Here are my Week 8 NFL picks against the spread:
Pittsburgh Steelers -2.5 (over Oakland Raiders)
The Steelers were minus 11 in the turnover differential during their 0-4 start, but in their two subsequent wins, they have been plus one. It may seem overly simplistic to break success and failure down to just the turnovers, but they were huge part of the Steelers disastrous start to the season.
And despite giving up all those extra possessions early in the season, Pittsburgh is still sixth in total defense this year. The Raiders are a frisky team and I’m always leery of giving points on the road, but Pittsburgh could easily be 4-2 if they were just turnover neutral this year.
This feels like completely mismatched teams as the Raiders are in re-build mode. Steelers should win by a touchdown.
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Cincinnati Bengals -6 (over New York Jets)
Did I mention I’m on the Bengals bandwagon? – As a Jets fan, I know the Jets are consistently inconsistent.
After last week’s big win over New England, the Jets are due to falter. These teams actually match up very similarly across both sides of the ball, so the touchdown spread looks big. Except the Bengals are little better in most places and especially at wide receiver because of A.J. Green.
On defense, both teams try to control the line of the scrimmage with a strong defensive line. The Jets are led by Muhammad Wilkerson and the Bengals have Geno Atkins. The Jets are lacking in pass rush, but Cincinnati can get rush with Michael Johnson and Carlos Dunlap off the edge.
Ultimately, I see it as this rush that will make the difference because it will disrupt the Jets rookie QB Geno Smith. It’ll be close defensive struggle, but the Bengals will win and cover.
Detroit Lions -3 (over Dallas Cowboys)
The problem with picking the Lions in this spot is I’m not sure their defense can stop the Tony Romo to Dez Bryant connection. The Lions are 31st in total defense, but with the Cowboys close behind in 29th in total defense, the Matthew Stafford to Calvin Johnson should also light up the scoreboard.
This game is going to be won by touchdowns, not field goals, so it comes down to who you think is the better team. Neither team gives me much confidence, but I’ll take the Lions to rebound after last weekend’s tough loss to Cincy.
Five of our contributors make three weekly picks ATS every week and they will be posted here.
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