NFL Week 8 Predictions and Storylines

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Honolulu transplant from Nashville, Tennessee. Teaching high school English during the day, coaching Track & Field in the afternoon, then drinking enough to do it all over again.

Too competitive for an amateur, too amateur to be competitive.

Last week, my storylines and predictions went the same as Week 6: 9-5. It’s an okay place to be, especially twice in a row. But this week is full of great Sunday afternoon games and garbage primetime games. Seriously. Anything would be a letdown after the desert shootout but Cowboys and Eagles? Buccaneers and Giants? Falcons and Panthers? Yeesh. The NFL could at least pretend to care about us. Anyway, here’s the most interesting storylines in every game as well as my Week 8 predictions for each one.

Falcons (1-6) @ Panthers (3-4)
Spread: Panthers -2.5
Prediction: Panthers 27-21

Do the Falcons get their next win against a division rival? Does Teddy Bridgewater attempt a deep ball? Do the Falcons find another way to choke at the end of a game? The Falcons are finding new ways to lose games, but I didn’t think scoring a game-clinching touchdown would be one of them. Watch to see how the Falcons blow it this week and while Carolina probably won’t get Christian McCaffrey back, at least they have Robby Anderson and DJ Moore. Panthers pull out the win in this one.

AP Photo / John Bazemore

Vikings (1-5) @ Packers (5-1)
Spread: Packers -7
Prediction: Packers 34-24

The Packers got back on track against Houston, and it’ll be more of the same this week. The Vikings are coming off their bye week and Justin Jefferson has been lighting up defenses. I think he continues that this week and gives Green Bay a hard time. Ultimately, I also think the Packers come through with the win, pulling away at some point in the second half. An electric rookie receiver makes for good TV and Aaron Rodgers is putting up MVP numbers. Give me all the division rivalries please.

Titans (5-1) @ Bengals (1-5)
Spread: Titans -4.5
Prediction: Titans 30-20

The Titans are looking to rebound from their first loss of the season, and my Week 8 predictions say they do. Big. When the Chiefs, Bucs, and Packers lost their first game, they came back strong the next week with dominating wins. Each team scored at least 9 points more than their opponent, with the Packers and Buccaneers scoring 15+ in the rebound game. The Titans will have that chance against a Bengals team that just traded Carlos Dunlap. Joe Burrow seems to be improving every week and I’m excited to see him play another bad defense. I’m watching to see if Tennessee can actually stop anyone on 3rd down and to see a Bengals team with moxie. And I want to see if AJ Green quits on the team again.

Jets (0-7) @ Chiefs (6-1)
Spread: Chiefs -20.5
Prediction: Chiefs 28-7

The spread in this game is ridiculous. It’s rare to see a more lopsided matchup in sports, so I’m watching to see if they cover the spread- I think they do. Adam Gase Firing Watch will go another week and I cannot understand how or why. It’s absolutely fascinating to see that Gase is still employed after wrecking this franchise. I’m sorry if you’re a Jets fan, but the rest of us are just watching a train wreck. Chiefs fans might not even pay attention to this game, but if you do, keep an eye on Le’veon Bell and how he continues to be implemented in this offense. I actually expect much of the same as last week, and I don’t think Mahomes throws a ton because I don’t think he’ll have to. He gets 2 touchdowns but the rest is all ground game and maybe even a pick six.

AP Photo / Adrian Kraus

Colts (4-2) @ Lions (3-3)
Spread: Colts -2.5
Prediction: Colts 24-21

This Lions team is certainly interesting to watch. Matthew Stafford, Kenny Golladay, and DeAndre Swift make up a fun trio, even if the immortal Adrian Peterson is taking away carries that he shouldn’t be. I don’t believe in the Colts, but they don’t need me to believe in them. They just need to keep beating bad teams and the Lions are… not good. I love Stafford, but this team is very average. Watch for Stafford to keep the game close and Rivers to potentially give the game away at the end.

Steelers (6-0) @ Ravens (5-1)
Spread: Ravens -5.5
Prediction: Ravens 27-20

The Steelers dominated the first half against the previously undefeated Titans, but looked very beatable in the second half. Tennessee was a field goal away from going into overtime and the Steelers hot start saved them from a second half collapse. I think they maintain that energy better in the second half of this game, but the Ravens are looking to get the top spot in the division back from their rivals. This is going to be a really good game to watch. Check to see if Big Ben is safer with the football because if he isn’t, the Ravens will make him pay. I love watching Lamar Jackson play, so you don’t need extra incentive. But the Steelers will want to establish dominance and beat Lamar Jackson for the first time in his career.

AP Photo / Gene J. Puskar

Rams (5-2) @ Dolphins (3-3)
Spread: Rams -3.5
Prediction: Rams 24-14

It’s Tua Time! Everybody in Hawai’i and Alabama will be watching this game, as they should be. Fitzpatrick is a great guy and has been playing well, but at 3-3 Miami has a decent team and coming off the bye week is a good time to see what your rookie QB can do. The Rams are not the team to experiment with, though. This defense is strong and might rattle the rookie. So it will be a lot of fun to see the battle between Donald and Tua. However, while I like Tagovailoa and his lucky lefty throws, the Rams offense is just diverse enough to win the game while the defense forces a few turnovers. I’m rooting for the Hawai’i boy, though.

Patriots (2-4) @ Bills (5-2)
Spread: Bills -4.5
Prediction: Bills 20-17

Times have certainly changed. This Bills team is not as elite as the record might suggest, but they still have an offense that can score if things are going well. The defense has gotten a few key pieces back and this Patriots offense is doing their best Jets impression. Without Edelman or Harry this week, Cam Newton has even less weapons around him. The team says the surgery was precautionary, but I think the only precaution he’s taking is avoiding getting embarrassed another week. New England’s defense is still good, though, so this won’t be a high scoring affair. I’m watching to see if Belichick is really thinking about tanking and if Cam Newton keeps his job. For the Bills, let’s see if Josh Allen’s offense can score 20 points after not doing it for 3 weeks in a row.

Raiders (3-3) @ Browns (5-2)
Spread: -3.5
Prediction: Browns 34-28

Did someone say shootout? The Raiders defense is one of the worst in the NFL, giving up the 2nd most points per game. The Browns defense is giving up the 4th most ppg. I’m taking the over on this game hard and fast, even with OBJ out for the season. I’m watching to see how Baker Mayfield looks without his best receiver and making sure it’s on GamePass so I can skip all the commercials he’s in. Meanwhile, Nelson Agholor has found new life in the Raiders offense while Ruggs takes all the defensive attention. I’m looking to see how he continues growing and if they can really keep up in a shootout. If the Raiders win this, their playoff hopes stay alive. I suspect a loss will be more fatal than they want to admit.

Chargers (2-4) @ Broncos (2-4)
Spread: Chargers -1.5
Prediction: Chargers 21-20

Give the rookie a win! Herbert finally won his first game as a starter. Herbert has the most beautiful deep ball in the league and he will push the ball downfield at least a few times. The Broncos have a solid defense and some potential on offense, it’s just a question of if they can click each game. They haven’t been able to put up points on teams not named the Jets so I don’t think the offense can match Herbert’s aggressiveness. I’m watching for Herbert to start a win streak and the Broncos to finally utilize their offensive pieces. My Week 8 predictions say give me the Chargers in a close one.

Saints (4-2) @ Bears (5-2)
Spread: -2.5
Prediction: Saints 23-16

The Bears are finally coming back to Earth after living in fantasy land for almost half the season. This isn’t a bad team, just an unfortunate team saddled with the worst QB play this side of Jersey. The Saints, meanwhile, are finding ways to win without Michael Thomas. They’re putting up 30 ppg and doing it consistently. The Bears are on the opposite side of the spectrum, averaging less than 20 a game. The Chicago defense gives New Orleans a bit of a fit, but ultimately, I want to see how Kamara continues to dominate opposing defenses in a variety of ways. I also want to see if Matt Nagy puts in a punter at QB. Somebody has to be able to hit Allen Robinson wide open right?

49ers (4-3) @ Seahawks (5-1)
Spread: Seahawks -3
Predictions: Seahawks 33-30

This was a bit of a toss-up. If the 49ers were at home, I think I would have chosen them to win in my Week 8 predictions. They’re defense has gotten healthier and is playing better. They’re also hiding Handsome Jimmy G’s deficiencies well enough to win big. However, I cannot go against the Seahawks at home. Similar to my story with the Titans, the recent undefeateds coming off their first loss have dominated their next game. I’m not sure that’s the case here with a division rival, but I think the offense continues their strong run and San Francisco can’t keep up. Look out for a great game again.

Cowboys (2-5) @ (2-4) Eagles
Spread: Eagles -7.5
Prediction: Eagles 24-14

Yikes. Please trade a healthy WR to the Eagles. Cowboys should just tank but don’t trade Amari Cooper. Why would you do that? One team will take control of the division, but I’m praying that they replace the winner with an NFC West team for the playoffs. Don’t make us suffer anymore. Make it stop. Please. Philadelphia wins only because the Cowboys are more dead than the Eagles. I guess you can watch for Jalen Hurts appearances and to see Ceedee Lamb not get any targets.

Buccaneers (5-2) @ Giants (1-6)
Spread: Buccaneers -10.5
Prediction: Buccaneers 30-10

This is the second most lopsided matchup of the week, only behind the Jets @ Chiefs. The Buccaneers have the best defense in the league right now and Daniel Jones can’t resist giving away games like the Atlanta defense. Okay, maybe he’s not that bad. But I’m watching to see if he can avoid 3+ turnovers this game and if Tom Brady further makes his case as he edges higher up the MVP discussion ladder. Ignore the Tom Brady vs the Giants history. This isn’t close.

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Episode 55