Hello. I’d like to offer a warm welcome to those of you who are just joining us for our weekly picks this week. For those of you who’ve been with us all season, I’d like to say welcome back.
Last week, I predicted wins for the Green Bay Packers, Kansas City Chiefs, and the Chicago Bears. Both the Packers and the Chiefs won their respective games by a double-digit margin. Unfortunately, my hometown Bears were trounced by the Los Angeles Rams to the tune of 24-3. Such is the reward for going against my better judgment.
Despite the setback, I went 2-1 for the third straight week and my overall season record is now 16-4. Now that you’ve been brought up to speed, let’s look at my best picks for Week 8.
NFL Best Bet of the Week 8 No. 3: Pittsburgh Steelers at Baltimore Ravens (-3.5)
In what can be described as the best game in the AFC, the Pittsburgh Steelers will take on the Baltimore Ravens in a divisional showdown between two teams that have a combined 11-1 record. While the Steels are a perfect 6-0, there are a few reasons why the Ravens are the favorite to win this game.
For starters, they have won the last three meetings between these two heavyweights. Additionally, the Steelers are playing in their second consecutive road game while the Ravens are coming off a bye week.
On the flip side of the coin, there are a couple of noteworthy stats about the Steelers. For instance, they have the best overall defense in the league, allowing just 286.3 yards per game. Aside from being the sixth-best passing defense, they also give up the second-fewest rushing yards per outing (68.8).
Furthermore, the Steelers have recorded 26 sacks – the highest total in the NFL. It is also worth mentioning that reigning MVP Lamar Jackson has exceeded 200 passing yards just twice this season – in a pair of wins against the Cleveland Browns and the Houston Texans. Whether the Steelers ‘defense can keep Jackson completely in check remains to be seen. But look for this unit to make enough plays to help Pittsburgh remain unbeaten.
James’ pick: Taking the Steelers by a field goal
NFL Best Bet of Week 8 No. 2: Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-10.5) at New York Giants
This matchup could have also been my “safe” selection for the week as well. The New York Giants have posted just one win through their first seven games. That lone win came against the Washington Football Team. Like the other New York team, the Giants are ranked near the bottom of the league in total offense (282.4 yards per contest), and they are woeful 1-8 in the previous nine primetime games. Conversely, the Buccaneers are rolling right now. Following a disappointing loss to the New Orleans Saints in the season opener, the Bucs have won five of their last six games. And over the past two weeks, they’ve defeated a pair of top-10 offenses in the Packers and the Raiders. Tom Brady carved up the Raiders’ defense for 369 yards and four touchdowns. Look for TB-12 to have similar success this week as well.
James’ pick: Buccaneers get the win and cover the spread
NFL Best Bet of Week 8: New York Jets at Kansas City Chiefs (-19.5)
Now it’s time for my lock pick of the week. The New York Jets travel on the road to take on the Kansas City Chiefs. To be honest, I’d pick the Chiefs to win most of the games on their schedule this season. There are several reasons why this is my lock pick for Week 8.
First, the Jets are the only winless team in the NFL. Second, New York is ranked dead last in total offense, averaging a meager 264.3 yards per outing. Not only that, but the Jets are also giving up 29 points per contest. Those stats, along with the fact that the Chiefs have found ways to win games despite the lack of huge passing plays this season, look for the Chiefs to win this one convincingly.
James’ pick: Chiefs win big AND cover the spread.