Josh Katzowitz's Week 8 NFL Picks
The Eagles are having a heck of season so far, and second-year starter Carson Wentz is impressing just about everybody. Including opposing teams.
“You’re like Houdini back there,” Redskins cornerback Josh Norman told Wentz after he carved up Washington on Monday Night Football.
Said Redskins coach Jay Gruden, via the Delaware County News Network: “He’s progressed at a rate as fast as anybody I’ve seen, really … I think he’s already proven in this short of his career that he’s one of the top quarterbacks in the league, quite frankly.”
Wentz has helped lead the Eagles to a league-best 6-1 record, thanks in large part to his league-leading 17 touchdown passes and a top-five offense that makes it quite easy to pick Philadelphia to beat most opponents straight-up. Though not everything is great with the Eagles—they just lost nine-time Pro Bowl tackle Jason Peters for the season with a torn ACL and MCL—they’re in easy this week vs. the 49ers. Right now, they’re playing like the best team in the NFC, and you should pick them until further notice.
As usual, check out Pickwatch’s John Halpin’s full slate of Week 8 picks and the Upset Watch from Shaun Lowrie. Now, here are a few of mine (If I’m right, make sure to congratulate me @jkatzo on Twitter).
1)Bet your life savings on this game*
Vikings vs. Browns (in London)
Would I love betting my life savings on Case Keenum at quarterback for the Vikings? Not at all. But playing against the Browns can turn anybody into a superstar, and even though Teddy Bridgewater is closer than ever to returning and reclaiming his starting spot, Keenum has played well enough to keep Minnesota in first place in the NFC North. He’ll probably look great against Cleveland. The other major reason for my pick, of course, is the Vikings defense, which ranks in the top-five of the league for points given up and yards allowed. Considering the Browns have gotten horrendous quarterback play this year, that seems like a problem for Cleveland on Sunday.
Straight up: Vikings
Against the Spread: Vikings -9.5
2017 record for the “Bet your life savings” game: 5-2 S/U and 3-4 ATS
2)This game scares the hell out of me
Raiders at Bills
Here’s why I like the Bills: They’ve scored some impressive victories—victories that I would not have picked them to win (the Falcons on the road and the Broncos at home, for example). They’re getting solid quarterback play from Tyrod Taylor. And they can’t stop taking the ball away from the opponents. With a turnover margin of +10, the Buffalo News had a fun stat this week: “This is just the third time that the Bills have had a positive, double-digit turnover differential through their first six games in a season, going +13 through six games in 1993 and +11 through six in 1965.” The Raiders, meanwhile, are coming off a one-point win vs. the Chiefs, but before that, they lost four straight and looked out of sorts. If this game were in Oakland, I might pick the Raiders. But since they have to travel across the country for an early Sunday game, I’m going with Buffalo.
Straight up: Bills
Against the Spread: Bills -2.5
2017 record for the “Scares the hell out of me” game: 6-1 S/U and 6-1 ATS
3) Fun game of the week
Texans at Seahawks
Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson has become one of the most fun players to watch in the league so far, as the rookie makes plays with his feet and with his arm. This is a big game for the Texans, who are coming off their bye and still are in contention to win the AFC South title. But playing the Seahawks in Seattle is always a tough assignment, and with the Seahawks on a three-game winning streak, this promises to be a tough one for Houston to win (and a fun one for everybody else to watch).
Straight up: Seahawks
Against the Spread: Texans +4.5
2017 record for “Fun game of the week”: 5-2 S/U and 4-3 ATS
2017 record for every game picked in this column: 16-5 S/U and 13-8 ATS
BAL over MIA BAL -3
MIN over CLE MIN -9.5
BUF over OAK BUF -2.5
CIN over IND IND +10.5
NE over LAC NE -7
NO over CHI CHI +9
ATL over NYJ ATL -4.5
PHI over SF SF +13
TB over CAR TB -2
SEA over HOU HOU +5.5 (fun)
WAS over DAL WAS +2
PIT over DET PIT -3
KC over DEN DEN +7
*Don’t really bet your life savings. Please.