Week 8 NFL Picks
Game of the week
Tennessee at Indianapolis
Another semi-blah week of marquee matchups so we’ll go with these AFC South rivals already playing for the second time. The Titans, behind MVP candidate Derrick Henry, are a one-point favorite. But the Colts will complete their climb out of an 0-3 hole.
Colts 23, Titans 20
Lock of the week
Dallas at Minnesota
Both teams had Week 7 byes and the Cowboys (five consecutive wins) are a 2 1/2-point road favorite. Dallas is averaging a whopping 460.8 yards and 34.2 points per game and the Vikings’ offense (24.5 points per game) won’t be able to keep pace.
Cowboys 34, Vikings 24
Upset of the week
Philadelphia at Detroit
I might as well keep picking the Lions as our upset special until they actually pull it off. The NFL’s only winless team, Detroit is a three-point home underdog to the nearly-as-awful Eagles. Philadelphia should give Gardner Minshew a shot at quarterback.
Lions 14, Eagles 9
Around the AFC
Chiefs own No. 1 enemy. Kansas City will wake up soon, right? I thought the Chiefs were OK after winning at Philadelphia in Week 4 … but they lost at home to Buffalo by 18. I thought the Chiefs were OK after winning at Washington in Week 6 … but they were routed at Tennessee by 24. The three points against the Titans were the fewest of the Andy Reid Era (hired in 2013) and only the third time in single digits. One statistic jumps off the page: The Chiefs (3-4) are tied with Jacksonville for worst turnover differential (minus-10). Quarterback Patrick Mahomes’ nine interceptions are more than his full seasons in 2019-20 (five and six, respectively) and are tied with New York Jets rookie Zach Wilson for most in the league. The Chiefs host the Giants on Monday night.
Buying Cincinnati stock. We are believers in the Bengals. Their first four wins were against Minnesota, Pittsburgh, Jacksonville and Detroit — current combined record of 7-18 (no winning records). But then came the Bengals’ 41-17 romp at Baltimore. Cincinnati is 5-2; it won six games total in 2019-20. The Bengals have premier offensive players in quarterback Joe Burrow (108.9 rating), receiver Ja’Marr Chase (21.5 yards catch and five touchdowns) and running back Joe Mixon (539 yards). The Bengals play at the Mike White-led Jets Sunday.
Dolphins confirming doubts. In our preview magazine last month, I tabbed Miami as the league’s most disappointing team. Miami won at New England in Week 1 due to a late Patriots red zone fumble and has lost six straight since, a mix of close (three, three and two points) and blowout (35, 10 and 28 points) losses. Miami has been outscored 64-9 (!) in the second quarter.
Around the NFC
Pitts becoming elite. Atlanta tight end Kyle Pitts’ catches-yards-touchdowns in the first four games — 15/189/0. Pitts’ production in the last two games — 16/282/1. That’s why the Falcons drafted Pitts fourth overall. His 163 yards in last week’s win over Miami were fourth-most by a rookie tight end in a single game and he is the second rookie tight end to have consecutive 100-yard receiving games, joining Raymond Chester in 1970. The Falcons (3-3) have won three of their last four and host collapsing Carolina (3-4 after a 3-0 start) on Sunday.
Now what for Seattle. Terrific candor from Seahawks coach Pete Carroll after his team’s Monday night snooze-fest/loss to New Orleans dropped Seattle to 2-5 (and 0-3 at home). Life without injured quarterback Russell Wilson is 0-2. “I’ve been here a long time and if we didn’t have Russell, I probably wouldn’t have been here a long time,” Carroll said. “Think of all the magic he’s created through the years.” Carroll isn’t wrong. Wilson has been the linchpin for the Seahawks since 2012 and he covered up all kind of offensive line and defensive deficiencies. Geno Smith can’t do that.
49ers’ struggling. The headline in Tuesday’s San Francisco Chronicle: “The honeymoon is over.” A discouraging start for coach/Denver native Kyle Shanahan and general manager/former Broncos safety John Lynch. The 49ers are 2-4 (0-3 at home), having lost four consecutive games. Hurry up and get healthy, Trey Lance. Credit to Shanahan for pointing the thumb at himself a day after the Sunday night loss to Indianapolis, saying his play-calling has been inconsistent. The good news for San Francisco — it plays at Chicago Sunday, but then season-defining home games against Arizona and the Los Angeles Rams.
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