NFL Week 8 Picks: Picking The Winners Against The Spread
It's time to make some NFL picks for week 8. I'm dusting off my inner Bill Simmons this week and writing a picks article. I'll be picking all 13 games against the spread this week.
Six different teams are on their bye week this week, making for a smaller schedule. Nonetheless the early week lines are some of the biggest we have seen this season.
On a personal note, my picks have been awful this season. On the weeks with 16 games, I usually got only six games correct. My picks have been about as bad as Mike Greenberg's from ESPN radio's Mike and Mike in the morning.
If you are looking for advice on any potential wagers, write down my picks, and bet the other way, odds are you will come out on top.
The home teams will be listed in caps.
Denver (-1) Over San Francisco (in London)
If the media is still allowed to believe the Cowboys are a good team and say things like "only one 1-5 team has ever made the playoffs, so the Cowboys have a tough hill to climb," then I am allowed to keep saying the Denver Broncos are better then their 2-5 record suggests.
Here is a season spoiler alert though, the Cowboys won't make the playoffs because they are not good, while the Broncos are probably just as good as their record shows.
The Broncos have a strong offense led by Kyle Orton. They played a great game against the Jets in week 6 and were unfortunate to lose. They are likely to bounce back strong against San Francisco this week.
The Broncos are still alive in their weak division. The Chargers are very weak this year, and no one knows if the Chiefs are for real yet. A win for the Broncos put them right back on track to make a run in the weak AFC West, a loss all but ends their season.
On the other side, people are still making excused for the 49ers because many people forgot that Alex Smith was their quarterback and though they could make a run and win the NFC.
Now the 49ers are looking like they will turn to David Carr, which isn't much of an upgrade. The 49ers are still not a very good team, and Mike Singletary is not a very good coach.
The Broncos should be able to pull this one out.
Jacksonville (+6.5) Over DALLAS
This line is just way too high.
Jacksonville has been one of the most inconsistent teams you will ever see this year. They have a 3-5 record that includes a win over the Colts and a loss to the Chargers. The good news for the Jags is David Garrard is expected to return and start at quarterback for the Jaguars.
As inconsistent as Jacksonville might be, the Cowboys don't deserve to be favored by 6.5 points over anybody. The Cowboys entered the season as the most overrated team in the NFL. They have jumped out to a 1-5 start, and had their starting quarterback knocked out last week against the Giants.
The Cowboys are 6.5 point favorites playing with a backup QB and an incompetent Head Coach, at a stadium that has yet to prove it has any homefield advantage? I'll take the points.
DETROIT (-2.5) Over Washington
The Lions have to put it together one of these days, and this very well could be the day. While the Lions may not be able to win on the road, they get the benefit of playing at home this week against the Redskins, the team they beat to end their over a season long losing streak last season.
The Redskins are a mediocre 3-3 team, capable of pulling off an upset, and also capable of being upset.
Mathew Stafford is set to return for the Lions. Combine him with weapons Jahvid Best and Calvin Johnson, and the Lions throw the ball up and hope Calvin Johnson comes down with it offense may be too much for the Skins to handle.
Green Bay (+6) Over NEW YORK JETS
The Green Bay Packers can throw the ball, and lucky for them the Jets have been struggling against the pass this season. Many will point out that the Jets have been missing All-Pro cornerback Darrelle Revis and that is why the pass defense has struggled. But Revis played against the Broncos, covering their third receiver and the Jets were still suspect against the pass.
On the other side of the ball Jets QB Mark Sanchez came back to earth against the Broncos. He is still due in for his home game stinker, and the Packers defense will be one of the toughest defenses the Jets have seen so far this season.
After getting off to a slow start, the Packers look like they are starting to put things together. The Jets will be rested coming off the bye, but the Packers will still walk out of the New Meadowlands Stadium victorious.
ST. LOUIS (-3) Over Carolina
St. Louis has played very well at home. Carolina has one win, when they barely beat a bad San Francisco team who was playing a 1 pm game in the Eastern time zone.
Carolina may have the leagues best pass defense right now, but the Rams will just feed the ball to Steven Jackson.
On the other side neither Matt Moore or Jimmy Clausen has stepped up and proven they could be the quarterback of the future in Carolina. Both have struggled mightily, and both have already been benched. Moore is on his second turn as a starter, and retains the starting spot after getting the win against the 49ers.
Still, the Rams will present too much of a problem for Carolina.
Miami (+2) Over CINCINNATI
Miami came oh so close to topping the Steelers last week. In fact, many people believe that they did beat the Steelers. But according the letter of the law, the officials made the right call and Miami lost.
Miami is still lying below many peoples radar. They are much better then people believe they are. On the other side, the Bengals are not as good as many people believe. The Bengals won their division last season with a power running offense. Even though they added Terrell Owens this season, the Bengals have been unable to replicate the success in the running game that they had last season.
Miami has a very good secondary that should be able to contain the Bengals strong wide receivers.
Then of course there is this very telling stat, Miami is 0-3 at home, and 3-0 on the road. The Dolphins will continue their road dominance this week in Cincy.
KANSAS CITY (-7.5) Over Buffalo
A big mismatch on paper. Buffalo can't run the ball so Kansas City will be able to concentrate on stopping Ryan Fitzpatrick. While that may be a tough task Kansas City's defense seems very up to the challenge.
On offense Kansas City will run and run and run some more. Kansas City are the second in the league at running the ball and Buffalo is the second worst team at stopping the run.
In two games with the Jets last season against Buffalo, Chiefs running back Thomas Jones rushed for a total of 319 yards. Expect more of the same from Jones, and when you add in the home field advantage that is Arrowhead Stadium, the Chiefs should roll in this one.
Tampa Bay (+3) Over Arizona
This one will be a sloppy game all the way around. Neither team does anything outstandingly good.
The Bucs are off to a surprisingly good start, but no one really knows exactly how good they are. Meanwhile everyone expected a drop off for the Cardinals after Kurt Warner retired. But then the Cardinals, led by Max Hall upset the defending Super Bowl champion Saints.
So are the Cardinals better then we think they are, or was it just a lucky win?
Either way this game against the Bucs is going to be a low scoring defensive battle that will likely be decided by a killer turnover that gives the other team the ball deep in your own territory.
For games like this, I'll take the QB who is the better game manager along with the points.
OAKLAND (-2.5) Over Seattle
This could very well be a trap game for the Oakland Raiders coming off of a huge win against the Broncos on the road.
At the same time, Oakland is not an easy place for visiting teams to play. The home-field advantage wouldn't have much of an effect over one the NFL's premier teams. But as average as Oakland is, the Seahawks are also mediocre at best, and the home-field advantage could sway this game.
Oakland leads the league in rushing right now. Seattle has the second best run stopping defense. But Seattle hasn't played anyone with a good running game so we really don't know how good Seattle's run defense really is.
Oakland will win the battle at the line of scrimmage and the home field advantage will be enough to overcome the Pete Carroll and Seahawks.
NEW ENGLAND (-6.5) Over Minnesota
Yes, Randy Moss is going to be extra motivated for this game. Yes he is going to give even extra effort to come out on top against the team that traded him away mid-season. But that doesn't change the fact that there are still many reasons why I can't pick the Vikings for this game.
The first reason is simple. Do you really think Bill Belichick is going to let Randy Moss beat him? Belichick is one of the most stubborn coaches in football, and when he decides he's done with a player he simply gets rid of him. The next step is proving to everyone that he was right about that player and not letting that player beat him. There is no way Belichick will allow Randy Moss to come out on top.
The second reason. Does anyone know what is going on with Minnesota's quarterback situation? Will Brett Favre start against the Pats? If he does will he even be effective? Do you really trust Tavaris Jackson on the road? Do you ever trust Tavaris Jackson in any situation?
There are way to many question marks surrounding the Vikings at the most important position to spark any kind of faith that they have a shot at winning this game.
Pittsburgh (+1) Over NEW ORLEANS
What New Orleans has going for them is their fans ability to turn the Superdome into an absolutely loud rocking building, and it will be on Halloween nonetheless.
That would be enough to beat most teams, but the Steelers are an experienced composed team. They have been in hostile situations before and they have come through.
From a football standpoint the Saints offense has struggled this year. They now come against the best defense in the NFL. The Steelers defense allowed the Steelers to get off to a 3-1 start without QB Ben Roethlisberger.
Roethlisberger has since returned and is now getting into mid-season form. Its been hard to judge the Steelers offense so far this season because of Roethlisberger's absence, but it now seems like Roethlisberger has gotten the Steelers going.
Roethlisberger will help add to the Steelers offense, while the Steelers defense will do a good job against the struggling Saints offense. The New Orleans fans will make this a closer game then it should be, but they won't be enough for the Saints.
INDIANAPOLIS (-5.5) Over Houston
In their last meeting, Arian Foster ran for 231 yards and three touchdowns as the Texans finally beat the Colts. Factor in that the Colts struggle to stop the run and another big game for Foster is likely. This one seems easy right?
It is a very easy game to pick. Indianapolis, without any second thoughts. I only need to give one reason, Peyton Manning in a night game, but I will give more.
First of all don't forget that in that week 1 game that Manning still found the time to throw for 433 yards and three touchdowns. Now factor in that Peyton Manning will be playing on Monday night on national TV.
Look back at Peyton Manning's history on national TV. He picks opponents apart. Manning uses the national TV exposure to remind America of just how good he is.
Furthermore from a football standpoint both of these teams come into this game at 4-2 atop the AFC South. If the Texans win, they move a game up on the Colts, but by beating them twice they own the tiebreaker, effectively putting them two games ahead of the Colts.
Do you really think Peyton Manning is going to let the Colts lose to the Texans for a second time this season at home on Monday night? I didn't think so.
Like I said, this one was easy.