2021 NFL Expert Picks: Week 8

2021 NFL Expert Picks: Week 8

by October 28, 2021 0 comments

Three NFL experts from the Prime Time Sports Talk staff came together to share their picks for Week 8.

These three writers will make their picks for the entire season, earning two points for any correct win-loss outcome and an additional three points for correctly predicting the exact score. (Failure to accurately predict a tie will be treated as a loss.) A cumulative points total and record will be listed at the bottom of every article. An archive of all 18 regular-season and four playoff editions can be found here.

Sam Schneider, Joe Heller, and Andersen Pickard contributed to this article.

Green Bay Packers vs. Arizona Cardinals

Sam: Packers 31, Cardinals 30

This is the stuff primetime football is made for. I’ve beat the drum that Vegas gets the Green Bay line wrong every week, and they’re at it again. Aaron Rodgers is not going to lose by 6.5, even without Davante Adams (COVID-19) on the field. Instead, he’s going to win it even without Adams and Allen Lazard in the game, sending the Cardinals’ fans home in a huff. Aside from a signature win over the Rams, Arizona has not done anything terribly impressive aside from whooping teams they should. No more undefeated teams remain as the Cardinals lose a thriller in Glendale. AJ Dillon is going to have a huge day out of the Packers’ backlfield.

Joe: Packers 31, Cardinals 27

Aaron Rodgers and the Packers will hand the undefeated Cardinals their first loss of the season. The win will cement the Packers into the conversation as the team to beat in the NFC.

Andersen: Cardinals 31, Packers 24

Without Davante Adams or Allen Lazard, the Packers will be serviceable. However, that’s not good enough when opposing the Cardinals, who are the only undefeated team in football. Arizona should cruise to 8-0 with a one-score win over Green Bay on primetime.

Carolina Panthers vs. Atlanta Falcons

Sam: Falcons 26, Panthers 20

Carolina is coming apart at the seams without Christian McCaffery. Chuba Hubbard has played kind of “meh” while filling in, only twice going over 60 yards on the ground. Sam Darnold looks a lot more like the Jets’ Darnold than the “first three weeks of 2021” Darnold. The Falcons are finding ways to win, and Russell Gage helped open up passing lanes for the rest of the receivers last week. The Panthers have dropped four straight. Make it five.

Joe: Falcons 24, Panthers 17

The Falcons will win their third straight game while the Panthers continue their free fall from 3-0 to 3-5. Expect another big game for rookie Kyle Pitts. Meanwhile, Panthers quarterback Sam Darnold will struggle again.

Andersen: Falcons 24, Panthers 20

We could be in for an intriguing divisional game this weekend. While Darnold looked horrible last week, he gets a much easier matchup against the Falcons this week. However, don’t discount Atlanta on offense. Matt Ryan has found his footing and should be able to lead the Falcons to victory in this one.

Tennessee Titans vs. Indianapolis Colts

Sam: Titans 26, Colts 23

Tennessee has been inconsistent on defense in 2021, but they shut down the Chiefs last week and there is no reason to believe they cannot do the same against the Colts in Indianapolis. Carson Wentz looked outstanding against the woeful Houston Texans, but his 17-26 performance against San Francisco does not quite demand 2017-style attention. While Indy is the host, the Titans are far and away the better team. The divisional aspect may keep this game close, but there’s no way Derrick Henry and company will be prevented from going to 6-2 before an enormous matchup with the Los Angeles Rams.

Joe: Titans 31, Colts 20

The Titans are beginning to jell on both sides of the ball. Derrick Henry will eclipse the 1,000 yards rushing mark on the season and further distance himself from Jonathan Taylor, the running back who ranks second and still trails Henry by 290 yards.

Andersen: Titans 27, Colts 18

The Titans edged out the Bills in Week 6 and then pummeled the Chiefs last Sunday. One would imagine they’ll have no trouble beating out the Colts this Sunday. Expect a fairly quick game dominated by the ground game as the NFL’s two leading rushers take the field. In the end, Derrick Henry‘s Titans will get the last laugh with this commanding divisional victory.

Miami Dolphins vs. Buffalo Bills

Sam: Bills 31, Dolphins 3

The Buffalo defense has not gotten the respect it deserves this season as it is constantly overshadowed by the offense’s ability to score at a moment’s notice. Prior to a loss against Tennessee in Week 7, they ranked first in seven defensive categories, and I think the Titans’ defeat was an aberration. Meanwhile, the Dolphins are an absolute disaster and have lost six straight since beating New England in Week 1 (while surrendering over 30 points per game during that stretch). Fans are now questioning whether Tua Tagovailoa is actually the future or a complete bust. They walk into Buffalo and get annihilated.

Joe: Bills 34, Dolphins 20

The Dolphins have not won since Week 1 and they won’t win in Week 8. The Bills have had almost two weeks to stew over their loss to the Titans in dramatic fashion. Josh Allen and the offense will put this game out of reach before the half. The loss will all but ensure that the Dolphins become sellers ahead of Tuesday’s trade deadline.

Andersen: Bills 30, Dolphins 17

The Dolphins have been one of the worst football teams this season, dropping six games in a row. A pair of garbage-time touchdowns will salvage an otherwise pathetic showing from Miami this Sunday, just two games prior to the trade deadline. Could a seventh consecutive loss force the Dolphins to pull the trigger on a Deshaun Watson deal?

Cincinnati Bengals vs. New York Jets

Sam: Bengals 27, Jets 0

Welcome to your first NFL start, Mike White. Welcome to your second career game, as well. You get a rejuvenated Bengals defense that Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson is still having nightmares about, four days removed from being harassed for five sacks and more pressures than classmates gave you during that group project in high school. Speaking of the Ravens, the Jets went out and traded for Joe Flacco of Philadelphia. Flacco knows the Bengals well from his AFC North days but was just 7-7 with 13 touchdowns and 18 interceptions against Cincinnati. He won’t be active for this one, so the Orange-and-Black eat both quarterbacks alive en route to a surprising 6-2 record.

Joe: Bengals 41, Jets 13

The AFC North-leading Bengals will continue their hot start to the season against the Jets, who were trying to stabilize their offense before losing Zach Wilson to injury. Bengals receiver Ja’Marr Chase will continue to distance himself from other offensive rookies.

Andersen: Bengals 27, Jets 6

Oh, boy. We’re about to see some really ugly football from the Jets, who were already off to a shaky start. Now, Mike White, whose first taste of NFL action came last week, will start against a Bengals team that absolutely embarrassed the red-hot Ravens last Sunday. It would be shocking if New York even finds the end zone in this one.

Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Cleveland Browns

Sam: Steelers 24, Browns 13

Just when you crowned the Browns and left the Steelers for dead, the tide is turning back. Baker Mayfield is expected to play in this game, and expect Rashard Higgins to be the surprise contributor for Cleveland in this one. With that said, Pittsburgh is the far healthier team as the Browns are battling a slew of injuries on both sides of the ball. Najee Harris and the Steelers push little brother back to the bottom of the standings, a place they are all-too-familiar with.

Joe: Browns 27, Steelers 24

The Browns proved that they can continue to run the football even without their top two backs. Now, early indications are that they will have one of those backs, Nick Chubb, on the field once again. Chubb will be the deciding factor in the Browns’ win. Meanwhile, the Steelers will lose another game that they should win.

Andersen: Browns 24, Steelers 17

It will be very interesting to see how the Steelers, who are coming off their bye, handle this matchup against the banged-up Browns. Cleveland beat a shaky Denver Broncos team last week and will likely welcome back both Baker Mayfield and Nick Chubb back to the field this coming Sunday. The return of these two playmakers pushes the needle in favor of the Browns.

Philadelphia Eagles vs. Detroit Lions

Sam: Eagles 31, Lions 14

Nope. Nope, nope, nope. Vegas is wrong again. Even on the road in the Motor City, Philadelphia should be favored by more than 3.5 points for this one. Detroit is a terrible team. The Lions and Eagles both specialize in garbage-time points, but at least Philadelphia appears competitive in their contests. Philly has played Vegas, Tampa Bay, Kansas City, Dallas, and San Francisco, among others. A date with Detroit is just what the doctor ordered, and Hurts rolls over the Lions. Detroit can start deciding which quarterback they’ll take at the top of the 2022 draft.

Joe: Lions 24, Eagles 17

The Lions will likely bring some new tricks on Halloween. This time, though, not only will they work, but they will also help them secure their first victory of the season. The Eagles, like the Dolphins, exit this game in a poor state while looking to unload a few players and focus on the future.

Andersen: Lions 21, Eagles 13

Much to Sam’s entertainment, I embarrassed myself by picking a Lions upset win two weeks ago. So, what’s the verdict here? Yup, Detroit by eight. The Eagles cannot play cohesive football, and it’s not absurd to theorize that Jalen Hurts might find himself on the bench at some point this season. On the other hand, the Lions fell just a bit short of the dominant Rams last week. The inconsistencies of these two teams remove any clarity from the situation. However, the Lions look like the better-built team right now, so they get the edge.

Los Angeles Rams vs. Houston Texans

Sam: Rams 52, Texans 16

The score from this game is completely arbitrary as we all know Los Angeles is going to kick Houston up and down the field at will. For some reason, Vegas has only installed this total as 47 total points. Maybe I’m giving the Texans too much credit in the score, but I just think the Rams are going to score so early and often that the defense is going to get tired of having to go back out onto the field. A garbage-time touchdown gets Houston to double digits. They’re also not giving Matthew Stafford enough credit for an aerial attack that’s going to feast.

Joe: Rams 38, Texans 10

The winless Texans follow up their blowout loss to the Cardinals with another game against a high-powered NFC offense in the Rams. The results will be the same in this one. Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford logs another three-touchdown game along the way.

Andersen: Rams 41, Texans 10

Should I even bother wasting my breath to explain this one? The Texans, whose rebuild continued this week with the trade of Mark Ingram to the Saints, will lose badly. On the other hand, it’s a big win for the Rams and MVP candidate Matthew Stafford.

San Francisco 49ers vs. Chicago Bears

Sam: 49ers 30, Bears 13

“They are who we thought they were!” In last week’s picks, I said that Chicago would be exposed as complete pretenders. Shortly thereafter, they were absolutely taken apart by Tampa Bay to the tune of 38-3. I also said that Justin Fields would be exposed as completely not ready and that was also correct. The rookie looks completely lost in NFL games, and I expect that to happen again in Week 8, even against a lesser opponent. It’s almost as if Matt Nagy is trying to get canned at this point. He’ll make a stronger argument this week.

Joe: 49ers 17, Bears 10

This game will be a classic defensive struggle decided by which offense makes the fewest mistakes. As of late, Chicago has been the team making these critical late-game blunders. This week will be no different. Rookie quarterback Justin Fields costs the Bears the game on Sunday.

Andersen: 49ers 20, Bears 13

Defense will be the name of the game in this clash between the 49ers and Bears. With that in mind, offensive success becomes that much more imperative. Chicago’s offense has looked miserable while the 49ers have at least shown some signs of life. It’s hard to pick the Bears right now, and that’s regardless of matchup.

New England Patriots vs. Los Angeles Chargers

Sam: Chargers 29, Patriots 20

Not even as close as the score indicates. New England will be able to run as Damien Harris continues an admirable campaign that includes three 100-plus yard games in his first seven. With that said, the Patriots defense that has played so well this season cannot slow down Justin Herbert and a Chargers team that is out for blood after being embarrassed by Baltimore prior to their bye week. They are going to come out firing on all cylinders when rested and send Mac Jones and New England limping back to Foxborough.

Joe: Chargers 34, Patriots 20

The Chargers have had two weeks to deal with their loss in blowout fashion against the Ravens. The Justin Herbert-led offense will get back to what they do best against the Patriots. After the loss, the Patriots could be an interesting team to watch as sellers come Tuesday.

Andersen: Patriots 27, Chargers 21

The Patriots embarrassed the Chargers last year, much like the Ravens did two weeks ago. Meanwhile, the Patriots have momentum after a narrow but thrilling overtime loss to the Cowboys followed by a gargantuan win over the Jets last Sunday. In a battle of two young quarterbacks, give me New England and genius head coach Bill Belichick.

Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Seattle Seahawks

Sam: Jaguars 22, Seahawks 20

The nightmare continues for Seattle, which drops yet another game in front of the 12th man. Russell Wilson is still a couple of weeks out from returning, and Geno Smith cannot beat one of the worst teams in the league, even at home. Trevor Lawrence is going to be in this league a long time and gets more comfortable by the week. Additionally, Jacksonville has renewed faith in James Robinson, who runs wild against a suspect defensive unit in the Pacific Northwest. There is simply not enough gum to chew for Pete Carroll as this one goes down to the wire.

Joe: Jaguars 24, Seahawks 10

The Jaguars will come off their bye week the same way they went into it: with a win. This time, it will take place in Seattle. The Seahawks will fall further back in the NFC West, which may force their hands at being sellers themselves.

Andersen: Seahawks 21, Jaguars 20

I genuinely don’t know where to begin with this game. The Seahawks should win … right? On the other hand, the Jaguars broke their long losing streak and have benefitted greatly from the increased involvement of second-year running back James Robinson. Jacksonville will make it close, but the expertise of head coach Pete Carroll gives Seattle the slight edge in this one.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. New Orleans Saints

Sam: Buccaneers 29, Saints 18

The Saints are so up-and-down that it’s almost predictable at this point. Jameis Winston has been a surprising story in 2021 not for his passing but his lack thereof. He’s attempted some of the fewest passes in the league. However, against a strong Tampa Bay defense and finding themselves trailing the vaunted Bucs’ offense led by Tom Brady, they’ll be forced into throwing the ball a lot. That’s where it goes wrong for Winston, who he is likely to cough up multiple turnovers in this one.

Joe: Buccaneers 34, Saints 20

Tom Brady and the defending champion Buccaneers will continue their quest to repeat with a decisive win against a division rival. For the Saints, Jameis Winston will have a bad game against his former team and won’t be eating any W’s at the conclusion of this one.

Andersen: Buccaneers 31, Saints 13

Tampa Bay beat up on the Bears last week and should find similar success against the Saints on Sunday afternoon. Tom Brady throws for three touchdowns while Jameis Winston donates the football to the defense twice.

Washington Football Team vs. Denver Broncos

Sam: Football Team 27, Broncos 18

In a classic “someone has to win” game, Washington gets back into the win column for the first time since eking out a victory in Atlanta on Oct. 3. They’ve lost three straight with one of the worst pass defenses in the league. Denver has not been much better, dropping four in a row of their own as they have looked completely inept on both sides of the ball, even losing to a completely injury-decimated Cleveland squad in Week 7. Taylor Heinicke and Terry McLaurin keep their chemistry going and walk out of Denver with a win.

Joe: Football Team 24, Broncos 20

Washington will be successful in this try for their third win of the season, escaping a three-way tie for the bottom spot in the NFC East. On the other side, the Broncos, whose season started out so promising, will drop even further.

Andersen: Football Team 24, Broncos 23

The Broncos couldn’t even beat the Browns, who were led by Case Keenum and D’Ernest Johnson. How can one expect they will fare better against the Football Team, which has admittedly struggled but still has star power on both sides of the football? The only thing that Denver can smile about is the return of Jerry Jeudy from injured reserve. Otherwise, the last laugh goes to the WFT.

Dallas Cowboys vs. Minnesota Vikings

Sam: Cowboys 38, Vikings 34

If you’re a fan of defensive football, it might be best to avert your eyes. Dallas rolls into Minnesota and both teams have the same gameplan: score, score, score. There will be running by Davin Cook and Alexander Mattison. There will be passing by Dak Prescott and Kirk Cousins. You paid for the entire seat, but you’ll only need the edge. Let’s harken back to the old AFL days and score at will, with the end result being the NFC East edging the NFC North in this one under the lights.

Joe: Cowboys 34, Vikings 31

Both teams are coming off their bye week. This game will be a primetime shootout with the Cowboys edging out the win. Kirk Cousins will keep his team in the game but still come up just short. Cowboys cornerback Trevon Diggs will add another interception to inch even closer to the single-season record.

Andersen: Cowboys 37, Vikings 34

Wow, this is going to be fun. This week’s Sunday night game is a must-watch thriller between the Cowboys and Vikings. Both teams are coming off a bye, but it will be the former that emerges with a slight edge. At the end of the day, both teams can impale each other with their passing and running games. As such, defense will be imperative. Dallas wins this comparison of units.

New York Giants vs. Kansas City Chiefs

Sam: Chiefs 35, Giants 21

Another offensive affair in primetime (the third this week!) comes in the guise of Monday Night Football. I told you that Kansas City was due to drop another game (last week against Tennessee) before turning the ship around. I also said the G-Men would take apart Carolina. Those games ended with nearly identical scores. Unfortunately, pedigree suggests that the Chiefs will be fine. Meanwhile, we know who the Giants are. The loss of Jabril Peppers is a huge one for a suspect Giants squad, and you better believe Patrick Mahomes is going to take advantage. Kansas City starts its climb back to the top of the AFC.

Joe: Giants 27, Chiefs 20

The two-time AFC champions are reeling and fighting to save their season. The Giants’ defense has done enough to keep them in games, but this hasn’t translated into wins. That changes this week as the secondary shows its true colors on national TV. New York pulls out the big upset on Monday night.

Andersen: Chiefs 28, Giants 20

This feels like it has the potential to be an upset, but I’m not quite ready to go that far. While New York should keep it fairly close, losing by just one score, a three-touchdown game from Patrick Mahomes can’t be stopped.

Point Totals

Sam: 130
Joe: 142
Andersen: 136

Records

Sam: 65-42
Joe: 71-36
Andersen: 68-39


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Sam Schneider on Twitter @BuyAndSellYou
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Andersen Pickard on Twitter @AndersenPickard

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Andersen is a teenage sportswriter and reporter whose articles have appeared across the Prime Time Sports Talk, Sports Illustrated Kids, FantasyPros, and SB Nation platforms. He has also received credit from RotoWorld, CBS Sports, ESPN, Bleacher Report, USA Today, Yahoo Sports, The Athletic, SB Nation, NBC Sports, NY Post, and dozens of other sports sites for his reporting work.

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