Week 8 NFL Predictions

This week, Max is planning to up his game. Let’s see how week eight plays out.

Week 8 NFL Predictions

So much for dominating predictions. The wild ride that is the NFL season keeps surprising us as we move closer to the halfway point of the season.

Week seven in the NFL was utterly shocking. I don’t know how the Buccaneers lost to the Panthers 21-3 after Carolina traded away Christian McCaffrey. Who knew that the Packers were worse than the Commanders? The NFL is wild. My predictions were less than spectacular, as I only went 7-7 and missed on all three of my upset picks. Football is impossible to predict, but I must do better.

Each team’s record and rank from last week is listed in parentheses.

Competitive teams that lack talent:

#32. Houston Texans (1-4-1, 31)

#31. Detroit Lions (1-5, 28)

#30. Carolina Panthers (2-5, 32)

#29. Chicago Bears (3-4, 30)

Teams that are talented and have upside but also have major deficiencies that hold them back from reaching their potential:

#28. Indianapolis Colts (3-3-1, 23)

#27. Atlanta Falcons (3-4, 21)

#26. Pittsburgh Steelers (2-5, 25)

#25. Green Bay Packers (3-4, 20)

#24. Washington Commanders (3-4, 29)

#23. Denver Broncos (2-5, 24)

#22. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-5, 27)

#21. Cleveland Browns (2-5, 19)

#20. New Orleans Saints (2-5, 18)

Potential playoff contenders:

#19. New York Jets (5-2, 16)

#18. New England Patriots (3-4, 15)

#17. Seattle Seahawks (4-3, 22)

#16. Arizona Cardinals (3-4, 26)

#15. New York Giants (6-1, 17)

#14. Los Angeles Chargers (4-3, 11)

#13. Las Vegas Raiders (2-4, 14)

#12. Los Angeles Rams (3-3, 13)

Definite playoff contenders:

#11. Baltimore Ravens (4-3, 7)

#10. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-3, 4)

#9. San Francisco 49ers (3-4, 6)

#8. Miami Dolphins (4-3, 12)

#7. Minnesota Vikings (5-1, 10)

#6. Tennessee Titans (4-2, 9)

Super Bowl contenders:

#5. Cincinnati Bengals (4-3, 8)

#4. Dallas Cowboys (5-2, 5)

#3. Philadelphia Eagles (6-0, 3)

Super Bowl favorites:

#2. Kansas City Chiefs (4-3, 2)

#1. Buffalo Bills (5-1, 1)

Week eight predictions:

Baltimore Ravens @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers:

The Ravens did what I thought they would do last week, as they held off the Browns 23-20. Baltimore’s offense simply had more firepower and thus made more clutch plays late. The Bucs, however, stunningly were beat down 21-3 by the Panthers. Yes, the Carolina Panthers. I can’t even put into words how awful and unacceptable it is for a team with Super Bowl aspirations like the Bucs to lose to a team that was believed by many to be the worst team in the league by far coming into the week. Tom Brady is not playing up to his standards, but his lackluster offensive line is not helping. Brady is not a mobile quarterback, so he is kind of a sitting duck if he doesn’t get protection. The defense is under-performing as well. I don’t know how to fix all these problems, but Brady and the Bucs have lots of work to do. I have no confidence in this pick, but I am going to take Tampa Bay to win here. The Bucs have to bounce back this week, and I think that their desperation will lead them to a win. They are theoretically more talented than the Ravens and are playing at home. With that being said, Tampa Bay can’t be trusted in the slightest and I would not be surprised at all if Baltimore wins.

Prediction: Buccaneers 19, Ravens 17

Denver Broncos vs Jacksonville Jaguars:

The Jags make their annual visit to London this week, and they bring the Broncos with them. The Jags suffered a heartbreaking loss last week as Christian Kirk was tackled on the one yard line on the final play of the game. Jacksonville would have won if Kirk had scored, but he fell ever so short. Russell Wilson missed last week with a partial hamstring tear, and Brett Rypien started at quarterback for Denver in a 16-9 loss to the Jets. The defense was solid, but the offense couldn’t get anything going. Wilson is on track to return this week, but it is not a sure thing that he plays. Either way, I’ll take the Jags to win. They are due for a win after four consecutive losses and they have been playing better than Denver, especially offensively, all season.

Prediction: Jaguars 23, Broncos 20

Carolina Panthers @ Atlanta Falcons:

After trading Christian McCaffrey last Thursday night, the Panthers were supposed to collapse and be the worst team in football by far for the rest of the season. Instead, they pulled off one of the more shocking upsets in recent memory, blowing out the Bucs 21-3. I don’t have any analysis for you on how they did it – it is utterly astounding. The Falcons were crushed 35-17 by the Bengals last week. Their defense was shredded by Joe Burrow for 450 passing yards. There is no telling how this game will go, but the Falcons have had the more consistent offense to this point and are better coached, plus they are at home.

Prediction: Falcons 23, Panthers 17

Chicago Bears @ Dallas Cowboys:

The Bears stunningly dominated the Patriots 33-14 on Monday night football last week. Justin Fields had his best game of the season as he threw for one touchdown and ran for another, although he did throw one interception. The defense was the biggest story though, as they forced four New England turnovers and didn’t give up any points outside of the second quarter. The Cowboys took care of business last week against the Lions, winning 24-6. Dak Prescott and the offense struggled however, as they only put up 10 points in the first three quarters against a bad Detroit defense. Hopefully Dak was just knocking off the rust. I think the Bears defense falls back to earth this week, and I think the offense will struggle against Dallas’ elite defense.

Prediction: Cowboys 31, Bears 16

Miami Dolphins @ Detroit Lions:

Tua Tagovailoa returned for the Dolphins last week and led them to a 16-10 win over the Steelers. Similar to Prescott, Tua struggled, but he was probably just knocking off the rust. The Lions are in a huge slide, as they have lost four games in a row and only have one win this year. I expect the Phins to overwhelm them similar to how the Cowboys did last week, although I think the offense will be a little more productive.

Prediction: Dolphins 27, Lions 20

Arizona Cardinals @ Minnesota Vikings:

The Cardinals’ offense exploded with the return of DeAndre Hopkins last week. They scored four touchdowns, and the defense contributed two more scores in a 42-34 win over the Saints. Hopkins had 10 catches for 103 yards in his return. The Vikings are coming off their bye week, so they should be well rested. However, I think they will be a little sluggish out of the gate, helping Arizona’s hot offense to take an early lead. Minnesota will make it close, but I think the Cards will be able to hold them off.

Prediction: Cardinals 31, Vikings 27

Las Vegas Raiders @ New Orleans Saints:

Unlike some other teams, the Raiders did what they were supposed to do last week, thrashing the Texans 38-20. Josh Jacobs led the way with 155 rushing yards and three touchdowns. The Saints are reeling after a 42-34 loss to the Cardinals last week. The defense is really struggling, and although their offense has talent, their quarterback play has been inconsistent. Case in point, Andy Dalton threw four touchdown passes last week, but he also tossed three interceptions. The Raiders are the more consistent and well rounded team, so I will take them to win.

Prediction: Raiders 30, Saints 24

New England Patriots @ New York Jets:

The Jets won a slop fest over the Broncos 16-9 last week to improve to 5-2, but it was a costly win. New York’s two best offensive players, running back Breece Hall and offensive lineman Elijah Vera-Tucker, suffered season ending injuries. Their defense is awesome, but I expect the offense to struggle from here on out unless quarterback Zach Wilson improves. The Patriots greatly disappointed last week, as they were crushed 33-14 by the Bears. Mac Jones returned from an ankle injury to start at quarterback, but he completed just three of six passes for 13 yards and an interception before being benched in favor of rookie Bailey Zappe, who went 2-0 while Jones was injured. Zappe immediately led two touchdown drives to give New England a 14-10 lead, but he turned the ball over three times after that, and the Pats didn’t score again. Bill Jones will get the start this week, but this situation is very influx right now. Belichick and the Pats have historically dominated the Jets. I think this quarterback competition will allow the Pats to find their best option and thus have the best version of their offense. The Jets traded for running back James Robinson from the Jaguars to help replace Hall, but I don’t think their offense will be the same without him and Vera-Tucker. This will probably be a hard fought, defensive game, and Belichick is at his best in those types games. I think New England’s offense will be slightly better, so I’ll give them the upper hand here.

Prediction: Patriots 20, Jets 16

Pittsburgh Steelers @ Philadelphia Eagles:

The Steelers followed up their stunning upset of the Buccaneers by losing to the Dolphins 16-10 last week. They have a decent defense, and their offense is talented except for the offensive line. Rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett is playing alright given the circumstances, but the coaching and the lack of pass protection is not helping him. The offense will continue to struggle until the play calling and offensive line improve. The Eagles on the other hand are undefeated and coming off their bye week. They may come out of the gates slow, but their superior talent and offensive coaching should help them get the win. Philly will probably lose a game sooner than later, but I don’t think it will be this week.

Prediction: Eagles 24, Steelers 16

Tennessee Titans @ Houston Texans:

The Titans are rolling. They beat the Colts 19-10 last week. The offense wasn’t anything special, but the defense really stepped up as Tennessee picked up their fourth straight win. The Texans were demolished 38-20 by the Raiders in week seven. They just don’t have the talent to keep up with most of the teams in the NFL this year. This should be another easy win for the Titans.

Prediction: Titans 26, Texans 14

Washington Commanders @ Indianapolis Colts:

After the week seven loss to the Titans, the Colts made a stunning change at quarterback. Matt Ryan has been benched for the rest of the season, and youngster Sam Ehlinger will start for the rest of the season. Ehlinger was drafted in the sixth round of the 2021 draft and has not started a game until now. He was not a highly touted prospect coming out of college, so expectations are not high. The Commanders, on the other hand, made a second half comeback to stun the Packers 23-21. Taylor Heinicke was dominant during the comeback after struggling early. This will probably be a sloppy game, but I have to take Washington to win. Indi’s already mediocre offense is expected to take a step back with Ehlinger at quarterback, so I find it hard to see them winning many games unless he surprises.

Prediction: Commanders 23, Colts 17

San Francisco 49ers @ Los Angeles Rams:

The big news surrounding the Niners right now is the trade for running back Christian McCaffrey. After only seeing 10 touches in his first game with the team, CMC should be fully integrated into the offense this week. The Niners ran into a buzzsaw in the Chiefs last week, and their defense surrendered 44 points. The offense had a decent day, but they had no chance of keeping up with Patrick Mahomes and company. The Niners have the Rams number in a similar way to how the Patriots always beat the Jets. The Niners almost never lose to the Rams. They beat them 24-9 just a few weeks ago, and I expect them to win again here. San Francisco’s pass rush is too much for Los Angeles’ bad offensive line to handle.

Prediction: 49ers 27, Rams 21

New York Giants @ Seattle Seahawks:

The Giants miraculously keep winning in the luckiest way possible. Last week, they tackled Jaguars receiver Christian Kirk at the one-yard line as time expired to secure a 23-17 win. The G-Men play physical and do a great job of identifying their own strengths and their opponent’s weaknesses. The Seahawks continued to impress last week, crushing the Chargers 37-16. Rookie running back Kenneth Walker III dominated, running for 168 yards and two touchdowns, and the defense had their second great game in a row. This should be one of the best games of the week. I’m going to have to take the Giants because of their great coaching and ability to execute game plans that both take advantage of their strengths and attack the opponent’s weaknesses. The Seahawks are fun, but they definitely have weaknesses that the Giants can exploit.

Prediction: Giants 24, Seahawks 23

Green Bay Packers @ Buffalo Bills:

Everybody knew coming into the season that the Packers’ receiving core was bad, but no one could have predicted it to be this bad. Aaron Rodgers is getting desperate and forcing bad passes to receivers who aren’t open, and often times the receivers drop perfectly good passes on the rare occasion they do get open. Things are just broken in Green Bay, and they probably won’t be getting much better this week against the Bills who took down the Chiefs before their bye week and are the undisputed best team in football.

Prediction: Bills 31, Packers 23

Cincinnati Bengals @ Cleveland Browns:

Joe Burrow and the Bengals have caught fire in their last two games, piling up 65 points against the Saints and Falcons. After a slow start to the year, it finally appears that they are back to the team that made it to the Super Bowl last year. As for the Browns, we know who they are. Their offense runs through their running backs, and their defense is average. They are extremely predictable but also competitive. The Bengals shouldn’t have a hard time winning this one.

Prediction: Bengals 30, Browns 20