By Eric Schmidt

And in what seems like two blinks of an eye, the NFL Regular Season has reached the mid-point of it’s season. It seems as if weeks drag on without football, but somehow seem to accelerate three times as fast once the toe hits leather and the games begin. This Sunday’s slate of games features some very interesting matchups as things are getting into crunch mode for some teams trying to position for possible playoff spots. The schedule features five divisional games this afternoon and the latest line has five home dogs on tap for today as well. Let’s get right to it.

NFL Week Eight Picks and Predictions Against the Spread

Detroit @ Kansas City (in London) -3.5 45 O/U- The last of these dreadful London games will be played this morning. England is treated to yet another game featuring two dreadful teams. I’m going with Detroit here simply because Lions WR Calvin Johnson has shown life in the last two weeks. Detroit 27-20

Minnesota @ Chicago +1 43– The Bears two wins have come by a combined three points with wins over Kansas City on the road and Oakland at home. Minnesota has a much better defense, it’s a divisional game and the Vikings really need this name in early November if they want to remain in the wildcard hunt in December. Minnesota 27 Chicago 23

Tampa Bay @ Atlanta -7 49– The Buccaneers might need to be the next NFL team that needs a “Dan Campbell” moment. Head coach Lovie Smith is supposed to be a defensive genius, but his defense is really offensive. The Buccaneers have allowed 99 points in their last three games and let a 24-0 lead slip away last week against the Redskins. Last year in the Georgia Dome, Atlanta thumped Tampa 56-14. Atlanta 38-20

New York Giants @ New Orleans -3 50- The Giants need the next two games on their schedule to have hopes of winning the mediocre NFC East after having already played 4 of their 6 divisional games. The Saints seem to be in a state of flux with questions surrounding whether or not head coach Dean Payton will be back after this year and the future surrounding QB Drew Brees. New York 34-24

San Francisco @ St. Louis -8.5 39.5- Should we simply hand the Rookie of the Year trophy to RB Todd Gurley right now? San Francisco has gone from being in the mix of Super Bowl discussions just two seasons ago to being on the cusp of being one of the more dysfunctional teams in the league with the loss of head coach Jim Harbaugh. The team is 3-9-1 ATS in their last 13 road games and have been outscored 120-52 in three games while traveling this season. St Louis 23-13

Arizona @ Cleveland +6 46.5- I’m taking Arizona 31-17

Cincinnati @ Pittsburgh -1 49.5- The Steelers managed a 2-2 with QB Ben Roethlisberger sidelined with a knee injury. He returns this weekend in what should be a very interesting matchup. Cincinnati has been a perfect 6-0 ATS and 5-1 in overs so far this season. Take the Bengals coming off a bye week and Roethlisberger being a bit rusty. Cincinnati 31-27

San Diego @ Baltimore -3.5 50.5- Did you happen to catch the scoring in the Clemson-N.C State game on Saturday? This could be the NFL’s version of that game because neither team plays particularly good defense. Chargers QB Philip Rivers is red hot right now. Definite play on the over in this game. San Diego 37-31

Tennessee @Houston -4 42.5- Both of these teams are a mess currently. Houston simply gave up last week and was being blown out 41-0 at the half. Tennessee will see QB Zach Mettenberger make his second start this week. The Titans have not won a divisional game since December of 2013. Houston 24-13

New York Jets @ Oakland +3 44- The Jets have been 4-1-1 ATS spread so far this season but in the last 10 weeks coming off the week previously where they play the New England Patriots, they have covered just 3 of 10 contests. New coaching staff and a solid defense. Rookie WR Amari Cooper won’t put up the numbers this week against the Jets secondary that he did last Sunday against the Chargers. Jets 27-16

Seattle @ Dallas +5 41.5- Cowboys WR Dez Bryant will return this week but will reportedly be on a pitch count. Not a favorable matchup for him, especially with Matt Cassel under center. This game comes down to the Dallas offensive line against the Seattle defensive line and whether or not the Cowboys can run the football. Total football freak stat of the week I found doing research- The Cowboys are 13-0-2 ATS since 2003 coming off a road loss with 2 or more turnovers and being a 2 or more point dog. This Seattle team is not playing well right now. I like Dallas to keep this close and the points. Seattle 20-17  Pick of the week.

Green Bay @ Denver +3 45.5- This is the premiere matchup of the week. Packers QB Aaron Rodgers against the defensive unit he’s faced all year. Broncos QB Peyton Manning against a solid defensive unit with his eroding skill set. All in a Super Bowl rematch that once featured Brett Favre going against John Elway. Both teams are having some issues with running the football as both, Eddie Lacy and C.J. Anderson for the Packers and Broncos respectively, have been suffering through disappointing seasons to this point. Green Bay was my pick to win the Super Bowl this year so that is all I am basing this pick on because I think this will be a very close game. Green Bay 27-26





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