Fans of the Ravens, Browns and Bears probably aren’t going to have to celebrate Halloween next week and that’s because I’m pretty sure they got their fill of horrors over the weekend.
Of all the things I didn’t expect to see in Week 7, I can tell you that Ravens kicker Justin Tucker missing an extra point tops the list. If you would have asked me over the weekend what was more likely to happen, Blake Bortles throwing for 700 yards in a game or Tucker missing an extra point, I definitely wouldn’t have said Tucker missing an extra point because that guy never misses. Well, he used to never miss. Now he sometimes misses.
I mean, just look at his face. It’s a combination of horror and shock that you usually only see on someone’s face if they watched the end of an M. Night Shyamalan movie or the overtime portion of a Browns game. Browns fans basically make that face every week and that’s mostly because Cleveland always seems to find a new and exciting way to lose.
This week, the Browns lost on a 59-yard field goal, and based on his reaction, I’m not sure if Baker Mayfield was shocked by the kick or the fact that he now plays for a team that’s destined to lose for the rest of eternity.
Of course, the only thing worse than losing on a 59-yard field goal is losing after you COMPLETE a Hail Mary pass on the final play of the game, which is exactly what the Bears did.
For the most part, a Hail Mary is a pretty easy play to run: Several guys run into the end zone and then the quarterback throws the ball up for grabs. However, the Bears left out a key part and that would be the part where someone runs into the end zone. MItchell Trubisky’s throw also didn’t even make it to the end zone. Basically, if the end zone didn’t exist, then the Bears ran the perfect Hail Mary.
That is Kevin White catching the ball and being stopped at the 1-yard line on the final play of a game the Bears lost 38-31. Ouch.
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Although those three losses were rough, no one had a worse weekend than the Vikings fan who HAD HER CAR SET ON FIRE. Apparently, there was a tailgating mishap at MetLife Stadium and if we can all learn one thing from this it’s that you should never tailgate at MetLife Stadium.
Let me just say that if there’s ever a situation that would call for Justin Tucker shocked face, it’s walking out of an NFL stadium and noticing that your car has been burnt to a crisp.
The good news here is that the car was a rental and no one got hurt. The bad news here is that six other cars also caught on fire.
That has to be the record for most cars on fire at an NFL game. If it were tables on fire, Buffalo would definitely hold the record, but I’m thinking the car record belongs to the Jets.
Anyway, you know what else is going to be fire this week? My picks, so let’s get to them.
Actually, before we get to my picks, here’s a quick reminder that you can check out the weekly picks from every CBSSports.com NFL expert by clicking here. The reason you should click over and check out the other experts this week is because Jared Dubin took us all behind the woodshed. Dubin went 11-3 with his picks in Week 7 and now, I’m regretting the fact that I spent all my money on Mega Millions tickets, when I could have instead used that money to bet on Dubin’s picks. If I would have bet on Dubin’s picks, then I would have won and had even more money to spend on Mega Millions tickets. I clearly didn’t think this through.
On a related note, if I do win the lottery, the first thing I’m going to do is set my car on fire so I can see what it’s like to attend a Jets game.
So which teams should you back in Week 8 of the NFL season? And which Super Bowl contender goes down hard? Visit SportsLine now to see which teams are winning more than 50 percent of simulations, all from the model that has outperformed 98 percent of experts tracked by NFLPickWatch.com the past two seasons.
Alright, let’s get to my picks.
NFL Week 8 Picks
Philadelphia vs. Jacksonville in London
9:30 a.m. ET (NFL Network)
It’s a good thing the Jaguars have decided to stick with Blake Bortles as their starting quarterback this week, because if there’s one person you don’t want to bench for a London game, it’s Bortles. Bortles can’t figure out how to play football on American soil, but when you throw him on English soil, he turns into Tom Brady.
Since the beginning of the 2015 season, Bortles has gone 18-34 in America, but 3-0 in London and the Jaguars have averaged 36 points per game in those three wins. Basically, Bortles is unbeatable in London. As a matter of fact, I think you could easily make the argument that he’s having more success in England than every American not named Meghan Markle. Based on Bortles’ numbers, I now fully understand why Shad Khan wants to move the Jags to London. I mean, if your starting quarterback only played well in one country, you’d want to move your team there, too. That being said, if Bortles has another meltdown, I fully expect the Jaguars to spend the entire nine-hour flight home begging the Eagles to trade them Nick Foles.
In the non-Bortles department, the Eagles haven’t been able to run the ball at all this season, which means they’re not going to be able to take advantage of the Jacksonville’s run defense, which has been the Jags’ biggest defensive weakness this year. If this game was being played in America, I’d take the Eagles by two touchdowns, but there’s no way I’m picking against Bortles and the crazy Harry Potter magic he has going on in England.
The pick: Jaguars 20-16 over Eagles
Indianapolis at Oakland
4:05 p.m. ET (CBS)
The fun thing about this game is that I have no idea who’s going to be playing for the Raiders this week because there’s a 70 percent chance that they try to trade away half their roster before these two teams actually kickoff on Sunday. After trading Amari Cooper, I’m now convinced that Jon Gruden is willing to trade anything that isn’t nailed down at the Raiders’ practice facility. I can only imagine what it’s like to be Reggie McKenzie right now.
“Hey Reg, this desk in my office, what do you think we could get for it in a trade?”
“Nothing. It’s a desk.”
“I’ll tell ya what Reg, I think you’re wrong. I bet we could get a first-rounder. Jerry Jones loves desks. Call the Cowboys.”
Besides trading away his best players, the one other thing that Gruden seems to do all the time is complain about his team’s lack of a pass rush, which has actually been a good thing for me, because explaining irony to my 9-year-old nephew has now become much easier.
The problem with not having a pass rush is that it means the opposing quarterback can sit back and pick you apart, and when that quarterback is Andrew Luck, you’re in trouble. Over the past four weeks, Luck has quietly been on a hot streak that no one has really noticed because he plays on a 2-5 team. Since Week 4, Luck has thrown 15 touchdown passes, and to give you an idea of how ridiculous that is, no other quarterback has even thrown 12 touchdown passes since Week 4 (Patrick Mahomes has thrown nine in that span).
The most unbelievable thing about Luck’s run is that his offensive line has actually been protecting him. The Colts quarterback hasn’t been sacked a single time over the past two weeks, which is kind of crazy when you consider that this is just the second time in HIS ENTIRE CAREER that he’s gone two straight games without getting sacked. Of course, after basically getting hit on every play for the first five years of his career, Luck kind of deserves this break of a few weeks without taking a hit.
The pick: Colts 31-20 over Raiders
Green Bay at Los Angeles Rams
4:25 p.m. ET (FOX)
Normally, I don’t ever pick against Aaron Rodgers, but I do have one rule that supersedes the “Don’t pick against Aaron Rodgers” rule and it’s “Don’t pick against an undefeated team at home, especially when that undefeated team has Todd Gurley.” All you need to know about Gurley this season is that he has scored more points by himself than the Bills have scored all year.
I’m not sure if this means the Bills are bad, Gurley is good or a combination of both.
One interesting thing about this game is that the Packers are a nine-point underdog. Aaron Rodgers has never been a nine-point underdog in any regular-season game ever and the more I think about this game, the more I like the Packers. For one, Rodgers’ injured knee had an extra week to heal thanks to Green Bay’s bye. Speaking of the bye, Rodgers is 7-2 in his career when coming off of one. He’s also never thrown an interception against a Wade Phillips defense (10 touchdowns, zero interceptions) and he’s undefeated in his career against the Rams (4-0). I think I’ve just talked myself into taking the Packers, unless I haven’t.
The flip side here is that the quarterback position might actually be the only one on the field where the Packers are definitely better than the Rams. Also, did I mention that Todd Gurley has scored more points than an entire NFL team? I did. OK, just wanted to make sure.
Rodgers is single-handedly going to turn this game into a shootout, but I feel like the Rams just have more ammo.
The pick: Rams 41-34 over Packers
New Orleans at Minnesota
8:20 p.m. ET (NBC)
The NFL schedule makers must have really wanted to rub this whole Minneapolis Miracle thing into the Saints’ face this year because I’m pretty sure that’s the only way to explain why the league would send the Saints to Minnesota EXACTLY NINE MONTHS after the Vikings’ wild playoff win.
The entire population of Minneapolis is going to double this week because Marcus Williams missed a tackle nine months ago. Of course, maybe this population boom is a good thing for New Orleans because it could mean more Saints fans can attend the game on Sunday. I mean, if everyone in Minnesota is having a baby, then they obviously can’t attend the game, which means more tickets for Saints fans. More babies also means more potential customers for the app I’m going to invent. It’s called BabyChat. It’s Snapchat for babies. Can’t believe no one in Silicon Valley has thought of that yet.
Anyway, I almost feel sorry for the people of New Orleans this week since you’re going to have sit through roughly 400 replays of the Minneapolis Miracle between now and Sunday. I mean, let’s be real, the true miracle will be if you make through the next five days without seeing a single replay of the touchdown.
Another miracle will be if the Saints can actually slow down Adam Thielen. Thielen has been terrorizing opposing defenses this year and has tied an NFL record by going for at least 100 receiving yards in seven straight games to start a season, and now, he gets to go up a Saints defense that’s ranked 28th overall in the NFL.
Although I think Thieien will put up big numbers, the Vikings defense is going from a rookie quarterback in Week 6 (Josh Rosen) to a rookie quarterback in Week 7 (Sam Darnold) to DREW BREES in Week 8. That’s like going from owning a kitten to adopting a full grown cheetah. It’s a big adjustment.
The Saints lost on a literal miracle last season, and based on what I know about miracles, you usually don’t get more than one per lifetime, so I’m going to say the Vikings do not get a miracle on Sunday and the Saints walk out of Minnesota with a win. Also, in a twist, all the babies born in Minneapolis this week end up being Saints fans. By the way, whatever you do this weekend, do not agree to play any sort of game that involves drinking every time the Minneapolis Miracle is shown, because I don’t want anyone to die.
The pick: Saints 26-23 over Vikings
NFL Week 8 picks: All the rest
Texans 23-13 over Dolphins
Redskins 24-17 over Giants
Bears 27-20 over Jets
Chiefs 38-24 over Broncos
Seahawks 23-20 over Lions
Bengals 27-17 over Buccaneers
Steelers 30-20 over Browns
Ravens 22-19 over Panthers
49ers 19-16 over Cardinals
Patriots 31-17 over Bills
BYES: Falcons, Cowboys, Titans, Chargers
Best pick: Last week, I predicted that the Buccaneers would beat the Browns by three and then the Buccaneers went out and beat the Browns by three. Now, did I know that the Browns were going to come back from a two touchdown deficit in the second half, only to lose the game on a 59-yard field goal in overtime? Of course I did. I mean, this is the Browns we’re talking about.
Whenever I make a prediction on a Browns game, I generally assume that nothing normal is going to happen and that it will most likely end with an excruciating Browns’ loss, which will then be immediately followed by Hue Jackson saying something that makes no sense during his postgame press conference. This week’s absurd statement from Jackson is that he’s going to get more involved in the offense.
If I were to make a list of all the ways the Browns could get better, trading for Blake Bortles and/or signing the rally possum to serve as a part-time mascot would both rank above getting Jackson more involved in the offense. The last time Jackson was involved in the offense was the ENTIRE 2017 season when he was the one calling plays and in what may or may not be a coincidence, the Browns won zero games that year. I’m guessing it wasn’t a coincidence.
Worst pick: Every week I seem to make at least one pick that defies all logic, and last week, that was picking the Cardinals to beat the Broncos. My streak of picking every NFC West game correctly this season went down in flames, and then those flames burst into more flames. If these flames had shown up at MetLife Stadium, every car there would have caught on fire.
The worst part my Cardinals pick is that I knew my streak was over before the game even started. As soon as Von Miller came out said the Broncos were going to kick Arizona’s ass, there was no way Denver wasn’t going to win by at least three touchdowns.
Let’s all agree going forward that if an All-Pro defensive player promises to kick another team’s ass, there’s a 100 percent chance it’s going to happen and I will be changing my pick accordingly.
Finally, if you guys have ever wondered which teams I’m actually good at picking, it’s that time of year where I actually start sharing that inside information with you. Through seven weeks, I’m still perfect picking three teams: the Rams (7-0), the Seahawks (6-0) and the 49ers (7-0). I’m also 6-1 picking the Cardinals, Chargers, Patriots and Bills.
As for that ugly record against the spread, I have an excuse: I blame the Packers (0-6), Lions (1-5), Panthers (1-5), Redskins (1-5) and Broncos (1-5). I’m just 4-26 combined picking those five teams against the spread, and as you can imagine, that’s really cramping my style.
Straight up in Week 7: 8-6
SU overall: 68-37-2
Against the spread in Week 7: 4-9-1
ATS overall: 46-57-4
Exact score predictions: 2
You can find John Breech on Facebook or Twitter and if he’s not doing one of those things, he’s probably trying to work out a trade for Jon Gruden’s desk.
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