If you’re a fan of the Colts, Buccaneers or Packers, you definitely don’t need to celebrate Halloween on Monday and that’s because you’ve already dealt with enough horrors this year: You’ve been forced to watch your team play offense.
If you’re a fan of one of those teams and you need a costume idea, I have some quick ones. If you’re a Colts fan, you could go as a bench, since that’s where Matt Ryan will be spending the rest of the season. If you’re a Buccaneers fan, you could go as Father Time, since it appears he might have finally caught up with Tom Brady. And if you’re a Packers fan, you could go as nothing since that’s what Green Bay has done on offense all season.
After watching all three of those teams lose in Week 7, I can’t possibly pick any of them to win in Week 8? CAN I? 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 every CBSSports.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 you have to do is click here and enter your email address. I get a four cent bonus every time someone signs up, although it’s not as lucrative as it sounds because I have to give six cents back every time I get a pick wrong, so I think I’m actually losing money in this deal. I’ll probably need to fix that during my next contract negotiation.
Since I’m now running a newsletter, you might be thinking that I’ll be way too busy to podcast, but nope. If there are two things I’m never too busy for, it’s podcasting and playing Star Wars Monopoly.
For the rest of the season, I’ll be joining Will Brinson and Ryan Wilson four days per week (Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday) on the Pick Six Podcast, which is our daily NFL podcast here at CBSSports.com. You can listen to Tuesday’s episode below. The reason you’re going to want to check it out is because we spent half the podcast wondering whether Justin Fields is any good after what he did to the Patriots on Monday.
Alright, I’ve babbled enough, let’s get to the picks.
NFL Week 8 Picks
Baltimore (4-3) at Tampa Bay (3-4)
8:15 p.m. ET, Thursday (Amazon Prime)
Usually when I see that Tom Brady is playing in prime time, I automatically pick his team to win because I hate betting against Brady, especially when that prime-time game is being played on a Thursday. However, I am now throwing all my automatic “pick Tom Brady to win” rules out the window because Tom Brady is no longer playing like Tom Brady.
One rule is that you never pick against Brady in a Thursday night game because he’s 10-1 all-time when he has to play on just three days of rest. However, that rule means nothing to me now because Brady is 45 and no 45-year-old can function on three days of rest. Also, the Buccaneers offense looks mostly broken and I’m not convinced it can be fixed in just three days.
Another Brady rule I used to always abide by is that you should never pick against him when he’s a home underdog. Over the course of his 23-year career, Brady has only been a home underdog a total of 12 times and he’s gone 9-3 in those games (11-1 against the spread). However, the Buccaneers lost to a team (Carolina) last week that fired its coach and traded away its best player in a span of 11 days and if they can lose to the Panthers, they can lose to anyone. I mean, I’m not sure what rock bottom is in the NFL, but only scoring three points against the Panthers has to be close. Brady is probably starting to wish that he would have stayed retired.
Not only is the Buccaneers offense broken, but their defense can’t stop the run and that’s the one weakness you can’t afford to have when you’re facing the Ravens, who rank fifth in the NFL with an average of 156.3 rushing yards per game.
The Ravens have held a double-digit lead in every game they’ve played this season and if they get one against Tampa Bay, it’s hard to see the Bucs making any sort of comeback considering how bad their offense has looked.
As you can probably already tell at this point, I’m breaking all my Brady rules and taking the Ravens.
The pick: Ravens 23-20 over Buccaneers
Carolina (2-5) at Atlanta (3-4)
1 p.m. ET (Fox)
If you would have told me before the season started that something involving Panthers and Falcons would be must-see TV in October, I would’ve assumed that you were talking about a show on Animal Planet that involved actual panthers and actual falcons, but nope, this week’s game is MUST-SEE TV.
If you’re wondering whether I took tequila shots before writing that, the answer is no, I actually do think this game is must-see TV and that’s because first place COULD be on the line. If the Buccaneers lose to the Ravens on Thursday night, then the winner of this game will take over first place in the NFC South.
If the Falcons win, they’d move up to 4-4, which would give them a one-game lead over the next best team. If the Panthers win, they’d improve to 3-5 and they’d hold the tiebreaker over both the Buccaneers and Falcons thanks to their 3-0 division record.
Nothing sums up this crazy NFL season more than what Carolina is doing right now: The Panthers traded away their best offensive player, they fired their coach and they’re down to their third option at quarterback, but they could be in first place heading into Week 9 if they can win on Sunday.
The only problem is that I don’t think they can win on Sunday. If the Panthers defense struggles with one thing, it is stopping the run. The problem with that is that running the ball is the only thing the Falcons are good at on offense. The Falcons are averaging 156.9 yards per game on the ground, which ranks fourth in the NFL. The Falcons love to run the ball so much that they refuse to throw the ball even when they should probably be throwing it. In the NFL, most teams will throw the ball when they’re trailing big, but not the Falcons. Against the Bengals in Week 7, the Falcons trailed by 21 points in the first half and 18 points in the second half, but they still only threw 13 passes over the course of the entire game.
The Falcons are going to run the ball and they don’t care that you know that they’re going to run the ball and I think they run the ball all the way to first place in the division with a win over the Panthers. The Falcons being in first place after eight weeks would be the most shocking thing to happen in the falcon-world since Ken Mortimer left his family in 1992 to become a falconer.
I’ve also thought about moving off the grid to train falcons, but I can barely function on the grid, so it probably wouldn’t be a great idea.
The pick: Falcons 23-17 over Panthers
N.Y. Giants (6-1) at Seattle (4-3)
4:25 p.m. ET (Fox)
I don’t know how it happened, but after falling off the face of the earth for nearly six years, not only has Geno Smith re-emerged, but he’s re-emerged playing the best football of his life. Through seven weeks, Smith has played so well that he actually looks like he could end up being an MVP candidate. Is it dumb to talk about MVP candidates in October? Probably, but I also once thought it would be dumb to mention Smith’s name in any conversation involving the MVP, yet here we are, so I’m not going to pretend to know anything about what’s dumb and what’s not anymore.
Before signing with the Seahawks in 2020, Smith played for three teams over the first seven seasons of his career and one of those teams was the GIANTS. During his time in New York, Smith was known for doing exactly one thing and that’s ending Eli Manning’s streak of consecutive games started. Needless to say, fans in New York did not take the news well.
Two years later, Manning would get benched again, but this time for Daniel Jones, which means we are now getting a showdown featuring the only two quarterbacks that Eli Manning ever got benched for. The world has come full circle… or has it come full-square? I’m not sure, you’d have to ask Geno.
The interesting thing about this game is that both of these teams can run the ball, but neither of them can stop the run (They’ve surrendered the fourth- and fifth-most rushing yards per game this year). This might be the most underrated game of Week 8 and I think it’s going to be a shootout that ends with Geno getting revenge on his old team.
The pick: Seahawks 34-27 over Giants
San Francisco (3-4) at L.A. Rams (3-3)
4:25 p.m. ET (Fox)
San Francisco 49ers
It’s almost fitting that the 49ers and Rams are playing each other this week, because I’ve been trying to decide which team has been the bigger disappointment this year, and now, I don’t even have to decide, because they’re going to settle it on the field.
Actually, they already settled it on the field back in Week 4 in a game that the 49ers won 24-9. The Niners have now won seven straight regular season games against the Rams and one reason they’ve been so dominant is because of Kyle Shanahan’s offensive brilliance. Shanahan definitely doesn’t look brilliant every week, but playing the Rams seems to bring out the best in him every year.
As you probably already know, the Rams’ best player is Aaron Donald, but he never does much against the 49ers because Shanahan simply designs the 49ers offensive game-plan to go away from him.
In the past three regular season meetings between these two teams, Donald has exactly zero sacks, although I should probably note that he did almost tear off Jimmy Garoppolo’s head back in Week 4.
Donald came close, but like most of his game against the 49ers, he just didn’t end up making much of a difference.
I think what I’m trying to say here is that Shanahan has almost always been one step ahead of the Rams defense and that was BEFORE the 49ers added Christian McCaffrey, who the Rams are very familiar with because they just saw him back in Week 6 while he was playing for the Panthers. In that game, McCaffrey totaled 158 yards on just 20 touches. If he can put up those numbers while playing for the PANTHERS, just imagine what he’ll be able to do after practicing with the 49ers for a full week.
The Rams have historically had problems slowing down the 49ers offense and it’s not going to get any easier with McCaffrey now in the fold.
The pick: 49ers 26-23 over Rams
Green Bay (3-4) at Buffalo (5-1)
8:20 p.m. ET (NBC)
Through seven weeks, it’s become pretty clear that the Packers have one major flaw and that flaw is their entire offense. Having a major flaw isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it is when your star quarterback is a big part of that flaw and seems to hate the offense that the head coach has decided to run (In somewhat related news, my major flaw is that I spend 19 hours per day watching Hallmark Christmas movies even when it’s not Christmastime).
The problem for the Packers is that it seems like Aaron Rodgers absolutely hates the offense he’s running: He doesn’t seem to like the play-calls, his receivers can’t get open and the offensive line is struggling.
If I’ve learned one thing from binging every episode of “House of the Dragon” over the past three days, it’s that forced marriages rarely work out in the long run and the forced marriage between Rodgers and Matt LaFleur feels like it’s starting to fall apart.
Not only is the Packers offense struggling, but now, it has to go into Buffalo to face a Bills defense that is arguably the best in the NFL. Buffalo’s defense is giving up the fewest yards per game and the fewest points per game this season and based on that, I’m not sure how the Packers are going to score or move the ball on them. They might only total 47 inches of offense on Sunday.
This is just the second time since 2008 that Buffalo has gotten to host a Sunday night game at home and I have to think Bills fans are going to be fired up. In his career, Josh Allen is 3-0 both straight-up and against the spread in Sunday night games and there’s no way I’m picking against that.
I can’t believe it, but we live in a world where Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady are both playing in prime time and I’m picking against them both. This game will likely mark the first time ever that Rodgers has been a double-digit underdog in his career, so I might as well go all-out and pick the Packers to lose by double digits.
The pick: Bills 34-23 over Packers
NFL Week 8 picks: All the rest
Dolphins 27-20 over Lions
Broncos 19-16 over Jaguars
Cowboys 27-17 over Bears
Vikings 30-23 over Cardinals
Raiders 27-24 over Saints
Patriots 20-17 over Jets
Eagles 31-20 over Steelers
Titans 27-23 over Texans
Commanders 19-16 over Colts
Bengals 34-27 over Browns
BYES: Chiefs, Chargers
Best pick: Last week, Iwould blow out the 49ers and then they immediately proceeded to blow out the 49ers. My logic for picking a blowout was that if the game turned into a shootout, then Jimmy Garoppolo would start to press, which would lead to him making multiple mistakes, and if you watched the game, you may have noticed that Jimmy definitely made multiple mistakes. I’ve been thinking about it for the past 48 hours and I’m still not sure which mistake was worse: His interception, his lost fumble or the safety he took.
OK, now that I’m watching the interception again, I’m definitely going with the interception. I don’t care how handsome you are, you can’t throw the ball like that.
Worst pick: Last week, I predicted that the Titans would beat Indy and complete a season-sweep of the Colts and guess what happened? The Titans beat Indy and completed a season-sweep of the Colts. If I got the pick right, you might be wondering how this game ended up in my “worst pick” section and it’s because I was 100% wrong about Matt Ryan. Three months ago, I said Ryan might be able to turn the Colts into a Super Bowl contender and I have never been more wrong about anything in my life.
Not only are the Colts NOT a Super Bowl contender, but Ryan didn’t even make it to Week 8 before being benched. Also, you don’t need to send that tweet to Old Takes Exposed on Twitter because he already exposed me.
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 5-1 picking this year (Straight up): Bills, Vikings, Rams.
Teams I’m 2-5 picking this year (Straight up): Jets, Colts (2-4-1)
Every other team is somewhere in the middle.
Straight up in Week 7: 8-6
SU overall: 60-47-1
Against the spread in Week 7: 9-5
ATS overall: 49-55-4
You can find John Breech on Facebook or Twitter and if he’s not doing one of those things, he’s probably spending his time trying to become the world’s best falcon trainer.