There are no unbeaten teams left as the NFL enters week 8 of the 2016/17 season after the Minnesota Vikings were defeated by the Philadelphia Eagles last week. There weren’t too many other upsets in the schedule and the Cleveland Browns are still the only club yet to win a contest. There was also a bit of a rarity as Seattle and Arizona played to a 6-6 overtime tie. Check out our weekly predictions below to see how each team will fare in week 8, which kicks off on Thursday, October 27th.
Thursday, October 27th
Jacksonville Jaguars at Tennessee Titans
Week 8 action licks off with a big AFC South showdown between the Jaguars and Titans in Tennessee. The Titans own third place in the division with their 3-4 record while the Jaguars are in the basement at 2-4. Tennessee dropped a 34-26 decision at home to Indianapolis last weekend while the Jaguars were beaten 33-16 at home by the Oakland Raiders. Jacksonville head coach Gus Bradley is in the hot seat and needs a big win next week. Tennessee quarterback Marcus Mariota also needs a big outing after throwing a pair of touchdown passes and 232 yards last week. He was also charged with two fumbles and was sacked three times. The QB will be up against a pretty good Jaguars’ pass defence as it allows 215.3 yards against per game. Therefore, Mariota may want to focus on a ground attack since Jacksonville run defense ranks 18th in the NFL.
Prediction: Tennessee wins a close three-point game, 24-21.
Sunday, October 30th
Washington Redskins at Cincinnati Bengals
Washington’s four-game winning run was snapped last Sunday with a 20-17 defeat at the hands of the Lions in Detroit. It didn’t help matters that Josh Norman had to leave the field due to a concussion in the third quarter. This enabled the Lions’ to launch a more successful passing attack during the game’s second half. Washington needs Norman in the lineup against the Bengals to help keep an eye on A.J. Green and the Cincinnati offense. The Bengals average 276.9 yards in the air per week, which is fifth-best in the league. Cincinnati is entering week 8 after beating the winless Cleveland Browns 31-17 at home and are looking to win two straight games for the first time this season. The Bengals are 3-4 on the year and sit in a second-place tie in the AFC North while the Redskins are 4-3 and tied for third in the NFC East. This game takes place in London, England.
Prediction: Cincinnati wins by five points 31-26
Kansas City Chiefs at Indianapolis Colts
Indianapolis downed Tennessee 34-26 on the road last week to improve to 3-4 on the season. They’re tied with the Titans for second place in the AFC South. Quarterback Andrew Luck threw three touchdown passes and gained 353 yards in the air without being picked off. He’ll be facing a Chiefs’ pass rush which has recorded just eight sacks so far this year, which is a league low. Kansas enters the contest after beating New Orleans 27-21 at home last Sunday and are tied for second place in the AFC West with Denver at 4-2. They’ll be up against a mediocre Indianapolis rushing defence which concedes an average of 118.6 yards against on the ground per outing. Kansas City’s Spencer Ware ran the ball 17 times against New Orleans for 77 yards and could be a key player here.
Prediction: Indianapolis wins a close one by four points, 28-24
Oakland Raiders at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Tampa is on a bit of a hot streak as they downed Carolina in week 5 and then doubled the San Francisco 49ers 34-17 out on the west coast last week. This should give them a bit of momentum and confidence against the Raiders and quarterback Derek Carr this weekend. Tampa has climbed to second place in the NFC South with a 3-3 record. Oakland sits on top of the AFC West at 5-2 after beating the Jacksonville Jaguars 33-16 last Sunday. The Raiders will need to be good defensively against Tampa quarterback Jameis Winston. Oakland’s scoring defence is ranked 22nd in the league, but their rushing and passing defence is ranked dead last.
Prediction: Oakland wins another close game, 32-28
Seattle Seahawks at New Orleans Saints
The Seattle vs New Orleans matchup on Sunday will feature offence vs defence as the Seahawks have the fourth-best scoring defence in the league by allowing only 14 points against per contest. Just how good they are was evident last week in their 6-6 tie with Arizona last Sunday. Of course, the offence struggled in that game though. Seattle is now 4-1-1 on the season and still leads the NFC West. New Orleans defence is just the opposite as it concedes a league-worst 32.5 points against per outing. The Saints dropped a 27-21 decision on the road to Kansas last week and are now in third place in the NFC South at 2-4.
Prediction: Seattle wins yet another close week 8 contest, 28-24
New York Jets at Cleveland Browns
The Browns are still the worst team in the NFL at the moment as they enter week 8 with an 0-7 record and own the basement of the AFC North. They came out on the wrong end of a 31-17 decision to Cincinnati on the road last weekend. Cleveland quarterback Cody Kessler suffered a concussion in that contest and it looks like he’ll be replaced by Kevin Hogan against the Jets. If so, he’ll be the sixth quarterback to start for the team this campaign. The Jets beat the Baltimore Ravens 24-16 in New York last week with the injured Geno Smith sitting out Ryan Fitzpatrick still at the helm. The Jets occupy last place in the AFC East at 2-5, but should be able to make it two in a row next weekend.
Prediction: The Jets win by six points, 24-18
New England Patriots at Buffalo Bills
The Patriots will be looking to avenge their 16-0 home loss to Buffalo earlier this season in week 4 as they take on Buffalo in a huge AFC East clash. The Bills have been the only club to defeat New England this year and they did it while quarterback Tom Brady was still serving his four-game suspension for Deflategate. Buffalo’s four-game winning streak was halted last weekend with a 28-25 defeat on the road at the hands of Miami. They still sit in second place in the division though at 4-3. Brady led New England to a 27-16 road win in Pittsburgh last week by throwing 222 yards in the air along with a pair for touchdowns. He went 19 for 26 in the air and his club leads the division at 6-1. The Buffalo rushing defence was weak in Miami by allowing two touchdowns and 256 yards on the ground.
Prediction: New England wins by seven points, 24-17
Arizona Cardinals at Carolina Panthers
The Panthers enjoyed a week off with a bye in week 7 and it probably came at the ideal time since they’ve lost four in a row. They’re 1-5 on the season and sit in the cellar of the NFC South. Their last outing was a 41-28 defeat to New Orleans. Meanwhile, Arizona played to a 6-6 tie with Seattle last weekend at home. They’re 3-3-1 on the year now and sit in second place in the NFC West. Arizona may have a better offensive game this week since Carolina’s defence is ranked 29th in the NFL when it comes to points against raked 24th in yards conceded per week.
Prediction: Arizona wins a close three-point decision, 24-21
Green Bay Packers at Atlanta Falcons
Green Bay kicked off week 7 with a 26-10 home win over Chicago last Thursday. They’re now second place in the NFC North with their 4-2 record. Wide receiver Jordy Nelson was below par though as he gained just nine yards on four receptions. Nelson will need to work a bit better with quarterback Aaron Rodgers if they hope to be successful in Atlanta. The Falcons enter the game with the league’s best offence when it comes to both points and yards. However, they dropped a 33-30 decision to the San Diego Chargers at home last week and fell to 4-3 on the season. They still lead the NFC South though.
Prediction: Atlanta wins by seven points, 35-28
Philadelphia Eagles at Dallas Cowboys
The Eagles visit Dallas in a big NFC East showdown between the division’s top two teams. The Eagles became the first team to beat the Minnesota Vikings this season when they downed them 21-10 at home last Sunday. Philadelphia sacked their former quarterback Sam Bradford half a dozen times in the game. Philly is now 4-2 on the season and in second place in the division. With Dallas leading it at 5-1. Dallas took last week off with a bye and will be a tough test for the Philadelphia pass rush with the club’s talented offensive line. This is a huge game as the Eagles can pull into a first-place tie with a win here.
Prediction: Dallas wins by just three points, 27-24.
Detroit Lions at Houston Texans
The Lions are 4-3 record on the season which is good for third place in the NFC North after beating the Washington Redskins 20-17 last week. Meanwhile, the Texans took on the Broncos out in Denver on Monday and were beaten 27-9. The loss dropped Houston’s record to 4-2, but they’re still leading the AFC South. The Lions have won three straight and had to come from behind with just over a minute remaining to do it. Quarterback Matthew Stafford went 18 for 29 in passing for 266 yards with a touchdown and had 32 rushing yards. In his last 16 games, Stafford has a 68.6 per cent pass completion for 4,310 yards with 35 touchdowns and eight interceptions. His quarterback rating is 68.8 with a 105.4 passer rating. He’s facing a Texans’ defence which concedes 320.1 yards against per game this season, which is eighth-lowest in the league. Detroit has averaged 25 points a game during their three-game winning string, but Houston is 4-0 at home this season. Texans’ quarterback Brock Osweiler struggled Monday, but averages 255.5 yards in the air per home game this year with seven touchdown passes.
Prediction: Houston wins by six points, 24-18
San Diego Chargers at Denver Broncos
San Diego and Denver meet in a big AFC West divisional showdown in Denver this weekend. The Broncos downed the Houston Texans 27-9 at home on Monday night and are sitting in a first-place tie in the division with Oakland at 5-2. San Diego enters the game in the basement at 3-4 after beating Atlanta 33-30 in overtime on the road. The Chargers have now won two in a row after winning their first road contest this campaign. Quarterback Philip Rivers went 27 for 44 in passing with a touchdown and 371 total yards. He was also picked off once and is sixth-best in the league at 288.3 yards in the air per game. Denver is 13th in the league in scoring with an average of 23.9 points per outing. Their win on Monday snapped a two-game losing skid. The Broncos are 3-1 at home this season and are third-best in the league by allowing only 291.6 yards against per game this year.
Prediction: Denver wins by seven points 27-20
Monday, October 31st
Minnesota Vikings at Chicago Bears
It’s the first vs the worst in the NFC North on Halloween night as Minnesota visits the Windy City to battle it out with the Bears. The Vikings tasted defeat for the first time in 2016/17 when they were beaten 21-10 by the Eagles in Philadelphia. They still top the division though at 5-1. Meanwhile, the Bears were downed 26-10 in Green Bay last Thursday. Minnesota quarterback Sam Bradford was had a hard time against his former team as the Eagles’ pass rush sacked him on six occasions. Chicago is 1-6 on the campaign and in last place in the division. The Vikings can’t underestimate them though as they look to rebound from their lone loss. To make things worse for the Bears, quarterback Brian Hoyer suffered a broken left arm in Green Bay game. This means Matt Barkley may start at quarterback.
Minnesota wins by 15 points, 28-13