NFL WEEK 8 EXPERT PICKS | PETER BUKOWSKI
From the studio that brought you venerable series like Buko’s Best 5 and … well for now that’s it, comes a weekly picks column. Be sure to fade accordingly. We are going to pick every game here and I’ll still give out my Best 5 over the weekend in case some of these scare you because some of these scare me too and it’s not just Halloween. I mean Sam Ehlinger is giving points to an NFL team and I’ve heard his name pronounced 16 different ways on podcasts and studio shows this week.
It’s a bad sign when you’re making your first NFL start and we don’t even actually know how to pronounce your name yet. It’s not even a hard name. Spooky season is here. Get your bucket, let’s fill it with candy and winners.
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Broncos vs. Jaguars (In London) +2.5
Pick: Over .5 mentions of Russ doing high knees on the plane
It’s the quarterback who is always doing too much against the quarterback who seems to be doing too little, at least relative to what was expected from a generational quarterback prospect. Mr. Unlimited is dealing with a hamstring injury and even if he can play in London, his already declining athleticism will be sapped. This is a line for Denver actually being the home team. They’re not regardless of how much stretching on the plane you do.
Pick: Jaguars +2.5
Falcons vs. Panthers +4
This is for first place in the NFC South. I couldn’t write a better joke than that. I’m not sure George Carlin could either. Atlanta comes off a brutal loss to the Bengals while Carolina rides off off beating down the Buccaneers, which isn’t much of an accomplishment these days but Sir Pir and Co. will take what they can get these days. I’d stay away from a gambling standpoint, but they’re paying me to make these picks, so I will.
Pick: Falcons -4
Cowboys vs. Bears +9.5
Zeke Elliott trending toward not playing probably should have moved this line the other way. Chicago managed to score 30+ against the Patriots on the back of a slew of turnovers not because this offense is incredible. Justin Fields’ “good” game featured 179 yards passing with a pick and multiple fumbles. Dallas is just better. Like a lot better, plus Chicago travels on the short week with a bad offensive line against Micah Parsons.
Pick: Cowboys -9.5
Lions vs. Dolphins -3.5
Miami is not impressed with your kneecap biting Dan Campbell as the Dolphins live in a place where they will eat your face tripping balls on bath salts. You can’t out-crazy something that crazy already. Tua vs. Goff is the quarterback equivalent of a mid-tier Big 12 game on the early slate. Yeah, it’ll be kinda fun and like … it’s on so you might as well watch it but you’re not going to leave that impressed.
Pick: Dolphins -3.5
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Vikings vs. Cardinals +3.5
This is a profoundly weird game because by all the underlying metrics the Vikings are an aggressively mid team, but they’re 5-1 coming off a bye week against what is week in and week out one of the most poorly coached squads in football. But they’re coming off a mini-bye, getting De’Andre Hopkins fulling integrated back into the offense and in a battle of one highly overrated team vs a team I think is actually bad but getting better, I don’t quite know where to lean. I’m staying away from this one personally, but I’ll ride with the Vikings for these picks.
Pick: Vikings -3.5
Saints vs Raiders -1.5
The Raiders are the bizarro Vikings: a 2-4 team that most of the models think is a solid-to-good squad. The Saints on the other hand are not and they’re incredibly banged up. The one thing we could count on in New Orleans was the defense and with Marshon Lattimore not expected to play Sunday, it’s tough not to pick the team with Davante Adams and Josh Jacobs, but Las Vegas can’t stop anyone and if Andy Dalton isn’t throwing pick-sixes, he’s actually been solid which is kind of like saying if not for the worms this apple is delicious.
Yes, that’s what it’s like to pick the Saints right now … but I’m doing it anyway.
Pick: Saints +1.5
Jets vs. Patriots -2.5
Zach “I can’t stop calling him ‘Kyle’” Wilson looks rough, but almost every other part of this Jets team plays its ass off and they have some young studs who have been carrying them. I don’t know how anyone can come away feeling like the Patriots have a decided quarterback advantage after what we saw Monday night, which means the Jets’ talent advantages elsewhere stand out more. The Jets are better and I don’t get why the Patriots are favored other than Bill Belichick, but he just got out-coached by Luke Getsy and Matt Eberflus so …
Pick: Jets +2.5
Eagles vs. Steelers +10.5
This game was made for Red Zone. I’ll be checking in to make sure my fantasy guys are scoring. Other than that, no thank you. Battle for the Keystone state will be about as entertaining as a battle over Keystone Light.
Pick: Eagles -10.5
Texans vs. Titans -2.5
Tennessee has no receivers, a quarterback everyone believes stinks even as he puts up solid numbers every week, and Mike Vrabel has just an OK group of defensive players flying around. But Davis Mills is dangerous – yeah, I said it! – and if this line were much higher it would scare me a little. Less than a field goal though makes me happy with this one.
Pick: Titans -2.5
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Colts vs. Commanders +3
Wait, Sam Ehlinger is giving points to literally anyone? A team starting a brand new quarterback against a vicious Washington front that just shut down Aaron Rodgers? We serious? This is also going to be an unwatchable game, but betting on it makes it better because this line is wild.
Pick: Commanders +3
Rams vs. 49ers -1.5
I had to double-check where this game was being played when I saw the line. The defending Super Bowl champions are at home, coming off a bye and getting points from a 49ers team that just got dogwalked by the Chiefs? Kyle Shanahan owns Sean McVay but this is the season for the Rams against a division rival. If they don’t show up for this game, it’s over.
Pick: Rams +1.5
Seahawks vs. Giants +3
It’s plucky upstart vs. plucky upstart in a game no one thought would be fun when the schedules came out but now has actual playoff implications. What a time. With DK Metcalf looking like he won’t go, I think Seattle is riding too big a wave off beating a truly mediocre Chargers team and this line is way too high. When two underdog stories collide, I’ll take the road team for that little added underdoginess.
Pick: Giants +3
Bills vs. Packers +11
Pick: Packers +11
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