The Denver Broncos defeated the Houston Texans 27-9 on Monday night, which put a cap on Week 7’s action. Now, it’s officially time to turn the page to Week 8.
We have 13 games on the upcoming slate, beginning with a Thursday night matchup between the Jacksonville Jaguars and Houston Texans. Things will wrap up when the Chicago Bears host the Minnesota Vikings on Monday night.
We’re going to take an early look at the upcoming schedule and provide our predictions for what’s in store.
Can the Cincinnati Bengals continue to climb back into the playoff picture? Will the Dallas Cowboys keep riding rookies Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott to victory? Will the Cleveland Browns finally win a game? We’ll find out soon enough, to be sure. For now, though, these are our predictions.
Week 8 NFL Schedule and Picks
Week 8 Schedule and Projections
Day, Time (ET) Game National TV Prediction Thur. 8:25 p.m. Jacksonville at Tennessee NFL Network 27-24 TEN Sun. 9:30 a.m. Washington at Cincinnati* Fox 31-26 WAS Sun. 1 p.m. Kansas City at Indianapolis CBS 32-24 KC Sun. 1 p.m. Arizona at Carolina Fox 24-19 ARI Sun. 1 p.m. Oakland at Tampa Bay CBS 27-25 OAK Sun. 1 p.m. Seattle at New Orleans Fox 30-22 SEA Sun. 1 p.m. Detroit at Houston Fox 28-24 DET Sun. 1 p.m. New England at Buffalo CBS 33-21 NE Sun. 1 p.m. NY Jets at Cleveland CBS 23-22 CLE Sun. 4:05 p.m. San Diego at Denver CBS 28-24 DEN Sun. 4:25 p.m. Green Bay at Atlanta Fox 34-30 ATL Sun. 8:30 p.m. Philadelphia at Dallas NBC 23-17 DAL Mon. 8:30 p.m. Minnesota at Chicago ESPN 25-16 MIN
Washington Redskins at Cincinnati Bengals (in London)
The Sunday morning contest between the Bengals and the Washington Redskins will be an important one for both teams. If the Redskins can get a win, they can stay in the tight NFC East race. If Cincinnati wins, it will get to .500 and back in the AFC North picture.
The Bengals are the team with momentum, coming off a 31-17 win over the Cleveland Browns. The victory stopped a two-game slide and seems to have given Cincinnati some confidence moving forward.
"It’s definitely a start for us," Bengals running back Jeremy Hill said, per Joe Kay of the Associated Press. "We’re not satisfied, but it’s a start in the right direction."
Cincinnati racked up 559 yards of offense and won by two touchdowns against Cleveland, but here’s the thing: It’s still hard to say the Bengals are playing great football. If not for a successful Hail Mary to A.J. Green at the end of the first half, this would have been a one-score victory over a team decimated by injuries and playing its fifth-string quarterback.
In other words, a banged-up Browns team is not an accurate gauge of where the Bengals are.
Washington, on the other hand, is coming off a last-minute loss to the Detroit Lions. The Redskins will be looking to bounce back and to grab a foothold near the top of the NFC East standings.
This game could well come down to which team is playing better defense. They are similar when it comes to offensive production. Cincinnati is averaging 392.6 yards and 20.0 points per game. Washington is averaging 391.4 yards and 22.7 points per game.
Both teams are allowing an average of 23.1 points per contest on defense.
This should be one of the more evenly matched and interesting games of the weekend. The current line on this one, courtesy of Odds Shark, is Cincinnati -3. We think Washington can keep it within a field goal, if not win outright.
New England Patriots at Buffalo Bills
The New England Patriots have looked like one of the most dominant teams in football since quarterback Tom Brady’s Week 5 return. The team has bested its three opponents by a combined score of 95-46 since then, and Brady has been nearly perfect.
Through three games, Brady has passed for 1,004 yards with eight touchdowns and no interceptions.
This week, Brady and the Patriots will get an opportunity to avenge their lone loss of the season so far. New England managed to go 3-1 while Brady was on suspension, but the Buffalo Bills handed the team an embarrassing 16-0 loss in Foxborough.
As Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald points out, this game is an important one for the Patriots:
This week’s rematch with the Bills means a lot to the Patriots, you could say: pic.twitter.com/txaAfqdSbg
— Jeff Howe (@jeffphowe) October 24, 2016
This game has the potential to get ugly if the Bills cannot find a way to control Brady early. The Patriots have a number of offensive weapons, and the Bills could be a bit short-handed. Running back LeSean McCoy aggravated his hamstring injury during last week’s loss to the Miami Dolphins.
I don’t think I’ve ever seen a more predictable aggravation of an injury than LeSean McCoy’s. Only the #Bills didn’t see it coming.
— Evan Silva (@evansilva) October 24, 2016
We have to give the edge to New England because of the quarterback matchup (no offense, Tyrod Taylor) and because of the questions surrounding McCoy. Defensively, these teams are fairly evenly matched.
Pro Football Focus rates New England fourth in overall defense and Buffalo sixth.
Odds Shark currently has the Patriots as 6.5-point favorites here. With Brady back in the fold and the Patriots looking for a little revenge, we have to believe New England can win by at least a touchdown.
It’s not as if the Patriots are going to let up on offense, even if they feel they have the game in hand.
Philadelphia Eagles at Dallas Cowboys
Sunday night’s matchup between the 5-1 Dallas Cowboys and the 4-2 Philadelphia Eagles is going to be an exciting one for a couple of reasons. For starters, it’s probably going to go a long way toward determining the eventual champion of the NFC East.
The game also features the rookie quarterback duel between Prescott and Carson Wentz. Both young gunslingers have played efficient, effective football so far and have their respective teams looking like legitimate playoff contenders.
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The hidden matchup here is Philadelphia’s steadily improving pass rush against Prescott and Dallas’ ball-control offense. Prescott has committed only three turnovers so far this season, but the Eagles defense could cause that number to double by the end of the game.
Minnesota Vikings quarterback Sam Bradford came into Sunday’s game with zero turnovers. The Eagles forced an interception and two fumbles on the day.
As a team, Philadelphia is rated third in pass rush by Pro Football Focus. As good as the Cowboys have been at run blocking for Elliott this season, Dallas is rated only 13th in pass blocking by Pro Football Focus.
It will be important for the Cowboys to get Elliott and the run game going early in order to keep pressure off of Prescott. If this game turns into a passing shootout, it could give the Eagles a better chance of pulling off the road win.
We’re expecting some strong defense from Philadelphia and some hard-running, grind-it-out football from Dallas. This is why we believe the game will fall just under the current over/under of 43.5 points.