Friday Five, Week 8


We’re here, with another Sunday that features 12 games. There’s some big matchups and some important matchups, so let’s take a look at five that I think will be worth following in Week 8.

Sunday Early Games:

Cam Newton benched in Patriots' blowout loss to 49ers - UPI.com

New England Patriots (2-4) at Buffalo Bills (5-2)
The Bills have a commanding lead in the AFC East, and that’s something the Patriots want to remedy. But can the Patriots overcome their own poor play? Cam Newton has struggled of late, throwing for less than 100 yards and three interceptions before being benched in a blowout loss in Week 7. The Patriots are a woeful 2-4, and don’t even look that good. The Bills have hit a little lull, losing badly to the Titans, then losing to the Chiefs and failing to score a touchdown despite beating the Jets. Both these teams need to get back on track, and this one figures to be a crucial battle for the AFC East.

Las Vegas Raiders (3-3) at Cleveland Browns (5-2)
The Raiders came off a bye and struggled at home, losing 45-20 to the Buccaneers. But they’re still only a couple weeks removed from an impressive road win over the Chiefs. The Browns, meanwhile, have been good—so long as they’re not playing the Ravens or Steelers. Last week the team lost star receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. for the season, but the passing game seemed to improve. Will Baker Mayfield be a more free to sling it? Can Josh Jacobs get back to pounding the ball on the ground for the Raiders. This is an AFC matchup that has plenty of playoff intrigue.

Pittsburgh Steelers (6-0) at Baltimore Ravens (5-1)
This is a big battle at the top of the AFC. The Steelers are the league’s lone unbeaten team, while the Ravens are a powerhouse that has lost just once, to the Chiefs, in 2020. The winner here takes the lead in the AFC North and will remain among the top seeds in the conference. This figures to be a big, physical battle as the Steelers rely on a fierce defense, strong running from James Conner and a passing game that is loaded with talent. Lamar Jackson, meanwhile, hasn’t looked quite as good as he did in 2019 at the league’s MVP, but he’s still a threat to explode at any point. This figures to be the game of the day in Week 8.

Sunday Late Games:

Is Alvin Kamara broken? [A film study] - Canal Street Chronicles

New Orleans Saints (4-2) at Chicago Bears (5-2)
This is a battle of top teams in the NFC, with the Bears coming off a tough loss to the Rams on Monday Night Football while the Saints beat the Panthers at home. Michael Thomas is a long-shot to play, and Emmanuel Sanders is still out with COVID. For the Bears, star receiver Allen Robinson is still dealing with a concussion. This means a game that was potentially going to be a low-scoring battle could be even tighter. Still, with Alvin Kamara on the field, the Saints’ offense still figures to be fun to watch.

Sunday Night Game:

Dallas Cowboys (2-5) at Philadelphia Eagles (2-4-1)
This Sunday night battle features a couple teams that have struggled mightily. The Eagles are banged up and have only won two games, and yet they lead the NFC East. The Cowboys, meanwhile, have only won two games and looked lost offensively since Dak Prescott was lost for the season. But both teams have a good shot to win the east, despite their records. So as odd as it seems, this Week 8 battle is for first place in the NFC East.

Week 8 Picks:

Last week Lindsay did a lot better than me, so now she’s taken the lead. That makes sense as I’ve done better in even weeks, so we’ll see if that continues in Week 8.

Matt’s Week 8 Picks:
Panthers Over Falcons
Bills Over Patriots
Titans Over Bengals
Browns Over Raiders
Lions Over Colts
Packers Over Vikings
Chiefs Over Jets
Rams Over Dolphins
Steelers Over Ravens
Broncos Over Chargers
Saints Over Bears
Seahawks Over 49ers
Eagles Over Cowboys
Buccaneers Over Giants

Last Week: 9-5
Season: 64-41

Lindsay’s Week 8 Picks:
Panthers Over Falcons
Bills Over Patriots
Titans Over Bengals
Raiders Over Browns
Lions Over Colts
Packers Over Vikings
Chiefs Over Jets
Rams Over Dolphins
Steelers Over Ravens
Chargers Over Broncos
Saints Over Bears
Seahawks Over 49ers
Eagles Over Cowboys
Buccaneers Over Giants

Last Week: 12-2
Season: 65-40

Matt’s Week 8 Picks Against the Spread:
Panthers -2.5 Over Falcons
Bills -3.5 Over Patriots
Titans -5.5 Over Bengals
Browns -2.5 Over Raiders
Lions +2.5 Over Colts
Packers -6.5 Over Vikings
Chiefs -19.5 Over Jets
Dolphins +3.5 Over Rams
Steelers +3.5 Over Ravens
Broncos +2.5 Over Chargers
Saints -2.5 Over Bears
49ers +3.5 Over Seahawks
Cowboys +6.5 Over Eagles
Buccaneers -10.5 Over Giants

Last Week: 3-11
Season: 46-59

Matthew Fox is a graduate of the Radio, Television and Film program at Biola University, and a giant nerd. He spends his free time watching movies, TV, and obsessing about football. You can find him @knighthawk7734 on Twitter and as co-host of the Fantasy Football Roundtable Podcast, a proud member of the Drive-In Podcast Network.

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