After a few weeks of some solid progress, we hit another big bump in the road as last week’s record saw us going a measly 2-4. On top of that, our streak of three straight locks hitting quickly came to an end as the San Francisco 49ers couldn’t find a way to score more than 9 points against one of the worst teams in the league.
Yes, I know it was raining cats and dogs, but I still can’t wrap my head around it. A 9-0 final score? San Francisco, you call that a win? Against the Redskins? You didn’t score a single touchdown? That is Pop Warner score. Whatever, I’m not even mad about it. Not at all…
To be totally honest with you this season has been a real mind-bender all around and I’m hoping to get our streak of good weeks back sooner rather than later as our season record can’t tread water much longer before it totally drowns. Before I start tearing up, I’m just going to get right into my picks for Week 8:
Cincinnati Bengals vs. Los Angeles Rams -13
The game this week between the Cincinnati Bengals and the Los Angeles Rams feature two teams that are simply worlds apart in terms of on-field talent.
Heading into the season, the Rams were one of the early favorites when it came to talking about Super Bowl contenders. A recent three-game losing streak quickly stalled that chatter. However, the Rams fever is starting to heat back up as they were able to get back on track last week with a dominating win over the disappointing Atlanta Falcons.
The Bengals, on the other hand, have been struggling over their last two seasons, showing absolutely no signs of life or positivity week after week. In fact, they’ve lost their last nine games dating back to the end of last year. It also doesn’t help that their best offensive lineman in Andre Smith and best pass rusher in Carlos Dunlap are joining an already long list of inactive Bengals for Sunday’s game. Not ideal when you’re facing an above-average pass rush and an offense that is starting to heat back up. I anticipate the Rams continue to get back on track in this one by blowing out the Bengals at home and easily covering that -13. In fact, lock that line in ASAP as it originally opened at Rams -10.
***The Rams are 9-3 ATS in their last 12 games. The Rams are 6-1 ATS in their last 7 games as a double-digit favorite. The Bengals are 2-4 ATS in their last 6 games.
Philadelphia Eagles vs. Buffalo Bills UNDER 43
On paper, this matchup between the Philadelphia Eagles and the Buffalo Bills should be a great one, but do I want to spend my Sunday watching it? Definitely not. Why? Because lately, these two teams have been two of the dullest offenses in the NFL.
The total on this game currently sits at a modest 43 points which tells me that the oddsmakers anticipate a defensive or special teams score or two. Much like the Rams, the Eagles were a team that many pegged early on as an NFC favorite. However, their bad losses to the Falcons, Lions at home, blowout to the Cowboys and a come from behind, close win against the Redskins no longer support that case.
Despite having a nice 5-1 record, the Bills have been dealt a very lucky hand to start off the 2019 season as not one of their five wins have come against a team with a winning record (Jets, Giants, Bengals, Titans and Dolphins twice). Don’t get me wrong, I think their defense is legitimate, but I think their offense still has a very long way to go. In fact, they are only averaging 18 points a game which ranks 25th in the league.
When you have a team like the Eagles that have been fighting tooth and nail to score over the last few games and a team like the Bills who have been struggling to score for what feels like the last decade, you take the under. This could be a sloppy one with the Under 43 hitting easy.
***The total has gone UNDER in 5 of the last 6 Bills games. The total has gone UNDER in 4 of the last 5 last games played in October
Seattle Seahawks -3.5 vs. Atlanta Falcons (LOCK)
Much like a theory I used in last week's article, the best thing that could have happened to this line was having the Seattle Seahawks lose last week. In fact, I’m shocked that this line is as close as it is considering the Atlanta Falcons are most likely to play this one without their quarterback in Matt Ryan.
At this point in the season, the Falcons don’t hold any sort of home-field advantage as they have been arguably the most disappointing team in the NFL in the 2019 season, a fact backed up by their 1-5 record. To be honest, the more I map this out, the more I can’t believe the Seahawks are only a -3.5 point favorite here.
I fully anticipate the Seahawks dominant offense led by MVP front-runner Russell Wilson to take complete advantage of the Falcons swiss cheese defense, while the Seattle D totally dismantles a Matt Schaub led Atlanta O. I could see this being a double-digit Seahawks blowout as they use this game to get back on track while easily covering the -3.5 spread.
***The Falcons are 0-5 ATS in their last 5 games. The Seahawks are 7-1 ATS in their last 8 games on the road.
Carolina Panthers +6 vs. San Francisco 49ers and UNDER 41.5
This matchup between the Carolina Panthers and San Francisco 49ers is going to go down as one of my more intriguing matchups that have taken place so far in 2019. If you ask me, these are two teams that are playing great, have great records to prove it, but can we truly take them seriously as a post-season favorite just yet? I think we could get our answers after the clock his zero in this one.
In all honesty, I think the 49ers come out on top in this one as their defense is just too good to ignore, especially when they’re going up against an inexperienced (but productive) quarterback. However, I still haven’t seen what I’ve wanted to out of 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo so far this season. He’s done a formidable job of taking care of the ball when it counts, but the numbers I thought he would be able to put up with offensive-genius head coach Kyle Shanahan just haven’t been there.
With that being said, I think the up-and-down 49ers offense and a decent Panthers defense is ultimately what will keep this game close and away from being a convincing San Francisco win. I think this will be a low-scoring affair, around the lines of 14-10 49ers win, but with the Panthers still covering the +6 and the UNDER 41.5 hitting easy.
***The Panthers are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games. The Panthers are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games on the road. The 49ers are 1-6 ATS against the NFC South division. The total has gone UNDER in 5 of the 49ers last 6 games.
Miami Dolphins +14.5 vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
The NFL is kicking themselves for scheduling this game between the Miami Dolphins and Pittsburgh Steelers as one of their Monday Night Football games. But hey, it’s like a train wreck, we just won’t be able to look away…Yeah, sure.
Despite being a totally banged-up team, I don’t think the Steelers getting -14.5 is that crazy as I truly believe that the Miami Dolphins are actually just that bad of a team. However, the one thing that really makes me lean towards the Dolphins is that Ryan Fitzpatrick always finds a way to make games interesting.
If he were to lead this god awful team to a single victory this season, this could be the one. The Steelers are potentially missing a ton of key contributors on both sides of the ball with James Conner, James Washington and Jaylen Samuels out on offense, while Stephon Tuitt, Mark Barron and Anthony Chickillo are all questionable to play on defense.
Either way, I still think the Steelers’ backups are as good if not better than anyone the Dolphins trot out there. I just have a gut feeling Fitzpatrick finds at least finds a way to cover this thing in garbage time so I’m taking the Phins here +14.5.
***Ryan Fitzpatrick will be quarterbacking for the Dolphins and I’ve seen him beat way, way, way better teams than the 2019 Steelers when you least expect it
Season Record: 14-22