Check out our game-by-game predictions for week 8 of the 2020 NFL season, which includes straight-up NFL picks for each and every game, with a particular focus on four of the week’s top matchups to spot.
New England Patriots (2-4-0) vs. Buffalo Bills (5-2-0)
Sunday, November 1, 2020, 1:00 PM ET – Bills Stadium
The New England Patriots slipped to a 2-4-0 SU record last Sunday, after depositing one of the worst performances of Bill Belichick’s two-decade tenure with the organization. So uncharacteristic was the 33-6 loss to the San Francisco 49ers at Foxboro that it left NFL observers asking what happened to the famed “Patriots’ Way” and completely at a loss where to begin the post-mortem.
Twitter wasn’t at a loss for words though. Patriots fans and neutrals alike turned to the social media platform to eloquently air out their frustration, even issue a roasting singularly aimed at Cam Newton, who was benched in the second half after going 9 of 15 for 98 yards, throwing 3 INTs, and posting a 39.7 passer rating.
Newton has been truly off form and off color over the last two weeks, no if’s or buts about it. However, his sudden drop in play, after debuting with the Patriots to much acclaim, raises the question about his recovery from a recent bout with Covid-19. The aftereffects of the virus aren’t yet fully understood; not least of which, scientists have recently identified a puzzling phenomenon that is now being referred to as “Long COVID” to explain symptoms that some have described experiencing long after recovery.
Even if Newton isn’t dealing with anything akin to “Long COVID”, there’s the fact that he’s had the least time of all quarterbacks to prepare for 2020 on account of being signed by New England in mid-summer. Missing several weeks of practice due to coronavirus therefore was bound to have an impact, on not only Newton but also the offense’s chemistry as a whole. Add to that the fact that the Patriots’ saw a significant chunk of its starters opt-out in 2020 in an abundance of caution due to the coronavirus pandemic… it’s a lot to unpack.
The long and short of it: Bill Belichick is treading unchartered waters with his Patriots facing a must-win game against the Buffalo Bills. By the NFL odds, it’s clear the Patriots are being written off without too much of a second thought against the current AFC East leaders. That said the Bills really struggled against the winless NY Jets last week, escaping by the skin of their teeth in an 18-10 victory.
Buffalo’s recent performances raise questions about whether the Bills are ready to carry the burden of being the so-called “best” team in the AFC East. The Titans and Chiefs left the Bills rattled following back-to-back losses, the toll of which was clearly visible in the slugfest at MetLife.
Where there’s a chink in the armor, Belichick is the kind of coach that can exploit it, so long as the Patriots execute his game-plan to perfection. And if the undisguised frustration demonstrated by the Patriots – one and all – during last Sunday’s loss to the Niners were a sign, it might be that the “Patriots Way” is not a lost cause yet. It’s a longshot NFL pick, based on last week’s performance, but backing the Patriots against the Bills is just one of those old habits that die hard.
Los Angeles Rams (5-2-0) vs. Miami Dolphins (3-3-0)
Sunday, November 1, 2020, 1:00 PM ET – Hard Rock Stadium
The debut of Tua Tagovailoa was inevitable in 2020, but few would have predicted it coming so soon in the season and in the midst of a winning stretch spearheaded by Ryan Fitzpatrick navigating the Dolphins confidently to a 3-3-0 SU mark. When the decision was announced it knocked many for six, not least of all the veteran quarterback. Fitzpatrick unashamedly went on record to say that his “heart hurt all day” after learning of Brian Flores’ decision.
Tagovailoa-inspired-Dolphins are unknown, previously unseen, totally unpredictable. The Dolphins have played well thus far, most notably in an upset over the Niners and a shutout against the Jets. Whether the offense will find chemistry with the rookie starter is another matter entirely. It’s one of those things that must be seen to quantify.
On the flipside, the LA Rams are coming off a solid win over the Chicago Bears, marking their first win outside of the NFC East. Previously, all four wins came at the expense of the league’s worst division: Dallas, Philadelphia, NY Giants, and Washington. The jury is out on the Rams, uncertain is their quality this season with respect to some of the top faves in Super Bowl betting markets. Against lesser opponents, there appears to be a confidence in the product that Sean McVay fields on any given Sunday.
Jared Goff is an able game manager, while the Rams offense is creative and the defense is canny. So long as the Rams play within themselves, this matchup sets up well in their favor. As indicated on the NFL odds board where the Rams are tipped as the road favorites.
San Francisco 49ers (4-3-0) vs. Seattle Seahawks (5-1-0)
Sunday, November 1, 2020, 4:25 PM ET – CenturyLink Field
Wild prognostications were being trotted out a few weeks ago, from San Francisco 49ers’ obituary for the 2020 NFL season to Jimmy G. being apparently mired in a quarterback controversy, in danger of losing his starting job to Nick Mullens or, even, worse yet, being traded away. So fickle is the NFL, and the betting on NFL teams from week to week.
Fast-forward to the present: the Niners are back in winning form and the mood is remarkably calmer. Even, dare it be said, riding the coattails of cautious optimism following back-to-back wins over the Rams and Patriots, in which Jimmy Garoppolo played well and the Niners looked more like the 2019 team that was nearly unstoppable until it ran into the Kansas City Chiefs in SBLIV.
Of course, the level of competition is set to go up a notch in week 8 when the Niners take on the Seahawks – hence, the cautious optimism. The Seahawks are flush off of a defeat to the Cardinals, but they’re nevertheless the team to beat in the NFC West based on the current divisional landscape.
Irrespective of what happened in the week previous, when these two sides meet, they typically bring it. Last season, the pair delivered a couple of thrilling contests that came to nail-biting conclusions as they split the series – albeit, the Niners won the most important game in week 17 at CenturyLink Field to clinch top seeding in the NFC for the playoffs.
Going into this game, the Niners are at a distinct disadvantage across online sports betting platforms. Although the Seahawks did lose on the road to the Cardinals – for the first time Russell Wilson’s heroics failed him – bookmakers are tipping this game in Seattle’s corner. As if to dismiss last Sunday as an anomaly.
However, this is one of the best rivalries in the NFC, never mind just the NFC West. That alone makes it a tossup for NFL picks. The Seahawks are definitely a good bet to win it, but so too are the Niners, who may, arguably, have more incentive to win because they’re behind the chasing pack and propping up the NFC West with a 4-3-0 SU record.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-2-0) vs. New York Giants (1-6-0)
Monday, November 2, 2020, 8:15 PM ET – MetLife Stadium
The New York Giants, fresh off a week 7 bye, are set to welcome one of the hottest teams in the NFC on MNF: The Tampa Bay Buccaneers. However, based on just how well Tom Brady and the Bucs are playing right now, the Giants might be secretly wishing the NFL had scheduled the bye week immediately after this game rather than before it. Knowing full well they’ll need the time to recover from the inevitable jarring collision with a Bucs defense that is proving to be football’s equivalent of a wrecking ball.
Todd Bowles’ stop-unit just left Las Vegas’ Allegiant Stadium with Derek Carr and the Raiders reeling from a 45-20 drumming. It was a comprehensive beatdown that in no uncertain terms served notice to the rest of the league with their intentions. Not to be left out, Tom Brady seemingly dialed back the clock and played some of the best football of his career.
Following such a thoroughly commanding victory it’s only natural to feel a bit concerned for Daniel Jones and the NY Giants. The second-year starter and the Big Blue only recently seemed to have found form. A win over Washington and a couple of close contests against the Cowboys and Eagles showed positive signs that the Giants could build on. Thus, a date with the Bucs could set them back for the rest of the season.
It would be a massive achievement for the NY Giants to keep this game close, never mind pull of the upset. However, given the turnover propensity of Daniel Jones, the rebuild the G-men are in the middle of, and the general mismatch of this matchup, it’s impossible to bet on anything other than a Tampa Bay win for straight-up NFL picks. Some would go so far as to say it’s a lock bet.
NFL Picks: Buccaneers -480 with Bovada
All the Rest of Week 8 NFL Picks SU: Quick-fire Format
Atlanta Falcons (1-6-0) vs. Carolina Panthers (3-4-0)
Thursday, October 29, 2020, 8:20 PM ET – Bank of America Stadium
Tennessee Titans (5-1-0) vs. Cincinnati Bengals (1-5-1)
Sunday, November 1, 2020, 1:00 PM ET – Paul Brown Stadium
NFL Picks: Titans -245 with Bovada
Las Vegas Raiders (3-3-0) vs. Cleveland Browns (5-2-0)
Sunday, November 1, 2020, 1:00 PM ET – FirstEnergy Stadium
NFL Picks: Raiders +150 with Bovada
Indianapolis Colts (4-2-0) vs. Detroit Lions (3-3-0)
Sunday, November 1, 2020, 1:00 PM ET – Ford Field
Minnesota Vikings (1-5-0) vs. Green Bay Packers (5-1-0)
Sunday, November 1, 2020, 1:00 PM ET – Lambeau Field
NFL Picks: Packers -290 with BetOnline
New York Jets (0-7-0) vs. Kansas City Chiefs (6-1-0)
Sunday, November 1, 2020, 1:00 PM ET – Arrowhead Stadium
NFL Picks: Chiefs -1830 with Heritage
Pittsburgh Steelers (6-0-0) vs. Baltimore Ravens (5-1-0)
Sunday, November 1, 2020, 1:00 PM ET – M&T Bank Stadium
Los Angeles Chargers (2-4-0) vs. Denver Broncos (2-4-0)
Sunday, November 1, 2020, 4:05 PM ET – Empower Field at Mile High
NFL Picks: Chargers -175 with BookMaker
New Orleans Saints (4-2-0) vs. Chicago Bears (5-2-0)
Sunday, November 1, 2020, 4:25 PM ET – Solider Field
NFL Picks: Saints -195 with Heritage
Dallas Cowboys (2-5-0) vs. Philadelphia Eagles (2-4-1)
Sunday, November 1, 2020, 8:20 PM ET – Lincoln Financial Field
NFL Picks: Philadelphia -380 with BetOnline