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NFL Week 8 picks: Jets drop Falcons to 0-4 vs. AFC East, Chargers stun Patriots

Jets safety Jamal Adams celebrates against the Patriots

Jets safety Jamal Adams celebrates against the Patriots during the second quarter of their game at MetLife Stadium on October 15, 2017 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Credit: Getty Images / Al Bello

Favorites got back on track last week, going 9-4-1 against the spread (ATS) as only two underdogs won outright. While favorites could again win the week, don’t be surprised to see a number of upset specials (we’re looking at you, Chargers, Texans and Jets). Underdogs have still ruled the season, and stand at 59-42-3 ATS. There a few big point spreads this week, but the matchups are so lopsided it’s likely favorites will cover most of the big numbers.

My most confident picks ATS this week: Chargers, Cowboys, Texans, Steelers, Vikings and Jets. A couple of tricky games to avoid: Panthers-Bucs and 49ers-Eagles.

FALCONS (3-3) AT JETS (3-4), 1 p.m.

TV: Ch. 5; Radio: ESPN (98.7)

Falcons by 5; O/U: 45

In the case of “The NFL is the Most Unpredictable League,” Exhibit A is Atlanta and Exhibit B is the Jets. Something’s just not right with the Falcons, who after a 3-0 start have lost to the Bills, Dolphins and Patriots. The Jets go for the AFC East sweep, and it’s really not far-fetched to think Josh McCown can outplay Matt Ryan. Atlanta hasn’t been the same team with Steve Sarkisian calling the plays. The Falcons have scored 17, 17 and seven points during the three-game skid. By comparison, they were held to under 20 points just once last season. The Falcons were barely visible last week at New England, and it had nothing to do with the fog. The Jets, meanwhile, are on a 4-0-1 ATS run, which would’ve been 5-0 if not for last week’s Miami meltdown. The Jets are 2-1 at home and 3-0 ATS. At this point in the season, you can no longer judge a team based on preseason expectations. U-P-S-E-T, Upset, Upset, Upset alert: The Jets defense will play with a chip on its shoulder and the offense will make enough plays to drop the Falcons to 0-4 vs. the AFC East. Closing argument: Yep, the guy who said the Jets would go 0-16 is picking them to beat the defending NFC champs. And that, your honor, is why the NFL is the most unpredictable league.

The pick: Jets


VIKINGS (5-2) VS. BROWNS (0-7), 9:30 a.m. ET

TV: Ch. 2, NFL

Vikings by 9.5; O/U: 38

This is the fourth and final London game of the season, and all signs point to it being as lopsided as the first three — 44-7, 20-0 and 33-0. If Cleveland were to somehow win this game, the franchise should consider moving across the pond. No chance it happens, as Minnesota’s fourth-ranked defense dominates and scores an early KO in the UK.

The pick: Vikings




Patriots by 7; O/U: 48.5

After allowing an average of 32 points through four weeks, the Pats’ defense has yielded just 38 total points during a three-game win streak. They’re also coming off an easy win over the Falcons, and now everyone thinks they’re just super again. Not. So. Fast. New England will have its hands full with a Chargers team that has recharged its season after an 0-4 start. They too have won three in a row, and have all the tools to pull off the upset in Foxborough the way the Chiefs did in Week 1, the Panthers did in Week 4 and the Texas just missed doing in Week 3. New England is 1-3 ATS at home. Philip Rivers, Melvin Gordon and an under-the-radar L.A. squad are a competitive bunch: Of the Chargers’ four losses, two were by two points and one was by three. The Pats lost Dont’a Hightower for the season, and the linebacker’s absence will open the middle of the field for Gordon and the Chargers’ tight ends. The Bolts’ defense is tied for fourth in the NFL with 23 sacks. Melvin Ingram (8.5 sacks) and Joey Bosa (7.5) will be able to get to Tom Brady, who has been sacked 18 times after only 24 all of last season. Underdogs getting six or more points this season are 23-13 ATS. The Chargers will add to that trend as they cover . . . and win outright as Rivers leads a game-winning drive late.

The pick: Chargers

RAIDERS (3-4) AT BILLS (4-2)

Bills by 2.5; O/U: 45

Oakland saved its season with a last-second win over the Chiefs. It’ll have a harder time moving the ball against a Bills defense that yields only 16.8 points per game, but expect Derek Carr and Amari Cooper to make enough big plays to pull out a back-and-forth win. Don’t worry about the early start, either: Oakland is 6-0 straight up and ATS in its last six 1 p.m. starts.

The pick: Raiders

49ERS (0-7) AT EAGLES (6-1)

Eagles by 13; O/U: 45.5

The NFC’s best team should crush the NFC’s worst team, but will it cover? San Francisco is 2-0 ATS as a double-digit underdog (12-9 loss at Seattle in Week 2 and 26-24 loss at Washington in Week 5). Philly lost tackle Jason Peters and linebacker Jordan Hicks on Monday night. Overall, the 49ers have been competitve (4-3 ATS) so don’t read too much into last week’s blowout.

The pick: 49ers

PANTHERS (4-3) AT BUCS (2-4)

Bucs by 1.5; O/U: 46

This is the toughest game to call. Carolina has lost two in a row while the Bucs have dropped three straight. Expect both teams to play with desperation in what should be a down-to-the-wire game. Lean Tampa Bay because it’s 2-1 at home. Heads it’s Panthers, tails it’s . . .

The pick: Bucs

BEARS (3-4) AT SAINTS (4-2)

Saints by 9.5; O/U: 47.5

Four straight wins has New Orleans in first place, and don’t expect them to let up. Not at home in the dome. Drew Brees is 20 games over .500 with a 100-plus rating in 112 career dome games. The Bears won at Baltimore in Week 5 and last week beat Carolina at home, 17-3, with a pair of defensive touchdowns. But Chicago was only 4-for-7 passing and totaled 153 yards of offense. That won’t cut it against the high-octane Saints. New Orleans’ defense has turned it on as well, and it’ll make Mitchell Trubisky’s second career road start a lot bumpier.

The pick: Saints

COLTS (2-5) AT BENGALS (2-4)

Bengals by 10.5; O/U: 42

It’s rare to see a double-digit spread in a game featuring a pair of two-win teams. There’s a reason for that, though. The no-Luck Colts are starting to unravel. They have so many issues that the usually dysfunctional Bengals are probably thinking: “Geez, guys. Get it together!” T.Y. Hilton called out the offensive line after it allowed 10 sacks in a 27-0 home loss to the Jaguars. Look for Cincy to bounce back in a big way after a frustrating loss at Pittsburgh as the Bengals’ fifth-ranked defense dominates and Andy Dalton and A.J. Green connect for a TD or two.

The pick: Bengals



Cowboys by 2; O/U: 49.5

TV: Ch. 5

With first-place Philly likely being 7-1 when this game kicks off, expect a close back-and-forth battle between rivals. Dallas has won four in a row at Washington. Ezekiel Elliott will play, and with his future uncertain, the Cowboys will want to make the most of the games he’s able to play in. The Redskins are dealing with injuries on the offensive line and in the secondary. Dak Prescott takes advantage as Dallas wins by a touchdown.

The pick: Cowboys


Seahawks by 5; O/U: 46

TV: Ch. 2

This will be Deshaun Watson’s biggest test yet. Seattle is probably the toughest place to play for an opposing quarterback, especially a rookie, but going to with a gut feeling here and call an outright upset for the Texans. The bye couldn’t have come at a better time for Houston. An extra week for Bill O’Brien and Watson to game-plan for the Seahawks’ defense? Yes, please. The Seahawks have won three in a row, but they’re still lethargic on offense, and that could be an issue against a Texans team that averages 29.5 points per game. Watson has 15 TD passes already, tied for the AFC lead, and it’s the most by a rookie in a team’s first six games. Look for DeAndre Hopkins (6 TD catches) and speedster Will Fuller (five of his eight catches have gone for TDs) to stun Seattle with some big plays downfield.

The pick: Texans



TV: Ch. 4, 8:30 p.m.

Steelers by 2.5; O/U: 45.5

The Lions have lost three in a row, and it’s tempting to take them here off a bye. The Steelers have a tendency to play down to teams, but with the game being in prime time and the spread being so low, the Steelers are the pick. Le’Veon Bell has totaled at least 190 scrimmage yards in each of the last two games, and is poised for another big night.

The pick: Steelers



TV: ESPN, 8:30 p.m.

Chiefs by 7; O/U: 43

Betting logic says Denver will show up in prime time after being shut out for the first time since 1992. But that same logic said the Broncos would recover after the Giants stunner. Denver has some serious issues on offense: 16, 16, 10 and 0 points in its last four games. This is a big number to lay in a divisional game, but the Chiefs will come out firing after going from 5-0 to 5-2 in a matter of five days. Look for Kansas City to get back on track with a win and cover . . . and this time it won’t need a MNF miracle on a last-ditch lateral play.

The pick: Chiefs


45-58-3 overall, 2-5 best bets

Last week: 8-6-1

Jets Vikings Chargers Raiders

49ers Bucs Saints Bengals

Cowboys Texans Steelers Chiefs


42-61-3 overall, 4-3 best bets

Last week: 5-9-1

Jets Vikings Patriots Raiders

Eagles Panthers Saints Bengals

Redskins Seahawks Lions Chiefs


44-59-3 overall, 2-5 best bets

Last week: 5-9-1

Falcons Vikings Patriots Raiders

Eagles Bucs Bears Bengals

Cowboys Texans Steelers Chiefs


40-49-2 overall, 4-2 best bets

Last week: 8-6-1

Falcons Vikings Patriots Raiders

Eagles Bucs Bears Colts

Redskins Texans Steelers Chiefs

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