Scott’s Seven NFL Picks: Week 8

By Scott Kacsmar

The NFL has a Week 8 schedule loaded with big division games like Chiefs-Broncos, Vikings-Packers, and Eagles-Commanders. We also want to look at NFL picks for the Jaguars-Steelers showdown in Pittsburgh and the chance that the Carolina Panthers may finally win a game this year.

Speaking of being winless, Week 7’s NFL picks almost went there. Only the Broncos came through for us in beating Green Bay. All those big swings missed thanks to Cooper Kupp having his fewest yards (29) in a non-injury game since mid-2020, Tua Tagovailoa having a season-low passing night in Philly, the Bills blowing a very late lead to Mac Jones and the Patriots, the Chargers playing their worst game yet against the Chiefs in the Justin Herbert era, and the 49ers forgot we needed them to win by 3 points in Minnesota. The worst pick of the season may have been Lions-Ravens being decided by 1-4 points as the Ravens blew them out 38-6 in a rout no one saw coming.

We’ll tone things down a bit and aim for more singles instead of trying to hit home runs this week.

Each Friday, we will share seven NFL picks that we are including in our bets for the weekend. These can be prop picks, spreads, totals, alternate lines, moneylines, same game parlays, etc. We like to think outside the box instead of just telling you the Dolphins should beat the Patriots with -450 odds. You can play the picks separately or parlay your favorite choices together.

Note: Picks are ranked in order of confidence (highest to lowest).

1. Eagles-Commanders: Time to Start Rolling in the NFC East

The Eagles are a 7-point road favorite after impressively shutting down the Miami offense last week in a 31-17 win. The Week 4 match between these division rivals went to overtime before the Eagles won 34-31, and let’s be honest, the Commanders messed up by not going for a 2-point conversion to win the game in regulation.

But we are going with the opposite in the rematch as the Eagles should start much stronger and jump out to an early lead on this bad Washington team. Jack Del Rio’s defense ranks 27th against the pass and 23rd against the run on a per-play basis. Jalen Hurts had some hiccups against a tough Jets defense, but he has averaged 291.6 passing yards per game over his last 5 games, and A.J. Brown has gone over 125 receiving yards in each game (one shy of new NFL record).

Meanwhile, we just saw the Eagles hold the No. 1 offense, Miami, to season lows across the board in yards, points, yards per play, and first downs. The Commanders are struggling to score right now, and Sam Howell takes sacks at a rate we haven’t seen since a young David Carr in Houston. If Howell takes 5 sacks in this game, he’ll tie the longest streaks ever of games with 4 and 5 sacks taken.

My pick for this game fluctuated from a few different choices. I thought about picking the Eagles to lead at the end of each half (-120), the Eagles to win both halves (+150), the Eagles to cover the 7-point spread for the game (-110), and the Eagles to hit their first half over (13.5 points).

In the end, let’s go with the Eagles to cover the spread in the first half (-4.5) as they jump all over Washington early, the hallmark of Nick Sirianni’s team when it is playing its best. But if you wanted to hedge with Brown going for the record and another 125-yard game (+270 at FanDuel), I wouldn’t blame you. The Washington secondary looks lost at times.

Scott’s NFL Pick: Eagles -4.5 1st Half Spread (+105 at FanDuel)

2. Jaguars-Steelers: Pittsburgh’s Boogeyman      

The Steelers are a home underdog for the fourth time already this season. Here is how the first three have gone:

  • Week 1 vs. 49ers: Trailed 20-7 at halftime, lost 30-7
  • Week 2 vs. Browns: Led 16-14 at halftime, won 26-22
  • Week 5 vs. Ravens: Trailed 10-3 at halftime, won 17-10

The Steelers also trailed at halftime in their last two road games in Houston (16-0) and Los Angeles (9-3). They came back to win against the Rams last week, but at some point the awful starts on offense are going to catch up to this team and cost them a game.

The Jaguars (5-2), winners of four straight, are the right team to make it happen. They have a better quarterback in Trevor Lawrence, and while he’s never played Pittsburgh before, he is better than Kenny Pickett, who has still only thrown for multiple touchdown passes in 1-of-19 career games. The Jaguars lead all defenses in takeaways and can make this a tough matchup for Pickett, who usually has to wait until the fourth quarter to win the game if the defense can keep it close enough.

The Jaguars have been a tough opponent for Pittsburgh for what seems like the entirety of their franchise’s existence going back to 1995. While this is the first matchup in the Lawrence era, the Jaguars are the better, more consistent team and should do the things most teams are capable of doing to Pittsburgh.

That means leading at halftime (first-half spread is Jaguars -1.5), and holding Pickett under 2 touchdown passes. That’s what we’re going with for a 2-leg parlay on this one, and you could even get a little more frisky and add Christian Kirk going over 40 receiving yards as good route runners are shredding Pittsburgh this year.

Scott’s NFL Pick: Same Game Parlay – Jaguars -1.5 First Half + Kenny Pickett Under 1.5 Passing Touchdowns (+166 at FanDuel)

3. Saints-Colts: Scoring Streaks

Would it shock you to find out the Colts are the only team to score at least 20 points in every game this season? Rookie coach Shane Steichen has done a fine job when you consider the injuries at quarterback, running back, tight end, and some struggles with the offensive line.

The only thing more shocking is the Colts lost a 39-38 game to Cleveland, the No. 1 defense going in, last week. But that included a lot of turnovers that Gardner Minshew needs to clean up. Fortunately, he won’t have to deal with Myles Garrett this week, and the Saints are starting to look shakier on defense after allowing 26 points to Tampa and 31 to Jacksonville (24 on defense) last week.

In fact, that 31-24 game against the Jaguars ended a streak of 12 straight unders hitting in New Orleans games. The home crowd booed Derek Carr and the offense, and for good reason – the offense has been poor this season.

But with the Saints having some extra days to prepare for this one, to get Carr healthier, and both teams struggling a bit on defense, I think there’s good value in betting on both teams to hit the 20-point mark in this game.

Scott’s NFL Pick: Both Teams to Score 20+ Points (+150 at FanDuel)

4. Chiefs-Broncos: 17 Days Later, 17th Win in a Row over Denver?

How did the Broncos trade for Russell Wilson, sign Sean Payton, and they feel farther away than ever at ending their 16-game losing streak to the Chiefs? The 19-8 loss Denver just suffered in Kansas City in Week 6 was one of the ugliest games yet.

Seventeen days later, the Chiefs can make it 17 wins in a row against Denver. Patrick Mahomes is 12-0 against Denver, but the games have usually been higher scoring in Mile High. In fact, all 5 games Mahomes has finished in Denver have hit 50 total points.

Both teams certainly left some points on the board last time as the Chiefs seemed to toy with Denver that night. Hopefully they burned the Tush Push from a field goal formation with Noah Gray from the playbook.

But despite the 12-0 record for Mahomes, Denver usually plays him tough, and 9 of the games have been decided by 1-13 points. It would be typical NFL for the Chiefs to lose a game and Denver to end this streak just as the mainstream media started getting back on the KC bandwagon for the Super Bowl and Mahomes for MVP.

But we are going to stick with Kansas City winning, and go with a margin of 1-13 points. Even in a game where Russell Wilson failed to throw for 100 yards a few weeks ago, it was still an 11-point margin. The Chiefs rarely blow teams out anymore, and this is kind of Denver’s last stand in the race at 2-5.

Scott’s NFL Pick: Chiefs by 1-13 Points (+120 at FanDuel)

5. Texans-Panthers: Too Much Parity to Go Winless This Long

Not only are the Panthers (0-6) the NFL’s only winless team, but everyone except for Arizona (1-6) has 2 wins going into Week 8. Carolina has been bad, but can you honestly say this team is that much worse than the Giants, Broncos, Bears, or Patriots this season?

The league has too much parity this year to think a team will go winless into November. It’s not that I have overwhelmingly strong reasons to say Carolina is going to win this game, but Houston (3-3) is far from a realistic contender this season too, so why not go for the upset for the home team?

Here are some of the reasons I get an upset vibe from this one:

  • Carolina has only played at home twice this season and lost by a combined 11 points. The Panthers are 0-4 on the road with every loss by double digits.
  • Houston is 1-2 on the road with a win over a Jacksonville team (division game) it always seems to beat.
  • Houston has been held under 21 points in 4-of-6 games this season.
  • The Panthers have a league-low 5 takeaways on defense and no recovered fumbles, so they are due for some turnovers.
  • The Texans have a league-low 3 giveaways on defense, so they are due for some turnovers.
  • Adam Thielen has been outstanding for Carolina and is catching 83.1% of his targets and averaging 84.8 yards per game.
  • Both teams had a bye week to negate that advantage, but Frank Reich was 4-0 after a bye week with the Colts, so he has experience over DeMeco Ryans on his side.
  • Rookie quarterback C.J. Stroud has outplayed No. 1 pick Bryce Young so far, but maybe Young will be motivated by that to play his best game yet.
  • The Houston offense is 30th in rushing yards per carry and 27th in red zone touchdown rate.
  • The Houston defense is 27th on third down while the Panthers are 4th.

The Panthers gave up 42 points to the Lions and Dolphins in back-to-back games. The Texans are not on that level. This is a solid spot for Carolina to finally get that first win for Reich and Young. Maybe they’ll even break their streak of 56 straight losses when trailing in the fourth quarter, which goes back to 2018.

Scott’s NFL Pick: Panthers ML (+150 at FanDuel)

6. Rams-Cowboys: Wide Receiver Parlay

For a game with strong wide receiver play, we couldn’t help but make a 3-leg parlay in Dallas:

  • Cooper Kupp 6+ Receptions
  • Puka Nacua 5+ Receptions
  • CeeDee Lamb 5+ Receptions

Last week, the Rams and Cooper Kupp burned a lot of us. Kupp had a few early drops and was held to 2 catches for 29 yards on 7 targets, the worst game he’s had that he didn’t leave injured since midway through the 2020 season.

But Kupp is too good, and Dallas misses corner Trevon Diggs, to not bounce back with a big game. It was Puka Nacua who looked like Kupp last week with 8 catches for 154 yards. He won’t do that again, but Nacua has caught at least 5 balls in 6-of-7 games this year. He feels like a safe pick in a game where the Rams should be throwing often.

As for the Cowboys, they know CeeDee Lamb needs more targets to get this offense moving. HE caught all 7 of his targets against the Chargers for 117 yards in the last game. He has 5-plus catches in only 2-of-6 games this year, but he did have 5 catches for 53 yards against the Rams last year. We’ll trust him to do it again Sunday.

Scott’s NFL Pick: Same Game Parlay – Cooper Kupp 6+ Receptions & Puka Nacua 5+ Receptions & CeeDee Lamb 5+ Receptions (+169 at FanDuel)

7. Vikings-Packers: Regression Time?

Finally, we have a little parlay that might make Green Bay fans step away from the ledge and give their new quarterback some time to develop.

  • Jordan Love Over 1.5 Passing Touchdowns
  • Kirk Cousins Under 1.5 Passing Touchdowns

Love has thrown multiple touchdowns in 3-of-6 games this season, though he has yet to do it at home. But the Packers need to start stronger and stop relying on the fourth quarter to do so much of their scoring, which is the antithesis of the Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers eras.

But despite what the Vikings did last week to the 49ers, it is still hard to call this a good defense. Minnesota likes to blitz, so there could be opportunities for the Packers to exploit that if Matt LaFleur is coaching a good game against a very familiar division opponent he’s known to have success against.

Even in a game where Love struggled last week in Denver, he still finished with 2 touchdown passes. I think he has his best game in weeks this Sunday.

As for the other pick, Kirk Cousins leads the NFL in touchdown passes (16) and has thrown multiple scores in 6-of-7 games. But this is also in part due to the Vikings having zero rushing touchdowns this season. That won’t continue forever as regression will catch up to them there.

The game where Cousins only had 1 touchdown pass was in Chicago, a division road game where he didn’t have Justin Jefferson. What is this week’s game? A division road game where he won’t have Justin Jefferson (hamstring). If we are just being honest, for as good as Cousins played against the 49ers on Monday night, his touchdown pass to Jordan Addison before halftime was a fluke that should have been intercepted.

Cousins has thrown 1 touchdown pass in each of his last 3 games in Green Bay too, including last year’s blowout loss where he threw 3 interceptions.

Whether it’s because Cousins has a bad game in Lambeau, or the Vikings start finally getting rushing touchdowns, the under 1.5 is a stat I like for this game, along with Love playing better and throwing a pair of scores. We’ll leave the final scoreboard out of the equation as you don’t know who to trust right now.

Scott’s NFL Pick: Same Game Parlay – Jordan Love Over 1.5 Passing Touchdowns + Kirk Cousins Under 1.5 Passing Touchdowns (+350 at BetRivers)

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