We’re at the halfway point of the 2017 NFL Regular Season. There are huge games this week, games that could have a drastic affect on the NFL Playoffs. Carolina at Tampa Bay, Oakland at Buffalo, Dallas at Washington, L.A. Chargers at New England, Atlanta at the New York Jets, Houston at Seattle, Dallas at Washington, and Denver at Kansas City are all important games.
Let’s get right to it!
2017 NFL Week 8 Preview
Miami Dolphins +3.5 at Baltimore Ravens -3.5
Baltimore is a sad football team. The Ravens have absolutely no offense. How bad is Baltimore’s offense? How does less than 160 passing yards per game sound? Since winning their first 2 games of the season, 20 to 0 over Cincinnati and 24 to 10 versus Cleveland, the Ravens have gone 1 and 4 straight up and against the spread.
It’s impossible for me to back Baltimore versus a tough, hard trying, squad like Miami. The Dolphins rallied to outscore the Jets 17 to 0 in the 4th quarter to beat NYJ 31 to 28. That kind of effort is why the Fins are 4 and 2 and Baltimore is 3 and 4. It also helps Miami’s cause that they’ve gone 12 and 3 ATS in their last 15 games in Week 8.
Pick: Dolphins +3.5
Minnesota Vikings -8.5 at Cleveland Browns +8.5
Cleveland’s biggest issue in this game has been their biggest issue all season. The Browns’ offense isn’t just awful, it’s the worst offense in the NFL. Cleveland averages less than 15 points per game. NFL Week 8 should be terrible for Cleveland’s offense. They’ll be without their best player, LT Joe Thomas.
Minnesota’s defense should have no trouble holding the Browns to 3 to 6 points in this game. The Vikings have a formidable thunder and lightning type rushing attack with the versatile Jerrick McKinnon and bruising Latavius Murray. Both could have decent outings versus Cleveland.
Minnesota rolls to an easy win.
Pick: Vikings -8.5
San Francisco 49’ers +10.5 at Philadelphia Eagles -10.5
Philadelphia is one of the best teams in the NFL. The Eagles’ defense is much better than the Dallas Cowboys’ defense. The Niners couldn’t move the ball versus Dallas in their 10 to 40 loss in Week 7. What makes anyone believe that the 49’ers move the ball versus Philly’s D?
Not only that, but I think all of us can agree that San Francisco won’t stop the Eagles from hitting their per game point average of 27.5. In the head-to-head, Philadelphia is 5-2 against the spread in the last 7 meetings. Philly is also 4 and 1 ATS in their last 5 games in October.
Best Pick: Eagles -10.5
Carolina Panthers +2.5 at Tampa Bay Buccaneers -2.5
This is one of the hardest games to handicap in NFL Week 8. Carolina must win after losing their second straight in Week 7. Tampa Bay must win to have any shot of garnering a wildcard berth. Yes, we’re only at the halfway point and both the Panthers and Buccaneers are in must win situations.
Why is this matchup so difficult to handicap? Carolina Panthers’ QB Cam Newton is impossible to figure out. Cam was unreal in road wins over New England and Detroit. Then, he bounced back to being a bad quarterback versus Philadelphia. This past Sunday, he was horrendous facing a Bears’ defense that he should have found at least some success against.
If the good Cam shows up, the Panthers can blow out the Buccaneers. If the bad Cam shows up, Tampa Bay can easily beat the Panthers. Tampa is favored. That tells me to pull the trigger on Carolina. Panthers money line is the play. Take the 2.5 if you’re looking to play the spread.
Pick: Panthers +2.5
Chicago Bears +7.5 at New Orleans Saints -7.5
The Saints are again a Best Pick. This time, New Orleans doesn’t figure to have to come back in the second half of the game. Chicago is one of the toughest NFL teams I’ve seen. They’re also riding a 2-game winning streak. The problem the Bears have in this matchup is that QB Mitch Trubisky must throw the football for Chicago to keep it close.
The Saints are going to score points. They always do. New Orleans is also likely to concentrate on stopping Bears’ rushers Tarik Cohen and Jordan Howard. If Chicago wants to keep it close enough to possibly pull off the upset win, they’ll need Trubisky to play the best he’s ever played. I don’t think that happens.
Best Pick: Saints -7.5
Indianapolis Colts +10 at Cincinnati Bengals -10
Wow, the Bengals are a bad football team. But, as bad as Cincinnati is, Indianapolis is worse. The Bengals bungled their way to a 14 to 29 loss to the rival Pittsburgh Steelers in NFL Week 7. Cincy was only down by 6 points at halftime.
The Colts should help the Bengals right the ship. Therefore, yes, Cincinnati beats Indianapolis on Sunday. Can the Bengals beat the Colts by at least 10 points? That’s where I was on the fence. Indianapolis is 10 and 2 ATS in their last 12 road games versus a team with a losing home record. The Colts are also 5 and 0 ATS in their last 5 games after scoring 15 points or less in their previous game.
I think Indianapolis keeps it closer than 10 points.
Pick: Colts +10
Oakland Raiders +3 at Buffalo Bills -3
NFL handicappers are in love with the Oakland Raiders. 64% are taking the 3 points on the Raiders in their road game versus Buffalo in Week 8. I’m not. Oakland was lucky to beat Kansas City in Week 7. Buffalo managed 30 points versus a better defense, Tampa Bay’s, this past Sunday.
I believe Oakland moves the football against the Buffalo Bills. Also, I don’t believe Oakland scores TDs every time they’re in the red zone. I do feel that Buffalo can score a TD every time they’re in the red zone. hence, I like the Bills ATS.
Pick: Bills -3
Atlanta Falcons -7 at New York Jets -7
The Atlanta Falcons are a mess of a football team. There’s no way the Falcons should be giving the Jets 7 points in this matchup. Atlanta’s offense doesn’t know how to score TDs while the Jets’ offense should have some success moving the football against Atlanta’s defense. The Falcons are reeling after their third straight loss. I think the Jets beat the Falcons straight up on Sunday. I’ll take the 7 points just in case NYJ lies down like a tired dog, again, in the 4th quarter.
Best Pick: Jets -7
L.A. Chargers +5.5 at New England Patriots -5.5
All I kept reading about was how New England’s defense was back because it held the Atlanta Falcons to 7 points. Then, I looked at the stats. Atlanta averaged close to 5.5 yards per rush versus the Patriots’ defense. The Falcons just don’t know how to score touchdowns.
The Chargers are hot. The Bolts won their third straight by beating Denver 21 to 0 in Week 7. I must take the points because New England isn’t 5.5 points better than the Chargers.
Pick: Chargers +5.5
Houston Texans +5.5 at Seattle Seahawks -5.5
Seattle’s defense got it going versus the New York Giants in NFL Week 7. The Seahawks’ D might have been flattered by playing the Giants’ horrible offense. Houston has a much better offense than the Giants have. I’m looking for a shootout with both teams scoring, if not exceeding, 30 points. I’ll take the 5.5 because the Texans average over 137 rushing yards per while Seattle’ D allows 113.7 per.
Pick: Texans +5.5
Dallas Cowboys pk at Washington Redskins pk
The Cowboys looked great dominating the San Francisco 49’ers 40 to 10 in Week 7. I’m not ready to crown the Boys the champions of the NFC East just yet, though. Washington’s defense is an underrated unit. Washington’s offense isn’t bad either. I’ll side with the home team in this classic NFL rivalry matchup.
Pick: Washington pk
Pittsburgh Steelers -3 at Detroit Lions +3
This is the second toughest game to handicap in NFL Week 8. Unlike Carolina versus Tampa Bay, Pittsburgh versus Detroit is tough to handicap because the two teams are almost on the same level. The trends won’t do us any good. Great trends are present for both teams. So are terrible trends. The key is how well Detroit plays coming off their bye.
I think the Lions play well. They should play well enough to keep the game within a field goal. Once again, I’ll take the points.
Pick: Detroit +3
Denver Broncos +7 at Kansas City Chiefs -7
Denver can’t score points while Kansas City has the best offense in the NFL. What’s worse for the Broncos is that the Denver D has allowed both the New York Giants and the L.A. Chargers to score over 20 points against it in the Broncos’ last 2 games.
Denver is 2-6-2 ATS in their last 10 games on Monday night. The Chiefs are 6 and 1 ATS in their last 7 versus the AFC West. I like KC to roll to an easy win over the Broncos.
Best Pick: Chiefs -7