NFL Week 8 picks: Packers at Cardinals turns into Thursday night thriller, Winless Lions shock Eagles


For the FIRST TIME in 11 years, Halloween is on a Sunday this year and I’m guessing you’re now thinking what I’m thinking: The NFL should definitely do the smart thing and let everyone dress up for this week’s game. The Jets could dress up as an actual NFL team, which would be something new for them. 

Also, I feel like the NFL should really milk this Sunday Halloween thing by implementing a rule for this week only that would require any coach with a losing record in 2021 to dress up as their team’s mascot for Sunday’s game. I mean, this rule would be totally worth it, if only so we could see Bill Belichick dress up as Pat Patriot. Roger Goodell, if you’re reading, please make this happen. 

Let’s he honest, the Patriots are winning by 70 if Belichick has to wear that costume against the Chargers this week. I would also want to see Urban Meyer hit the bar scene the Saturday before his game dressed as Jaxson De Ville. Kyle Shanahan dressed as Sourdough Sam would also be must-see TV, but I don’t think he’s allowed to wear that because Will Brinson has already called dibs on it. 

Alright, I need to stop talking about mascot Halloween costumes so we can get to the picks. 

Actually, before we get to the Week 8 picks, here’s a quick reminder that you can check out the weekly picks from every CBSSports.com NFL expert by clicking here. Also, as you probably know by now — because I point it out every week — I’m in charge of the NFL newsletter here at CBSSports.com. If you want to subscribe, all you have to do is click here and enter your email address. I get a seven cent bonus every time someone signs up, although it’s not as lucrative as it sounds because I have to give seven cents back every time I get a pick wrong. I think it evens itself out over time. At least that’s what I tell myself. 

Since I’m now running a newsletter, you might be thinking that I’ll be way too busy to podcast, but nope. If there are two things I’m never too busy for, it’s podcasting and playing Boggle. 

On the podcasting end, for the rest of the season, I’ll be joining Will Brinson and Ryan Wilson three days per week (Monday, Tuesday and Friday) on the Pick Six Podcast, which is our daily NFL podcast here at CBSSports.com. You can listen to Tuesday’s episode below. The reason you’re going to want to listen is because not only did we break down the Saints win over the Seahawks, but we also spent more time than we should have debating who’s going to end up getting the final two wild-card spots in the NFC (We gave the first one to the team that doesn’t win the NFC West out of the Rams and Cardinals). 

Alright, that’s enough babbling, let’s get to the picks. 

NFL Week 8 Picks

Green Bay (6-1) at Arizona (7-0)

Thursday, 8:20 p.m. ET (Fox/Amazon/NFL Network)

Latest Odds:

Arizona Cardinals
-6

Usually when I see that Aaron Rodgers is playing in primetime, I automatically pick the Packers because I hate betting against Rodgers, especially when he’s playing at night. However, 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 Kyler Murray.”

Thanks to Murray, the Cardinals have one of the best offenses in the NFL this year: They’re averaging more than 400 total yards per game, they’re the fourth-highest scoring team in the NFL and they’re going up against a Packers team that’s not going to have its defensive coordinator.

Basically, the Packers are going to be missing their defensive coordinator in the one game where you don’t want your defensive coordinator to be missing (Facing a high-powered offense on a short week). 

As if that’s not bad enough, the Packers will also likely be missing their best offensive player not named Aaron Rodgers. 

The Packers offense without Davante Adams is like trying to ride a bike uphill, except the bike that doesn’t have a chain. Sure, it’s still possible, but it’s likely going to be painful and slow and nothing is going to go the way you want.

Also, It might not just be Adams and Barry who have to miss the game. The Packers are in advanced COVID-19 protocols, which means players and coaches are going to be tested more often. 

Not only do the Packers have to deal with all this, but they’re also in a situation where teams almost never win. Since the current version of “Thursday Night Football” came into existence in 2006, nearly every team that has had to fly two or more time zones west for a Thursday game has lost. Over the past 15 years, this has happened a total of 14 times and the team flying west has gone 1-13 straight-up and 1-12-1 against the spread. 

The Packers are flying two time zones away because Arizona is currently on pacific time — Well, they’re technically on mountain standard time because they’re too good for daylight savings time, but I’m not here to give time zone lessons. I don’t even believe in time zones. The bottom line is that Phoenix currently has a two hour time difference with Green Bay. 

Basically, the Packers are on a short week and they have to fly halfway across the country while dealing with advanced COVID protocols and they’re not going to have their best offensive player or their defensive coordinator. That feels like enough of a hinderance that I’m taking the Cardinals. 

The pick: Cardinals 37-30 over Packers

Philadelphia (2-5) at Detroit (0-7)

1 p.m. ET (Fox)

Latest Odds:

Philadelphia Eagles
-3

I’m not sure if Nick Sirianni has a Twitter account, but if he does, he’s probably going to want to stay off it for the next few weeks, because we have officially reached the point in the season where every Eagles fans wants to see him fired after just seven weeks. He’s even lost Crazy Curt.

Do I know who Crazy Curt is? I do not, but I do know that if you’ve lost Crazy Curt, you’ve lost everyone. It’s not just Crazy Curt though, nearly every Eagles fan on Twitter is calling for Sirianni’s head. 

This person even asked nicely. 

The Eagles are 1-5 in their past six games and the depressing part for Philly fans is that the same thing seems to happen every week: The Eagles fall behind by five touchdowns to start and then mount a furious comeback that almost always falls short. 

The twist here is that the Lions are the opposite: They take a lead in almost every game and then find a new way to blow it every week. I mean, this year alone, they’ve lost on a 66-yard field goal to a team that’s currently 5-2 (Ravens), they blew a 10-0 lead to a team that’s currently 6-1 (Rams) and they led at halftime against another team that’s currently 6-1 (Packers). Not only did they lose all of those games, but they also lost on a 54-yard field goal to the Vikings.  

It’s like the Lions made a deal with the Devil, except they didn’t understand that you’re supposed to get something back in return. The law of averages says that they have to win one of these close games eventually. However, Murphy’s Law says that they’re going to keep losing in a more improbable way each week. And then there are Kepler’s Laws, which explain planetary motion. Those have nothing to do with this game, but I mentioned them because I needed another second to think about my pick and I’ve decided I’M GOING WITH THE LIONS. 

The last time I picked a winless team to get their first win, I ended up predicting the exact score of the game (Shout-out to Jaguars over Dolphins) so let’s hope this prediction goes the same way. 

The pick: Lions 27-24 over Eagles. 

Pittsburgh (3-3) at Cleveland (4-3)

1 p.m. ET (CBS)

Latest Odds:

Cleveland Browns
-3.5

For the second straight week, I have to pick a Browns game even though I have no idea who their quarterback is going to be. Last week, the Browns started Case Keenum, but to be honest, they could have started an actual suitcase at quarterback and still won the game because they were able to run the ball at will against the Broncos thanks to a career night from D’Earnest Johnson. 

Unfortunately for Cleveland, things aren’t going to be so easy this week. I’m 99% sure they’re not going to be able to run the ball at will against the Steelers defense, which means at some point, whoever’s playing quarterback for Cleveland is going to have to make a big play or two. If you watched Case Keenum against the Broncos, he didn’t come close to making a single big play the entire game and that was against a bad Broncos defense. If Keenum doesn’t start, that means Baker Mayfield will be out there, which would be a miracle of science, because he has a broken bone in his left shoulder. 

A fully healthy Baker Mayfield would have trouble against the Steelers, so I’m not feeling too optimistic about a Mayfield who’s basically playing with one-arm. With their current QB situation, I have a tough time seeing the Browns scoring more than 20 points in this game. Of course, as bad as the Browns’ quarterback situation is, the Steelers situation might be worse. As far as I know, Ben Roethlisberger is healthy, but despite that, you could still argue that he’s a step down from Case Keenum or a one-armed Baker Mayfield. 

I will be shocked if either team scores more than 24 points in this game. The only advantage I see for either team is that the Steelers are coming off a bye and they’ve won four straight off the bye, so I’m rolling with Pittsburgh. 

The pick: Steelers 19-16 over Browns

Tennessee (5-2) at Indianapolis (3-4)

1 p.m. ET (CBS)

Latest Odds:

Tennessee Titans
-1

In most instances I’m probably not qualified to give advice on how to make a defensive game plan in the NFL, but I think I am here and that’s because the Colts game plan should be pretty simple this week: They need to stop Derrick Henry

They need to literally not think about anything else, because stopping Henry is the one thing the Colts haven’t been able to do recently. As a matter of fact, I don’t think the Colts have ever done it. In his past four games against Indy, Henry as averaged 135.8 yards and one touchdown per game. Even if you don’t know anything about football, you probably know that if you’re giving up 135.8 yards per game to the other team’s best player, you’re most likely not going to win. 

Since the start of the 2018 season, the Colts defense has only given up 100 or more yards rushing to a single player on five occasions and four of those were Derrick Henry (The fifth one was San Francisco’s Eli Mitchell, who did it in Week 7). Basically, the Colts defense can stop any running back not named Derrick Henry, which is not good news for them since they’re facing Derrick Henry this week. 

When these two teams met back in Week 3, Henry ran for 113 yards in a 25-16 win for Tennessee. At this point, I feel like the only way for the Colts to stop him is they put 11 in the box. The advantage for the Titans this time around is that if the Colts go all-in on stopping Henry, they should be able to throw the ball because they’re actually going to be fully healthy. In the first meeting, A.J. Brown left the game with an injury in the first quarter and never returned. Ryan Tannehill also gifted the Colts 10 points with two interceptions. 

This Sunday is Halloween, not Christmas, so I don’t think we’ll be seeing Tannehill gifting anymore points. Also, if the Colts do go all-in on stopping Henry, I think we might see Brown have a big game, as long as he stays away from all Indy-area Chipotle’s. 

The pick: Titans 33-30 over Colts

Jacksonville (1-5) at Seattle (2-5)

4:05 p.m. ET (CBS)

Latest Odds:

Seattle Seahawks
-3.5

Through seven weeks, it’s become pretty clear that the Seahawks have one major flaw and that flaw is their entire defense. Having a major flaw isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it is when your star quarterback is out with an injury (In somewhat related news, my major flaw is that I will watch “The Emoji Movie” anytime it’s on TV even I though I hate that movie and TVs). 

As for the Seahawks’ major flaw, if you want to know how bad their defense has been this year, just consider this: They’re giving up 414.7 yards per game, which ranks dead last in the NFC and second-to-last in the NFL. To put that in perspective, there’s only one other NFC team that’s even giving up 390 yards per game. The Seahawks are on pace to surrender 7,050 yards on the season, which seems almost impossible when you consider that only one team in NFL history has even surrendered 7,000 yards in a season and that was the 2012 Saints, who gave up an NFL-record 7,042. 

Basically, it feels like anyone can move the ball on this Seattle defense and when I say “anyone,” I mean even the Jaguars. Also, for some reason, the Seahawks haven’t been good at home this year. The Seahawks usually have one of the best homefield advantages in football, but they’re 0-3 at home this year, which I think means it doesn’t qualify as any sort of advantage anymore. 

You don’t usually see the words “Jaguars” and “winning streak” in the same sentence, but we might start seeing those words together more often because I’m starting to feel like the Jags are going to win their second straight game with an upset here. I’ve got a perfect record picking Jags game this year and now that I just said that out loud, I’m starting to feel a little queasy knowing I’m putting it on the line by taking them in the upset here.

The pick: Jaguars 30-27 over Seahawks 

NFL Week 8 picks: All the rest

Falcons 20-17 over Panthers
Bills 41-24 over Dolphins
49ers 27-17 over Bears
Bengals 31-13 over Jets
Rams 34-17 over Texans
Chargers 23-20 over Patriots
Washington 26-23 over Broncos
Buccaneers 30-20 over Saints
Cowboys 34-27 over Vikings
Chiefs 31-24 over Giants

BYES: Ravens, Raiders

Last Week 

Best pick: Last week, I predicted that the Bengals would go into Baltimore and upset the Ravens and guess what happened? The Bengals went into Baltimore and upset the Ravens. Now, did I know that the Bengals were going to absolutely thrash the Ravens? Of course I did. I spent the past five months telling anyone who would listen that the Bengals would be good this year. 

I think the lesson here is that I need to start making more of my NFL predictions when I’m drinking around Memorial Day. 

Worst pick: There is only one NFL quarterback who has ever admitted to seeing ghosts during a game and I picked that quarterback to beat the Giants. 

I have no idea what I was thinking picking Darnold’s team to win. I mean, I ignored every sign the universe sent me last week and there were a lot of signs and they all said to pick against the Panthers. First of all, I watched Ghostbusters, which was filmed in New York and has to do with ghosts. Second of all, Darnold used to play in New York. Third of all, last week’s game was in New York against the Giants. Fourth of all, Sam is the name of Patrick Swayze’s character in the movie “Ghost” which I also watched last week. I’m telling you, all the signs were there: The universe practically begged me to pick against the Panthers and I laughed in the universe’s face. I deserved to miss this pick. 

Finally, if you guys have ever wondered which teams I’m actually good at picking, here’s a quick look, but before we take that quick look, I have some big news: For the first time this year, I PICKED A SAINTS GAME CORRECTLY. I might dress up as a monkey for Halloween to celebrate getting that monkey off my back. 

Anyway, here are my best and worst teams through seven weeks: 

Teams I’m 7-0 picking this year: Texans, Buccaneers, Colts, 49ers (6-0), Jaguars (6-0)

Teams I’ve been the worst at picking this year: Saints (1-5), Washington (2-5), Falcons (2-4). 

Picks Record

Straight up in Week 7: 10-3
SU overall: 74-34

Against the spread in Week 7: 8-5
ATS overall: 54-50-3

Exact score predictions: 2
Exact score, wrong winner: 2


You can find John Breech on Facebook or Twitter and if he’s not doing one of those things, he’s probably writing a sternly worded email to the NFL asking who should be blamed for the fact that the Raiders AREN’T PLAYING ON HALLOWEEN. 





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