By Andrew Nason
So close, so, so close to a perfect week last week. How was I supposed to know Chicago’s defense was going to score half their points? Oh well, hopefully I can ride this momentum toward another strong week, although I will admit I struggled picking a lot of this week’s games. Check out my week 8 picks.
Last Week’s Record: 14-1
Season Record: 64-42
Miami Dolphins @ Baltimore Ravens
My boy Smokin Jay may be out, but with Matt Moore at the helm and the Fins defense playing at a high level, Joe Flacco and the Ravens don’t concern me much this week. This Miami team may not look amazing on paper, but they seem to be that team that is going to find a way to win a lot of games this year.
Minnesota Vikings @ Cleveland Browns (Game in London)
Like I said last week, it’s the Browns, enough said.
Oakland Raiders @ Buffalo Bills
Derek Carr is healthy and the Raiders seem to have finally figured out how to get Amari Cooper going, and when Cooper is playing at an elite level, the Raiders are dangerous. We saw it last week when they upset the Chiefs, and this week, going up against a tough Buffalo defense, they have the fire power to gut out another tough game.
Indianapolis Colts @ Cincinnati Bengals
Since firing their offensive coordinator, the Bengals have gone 2-2, losing to Green Bay (who still had Aaron Rodgers) and Pittsburgh over that stretch. With capable offensive play calling, this team is a middle of the pack, highly competitive team. The Colts on the other hand, are not.
Los Angeles Chargers @ New England Patriots
The Chargers ride a 3-game winning streak into Foxborough, and the Patriots are coming off a huge Sunday night win over the Falcons. With all the hype around the Super Bowl rematch and the absolute domination New England displayed, I am tempted to call this a trap game for the Patriots. I am tempted, but I will not say this is a trap game for one reason, because the Patriots already had their trap game loss this season, at the hands of Carolina. A Tom and Bill led team isn’t going to lose focus that many times on a season. Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram will give Brady a lot of trouble, but New England should be able to take care of business at home.
Chicago Bears @ New Orleans Saints
Chicago is surprising a lot of people right now. They’re 2-1 since inserting number 2 overall pick Mitch Trubisky in at quarterback, and are coming off an absolute defensive domination of the Panthers. That being said, the Saints offense presents a much bigger challenge for Chicago, and the Bears will have even more issues throwing the ball against New Orleans with rookie corner Marshon Lattimore shutting down one side of the field.
Atlanta Falcons @ New York Jets
The Falcons will look to bounce back from a painful loss to New England, a game where the offense couldn’t get anything going against a Patriots defense that has been far less than stellar this season. Offensive Coordinator Steve Sarkisian should look to open up the playbook against a weaker Jets opponent to see if he can save Atlanta’s season.
San Francisco 49ers @ Philadelphia Eagles
The Eagles look like the best team in the NFL right now and second year quarterback Carson Wentz looks like the front runner for the MVP award. Meanwhile, San Francisco hasn’t won a game and have CJ Beathard, a guy who was projected as a low-end backup by most experts, starting at quarterback.
Carolina Panthers @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Despite a less than stellar record, the Bucs have the league’s best passing offense, which shouldn’t come as a surprise with names like Mike Evans, Desean Jackson, Adam Humphries, Cameron Brate and OJ Howard in the mix for Jameis Winston. Unfortunately for them, their defense among the worst in the league. Carolina comes into this divisional game following an embarrassing loss to Chicago, but should be able to find some better offensive rhythm against Tampa’s struggling defense.
Houston Texans @ Seattle Seahawks
I’ll be honest here, I really don’t like picking Seattle. The offense isn’t consistent enough for me, and that once great defense is getting a lot older. And yet, despite aging, the Seahawks lead the league in points allowed, allowing only 15.7 per game. Deshaun Watson is special, but a rookie QB going into Seattle is never a safe pick.
Dallas Cowboys @ Washington Redskins
On paper, the Redskins look like a pretty good team. 8th in total defense and 6th in passing offense, and their offensive line is one of the best in the league. Despite all that, they struggle to consistently win. The Cowboys meanwhile bring the league’s 2nd best rushing offense into Washington after beating down the 49ers by 30 last week, and are looking to keep pace in the NFC East.
Pittsburgh Steelers @ Detroit Lions
The is going to be fun to watch. The Lions come off a much needed bye week after losing 2 straight while Pittsburgh rides a 2 game winning streak into Detroit. The key for Pittsburgh’s recent success has been the defense and the revival of Le’Veon Bell, who is playing like a guy who held out for a new contract he rightfully deserves. I love Matthew Stafford, but he doesn’t have the weapons or the defense to keep up with the Steelers.
Denver Broncos @ Kansas City Chiefs
Have you seen the Denver offense the last 2 weeks? 10 points against the Giants and then shut out by the Chargers. Pathetic is an appropriate word. Vance Joseph says he’s sticking with Trevor Siemian for now, but with Paxton Lynch getting healthier by the week, a change may be coming soon. Kansas City meanwhile is on the decline, as I expected. They should have an easy time ending their 2-game losing streak with a home game against an offensively inept team.