NFL picks for Week 8 from Matt Youmans

October 28, 2023 10:15 AM

With rookie quarterback Anthony Richardson out for the season, the Colts are Gardner Minshew’s team, for better or worse. The Minshew experience is usually a mix of highs and lows in any given game, and that was the case a week ago.

Minshew did a lot of good things, passing for 305 yards and accounting for four touchdowns, while Indianapolis totaled 456 yards against a Cleveland defense that ranked No. 1 in the NFL. Minshew made some mistakes, too, losing three fumbles and throwing one interception in a 39-38 loss to the Browns. The Colts deserved the win, but an incompetent officiating crew made two major late-game blunders to change the outcome.

The bright side for Indianapolis was its offensive outburst against an elite defense. The Minshew mistakes were the dark side. Minshew has passed for 634 yards in the past two games, so he’s showing some positive signs going into a home game against the Saints on Sunday when the Colts are hoping to get a fair shake from the officials.

New Orleans fans now realize why the Raiders were ready to ditch veteran quarterback Derek Carr, who has six touchdown passes and four interceptions through seven games. The Saints rank 21st in the league in scoring offense (19.0 ppg), and they would rank lower if the league was not riddled with so many awful offenses.

The Saints have lost four of their past five and have done little to show they deserve to be road favorites.

Pick: Colts +1.5

My five sides went 4-1 last week, and the season record in this column is 18-16-1. Four more plays for Week 8, with home ‘dogs as the theme (home team in CAPS):

STEELERS (+2) over Jaguars

Since getting blown out by the Texans in Week 3, Jacksonville has put together an impressive four-game winning streak. Still, this is the Jaguars’ fifth game in October — their bye is next week — and quarterback Trevor Lawrence is banged up. Pittsburgh keeps finding ways to win despite its plodding offense, and coach Mike Tomlin is one of the league’s top ‘dogs with an 18-5-3 ATS record as a home underdog.

COMMANDERS (+7) over Eagles

As good as he was last season, Philadelphia quarterback Jalen Hurts has been borderline bad this season and has nine turnovers in seven games. The Eagles are 6-1 with three wins by one score, including a 34-31 overtime victory over the Commanders on Oct. 1. Washington is getting enough points in a division revenge situation to trick me into this pick, which is only a contest play and not a real bet.

GIANTS (+3) over Jets

A neck injury will sideline Giants quarterback Daniel Jones for a third consecutive game, but that’s not a negative for the home underdog in the battle of New York. Tyrod Taylor has played well in his two turnover-free starts while not taking as many sacks as Jones did during the team’s 1-4 start. The return of Saquon Barkley, who has 160 rushing yards in the past two games, has been a boost for Taylor. The Giants also have been better defensively, allowing a total of 21 points in the past two games. The total is 35.5 in what will be a low-scoring game, so there should be a slight advantage to taking the points.

PACKERS (+1.5) over Vikings

Kirk Cousins delivered Monday night by passing for 378 yards in Minnesota’s 22-17 upset of the 49ers. After the Vikings’ high point of the season, this should be a flat spot. Cousins cannot be counted on to excel in back-to-back games, and he’s still without star receiver Justin Jefferson. Jordan Love has made mistakes and is taking most of the blame for Green Bay’s three-game losing skid, but this could be when the young quarterback bounces back with the help of running back Aaron Jones and more aggressive play calling.

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