As Cousin Sal discussed on his podcast with The Ringer’s Bill Simmons this week, there isn’t a single NFL team favored by more than a touchdown this week. Unprecedented parity, or Vegas confusion? I’d go a different way. It’s one of those weeks where the road teams just happen to be much better than many of the home teams.
With that in mind, I’ll be taking my 15-18-2 record and playing favorites – that amateur route of not touching the underdogs and only going by the better team. It feels right this week. Here are the week 8 picks:
Cincinnati Bengals -3 over Washington Redskins (9:30amET): This one is back to London for the final NFL game across the pond this season, and both teams are fairly evenly matched. The Redskins will be without Matt Jones at running back, which may actually help them. I think this ends up Bengals by exactly three, so I’ll take the chance they end up winning by 4-6 as well.
New England Patriots -6 over Buffalo Bills (1pmET): The Patriots have proven to be the best team in the NFL, and this week they travel to Buffalo for a true revenge game – their only loss of the season was a shutout against the Bills earlier this season. But that Pats team was certainly not this team – without Tom Brady or a healthy Gronk. I think the Patriots run up the score against a LeSean McCoy-less Bills offense (also missing some key wide receivers) and the Bills move on to next week.
Kansas City Chiefs -3 over Indianapolis Colts (1pmET): The Chiefs travel to Indianapolis, meaning the line is small instead of 7+. The Chiefs are a superior team, even without Jamaal Charles, and their defense has been surprisingly consistent all year. With Andrew Luck, the Colts are never out of a game, even if they’re down by double digits in the fourth quarter. I think they keep it close, but the Colts fall by seven or more.
Denver Broncos -4.5 over San Diego Chargers (4:30pmET): The Broncos are the second or third best team in the league, depending on how you value offense and defense. Their defense is better than anyone else’s by far (with the exception of maybe Minnesota) and despite a powerful Chargers offense, this should be lower-scoring than most imagine it will be. Trevor Simien has been consistent, if not particularly dynamic, but with the rest of the weapons at his disposal, the Broncos should be able to take care of business. CJ Anderson is out for the year, but Devontae Booker is a reliable replacement.
Dallas Cowboys -4 over Philadelphia Eagles (8:30pmET): The Cowboys are suddenly one of the best teams as well in the NFL, and this true test against division rival Philly should supplant Dak Prescott as the greatest rookie QB this season. That is, unless Carson Wentz is able to show up as the Wentz of the first couple weeks. Sticking with the rookie theme, even if Wentz outplays Prescott, the Cowboys have Zeke Elliott to unless in the running game, and while the Eagles defense has been solid, Elliott simply can’t be stopped. It should be a great game on Sunday night, but I like the Cowboys by a touchdown and my Sunday night record to improve to 6-1-1.