFL Week 8 Picks: Predicting Outcomes for Potential Trap Games
Despite the fact that blowouts occur on a weekly basis in the NFL, winning is never easy, and good teams can't afford to fall asleep on inferior opponents for fear of getting upset.
However, trap games do occur, and teams that are caught off guard when they happen oftentimes get upset in embarrassing fashion.
For instance, nobody expected the Indianapolis Colts to get bludgeoned by the San Diego Chargers in Week 6.
Indy features one of the best teams in the league, but the Colts perhaps got caught looking ahead to the Denver Broncos and ended up getting handled with ease by the inferior Chargers the week before the big game.
Similarly, the Cincinnati Bengals got caught looking ahead to the New England Patriots when the Cleveland Browns defeated them in Week 4.
Here's a look at all the matchups on the schedule in Week 8, followed by a closer look at a few potential trap games for top teams.
|Dallas Cowboys||Detroit Lions||DET (-3)||Lions|
|Cleveland Browns||Kansas City Chiefs||KC (-7.5)||Chiefs|
|Miami Dolphins||New England Patriots||NE (-6.5)||Patriots|
|Buffalo Bills||New Orleans Saints||NO (-11)||Saints|
|New York Giants||Philadelphia Eagles||PHI (-5)||Eagles|
|San Francisco 49ers||Jacksonville Jaguars||JAC (+16.5)||49ers|
|New York Jets||Cincinnati Bengals||CIN (-6.5)||Jets|
|Pittsburgh Steelers||Oakland Raiders||OAK (+2.5)||Raiders|
|Washington Redskins||Denver Broncos||DEN (-13)||Broncos|
|Atlanta Falcons||Arizona Cardinals||ARI (-2.5)||Falcons|
|Green Bay Packers||Minnesota Vikings||MIN (+9)||Packers|
|Seattle Seahawks||St. Louis Rams||STL (+11)||Seahawks|
Betting Lines via Covers.com
Green Bay at Minnesota
On paper, there's no way the Vikings beat the Packers this Sunday night.
Even though Green Bay has been hit hard by an injury epidemic, the matchups between these two teams is lopsided in favor of the Packers. With Chicago coming into Lambeau Field in Week 9, it wouldn't be hard to overlook the Vikings this weekend.
But it's hard to imagine the Packers losing to this dysfunctional Vikings squad.
Christian Ponder is making his fourth start of the season, but only because newly acquired quarterback Josh Freeman suffered a concussion on Monday night. Ponder was atrocious in his first three starts, throwing just two touchdowns and five interceptions, and it'll be interesting to see how he plays in light of recent events.
Eddie Lacy has been the catalyst for Green Bay's three-game winning streak, averaging 110 total yards in his last three starts. He'll have another big game against Minnesota, which has struggled to contain strong rushing attacks this year.
Final Score: Packers win 31-17.
Pittsburgh at Oakland
With a road game against the mighty New England Patriots lurking in Week 9, the Pittsburgh Steelers must not take the Oakland Raiders lightly this Sunday.
Though Oakland has only won two games this season, it has played well against good teams, hanging tough against Indianapolis, Denver and Kansas City.
The Steelers have only won two games as well, but after two wins in a row, the team's early-season, injury-induced slump is already far back in the rear-view mirror.
Rookie running back Le'Veon Bell is finally healthy, and he broke out with his first big game yardage-wise of the season last Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens, gaining 93 yards on 19 carries. His improved play will open up things for Ben Roethlsiberger in the passing game.
Terrelle Pryor's ability to stretch plays with his legs and find receivers downfield will test Pittsburgh's defense to its limit. However, Dick LeBeau recently confused Geno Smith into throwing a couple of costly interceptions, and he'll do it again this weekend against Pryor.
Final Score: Steelers win 24-14.
San Francisco at Jacksonville (in London)
After opening up the season with a 1-2 record, San Francisco has really turned things around. Heading into Week 8, this 49ers team is 5-2 after having already endured the toughest part of its schedule, and there isn't a better way to cruise into the bye than a matchup against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
This week could be construed almost like a vacation for this NFC powerhouse. In fact, after heading straight to London from the game last weekend in Tennessee, at least one player is setting his mind on a little bit of sightseeing:
This is the definition of a trap game.
Which team is in the most danger of losing?
That said, there's no way Jim Harbaugh and the veteran-laden locker room of the 49ers is allowing this team to take the Jaguars lightly.
The 49ers will do their sightseeing, but they'll also take care of business on the field.
San Francisco's No. 3-ranked rushing offense will have a field day against Jacksonville's league-worst run defense, and Colin Kaepernick will shred the outmatched secondary of the Jaguars with a few timely big plays for touchdowns.
Final Score: 49ers win 38-10.
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