NFL WEEK 8
GREG COTE'S NFL PICKS OF THE WEEK
DOLPHINS THIS WEEK
It’s Miami at Baltimore on Thursday Night Football this week, and our pick was an upset – Dolphins (+3) over Ravens, 20-16. Click Thursday Gem for the full predictions capsule.
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GAME OF THE WEEK
BRONCOS (3-3) at CHIEFS (5-2)
LINE: KC by 7 ½.
COTE'S PICK: KC 27-17.
TV: 8:30 p.m. Monday, ESPN.
The home field and Kansas City's much more dynamic offense should make up for Denver's edge on defense in a tasty AFC West matchup fit for the singular Monday night stage. The NFL always has paled to college football for great rivalries, but this is one of King Sport's better ones. Chiefs have won three straight in series and should make it four to end a two-game losing streak. Do not see Broncos' tepid offense outscoring Alex Smith and Kareem Hunt. Sidelight: Chiefs career rushing leader Jamaal Charles makes first return to Arrowhead as a Bronco.
UPSET OF THE WEEK
STEELERS (5-2) at LIONS (3-3)
LINE: PIT by 2 ½.
COTE'S PICK: DET 24-20.
TV: 8:30 p.m., NBC.
“AAAWWWK!” warbles the Upset Bird. “Detraaawwwk!” Pittsburgh's offense has been sputtery entering this Sunday prime-timer, ranking 30th in red-zone efficiency, and now deals with the controversy over benched WR Martavis Bryant braying for a trade. Detroit's ambitious defense (14 takeaways including nine picks) can cause Ben Roethlisberger problems, while coming off a bye week has provided needed healing time for Matthew Stafford and his O-line. “Teams haven't met since 2013, so there's an air of unpredictability,” notes U-Bird. “Unpredictabaaawwwk!”
Vikings (5-2, -9) over Browns (0-7) in London, 27-6: Another London game! Ho hum. Novelty's gone, NFL. Enough! Change of continents won't help Earthtones as Vikes' defense dominates.
@Bills (4-2, -2 ½) over Raiders (3-4), 24-21: Buffs 3-0 at home, OAK missing suspended RB Marshawn Lynch, and Raiders D not much beyond Khalil Mack.
@Bengals (2-4, -11) over Colts (2-5), 27-13: Disappointment Bowl finds Cincy decent-bad, and Indy just unequivocally bad. Andrew Luck's (eventual) return will be too late.
@Patriots (5-2, -7 ½) over Chargers (3-4), 31-26: Upset alert! Bolts have won three straight, Philip Rivers is hot, and Pats' secondary is bad and depleted. Nevertheless, faith in Tom Brady at home remains a near-absolute in my prognosticating canon.
@Saints (4-2, -9) over Bears (3-4), 28-17: N'Awlins has won four straight for first time in four years, and Mitchell Trubisky's no-throw Bears offense will not outscore Drew Brees.
Falcons (3-3, -4) over @Jets (3-4), 23-20: Upset alert! Matt Ryan and his struggling offense hope to avoid laying an 0-4 egg vs. AFC East, but continued ATL slide would not surprise.
@Eagles (6-1, -13) over 49ers (0-7), 37-13: Birds lose LT Jason Peters and LB Jordan Hicks to injuries but effect won't show here. Carson Wentz is early league MVP candidate.
@Buccaneers (2-4, -2) over Panthers (4-3), 28-24: Bucs (3) and Cats (2) have lost combined five in row amid internal bickering, both desperate to win. Give me Jameis Winston at home.
@Seahawks (4-2, -5 ½) over Texans (3-3), 24-20: I think the world of Houston's Deshaun Watson. But I cannot favor any rookie QB, vs. this defense, at this venue.
@Redskins (3-3, +2) over Cowboys (3-3), 27-24: Upset! “Aawwk!” Home-'dog hunch here, even though 'Skins are banged up on O-line and have dropped four straight at home to 'Boys in this NFC East grudge. Rolling with law of averages and gut feeling.
Week 8 byes: Cardinals, Giants, Jaguars, Packers, Rams, Titans.
HOW THE DARTS LANDED
Mixed bag on results last week. The good news: 10-5 straight-up is OK. The bad news: 5-8-2 against the line (two games with 3-point spreads pushed) is not OK, plus Fats Domino died. Ain't that a shame? Had Browns with the points over Titans, but not a lot else went right vs. the evil betting line last week. Our season is rocky so far; must get on a roll – and fast. [Note: Thursday night pick was an upset – Dolphins (+3) over Ravens, 20-16].
Overall Pct. Vs. Spread Pct.
Week 7 10- 5 .667 5- 8-2 .400
Season 57-49 .538 41-57-8 .425
Final 2016 159-95-2 .626 139-109-8 .560