Below are my confidence level straight up picks for Week 8. The picks with a confidence level of 1-5 will be available to all NFL Pickwatch readers.


The selections with a 6+ confidence level, a group of games that have netted a 170-68-2 since 2020 (including 11-7 over the past three weeks), will be available exclusively to Pickwatch Pro subscribers. Pickwatch Pro is a great service that allows subscribers to download the best expert data in the industry, see team-by-team winners for every expert, and provides access to Upset Watch, which has been the ultimate cheat code to beat the sportsbooks over the last six years. Combine those elements with the top level of my weekly picks and it makes for a must-subscribe service for anyone serious about betting.


Baltimore at Tampa Bay


Were it not for a series of late game collapses, Baltimore might come into this contest 7-0 instead of 4-3. There is not a more consistent rushing attack in the NFL, as the Ravens have racked up 155+ ground yards in six straight games. Baltimore’s defense is doing many things right in spite of those collapses, as this platoon has generated at least one takeaway in every game and 2+ takeaways in five of them. Tampa Bay has nowhere as many positive trends, as the Buccaneers haven’t rushed for more than 75 yards since Week 1, have gone three straight games without a takeaway, and have allowed 151+ rushing yards in three of the past contests. Add to this what looks like a major disconnect between the players and coaches on this club and Tampa Bay is a team in decline, so take Baltimore in this matchup.


KC’s pick: Baltimore


Confidence level: 4


Carolina at Atlanta


Carolina head coach Steve Wilks deserves a ton of credit. He took a listless team whose players might have thrown in the towel after the Christian McCaffrey trade and got them to play their best game of the year in a dominant 21-3 win over Tampa Bay last week despite having a third-string quarterback and backup running backs. Cincinnati found a path past Atlanta by putting the ball in the air, as that exposed the weakness of a Falcons passing attack that has posted 131 or fewer net passing yards in four straight games. The problem for Carolina is that PJ Walker is not Joe Burrow, so that path is not available for the Panthers. That leaves Atlanta with many more paths to victory than Carolina, so the Falcons are the selection.


KC’s pick: Atlanta


Confidence level: 4


Denver at Jacksonville


Both of these teams come into this game with 2-5 records, yet they are viewing their seasons quite differently. The Jaguars have gone toe-to-toe with some of the best teams in the league and are so confident in their future that they didn’t hesitate to trade James Robinson to the Jets for a conditional late-round draft pick. Denver’s mindset is the opposite of this, as the Broncos came into the 2022 campaign thinking that acquiring Russell Wilson gave them the franchise quarterback they needed to end their longest playoff drought since 1976. That hasn’t taken place, as Wilson has been run of the mill at best on the field and a distraction off of it. Many teams don’t fare well on trips to London, but the Jaguars are quite comfortable with it. Combine that with the talent edge that Jacksonville has, and they are the pick.


KC’s pick: Jacksonville


Confidence level: 3


Miami at Detroit


The sports betting public seems to think that this game is going to be a shootout due to Detroit starting the season with four straight of those and Miami having that memorable comeback against Baltimore in Week 2, but the 51-point over/under total does not represent where these teams are now. The Dolphins have scored 17 or fewer points in four straight games and tallied only 14 points against Baltimore before that huge fourth quarter comeback. New England showed the weaknesses of a Jared Goff-led offense dealing with injuries, and Dallas built on those, which is a primary reason Detroit has scored only six points over the past two weeks combined. The Lions will have a solid chance in this game if it goes to offensive fireworks mode, as that approach tends to offset personnel advantages, but since this game is not apt to do that and Miami has a much better defense, the Dolphins are the pick.


KC’s pick: Miami


Confidence level: 2


Arizona at Minnesota


The key factor in this game could be how Arizona approaches this matchup. The Cardinals showed last week that they have the capacity to get into shootouts and win, but do they really want to take that approach since the Vikings have scored 23+ points in all but one game this year and are 2-0 in their shootout games (defined as matchups where each team scores 24+ points). Minnesota will have something to say about that, as the Vikings can simply put their foot on the proverbial gas and force the issue. Kevin O’Connell may be inclined to do that since the Cardinals have scored 17 or fewer points in three of the past five games, so the Vikings are the better choice here.


KC’s pick: Minnesota


Confidence level: 4


Las Vegas at New Orleans


It is amazing that the over/under in this game is only 49 points, as Las Vegas has scored 29+ points in three straight games and New Orleans has racked up 124 points over the past four weeks. Both teams are doing this with a combination of power rushing and impressive aerial numbers, the latter of which is why Andy Dalton was moved into the starting job in Week 8 despite Jameis Winston being healthy. The problem for the Saints is that they have posted 2+ giveaways in five out of the past six games and have tallied only three takeaways in the past five games. The Raiders defense struggles just as much in the takeaway department, but the Las Vegas offense hasn’t given the ball away since Week 3, so this one lands in the Raiders column.


KC’s pick: Las Vegas


Confidence level: 3


Tennessee at Houston


The Titans began the year 0-2 due to having a trap game to start and then sleepwalking through the Week 2 game at Buffalo, but they have won four straight since then by recommitting to power football. That has turned those four wins into slugfests that play into the Tennessee’s strengths. Fortunately for the Titans, Houston uses that same conservative approach, although the Texans do it more because moving the ball via Dameon Pierce is a lot more effective than asking Davis Mills to do it. The issue with using that approach is that Tennessee has been the best run defense in the league over the past month. That should be enough to slow the Texans offense down enough to win it, but Tennessee’s propensity for keeping games close lowers the confidence level in this one.


KC’s pick: Tennessee


Confidence level: 2


Washington at Indianapolis


This is the battle of the backup quarterbacks, as Washington has to go with Taylor Heinicke due to injury and the Colts are going with Sam Ehlinger due to not wanting to guarantee Matt Ryan’s contract if he gets hurt. These concurrent transitions will probably help Washington more in this matchup than they will Indianapolis, as the Commanders have rushed for 294 yards over the past two weeks due in part to having a superb running back tandem in Brian Robinson and Antonio Gibson. The Colts do have Jonathan Taylor, but he can’t get anywhere behind the subpar blocking, which is why Indianapolis has rushed for 65 or fewer yards in three of the past four weeks. Add in the Colts allowing 125+ rushing yards for three straight games and Washington allowing 72 or fewer rushing yards in three of the past five games and the Commanders are the percentage play here.


KC’s pick: Washington


Confidence level: 1


San Francisco at LA Rams


Christian McCaffrey’s debut didn’t go so well last week, as the Chiefs offensive armada made last week a one-sided game, but with CMC now in the fold for a week, Kyle Shanahan should be able to incorporate McCaffrey into the offense even more than he did against Kansas City. The Rams have a popgun offense that can’t pass block well, is turnover prone, can’t run block well, and looks limited by potential elbow issues for Matthew Stafford. Los Angeles also has tallied only one takeaway since Week 2. The Rams coverage metrics have improved as the season progressed and San Francisco is dealing with the likely loss of Deebo Samuel for this matchup, but there is still more than enough here to predict an eighth straight regular season win for the 49ers over the Rams.


KC’s pick: San Francisco


Confidence level: 5


NY Giants at Seattle


It’s said that a team is as good as its record, but the reality is the Giants haven’t been as good as their 6-1 record would suggest. Their ground game is superb, but they give up far too many yards on the ground (142+ in five out of the last six), haven’t been able to keep top receivers healthy, and have posted negative defensive expected points added in five out of seven games. Those trends now have to travel to Seattle to face a Seahawks offense that can power run the ball with equal ability to the Giants. Seattle also has generated two takeaways in five straight games and has the huge benefit of the 12s, so the Seahawks land this pick.


KC’s pick: Seattle


Confidence level: 3


Cincinnati at Cleveland


It might seem odd that Joe Burrow hasn’t defeated Cleveland in his pro career, but it is true, as the Bengals have lost four straight to the Browns. Burrow’s passing explosion would have made this an easy pick were it not for the hip injury to Ja’Marr Chase, but with Chase now out for four-to-six weeks, the Bengals aerial attack is not quite as formidable. Cleveland passing game still probably can’t keep up with Cincinnati’s even accounting for the Chase injury, but the Browns should be able to run the ball well against a Bengals rush defense that has allowed 155+ yards in two of the past three games. That should make this a close matchup and since the first tiebreaker is caliber of quarterback, Burrow and the Bengals gain this pick.


KC’s pick: Cincinnati


Confidence level: 2


KC’s 6+ confidence level picks, a group of selections that have gone 170-68-2 since 2020 (including 11-7 the past three weeks), are available exclusively to Pickwatch Pro subscribers.