NFL Week 8 odds, picks: Patriots defense induces a Baker Mayfield nightmare, Matthew Stafford carves up Giants
Other best bets include a low-scoring game between the Panthers and 49ers, and the Seahawks hammering the Falcons
Two weeks ago, I've got momentum, baby. I've got the big mo.A week ago, Now, I know I was right.
For a third straight week, I posted a 3-2 record with my five weekly best bets. After starting 1-9 in Weeks 1-2, I've since gone 13-11-1, including a 9-6 record over the past three weeks. I haven't yet clawed my way back to .500, but that's where I'm heading.
Will Brinson, Pete Prisco and R.J. White broke down all the angles and picks you need to know for every game on Friday's Pick Six Podcast. Give it a listen below, and be sure to subscribe on your favorite podcast platform:
Below, you'll find my five best bets for Week 8 -- right after Josh Lyman demonstrates how one should always celebrate upon acquiring the big mo (landline phone optional).
Last week: 3-2
This year: 14-20-1
Here's a fun fact: Kirk Cousins is actually leading the league in touchdown rate (6.9 percent), yards per attempt (9.1), and passer rating (114.3). Ever since that nightmare against the Bears, which led to him publicly apologizing to Adam Thielen and some trade rumors involving Stefon Diggs, Cousins is completing over 75 percent of his passes, averaging a hair more than 325 yards per game, and has thrown 10 touchdowns and only one interception.
All of this is a long-winded way of saying I think Cousins is going to get his revenge against the team that for so many years refused to commit to him as their franchise quarterback. The Vikings are very good, ranking sixth overall in DVOA with a plus-69 point differential that ranks third in the NFL. Only the league's two unbeaten teams, the Patriots and 49ers, have outscored their opposition by more points. The Redskins, on the other hand, are not good. They're 29th overall in DVOA with a negative-86 point differential. Only the Jets and Dolphins have been outscored by more points.
I think the Vikings, a team that often blows out bad teams, are going to blow out the Redskins, a team that often gets blown out. I've said this for a while now, but the Vikings are a team built to destroy bad teams with a strong defense and a quarterback who routinely dismantles bad defenses. I don't really see how the Redskins will score on the Vikings, and I don't see how they'll stop the Vikings' offense.
I feel like I'm missing something here. Even with Matt Ryan, the Falcons are stuck in the suck at 1-6, 28th in DVOA, and negative-78 in point differential (just barely better than the aforementioned Redskins). Now, there's a chance Ryan will miss his first start since 2009 after he picked up an ankle injury. So then, why are they only 3.5-point underdogs to a Seahawks team that has in Russell Wilson?
Wilson should have his way with a Falcons defense allowing 31.9 points per game -- only the Dolphins are allowing more. He's coming off his only poor performance of the season, but that disappointing outing against the Ravens should be treated as an aberration. Wilson doesn't normally submit stinkers in consecutive games.
Even if Ryan plays, I like the Seahawks to win big against a Falcons team that has looked so hapless that it's a minor miracle Dan Quinn still has his job. And if Ryan doesn't play, it'll be a bloodbath, because it'll be Matt Schaub time.
3. Panthers at 49ers Under 42
In a matchup between the league's second- and third-best defenses by DVOA, I'm expecting a low-scoring game. The 49ers (second in defensive DVOA) are allowing only 10.7 points per game -- only the Patriots have allowed fewer -- and five of their six games have gone under. The Panthers are allowing 22.2 points per game, which ranks in the middle of the pack, but they do have the league's third-best defense by DVOA.
I think the 49ers will win, but I feel better about taking the under in a matchup between two good defenses and two middling quarterbacks. Both of these teams are going to lean on their running backs -- Christian McCaffrey is the sport's best running back right now and the 49ers lead the league in rushing attempts per game -- which should also help the under.
4. Patriots -13 vs. Browns
No more betting against the Patriots after continually seeing their defense embarrass opposing offenses. Normally, I would've taken the under, but given Baker Mayfield's propensity for throwing interceptions (an NFL-high 11 so far this season) and the Patriots defense's habit of scoring touchdowns (fun fact: the Patriots' defense -- not including special teams -- has scored more points than it's allowed), I don't feel comfortable taking the under. But I do feel comfortable backing the Patriots to induce yet another disaster out of a young quarterback. Mayfield hasn't been the superstar we saw a season ago. He ranks 30th in DYAR, 29th in DVOA, and 25th in QBR. I don't see much changing against New England.
Patriots win big, again.
If you haven't been paying close attention, it might've been easy to miss the fact that Matthew Stafford is playing the best football of his career. I get it. The Lions, even though they've been competitive and quite frankly, extremely unlucky, aren't exactly fun. They're stuck in the same division as the Packers, Vikings, and Bears. Stafford's been around for an eternity now. By now, we pretty much know what he is (a good, but not great quarterback).
But Stafford is playing like a great quarterback in Darrell Bevell's offense, at least so far this season. He's been the league's fourth-best quarterback by both DYAR and DVOA, and the fifth-best quarterback by QBR. After Jim Bob Cooter tried to turn Stafford into a quick-release, short-game quarterback, Bevell has correctly identified that Stafford's greatest asset remains his arm strength and has let him fire the ball downfield. And it's working. Per NFL Next Gen Stats, he's averaging 10.5 air yards per pass attempt -- only two quarterbacks throw the ball deep with more frequency. On Sunday, he gets a Giants defense that is 27th by DVOA against the pass.
I'll take the Lions to win by more than a touchdown.
Pick Six Newsletter
Get the day's big stories + fun stuff you love like mock drafts, picks and power rankings.
Thanks for signing up!
Keep an eye on your inbox for the latest sports news.
There was an error processing your subscription.
Sanders has shown his support for Brown
Ferrell has been working to improve his body this offseason
Joe Woods says Garrett is heading in the 'right direction' following suspension
R.J. White has crushed the Las Vegas SuperContest twice
Jackson had an incredible 2019 season, but Harbaugh believes he can be better
Jacksonville is trying to bounce back from a 6-10 season
Here's the perfect way to keep track of all your schedule leaks and updates in one place
CBS Sports is bringing you live updates and analysis as the 2020 NFL Draft wraps up on Saturday
Live scores, highlights and updates from the Broncos vs. Raiders football game