Hey ASU and UofA…I promise…this is your week to regain national relevance. Beat the ranked teams you face at home and a top-25 spot is yours for the taking. For UofA, the chance to clinch bowl eligibility after only 8 games, a long shot before the season started. For ASU, a chance to take potentially the sole Pac-12 South Division lead pending the UA-WSU result from Tucson. In addition to our college picks at the end of the column, check out my NFL Week 8 picks below (with a few upsets for good measure)!
Week 8 NFL Picks
Last Week: 10-5 Straight Up (SU), 8-7 Against the Spread (ATS)
Overall: 64-42 SU, 58-47-1 ATS
(Picks against the spread in parentheses; home teams in caps)
BALTIMORE 23, Miami 13 (ATS: Ravens -3.5)
The Ravens offense has been pitiful to put it nicely for most of the season; don’t expect a quick fix this week. But Miami is playing with a backup QB (Matt Moore) on the road in a short week. Baltimore is the easy choice here.
Minnesota 27, Cleveland 7 (ATS: Vikings -9.5)
The Browns simply can’t score enough against average defenses…why would that change against an elite Vikings unit? New continent (Europe – as this game is being played in London), same result for Cleveland’s winless franchise.
TAMPA BAY 24, Carolina 20 (ATS: Bucs -2.5)
Desperate times call for desperate measures. And both of these teams are feeling the heat right now. Give me the team coming back home after two close road losses, Tampa Bay.
NEW ORLEANS 30, Chicago 14 (ATS: Saints -8.5)
Chicago’s defense pummeled Cam Newton en route to a 17-3 win last Sunday over Carolina. But it’s exceptionally rare that Drew Brees doesn’t have a good game in the Superdome. Here’s a safe prediction: Bears rookie Mitchell Trubisky will throw at least 4x as much as he did last Sunday (7 attempts vs. the Panthers).
Atlanta 27, NEW YORK JETS 20 (ATS: Falcons -4.5)
Atlanta’s offense has been subpar at best this season. But playing the Jets might be the cure all, especially after how the Dolphins torched New York in the 2nd half last Sunday. I expect big games from the Falcons’ Devonta Freeman and Julio Jones.
PHILADELPHIA 27, San Francisco 20 (ATS: 49ers +12.5)
This pick doesn’t make much sense after what we saw in Week 7; the 49ers were pathetic and the Eagles dominant. Sometimes when a result makes too much sense, you have to go the other way…and that’s how I feel about this spread. SF gets the tricky cover in a Philly win. Also – it’s hard to argue that Eagles QB Carson Wentz isn’t the league’s MVP right now.
CINCINNATI 29, Indianapolis 23 (ATS: Colts +9.5)
Let’s not confuse Cincinnati’s defense for Jacksonville’s…the Colts will score some points…in fact just enough to cover the nearly 10 point spread. I expect the Bengals to run wild on the ground though.
Oakland 24, BUFFALO 22 (ATS: Raiders +2.5)
Toughest pick of the week for me. But I like that Oakland showed fight to beat a very tough Chiefs team in the NFL’s most dramatic game of the season to date. The Bills have overachieved thus far at 4-2 and the buck stops here. Raiders in the upset.
NEW ENGLAND 30, Los Angeles Chargers 20 (ATS: Patriots -7.5)
The Chargers have turned their season around since a disastrous 0-3 start but winning in New England is a different story. In what should be a fun game, the Patriots prevail and score late to cover the 7.5 point spread.
SEATTLE 27, Houston 17 (ATS: Seahawks -5.5)
Deshaun Watson will have more great games this season as Houston’s QB…just not on Sunday in Seattle, one of the toughest places to play in the NFL. Houston’s defense is depleted and Russell Wilson’s three TD passes should be plenty for a comfortable Seahawks win.
Dallas 28, WASHINGTON 23 (ATS: Cowboys -2.5)
The Cowboys have won each of the last four meetings in D.C. and with Washington coming off a short week, look for the Cowboys offense to once again have their way with a depleted Redskins D. Ezekiel Elliott once again runs wild in likely his last game before suspension for Dallas.
DETROIT 23, Pittsburgh 21 (ATS: Lions +3.5)
I like the angle of teams coming off a bye week – especially when they’re playing high profile Sunday Night Football games at home. Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger has been awful on the road and the Lions have a solid defense. Take the points and Detroit straight up.
KANSAS CITY 26, Denver 17 (ATS: Chiefs -7.5)
The Broncos offense is a disaster right now and Kansas City is reeling coming off two straight losses. Look for the Chiefs to be efficient on offense and do just enough on defense to keep breathing room throughout. It might be time for the Broncos to revisit their QB situation as Trevor Simien has been ineffective most of this season.
This week’s guest picker is Shane Dale from ABC15, co-host of Wildcat Country on 1580 The Fanatic, and author of Territorial: The History of the Duel in the Desert. His radio show co-host, Jeff Dean, went 6-4 in Week 4 so can Shane outdo that?
Steve has been crushing with his picks of late…his 8-2 against the spread last week ties the best week anyone had thus far.
Guest Picker Results
Week 1: Adam Green 9-1 SU, 5-4 ATS
Week 2: Mike Muraco 4-6 SU, 6-4 ATS
Week 3: Mike Bauer 8-2 SU, 5-5 ATS
Week 4: Jeff Dean 6-4 SU, 4-6 ATS
Week 5: Arnie Spanier 8-2 SU, 8-2 ATS
Week 6: Jason McIntyre 6-4 SU, 5-5 ATS
Week 7: Dan Manucci 7-3 SU, 8-2 ATS
Week 8: Lauren Joffe 6-4 SU, 3-7 ATS
Week 9 College Football Predictions
|Eric Cohen||Jon Bell||Steve Malina||Guest Picks (Shane Dale)|
|Overall (Straight Up):||54-26||52-28||57-23||54-26|
|Overall (Against the Spread):||34-45||32-47||41-38||44-35|
|Last Week (SU):||7-3||7-3||8-2||6-4|
|Last Week (ATS):||5-5||6-4||8-2||3-7|
|Washington State (-2.5) at Arizona||AZ 38-35||AZ 31-28||WSU 38-33||WSU 38-30|
|USC (-3.5) at ASU||ASU 30-27||ASU 32-24||USC 27-20||USC 23-21|
|Stanford (-22.5) at Oregon State||STAN 37-17||STAN 42-7||STAN 28-14||STAN 41-17|
|Cal at Colorado (-2.5)||COL 30-24||CAL 31-17||COL 34-30||COL 28-24|
|UCLA at Washington (-16.5)||WASH 34-14||WASH 38-16||WASH 41-24||WASH 34-14|
|Penn State at Ohio State (-6.5)||OSU 34-20||OSU 17-14||OSU 35-24||PSU 28-21|
|NC State at Notre Dame (-7.5)||ND 31-13||ND 27-10||ND 36-27||ND 34-21|
|TCU (-6.5) at Iowa State||TCU 35-24||TCU 24-20||TCU 31-21||TCU 20-17|
|Florida vs. Georgia (-13.5)||GA 21-13||GA 31-7||GA 28-10||GA 34-17|
|Utah (-3.5) at Oregon||ORE 30-28||ORE 30-10||ORE 27-24||UTAH 24-17|
This Week’s Bold Prediction:
EC: This year’s most surprising Pac-12 storyline adds another chapter; the state of Arizona continues to impress with two upset victories at home this weekend. Last season Washington State beat a punchless Wildcats team, 69-7 in Pullman. In what should be one of the best games of the weekend, neither defense has an answer for the other team’s offense…UofA wins at the final whistle on a Josh Pollack field goal. In Tempe, USC is emotionally drained after getting drubbed at Notre Dame and is in desperate need of a bye week which isn’t on their schedule. The Sun Devils take advantage and grab the win like their neighbors down south. Both teams move into the AP Top 25 come next Sunday morning.
JB: The coaching hot seat watch has changed considerably, with once scalding seats at Notre Dame, Arizona, ASU and Texas A&M cooling off in some variety. On the flip side, besides the obvious weekly calls for changes in Knoxville, Lincoln and Fayetteville, what is it with USC and sky high expectations? The Trojans are 6-2, but could easily be 4-4 and are starting to evoke memories of the 2012 team that came into the season ranked #1 with a Heisman hopeful in Matt Barkley, but finished 7-6 setting the stage for Lane’s not so graceful exit on the LAX tarmac midway through the following season. This year’s squad came in with a 9 game winning streak, a Heisman hopeful in Sam Darnold and talk of playoffs, however aside from a week 2 victory over Stanford, have looked anything like the elite team they were projected to be. Clay Helton has built up enough good will after his own rather ominous start to safely make it to year 3, however with the talent level at his disposal, if things don’t get turned around quickly Helton could very possibly find himself headed into next season with a win or else mandate.
SM: There has rightfully been a lot of buzz about Saquon Barkley and Bryce Love in recent weeks for the Heisman Trophy. Barkley may have had his HELLO HEISMAN moment when he ran for a 69 yard TD vs the then #1 defense in Michigan but we have all slept on J.T. Barrett. It is true that the defenses Ohio State has gone up against since the Oklahoma loss have not been the best…but this week is his time. J.T. puts up over 300 yards in the air, 100 on the ground and accounts for all 5 touchdowns the Buckeyes score, including his own HELLO HEISMAN moment when he runs for a long TD on a broken play to put the game out of reach in the fourth quarter.
SD: There won’t be much of a shakeup in the rankings as we await the first College Football Playoff poll to be released on Halloween. The Penn State-Ohio State loser will be the only AP top-10 team to lose this week. TCU and Notre Dame will both survive against ranked opponents.
For more thoughts and predictions on these games check out Friday’s Quick Hitters blog.