Week 8 NFL game picks: Ravens knock off Bucs on Thursday night; win streaks end for Giants and Jets

Gregg Rosenthal went 9-5 straight up on his Week 7 picks, bringing his season total to 61-46-1. How will he fare in Week 8? His picks are below.

The lines provided by Caesars Sportsbook are current as of Noon ET on Thursday, Oct. 27 unless otherwise noted below.

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THURSDAY, OCT. 27

  • WHERE: Raymond James Stadium (Tampa, Fla.)
  • WHEN: 8:15 p.m. ET | Prime Video, NFL+
  • MONEYLINE: Ravens: +115 | Buccaneers: -135
  • SPREAD: Ravens +2 | O/U: 46

Both these teams have changed so much over the last month. The Ravens’ offense is run-blocking well again, but the explosive pass plays are long gone. The Bucs’ famous run defense is suddenly ordinary and Tampa Bay’s station-to-station offense is struggling with miscommunications even to their best receivers. The Bucs’ secondary could fall apart without Antoine Winfield Jr. (concussion) and Carlton Davis (hip). The Ravens have more ways to win because their defense, led by a resurgent Patrick Queen, is playing much better and because Lamar Jackson’s running ability is the most dominant skill in this game. Like it is in most weeks.

SUNDAY, OCT. 30

  • WHERE: Wembley Stadium (London)
  • WHEN: 9:30 a.m. ET | ESPN+
  • MONEYLINE: Broncos: +118 | Jaguars: -140
  • SPREAD: Jaguars -2.5 | O/U: 39.5

London is getting a good example of 2022 football with 9 of the 10 losses by the Jags and Broncos by one score. The Broncos pair the league’s most disappointing offense with perhaps the best defense. Trevor Lawrence has been too erratic to believe he’ll move the ball against Denver’s secondary, but I love how the Jaguars are moving people in the run game. Even with Russell Wilson trending toward playing, I like the Jags to hit just enough field goals in their second home, where they’ve won 4 of their last 6 games. Even Urban Meyer won in London! 

https://sportstoft.com/soccer/under-pressure-marsch-will-never-be-bielsa-but-leeds-have-no-other-solution/

  • WHERE: Mercedes-Benz Stadium (Atlanta)
  • WHEN: 1 p.m. ET | FOX
  • MONEYLINE: Panthers: +175 | Falcons: -210
  • SPREAD: Panthers +4 | O/U: 41

The Panthers have a realistic chance to be in first place with a win here and a Bucs loss on Thursday night. If P.J. Walker plays as well as he did last week, they can compete in all their division games the rest of the way. Give the Falcons a slight edge because of their running game, but their try-hard defense is not the same without A.J. Terrell or Casey Hayward. I feel stronger about the Falcons keeping this game close than I do about either team winning.

  • WHERE: AT&T Stadium (Arlington, Texas)
  • WHEN: 1 p.m. ET | FOX
  • MONEYLINE: Bears: +345 | Cowboys: -455
  • SPREAD: Bears +9.5 | O/U: 42.5

Did the Bears offense find something Monday night with more designed runs for Justin Fields? This week is the perfect test, as the Cowboys have the athletes to deal with unpredictability. Fields’ decision making has improved for three straight weeks, as has the defense. The run game was there all along. The Cowboys are steady running the ball, but I didn’t see enough from Dak Prescott in his return to assume a blowout here. 

  • WHERE: Ford Field (Detroit)
  • WHEN: 1 p.m. ET | CBS
  • MONEYLINE: Dolphins: -190 | Lions: +158
  • SPREAD: Dolphins -3.5 | O/U: 51.5

The Lions’ young defenders (Hutchinson! Paschal! Okudah!) are showing signs of life just in time for the offense to crash back down to earth. As usual, it’d be nice to know which Lions skill-position players are suiting up before predicting a score. But Jared Goff’s tendence to make killer mistakes against versatile, blitz-heavy defenses like the Dolphins’ is enough to pick against the home team either way. 

  • WHERE: U.S. Bank Stadium (Minneapolis)
  • WHEN: 1 p.m. ET | FOX
  • MONEYLINE: Cardinals: +158 | Vikings: -190
  • SPREAD: Vikings -3.5 | O/U: 49

Everything about the Vikings’ statistical profile screams average, not 5-1 … except field position. They are first in average starting field position and second in opponent’s average starting field position, which makes them the ‘85 Bears of field position teams. DeAndre Hopkins helps the Cardinals make more sense here, but it feels too early to trust them. The only prediction I feel comfortable with considering these two unpredictable, streaky teams: CHAOS. 

  • WHERE: Caesars Superdome (New Orleans)
  • WHEN: 1 p.m. ET | CBS
  • MONEYLINE: Raiders: -125 | Saints: +105
  • SPREAD: Raiders -1.5 | O/U: 49.5

The Saints have the NFL’s worst turnover margin by far (-10) and they are giving up more big plays than any team over the last four weeks. That’s a rough combination entering a game against the Raiders, who are averaging 33 points over their last three games. I was all set to pick the Saints as home underdogs until seeing that Michael Thomas, Marshon Lattimore, Jarvis Landry and starting tight end Adam Trautman were all still out of practice on Wednesday. Keeping Andy Dalton at quarterback feels like a plus, but it’s hard to trust either side of the ball for the Saints. 

  • WHERE: MetLife Stadium (East Rutherford, N.J.)
  • WHEN: 1 p.m. ET | CBS
  • MONEYLINE: Patriots: -140 | Jets: +118
  • SPREAD: Patriots -2.5 | O/U: 40.5

Bill Belichick’s teams usually play their best against the Jets, against struggling quarterbacks and after devastating losses. That all works in their favor this week, but Belichick has never dealt with a self-created quarterback mess quite like this one. Mac Jones gives the Patriots the highest ceiling and the team’s apparent vote of confidence in him should help, especially against this rugged Jets pass rush. Still, the loss of Breece Hall and Alijah Vera-Tucker further depletes an offense struggling to find anything that works. Expect a lot of defense. 

  • WHERE: Lincoln Financial Field (Philadelphia)
  • WHEN: 1 p.m. ET | CBS
  • MONEYLINE: Steelers: +400 | Eagles: -550
  • SPREAD: Steelers +11 | O/U: 43

Najee Harris showed signs of life last week and will need to be better this time. That’s because James Bradberry and Darius Slay have developed into the best cornerback tandem in football, the rare duo that matches up just fine with the Steelers’ wideouts downfield. T.J. Watt could be back and every Steelers loss except the one to Buffalo has basically come down to the final possession, so I’m not expecting a lopsided result. 

  • WHERE: NRG Stadium (Houston)
  • WHEN: 4:05 p.m. ET | CBS
  • MONEYLINE: Titans: -140 | Texans: +118
  • SPREAD: Titans -2.5 | O/U: 40.5

Every Titans game feels like a dare to Ryan Tannehill: How little help can you possibly get from your offensive line and receivers and still survive? He keeps surviving, but an ankle injury kept him out of practice on Wednesday. Building early leads and barely holding on with Derrick Henry is a fine enough recipe, however, in the AFC South. Even when Davis Mills has a terrific game like last week, Lovie Smith’s defense shows it has taken a step back this season. 

  • WHERE: Lucas Oil Stadium (Indianapolis)
  • WHEN: 4:25 p.m. ET | FOX
  • MONEYLINE: Commanders: +126 | Colts: -150
  • SPREAD: Commanders +3 | O/U: 39.5

Sam Ehlinger looked spicy in the preseason. It’s true! Jonathan Taylor also looked good last week. The Colts picked a fine week to break in a new quarterback, yet the matchup still worries me. Washington has a pass rush and the Colts don’t have any pass protection. It’s hard to feel confident picking either team here, but the Colts’ offensive problems feel bigger than one position. 

  • WHERE: SoFi Stadium (Inglewood, Calif.)
  • WHEN: 4:25 p.m. ET | FOX
  • MONEYLINE: 49ers: -125 | Rams: +105
  • SPREAD: 49ers -1.5 | O/U: 43

The only Rams victory against the 49ers in their last eight meetings required a 10-point fourth-quarter comeback in the NFC Championship Game with Jimmy Garoppolo playing through a shoulder injury that eventually required surgery. The 49ers bum-rushed the Rams less than a month ago by blitzing Matthew Stafford, giving this game annoying timing. The bye week should help, but the Rams’ offense remains undercooked until proven otherwise.

  • WHERE: Lumen Field (Seattle)
  • WHEN: 4:25 p.m. ET | FOX
  • MONEYLINE: Giants: +140 | Seahawks: -165
  • SPREAD: Seahawks -3 | O/U: 44.5

The Seahawks are catching Big Blue at the right time. It’s the Giants’ second straight long road trip and they just lost two offensive linemen. DK Metcalf’s injury will limit Seattle’s offense, but the Jaguars proved again that the best way to attack Giants coordinator Wink Martindale’s blitzing defense is to run right at it. The Giants allow a league-worst 5.7 yards per carry. Pitting that against the Seahawks’ scorching rookie RB, Kenneth Walker III, is rough.

  • WHERE: Highmark Stadium (Orchard Park, N.Y.)
  • WHEN: 8:20 p.m. ET | NBC, Universo
  • MONEYLINE: Packers: +400 | Bills: -550
  • SPREAD: Bills -11.5 | O/U: 47.5

Aaron Rodgers’ statement that this matchup may be exactly what the Packers need rings hollow. If a two-game losing streak wasn’t inspiration to magically try harder, why would a three-game losing streak against a tougher opponent do the trick? It’s not about opponents. It’s about Green Bay’s faulty coaching on defense and personnel on offense. This should be another reality check for Rodgers that a “tick” better won’t be enough.

MONDAY, OCT. 31

  • WHERE: FirstEnergy Stadium (Cleveland)
  • WHEN: 8:15 p.m. ET | ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN Deportes
  • MONEYLINE: Bengals: -180 | Browns: +152
  • SPREAD: Bengals -3 | O/U: 46.5

Are the Bengals back or did they just face a Saints defense that majors in giving up big plays and a Falcons defense ranked dead last in pass defense efficiency down its top two corners? Cincinnati may not even need to find out this week because Cleveland is another dream matchup. As long as Zac Taylor stays aggressive and keeps Joe Burrow passing on early downs, it’s hard to imagine the Browns secondary lasting four quarters without a bunch of big mistakes. And truth be told, there are only so many passing attacks that can take advantage of shoddy defenses in 2022, so I guess that qualifies as back to me.

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