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David Dermer/Cleveland Browns

2022 NFL Game Picks: Week 8

Last week: 6-8

Season: 60-47-1


BAL (4-3) @ TB (3-4)

Thursday, October 27 | 8:15 PM ET | Prime Video


The Buccaneers have lost four-of-five games since a 2-0 start, and it’s a concern that a struggling offense has seemingly carried over to the other side of the ball after Todd Bowles’ unit looked better than ever in the first two weeks. That said, I have faith in Tom Brady figuring things out—as he always does—and there are too many impact players on the roster for Tampa Bay to not eventually turn into the championship contender we thought they were. Tonight’s game against Baltimore will be an even tougher challenge without starters Carlton Davis (hip), Sean Murphy-Bunting (quad), and Antoine Winfield Jr. (concussion) on the backend, and I’ll be interested to see how they defend Lamar Jackson as both as runner and passer; it’s possible Mark Andrews (knee) is essentially a decoy with Rashod Bateman being the No. 1 target for the Ravens versus rookie cornerback Zyon McCollum. Also, the run defense of the Bucs needs to be better than it’s been in recent weeks, but I like the speed of Devin White and Lavonte Davis tracking Jackson while Brady and the offense hopefully flips a switch on a short week.


Winner: Tampa Bay Buccaneers


DEN (2-5) @ JAX (2-5)

Sunday, October 30 | 9:30 AM ET (London) | ESPN+


Fans simply wanting to watch football on Sunday morning will not be happy about Broncos-Jaguars being an ESPN+ exclusive, but those that have been disappointed by the primetime showings for Denver might be OK skipping the final London game of the year anyway. Russell Wilson (hamstring) doing what he can do get healthy for this week should be commended—though I’m not sure he’ll suddenly turn into the prime version of himself with Jacksonville’s edge duo of Josh Allen and Travon Walker chasing him down. Instead, Denver might have to find a way to win a slugfest powered by the NFL’s No. 2 defense in terms of yards per game allowed, but losing emerging star Baron Browning (hip) could be a significant blow if Bradley Chubb (5.5 sacks on the season) doesn’t get to Trevor Lawrence after back-to-back quiet games. Overall, the comfortability for the Jags across the pond and the health advantage could give them the edge if Lawrence doesn’t make a mistake in a key spot.


Winner: Jacksonville Jaguars


CAR (2-5) @ ATL (3-4)

Sunday, October 30 | 1:00 PM ET | FOX


Prior to a blowout loss to the Bengals last week, Atlanta had been competitive in every game this season by running the ball and playing tough defense—but facing a high-flying Bengals offense in Week 7 showed they need to open up the passing attack (which Marcus Mariota is undoubtedly capable of) by featuring Drake London and Kyle Pitts. Perhaps that won’t be needed to beat the rival Panthers in two matchups over a 12-day span starting this weekend, but the Falcons can’t waste the opportunity at 3-4 in a wide-open conference considering the struggles for many of the top projected teams. And it isn’t as if Mariota hasn’t been productive throwing to tight ends in the past (Delanie Walker had a 1,000-yard campaign when the former Oregon star was a rookie), so for as much good as Arthur Smith has done, getting Pitts more involved as a downfield weapon needs to be prioritized. At home, I like Atlanta and their top-five run defense through seven weeks to contain Carolina’s reformed ground game, but they can’t let D.J. Moore go crazy like the Cincinnati pass-catchers did last week.


Winner: Atlanta Falcons


CHI (3-4) @ DAL (5-2)

Sunday, October 30 | 1:00 PM ET | FOX


On the surface, trading pass rusher Robert Quinn—who wasn’t going to be a part of the organization’s future—to the Eagles looks to be a good move (though some have argued they should have received more compensation). However, the reaction by star linebacker Roquan Smith was telling, and general manager Ryan Poles absolutely must explain the move to his team if he hasn’t already, with one justification being they love what they’ve seen from rookie Dominique Robinson; if not, it’d be a potential season-spiraling decision when you have guys like Smith—after ending his holdout in good faith to compete in 2022—battling every week to get to 3-4 and seeing one of the team’s best defenders get traded. This week, the Bears might not have to deal with Ezekiel Elliott (knee), but Dallas feels primed for an explosion at some point with Dak Prescott under center. To win, Chicago needs to continue allowing Justin Fields to make plays with his legs, and we’ll see if Darnell Mooney can bait Trevon Diggs on a double move.


Winner: Dallas Cowboys


MIA (4-3) @ DET (1-5)

Sunday, October 30 | 1:00 PM ET | CBS


A strong finish for Detroit in 2021 and the momentum that seemed to build during Hard Knocks have not carried over into this season, and two road trips versus two difficult opponents (@ NE, @ DAL) turned the offense from white hot to ice cold. Many are blaming Jared Goff for the struggles, but he was playing like a top quarterback when everyone was healthy, and the signal-callers that would have success throwing to Kalif Raymond, Josh Reynolds, and Tom Kennedy as the primary trio at wide receiver can probably be counted on one hand. The offense will fortunately get Amon-Ra St. Brown in the lineup this week after the new concussion protocols ended his day versus the Cowboys, and Miami has some injuries of their own on the backend that Goff will try to take advantage of. Still, the Lions might not have the options to cover Tyreek Hill—who has gone for 160+ receiving yards in every other game this season and was just surprisingly bottled up by Pittsburgh on Sunday night. It may take Aidan Hutchinson and the pass rush consistently getting to Tua Tagovailoa to get Detroit back in the win column.


Winner: Miami Dolphins


ARI (3-4) @ MIN (5-1) 

Sunday, October 30 | 1:00 PM ET | FOX


Last year’s meeting between Arizona and Minnesota was a 34-33 shootout in which Kyler Murray threw for 400 yards, but will the Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II release this weekend impact his play? In all seriousness, the correlation of Murray seeing his play drop down the stretch probably has more to do with defenses around the NFL improving as the season progresses combined with the weather getting colder, but I’d at least “appear offline” if I were Murray and wanted to participate in the video game’s launch (COD is something I haven’t played in years, but I assume there is double XP or other perks that may legitimate lure him to pick up the controller). On the field, basically every key pass-catcher for both teams found the end zone in the 2021 matchup, but the pass rush of the Vikings is what has me leaning towards them with Danielle Hunter (3.0 sacks of Murray last season) being joined by Za’Darius Smith (5.5 sacks in six games with Minnesota).


Winner: Minnesota Vikings


LV (2-4) @ NO (2-5) 

Sunday, October 30 | 1:00 PM ET | CBS


Although the Saints have been competitive in every game this season, their big-name, high-priced defense has not lived up to expectations—allowing the second-most points per game in the league (28.6) as we hit the final week of October. Injuries have been a major factor and the offense hasn’t exactly helped, but the run defense for New Orleans at least needs to show up to slow down Josh Jacobs on Sunday if they are going to avoid a 2-6 start. Just as importantly, Taysom Hill needs to see increased involvement on offense with the Saints being significantly better when he is on the field; in the second half last week, Hill seemed to be forgotten, and the heavy rotation for the skill-position players needs to be scaled back if it leads to both Alvin Kamara and Hill off the field when New Orleans gets into scoring territory. The Raiders will be entering an intimidating environment at the Superdome on Halloween weekend, but their offense has found something playing through Jacobs, and Chandler Jones could have a big day getting after Andy Dalton versus left tackle James Hurst.


Winner: Las Vegas Raiders


NE (3-4) @ NYJ (5-2)

Sunday, October 30 | 1:00 PM ET | CBS


The performance by the Patriots on Monday night was bizarre, and a lot of the struggles—which is what makes it so strange (being a team led by Bill Belichick)—were due to coaching in my opinion. Offensively, the game plan was basically the opposite of what I thought it would be with Mac Jones back at quarterback, as New England operated heavily out of the shotgun rather establishing the run from under center to create play-action opportunities, and it felt undeserved for Damien Harris and Nelson Agholor to be phased out (along with Jones after being benched) based on others playing well against the 1-5 Lions and 2-5 Browns. The quarterback situation in general has been the most curious, though, as Belichick can put an immediate end to all questions by simply saying that Jones is their starter when fully healthy, and even players like Rhamondre Stevenson and Jakobi Meyers broke ranks by saying they had no clue about the quarterback plan against Chicago. All that being said, New England completely dominated the Jets last season (combined score of 79-19), and not having Breece Hall (knee) decreases the upside of the New York offense. Facing the prospects of a 3-5 start in a loaded conference, Sunday could be a Patriots “correction” for what’s been an upside-down campaign.


Winner: New England Patriots


PIT (2-5) @ PHI (6-0)

Sunday, October 30 | 1:00 PM ET | CBS


Perhaps the only clear weakness for the Eagles this year was a pure pass rusher on the edge, but the trade for Robert Quinn—who had 18.5 sacks last season and might be reenergized by joining the only undefeated team in the NFL—should solve the issue, and the veteran can immediately be a force this week against a mobile Kenny Pickett. Because of the focus and leadership of Jalen Hurts, I highly doubt Philadelphia comes out flat following the bye week, so it will be a very tall task for the Steelers to win on the road, especially if T.J. Watt (pectoral/knee) doesn’t make his return. For the defense of the Eagles, rookie linebacker Nakobe Dean might not see more action with T.J. Edwards playing well alongside Kyzir White, but Jordan Davis should be more involved coming out of the bye to shore up a run defense that has surrendered 5.0 yards per carry on the season. Maybe the streak will snap based on the craziness of 2022, but it’d be a shock if Philly loses to their in-state foe at home for the first time since 1965 (nine games).


Winner: Philadelphia Eagles


TEN (4-2) @ HOU (1-4-1)

Sunday, October 30 | 4:05 PM ET | CBS


Derrick Henry’s last three games versus the Texans:


32 carries, 211 yards, three touchdowns

22 carries, 212 yards, two touchdowns

34 carries, 250 yards, two touchdowns


The game almost feels like a trap with Tennessee favored by just 2.5 points, but Houston has the worst run defense in the league (164.7 yards per game), and Mike Vrabel has no reservations about feeding his monster runner.


Winner: Tennessee Titans


WAS (3-4) @ IND (3-3-1)

Sunday, October 30 | 4:25 PM ET | FOX


We might never know how exactly the switch from Matt Ryan to Sam Ehlinger went down with team owner Jim Irsay being involved, but it seems crazy to give up on a former NFL MVP that has three games with 350+ passing yards already this season. Nonetheless, Ehlinger will be under center this week for a very winnable home game versus Washington, and mobility is the clear advantage he’ll have behind an underperforming offensive line. Plus, the switch will ideally lead to more running lanes for Jonathan Taylor with opponents needing to account for the former Texas standout keeping the ball himself, but the Commanders have mostly done a nice job containing athletic quarterbacks on the ground this season. While this is a game that I’ve gone back and forth on (Washington was my original pick due to belief in Taylor Heinicke), Taylor is due for a breakout game, and it could come versus a middle-of-the-road run defense.


Winner: Indianapolis Colts


SF (3-4) @ LAR (3-3)

Sunday, October 30 | 4:25 PM ET | FOX


San Francisco extended their regular season winning streak over the Rams to seven games with their 24-9 primetime victory earlier this month, and the defense came up huge with Nick Bosa (2.0 sacks) and Talanoa Hufanga (52-yard pick-six to essentially seal the game) playing the heroes. Unfortunately, the unit isn’t as healthy as it was to begin October, and a rested Los Angeles team will have had the bye week for Sean McVay’s mind to go to work regarding the best way to attack DeMeco Ryans’ defense. There has been plenty of talk about Odell Beckham Jr. rejoining the Rams as he nears a decision, but the return of Van Jefferson (knee) on Sunday shouldn’t get overlooked as someone that brings more of a vertical element to the passing attack (50/802/6 line with 16.0 yards per reception in 2021). Jimmy Garoppolo is 7-0 against Los Angeles and will have a more-involved Christian McCaffrey this week, though, and even if it’s not as low-scoring as Round 1, the 49ers can cause problems in the trenches with Trent Williams back for San Francisco and Joe Noteboom (Achilles) out for LA.


Winner: San Francisco 49ers


NYG (6-1) @ SEA (4-3)

Sunday, October 30 | 4:25 PM ET | FOX


The Giants being tied for the most wins in the NFL and the Seahawks having sole possession of first place in the NFC West shows how unpredictable this year has been, but both New York and Seattle appear to be for real—with coaching being a big reason why. Focusing on the Seahawks, they are proof that one remarkable draft class can create the foundation for a long-term winner (they did it with Bobby Wagner and Russell Wilson in 2012, and the 2022 class appears to be similarly promising), so any talk of needing a five-year plan is frankly a way for failing coaches/executives to protect themselves. At the same time, there is a problem with not allowing players to develop with immediate returns being the expectation in today’s NFL, and Daniel Jones and Geno Smith are the perfect examples of that as two quarterbacks playing winning football after being written off and/or relentlessly mocked. I’ll say the probable absence of DK Metcalf (knee) is the difference for a game that may be headlined by big-time performances by Saquon Barkley and Ken Walker III.


Winner: New York Giants


GB (3-4) @ BUF (5-1)

Sunday, October 30 | 8:20 PM ET | NBC


It’s easy to group Tampa Bay and Green Bay together as teams with all-time great quarterbacks that you’d think will turn things around, but I believe the issues for the Packers are more concerning. On gamedays, there often seems to be a sense of confusion, and comments to the media—even preceding the loss to Washington—have suggested not everyone is on the same page. If there is positive to facing the Bills on Sunday night with the hopes of turning their season around, it’s that Tre’Davious White (knee) is still at least a week away from returning, but Buffalo has arguably the NFL’s best pass defense (5:10 touchdown-interception ratio allowed), and Allen Lazard (shoulder) could miss multiple games. If so, it’ll be up to rookie Romeo Doubs—after struggling mightily in Week 7—and Sammy Watkins to step up at wide receiver, and I could picture Rodgers having one of those games where his decision-making and accuracy fall off by coming in with limited hope as a double-digit underdog.


Winner: Buffalo Bills


CIN (4-3) @ CLE (2-5)

Monday, October 31 | 8:15 PM ET | ESPN/ESPN2


“Killer” and “assassin” are words that many have used to describe Joe Burrow’s game, and I’m sure he will be smelling blood on Halloween Night with a chance to put an early end to Cleveland’s chances of winning the AFC North. On the other hand, the Browns are a desperate football team with some scary players of their own, and the two main ones—Nick Chubb and Myles Garrett—have each gone 6-1 against the Bengals in their respective careers, including a 41-16 victory last season with Burrow being sacked five times and throwing two interceptions (the quarterback was rested in the Week 18 meeting). To win and keep Cincinnati from burying them in the division, the Browns must feed Nick Chubb (14 carries for 137 yards and two touchdowns in the blowout win last season) after featuring him early in the Week 7 loss to Baltimore with six touches on the opening drive and then giving him just two touches for the rest the first half. It could be a mistake to go against a determined Burrow on Monday Night Football, but the Bat Signal going up for Chubb to be unleashed gives Cleveland a shot.


Winner: Cleveland Browns