Last week: 9-5. The mostly sunny forecast pushes the season tally to 61-46
- Washington at Minnesota Vikings (-16.5): It appears the Vikings got the better of the de facto exchange of Kirk Cousins and Case Keenum at quarterback. Cousins is having a tremendous October, arguably one of the five best players in the entire NFL over the last three weeks. I don’t see a messy Washington defense slowing him down enough to help Keenum make a triumphant return to his 2017 home.
Vikings 30, Washington 13
- Carolina Panthers at San Francisco (-5.5): This forecast is no indication of any disrespect for the 49ers whatsoever. But I just cannot see the home team rising to 7-0. They’re good, but the Panthers defense can shut down better passing attacks than what Jimmy Garoppolo and George Kittle will throw at them without having to sacrifice run defense attention. Kyle Allen stays hot and the Panthers assert themselves as another viable NFL heavyweight in the top-heavy conference.
Panthers 20, 49ers 18
- Philadelphia Eagles at Buffalo Bills (-2): Skeptical fans have been waiting for the Bills to play a “good” team outside of the Patriots, who hung the one loss on Buffalo. Sadly, I’m not sure this current Eagles team qualifies as good either. As my friend Michael Kist of Bleeding Green Radio (an excellent Eagles podcast) noted during Philly’s ugly loss to Dallas, “What the hell does this team do well anymore?” I don’t know either, bud…
Bills 23, Eagles 20
- Green Bay Packers at Kansas City Chiefs (+4): With all the focus on Patrick Mahomes and his potentially miraculous recovery and maybe even return to action, most of the football world is ignoring the Kansas City defense. Sure, they held the Broncos to 7 last week. But even after that effort against the rotting and soulless carcass of Joe Flacco playing behind the holding machine that is Garrett Bolles, the Chiefs defense remains in the bottom realms in every statistical metric. Last week was an outlier, not an emerging norm. Aaron Rodgers will ensure it gets seen that way come Sunday night.
Packers 36, Chiefs 28
- Seattle Seahawks at Atlanta Falcons (+6.5): Trading away Mohamed Sanu was the proverbial white flag from Atlanta. It won’t stop Pete Carroll from chomping his gum harder than the Falcons defense hits…
Seahawks 36, Falcons 14
- Oakland Raiders at Houston Texans (-7): The Texans will rebound after last week’s tough loss to the Colts. I’m so confident that I’ve made the Texans my survivor fantasy play for this week. Oakland isn’t bad, but they don’t have any ability to slow down Deshaun Watson, DeAndre Hopkins or the rest of the Texans offense. Another reason for my confidence: the Texans have covered the spread in eight straight seasons in Week 8. They will again.
Texans 39, Raiders 27
- New York Giants at Detroit Lions (-7): One reason why the Giants have a real chance to pull off the outright road upset win--Detroit’s pass rush is dreadful. The Lions have one sack in the last 141 opposing dropbacks, a string that goes back to the fourth quarter of their Week 3 ambush win over the Eagles. Their run defense is equally moribund, namely because LB Jarrad Davis continually guesses wrong and gets exploited out of position behind a DL that really misses injured starters Da’Shawn Hand and Mike Daniels. Yet somehow, QB Matthew Stafford--playing his best ball ever this year--will once again drag the Lions to a win, and New York’s leaky pass defense will be complicit in their demise.
Lions 34, Giants 30
- Los Angeles Chargers at Chicago Bears (-4): We’re now getting to the point in the season where the Chargers usually wake up from their God-awful start and begin to resemble the playoff contender most of us expected them to be. Facing Mitchell Trubisky and his Zoolander-like inability to do anything to his left is a great way to kick off the surge back into the crapfest that is the AFC’s No. 2 Wild Card this year.
Chargers 26, Bears 15
- Arizona Cardinals at New Orleans Saints (-10.5): Don’t look now but the Cardinals are 3-3-1 and playing some fun football on offense. The vision of Kliff Kingsbury as executed by Kyler Murray has been evolving nicely. They get a stiff challenge in New Orleans against a smart and stingy Saints defense. I expect some success from Murray and friends, and the Cards defense gets a welcomed return from Patrick Peterson off his suspension. I like the Cardinals quite a bit to cover here and threaten to win outright.
Saints 28, Cardinals 22
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Tennessee Titans (-2.5): Those hoping for a “Quienes mas macho” battle between draftmates Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota will have to wait for another day. The Titans benched Mariota for Ryan Tannehill. The Buccaneers haven’t yet benched Winston for Ryan Griffin. Tampa Bay coach Bruce Arians might want to after Winston throws a pick-6 to Kevin Byard that provides the deciding margin in the Titans’ home win.
Titans 23, Buccaneers 17
- New York Jets at Jacksonville Jaguars (-6.5): As I write this (and most everything else for that matter), music is playing in the background. I am a big Spotify playlist fan and the current one is based on frequently listened to artists in the prog metal genre. So what in the name of Spock’s Beard is Kenny Chesney doing coming up between songs by Chon and Between the Buried and Me? That’s a bigger fail than the Jets going zero blitz against 22 personnel on 3rd-and-2. Sadly for Jets fans, they cannot simply skip past the awful music like Gregg Williams’ predictably bizarre defensive calls.
Jaguars 31, Jets 17
- Cincinnati Bengals at Los Angeles Rams (-13.5): Just when every cloud was black and angry at the Los Angeles Rams, the schedule provided Sean McVay a ray of sunshine. Last week brought them the reeling, defenseless Falcons. This week’s beam of brilliant daylight is the winless Bengals, coached by McVay protege Zac Taylor. I expect some fight from the visitors from Northern Kentucky, but not enough to make it rain in Southern California.
Rams 35, Bengals 21
- Denver Broncos at Indianapolis Colts (-6.5): Just a hunch here, but I smell the rare NFL shutout coming here.
Colts 20, Broncos 0
- Cleveland Browns at New England Patriots (-13): The disappointing Browns come out of their bye week hoping to get some positive momentum rolling. Unfortunately, they head to Foxboro to play the Patriots, who have won 20 straight games over QBs in their first or second seasons. I do expect Baker Mayfield & Co. to play better going forward, but the rally possum remains asleep for another week.
Patriots 32, Browns 21
- Miami Dolphins at Pittsburgh Steelers(-14.5): Wait, really? This is the Monday night game?! The Steelers take advantage of the super bye and keep the Dolphins winless.
Steelers 24, Dolphins 14
Oklahoma 30, Kansas State 20
Ohio State 28, Wisconsin 22
Notre Dame 33, Michigan 21
LSU 26, Auburn 24
UCLA 35, Arizona State 31