NFL Week 8 Picks: Teams Whose Playoff Hopes Will Take a Major Hit
The conversation during the first half of the NFL season is highlighted by talk about whether overachieving teams can keep it up and when underachieving squads will turn things around. Now, the focus will shift toward the playoffs.
While the margin for error is thin to begin with in a season featuring just 16 games, the halfway point is when fringe postseason teams really start to feel the heat. Every loss moves a team one step closer to elimination and adds a few more hurdles to the comeback trail.
With that in mind, let's examine three teams whose playoff hopes will take a hit after losses in Week 8. If they do end up falling short on Sunday, they will face a major uphill battle the rest of the way. A list with picks for the week's remaining games follows.
A couple weeks ago, the Browns were a team on the rise after three straight wins. A season-ending injury to quarterback Brian Hoyer, who had given the offense a much-needed boost, brought an immediate end to that momentum, however.
Now, Cleveland has lost two straight and heads into Arrowhead Stadium, one of the toughest places to play for road teams, to face the undefeated Kansas City Chiefs. Andy Reid's group is 4-0 at home, winning by an average of 11 points.
Although the Browns defense ranks inside the top 10 in yards allowed, the Chiefs can match that defensive efficiency and have more playmakers, led by Jamaal Charles, on offense. Kansas City should cruise to an eighth straight win to open the season.
Prediction: Chiefs 23, Browns 13
One week after scoring an emotional divisional win over the Miami Dolphins, the Bills face an extremely difficult test against the New Orleans Saints. The NFC contenders are coming off their bye, are unbeaten at home and sport an explosive offense Buffalo simply can't match.
Which of these games is the most intriguing?
If there were one game where the Bills could use dynamic running back C.J. Spiller at full strength, this would be it. Instead, he's listed as doubtful with an ankle injury that's limited his game-breaking ability in recent weeks.
Without Spiller, the Bills don't have the weapons necessary to keep up with Drew Brees and Co., especially given New Orleans' dominance at home. Buffalo might be able to keep it close for awhile, but the Saints will pull away in the second half.
Prediction: Saints 34, Bills 14
Things were looking bleak for the Steelers after they dropped all four games before their bye. They have started turning things around following the break, beating the rival Baltimore Ravens and New York Jets to create a modest winning streak.
Pittsburgh hopes to keep it alive against the Oakland Raiders, but it's a bad matchup. Oakland is averaging nearly 130 yards per game on the ground and the Steelers rank 19th in run defense. After a bye, Darren McFadden and Terrelle Pryor should be ready to roll.
Since the Steelers haven't been able to find a similar level of consistency with their rushing attack, going on the road to win a game where they'll probably lose the possession battle is a very tough task. The Raiders should grind their way to a key win.
Prediction: Raiders 20, Steelers 17
Complete Week 8 Picks
|Date||Road Team||Home Team||Pick|
|Oct. 27||49ers||Jaguars (London)||SF|
NFL Week 8
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