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It was a rough start to the week eight picks competition for me, but I was going on the information I had available and I think I would make the same pick again. Clearly I need to be careful about what to make of the Falcons going forward but I can’t over adjust as I have been slowly whiltling down Dan’s lead. Let’s see if I can get any closer to Dan this week as I go through the games that leap out to me across the rest of week eight.

Early Games:

For the second week in the highlight of the early Sunday games feature the Pittsburgh Steelers who after holding on for the win against the Titans now travel to Baltimore to take on the Ravens. We get to see this matchup at least twice a year, and it is particularly tasty this season as the Steelers take their unbeaten record to a rested 5-1 Ravens team. The only loss the Ravens have was against the Chiefs, but despite their bye there are questions about their offence as it is not running as smoothly as last season and their blitz heavy defensive scheme is not an ideal matchup against Ben Roethlisberger who is getting the ball out as fast as any quarterback in the league. I can see either team winning this one, but with the consensus number being higher and the extra half point the Ravens are laying over a field goal I’m going to take the Steelers.

The other game that grabs my attention is as much about the importance of the result as the play of both teams. The New England Patriots travel to face the Bills on a three-game losing streak and are struggling on both sides of the ball. Cam Newton has not looked right since he came off the Covid list and the Patriots have just put their most productive receiver Julian Edleman on IR. As strange as it feels to pick against Bill Bellichick (even under these circumstance) and particularly as the Bills have been struggling in recent weeks as defenses adjust to Josh Allen’s hot start to the season, the numbers indicate the -3.5 line should be higher and so with a little reluctance I am backing the Bills in a game they need to win to maintain their hold on the AFC East and to keep themselves ahead of the lurking Dolphins

The Dolphins are my other game from the early set to watch, both because I am curious to see how the LA Rams do with yet another trip across the country (their fourth in eight weeks) but mainly because this game sees rookie quarterback Tua Tagovailoa make his first start. Even only residing on the periphery of Dolphins fandom through my friendship with Dan, I can feel the excitement over Tua time and I just hope that everything goes well for him. That said, with he Rams travelling to Miami I am also grabbing the points so I will have my own selfish reasons for hoping the Dolphins play well, even it is the hope is that they can keep the game closer than four points.

  • The Titans will be looking to bounce back from their loss to the Steelers while the Bengals have been dealing with some malcontents in the lockeroom. The numbers all show that the Titans are the team to pick, which feels odd as the Bengals have been in all their games bar the Ravens and given how the Titans’ defense is playing and recent performances by the Bengals I am going to back them to stay within six.
  • The Raiders and Browns are right next to each other by overall DVOA, and this could be a close game, but the numbers are telling me to take the Raiders so that’s where I’m going. However, it is interesting to me that the Browns as the twenty-second ranked team by DVOA have a 5-2 record while the Raiders at twenty-third are 3-3.
  • The Detroit Lions come off a win that to an extent they lucked into with the Falcons haplessly scoring a touchdown to give the Lions the ball back, but Matt Stafford still had to drive down the field and score the Lions’ own game sealing touchdown. However, the Colts are coming off a bye and this has the potential to turn into one of the more interesting games of the week, but with the Lions consistently underwhelming under Matt Patricia they didn’t quite make the cut for a highlight game.
  • A big divisional game like the Vikings taking on the Packers should be a highlight of any week, but with the Vikings making moves for the long term and the Packers bouncing back after their tough loss to the Buccaneers it feels like this game is only going one way. That is a little dangerous as anything can happen in the NFL, particularly with divisional games, but it is hard to see any other result than a big win for the Packers in this season’s iteration of these two teams.
  • Somehow the consensus line for the Jets’ visit to the Chiefs is even higher than the -19.5 points we are picking on, but I do have a slight hesitation as the Jets did cover for me last week against the Bills. However, there is a world of difference between playing a divisional rival at home and travelling to take on the Chiefs, even if the legendarily noisy Chiefs’ crowd won’t be there. I did think about picking the Jets but I just can’t do it with the Chiefs ranked best in the league on offence by DVOA.

Patriots @ Bills (-3.5)

Gee’s Pick:       Bills
Dan’s Pick:      Bills

Titans @ Bengals (+5.5)

Gee’s Pick:       Bengals
Dan’s Pick:      Titans

Raiders @ Browns (-2.5)

Gee’s Pick:       Raiders
Dan’s Pick:      Raiders

Colts @ Lions (+2.5)

Gee’s Pick:       Colts
Dan’s Pick:      Colts

Vikings @ Packers (-6.5)

Gee’s Pick:       Packers
Dan’s Pick:      Packers

Jets @ Chiefs (-19.5)

Gee’s Pick:       Chiefs
Dan’s Pick:      Chiefs

Rams @ Dolphins (+3.5)

Gee’s Pick:       Dolphins
Dan’s Pick:      Rams

Steelers @ Ravens (-3.5)

Gee’s Pick:       Steelers
Dan’s Pick:      Steelers

Late Games:

There are two great matchups in the late games and one intriguing matchup so let’s start with what I think will be the most competitive.

The San Francisco 49ers have remained competitive in a fearsome NFC West division despite their extensive injury list and having beaten the Patriots convincingly in week seven must now travel to take on the Seattle Seahawks. It is a testament to the coaching job that Kyle Shanahan and his staff have done that the 49ers are ranked eighth overall by DVOA (one place higher than the Seahawks) despite their injury list and are around top ten in all three phases of the game. The Seahawks meanwhile are relying on their offence with Russell Wilson playing as well as he ever has but the defense, and in particular the Seahawks pass defense is struggling and this makes for an intriguing matchup. This is definitely one of the games to watch this week, but I don’t have a strong hunch for it and I am making a play based on getting an extra half point.

The Chicago Bears get a real test this week as they put their 5-2 record and top ten defense to the test against a 4-2 Saints who are still a good team despite them not living up to the expectations we had coming into the season. The Bears really don’t convince on offence and the consensus line being the Bears getting four I am going to pick the Saints, but I think this could be a sneaky interesting game, particularly when the Saints have the ball.

The other late game sees the LA Chargers visit the 2-4 Denver Broncos with rookie quarterback Justin Herbert coming of his first career win and the Broncos have been beaten heavily by the Chiefs in week seven. The Broncos were hoping they had found their quarterback of the future in Drew Lock but injuries have muddied the water on how good he can be. The Chargers only need a field goal to cover this line and with the consensus number being on the other side of three points I will back the Chargers, but I could see the Broncos springing a surprise.

Chargers @ Broncos (+2.5)

Gee’s Pick:       Chargers
Dan’s Pick:      Broncos

Saints @ Bears (+2.5)

Gee’s Pick:       Saints
Dan’s Pick:      Saints

49ers @ Seahawks (-3.5)

Gee’s Pick:       49ers
Dan’s Pick:      Seahawks

Sunday Night Football:

Cowboys @ Eagles (-6.5)

The Sunday night game must have looked so good for the schedule makers before the season, but with the Cowboys season in disarray already this feels like a very one-sided affair. The Cowboy are starting their third different quarterback in seventh round rookie Ben DiNucci who is going to have an incredibly tough time given how injured the Cowboy’s offensive line is and straight bad their defense is. The Eagles only have a 2-4-1 record compared to the Cowboys’ 2-5 record but feel like they are in a very different place even if they have their own long list of injuries. The line would give me pause except that the consensus line I am seeing sees the Eagles giving eleven points to the Cowboys so under a touchdown seems a comparative bargain. In another world I might still take the points, but with the Cowboys shipping out or cutting underperforming members of their defense and starting a seventh round rookie quarterback I simply can’t pick them.

Gee’s Pick:       Eagles
Dan’s Pick:      Eagles

Monday Night Football

Buccaneers @ Giants (+10.5)

The last game of the week is another one-sided contest that sees the surging Tampa Bay Buccaneers visiting the struggling New York Giants. There have been some encouraging moments for the Giants in their last three games but these have all come across fellow NFC East team. Taking on the Buccaneers is a very different prospect and even though this is a big line, I am seeing a higher consensus so whilst I am slightly nervous about this play, I am going to back the Buccaneers and their fearsome defense as Tom Brady continues to find his way with the Bucs offence.

Gee’s Pick:       Buccaneers
Dan’s Pick:      Buccaneers

DVOA is Football Outsiders statistic for measure a team’s success on every play versus the league average and you can read more about it and other football topics at https://footballoutsiders.com.