USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Terreell Suggs, Russell Wilson and Jalen Ramsey
- The Action Network experts break down their favorite NFL bets for Week 8, including Ravens-Panthers and Chiefs-Broncos.
- Also find out what side and total our staff likes for the highly anticipated Sunday Night Football matchup between the Saints and Vikings.
- Plus against-the-spread and over/under picks for Eagles-Jaguars, Raiders-Colts and more.
I think Deshaun Watson just threw another touchdown pass.
With another lopsided Thursday Night Football affair in the rearview, we can focus on more intriguing Week 8 storylines, including:
- Which preseason Super Bowl hopeful will drop to 3-5 in a battle between the desperate Eagles (-3.5) and Jaguars in London?
- Can the Steelers (-8) and Browns tie for a second time in the same season?
- Can the Saints exact their 2017 playoff revenge against the Vikings (PK) at the scene of the crime?
- Will the Chiefs (-9.5) ever lose against the spread again? (Hint: The answer is not “no.”) In case you’re wondering, the 2007 Patriots are the only team to start a season with a perfect 8-0 record against the spread since 1980.
Our staff has a few angles on some of the games above, plus valuable betting insight into the rest of this week’s slate.
We have two experts who agree on Ravens-Panthers, but there’s disagreement on Redskins-Giants and Broncos-Chiefs. We will it finish up with two late afternoon sides, then a side and an over/under pick for the highly anticipated Sunday Night Football matchup in Minnesota.
For even more in-depth analysis, be sure to check out our betting guides for every single game.
After a second straight week of .500 results, our staff picks now sit at 61-51-11 (55.2%) for the season. Let’s start another run this weekend with a look at our 16 picks for Week 8. — Stuckey
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ALARM CLOCK ACTION
Collin Wilson: Jaguars +3.5 (vs. Eagles in London)
9:30 a.m. ET on NFL Network
There’s a stark contrast in adjusted net yards per play in this matchup with Jacksonville at +0.7 (third in the NFL) and Philadelphia at only -0.4 (bottom 10).
The Jags have been pedestrian on the offensive line with a No. 19 ranking in Football Outsiders’ adjusted sack rate, but that still grades better than the Eagles’ 24th-place ranking. I also expect a better effort from Blake Bortles, who is under pressure of losing his job to backup Cody Kessler. Bortles has shown poise in pressure situations before.
Jacksonville has played in London each of the past five seasons, giving the Jags the experience needed to maintain focus on the trip — especially against an Eagles franchise that is making its first trip across the pond.
I think the Jags win in London for the fourth straight time as a small underdog.
EARLY AFTERNOON KICKS
Stuckey: Ravens -3 (at Panthers)
1 p.m. ET on CBS
After suffering through betting against my Ravens live in Cleveland (which turned out to be a winner) and watching Justin Tucker miss an extra point for the first time in his career (with a bunch of Saints fans nearby) that cost the Ravens a shot at the win, I can now back Baltimore for the first time since it played the Steelers.
This is an outstanding matchup for the Ravens defense across the board:
- The Panthers have subpar receivers and the Ravens have the corner depth to match up with both their physicality and speed, which is why the Ravens allow a league-best 5.5 yards per pass.
- If the Baltimore defense has one vulnerability, it’s deep passes. Fortunately, the Panthers rank 25th in yards per pass and the Ravens’ pressure (league-leading 27 sacks) likely won’t give Cam much time to throw. Baltimore’s safeties can be fully utilized to stop the running game and short passing attack.
- The Panthers lead the NFL in yards per rush, but they do almost all of their damage up the gut or to the right. The Ravens’ run defense just happens to excel at stopping the run in those two areas, while struggling on the left side.
On the other side of the ball, the Ravens have struggled to run the ball (their 3.4 yards per rush ranks second worst), but that won’t hurt as much against a Carolina defense that excels at stopping the run.
Baltimore’s offensive line does, however, excel in pass blocking (fourth in adjusted sack rate), which means Joe Flacco should have enough time to allow his efficient route runners to get open against the Panthers’ 26th-ranked pass defense in Football Outsiders’ DVOA.
Scott Miller: Ravens -3 (at Panthers)
A quick recap of the Panthers’ past two wins: They needed an improbable last-second 63-yard field goal to beat the terrible Giants at home, then a 21-point fourth-quarter comeback against a hopeless Eagles secondary to take down the Philly on the road.
For my money, the Ravens have one of the two (or three) best defenses in the NFL, and they match up well against the Panthers, who want to run the ball and get Christian McCaffrey involved in the passing game.
Baltimore ranks as the fourth-best rush defense and third-best unit at defending running backs in the pass game, according to DVOA.
Carolina’s defense — which is 20th in overall DVOA and 26th vs. the pass — shouldn’t scare Flacco & Co.
I like this as a buy-low, sell-high spot. Ravens by a touchdown.