Spread picks and scores for every Week 8 NFL Game

Mike Renner weighs in with his picks and predictions for every NFL game this upcoming Sunday.

| 1 year ago
(AP Photo/Tony Avelar)

(AP Photo/Tony Avelar)

Spread picks and scores for every Week 8 NFL Game


As with every week, I’ll be giving a primer of all Week 8 games, as well as highlighting the key match-ups. I’ll give you my picks and how confident I am in each, from a betting perspective. The confidence grade is on our patented -2 through +2 scale.

A positively graded prediction means that I feel good about the bet. If it’s zero, I’m on the fence. And if it’s negative, I really don’t like the line either way. For the season, I’m 25-17 on positively-graded picks against the spread, and 30-30-3 on all others.

Lions at Chiefs (-4)

A very intriguing matchup as both teams have had shakeups recently. The Lions fired their offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi earlier this week while the Chiefs lost Jamaal Charles in week 5 and their offense is yet to recover. The prospect of right tackle LaAdrian Waddle, our third lowest graded tackle, matched up against Justin Houston is almost enough for me to pick the Chiefs in this one. But the Lions have far more offensive playmakers capable of changing the game on any given play and I think that will be critical in what should be a low scoring affair.

Prediction: Lions 20, Chiefs 17

Confidence grade: -1

Buccaneers at Falcons (-7.5)

The Falcons offense has been unusually quiet the last three weeks, averaging under 20 points over that span. They come back home though to face a Bucs defense that grades out in the bottom five against both the run and pass. This is especially worrisome considering the Falcons have the number one run blocking line at the moment. I expect the Bucs to be down big early and likely abandon the run game. This doesn’t bode well with Jameis Winston’s boom or bust nature with two games graded below -4.0 and four games above +2.0.

Prediction: Falcons 35, Buccaneers 27

Confidence grade: -0.5

Cardinals (-6) at Browns

A banged up Josh McCown going up against our number one ranked secondary? Shield your eyes folks, this could get ugly. The Browns biggest weapon so far has been their dominant offensive line and while it should hold up well against the Cardinals blitz pressure, they’ve actually graded out around average in run blocking and I don’t think they’ll be able to move the line of scrimmage. The Cardinals likely won’t even have to rely on our second highest graded quarterback this year, Carson Palmer, with the Browns 31st graded run defense.

Prediction: Cardinals 27, Browns 17

Confidence grade: +.5

49ers at Rams (-9)

Nine points is far too rich for me to feel good about a 3-3 team laying without a legitimate passing game. For as bad as the 49ers have been, when they’ve gotten exposed, it’s come via the pass and the Rams newfound success has been all about the ground game. The 49ers have our 29th graded coverage unit, and are a middling 17th in run defense, but the Rams are still 31st in scoring in the league (to be fair the 49ers are 32nd). If the 49ers can get even an average game out of Colin Kaepernick they should keep it within nine.

Prediction: Rams 23, 49ers 17

Confidence grade: -1

Giants at Saints (-3)

I really don’t know what to make of the Saints or the Giants. The Saints secondary has been hit and miss all season, but if Keenan Lewis is back it could actually turn into a strength. The Giants on the other hand have a well graded offensive line, but it hasn’t turned into anything at all in terms of running game success. For me the deciding factor is the Saints third overall graded run blocking against a Giants run defense that has graded very negatively three straight weeks.

Prediction: Saints 27, Giants 21

Confidence grade: -1.5

Vikings (-1) at Bears

Looking over this game, there’s really only one matchup that I can say points in the favor of the Bears. That’s Chicago’s defensive line against Minnesota’s offensive line, and that’s pretty much all because of Pernell McPhee. Teddy Bridgewater has been in a bit of a groove of late with three straight games graded at +1.0 or higher and he’s throwing against a secondary with only one positively graded player for the season (Adrian Amos). Even after a bye week and with Alshon Jeffery back healthy and playing fantastic, I can’t see the Bears keeping pace.

Prediction: Vikings 27, Bears 17

Confidence grade: +1

Chargers at Ravens (-3.5)

Who really know what to expect from the Chargers these days? What I do know though is that they have our lowest graded defense against the run and they are facing the highest graded interior run blocking offensive line in the NFL (guard-center-guard). It’s difficult to scheme around such an enormous disadvantage in the interior without compromising pass defense.  Combine that with the fact that our highest graded run defender, Baltimore nose tackle Brandon Williams, is matched up with one of our lowest graded centers in Chris Watt and it pretty much means that it will be all on Philip Rivers to win this one. Factor in the Chargers heading all the way from the west coast and playing the 1pm game and everything points towards Baltimore.

Prediction: Ravens 31, Chargers 21

Confidence grade: +0.5

Bengals (-1) at Steelers

We have yet to see this Steelers offense at full strength this season and that should scare opposing defenses. Ben Roethlisberger returns this week and he’ll have Martavis Bryant for the first time this season. In his absence Bryant put up a ridiculous +5.1 grade in 74 snaps with Michael Vick and Landry Jones at the helm. I’m not sure anyone can stop this offense at home, and as well as Andy Dalton has been playing, I don’t think he’ll be able to match Big Ben in his return.

Prediction: Steelers 31, Bengals 28

Confidence grade: +0.5

Titans at Texans (-4)

Let’s break it down outside of Zach Mettenberger and Brian Hoyer since I don’t even want to deal with that mess. The Titans pass rush and pass coverage units have quietly graded out in the top 10 while they still have some issues against the run. Houston is in the top 10 in run defense, but have been below average in coverage and rushing the passer. Without Arian Foster I have zero faith in the Texans running game as Alfred Blue has consistently misread blocks and graded negatively as a runner. For those reasons, I tilt the scales slightly in favor of the Titans and certainly wouldn’t be confident with the Texans winning by more than a field goal.

Prediction: Titans 21, Texans 20

Confidence grade: -0.5

Jets (-3) at Raiders

If I ever started doing a cheesy ‘lock’ of the week, this would be it. The Jets may have just gotten exposed by a quick passing team, but Derek Carr ain’t Tom Brady. And to beat the Jets, you better be able to pass. They lead the NFL in rush defense (yards) and much of that production came without Sheldon Richardson. Even if our fourth highest graded runningback Chris Ivory is a no go, I still like the Jets to move the ball through the air with Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker against a secondary with only Charles Woodson graded above +1.0 for the season.

Prediction: Jets 28, Raiders 17

Confidence grade: +1.5

Seahawks (-6.5) at Cowboys

The Seahawks defense might be struggling, but they’ve still eaten alive every bad quarterback they’ve faced this season. And Matt Cassel certainly fits those qualifications. The only real matchup in Dallas’ favor is their pass rush that’s graded out highly since Greg Hardy’s return, but Seattle likely won’t even deal with that much. I predict a pounding of Marshawn Lynch against the Cowboys 30th graded run defense, much like last Thursday’s game.

Prediction: Seahawks 23, Cowboys 13

Confidence grade: +0.5

Packers (-3.5) at Broncos

The Broncos defense has been the talk of the early season and rightfully so. They currently grade out in the top 5 for pass rush, pass coverage, and run defense. But those grades go hand-in-hand with their opponents and the best offense they’ve face so far is Oakland’s. The Packers have scored at least 24 points in all but one of their games this season and Aaron Rodgers has graded negatively only once as well. With Davante Adams back I anticipate that streak will continue. I also don’t anticipate this being the week that Peyton Manning finally turns it around as he’s facing the a secondary that’s graded higher than any of the Broncos previous opponents this year.

Prediction: Packers 28, Broncos 20

Confidence grade: 0

Colts at Panthers (-7)

If I were to start naming all the issues with the Colts that worry me in this one it might take all day, so I’ll stick to the one matchup that makes me think the Colts will at least score enough points to cover. The Panthers secondary outside of Josh Norman has been largely average. Much of their success has come from sitting in cover four and begging opposing offenses to check down so that their superb coverage linebackers, Thomas Davis and Luke Kuechly, can clean it up. The Colts live and die by the deep shot though and cover four is especially susceptible on the back end against play action. If Indy’s O-Line can hold up enough, I think Andrew Luck can put together his first positively graded game of the season as a passer.

Prediction: Panthers 31, Colts 28

Confidence grade: -0.5

 

Season Record: 65-40 (55-47-3 ATS)

 

| Senior Analyst

Mike is a Senior Analyst at Pro Football Focus. His work has also been featured on The Washington Post, ESPN Insider, and 120 Sports.

  • crosseyedlemon

    Have to agree with Mike that the price on the Rams is too high. This team has the nasty habit of being able to upset an elite team and then turn right around and stink against a weak club. I also agree that lock picks are “cheesy” but seeing as how Mike has opted for the Jets as his I’ll name the Falcons as mine.

    • Michael Angelo

      “Club”

  • Merlin Veltman

    Do you believe Carr can pass now? How about the raiders’ rushing attack. Is that good enough? BTW, pff’s fourth highest rated running back had a 1.1 yard average. Latavius Murray had 5.7

    • SuperRaider

      dont forget when he said, “If I ever started doing a cheesy ‘lock’ of the week, this would be it. “. Raiders still getting no respect.

      • Antti Vanhanen

        It’s human nature. The Raiders have sucked for so long, most observers will want plenty of proof before they believe they are any good and that this isn’t just a flash in the pan.

  • Tyler Thompson

    The raiders just jammed their giant STFU down PFFs expert “lock” of the weeks throat. Good thing Carr ain’t Brady, as much as “ain’t” is a real word.

    • SuperRaider

      but the Jets #1 rusher tough

  • JT

    Missed big on a lot of these….