We’re almost halfway through the NFL’s regular season…so it seems fairly appropriate to update my NFL playoff predictions.
In the AFC, I’ll say New England, Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Houston, Kansas City, and Los Angeles (Chargers) will make the playoffs. Of those six, I’ll fade the two favorites in NE and KC while sticking with the Pittsburgh Steelers to pull a road upset or two on their way to the Super Bowl.
In the NFC, Philadelphia, Minnesota, Chicago, New Orleans, Carolina, and Los Angeles (Rams) will advance to January. It’s hard to pick against the Rams right now so I’ll predict they beat the Saints in the NFC Championship Game to advance to the Super Bowl.
In Super Bowl LIII, a rematch of Super Bowl XIV, the Rams defeat the Steelers 38-24 and finish off an 18-1 season to win their first championship since 2000.
Let’s see how accurate I am with these picks come January.
In the meantime, I’m picking NFL games at a 68.5% rate…not too shabby if I may say so myself!
Week 8 NFL Picks
Last Week: 10-4 Straight Up (SU), 9-5 Against the Spread (ATS)
Overall: 72-33-2 SU, 54-53 ATS
(Picks against the spread in parentheses; home teams in caps)
HOUSTON 24, Miami 13 (ATS: Texans -7.5)
I’d be surprised if Miami keeps this one close tonight. Houston is due for another solid defensive effort and even though he hasn’t played badly in his two starts, I simply do not trust Brock Osweiler as he quarterbacks the Miami offense.
Philadelphia 26, Jacksonville 20 (in London) (ATS: Eagles -2.5)
The Jaguars are the epitome of a dumpster fire, especially at the QB position at the moment. Philly blew a 17 point 4th quarter lead last week and I feel they are due for a solid bounce back performance in London.
DETROIT 23, Seattle 20 (ATS: Seahawks +3.5)
One of the many true toss-up games this week. I have no idea how to pick it…but give me the home team on a last second Matt Prater field goal.
CINCINNATI 27, Tampa Bay 20 (ATS: Bengals -4.5)
I don’t think much of the Bengals but at home against an inconsistent Bucs team, I’ll take Andy Dalton and company to cover the relatively small 4.5 point spread.
Washington 26, NEW YORK GIANTS 21 (ATS: Redskins -1.5)
When are the Giants going to trade / bench Eli Manning and simply move on? They’re 1-6 with him and clearly things have been broken over the last few years. Until something changes, I’ll be fading the Giants…even in winnable spots like this one.
CHICAGO 23, New York Jets 13 (ATS: Bears -7.5)
I have absolutely no confidence that Jets rookie QB Sam Darnold can go on the road and win against a stout Bears defense. Give me Chicago and the points in an ugly, low-scoring game.
CAROLINA 26, Baltimore 23 (ATS: Panthers +1.5)
Another very tough call here but the Panthers just seem to have something magical going on right now. They were completely down and out through three quarters in Philadelphia last week before the light finally turned on and produced a stunning comeback in the 4th. Baltimore will make the playoffs but this loss won’t help in terms of seeding.
PITTSBURGH 34, Cleveland 20 (ATS: Steelers -8.5)
I’m still a firm Steelers believer this season – in fact they would still be my top pick to win the AFC at the moment. Call me crazy…but I wouldn’t want to face this team in January especially once Le’Veon Bell actually shows up. Pittsburgh wins easily this Sunday against the improving Browns.
KANSAS CITY 37, Denver 23 (ATS: Chiefs -10.5)
How can you not pick KC to cover the spread at home when simply their offense is dominant right now? Denver won’t have the defensive success they showed against the Chiefs a few weeks back. Patrick Mahomes = 2018 NFL MVP.
Indianapolis 27, OAKLAND 21 (ATS: Colts -3.5)
Here’s a bold prediction: The Raiders and Cardinals will have the top-2 NFL Draft picks in 2019 in some order. Andrew Luck has been playing too well to pick against the Colts even on the road.
LOS ANGELES RAMS 41, Green Bay 24 (ATS: Rams -9.5)
Aaron Rodgers has never been as much of an underdog in his career as he is in this matchup. To this point the Rams have been the best team in football and it’s not even close. Unfortunately my Packers will get stomped on Sunday.
San Francisco 20, ARIZONA 17 (ATS: 49ers +1.5)
I know the Cardinals just beat the 49ers handily in SF…and I know they fired (terrible) OC Mike McCoy last week. But I still can’t in my right mind pick them to win another game anytime soon. They’re terrible. Sad but true.
MINNESOTA 34, New Orleans 28 (ATS: Vikings -1.5)
My favorite play of Week 8. New Orleans is coming off an emotional win on the road in Baltimore and as good as the Saints are, they aren’t winning two-in-a-row, especially against a suddenly resurgent Vikings team at home.
New England 27, BUFFALO 17 (ATS: Bills +13.5)
While my gut tells me I’ll be wrong, I love the angle of home teams getting double-digit points. The Bills are terrible…but this could be a letdown spot for New England with Aaron Rodgers and the Packers on deck. Pats win but give me the Bills with the points.
Week 8 Fantasy Football Guidance
‘Boom & Crush’ Record (15+ PPR fantasy points from a non-must start player)
Last Week: 2-1
‘Be Careful’ Record (12 or less PPR fantasy points from a top-15 player)
Last Week: 0-3
Boom & Crush:
QB: Baker Mayfield (CLE at PIT)
RB: Marlon Mack (IND at OAK)
WR/TE: Emmanuel Sanders (DEN at KC)
QB: Jameis Winston (TB at CIN)
RB: Mark Ingram (NO at MIN)
WR/TE: Rob Gronkowski (NE at BUF)