NFL Week 8 picks: Steelers stun Ravens in AFC North showdown, Patriots shock Bills in Buffalo


I had no idea the NFL celebrated Halloween, but apparently it does, because that’s the only way to explain the prime-time schedule for Week 8. I mean, I’ve seen some horrifying things in my life, but nothing is quite as jarring as what we’re all about to experience together this week. 

Here’s a look at the prime-time schedule for Week 8: 

Thursday: Falcons at Panthers
Sunday: Cowboys at Eagles
Monday: Giants at Buccaneers

Let’s check in with everyone on Twitter and see how they feel about it. 

I don’t usually agree with people who have that many dashes in their name, but I agree with that guy. 

Let’s see another reaction. 

I don’t usually agree with anyone who has Prisco in their Twitter handle, but I like his idea. 

If you want to know how you’re going to feel watching all three of these prime-time games this week, borrow a 6-year-old and take them to see “The Exorcist.” After the movie, ask them how they feel, and chances are, they’re going to say something along the lines of, “I’m never going to sleep again and I’m probably going to have nightmares for life,” which basically describes what’s going to happen to everyone who watches all three of those games. HAPPY HALLOWEEN. Pray for us all. 

Alright, let’s get to the picks. 

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 may or may not have heard, I’m now 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 seven cent bonus every time someone signs up, although I also have to give seven cents back every time I get a pick wrong, so it kind of evens itself out over time. 

Since I’m now running a newsletter, you might be thinking that I’ll be way too busy to podcast, but nope. If there’s two things I’m never too busy for, it’s podcasting and playing Boggle. 

On the podcasting end, for the rest of the season, I’ll be joining Will Brinson and Ryan Wilson three days per week (Monday, Tuesday 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 listen is because we spent way more time than we probably should have debating whether the Bears are frauds.    

If you don’t have time to listen now, make sure to click here so you can subscribe and listen later.

Alright, let’s get to the picks before I think of something else to promote. 

NFL Week 8 Picks

New England (2-4) at Buffalo (5-2)

1 p.m. ET (CBS)
Point spread: Bills -3.5 

I have no idea what’s going on with Cam Newton right now, but it seems there’s definitely a problem and that problem is that he can’t throw to his right. Since returning from his stay on the COVID-19 list, Newton has played in two games and in those two games, he’s thrown five interceptions and zero touchdowns. More importantly, out of the 40 passes he’s thrown, only THREE of them have gone to his right. 

Now, this is definitely not a good thing, but I don’t want to sit here and say this means that Cam can’t be successful. I mean, Derek Zoolander couldn’t turn left and things worked out well for him, which is actually good news for Cam, because if there’s one player in the NFL who’s basically the league’s version of Zoolander, it’s definitely Newton. 

As a matter of fact, I’m pretty sure half of all the clothing Cam owns was purchased directly from the wardrobe department off the set of Zoolander. 

As for my pick, normally, I would be highly concerned if a quarterback I was thinking about picking to win couldn’t throw to his right, but in this case, it doesn’t really bother me and that’s because Cam might not have to complete a single pass to his right or to his left or to anyone for the Patriots to win this game. 

For the past three years, Bill Belichick has been living rent free in the head of Bills coach Sean McDermott, and I’m pretty sure he also has a summer home in Josh Allen’s head. McDermott is 0-6 all-time against New England and three of those losses have come with Allen as the starter. Allen and McDermott have been absolutely atrocious against Belichick, and since you’re now probably wondering, here’s how many points the Bills have scored in McDermott’s six career games against the Patriots: 17, 16, 12, 10, 6, 3. That’s an average of 10.7 points per game (The three games that Allen started, the Bills scored 17, 12 and 10). 

I think what I’m trying to say here is that I’m not going to be convinced the Bills can score points on the Patriots or beat them until I actually see it happen. New England’s season is basically on the line in this game and that’s one situation where I’m not going to pick against Belichick.  

The pick: Patriots 20-17 over Bills. 

What picks can you make with confidence in Week 8? And which Super Bowl contender goes down hard? Visit SportsLine here to see which NFL teams are winning more than 50 percent of simulations, all from the model that is up over $7,800 on its top-rated picks.

Pittsburgh (6-0) at Baltimore (5-1)

1 p.m. ET (CBS)
Point spread: Ravens -3.5

Lamar Jackson might want to think about dumping his cleats for this game and wearing some track shoes instead, because I have a feeling that the Steelers defense is going to have him running for his life. Jackson only has one start against the Steelers in his career and that came last season in a game where he threw three interceptions, was sacked five times and only threw for 161 yards, and that was the Lamar Jackson who went on to win MVP. This year Lamar is not quite playing at an MVP-level, which could be an issue for the Ravens offense, because the Steelers defense is playing as good, if not better than last season. 

Through seven weeks, the Steelers already have racked up 26 sacks, which leads the NFL. As for Jackson, he’s been sacked 15 times, which is the second most in the NFL for a starting quarterback on a team with a winning record. Basically, although Baltimore has had a pretty easy time scoring points this season, this doesn’t feel like a game where they’re going to be able to score at will. 

To even things out, the Ravens will be bringing in their secret weapon: Yannick Ngakoue. If Jackson is going to be running for his life, it only makes sense to make Ben Roethlisberger do the same and no one is better at making Big Ben do that than Ngakoue. In three career games against Roethlisberger, Ngakoue has two sacks, one forced fumbled (that was returned for a touchdown) and five QB hits. As a matter of fact, I’m mildly convinced that the only reason John Harbaugh traded for Ngakoue was so he could play in this game. Any other production after Sunday is just a bonus. 

The Steelers almost beat the Ravens last year without Roethlisberger and now that they have him, I think they’re actually going to get the job done. 

The pick: Steelers 26-23 over Ravens

San Francisco (4-3) at Seattle (5-1)

4:25 p.m. ET (Fox)
Point spread: Seahawks -3 

Through seven weeks, it’s become pretty clear that the Seahawks have one major flaw and that flaw is their defense. Having a major flaw isn’t necessarily a bad thing. My major flaw is that I will watch “Charlie St. Cloud” anytime it’s on TV. To fix that flaw, I’ve destroyed all the televisions in my house. Unfortunately for the Seahawks, there’s no easy fix for their problem. 

If you want to know how bad the Seahawks defense has been this year, just consider this: They’re giving up 479.2 yards per game, which ranks dead last in the NFL. As a matter of fact, no other team is even giving up 430 yards per game. The Seahawks are on pace to give up 7,667 yards for the season, which doesn’t even seem mathematically possible. I mean, only one team in NFL history has even surrendered 7,000 yards in a season and that was the 2012 Saints, who gave up an NFL-record 7,042. 

The only reason the Seahawks are 5-1 is because Russell Wilson is currently in the midst of putting together one of the best seasons ever by a quarterback. Wilson has been so good that he’s been hiding Seattle’s deficiencies, and there are a lot of them to hide. The problem for the Seahawks is that if Wilson starts to make mistakes, that likely means they’re going to lose, which is something we saw on Sunday when he turned the ball over three times in a loss to Arizona. 

The other problem for the Seahawks is that NFC West teams seem to be their kryptonite. Dating back to Week 12 of last season, the Seahawks have played 12 regular-season games and they’re 0-4 against NFC West teams, but 8-0 against everyone else and this game isn’t against a team from the “everyone else” category. 

The pick: 49ers 34-31 over Seahawks

Dallas (2-5) at Philadelphia (2-4-1)

8:20 p.m. ET (NBC)
Point spread: TBA

I have to say, whoever is in charge of flexing Sunday night games this year fell asleep at the wheel this week because there are about eight better games that would have made more sense here. If it had been up to me, I would have flexed Steelers-Ravens, 49ers-Seahawks, Raiders-Browns or even Saints-Bears into the Sunday night slot over Cowboys-Eagles. I mean, they could have moved the Jaguars here and I would have been happy and the Jaguars are on a bye. I would have also been fine with a Hallmark Christmas movie being flexed in, but alas, it didn’t happen, so I guess I’ll be watching “Jingle Bell Bride” at its normal time this weekend. 

Anyway, it’s almost fitting that the Cowboys and Eagles 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. I mean, I think the answer is the Cowboys, but if the Eagles somehow lose on Sunday, then they’re the answer. 

The problem for the Cowboys in this game is that their entire offensive line is injured, they might be down to their third-string quarterback and the next time their defense makes a stop will be the first time they make a stop. I know the NFC East has been unpredictable this season, but I feel like this is the one game that’s actually easy to predict. It took me seven weeks, but I’m finally off the Cowboys bandwagon (although I will surely be jumping back on if they somehow find a way to win). 

The pick: Eagles 24-17 over Cowboys

Lock of the Week

Tampa Bay at N.Y. Giants 

Monday, 8:15 p.m. ET (ESPN)
Point spread: Buccaneers -10.5 

If you’re starting to feel like the Giants play a lot of prime-time games and that they also never seem to win those games, I have some news for you, you’re not crazy. Putting the Giants in prime time has been a full-fledged disaster, but the NFL keeps doing it and my only theory for why is because it hates us. 

Since the start of the 2018 season, the Giants have played in nine prime-time games and in those games, they’ve gone 1-8 and lost by an average of 11 points. Daniel Jones has started in four of those games and he’s gone 0-4 while throwing seven interceptions. The only highlight Jones has in primetime came on a play where he didn’t even score. 

That run basically epitomizes my last two trips to Vegas and while also epitomizing how I think this game is going to go for the Giants: Everything gets off to a fast start, but then the night ends with you stumbling around and falling on your face.

Jones has turned the ball over 11 times this year, he has had a fumble or interception in every single one of his 19 career starts and he’s going up against a defense that has forced 12 turnovers on the season. I don’t know what the exact recipe for disaster is, but I feel like those things are involved. 

The pick: Buccaneers 31-20 over Giants
Lock of the week record: 8-1 straight up, 6-3 against the spread

NFL Week 8 picks: All the rest

Panthers 27-20 over Falcons
Colts 31-24 over Lions
Raiders 30-27 over Browns
Packers 34-24 over Vikings
Chiefs 38-13 over Jets
Titans 27-24 over Bengals
Rams 31-23 over Dolphins
Chargers 23-16 over Broncos
Saints 30-20 over Bears
Buccaneers 31-20 over Giants

BYES: Cardinals, Jaguars, Texans, Washington

Picks note: If you have an endless hunger for picks, there’s now VIDEO that you can watch. Every week, the crew from the Pick Six Podcast will be getting together to talk about a few of the upcoming games. This week, we argued for two minutes about whether anyone should actually bet on the Jets, who are a 21-point underdog to the Chiefs. I haven’t decided if I’ll be including a link to this YouTube video every week, but you’re getting it right now, and it’s free, so there’s no downside to clicking right here. 

Last Week

Best pick: Last week, I predicted that the underdog Lions would go into Atlanta and beat the Falcons and guess what happened? The underdog Lions went into Atlanta and beat the Falcons. 

Now, did I know that the Falcons were going to lose in the most improbable way possible? Of course I did! I mean, have you ever watched a single Falcons game? That’s all they know how to do. They literally find a new way to lose every week and just when you think they might run out of improbable ways to lose, they come up with something else. It’s actually pretty remarkable. 

In this game, the Falcons lost because Todd Gurley couldn’t stop himself from scoring a touchdown. 

Normally, scoring a touchdown is a good thing, unless you’re playing for the Falcons, then obviously it’s a bad thing that’s definitely going to lead to defeat. 

Worst pick: If I’ve learned one thing about myself over the past week, it’s that I’m addicted to picking the Cowboys to win, which makes no sense, because they’re one of the worst teams in the NFL and they always lose. As such, I’ve spent the past 48 hours at BPA meetings (Bad Pickers Anonymous) trying to get this issue rectified and I think we finally had a breakthrough. Apparently, my problem is that since I picked the Cowboys to go to the Super Bowl, I’ve been picking them out of shame and guilt each week in a desperate hope to keep my preseason pick alive. That’s not how life works though. 

I have to say though, after picking the Cowboys to win in each of the past two weeks, I have finally cleansed myself of them. I am off the bandwagon (Actually, a more accurate representation of events is that the bandwagon crashed into a brick wall and I fell off, but the key here is that I’m off). As you may or may not have noticed, I AM NOT PICKING THEM TO WIN IN WEEK 8. This is so freeing. Also, from the looks of it, it appears I got off the bandwagon at just the right time. 

The pain that comes when you accidentally wipe your eye with a finger that has Tabasco sauce on it is basically the same pain Cowboys fans have been feeling all season, so that’s kind of fitting.  

Finally, if you guys have ever wondered which teams I’m actually good at picking, I’m going to start sharing that information with you now that we’re seven weeks into the season and have a decent sample size. 

Here’s a quick look at the teams I’ve done well picking:

Teams I’m 6-0 picking this year (Straight up): Ravens

Teams I’m 6-1 picking this year (Straight up): Jets, Chiefs, Packers (5-1), Saints (5-1), Chargers (5-1), Giants (5-1), Steelers (5-1), Dolphins (5-1).

On the other hand, I’ve also been very bad picking a few teams like the Cowboys (2-5), Cardinals (2-5) and Raiders (2-4). Fortunately for me, I don’t have a 0-7 record or 1-6 record picking any teams this season. 

Picks Record

Straight up in Week 7: 7-7
SU overall: 66-37-1

Against the spread in Week 7: 8-6
ATS overall: 51-52-1


You can find John Breech on Facebook or Twitter and if he’s not doing one of those things, he’s probably trying to convince everyone in his book club to sign up for his NFL newsletter, which you can do by clicking here.





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