Darnell's NFL Week 8 Breakdown
Good morning, afternoon, and evening. I want to go over these games from multiple points of view. There are so many ways to look at a game. You can look at the fundamentals of a team, the analytics and stats, the eye test, your gut, or even your knowledge of public perception and how it affects lines and movement. I am available for questions, thoughts, deeper dives, betting tips, bankroll management tips, or anything else you may need to help you make the best decisions possible. Read on to the end for my betting tip of the week. Enjoy!
New York Jets (+19) @ Kansas City Chiefs (48)
It took me a few moments to begin this write up because I had to stop laughing. I believe I eluded to this game a few weeks ago. Now we see exactly what the spread would be when these two teams met. This matchup pits the absolute worst team in the NFL versus one of the elite teams in the league. I will let you in on a little-known secret. The Chiefs actually has a disadvantage in this game. The Chiefs rush defense is not that good. They have a bottom ten rushing defense. The Jets actually has the 12th best rushing attack in the league. Their rushing attack actually grades better than Pittsburgh, Chicago, Buffalo and Carolina. The Jets played the Bills very tough, not allowing a touchdown. The Chiefs got back on the right track by destroying the Broncos. This win was powered by their defense and not their offense. I am in no way saying that I think the Jets will go into Arrowhead and win. I am only saying that the game is more interesting to me then it originally appeared.
Minnesota Vikings (+6.5) @ Green Bay Packers (54)
This will be the second meeting between these divisional foes. The first meeting was an offensive clinic by the Packers. They put up 43 points. Although the Vikings lost by nine, the game was not that close at all. The Packers are one of the best teams in the AFC. Their strength is their second-ranked offense. They have the second-best passing attack along with the second-best run blocking unit. They are top ten defensively, which shows their balance. The Vikings have a high-powered offense themselves. They are the seventh best offense in the league. Their problem lies in their defense. Their bottom five pass rush and bottom five rush defense make them the third-worst defense in the NFL. Teams are able to move the ball at will versus the Vikings. We will have to see if the Vikings plan on changing the narrative. If not, Green Bay will have their way again.
Indianapolis Colts (-3) @ Detroit Lions (50)
The Colts are looking to continue their momentum that they gather going into their bye week last week. The travel to Detroit to take on the Lions. The lions are on a two-game winning streak and are looking to bring their record above .500. The Lions are middle of the pack in most of the key metrics. They are decent in route running, offense and defense. They do excel in run blocking. Both teams have very strong special teams. This aspect of the game could determine who has the edge. The Colts are still a solid team, despite having been exposed by the Browns. Coming off their bye we will have to see if Phillip Rivers can actually get the ball to his receivers. He has looked every bit of 38 years old.
New England Patriots (+3.5) @ Buffalo Bills (42.5)
This game looks disgusting. The Patriots Bills struggled mightily against the lowly Jets. They could not score a touchdown. The Patriots’ offense has looked about as bad as an offense could look so far this month. They have scored 28 points in their last three games. That’s an average of 9.33 points a game. I can promise that a team will not have success putting up single digit points. It would not matter how could your defense is at that point. Julian Edelman has been ruled out. Harry has not practiced this week. That can’t spell anything good for this offense. This game appears to be the ugliest game of the day. I think the Patriot’s defense along with their lack of offense will keep this game murky.
Las Vegas Raiders (+2.5) @ Cleveland Browns (50.5)
I promise you that I am not biased to the Browns. I seem to say it every week they play, but this seems like one of the most interesting games of the day. Metrically, the Raiders have the second-worst defense in the NFL. They will have to compete with the best offensive line in the league, by far. The Browns have had two losses. These losses were against tough division opponents. The Ravens and the Steelers are looked at as two of the best three teams in the AFC. The Browns will look to take advantage of the fact that these teams are playing. They will look to grab their sixth win of the season to keep pace. The Raiders are a strange team. They have shown the ability to look bad but have also demonstrated offensive explosiveness. This game could be a track meet. The only team that’s given up more points than Cleveland is Dallas. Cleveland will have to find a way to make up for the loss of their star receiver, Odell Beckham Jr.
Tennessee Titans (-5.5) @ Cincinnati Bengals (53)
The Titans are another team that is looked at as elite in the AFC. The one thing they struggle with is getting pressure on quarterbacks. They are bottom five in the NFL in pass rush. The Bengals are below average at pass blocking, so I wonder which side will have success. Joe Burrow has looked exceptional throwing the ball this season. Burrow is third in the NFL in passing yards. There is no other quarterback that have thrown for more first downs than Joe Burrow. He looks to be a staple in the echelon of good quarterbacks for a long time. The status of Joe Mixon is still unclear. Gio Bernard was not able to garner a level of success that was expected of him. The Titans are the second-best rushing team in the NFL, only behind San Francisco. Despite being second, I will argue for Derrick Henry being a superior running back than what the 49ers have to offer. The Titans have the second-worst special teams unit in the league. It will be interesting to see what the Bengals do to compete with the high-powered Titans’ attack.
Pittsburgh Steelers (+4) @ Baltimore Ravens (46.5)
This will likely be the game of the day. This is a divisional matchup that contains two of the top three teams in the AFC accordingly to some people. I still feel like the Ravens are overrated. They are good, but they are not top ten offensively or defensively. I think they are a product of who they have played. The Steelers have shown to be a juggernaut. Destroying the best offensive line in football two weeks ago was one step. Knocking off the Titans, while dominating them the whole game was another. The Steelers having the best pass rush and rushing defense in the league. They rank bottom eight offensively, but their defense is so dominant that it makes up for a lack of efficiency offensively. I cannot highlight any of the Steelers losses because they haven’t had any. Lamar Jackson has not been as mobile as last season. I am looking forward to this game and I promise it’s not because I am from Cleveland and I know one of these teams will lose.
Los Angeles Rams (-3.5) @ Miami Dolphins (46)
Looking ahead at this game early in the year, you would not anticipate this to be a close game. Looking at the past few weeks for Miami and digging into the metrics confuses me more than a lot of things. The Rams are very good. They are balanced. They are top ten offensively and defensively. They showed their dominance on national TV when then abused the Chicago Bears. The Dolphins are in the bottom half of the league offensively and defensively. Both teams have looked very impressive as of late. I think people see that the Dolphins obliterated the same team that dominated the Rams. I forced myself to look deeper than that. The Dolphins will be deploying their rookie quarterback. This is a move that I was confused about. They are alive in the division and the team was clicking. I am not sure why they are shaking things up to this extent. We can only find out when we see it play out.
Los Angeles Chargers (-3.5) @ Denver Broncos (44.5)
This is a matchup of two bottom ten offenses. Despite Justin Herbert’s eye-popping numbers, the team is not good overall offensively. Herbert has looked very good thus far. He is fourth in the league in yards per attempts (starting quarterbacks). He has a 4-1 touchdown to interception ratio. The problem that he faces is the third best defense in the league. The Bronco’s strength is their rushing defense. This forces teams to become one-dimensional and predictable. When a defense can predict what you will do, it makes it easier to defend. The Broncos’ problem is that they are inept offensively. They have scored the third fewest points. This game should be slow and defensive. The Chargers are the slowest team in the NFL in terms of pace. This matchup between two 2-4 teams will in my opinion eliminate one of them from playoff contention. The Chiefs are rolling, and the AFC north looks as if they are preparing to send three teams to the playoffs.
San Francisco 49ers (+3) @ Seattle Seahawks (54)
After a shootout that the Seahawks came up short in, they go home to take on another division opponent. The 49ers have looked impressive after getting embarrassed at home by Miami. They went home and played a very good game to defeat the Rams. They went into New England and took advantage of Cam Newton resembling Nathan Peterman. The won that game 33-6 and looked dominant doing it. The Seahawks have had difficulty preventing teams from scoring this year. Their rushing defense is solid. They get minimal pass rush, being the second worst in the league in that department. This division matchup is critical because everyone in this division has a winning record. Everyone in this division is a good football team. Unfortunately, not everyone in this division will make the playoffs. The Seahawks has a glaring advantage over the 49ers. They have an MVP candidate at quarterback. Russell Wilson has been absolutely fantastic. He has been able to drive his team up the field. He has made few mistakes. His defense will have to improve in order for the Seahawks to have success throughout the colder months of the year.
New Orleans Saints (-4.5) @ Chicago Bears (43.5)
The Chicago Bears bring their sixth best defense at sixth worst offense to Soldier Field to take on Alvin Kamara and the Saints. Michael Thomas is out again. This is a weird situation that’s going on with Michael Thomas. We will have to monitor and keep our eyes on it. The Bears were beaten all over the field against the Rams last week. With the Packers being red-hot, the Bears will need to keep pace. The Saints are a solid team. Drew Brees seems to have aged a lot. There is nothing about this team that stands out. They seem to do everything at a decent clip. They don’t do anything great, but don’t do anything poorly either. Both teams are trailing their division leaders and will need to win in order to keep their hopes alive.
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Betting Tip of the week: If you like a short underdog to cover, you should always consider placing a small wager on the moneyline. You maximize your winnings if they win outright. If the underdog loses but covers, you still profit on the game. Use this strategy wisely, but don’t be afraid of it.