Week 8 NFL picks straight up: Chargers stun Patriots; 49ers, Browns stay winless | Sporting News (2024)

It's one of "those"weeks on the NFL schedule ... already. It's honestly more worrisome when it happens later in the season than at the midway point, but whenever there’s a slate of games in which none pits teams with winning records against each other, it's disheartening. If parity really is the goal,this schedule is proofit has been achieved.

The upside of that, though, is that nearly everybody is in the playoff hunt, even the two-win Colts, who are again blessed to be in the AFC South and who can move up the standings if they beat the uninspiring Bengals and the rest of the chips fall the right way. Sweet.

That, then, is a big tease for what could be one of the more stunning results of the first half of the season. Hint: Do not crown the defending champions quite yet.

MORE: Week 8 picks against the spread

Week 8 NFL picks, predictions

(All times ET)

Miami Dolphins (4-2) at Baltimore Ravens (3-4)

Thursday, 8:30 p.m., CBS/NFLN/Amazon

South Florida fans get their wish with Matt Moore taking over for the injured Jay Cutler. Moore made the best possible case for himself last week by bringing the Dolphins back to beat the Jets. Until further notice, the Ravens have to win games on defense and, probably, special teams. In their favor is their NFL-high (with the Jaguars) 10 interceptions. They might need to turn them all into points to compensate for their awful offense.

Prediction: Dolphins, 23-16

Minnesota Vikings (5-2) vs. Cleveland Browns (0-7)

Sunday, 9:30 a.m., NFL Network(in London)

Because being forced to see past dreadful versions of the Jaguars wasn’t cruel enough to overseas fans, this week they get a Browns team that’s now micromanaging its rookie quarterback’s social life ...and it's DeShone Kizer this time, not Johnny Manziel. The Vikings were down one starting quarterback, their star rookie running back and two wide receivers last week against the Ravens, kicked six field goals and won. That would be good enough this week, as well.

Prediction: Vikings, 22-3

Los Angeles Chargers (3-4) at New England Patriots (5-2)

Sunday, 1 p.m., CBS

Don’t be ashamed to root for the Chargers to keep ...well, charging. Their 0-4 start was too fluky, and their shutout of the Broncos to win their third straight was not. They’ve inserted themselves into the AFC West race. There's no reason yet to believe the Patriots' defense is back, even after swallowing up the Falcons last week.Philip Rivers is more than capable of lighting them up.

Prediction: Chargers, 31-29

San Francisco 49ers (0-7) at Philadelphia Eagles (6-1)

Sunday, 1 p.m., Fox

The Eagles’ Monday night win over Washington exacted a brutal toll, losing Jordan Hicks and Jason Peters for the season. Declaring this a breather because the 49ers are winless (and because they got their doors blown in by the Cowboys and because they’re going coast-to-coast for the second time in three weeks) is tempting, but premature. Carson Wentz has been a magician, but the rearranged offensive line will have to jell fast, no matter the opponent.

Prediction: Eagles, 27-20

Atlanta Falcons (3-3) at New York Jets (3-4)

Sunday, 1 p.m., Fox

The two teams the Dolphins rallied to beat the last two weeks face off, both still nursing those wounds. The Falcons also need therapy to figure out how they face-planted in Foxborough last week. They're better than how they've looked lately, and how they've looked is too similar to last year's Super Bowl loss hangover team, the Panthers. The Jets, meanwhile, simply remembered they were the Jets, and Josh McCown might have sought his own level once again.

Prediction: Falcons, 33-16

Carolina Panthers (4-3) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-4)

Sunday, 1 p.m., Fox

The Panthers'4-1 start looks a lot like a mirage, especially after the Bears chewed up Cam Newton and Co. last week. The question now is whether they're bigger mirages than the Buccaneers, whose defense coughed up a win in Buffalo and overall is in the bottom five in the NFL in a disturbingly high number of categories. Since the Panthers'offense seems less ineffective than confusing and illogical, give the Bucs the mirage edge.

Prediction: Panthers, 26-14

Oakland Raiders (3-4) at Buffalo Bills (4-2)

Sunday, 1 p.m., CBS

Bad news first: Marshawn Lynchis suspended for this game after going Malice in the Palace in last Thursday's game, and the Raiders have to go to the East Coast, where they got waxed for the first of their four straight losses. Good news: The mini-bye should negate some of the big road-trip effects, and so should the renaissance of Amari Cooper and the rest of the offense, even without Lynch. The Bills seem to be doing it with smoke and mirrors, or with smarter coaching —one or the other.

Prediction: Bills, 24-23

Chicago Bears (3-4) at New Orleans Saints (4-2)

Sunday, 1 p.m., Fox

Whatever the Bears have been doing to take the pressure offMitchell Trubisky in his three starts, they should keep doing. This week they have to do it against Drew Brees, who threw some ugly interceptions against the Packers last week but is still Drew Brees. The way the Bears' defense has played lately, combined with how the Saints' defense plays every week, should be encouraging for the Bears.

Prediction: Bears, 27-25

Indianapolis Colts (2-5) at Cincinnati Bengals (2-4)

Sunday, 1 p.m., CBS

The Chuck Pagano Watch continues in Cincinnati, where the Bengals might have Vontaze Burfict available, for no plausible reason. As dysfunctional as the Bengals always are, they’re not bad enough to let these Colts walk in and beat them, after the embarrassment on all levels the Colts were against the Jaguars last week.

Prediction: Bengals, 31-16

Houston Texans (3-3) at Seattle Seahawks (4-2)

Sunday, 4:05 p.m., CBS

The Seahawks are in good shape right nowdespite their nightmarish offensive line problems and another sideline outburst last week. This will be another test for rookie Deshaun Watson, whose signature road performance was at New England in Week 3. Chicken-or-egg situation: Watson hasn't faced a defense as formidable as the Seahawks, who are ranked first in the NFL this week, but the Seahawks have built that record against some wretched offenses, like the Giants last week.

Prediction: Seahawks, 23-20

Dallas Cowboys (3-3) at Washington Redskins (3-3)

Sunday, 4:25 p.m., Fox

Both teams are looking way up at the Eagles in the NFC East, and the loser has a long, difficult path as midseason approaches. Knowing well in advance that Ezekiel Elliott is available will help the Cowboys. Possibly being down two key offensive linemen (Trent Williams, Brandon Scherff) does Washington no good. Neither does the fact that the Cowboys have won four straight in Washington, including Dak Prescott's first career win last season.

Prediction: Cowboys, 30-20

Pittsburgh Steelers (5-2) at Detroit Lions (3-3)

Sunday, 8:30 p.m., NBC

The Lions are coming off a bye and two straight losses before that, during which time the Packers lost Aaron Rodgers but the Vikings shot past them both in the NFC North. The Steelers are coming off another weird week, with a winbut another dose of locker-room angstthanks to Martavis Bryant. The Lions are better than how they’ve looked in their losses.

Prediction: Lions, 34-31

Denver Broncos (3-3) at Kansas City Chiefs (5-2)

Monday, 8:30 p.m., ESPN

Two straight losses for both teams, but the Broncos have looked worse in theirsand have squandered a chance to join the Chiefs atop the AFC West and separate from the Raiders. The Chiefs’ issues don’t look nearly as troubling as those of the Broncos, who are a mess on offense and are 0-2 away from Mile High. They maybe right that Trevor Siemian is not the problem on offense, but he has yet to look like the solution.

Prediction: Chiefs, 27-14

Bye weeks:

Arizona Cardinals, Green Bay Packers, Jacksonville Jaguars, Los Angeles Rams, New York Giants, Tennessee Titans

Week 8 NFL picks straight up: Chargers stun Patriots; 49ers, Browns stay winless | Sporting News (2024)


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