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Pullett's NFL Picks - Week 8

Last Week’s Record: 4-9

Overall Season Record: 51-39

Buccaneers @ Bills

Josh Allen is going through one of those cold streaks that makes you wonder if the Bills are true Super Bowl contenders. In the last two weeks against the Giants and Patriots, Allen has struggled relative to what most would expect. Buffalo was supposed to defeat both opponents in a somewhat easy fashion, as they were seen as the top team in the AFC. However, after struggling in a win against New York, the Bills lost in New England. This Thursday Night matchup against one of the top defenses in the league should be a good test to see where Buffalo currently lies. Tampa Bay should be able to give Allen some trouble, but their lack of an established rushing attack may cost them. The Buccaneers are one of four teams to average less than 80 yards per game and while they may be able to stop the Bills on a few possessions, the lack of a rushing attack may negatively impact how they can manage the clock down the stretch. This game could be close, but ultimately the Bills need to win this game to prove they are a contender.

Bills 28, Buccaneers 21

Game of the Week: Rams @ Cowboys

The Rams’ offense performed well last week against the Steelers, despite their low-scoring outing. Brett Maher missed seven points worth of kicks, costing Los Angeles the game. The Cowboys are familiar with Maher’s struggles, as he was a reason why Dallas struggled late last season. While it is hard to predict games with below-average kicking, the Rams’ offense doesn’t seem to be slowing down. Los Angeles has a top-five passer and receiver in yards this season with Matthew Stafford and Puka Nacua. Their offense without Kyren Williams has taken a slight step down, but Los Angeles has a newly signed core of veteran backs that have helped. While the Rams’ offense should perform well this week, the Cowboys have a more well-rounded team. Dak Prescott has managed this offense in a great way this season with Dallas’ defense and skill positional playmakers have done most of the work. Tony Pollard should return to his early season form, as the Cowboys’ offensive line should now be fully healthy after the bye week. This should be a high-scoring game that comes down to the final possession or two, and Dallas will benefit from homefield advantage.

Cowboys 31, Rams 24

Vikings @ Packers

After losing to both the Raiders and Broncos, the Green Bay Packers may need to reevaluate their season-long expectations. Green Bay’s offense hasn’t been great without Aaron Jones in full health. Jones is the Packers’ biggest playmaker, and he should be getting the ball 20 times per game. Their defense has played relatively well, but the lack of scoring is something that might plague Green Bay for the majority of the season. Meanwhile, the Minnesota Vikings are missing one of the best receivers in the NFL, Justin Jefferson, and players are filling in for his production. Jordan Addison had 123 yards and two touchdowns on Monday, showing why he was drafted in the first round. While their rushing offense hasn’t performed well, the Packers tend to allow a few chunk plays on the ground per game that allow for opposing running backs to get into a rhythm. The Vikings should be able to contain Green Bay and take an important divisional win. 

Vikings 31, Packers 10

Falcons @ Titans

Without Ryan Tannehill, the Tennessee Titans will heavily rely on their offensive line and Derrick Henry in Week 8. Henry should see 25 opportunities, but he may not be as efficient. Henry has historically been able to dominate in situations like these, but his age has been catching up to him. It may be easy for Atlanta to gameplan against this run-heavy scheme. The Falcons, however, have a much more intriguing game plan. Last week, Bijan Robinson rushed one time for three yards. Arthur Smith said Robinson was ill, but the whole situation was difficult to understand in real-time. If Bijan is fully healthy this week, he should get a majority of the work, as he essentially had a rest week. How Smith uses his talented playmakers will determine whether the Falcons can win this game. If Robinson, Drake London, and Kyle Pitts consistently get the ball, they should win. However, if the run game is based on Cordaralle Patterson and Tyler Allgeier, Tennessee may have a shot to win this game.

Falcons 27, Titans 13

Saints @ Colts

The Indianapolis Colts were able to score at will against one of the best defenses in the league last week, but their performance may have been flukey. Jonathan Taylor and Zack Moss are one of the best running back duos in the NFL. Gardner Minshew can game-manage the Colts’ offense to a high level like he did last week. However, the Saints are one of the best defenses in the league. Their defense is top-five in total yards allowed per game and allows less than 20 points per game. Their offense should play well when the ball is in the hands of Chris Olave and Alvin Kamara, but Derek Carr has struggled to get them the ball at times. There were multiple miscommunications between Olave and Carr last week, which is a major issue for their offense. If this lack of communication continues, New Orleans will struggle offensively.

Colts 17, Saints 16

Patriots @ Dolphins

This week should be a bounce-back game for the Miami Dolphins. While the Patriots proved they could beat a top-end team last week, the loss was more self-inflicted and caused by New England. Tua Tagovailoa already defeated this team once this season, and that was before he figured out how to get the most out of his receiving weapons. The Dolphins should be able to run against New England, especially after they secure a lead. While Bill Belichick might be able to craft a good defensive game plan, it is hard to imagine a different result than the one seen in Week 2. 

Dolphins 38, Patriots 7

Jets @ Giants

This edition of the battle of MetLife Field was much more interesting before the season began. With the Aaron Rodgers injury and the struggles of the Giants this season, this game is not as intriguing as it could’ve been. However, there are still a few star players that should stick out. Both teams have elite running backs with the Jets’ Breece Hall and the Giants’ Saquon Barkley. Whichever team can establish the run earlier in the game and give their quarterback more support should have an easier road to winning this week. While Barkley is a great back, Hall showed in his last game that when he is back to being fully healthy, he is one of the best backs in the league as well. The Jets should be able to gameplan better knowing they will have Zach Wilson at quarterback, while the Giants are unsure who their starting quarterback will be. This might give the Jets a slight edge in this matchup, but it should be a close, low-scoring game.

Jets 17, Giants 14

Jaguars @ Steelers

The Pittsburgh Steelers may be onto another .500 season, but this week they have a tough matchup against the Jaguars. Jacksonville seems to have figured out how to use Travis Etienne Jr. in the red zone, as he has scored two touchdowns in each of his last three games. With the equal split of opportunity between Evan Engram, Calvin Ridley, and Christian Kirk, Trevor Lawrence has facilitated this offense at an efficient rate this season. While T.J. Watt may cause problems for the Jaguars, Jacksonville’s offense may be too good to be stopped right now. This combined with the lack of offensive success for the Steelers throughout the season could make for a game where the Pittsburgh defense can hold on, but the offense cannot put them ahead. The Jaguars should be able to outscore the Steelers this week offensively, while Pittsburgh may need to score defensively to win this week.

Jaguars 27, Steelers 14

Eagles @ Commanders

After defeating the Miami Dolphins, the Philadelphia Eagles are the team to beat in the NFL right now. Jalen Hurts has been one of the most consistent quarterbacks this season, leading his offense to at least 20 points in every game but one. Despite his general consistency in leading the offense, Hurts has struggled with throwing interceptions this season. He is currently tied for the most interceptions in the league, but this hasn’t stopped Philadelphia from winning games. This week should be another game that Hurts should be able to lead his team to a win, especially against a weaker divisional opponent. While the Commanders were able to take the Eagles to overtime in Week 4, that game seemed to go right in almost every way for Washington. If Philadelphia can limit turnovers and get stops, they should defeat the Commanders much easier than in Week 4.

Eagles 31, Commanders 14

Texans @ Panthers

The Carolina Panthers have struggled defensively this season. This streak of allowing 20 or more points should continue against C.J. Stroud and the Houston Texans. Stroud has made the most out of what he has been given all season, being a key reason why Nico Collins is a top-10 receiver in receiving yards this season. Stroud has a touchdown-to-interception ratio of nine to one. This is impressive, especially for a rookie on a team that may not have as much help at receiver as other rookies. Houston’s offense should continue their success after last week’s bye, defeating Carolina in a somewhat easy fashion.

Texans 28, Panthers 14

Browns @ Seahawks

The Cleveland Browns offense is one of the most confusing offenses in the NFL. This is because Deshaun Watson, one of the highest-paid quarterbacks in the league performs at the same level as some of their backups some weeks. Last Week, P.J. Walker managed his way to 39 points. While he had a lot of help from his defense giving him great field positioning, he also made a few big plays. With Watson’s status in question, Walker may be in line for another start this week. Seattle’s defense might be a tougher matchup than Indianapolis last week. The Seahawks average almost four sacks per week, the second-highest in the NFL. This matchup could be a low-scoring, defensive matchup. With Myles Garrett playing at the level he played at last week, it makes the Browns almost impossible to pick against.

Browns 24, Seahawks 21

Chiefs @ Broncos

The second matchup between these two teams should be different than the first time the two teams played. Kansas City’s offense was shut down for less than 20 points, but the Broncos offense couldn’t keep up. Patrick Mahomes has established trust in Travis Kelce and his receiving core since then, making their offense much better than it was after the first two weeks of the season. While Denver is coming off an impressive victory against the Packers, the Chiefs may just be too good for the Broncos to have a realistic chance of beating. Kansas City has won the last 17 matchups between the teams, dating back to 2015. This winning streak should continue for the Chiefs in Week 8.

Chiefs 41, Broncos 17

Ravens @ Cardinals

Kyler Murray could return from injury this week, which would make this game a closer one. While Joshua Dobbs has been solid, Kyler Murray’s dual-threat abilities boost Arizona’s offense to a different level. This matchup could have two of the most elite rushing quarterbacks in the league. Lamar Jackson played at an elite level last week, leading his team to 38 points. He should be able to continue his success against a Cardinals defense that has been frisky at times this season but has taken a step back since the first couple of games. Unless Murray can return and play at an elite level in his first week back, Baltimore should be able to take this game.

Ravens 24, Cardinals 7

Bengals @ 49ers

The San Francisco 49ers may be without Brock Purdy this week due to a concussion. While this could be a huge blow, Kyle Shanahan has proven that he can install a game plan that can work for almost any quarterback. Shanahan has had success in San Francisco with backups like Nick Mullens at times. The Purdy injury could seriously cost them this week, as they face off against the Cincinnati Bengals. It seems like Joe Burrow is finally fully healthy after playing through a calf injury for the first few weeks of the season. Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase have connected much better in their last few games, making their duo back near the top of the list of quarterback and wide receiver duos. This game should be close, but with the 49ers' defense being able to stop the run so well, it may be too much to ask Burrow to do everything against an elite defense like the 49ers.

49ers 24, Bengals 21

Bears @ Chargers

The Chicago Bears are likely to be without Justin Fields again this week. This is a huge blow for their offense, as he is their most dynamic player. However, they play the Chargers. Los Angeles keeps every game close, whether they are playing up or down to the level of their opponent. Five of their first six games were settled by one possession. This game could continue this streak of close games for Los Angeles. While Brandon Staley has made some questionably aggressive calls this season, Chicago’s defense is struggling. The Bears allow the fifth most points per game, and they will likely allow Justin Herbert to have one of his better games up to this point this season.

Chargers 31, Bears 24

Raiders @ Lions

After being tied for the top spot in the NFC, the Detroit Lions fell to the Baltimore Ravens in one of the biggest blowouts this season. While this leaves Detroit with many questions to answer as a contender, their matchup this week against the Raiders should be a bounce-back game. The quality of Las Vegas’ three wins might be the lowest in the league, as the teams they have defeated are some of the worst teams in the league. The Raiders allowed Tyler Bagent to lead his offense to 30 points last week. While Bagent looked great relative to it being his first NFL start, the Lions' offense is much better and should cause Las Vegas more trouble.

Lions 27, Raiders 17

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