NFL picks, predictions against spread for Week 8: Packers light up Chiefs; 49ers edge Panthers; Patriots rip Browns

There’s a lot of pressure to nail our NFL picks and predictions against the spread in Week 8. Why? Because we’re coming off a near-perfect straight up and strong ATS performance last week.

Week 8 provides a lot more prognostication fun with some big double-digit point favorites to consider, as well as several games that look like tough one-possession contests. Which are the best bets for the week’s 15 NFL games? Here’s our fearless forecast.

NFL picks against the spread for Week 8

Sunday, 8:20 p.m. ET, NBC

Aaron Rodgers is on fire, and that’s why the Packers are strong road favorites in Arrowhead with no Patrick Mahomes on the other side. The Packers’ biggest defensive problems lie against the run, but the Chiefs aren’t committed to the run enough. The Chiefs’ defensive problems against good balanced offenses with elite quarterbacks will show again after the one-week anomaly at the Broncos. The last time Rodgers played in Kansas City, Green Bay suffered the only loss of a 15-1 season. He’ll barbecue a shaky AFC West secondary for a second consecutive game.

Pick: Packers win 30-23 and cover the spread.

Thursday, 8:20 p.m. ET, Fox, NFL Network, Amazon Prime Video

This is either an Adrian Peterson and Case Keenum revenge game against the Vikings or a Kirk Cousins revenge game against the Redskins. Washington will force Peterson and the running game too much against Minnesota’s nasty front seven, hitting a wall and putting Keenum in bad third-down situations. On the other side, the Redskins can’t stop Dalvin Cook, and Cousins will set be up for plenty of big plays against their secondary, even without Adam Thielen.

Pick: Vikings win 33-10 and cover the spread.

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, CBS

Sam Darnold gives the Jets’ offense a whole new look, and he has enough diverse weapons to move the ball on the Jaguars. Le’Veon Bell will do some tough running while the Jets work to contain Leonard Fournette and go after Gardner Minshew hard on blitzes. This is the beginning of a much easier post-Patriots schedule for the Jets, and even on a short week, they will steal a low-scoring game.

Pick: Jets win 20-17.

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, CBS

The Cotls aren’t getting enough respect at home given their offensive line prowess to handle the Broncos’ pass rush. Even on a long week, Joe Flacco can’t be a trusted on the road in a hostile environment against a team that’s closer to full strength defensively. Indianapolis doesn’t always get a ton of style points, but it will get more than enough real points in this game to comfortably make it two in a row at home after the bye. The Peyton Manning Bowl goes to Andrew Luck’s successor and not his old playoff nemesis.

Pick: Colts win 23-16 and cover the spread.

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, CBS

Will Drew Brees return for this game? Does it matter? The Saints have smashed it straight up and against the spread with Teddy Bridgewater in five consecutive games. They’ve won with offense, defense and special teams. The Cardinals have played well in winning three straight, but all three wins came against sub-.500 opponents. New Orleans is a tough place to play for a rookie QB, and the Saints have been lights out defensively. Look for Sean Payton to have a few more offensive answers than Kliff Kingsbury this week.

Pick: Saints win 27-20 but fail to cover the spread.

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, CBS

Jared Goff and the Rams’ passing game had their get-well game (kind of) against the Falcons. Now it’s Todd Gurley and the running game’s turn. The Bengals can’t stop the run in any way, shape or form. They are also vulnerable to big-time slot receivers such as Cooper Kupp. Aaron Donald will have fun with another weak interior offensive line. As Sean McVay puts Zac Taylor in place, Cincinnati fades into the London fog while it never rains on the team from Southern California.

Pick: Rams win 34-14 and cover the spread.

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, Fox

The Bears’ defense is suddenly struggling, and the offense isn’t helping with a limited running game and the worst of Mitchell Trubisky. But at least their run defense and pass rush should wake up against a shaky Chargers offensive line to make things rough on Philip Rivers and Melvin Gordon. The Bears also should overcorrect and run the ball more with David Montgomery against a soft Chargers front to put away a close one late.

Pick: Bears win 20-17 but fail to cover the spread.

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, Fox

The Giants will stay in the game with Saquon Barkley having success to support rookie QB Daniel Jones. The Lions have limitations running the ball, so it will be easier for the maligned Giants defense to dial up a pass rush vs. Matthew Stafford. In the end, however, the outside matchups against Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones Jr. aren’t good for the visitors.

Pick: Lions win 24-20 but fail to cover the spread

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, Fox

The Eagles are desperate to save their season, and the Bills just got away with sloppy play against the Dolphins, especially defensively. Carson Wentz will rebound with gritty passing and running. Josh Allen, who’s often compared to the Eagles QB, doesn’t have the weapons to consistently burn the Eagles’ pass defense. Doug Pederson will outwit former Eagles defensive coordinator Sean McDermott in a field-goal game.

Pick: Eagles win 26-23.

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, Fox

The Falcons are likely to play without Matt Ryan (ankle). Matt Schaub has the keys to a pretty good passing offense, and the Seahawks can be vulnerable in the middle of the field against Austin Hooper and Mohamed Sanu, also with no corner who can match up with Julio Jones. Seattle is coming off a rare bad home game from Russell Wllson in which it wasn’t able to run on Baltimore, either. Wilson’s scrambling and big-play running in this game will meet no resistance from Atlanta’s defense, while Seattle’s deficiencies will keep the hosts around as they try to win one for Dan Quinn at home. 

Pick: Seahawks win 27-24 but fail to cover the spread.

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, Fox

This is essentially a pick ’em game, and instead of Jameis Winston vs. Marcus Mariota, it’s Winston vs. Ryan Tannehill. The Bucs get a break from the Titans’ limited passing game, while the Titans will have trouble handling Bucs wideouts Mike Evans and Chris Godwin. Winston will commit a few more turnovers and get sacked a few times, but so will Tannehill in another weird close game in Nashville. We trust Bruce Arians to get a little more creative than Mike Vrabel.

Pick: Buccaneers win 23-20.

Sunday, 4:05 p.m. ET, Fox

This should be the expected defensive struggle. The Panthers are rested after their bye, and the 49ers will be pumped against Kyle Allen following a shutout win in Washington. The passing-game matchups aren’t good for Carolina, so it will need to rely heavily on the running game with Christian McCaffrey. He will see a little less running and receiving room than the 49ers’ backfield committee will see.

Pick: 49ers win 19-14 but fail to cover the spread.

Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET, CBS

The Browns are coming off a bye, and the Patriots are coming off a Monday night game. Will that really matter? Baker Mayfield wants to have all those rings like Tom Brady, but that will require adjusting his game, spreading the ball and not forcing to Odell Beckham Jr., whom the Patriots will take away with Stephon Gilmore. The Browns will try to be more about Nick Chubb, but the Patriots’ run defense is sound and disciplined. Brady will see better matchups while facing less pressure, and there’s no reason to think Bill Belichick wants to let up on Freddie Kitchens.

Pick: Patriots win 30-17 and cover the spread.

Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET, CBS

The Raiders played well in Green Bay offensively, but their issue will continue to be defense. Deshaun Watson will rebound at home by running around and buying time to throw downfield to DeAndre Hopkins and his other healthy wideouts against a secondary that just got torched by Aaron Rodgers. Derek Carr’s dinking and dunking will keep the Raiders hanging around, but his lacking wide receiver pop is a break for the Texans’ struggling cornerbacks. Carr will avoid sacks and keep the ball moving with more help from Josh Jacobs’ running, but Houston will end up making more plays in the fourth quarter.

Pick: Texans win 27-24 but fail to cover the spread.

Monday, 8:15 p.m. ET, ESPN

Ryan Fitzpatrick is trying his best to get the Dolphins their first victory. But facing the Steelers’ pass rush in Heinz Field at night off a bye, with their active linebackers also ready to stuff the run, is daunting. The Steelers should be fine turning to their run-heavy game plan with James Conner, plus some more deep-shot opportunities off play-action for returning QB Mason Rudolph.

Pick: Steelers win 34-14 and cover the spread.

Stats of the Week:
Week 7 record straight up: 12-1
Week 7 record against the spread: 10-3
Season record straight up: 71-33
Season record against the spread: 60-40
Upsets of the Week: 5-2
Locks of the Week: 4-3

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