#NFL Week 8 Sunday previews

Weather weather, whether the weather be good, or whether the weather be bad, the football will go on whatever the weather.

A lot of totals have dropped this week due to the expected wind/rain in a lot of areas this week, I use nflweather.com which gives you a forecast for each quarter as well as a quick overview for each game, and twitter for my weather reports (@NFLDFSWeather is a good follow)

Basically wind is the biggest factor here (or torrential snow, can snow become torrential? Maybe not the correct phrasing, but you get the idea)

Packers and Browns are forecast to have the highest winds, 25mph+ hence them both being down 5 points from Monday night when I put a draft together on here. The Bills game is down a lot of points too, 16mph according to nflweather in the NE of the country. – It’s definitely one to keep an eye on this week, if you’re doing DFS, take the RBs in those games, or target games played in domes. Although somehow there’s only one dome game this week.

Colts (4-2) -3 @ Lions (3-3): 49.5

This is the dome game of the week which should suit both teams as the Colts are used to playing in a dome at home. I know which way I want to lean on this, and it’s not the team with the most wins.

I don’t think the Colts are able to keep up with the scoring of the Lions, they want to restrict teams with their good defense and leave Philip Rivers with as little to do as possible. I don’t think Jonathan Taylor has been very good on the ground despite being behind the best OL in the league, he’s averaging 4.1 per carry which is good for 33rd in the league, it does seem that he’s been settling in to his role though. The passing game is scattered, Johnson had a big week for them against the Bengals, but there’s no star there now with TY Hilton showing his age. The tight ends are the main way they move the ball, Trey Burton probably the man there although Big Mo should be back for this week, Doyle could be out with injury.

The Lions got an unlikely win against the Falcons last week after Gurley fell into the endzone, it was another Matthew Stafford 4th quarter comeback which he specialises in. They’ve got far more on offense than the Colts here, D’Andre Swift is looking good in the running game although they seem unable to give him the full workload so Adrian Peterson will put up some numbers too. Marvin Jones has severely disappointed this year, but Kenny Golladay has returned to health which should help him (80 yards last week points to that) Golladay has gone over 100 yards in his last two games. TJ Hockenson has now found the endzone in three games in a row, and Danny Amendola will help out too.

This game could go either way, the Lions aren’t trust-worthy, but I think they’ve got too much for the Colts. Saying that, the over could be the sensible play if it turns into a game like the Colts v Bengals which there’s every chance of.

Rams (5-2) -3.5 @ Dolphins (3-3): 45.5

https://www.sportsbookreview.com/picks/nfl/rams-vs-dolphins-nfl-week-8-picks-game-predictions/153139/

Full preview there.

It’s Tua Time. Talk of the Dolphins being in the running for the AFC East, to me, are laughable. they’re at 3-3 after beating the Jags, Jets and a decimated 49ers. Two of those are the worst teasm in the league, one was without several players, although I will give credit to them for that easy win.

This change was obviously planned and despite Fitz playing well, he’s not the future, Tua is. Tagovailoa – Tong-a-vy-low-a… They don’t need to win this year, they’re still in transition and this will do them good in the long run. I’m not sure putting him up against Aaron Donald in his first start is sensible, but we’ll see.

It’ll be good to see a lefty in the league and that should give them an automatic advantage against every team in the short-term.

The Rams have been good going East this year, they’re up against a rookie making his first start

Rams cover.

Raiders (3-3) +1 @ Browns (5-2): 48

With the expected high winds the total on this one has dropped 6.5 since the start of the week. Who will it affect more? Probably the Raiders to be honest, not known for deep throws Derek Carr seems to have taken a few long shots this season with Ruggs and amazingly Agholor catching some long TDs already this season. Josh Jacobs has been on the injury report with a knee, he’s frustrating this year, talented as hell but averaging just 3.4 ypc and has scored in just 2 games, they still don’t seem to use him on passing downs which is infuriating as well.

The Browns lost Odell Beckham for the season after he did his ACL chasing back on a Mayfield interception, strangely that might be a benefit for the offense as they won’t be force feeding him, Baker went on to complete 25 passes in a row and throw for 5 TDs against the Bengals last week. Rashard Higgins looks like he’ll get more targets, but Harrison Bryant is someone I’m looking to for yards/TD bets, he’s been more involved recently and scored twice last week. In theory they’ll rely on their run game even more with the weather, so could be a big one for Kareem Hunt although his rush line has gone sky high.

Should have been a high scoring game, might still be, but likely more ground game with the winds. Money has come for the Raiders, I liked them at 3, not at 1.

Vikings (1-5) +6.5 @ Packers (5-1): 50

Another total which has dropped significantly since the start of the week. The actions of the Vikings this week, trading away Ngakoue who they only brought in over the summer make it look like they’re in a soft rebuild, he would have needed paying and they want to use that money elsewhere. Not surprising at 1-5 I guess. They welcome back Dalvin Cook today after a couple of games out with injury, he’ll get a lot of use on the ground, Kirk Cousins is hit and miss, can put up big games, but just hasn’t been very reliable this season.

Justin Jefferson has looked good though, gets a few deep catches per game and Adam Thielen leads the league in receiving TDs and has scored in 5 of their 6 games this year. I like Irv Smith at his price this week, he’s been involved more recently with 4 receptions in each of the last 2 games and 50+ yards in each.

The Packers are without Aaron Jones again so it will be Jamaal Williams and AJ Dillon getting the carries while Davante Adams will get 10 receptions despite everyone knowing he’s virtually the only talent they’ve got in the passing game. He had 14 for 156 and 2 TDs against the Vikings in the first game of the season, and topped that with 196 yards and 2 last week.

Packers should win and cover. lean over the total, but this is really an under week.

Patriots (2-4) +4.5 @ Bills (5-2): 40.5

The Patriots have been terrible recently and benched Cam Newton for Stidham last week after 3 ints from his 15 pass attempts, and things aren’t any better for the passing game this week as Julian Edelman has gone to the IR. N’Keal Harry is out too, so they’re left with, er.. Damiere Byrd? Jakobi Meyers. Oh, I forgot the TEs, Izzo, Asiasi and Keene, so not a whole lot of anything else, expect James White to get a lot of receptions I guess. Damien Harris will get the bulk of the carries and his rec. line is set at 4.5 yards, basically one catch, he’s got that in 2 of his 3 games this year with 12 and 14 yards. They’re gonna need Cam to do a lot of work on the ground, assuming he’s the starter.

The Bills are getting healthier and have John Brown playing after sitting out the games against the Jets last week, he’s usually highly targeted when healthy, has 4+ recs in the games he’s been healthy this year. Stefon Diggs should be able to get free without Gilmore on the field, and Beasley will do the short work for them in the passing game, and they’ll use their tight ends often no matter who’s there. The run game hasn’t been great but Singletary and Moss aren’t a terrible pairing on paper.

The more I look at this, the more I like the Bills on the spread.

Damien Harris o4.5 rec. yards – 4/5 (365)

Jets (0-7) +20 @ Chiefs (6-1): 49

https://www.sportsbookreview.com/picks/nfl/jets-vs-chiefs-nfl-week-8-picks-and-game-predictions/153134/

Not going to go into this one more than the above link. Jets are possibly an historically bad team. Chiefs are the reigning Superbowl champs.

Denzel “shut up mimsy” Mims is back and was the most targeted player for the Jets last week, he’s one to consider in DFS or for yardage/a TD this week

History shows us that spreads of 20 points are tough to cover, this could be the worst team in history though. Can’t take either side.

Steelers (6-0) +4.5 @ Ravens (5-1): 46.5

The game of the season so far? This may well be the decider of the AFC North, if the Steelers win they’ll be 2.5 games ahead of the Ravens and sitting pretty at the top of the division and the conference. If the Ravens win, it’s wide open and their hopes of being the top seed in the AFC are kept alive. I’ll dig into this one a fair bit.

I have been made aware by some that my Steelers previews might not have been the most professional in recent weeks. I apologise for that, and will do my best to give an honest preview here.

SteelersRavens
Points scored183 (30.5)179 (29.8)
1st half115 (19.2)109 (18.2)
2nd half68 (11.3)70 (11.7)
1st qtr37 (6.2)47 (7.8)
2nd qtr78 (13)62 (10.3)
3rd qtr27 (4.5)30 (5)
4th qtr41 (6.8)40 (6.7)
Spread cover margin6.4 (-4.4)3.4 (-9.1)
Defensive DVOA2 (8,1)3 (7,3)
Offensive DVOA17 (19,15)19 (21, 5)
DVOA total (pass, rush)

Quite a few numbers to digest there, 1st halves have been higher scoring for both teams, they’re relatively similar in both offensive and defensive DVOA, – The Steelers average spreads this year have been 4.4 point favourites, they’ve been covering spreads by an average of 6.4 points, while the Ravens are also positive on covering spreads, 3.4 points their average cover, on a far higher average spread, over 9 points per game.

Does any of that help? Well it shows the Steelers have the best run defense and are going up against the 5th best rush offense in the league according to DVOA which is designed to average out efficiency based on opponent and game-state. It’s fairly commonly used and accepted as a good scale these days.

Steelers

The Steelers are the only unbeaten team left in the league after defeating the 5-0 Tennessee Titans last week, it was a weird game. The Steelers probably should have won by a comfortable margin, but the Titans are one of those teams who hang around in games and they benefited from Big Ben throwing a few interceptions as he has been close to in most games this year.

I stay strong in my belief that it’s fair play to the Steelers for being unbeaten, but the opposition they’ve faced has been poor. Last week was their first real challenge and they over-came it, this game will show us a lot about where both teams are, for me, I think the Steelers D has regressed (it was inevitable) and the offense is obviously better than the shit they rolled out lsat year with Ben out. They’ve evened out on the whole and it’s worked for them so far.

Big Ben seems to have settled back into action well, they’re using him as more of a game manager, seemingly keeping the game slower, using the run game well and not relying on him chucking bombs. He ranks 23rd on QBR, 23rd in yards this year (with a bye week) and has 13 TDs to 4 INTs. 3 of those ints came against the Titans last week, one a hail mary at the end of the half. He should have had more before this but players were inexplicably dropping air balls thrown to them.

He’s spread the ball around well with Dionate Johnson the most targeted player in the team when he’s on the filed as shown by 2 TDs last week, he’s had 6,8 and 9 receptions in games he’s been fully healthy for and I know Steelers fans were high on him coming into the season. Chase Claypool has been making the most of his receptions, however his big games have come in games where Johnson has gone out, he dominated the terrible Eagles secondary for 4 TDs, a brilliant performance, a lot of his yardage comes on big plays, not surprising for someone who tested so high in the combine. he’s still raw and will make mistakes, but if he gets the ball there’s a good chance it’s going a long way. Juju… what do you do do with Juju. He had his best game of the season last week with 9 for 85, and I think that’s his roof, he’s a slot receiver. He won’t be the one, and I think they know that, he may well be gone at the end of this season. Steelers fans seem to think James Washington is good, obviously I don’t watch Steelers games but I haven’t seen him do that much on the field and his numbers don’t show too much, he’s a good 3rd or 4th option though.

Eric Ebron seems to have been more involved in recent weeks, last week was his season high for receptions and in theory he should be a good redzone weapon if he can get on the same page as Ben, he leads the team in RZ targets but just 1 TD for him

James Conner has been running well this year after an injury stopped him in the early weeks, they’ve still got one of the best lines in the league for him to run behind and he’s been in the system long enough now to take full advantage of that fact. he’s had 20 carries in each of the last two games averaging 4.1 and 5.1 in those games. He doesn’t seem to break of many big runs, but gets a consistent amount each time he carries the ball and keeps the chains moving which is obviously pretty important. They seem to have been giving Benny Snell goal-line rushes in recent weeks meaning he’s vulturing Conner TDs which is irritating for betting/fantasy.

The defense was record breaking last year, so it was always going to be slightly worse this year. They’ve allowed the fewest yards per game, and the 6th fewest points per game, it’s been good, just not 2019 good. They do have the best pass rush in the league htough, TJ Watt is my pick for DPOY and he’s started well with 5.5 so far this year, good for 5th in the league, alongside Bud Dupree with 5 sacks, Stephon Tuitt with 4 sacks, and Cam Heyward one of the better run stuffers in the league. The run defense has been particularly amazing allowing just 68 yards per game.

Ravens

Ravens are the only team left who’ve scored in every quarter this season. 2.75 for that to happen here.

The Ravens are suffering a little from expectation. They’ve only lost one game, but it was such a public game and they played so poorly that it sticks in the mind. Like the Steelers they’ve not faced a tough schedule at all and have the least travel of any team this season. That public loss was a Monday night to the Chiefs, they should have beaten the Eagles by more in their last game but allowed them back into it, and like the Steelers they smashed the Browns.

Lamar Jackson set himself a high bar last year and he’s not really hitting those highs so far this season, the stats will tell you that he’s not been too bad this year, but the eye test doesn’t convince me, QBR rates him 12th, I’d say lower than that. They will always be a run first team and his efficiency will be good because he throws so few passes, but it just doesn’t seem to be clicking for them in the passing game this year. Over 200 yards passing in just the opening games of the season. He ran for over 100 in the last game against the Eagles, only has 2 rushing TDs so far this year, around 50 rush yards per game, the game against the Bengals where he played injured brings it down considerably though (57 per without that game). He was actually terrible in that game, could have been 3 or 4 interceptions for him.

I usually go passing game first, but the run game is of more interest here as they lead the league in rush yards per game. They run a triple headed backfield, with Mark Ingram the official lead back but he’s doubtful for this week, I’d assume it’ll still be him if he plays. Gus Edwards is a good north-to-south runner while JK Dobbins should probably get more of the ball and might coming off the bye week.

The passing game is tough to talk about really. Mark Andrew is the main man in it, he’s sitting on 243 yards and 5 TDs. Annoyingly Nick Boyle scored the TD for them last week. They try and use the middle of the field with him the tight ends, but do have Marquise Brown as a genuine downfield threat, 376 yards this year so far for him. Outside of those two it’s a muddled bundel of average. Willie Snead, Myles Boykin, Chris Moore? All incredibly bleh. Devin Duvernay is a little interesting, they get him involved on jet sweeps and the likes and he’s a speedy fucker.

The Ravens defense have been blitz heavy this year and it’s been working for them, but they brought in Yannick Ngakoue from the Vikings over the bye week to add to their pass rush. Calais Campbell has been great in the middle of that line and LB Patrick Queen leads rookies in tackles (I think I read)

I honestly don’t know who’s going to win this one. I’ve got to say I think the Steelers are the better roster and I’ve probably got to say they’ve been playing better so far this season. So I’ve got to lean to the Steelers. Light winds, bit of rain forecast. Shouldn’t bother anyone too much.

I’m tempted to have a third screen for this, Redzone, Bengals on main screens, this on laptop, should be a cracker.

Titans -7 (5-1) @ Bengals (1-5-1): 51

This line has moved up from 5.5 earlier in the week while the total is down from 53.5.

The Titans are a team who seem to play up or down to their level. They played the Steelers close last week, smashed the Bills but were close winners in all the rest of their games, so I wouldn’t be shocked to see this a one-score game.

They have their red-zone efficiency back, scoring a TD in 4 of 5 visits to the last 20 yards of the field. Derrick Henry should have a field day against a poor Bengals run D and the coverage hasn’t exactly been great on the back end so AJ Brown (I think he plays) and Corey Davis should do well too. Draftkings are saying this is the easiest defense for a Tight end to play and the Titans LOVE their tight ends, Jonnu Smith is a beast, Firkser has been putting up numbers and even Mycole Pruitt might get something here.

The Titans don’t have too much of a pass rush which should help the Bengals as they’re playing with another new offensive line combination due to injuries. It could be very bad and probably why the line has moved. Joe Burrow is playing very well and keeps the scoreboard ticking over for them.

Tee Higgins looks like he’s the man they want to aim for downfield now, AJ Green has been getting receptions and Tyler Boyd is second in the league in yards from the slot. They are without Joe Mixon again for this one, so Gio Bernard takes the workload again in the backfield.

I’m leaning Bengals covering, they tend to keep games close. Over the total?

Tee Higgins longest reception

Chargers (2-4) -3.5 @ Broncos (2-4): 44.5

The spread here has gone through 3, from Chargers by 2.5 to Chargers by 3.5. That’s a big move, and it’s the way I would have expected as I think they’re a much better team than the Broncos here.

Justin Herbert is the favourite for OROY and I can’t argue it, he’s got a heck of an arm and the players who can use that. Mike Williams should do well playing with Herb, and a couple of rookies have had big games too. Keenan Allen will get double digit targets as he has done in every game he’s been healthy with Herbert playing. Hunter Henry has 7 or 8 targets a game but just the one TD despite being the second most targeted in the redzone.

They’ve given up at least 21 points in each game (except the opener) this year so they’re a bit leaky on defense.

The Broncos are getting a few players back fit and adapting to not having others. Drew Lock is back at QB, returned from injury 2 weeks ago. His QBR in those two is 20.2 and 19.8 no TDs thrown. It looks like Albert Okwuegbunam (Albert O) is his new favourite target, he had 7 catches last week and was targeted a lot in the game vs NE a couple of games ago. Tim Patrick was doing well averaging 4 recs per game, but he hasn’t practised all week and is listed as questionable. So Jerry Juedy and KJ Hamler maybe get more this week.

Melvin Gordon and Philip Lindsay share the backfield work, 65-35-ish share to Gordon on average. Bradley Chubb has been great this year in the pass rush.

Chargers cover, over on the total.

Saints (4-2) -5 @ Bears (5-2): 42.5

This line was off the board when I put my draft together, but I think it was was -2.5 and 47 in US books, Saints are bigger faves and the line has dropped, I’m assuming due to weather.

Michael Thomas misses out again, so all on Kamara again basically. 824 combined yards and 7 TDs for him this season but no scores in the last 2 games for him. Callaway led the team in rec. yards last week, he misses out this week as well, so I’d imagine more Jared Cook, Deonte Harris both of whom scored last week, and TreQuan Smith, of course.

The Bears are winning games due to their defense, it’s one of the best units in the league. They’re terrible on offense, Foles is proving as average as expected, Allen Robinson has been in the concussion protocol this week and is doubtful so I’d imagine he’s out. He’s pretty much their offense.

This could be a terrible game to watch. I’d lean Saints and unders, but I’m not going near this heap of shit.

49ers (4-3) +3 @ Seahawks (5-1): 53.5

The NFC West has every team above 0.500 with the Seahawks leading it, the 49ers bottom but coming off an easy win at New England last week.

Kyle Shanahan is a genius and he’ll have to prove that here as they come in with rookie JaMycal Hasty may get the load in the backfield although it could well be Tevin Coleman is he returns as is touted to happen. Jerrick McKinnon is officially fit but had hardly any touches last week due to “tired legs”

The passing game hasn’t exactly done much either although Aiyuk, Deebo and Kittle is a good trio of pass catchers for Jimmy “average” Garoppolo to hit and they face a terrible pass defense here.

The Seahawks have to score a lot every week due to the ineptitude of their defense. They’ve allowed at least 23 points per week yet won 5 of 6, the one defeat coming last week to the Cardinals who tied it up with the final kick of the game and won it in overtime.

It was the worst game of Russell Wilsons’ season due to 3 INTs, he put up the yards and threw the TDs still but the INTs cost them. All three TDs last week were to Tyler Lockett who is his favourite guy, DK Metcalf adds a big body opposite him and more of a downfield threat. They’re the big two then there’s the likes of David Moore, Greg Olsen and Will Dissly who chip in with bits.

Chris Carson is banged up, Carlos Hyde is banged up, Travis Homer too, so er… I guess Chris Carson is gonna be playing injured and maybe Deejay Dallas gets some more time?

I thought Seattle should win and cover here, but the bunch injuries at RB for Seattle may hurt them a lot.

Cowboys (2-5) +11.5 @ Eagles (2-4-1): 42.5

Ben Dinucci. Yeah, me neither. The rookie QB has gone from third string to starter after the Dak injury and a scummy cheapshot on Dalton put him out for this game. Dinucci completed 2 of 3 attempts last week against Washington, was sacked 3 times as well. Safe to say he didn’t think he’d ever see the field.

I guess it means a lot of rushing for Zeke and Pollard? Zeke hasn’t been able to hold on to the ball this year, and running behind a terrible offensive line has shown that he might not be as good as we all thought. With a rookie QB it’s tough to really talk about any pass catchers. Cooper and Lamb have been pretty good still, Michael Gallup hasn’t done much.

Better news for the Eagles who have activated Jalen Raegor from the IR so he’ll be available for this one which is a boost for them, although Miles Sanders misses out again and of course Jeffrey doesn’t play. Run game will be Boston Scott, Travis Fulgham will probably lead the pass game again, he’s been really good this year 70+ yards in each of the last 3 games for them.

Not much more to say about this shitshow of a division. A win here will strengthen the Eagles hold atop the division with 3 wins and a tie. One of these teams is going to be in the playoffs. Remarkable.

Summary

Spreads

  • Bills -4.5
  • Rams -3.5
  • Chargers -3.5

TD Scorers

  • Lev Bell – 2.25 (Skybet)
  • Jonnu Smith – 2.75 (Skybet)
  • Diontae Johnson – 3.5 (365)

Player props

  • Damien Harris o4.5 rec. yards – 1.80 (365)
  • Tee Higgins longest reception o20.5 – 1.80 (365)
  • Mike Williams longest receptions o19.5 – 1.83 (365)
  • Jamaal Williams o25.5 rec. yards – 1.83 (Skybet)

Good Luck with whatever you’re on tonight. Games are back to 1800 kick offs over here.

If you play DFS, have a look at NFL-DFS.com for a few lineup suggestions. If you don’t play, then sign up through my link for a free $10 when you deposit $10 – then join one of my contests – TDTips DK League

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