KC Joyner's Week 8 NFL pick'em selections

KC Joyner, one of the most accurate pick'em experts in the business over the past six years, details his winners for all of the Week 8 matchups.

KC Joyner

27 Oct, 2020

My Week 7 picks went 11-3, bringing my 2020 season mark to 73-31, or a 70.2 percent win rate.

 

Here are my Week 8 picks. Each section details which team is predicted to win and provides a quick summary of why that selection was made. The picks also contain a confidence value for each selection, based on a 1-10 scale with “10” being the most confident and “1” being the least confident.

 

Now on to the picks!

 

Thursday, October 29

 

Atlanta at Carolina

 

KC’s pick: Carolina

 

Confidence level: 2

 

The Falcons defense has taken significant steps forward over the past three weeks, as they have allowed 23 points in three straight games and gave up a total of 96 rushing yards over the past two weeks combined. The problem for Atlanta is their offense has fallen back, as they have scored 22 or fewer points in three of the past four games. Carolina has seen its share of consistency issues as well, as the Panthers posted a season low in offensive yards last week while allowing a banged-up Saints offense to rack up 27 points and 415 yards. Home field ends up being the tiebreaker here, so Carolina gets this pick by a small margin.

 

Sunday, November 1

 

Pittsburgh at Baltimore

 

KC’s pick: Pittsburgh

 

Confidence level: 1

 

It doesn’t get much better than a clash of these AFC North titans. Baltimore’s ground game is every bit as dominant as it was last year, but their passing game has faltered, as the Ravens have tallied fewer than 200 net passing yards in four of the past five games. Baltimore’s defense has also been somewhat hit and miss in many categories, but they have made up for it by ranking seventh in takeaways. Pittsburgh leads the league by far in pass pressure rate and has allowed the fewest rush yards per game. Add that to the Steelers having posted 26+ points in every contest this season and it offsets the Ravens home field advantage and equals a very close pick for Pittsburgh.

 

New England at Buffalo

 

KC’s pick: Buffalo

 

Confidence level: 5

 

How the mighty have fallen. Over the past three games the Patriots offense has tallied a meager total of 28 points while giving up 11 turnovers. Outside of the Week 2 Sunday night game versus the atrocious Seattle defense, New England hasn’t posted a single contest with 200 net passing yards. The Patriots rush defense has also been mediocre, as they have allowed 332 yards in the past two games. Buffalo’s passing game has taken a major step down after the Titans showed the league how to stop this platoon, but the Bills still have enough offensive firepower to rate as a very solid pick in this one.

 

Tennessee at Cincinnati

 

KC’s pick: Tennessee

 

Confidence level: 4

 

The Titans may have lost last week but going toe-to-toe with a Pittsburgh Steelers club that is arguably the best in the league shows that Tennessee wasn’t merely the beneficiary of an easy early schedule. The Bengals have the leading Offensive Rookie of the Year candidate in Joe Burrow and proved their run game can survive without Joe Mixon, but Cincinnati has allowed 25+ points in four straight games and 68 points in the past two games. This should be a very high scoring game and thus could go either way, but the Titans have a notable talent edge in many areas and as a result get this pick.

 

Las Vegas at Cleveland

 

KC’s pick: Cleveland

 

Confidence level: 4

 

Cleveland looked like a terrible team in their Week 6 matchup against Pittsburgh, but they returned to their dominant offensive ways against Cincinnati by racking up their fifth game of the season with 32+ points. The problem for the Browns is they have allowed 30+ points on five occasions and 72 points over the past two weeks. That could allow the potentially powerful Silver and Black offense to keep up in shootout, but Las Vegas has posted 23 or fewer points in three of its last four games. That downside trend is enough to give Cleveland the advantage here by a small margin.

 

Indianapolis at Detroit

 

KC’s pick: Indianapolis

 

Confidence level: 6

 

With three wins in its last four games, the Detroit Lions are actually on the border of being a legitimate NFC wild card contender. Winning the turnover battle is a key factor in the Lions success, as Detroit has a plus-five mark in turnovers in that span and never had more than one turnover in a single contest. Phillip Rivers’ penchant for throwing interceptions could give the Lions another victory in that category, but the Colts should get impact linebacker Darius Leonard back in the lineup after a four-week absence. Combine that with the Colts overall talent advantage and this selection lands in their column.

 

Minnesota at Green Bay

 

KC’s pick: Green Bay

 

Confidence level: 7

 

The Vikings had recently dominated this series for three seasons but after Green Bay’s Week 1 win over Minnesota the Green and Gold now have a three-game series win streak. Turnovers are the main problem for the Vikings, as they have tallied three turnovers in three of the past five games while not posting more than one takeaway in a single game this year. Take out the debacle against Tampa Bay and the Packers have posted 350+ yards, 30+ points, and zero turnovers in every matchup. There is little to suggest Minnesota will stop Green Bay from hitting those totals again in this contest, so the Packers are heavy favorites in this one.

 

New York Jets at Kansas City

 

KC’s pick: Kansas City

 

Confidence level: 10

 

Just when it looked like the Jets offense couldn’t get any worse, last week they posted a season low 190 net offensive yards and an abysmal 91 net passing yards against a Bills defense that had been struggling at times this year. New York’s defense also allowed 400+ yards for the third time so things are bad on both sides of the ball. Combine those trends with Kansas City coming off of season highs in points scored and takeaways last week and this contest being in Kansas City and it has runaway potential for the Chiefs. This is one of the most confident picks of the 2020 season and earns a rare “10” confidence level.

 

Los Angeles Rams at Miami

 

KC’s pick: Los Angeles

 

Confidence level: 4

 

It doesn’t seem like the Rams are hitting on all cylinders, yet Los Angeles has posted 110+ rushing yards in all but one game, has allowed fewer than 300 net offensive yards in three of the past four games, and has given up only 53 points in the past four contests combined. Miami head coach Brian Flores is doing a coach of the year-caliber job by getting the Dolphins to play better than their talent level and is aiming to give Miami’s offense a boost by putting rookie Tua Tagovailoa under center following a bye week. The cross-country trip and creative playcalling by Miami will challenge the Rams, but Los Angeles has more potential paths to victory and thus earns this pick.

 

Los Angeles Chargers at Denver

 

KC’s pick: Los Angeles

 

Confidence level: 6

 

Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn was a former running backs coach and thus doesn’t like to lean too heavily on the passing game, but rookie sensation Justin Herbert seems to be changing Lynn’s mind on the subject. Los Angeles has racked up 430+ offensive yards in three of the past five games and, maybe more importantly, has tallied zero turnovers in the past two contests. That approach could open the door for Denver to win in a shootout, but the Broncos have scored 21 or fewer points in all but one game this season. That lack of offensive firepower closes the door to the Broncos highest percentage ways to win this game and pushes this selection to the Chargers with a solid confidence level.

 

New Orleans at Chicago

 

KC’s pick: New Orleans

 

Confidence level: 3

 

The Saints have been trying to switch away from being a pass-happy team for a couple of seasons now and for a variety of intentional and unintentional reasons they have finally been able to do that. It has led to New Orleans posting fewer than 300 passing yards in four out of six games this year, yet the Saints have still been able to score 27+ points in all but one contest. The Bears powerhouse defense has allowed more than 24 points only once despite facing some strong offenses, but their atrocious offense now has four straight games with fewer than 270 yards. That weakness is likely going to be too much for Chicago to overcome, so this one goes to the Saints.

 

San Francisco at Seattle

 

KC’s pick: Seattle

 

Confidence level: 3

 

Seattle might have the most entertaining offense since the Greatest Show on Turf Rams’ teams of the late 1990s to early 2000s. The Seahawks have scored 27 or more points in every game this year and just got through putting up 372 passing yards and 200 rushing yards against a solid Cardinals defense. The issue for Seattle is their defense has been a sieve, as the Seahawks have allowed 400+ yards in every game and 500+ yards in three games. San Francisco’s defense has held four teams to fewer than 300 offensive yards and their offense has racked up 400+ yards on three occasions, so they have the weapons to keep up in many game scripts, but too many game scripts favor Seattle along with home field advantage, so the Seahawks get this pick.

 

Dallas at Philadelphia

 

KC’s pick: Philadelphia

 

Confidence level: 8

 

It wasn’t that long ago that a Cowboys-Eagles Sunday night matchup would be the marquee game of the week, but this contest isn’t one of them. Were it not for the presence of the Jets, Dallas would arguably be the worst team in the NFL. Their offense has fallen off dramatically following the season ending injury to Dak Prescott and the Cowboys rush defense has allowed 200+ rushing yards in three of the past four games. The Eagles have had myriad injuries across their offensive platoon and yet have posted 22+ points in five straight games and 330+ offensive yards in all but one game. Combine those trends with this being a home game for the Eagles and the Cowboys reported off-field issues and this one lands easily in Philadelphia’s column.

 

Monday, November 2

 

Tampa Bay at New York Giants

 

KC’s pick: Tampa Bay

 

Confidence level: 9

 

How many times have we seen this type of thing before? Tom Brady has some struggles, the world thinks Father Time has finally caught up to him, Brady gets fired up to prove the world wrong and his team starts to dominate opponents. That’s exactly where we are right now, as Brady has finally adjusted to the Bucs offense and is once again looking like the best quarterback in NFL history. As scary as that is, Tampa Bay’s defense may be even more impressive, as the Buccaneers have given up 20 or fewer points in five of the past six games and have racked up two or more turnovers in four of the past six contests. The Giants are much improved of late, but there may be only two or three teams playing as well as Tampa Bay is right now, so this one goes to the Bucs in a landslide.