2014 Quick Hitters (Week 8 NFL Picks)
Took a chance on four upsets last week and only nailed one of them, giving me a mediocre 9-6 record. We’re basically at the season’s half point and ready to rock the Week 8 NFL Picks. I think we are seeing a trend of notable favorites emerging (Denver, Dallas and Indy to name a few) and some middling teams (Seattle, Cleveland and Houston) giving our picks some trouble. On bye this week is the transitioning New York Giants and beat up San Francisco 49ers.
*Remember that my picks are straight up (MONEYLINE) and vegas lines are merely used to determine whether I’m choosing an upset, favorite or even pick.
Here are my results on the year:
Overall Record: 72-33-1
Last Week’s Record: 9-6
Record in Thursday Games: 6-1
Record in Sunday Games: 57-26-1
Record in Sunday Night Games: 2-5
Record in Monday Games: 7-1
Record in Upset Picks: 7-8
Record in Even Picks: 17-7
Record in Favorite Picks: 48-18-1
Record in “Toss-Up” Picks: 35-21
Record in “Moderate Confidence” Picks: 33-10
Record in “Lock of the Week” Picks: 4-2-1
*Even picks are classified as opening lines under 2.5 points.
Green Bay Packers at New Orleans Saints (Sunday Night Football)
Vegas Odds: New Orleans (-1.5)
The Pick: Green Bay at EVEN
Reason: Here’s a game I’m really looking forward to and not just because I’m a Packers fan (Bias Alert!). The Saints are desperate for a win after a discouraging 2-4 start and appear to be a bad team. However, the public and Vegas still thinks they can turn it around as slight favorites. The Packers are cruising behind strong play from quarterback Aaron Rodgers who is making a run at his second MVP Award. Always take the hot team to beat an ice-cold team.
Houston Texans at Tennessee Titans
Vegas Odds: Houston (-2)
The Pick: Houston at EVEN
Reason: Jake Locker could be back for the Titans and they need him badly, but it’s also likely he’s running for his life if top-pick Jadeveon Clowney comes back to relieve some pressure off all-world J.J. Watt. Despite the embarrassing loss and three minute sequence from the Houston offense last week, I think it’s an improving offense that isn’t void of playmakers. I like the Texans who are a pesky, but mistake-prone team. It’s also a good hedge pick for me because it’s a more confident pick without Locker in the line-up in my opinion.
Minnesota Vikings at Tampa Bay Bucs
Vegas Odds: Tampa Bay (-2)
The Pick: Tampa Bay at EVEN
Reason: Sorry Minnesota, but there’s absolutely no reason you shouldn’t have pulled the upset against a Buffalo team who gave you every opportunity to win that game. In those instances, I see a bad team and for that reason I’m going with the Bucs who are also a bad team, but a more rested/prepared one this week. I also think the Tampa Bay defense can rally to give the Minnesota offensive line and Teddy Bridgewater some problems.
Seattle Seahawks at Carolina Panthers
Vegas Odds: Seattle (-3.5)
The Pick: Seattle as a FAVORITE
Reason: I’m almost tempted to take the Panthers in this spot because the Seahawks have been atrocious at generating a pass-rush. However, it was fairly evident in a blowout loss to Green Bay that Cam Newton has minimal help on that Panthers’ team. He has no rushing game to speak of and the defense is lost. All signs are pointing towards the Panthers tanking and I wouldn’t be surprised if it happens because they have some serious depth issues.
Baltimore Ravens at Cincinnati Bengals
Vegas Odds: Cincinnati (-3)
The Pick: Baltimore in an UPSET
Reason: I really don’t care if wide receiver AJ Green comes back because the Bengals defense has been so bad and the Ravens’ defense so good. If the Bengals don’t have Green, I don’t see any way they win this divisional bout against Baltimore. Their chances at winning lie in a shootout win with Green grabbing a long touchdown like he did in week one when the Ravens almost came back in a game they looked dead in.
Philadelphia Eagles at Arizona Cardinals
Vegas Odds: .Arizona (-2)
The Pick: Philadelphia at EVEN
Reason: Who knew these two teams would be 5-1 entering this week eight battle? Both teams have accomplished these records while fighting a rash of significant injuries as well. I’m using my un-supported notion of teams off a bye having an advantage to take the Eagles in this one. I have to believe Chip Kelly can come up with some brilliant gameplan to keep an undermanned Cardinals defense on their heels. This should be a fun one in the desert.
Oakland Raiders at Cleveland Browns
Vegas Odds: Cleveland (-7.5)
The Pick: Cleveland as a FAVORITE
Reason: Just when the Browns start to get complemented on their play, they go and lose to the Jacksonville Jaguars to lose most of the credit they gained. It’s funny how Brian Hoyer is a good quarterback one day and the very next day he’s holding the team back. Most people think that Oakland is the worst team in football, but I don’t agree with that. I would have taken Oakland in this spot if they weren’t the worst rushing team in the league. Teams who can effectively run the ball can beat the Browns.
Indianapolis Colts at Pittsburgh Steelers
Vegas Odds: Even
The Pick: Indianapolis at EVEN
Reason: Please don’t tell me the Steelers are better than the Houston Texans because they are not. They needed the Texans to commit two idiotic turnovers in order to score 24 unanswered points in under three minutes on Monday Night. Without those shenanigans, I think Houston pulls the upset, but that’s how football goes. The Colts’ are one of the best teams in football right now and they should win on the road this week. The only reason I don’t have this in the “Moderate Confidence” section is because I’m still not sold on the Colts’ road success with their two victories against Jacksonville and Houston.
MODERATE CONFIDENCE PICKS
Detroit Lions at Atlanta Falcons (London, England)
Vegas Odds: Detroit (-3)
The Pick: Detroit as a FAVORITE
Reason: The Lions pulled out quite the fourth quarter comeback to beat New Orleans at home and Atlanta is falling faster than ever. The Falcons lost their center, Peter Konz, who wasn’t even playing that well before the injury. On top of that, their defense can’t stop anyone. Look for the Lions to beat down the Falcons like the Dolphins did to the Dolphins in Europe earlier this season.
San Diego Chargers at Denver Broncos (Thursday Night Football)
Vegas Odds: Denver (-6.5)
The Pick: Denver as a FAVORITE
Reason: Two injuries make this game sway heavily towards the Broncos and that’s the status of Chargers’ corners Brandon Flowers and Jason Verrett. We all know Peyton Manning is a surgeon on the field and this news only helps the 38 year old genius. Moreover, the Chargers’ offensive line is starting to fall apart and I’ve been uber-impressed by how well DeMarcus Ware and Von Miller play together in Denver. Even Philip Rivers can’t get himself out of this on-paper mismatch.
St. Louis Rams at Kansas City Chiefs
Vegas Odds: Kansas City (-6)
The Pick: Kansas City as a FAVORITE
Reason: Yes, the Rams knocked off the reigning champion Seattle Seahawks with the best special teams performance you will ever see. They won’t do the same against a Kansas City team who seems to have found themselves and are playing some solid football after an upset of the San Diego Chargers.
Miami Dolphins at Jacksonville Jaguars
Vegas Odds: Miami (-4)
The Pick: Miami as a FAVORITE
Reason: The Jaguars went and ruined the mantra “Always pick against the Jags,” when they dominated Brian Hoyer and the Cleveland Browns last week. I’m not jumping off the train yet because Miami has impressed with a near-win against Green Bay followed by a convincing win at Chicago last week. The Dolphins front seven will give Jacksonville’s Blake Bortles all kind of trouble and his experience against pressure hasn’t been so good so far.
Buffalo Bills at New York Jets
Vegas Odds: NY Jets (-2)
The Pick: NY Jets at EVEN
Reason: Here’s a game where you can possibly get a leg up on your competition because they will pick by the Bills’ 4-3 record and not realize they lost their two best running backs last week. Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller would have been very useful against the Jets’ stout rush defense. I’m not entirely confident in the Jets scoring points on an above-average Buffalo defense, but it still seems like the 1-6 Jets are the right side in this one.
Washington Redskins at Dallas Cowboys (Monday Night Football)
Vegas Odds: Dallas (-7)
The Pick: Dallas as a FAVORITE
Reason: Dallas is the league’s hottest team at 6-1 and have quite possibly the most balanced offensive attack in football. What defense is not afraid of DeMarco Murray and Dez Bryant? I’ll tell you who the Cowboys are not afraid of and that’s the Redskins’ new starting quarterback, Colt McCoy. Washington barely squeaked by Tennessee last week and I don’t see them pulling the biggest divisional upset of the season on Monday Night.
LOCK OF THE WEEK PICK
Chicago Bears at New England Patriots
Vegas Odds: New England (-5)
The Pick: New England as a FAVORITE
Reason: This game stood out to me the most because the Chicago Bears were that bad against Miami at home last week. Their linebackers had no shot at defending the middle of the field and Tom Brady is more than capable of taking advantage of that particular weakness. Moreover, I don’t like the reports of yelling in the locker room because it tells me this Bears team is not a cohesive unit and the Patriots’ are one of the best home teams in the league. I probably shouldn’t have this as my most confident pick, but I like taking risks here.
Week Eight Pick Summary: 8 Favorites, 1 Upset and 6 Even Picks
Let me know where you agree and disagree in week eight. Good luck and most importantly enjoy the games!