Teams against the spread through Week 8
Kansas City 6-2
NY Jets 5-2-1
New Orleans 5-2
LA Rams 4-3
San Francisco 4-4
New England 4-4
NY Giants 3-4
LA Chargers 3-4-1
Green Bay 3-4
Tampa Bay 1-5-1
Week 8 Review (1-2) Overall: 15-8-1
Pittsburgh Steelers (-3) @ Detroit Lions
Pittsburgh Steelers 20 Detroit Lions 15
The Steelers sit atop the AFC. (Photo from FanRag Sports)
JuJu on that beat! With Martavis Bryant suspended, Smith-Schuster, the wideout from USC, had seven receptions for 193 yards, including a 97-yard touchdown pass from Ben Roethlisberger during the third quarter. Pittsburgh’s defense was phenomenal, forcing two turnovers and not allowing Detroit to score a touchdown.
It appeared the Lions still had a shot when they were down one in the fourth quarter. Unfortunately, Matt Stafford was sacked on fourth down. On third and fourth down, the Lions were a combined 2-14. The turnover on downs led to the big JuJu touchdown.
Matt Prater did not disappoint fantasy teams, as he knocked in a total of five field goals.
Atlanta Falcons (-6) @ New York Jets
Atlanta Falcons 25 New York Jets 20
Two points away from covering. Close but no cigar. The Jets looked like they were going to pull off the upset heading into halftime with a 17-13 lead.
A Matt Bryant field goal and a Mohamed Sanu touchdown put the Falcons ahead with less than 13 minutes to play. The Jets were unable to score a touchdown in the second half, and Atlanta squeaked out a close one.
The Falcons, who have an average run defense, shutdown New York, allowing only 43 yards on 22 carries. They also limited the Jets to a mere 15 first downs, which is tied for their best performance of the year.
Atlanta looks to continue their success this week, going on the road to face Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers.
Oakland Raiders (+2.5) @ Buffalo Bills
Buffalo Bills 34 Oakland Raiders 14
The Raiders are truly the most unpredictable team in the league. They went into this game following an emotional win over Kansas City, and appeared to be the better team. That was until the game actually started. Oakland turned the ball over not once, twice, or even three times, but four times, including a pair of interceptions by Derek Carr. They have now lost five games, which is already more than last season.
Give credit to the Bills, who look like a legitimate playoff team, even though they just got smacked by the Jets. Tyrod Taylor continues to not turn the ball over, and LeSean McCoy is playing like vintage Shady McCoy. McCoy had a 48-yard touchdown run and added a little spice, holding the ball out from 10 yards out to taunt the pitiful Oakland defense.
At this point, I think it is safe to say the Bills are more likely to play in the playoffs than the Raiders.
WEEK 9 PICKS
Los Angeles Rams (-3.5) @ New York Giants
PICK: RAMS TO COVER
The Rams are coming off a bye, which means they had an extra week to prepare for this one-win Giants team. Quite frankly, the Rams are just the better team. They are second in scoring, sixth in yards per play and eighth in first downs. Their defense also ranks ninth against the pass.
On the other hand, the Giants, on both sides of the ball, have been a mess. New York ranks 24th in yards per play on both offense and defense. Eli Manning has his team at 29th in plays per drive and last in first downs. Their defense ranks 23rd in rushing yards allowed, which is not great considering the Rams are the sixth best rushing team, largely due to Todd Gurley.
New York just isn’t scoring, as they rank 29th in percentage of offensive drives ending in a score. The Rams rank third in that department, which is clearly a major difference.
This game could end up in a double-digit victory for the Rams. The Giants cannot run the football, so if Eli struggles, watch out.
Also, the Rams love to score right off the bat, ranking fourth in first quarter points per game. On the flip side, the Giants are 31st. As for third down conversions, the Rams are first in the league, while New York ranks 29th.
Numbers don’t tell the whole story, but I think it’s clear that the Giants are not very good at the moment. Keep in mind Janoris Jenkins will not be playing this week either.
Atlanta Falcons (-2) @ Carolina Panthers
PICK: FALCONS TO COVER
Not only did Cam Newton lose his best friend on the team, Kelvin Benjamin, but he lost his best receiver. Newton has publicly expressed that he is not a fan of the move, so expect a shaky start for the former MVP.
Carolina has lost two out of their last three games, and currently rank 23rd in points. Newton is not playing like an MVP, as he already has 11 interceptions.
Although it is somewhat of a disappointing start for Atlanta, they are still very solid. Their offense ranks fifth in yards, fourth in yards per rushing attempt, and fifth in first downs. Atlanta has the 11th ranked defense, which is the second best defense the Panthers have seen this year. The Falcons also rank second in yards per drive, while Carolina is 20th.
Matt Ryan has been somewhat average and has thrown more interceptions than usual. Luckily, the Panthers do not force many turnovers, as they rank 27th in that department.
If it comes down to the wire, Carolina is 27th in fourth quarter points per game, which cannot be trusted. Take the Falcons on the road.
Baltimore Ravens @ Tennessee Titans (-3)
PICK: TITANS TO COVER
Expect big numbers from the Titans’ backfield. (Photo from Titans Online)
Like the Rams, the Titans are also coming off of a bye week. They sit atop the AFC South, tied with the Jags for a share of first place, so a home game like this is a must win.
When the Titans rush the ball for over 100 yards, they are 3-0. Baltimore ranks 30th in the NFL in rushing yards allowed per game, letting up almost 133 yards per contest.
As long as the Titans stick to the run, they will be fine. Even after the Ravens 40-0 win over Miami, they still rank dead last in passing yards, and second to last in overall yards. Their running game has been decent, but Tennessee defends the run well, and sits fifth in opponent rushing yards per attempt.
Expect Demarco Murray and Derrick Henry to run wild, and for Joe Flacco to continue to look bad, especially after nearly being concussed a week ago.
Featured image by myAJC.com
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