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NFL picks against the spread, Week 8: Betting on the Browns and Chargers

Looking for a couple underdogs this week? Look no further than the Chargers and Browns. Also, picks for every other game this week.

The Dak-Romo debate is still simmering, quietly on the list of secondary talking points for radio and television shows. Just imagine what would happen if Prescott had a bad game, which happens to every player eventually. It would literally take the air out of the room, nobody would be talking about anything else.

The talk show freakouts would be nothing compared to what would be going on among the Cowboys’ brain trust. Everyone would be on eggshells, waiting for Jerry Jones to do something rash while he was feeling “lower than a crippled cricket’s ass.”

Within days, Romo would be miraculously healthy again and inserted back into the starting lineup, never mind the disruption that would cause or how little sense it would make at this point. And then with Romo back and the Cowboys in full blown panic mode ... WOOOOOOOO BOY!

But I don’t think that’s going to happen. Not this week, anyway. The Cowboys’ offense matches up very nicely with what the Eagles do on defense, as explained so clearly by Geoff Schwartz.

Jerry’s going to make a mess out of this at some point, just not this week.

COWBOYS (-5) over Eagles

And now for the rest of the week’s games. Reminder, home team is in all caps, and the odds come via OddsShark.

BENGALS (-3) over Washington

Washington might not have Josh Norman this week, and the secondary is already dealing with an unusual amount of injuries. Covering A.J. Green is hard enough with a good cornerback, so imagine what it’s like to try to do it with backups.

Cardinals (+3) over PANTHERS

This game must’ve seemed so exciting back in the spring when we were all picking these two teams as potential NFC winners. The Cardinals at least still have some hope of salvaging their season. The Panthers are just trying to win a second game.

Lions (+1.5) over TEXANS

I want to be more excited about the Lions than I am. Matthew Stafford is playing out of his mind right now, but it’s hard to find anyone who’s actually buying that as any kind of normal versus just a strange trend that somehow confirms their preconceived notion of who Stafford is.


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Houston’s defense is a tough matchup, even without J.J. Watt. Only four wide receivers have topped 70 yards against them this season.

But Detroit has a secret weapon: Brock Osweiler. The Texans’ quarterback has been reliably bad from game to game this season, and with Lamar Miller a game-time decision, it’s fair to wonder who exactly will produce yardage for Houston, even against a Lions defense that’s not very good.

It shouldn’t be hard for Detroit to beat them by a field goal.

BUCCANEERS (+1) over Raiders

The Raiders have somehow snuck into the second seed in the AFC standings. On the surface, that isn’t so strange. It’s their porous defense that doesn’t make sense. Oakland is last in the league for yards allowed through the air. A lot of that has to do with the fact they’re not getting pressure on opposing quarterbacks, nine sacks all season and among the bottom five teams in QB hits.

What I’m saying is that the best bet for this one is the over, currently set at 49.5 points. The Bucs like to air it out. So do the Raiders.

Seahawks (-1) over SAINTS

The line for this game moved to one point overnight. Three points, even two-and-a-half, and I would’ve taken the Saints. But not at one point.

For as bad as the Saints are, they’re surprisingly good against the spread, 4-2, the opposite of their actual record. That’s what happens when you have a quarterback like Drew Brees.

I know what you’re thinking. “Sure, the Saints can score, but this is Seattle’s defense.” You are correct. But this is a Seattle defense without Kam Chancellor and now without Michael Bennett this week. It’s good, but it’s not so good that it can keep the Saints from covering a tight spread.

Russell Wilson is getting a lot of love from fantasy advice columnists this week, and why shouldn’t he be against a Saints defense that always seems to be historically terrible. But he might have a left tackle who hasn’t started a football game since he was in eighth grade.

Patriots (-5.5) over BILLS

The Patriots lost to the Bills this season, their only loss so far. Don’t expect Bill Belichick to forget that this week. I’m not sure a 10-point spread would be too big.

COLTS (+2.5) over Chiefs

The Colts are not good, unless they’re playing the Titans. So why take this bet? Because I just can’t figure out the Chiefs. They’re not good, but they’re not particularly bad.

Chargers (+3.5) over BRONCOS

Aqib Talib will play this week, but he’s still dealing with a bad back. But more than that, the Chargers have been a great bet as underdogs this season, and they appear to have found their mojo, winning with second-half leads instead of collapsing. Plus, Joey Bosa could be devastating to the Broncos’ offensive line.

FALCONS (-3) over Packers

The Packers just can’t seem to find any consistency, but it’s not like the Falcons have had a lot of that recently either. Still, the home team is the safest play here. That and taking the over, which is 52.5 points.

BROWNS (+2) over Jets

Cleveland is the center of the sports world right now, or so I’m told. The atmosphere is electric. Residents are flying high with one championship already achieved this year and another one just two more wins away. Not even the Browns can squander this kind of good will ... right?

Maybe. I’m picking them because it’s nearly impossible to go 0-16 in the NFL these days. The Jets are prone to mistakes, especially now with Ryan Fitzpatrick starting again. The ball’s got to bounce the Browns’ way at some point.

Vikings (-4) over BEARS

Mike Zimmer called his team “soft” after their first loss of the season, last week against the Eagles. They’ll be anxious not to get called that again.