NFL Week Eight Thoughts and Predictions
I know, I know, in Upstate New York, "New England Patriots" is essentially a swear word.
And yes, their schedule so far has been, let's just say, generous.
This defense though, at least statistically, poses that the Patriots defense is the greatest of all time so far.
Take a look at this article by CBS Sports' Will Brinson.
It brings up some meaningful stats through seven weeks when compared to what are considered the greatest defenses of all time.
The Patriots so far have allowed fewer points per game, fewer yards per game than the following legendary defenses:
- 1985 Bears
- 2000 Ravens
- 2002 Buccaneers
- 2008 Steelers
- 2013 Seahawks
They also hold the joint most amount of turnovers forced per game with the 2000 Ravens, and the only team to allow fewer yards per play are the 2008 Steelers.
There's still a lot of season left, and the Patriots are going into a tougher stretch of schedule. However if defense wins championships, I would say the Pats have a good shot.
Here's who I have coming away with wins this week.
Washington Redskins at Minnesota Vikings (-16)
Kirk Cousins is hot right now, putting in three straight stellar performances with over a 130 passer rating. Dalvin Cook is the best back in the league right now.
Top to bottom, the Minnesota Vikings have talent. Basically the exact opposite of that.
The Redskins defense is 30th in third down percentage, meaning they just can't get teams off the field. The Minnesota offense will love that stat.
Score: Vikings 34, Redskins 14
New York Giants at Detroit Lions (-7)
The Lions have been somewhat of a surprise this season, but the defense is still bad. The team is bottom ten in both rushing and passing defense.
The Giants are finally getting back to full health with Saquon Barkley and Evan Engram back.
The Lions are also bottom ten in sacks, so a sub-par Giants O-Line and Daniel Jones could be getting a bit of a break.
Score: Giants 21, Lions 19
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Tennessee Titans (-2.5)
Perhaps the two most inconsistent teams in the NFL face off this Sunday.
Despite winning due to the Chargers' inability to close out games (again), making Ryan Tannehill the starter did provide a spark for an anemic Titans offense.
The Titans are ninth in the league in picking off opposing quarterbacks, and this week they go against Jameis Winston, who let's just say has a reputation for making odd decisions with the ball.
Score: Titans 24, Buccaneers 18
Los Angeles Chargers at Chicago Bears (-4)
Speaking of the Chargers, I'm picking them for an upset here.
It looks like the Bears defense is getting tired since they are on the field so much. Why are they on the field so much? Because Mitch Trubisky, simply put, is not working.
His stats last week are deceptive. Most of his yards and touchdowns came in garbage time.
The Chargers will move the ball on a tired defense, and the Chargers defense won't have to work that hard to shut down the Bears offense.
Score: Chargers 19, Bears 16
Seattle Seahawks (-3.5) at Atlanta Falcons
The Falcons may be without quarterback Matt Ryan, but regardless of whether or not he takes the field, I'm taking Seattle.
The Hawks fell to Baltimore last week, but the Ravens are one of those teams that can win any given week because having a talented dual-threat quarterback like Lamar Jackson is so tough to gameplan against.
The Falcons are a tire fire right now. Russell Wilson will move the ball with ease on the Falcons.
Score: Seahawks 35, Falcons 21
New York Jets at Jacksonville Jaguars (-6)
Let's be honest, Minshew Mania is cooling down. He's had below 50 percent completion percentage each of the past two weeks.
I'm not saying that last week was a fluke for New York, since the Patriots defense has been historically good, but I'm looking at the Jets to have a bounceback week.
Score: Jets 26, Jaguars 20
Philadelphia Eagles at Buffalo Bills (-1.5)
Score: Bills 27, Eagles 17
Cincinnati Bengals at Los Angeles Rams (-13)
The Rams were sliding for a while, but now are getting two cupcake games in a row at the perfect time to reload.
Last week they absolutely pantsed the Falcons. They'll do the same to the Bengals this week.
Score: Rams 31, Rams 10
Arizona Cardinals at New Orleans Saints (-10.5)
This one will be closer than the spread suggests, but I'll go with the Saints.
Teddy Bridgewater is going to get some serious money thrown his way in the offseason by the Bears, Bengals, or any other team that needs a quarterback.
He's now going to wow you with arm talent, but he's proven that he can be a starter on several teams in this league.
Kyler Murray has really grown into the season, and will likely win rookie of the year. If he can continue and Chase Edmonds can have even a fraction of the game he had last week, the Cards will make this interesting.
Score: Saints 27, Cardinals 24
Denver Broncos at Indianapolis Colts (-5.5)
This season for the Colts reinforces two points: that Jacoby Brissett is a fine NFL quarterback, and the Colts are really well coached.
Everyone wrote them off after Andrew Luck abruptly retired, but the two point above combined to maintain a solid season in Indianapolis.
The Colts are hitting somewhat of a stride now, and will stay in control of the AFC South.
Score: Colts 24, Broncos 17
Carolina Panthers at San Francisco 49ers (-5.5)
With two great defenses on display, the question will be which team can be the most efficient.
In third down conversion percentage, the 49ers are top ten, while the Panthers are bottom ten.
Assuming that holds true, I'm looking at the 49ers to extend more drives into scoring drives.
Score: 49ers 19, Panthers 18
Oakland Raiders at Houston Texans (-6.5)
Trap game: I'm picking the Raiders.
Oakland has punched above their weight so far this year.
The final score of last week's game in Green Bay indicates they got smoked, but they were two goal-line turnovers and a red zone pick away from making it a game.
I think the Raiders will tighten those loose ends up in preparations this week, and a hot passing offense will have success against a Texans defense that is 29th in passing yards allowed per game.
Score: Raiders 28, Texans 25
Cleveland Browns at New England Patriots (-13)
The Browns are turning into what I was afraid they would turn into if they went on a losing streak: a loud and whiny team.
Baker Mayfield hasn't improved, which has led to the hyped-up receiving weapons on the outside to underperform.
Now they are facing a truly historic Patriots defense that already has 18 interceptions this season.
Score: Patriots 28, Browns 10
Green Bay Packers (-4) at Kansas City Chiefs
Is Pat Mahomes was playing, this would be a definite candidate for game of the season.
Sadly Mahomes is injured, and Matt Moore is starting.
Aaron Rodgers and the Packers are humming along at the right time (without Devante Adams mind you), and now face a worrysome Chiefs defense.
The Packers' D is solid too, and without Mahomes, I don't think enough plays will be made to catch up to Rodgers.
Score: Packers 26, Chiefs 16
Miami Dolphins at Pittsburgh Steelers (-14.5)
I'll give it to Miami. They're fighting for wins.
However the Steelers defense has been solid over the past few weeks, and the Dolphins don't have the firepower/
I could end up being wrong, and this could turn into a classic Mike Tomlin game where they massively play down to inferior competition, but I'll stick with the Steelers/
Score: Steelers 21, Dolphins 14