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Around the NFL: Week 8 preview and predictions

Getting you ready for this week of action.

Pittsburgh Steelers v Tennessee Titans Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

We’ve reached the halfway point of the 2020 NFL regular season. For some, like us Cowboys fans, it’s been a long first half of the season. Regardless, we’ve got one of the more entertaining weeks of action of the season ahead of us.

Week Eight is headlined by matchup between two of the AFC’s elite, the undefeated Pittsburgh Steelers and the Baltimore Ravens. We’ll also see 49ers and Seahawks square off in a big time, NFC West battle.

Before the action gets started on Thursday night, here’s our preview/predictions for Week Eight.

Atlanta Falcons (1-6) at Carolina Panthers (3-4) - Thu, 8/29

This NFC South matchup features one of the more disappointing teams this season, the Atlanta Falcons, and one of the bigger surprises, the Carolina Panthers. Atlanta found another improbable way to lose a game last weekend, blowing yet another fourth quarter lead. Both of these teams sport pretty poor defenses, and with a possible return of running back Christian McCaffrey, the Panthers should be able to pull this one out at home.

Prediction: Panthers 27 Falcons 20

New York Jets (0-7) at Kansas City Chiefs (6-1) - Sun, 11/1

Ever heard the story of David vs Goliath? That’s about what this matchup between the Jets and Chiefs is, except Goliath will win. New York played a little better with Sam Darnold back in the fold last Sunday, but they have no shot against a Chiefs team firing on all cylinders. The Jets will continue their free fall, losing their eighth in a row.

Prediction: Chiefs 31 Jets 13

Los Angeles Rams (5-2) at Miami Dolphins (3-3) - Sun, 11/1

It’s Tua time. After a surprising 3-3 start to the season. the Miami Dolphins are turning the reigns over to rookie quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. The new signal-caller gets a tough first test, against a Rams defense that is the graded as the seventh-best defense in football, according to Pro Football Focus. Los Angeles also has the sixth-highest PFF-graded pass rush in football, making it potentially a rocky start for Tua in Miami.

Prediction: Rams 27 Dolphins 17

Minnesota Vikings (1-5) at Green Bay Packers (5-1) - Sun, 11/1

Aaron Rodgers is off to an amazing start, and the Packers beat up on bad teams. They showed this last Sunday, and Rodgers threw four touchdown passes in a blowout win over the Houston Texans. They get to face another bad team this Sunday in the Minnesota Vikings. The Vikings defense is the third worst in football, according to PFF, and they’ll have no answer for Rodgers again on Sunday.

Prediction: Packers 31 Vikings 20

Indianapolis Colts (4-2) at Detroit Lions (3-3) - Sun, 11/1

This may be the under-the-radar, best matchup of the weekend. Both Detroit and Indy seem to have little shot at winning their division, but certainly have a chance to qualify for a wild card spot in the new playoff format. The Colts have one of the best defenses in football, while the Lions have scored 26 or more points in three of their last four games. This will be a close one, but look for the Colts defense to seal the deal in the end.

Prediction: Colts 26 Lions 21

Las Vegas Raiders (3-3) at Cleveland Browns (5-2) - Sun, 11/1

Despite securing a big comeback win over the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday, the Cleveland Browns suffered a major blow, losing star wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. for the season. Even without Beckham, quarterback Baker Mayfield should be able to have success this week. Las Vegas has the third-worst coverage defense and fifth-worst pass rush in football, according to PFF. When Baker has time, he can be very good and win you games.

Prediction: Browns 27 Raiders 20

Tennessee Titans (5-1) at Cincinnati Bengals (1-5-1) - Sun, 11/1

The Titans took a tough-luck loss on Sunday, suffering their first defeat of the season to the Pittsburgh Steelers. Tennessee played a rather sloppy game, and it figures they’ll come out much stronger against the Bengals on Sunday. The Bengals’ rookie quarterback, Joe Burrow, has been very impressive. Burrow has thrown nine touchdown passes and holds a QBR of around 90, despite being sacked a league-high 28 times.

Prediction: Titans 30 Bengals 23

New England Patriots (2-4) at Buffalo Bills (5-2) - Sun, 11/1

It’s still pretty surreal to look at the standings and see that the Patriots are 2-4. New England looked absolutely dreadful last Sunday, getting blown out by an injury-riddled 49ers team. Cam Newton threw three interceptions, making it seven in his last four games, and was eventually benched. Still, it’s not like the Bills have been lighting it up. Since starting the season 4-0, Buffalo has looked rather unimpressive in their last three games. I find it hard to believe a team coached by Bill Belichick starts 2-5, and I think he has New England ready to win a game this Sunday.

Prediction: Patriots 24 Bills 21

Pittsburgh Steelers (7-0) at Baltimore Ravens (6-1) - Sun, 11/1

Now we get to the game of the week. The undefeated Steelers travel to Baltimore in what could be a potential preview of the AFC Championship Game. Pittsburgh has been led by a dominant defense, graded as the best overall defense in football, according to PFF. The Ravens offense, led by Lamar Jackson, has not been quite as dominant as it was last season, but I think they show out in a big way on Sunday. In a game that will go down as one of the best of the season, Jackson makes one more play than Ben Roethlisberger, leading to a Baltimore win.

Prediction: Ravens 27 Steelers 24

Los Angeles Chargers (2-4) at Denver Broncos (2-4) - Sun, 11/1

This game really does not feature much to get excited about other than Chargers’ quarterback Justin Herbert. The rookie out of Oregon has shown some great flashes in his brief time in the league, but he’ll have a tough time going up against a stout, Denver defense on Sunday.

Prediction: Broncos 20 Chargers 17

San Francisco 49ers (4-3) at Seattle Seahawks (5-1) - Sun, 11/1

Another big-time divisional matchup, this time featuring the 49ers and Seahawks. San Francisco is coming off two rather impressive wins, while the Seahawks are coming off their first loss of the season to the Arizona Cardinals. The Seattle defense is so poor, Jimmy Garoppolo and the 49ers offense should be able to move the ball, but I just don’t see Russell Wilson making the mistakes he did last Sunday this week. Wilson will be back to his MVP form, leading Seattle to a big win.

Prediction: Seahawks 33 49ers 28

New Orleans Saints (4-2) at Chicago Bears (5-2) - Sun, 11/1

The Chicago Bears may be the most polarizing team in football. Just a few weeks ago, they beat Tom Brady and the Buccaneers. Then, on Monday, they get dominated by the Los Angeles Rams. It’s clear they have limitations with Nick Foles as their quarterback, and those will show again on Sunday. New Orleans has had a great run defense this season, which will force Foles to throw the ball a ton. That will not work in the Bears favor.

Prediction: Saints 24 Bears 17

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-2) at New York Giants (1-6) - Mon, 11/2

Tom Brady has been dominant the past few weeks, putting himself squarely in the MVP race. The 43-year-old looked excellent against Las Vegas, and he gets an even more favorable matchup this weekend facing the Giants. While New York does have a decent defense, their offense will really struggle against the Tampa defense, giving them an easy win.

Prediction: Buccaneers 26 Giants 17

Five Picks to Click

Cleveland Browns v Cincinnati Bengals Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images

QB Baker Mayfield, Cleveland Browns

Green Bay Packers v Houston Texans Photo by Logan Riely/Getty Images

QB Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers

Chicago Bears v Los Angeles Rams Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

The Los Angeles Rams defense

Carolina Panthers v New Orleans Saints Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

The New Orleans Saints defense

San Francisco 49ers v New England Patriots Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images

The San Francisco 49ers offense

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