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2018 SQ Insiders: Week 8

Austin Taliaferro

Our insiders pick the Week 8 games to help you beat Vegas and your pick’em league.

The latest Game of the Week is a rematch of one of last year’s NFC Divisional round games. We all know how the game between the Minnesota Vikings and New Orleans Saints ended last year. This year, the Saints will be looking for revenge. According to our insiders, it’s a coin flip as to whether or not they will get it, with an average predicted score of 27-27. Technically, this means take the Saints and the +0.5 points (in the event it truly ends in a tie), but realistically it means just sit down and watch a game that is liable to go in any direction. Check out the rest our insider’s picks below.

Matchup

Max V

Hunter B

Matt F

Adrian N

Miami at Houston
Philadelphia at Jacksonville
NY Jets at Chicago
Tampa Bay at Cincinnati
Seattle at Detroit
Denver at Kansas City
Washington at NY Giants
Cleveland at Pittsburgh
Baltimore at Carolina
Indianapolis at Oakland
Green Bay at LA Rams
San Francisco at Arizona
New Orleans at Minnesota
New England at Buffalo
Total Record

63-4263-4267-3876-29



Matchup

Conglomerate Score

ATS Winner

Pick’em Winner

Why the home team will win

Why the away team will win

Miami at Houston18-23MIA+7.5Houston is hot, Miami is not. The Texans will be fighting hard to protect their lead in the AFC South.Miami’s back is against the wall to claim a wildcard spot, and mediocre-to-poor teams have bested Houston. Miami’s defense has to contain Houston’s perimeter threats and survive a low-scoring contest.
Philadelphia at Jacksonville18-15PHI-2.5After three rough weeks, the Jaguars seem overdue for a win. Jacksonville still has one of the league’s top defensive rosters, which can have a big comeback week against an Eagles offense with a shot running game and a passing attack still working to catch up to last season’s potency.Philly’s defense should have a fun day against whichever quarterback Jacksonville trots out to face them.
NY Jets at Chicago21-28CHI-6.5Chicago may find themselves at the bottom of the NFC North in terms of record, but they are first in their division in terms of point differential. They are a very solid all-around team and against a Jets team traveling after an embarrassing loss at home, this should be a good opportunity to climb in the standingsSam Darnold is starving for weapons and yet he has the Jets in the top half of the league in points per game. The Bears’ defense might be their toughest task yet, but if Darnold can avoid turning the ball over and the Jets can double Khalil Makc, they’ll have an opportunity to steal a game on the road.
Tampa Bay at Cincinnati22-28CIN-4.5The Bucs give up the most points in the league. With Andy Dalton returning this season to be a serviceable quarterback and the Bengals’ offense looking good, this could serve as a get-right game for a team that just got thrashed in primetime by the Kansas City Chiefs.Tampa Bay can keep pace with just about any offense. They rank eighth in points scored per game and so they should be able to stay with Joe Mixon and AJ Green. If they can force a few turnovers they’ll have enough to win on Sunday.
Seattle at Detroit18-24DET-2.5Mathew Stafford can lead the Lions’ passing attack to big plays against any defense. The Lions have put together impressive wins against New England, Green Bay, and Miami, and should show up at home against a Seahawks squad that is still exploring its identity this season. Seattle’s seventh-best rushing offense matches up well against Detroit’s third-worst rush defense. The Hawks’ ball control will keep Matt Stafford and the Lions’ offense off of the field, and when they come on, they will be facing the third-best pass defense in the league.
Denver at Kansas City22-33KC-10.5Kansas City beat Denver on the road a few weeks back. The Chiefs can use one of the strongest home field advantages in the NFL to sweep the Broncos in 2018.With half a season of film on first-year starter Patrick Mahomes and a game against him already, a talented Broncos defense can dial up the right coverages to force Mahomes to make mistakes and limit Kansas City’s big-play ability.
Washington at NY Giants24-21WSH-0.5The G-Men come into this game now with a 1-6 record, yet and still two of their last three games have come down to a field goal. Expect them to play their division rival tough at home. Washington has been susceptible to the big play through the air this season, and such a play from OBJ may prove to be the difference.The Skins’ rushing defense has been on point. They have held David Johnson to 37 yards rushing, Alvin Kamara to 53 yards rushing, Cam Newton and Christian McCaffrey to 63 yards rushing, and Ezekiel Elliot to 33 yards rushing. They’ll have another tough test in Saquon Barkley but should be up to the task.
Cleveland at Pittsburgh19-32PIT-8.5Pittsburgh is coming off the bye in first place of the AFC North at 3-2-1. They haven’t had a convincing victory yet this season, but with the Browns coming off of another OT game, they have a great opportunity to do so this week. No Le’Veon Bell once again will mean another big day for James Conner in the rushing game. The Browns are one overtime game away from tying the NFL record for most overtime games in a season. They have been close in nearly every game and could very easily be in first place in the North if a few plays go differently. A game in Pittsburgh is a chance for Baker Mayfield’s Browns to make a statement that they are real playoff contenders.
Baltimore at Carolina24-21BAL-1.5Carolina is coming off of a big win against the Eagles. The Panthers are equipped with the best running game in the league and Cam Newton is having one of the most efficient seasons of his career. The Panthers are serious contenders for a playoff spot and will give the Ravens their best effort.Baltimore has the number one defense in the NFL and is hungry for a comeback game after losing to New Orleans by an extra point. The Ravens’ front seven is a great matchup against Christian McCaffrey and the Panthers’ running attack.
Indianapolis at Oakland28-23IND-2.5The Raiders traded away another starter by dealing Amari Cooper this week. Jon Gruden’s Raiders are getting a lot of criticism, and rightfully so, but the Raiders players have pride and will come out in front of their home crowd and put together a good showing coming off the bye. Doug Martin will play a big role in this one with Marshawn Lynch headed to the IR.Indianapolis is a sneaky pick to get back into the AFC South race. They sit two games back with three straight home games following the bye. However, if they want any chance of making a run, they must take care of an inferior Oakland team. Andrew Luck’s comeback player of the year campaign will continue with another big game this week.
Green Bay at LA Rams28-35GB+9.5The Rams haven’t lost yet and they dominated their Week 7 matchup against the 49ers. Cooper Kupp should return this week, giving Goff his playmaking slot receiver back to pair with arguably the best receiving corps in the league. Sean McVay continues to be a masterful offensive play-caller, while Wade Phillips gets the defense to take care of business. With all this being said, the best running back in the league, who has 14(!!!!) touchdowns already, hasn’t even been mentioned yet. The Rams are in good shape.Coming off the bye week, Aaron Rodgers and the Packers should be well rested and prepared to face the Rams. Los Angeles is arguably the worst home-field advantage in the league, as seen through the sea of opposing teams’ colors worn in the stands. Rodgers should have no problem communicating and operating the offense, and if he comes with a little magic, the Packers could hand the Rams their first loss of the season.
San Francisco at Arizona17-21ARZ-0.5Byron Leftwich is taking over offensive coordinator duties this week after the firing of Mike McCoy. The Cardinals have to believe that it can’t get any worse than it has been. Look for Leftwich to lean heavily on David Johnson to open up throwing lanes for Rosen with play action. Successfully establishing the run game and a typical David Johnson game should be enough to defeat a bad 49ers team at home.The Cardinals are a bad team and there’s a significant chance All-Pro cornerback Patrick Peterson is not on the roster when Sunday rolls around. The 49ers have some weapons on offense in Breida, Kittle, and Goodwin, which could be enough to exploit the Arizona defense. If Beathard can take care of the football, the Niners could steal a road win and end their five-game losing streak.
New Orleans at Minnesota27-27NO+0.5TiedBefore I get into any details, this should be the game of the week and a potential NFC Championship Game preview. The Minnesota crowd will be juiced up for this matchup. Minnesota has looked like a well-oiled machine, led by Adam Thielen and the passing game. Even though the Saints just traded for cornerback Eli Apple, the defense hasn’t impressed enough to feel confident in them stopping the Vikings’ offense. Until he doesn’t, expect Thielen to go for 100 yards again.Drew Brees has yet to throw an interception and the list of weapons on this offense seems to never end. The dynamic duo of Kamara and Ingram should give the Vikings problems, allowing Brees to work his magic with play action. Xavier Rhodes will most likely shadow Michael Thomas all game, presenting an intriguing matchup. This game should be a high-scoring contest, and the Saints know how to score points.
New England at Buffalo32-13NE-14.5Buffalo plays much better at home than it does on the road. With their division rivals coming to town, the Bills should be amped up for this one. The defense needs to provide a couple sparks for the offense with Derek Anderson under center. This game will come down to the defense for the Bills. If they can create turnovers against the Patriots, they have a chance of pulling off the upset.The Patriots are one of the hottest teams in the league right now, and a visit to the lowly Bills shouldn’t put out that fire. Brady should have Gronk back next week, and Edelman working in the slot will be a tough matchup for the Bills. Derek Anderson at quarterback allows the Patriots’ defense to be aggressive, blitzing frequently and creating turnover chances. I don’t expect this one to be close.


Edited by Emily Berman.

SQuiz
What was the score of the 2018 NFC Divisional Rd match-up between the New Orleans Saints and Minnesota Vikings?
Created 10/24/18
  1. MIN 29 - NO 24
  2. NO 30 - MIN 26
  3. MIN 33 - NO 31
  4. NO 27 - MIN 22

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