NFL insider Week 8 picks: Patriots knock off Chargers, Lions down Eagles for first win of season

My picks are a stand-alone today because we had a newsy week with the NFL owners meetings and trade rumors. I’m hoping it’s a good thing, coming off a so-so 9-4 Week 7 that improved my season record to 74-33.

A 69.2% hit rate isn’t bad, but I left a few on the field last week with misses on Cincinnati, Carolina (woof), Kansas City and San Francisco. Let’s clean that up this week in our expanded picks column. By the way, I took the Cardinals on “Thursday Night Football.”

Sunday, 1 p.m. ETTV: Fox | Stream: fuboTV (click here)

Sam Darnold isn’t taking care of the football, and against lower-than-average teams, turnovers are what can kill a team like the Panthers. Matt Rhule turned on the tape of Darnold’s Week 2 performance against the Saints to take him back to the basics, but the Carolina offense is a shell of itself right now. And for as good as the defense looked early and as (decently) well as it’s held up the last few weeks with key injuries, I struggle to see who on the Panthers will stop Kyle Pitts.

The pick: Falcons

Sunday, 1 p.m. ETTV: CBS | Stream: Paramount+ (click here)  

Miami needs to seriously consider being sellers at the trade deadline instead of buyers. This season is going nowhere quickly, and GM Chris Grier is on the hot seat. There’s a pretty decent argument to be made that rather than blowing your future draft capital for a quarterback who could face a half-season suspension next year, acquire draft picks through deft trading before Tuesday and restock the pantry. Buffalo will cruise in this one coming off the bye.

The pick: Bills

Sunday, 1 p.m. ETTV: Fox | Stream: fuboTV (click here)

This is the toughest pick of the week for me. I don’t trust what Kyle Shanahan is doing at QB because I don’t know if he can trust his QB right now. Meanwhile, the Bears just got walloped and have various strains of COVID-19 knocking players, trainers and coaches out of the game. San Francisco’s defense should hold up enough.

The pick: 49ers

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Sunday, 1 p.m. ETTV: CBS | Stream: Paramount+ (click here)

It’s as simple as me taking the better team here. I never thought Pittsburgh was as bad as folks made them out to be, but I’d probably rather take Case Keenum than Ben Roethlisberger right now. If the Browns can take care of the football, they’ll get the win in the AFC North battle.

The pick: Browns

Sunday, 1 p.m. ETTV: Fox | Stream: fuboTV (click here)

How can you trust the Eagles’ defense right now? Fingers are being pointed in every which way and head coach Nick Sirianni has been desperate as a first-year coach to show that the buck stops with him. The Lions have been close in a majority of their games, and I think they finally leave the bottom of the NFL rankings with an upset win.

The pick: Lions

Sunday, 1 p.m. ETTV: Fox | Stream: fuboTV (click here)

No matter what the spread is for this game, take the Rams.

The pick: Rams

Sunday, 1 p.m. ETTV: CBS | Stream: Paramount+ (click here)

Last week the Titans seemed primed for a letdown. The Chiefs had gotten right against Washington and Tennessee was coming off a Monday night emotional win against the Bills. I got that one wrong. Carson Wentz is playing really good football right now, but the Titans’ pass rush will come at him Sunday. The gap will widen in the AFC South.

The pick: Titans

Sunday, 1 p.m. ETTV: CBS | Stream: Paramount+ (click here)

I won’t be surprised if the AFC offensive, defensive and special teams players of the week come from Cincinnati after this one.

The pick: Bengals

Sunday, 4:05 p.m. ETTV: CBS | Stream: Paramount+ (click here)

Bill Belichick made no attempt this week to hide just how much he loves Justin Herbert. If only he could have figured out a way to get into the top five of the draft in 2020, Herbert would very well be the leader of the Patriots in the post-Brady era. I know Belichick has been wildly conservative this year, and Brandon Staley has been firing from the hip on fourth-and-forever. I’m excited to see what Belichick has for the QB Who Got Away.

The pick: Patriots

Sunday, 4:05 p.m. ETTV: CBS | Stream: Paramount+ (click here)

If a game were ever made for Geno Smith to win with Seattle, it’s this one. The Jags finally snapped their 20-game skid but their secondary is still a mess. DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett haven’t seen the sort of success they’re used to with Russell Wilson, but this should offer a good matchup for them. Look for a low-scoring game.

The pick: Seahawks

Football Team at Broncos

Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ETTV: Fox | Stream: fuboTV (click here)

Last week’s game between WFT and the Packers should have been closer than the final score because I feel the Football Team got jobbed by the refs twice at the goal line. Nevertheless, it seems Taylor Heinicke is beginning to understand the balance between taking chances and being smart with the ball. WFT’s defense can’t possibly be as bad as it has seemed the first two months of the season.

The pick: Football Team

Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ETTV: Fox | Stream: fuboTV (click here)

I don’t really believe in home-field advantage anymore outside of Denver, but the Saints will have a crazed crowd on Halloween in New Orleans working in their favor Sunday. Bruce Arians has coached in that before (a 20-10 loss in 2010 as the Pittsburgh OC) and knows communication will be at a premium this week. The Bucs are coming off their cleanest game of the year with just one penalty for 10 yards.

The pick: Buccaneers

Sunday, 8:20 p.m. ETTV: NBC | Stream: fuboTV (click here)

The 3-3 Vikings haven’t been out of any game yet through six contests. The defense has been improving each week since the Week 3 Seattle game (that was still a win) and the team, coming off the bye, is fairly healthy. Meanwhile, the huge question of Dak Prescott’s calf lingers. I believe the Cowboys are going to cruise to the division title, but I also feel like they’re due for a loss.

The pick: Vikings

Monday, 8:15 p.m. ETTV: ESPN | Stream: fuboTV (click here)

The Chiefs are losing to good-to-great teams. The Giants do not fall along that spectrum. New York doesn’t have the pass rush necessary to affect Patrick Mahomes in a way where he’ll commit the various mistakes he has lately.

The pick: Chiefs


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