NFL Week 8 picks and predictions: Bengals shock 49ers, Browns upset Seahawks (2024)

It's fitting that Week 8 is being played the same week as Halloween because the NFL is giving us a horrifying set of prime-time games this week. I mean, I've seen some frightening things in my life, but nothing is quite as jarring as what we're all about to experience.

Here's a look at the prime-time schedule for Week 8:

  • Thursday:Buccaneers at Bills
  • Sunday:Bears at Chargers
  • Monday:Raiders at Lions

I'm guessing the person who's in charge of flexing games was on vacation this week, because that's the only way to explain why Bears-Chargers didn't get bumped out of Sunday night. The only upside here is that there's now a 90% chance that all of America will get to witness a Chargers meltdown together.

So will the Chargers actually melt down and lose to the Bears? Let's get to the picks and find out.

Actually, before we get to the Week 8 picks, here's a quick reminder that you can check out the weekly picks from everyCBSSports.com NFL expert by clicking here. Also, as you probably know by now -- because I point it out every week -- I'm in charge of the NFL newsletter here at CBSSports.com. If you want to subscribe, all youhave to do is click here and enter your email address. I get a 25-cent bonus every time someone signs up, although it's not as lucrative as it sounds because I have to give 28 cents back every time I get a pick wrong, so I think I'm actually losing money in this deal.

Alright, let's get to the picks so we can find out how much money I'm going to lose this week.

NFL Week 8 picks

Atlanta (3-3) at Tennessee (2-4)

1 p.m. ET (CBS)

It is officially time for my weekly walk of shame. If you read my picks regularly, then you know that there's only one team in the NFL that I have whiffed on in every game this year and that team is the Tennessee Titans. If you don't read my picks regularly, let me catch you up real quick: I am horrible at picking Titans games.

Through seven weeks, I am 0-6 picking their games. I've picked them to win four times this season and they lost all four times. I've picked them to lose twice and they won both of those games. At this point, If I predicted that Derrick Henry wasn't going to be traded, they would trade him tomorrow. To make matters worse, I LIVE IN NASHVILLE and I can't even go out in public anymore. It's too embarrassing.

Thankfully, the Titans were on a bye in Week 7, which gave me some time to do some soul searching and what I found is that even my soul has given up on picking Titans' games. So that's where I am right now.

That being said, I think I'm feeling confident about this pick. Through seven weeks, it's become pretty clear that the Titans have one major flaw and that flaw is their entire offense. They can't throw the ball, they can't really run the ball and they've had trouble scoring. Not to mention, Ryan Tannehill (ankle) likely won't be playing on Sunday, which means the Titans will either be rolling with Malik Willis or Will Levis.

One of those guys will be going up against a Falcons defense that has been surprisingly good this year. They rank in the top-nine in the NFL for fewest rush yards allowed per game (seventh), fewest pass yards allowed per game (eighth) and fewest points per game allowed (ninth). Overall, they've also given up the fourth-fewest yards per game in the NFL this season.

What this all means is that I'm now putting my Titans jinx on the Falcons. I AM TAKING ATLANTA TO WIN THIS GAME, so please don't tell me anything that might scare me from away making this pick like the fact that Desmond Ridder is 1-4 all-time in road games with just one TD pass and seven turnovers. I SAID DON'T TELL ME THAT. Welp, now that I've picked the Falcons, we all know how this is going to end: Ridder is going to have five turnovers and zero touchdowns.

The pick: Falcons 23-20 over Titans

If you want a more analytical approach to yourNFL picks, then I highly suggest that you check out the SportsLine Projection Model, which has been on fire this year. Check it out if you want to know which side to bet.

Jacksonville (5-2) at Pittsburgh (4-2)

1 p.m. ET (CBS)

It took seven weeks, but it looks like the Steelers have finally figured out how to fix their offense and the solution was pretty simple: Throw the ball to George Pickens. If someone would have explained that to Matt Canada in Week 1, the Steelers would be undefeated and fans wouldn't have spent the past seven weeks calling for Canada to be fired.

In six games this year, the Steelers have gone 4-0 when Pickens finishes with 75 yards or more and 0-2 when he doesn't. The one thing that Pickens does is that he opens things up downfield for the Steelers. So far this season, Kenny Pickett is 12 of 30 on passes that travel 15 yards or more down field. Although that's not ideal, let's break down those numbers based on when he's throwing to Pickens and when he's not:

  • Passes of 15 yards or more to Pickens: 10 of 14 with two touchdowns (153.3 QB rating)
  • Passes of 15 yards or more not to Pickens: 2 of 16 with one TD and three interceptions (35.2)

Pickens is so good that he makes both Pickett and Canada look good, which isn't easy. If Pickens were playing in the Dolphins offense, he'd probably have 7,000 receiving yards at this point in the season.

The reason I bring all of this up is because the Steelers will be facing a Jaguars team that can't stop the pass. The Jags are surrendering 273.9 passing yards per game, which is the second-worst in the NFL. They're giving up more pass yards per game than teams like the Broncos, the Bears and Cardinals.

So yes, the Jaguars have some issues, but so does Pittsburgh.

The big problem for the Steelers is actually two problems: They've struggled to stop both the pass and the run this year. The Steelers defense is surrendering 383.5 yards per game, which is the third-most in the NFL, which means the Jaguars offense might have a big day. I was torn on this game, but I've talked myself into jumping on the Jaguars bandwagon. Hopefully, I get to sit next to this guy.

First Jaguars fan I've ever seen who might actually be half-Human, half-jaguar. #Jaguars #London #HalfJaguar pic.twitter.com/E16O78IVSN

— John Breech (@johnbreech) October 8, 2023

I can't tell if that's a human dressed as a jaguar or a jaguar dressed as a human.

The pick: Jaguars 27-24 over Steelers.

Cleveland (4-2) at Seattle (4-2)

4:05 p.m. ET (Fox)

This is one of my favorite games on the schedule this week and that's because both teams feel like a mystery to me and I love a good mystery. That's why I read all 200 "Hardy Boys" books as a kid.

On Seattle's end, even though the Seahawks are 4-2, I still have no idea how good they are. The Seahawks' past three wins have come against three teams that are currently a combined 3-17 (Cardinals, Giants and Panthers). Winning those three games is basically the NFL equivalent of winning a steak-eating contest against three vegetarians. It technically counts, but it's not that impressive.

Let me be clear: I think the Seahawks are good, I'm just not sure how good. The Seahawks offense has struggled over the past two weeks and a big reason for that is because Geno Smith has turned the ball over four times (three interceptions and one lost fumble). He's also been sacked a total of six times over the past two weeks and that's concerning because he's about to face a Browns defense that has been destroying everything in its path this season.

On the Browns' end, I trust their defense, I but I have no idea what to make of their offense and that mainly has to do with their quarterback situation. Deshaun Watson may or may not play, but I'm not sure it matters, because with the way he's playing, it doesn't seem like there's a huge drop off from Watson to P.J. Walker, which should worry the Browns at least a little bit. I mean, if you give a guy $230 million and he's only slightly better than his backup quarterback, that seems like a problem.

Here's what the Browns are getting for their $230 million:

We'll take that one.

📺 CBS pic.twitter.com/aY500lY6I4

— Indianapolis Colts (@Colts) October 22, 2023

I've never spent $230 million on anything, so I can't judge the Browns, but I'm starting to feel like they're not getting their money's worth with Watson. .

The only upside for the Browns is that their defense is so good that they can win games no matter who the quarterback is.

The pick: Browns 19-16 over Seahawks

Kansas City (6-1) at Denver (2-5)

4:25 p.m. ET (CBS)

If it feels like you just saw these two teams play, that's because you did. Someone in the NFL scheduling department clearly got a little lazy because this game will mark the second time in 17 days that these two teams have met. I once went 17 days without showering in college, so that's clearly too short of a timespan for two NFL teams to be meeting twice.

Anyway, if there's one pick I didn't really put any thought into this week, it's this one. Sure, there's a 50% chance that could backfire in my face, but whenever Patrick Mahomes is playing against an AFC West team, I'm always going to pick Patrick Mahomes to win, especially if he's playing the Broncos.

Over the course of his career, Mahomes has NEVER lost to the Broncos. He's 12-0 against them, which is tied for the most wins by a quarterback without a loss against any single opponent in NFL history. The other problem for Denver is that this game is being played in Denver and Mahomes never loses divisional games on the road. And when I say never, I literally mean never: Mahomes is 16-0 all-time in divisional road games.

The Broncos are 2-0 against NFC North teams this year, but 0-5 against everyone else and the Chiefs fall in the everyone else category.

On the Chiefs' end, the only thing that worries me about this game is that I don't know if Taylor Swift is going to be there. Can someone from Taylor's camp please call me and let me know, because I need to know how Travis Kelce is going to play.

As you can see below, Kelce saves his biggest games of the year for when Taylor shows up.

CBS just ran this ‘You Belong with TE” graphic — comparing Travis Kelce’s stats with/without Taylor Swift in attendance: pic.twitter.com/A8vtvvmAvS

— Front Office Sports (@FOS) October 22, 2023

By the way, I had to make sure to work that tweet in so I could give a shout out to our CBS production crew for that amazing graphic. If Taylor shows up, Kelce will finish with 200 receiving yards and three touchdowns. If she doesn't show up, it probably won't matter because the Chiefs don't need their good luck charm to beat the Broncos. They just need Patrick Mahomes.

The pick: Chiefs 27-16 over Broncos.

Cincinnati (3-3) at San Francisco (5-2)

4:25 p.m. ET (CBS)

This is a rivalry that causes great emotional distress in my family and that's mostly because my dad (Jim Breech) lost two Super Bowls to the 49ers while playing for the Bengals from 1980 to 1992. One of those losses came in Super Bowl XXIII, a game where he kicked a field goal with 3:20 left to put the Bengals in the lead 16-13, only to watch Joe Montana drive the 49ers 92 yards for the game-winning touchdown.

No. 19: “Isn’t That John Candy?” - Super Bowl XXIII Bengals vs. 49ers (Jan. 22, 1989) #NFL100 @49ers

📺: NFL 100 Greatest Games on @nflnetwork pic.twitter.com/1wrufxyrjj

— NFL (@NFL) October 5, 2019

(You can see my dad's cameo at the 35-second mark in the video above).

To this day, I'm still not allowed to mention the names of Joe Montana and John Taylor when I go home for Thanksgiving and we have banned all John Candy movies from our house.

Thanks to that loss, any time these two teams play each other, every repressed memory from my childhood comes flashing back, which means I'm probably going to need to talk to a therapist just to make it through the week. I'm already scheduled to talk to my therapist about my Titans picks so maybe I can just see if he's willing to double up this week.

Whenever these teams meet in the Super Bowl, the 49ers always win, but this is a regular-season game, so Cincinnati might actually have a shot.

The most important thing for the Bengals is that they're getting the 49ers in the perfect spot here. For one, Cincinnati is coming off a bye, which means Joe Burrow's calf just got an extra week to heal. The Bengals have been pretty strong over the past two years when they're coming out of a bye. Not only are they 2-0, but they've scored 37 and 32 points in those two wins.

The Bengals extra rest might not usually be a huge advantage, but it should be this week. Not only are the 49ers already banged up -- Deebo Samuel has already been ruled out against Cincinnati -- but San Francisco will be on a short week going into this game after losing to the Vikings on Monday night.

I feel like I complain about the absurdity of the NFL schedule at least once a month and this week's complaint is that a team coming off a Monday game (and only getting six days of rest) should never have to face a team coming off a bye.

This will not make up for the two Super Bowl losses, but I feel like the Bengals are in a good spot to steal this one.

The pick: Bengals 22-19 over 49ers

NFL Week 8 picks: All the rest

Bills 20-13 over Buccaneers
Cowboys 30-23 over Rams
Vikings 20-17 over Packers
Colts 27-20 over Saints
Dolphins 24-17 over Patriots
Jets 19-16 over Giants
Eagles 27-24 over Commanders
Ravens 31-17 over Cardinals
Texans 30-20 over Panthers
Chargers 34-17 over Bears
Lions 27-23 over Raiders

Last Week

Best pick: Last week, I predicted that the Jaguars would beat the Saints by exactly seven points and guess what happened? The Jaguars beat the Saints by exactly seven points. Now, did I know that Derek Carr was going to check down on 98% of his passes and that the Jaguars were going to immediately sniff it out nearly every time? Of course, I did. If you've watched Carr play at all over the past decade, then you know that there's nothing he loves to do more than check the ball down. As a matter of fact, he checks down so often that the Jaguars were expecting him to check down.

Rayshawn Jenkins: 'That's Derek Carr's game. He's gonna check down' https://t.co/RISU7CxRkU pic.twitter.com/TMExawR6oG

— The Jaguars Wire (@TheJaguarsWire) October 20, 2023

When you check down so often that the other team is expecting you to check down, that's when you're probably checking down too much. Someone please pass that information along to Derek Carr.

Worst pick: Last week, I talked myself into believing that the Lions could somehow beat the Ravens, and let me just tell you, the Lions definitely did not beat the Ravens. As a matter of fact, things got so ugly that the Lions were trailing 28-0 before the first half even reached the two-minute warning. Based on how they played, I'm not even sure the Lions practiced last week. They looked like they spent their entire week playing Boggle. I am now going to go play Boggle to mentally get over missing this pick.

Finally, if you guys have ever wondered which teams I'm actually good at picking, here's a quick look at my best and worst teams when it comes to picks this year.

Teams I'm 6-0 picking this year (Straight up):Panthers
Teams I'm 6-1 picking this year (Straight up):Cardinals, Giants, Chiefs, Jets (5-1), Packers (5-1)

Teams I'm 0-6 or 1-5 picking this year (Straight up):Titans (0-6), Texans (1-5).

Every other team is somewhere in the middle.

Picks Record

Straight up in Week 7:4-9
SU overall:62-44 (1-11 picking the Titans and Texans, 61-33 picking everyone else)

Against the spread in Week 7:4-9
ATS overall:51-52-1

You can find John Breechon FacebookorTwitterand if he's not doing one of those things, he's probably re-watching Super Bowl XXIII with a bottle of tequila in his hand.

NFL Week 8 picks and predictions: Bengals shock 49ers, Browns upset Seahawks (2024)

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