NFL capsules for Week 8

October 26, 2021 08:04 PM

Green Bay Packers at Arizona Cardinals

We don’t have to wait long for the marquee matchup of Week 8 as the Green Bay Packers (6-1 SU and ATS) visit the Arizona Cardinals (7-0 SU, 6-1 ATS) on Thursday night. The Packers remain unblemished since their opening dud against the Saints, while the Cardinals are looking to go 8-0. The Packers just had one of the more unlikely covers of the year, considering they were laying 9.5 and were outgained by 130 yards against Washington while losing the yards-per-play stat. They might also be without star receiver Davante Adams, who was placed on the COVID-19 list. The Cardinals, on the other hand, covered the biggest number of the year as they overcame a 5-0 deficit to beat the Texans and the 20-point spread. They held the Texans to 160 yards of offense and 3.3 yards per play while winning 31-5. The Packers will look to improve their rushing defense, as they gave up 195 yards to Washington. The Cardinals are favored by 6, and the total is 53.5.

Miami Dolphins at Buffalo Bills

The Miami Dolphins (1-6 SU, 2-5 ATS) face the Buffalo Bills (4-2 SU and ATS) in a rematch of Week 2. The Dolphins entered the first matchup 1-0, while the Bills were 0-1 coming off an ugly home loss to the Steelers. The Bills were favored by just 3 in that matchup but won 35-0. The teams have gone in opposite directions since their openers. The Dolphins are 28th in the league at a meager 4.9 yards per play on offense and will face the stingy Bills, whose defense will have extra time to rest and prepare off the bye and allows a league-leading 4.7 yards per play. The Dolphins may be getting healthier as wide receivers Will Fuller and DeVante Parker might have a chance to play this week. The Bills are favored by 13.5, and the total is 49.

Carolina Panthers at Atlanta Falcons

The Carolina Panthers (3-4 SU and ATS) visit the Atlanta Falcons (3-3 SU and ATS) as both teams try to hang on in the NFC wild-card race. The Panthers started 3-0, covering each game, but have since lost four in a row and failed to cover in all four. The Falcons have battled back from a rocky 0-2 start to reach .500, beating the Dolphins last week on a final-play field goal. The Falcons are favored by 2.5 as the Panthers will still be without star running back Christian McCaffrey. The Panthers have not won without McCaffrey, and Sam Darnold’s production has fallen to the point that he was benched in Sunday’s loss to the Giants as the team gained just 171 yards. Coach Matt Rhule has said Darnold would start this week. The Falcons are favored by 2.5, and the total is 46.5.

Philadelphia Eagles at Detroit Lions

The Philadelphia Eagles (2-5 SU, 3-4 ATS) visit the Detroit Lions (0-7 SU, 4-3 ATS), and both teams will soon be looking toward next year barring swift turnarounds. The Lions are the league’s lone winless team but have been profitable for bettors and are coming off their most recent ATS victory against the Rams and former Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford. The Lions were 16.5-point dogs but went toe to toe with the Rams, winning yardage as well as yards per play. Bettors should note coach Dan Campbell’s aggressive strategy to open last week’s game. The Lions attempted and recovered an onside kick after their opening scoring drive and successfully faked a punt on the second drive. The Eagles also scored on the opening drive last week against the Raiders. However, a 7-0 lead turned into a 30-7 deficit as the Eagles allowed 7 yards per play. The 33-22 final was a bit misleading, as the Eagles scored two touchdowns in the fourth quarter with the game well out of reach. The Eagles are favored by 4, and the total is 47.5.

Tennessee Titans at Indianapolis Colts

The Tennessee Titans (5-2 SU and ATS) are coming off statement wins over the Bills, and they now visit the resurgent Indianapolis Colts (3-4 SU, 5-2 ATS). The Colts started 0-3 but have won three of four, the only loss coming against the Ravens after the Colts led by 19 points late in the third quarter. The Colts captured a rain-soaked victory Sunday night in San Francisco and are getting healthier after a rash of early-season injuries to multiple key players. They have been one of the more profitable teams in the league at 5-2 ATS. The Titans had as impressive a six-day stretch as we will see, capped by remarkably holding the Chiefs to three points Sunday. These teams met in Week 3, with the Titans winning 25-16 and covering the 6-point spread. The Titans were 2.5-point dogs on the lookahead line, but a showcase win against the Chiefs has propelled them to 1.5-point favorites. The total is 49.

Los Angeles Rams at Houston Texans

The Los Angeles Rams (5-2 ATS, 4-3 SU) are on the road against the Houston Texans (1-6 SU, 3-4 ATS), but that hasn’t discouraged oddsmakers from pegging the visitors as two-touchdown favorites, the biggest spread on the Week 8 board. The Rams were huge favorites last week as well but were unimpressive in a nine-point victory over the Lions, getting outgained and being on the short end of yards per play. The Texans also were involved in a large spread last week but could not cover the 20-point line, the biggest of the season so far, falling 31-5 to the Cardinals. While plucky early in the season with Tyrod Taylor under center, the Texans have simply struggled to remain competitive since his injury. A return home will certainly be welcomed by the Texans, who have been outscored 102-8 in their last three road contests. The total is 48.

Cincinnati Bengals at New York Jets

The Cincinnati Bengals (5-2 SU and ATS) are favored by 9.5 points over the New York Jets (1-5 SU and ATS). The lookahead line was 4.5, but the Bengals’ impressive win in Baltimore coupled with the Jets getting embarrassed in Foxboro have led to this dramatic line movement. The Bengals are in first place in the AFC North and are perhaps the most surprising team in the NFL. They have been impressive on both sides of the ball, ranking third in yards per play on offense and fourth in yards per play on defense. They also have the clear favorite for Offensive Rookie of the Year, as Ja’Marr Chase shattered the record for most receiving yards for a player through his first seven games. They will take on a Jets team that has been inept on offense, averaging 4.6 yards per play, 31st in the league. To make matters worse, rookie quarterback Zach Wilson will not play after suffering an MCL injury in the loss to the Patriots. Recently reacquired Joe Flacco or journeyman Mike White will be under center. The total is 43.5.

Pittsburgh Steelers at Cleveland Browns

The Pittsburgh Steelers (3-3 SU, 2-4 ATS) go on the road to play their division rival, the Cleveland Browns (4-3 SU and ATS). Injuries will be a key factor in where this line goes, as Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield is expected to miss the game and running back Kareem Hunt is on IR. While the Browns’ other star running back, Nick Chubb, is expected to return, several other starters appear on the injury report. Case Keenum will be under center if Mayfield isn’t. He was serviceable in a 17-14 win over the Broncos on Thursday night. The Steelers are in the AFC North basement and have been quite pedestrian on offense, averaging just over 5 yards per play, 26th in the league. The Browns are favored by 3.5, and the total is 42.5.

San Francisco 49ers at Chicago Bears

The San Francisco 49ers (2-4 SU, 1-5 ATS) visit the Chicago Bears (3-4 SU and ATS) with both teams desperate for a victory. The 49ers started 2-0 but have not won since and are coming off a home loss to the Colts after leading 9-0. This could turn into a battle of rookie quarterbacks, as some expect Trey Lance to take over sooner rather than later as 49ers incumbent Jimmy Garoppolo has struggled. But coach Kyle Shanahan maintains he is sticking with Garoppolo. Justin Fields and the Bears will be looking to rebound after a 38-3 shellacking by the Bucs. At 4.4 yards per play on offense, the Bears are dead last in the league. The 49ers are favored by 3.5, and the total is the lowest on the board at 39.5.

Jacksonville Jaguars at Seattle Seahawks

The Jacksonville Jaguars (1-5 SU, 2-4 ATS) are coming off their first victory under Urban Meyer and will have an extra week of rest after beating the Dolphins in London two weeks ago. The Seattle Seahawks (2-5 SU, 4-3 ATS) have missed the playoffs just once with Russell Wilson at quarterback, never finishing below .500. Both those trends are in serious jeopardy, as the Seahawks can ill afford to fall any further behind in the stacked NFC West and have lost three in a row. While the results haven’t been good for Seahawks fans, bettors have cashed the last two weeks as backup quarterback Geno Smith has covered in his last seven starts dating to 2014. He is likely to remain the starter for at least one more week for the desperate Seahawks, who are favored by 3.5. The total is 43.5.

New England Patriots at Los Angeles Chargers

The New England Patriots (3-4 SU, 4-3 ATS) visit the Los Angeles Chargers (4-2 SU and ATS) in a rematch of a game the Patriots won 45-0 last season. The Chargers are looking to rebound from their worst performance of the season two weeks ago against the Ravens and will have an extra week to prepare as they are off a bye. The Patriots are coming off their strongest showing of the season as they buried the Jets 54-13. Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert is no longer a rookie, but Bill Belichick has had a great deal of success stifling young signal-callers, something to perhaps consider. The Chargers are favored by 5.5, and the total is 49.

Washington Football Team at Denver Broncos

Two of the more disappointing teams in the league square off as Washington (2-5 SU, 1-6 ATS) visits the Denver Broncos (3-4 SU and ATS). Washington was a trendy pick to repeat in the NFC East but instead is a couple of last-second victories from being winless. Washington lost in Green Bay last week, remarkably outrushing the Packers 195-57 and winning yards per play but failing time and again to convert in the red zone. The Broncos were the darlings of the league a short while ago, winning their first three games in decisive fashion. But a cluster of injuries have derailed that hot start, and they have lost four straight. The beaten-up Broncos are favored by 3.5, and the total is 44.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at New Orleans Saints

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-1, 2-5 ATS) won the Super Bowl last year, but the New Orleans Saints (4-2 SU and ATS) won the division. Both of last year’s regular-season meetings went to the Saints, who won by a combined 46 points. The third matchup, however, came in the divisional round, and the Bucs eliminated the Saints in New Orleans, ending Drew Brees’ career. The Bucs are coming off their strongest showing of the season, a 38-3 destruction of the Bears. Despite their flashy 6-1 record, the Bucs have covered just twice. The Saints will face a short week of prep after battling the rain to hold off the Seahawks 13-10 Monday night in Seattle. The Bucs are favored by 4.5, and the total is 50.

Dallas Cowboys at Minnesota Vikings

It will be a fun matchup Sunday night as the Dallas Cowboys (5-1 SU, 6-0 ATS) look to maintain their unblemished ATS record as they take on the Minnesota Vikings (3-3 SU and ATS). While the Cowboys have covered every game, a modicum of concern surrounds quarterback Dak Prescott, who injured his calf two weeks ago. Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said he does expect Prescott to play. These teams met last year, and though Prescott was out, the Cowboys won as 7-point dogs in Minnesota with Andy Dalton under center. Both teams are off byes. The Vikings average nearly 6 yards per play on offense, while the Cowboys are first in the league averaging 6.6. The Cowboys are favored by 2, and the total is 54.5.

New York Giants at Kansas City Chiefs

Week 8 concludes as the New York Giants (2-5 SU, 3-4 ATS) visit the Kansas City Chiefs (3-4 SU, 2-5 ATS). The Chiefs were favored to win the Super Bowl coming into the season but are in serious danger of missing the playoffs. They lead the league in turnovers with 17, they are last in yards per play on defense at 6.6 and they have covered just three times in their last 18 games. Yet they are 10.5-point favorites this week as they take on a Giants team that was impressive in last week’s 25-3 win over the Panthers. The Giants will have notable injuries to monitor as star running back Saquon Barkley remains out and wide receivers Kadarius Toney, Kenny Golladay and Sterling Shepard missed last week’s game. The struggling Chiefs may still be a tempting option for survivor players as this is one of the higher spreads on the board. The total is 52.

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