BETONLINE PRO PICKS BY BARRY WILNER: NFL WEEK 8

How crazy is this NFL season?

Here’s how crazy:

Matt Eberflus outcoaches Bill Belichick in prime time.

Of course, Belichick no longer has Tom Brady to rescue him, which has been obvious since Brady left for Tampa Bay. Still, did anyone out there expect the Bears, whose offense is, well, downright offensive at times, to run roughshod over a Patriots defense that is the alleged strength of the team?
That’s NFL 2022 so far. The Seahawks, projected to be a bottom feeder, are leading an NFC West that was supposed to be one of the league’s toughest divisions. The AFC West, predicted as the top division, has only one club living up to that billing, the Chiefs. Denver is a train wreck and the Raiders and Chargers are disappointments thus far.


Meanwhile, the East sectors are turning into beasts – the Patriots and Commanders withstanding. In the NFC, Philadelphia, which is busy celebrating the amazing run to the World Series by the Phillies, already was in ecstasy having the league’s only undefeated team, the 6-0 Eagles. The Giants have come out of nowhere to be 6-1 and Dallas, with a staunch defense, is 5-2.


Indeed, the NFC East has a 20-7 combined record (.741 percentage), best for any division through seven weeks since 1970.


Buffalo is a Super Bowl favorite and looks the part in the AFC East, with the Jets – yep, the J-E-T-S — only a half-game behind the Bills. The Dolphins look dangerous enough with a solid defense. Maybe they can get some balance on offense now that quarterback Tua Tagovailoa is back.


In the midst of all of this, Brady and the Bucs are 3-4. So are Aaron Rodgers and the Packers, and the highly regarded 49ers. The defending champion Rams are an unimpressive 3-3.


And get this: Underdogs have gone 60-44-3 against the spread, with Carolina’s victory over Tampa Bay the largest win; the Panthers were 13-point dogs at one time last week. Dogs have won outright 43 times already heading into Week 8.

No wonder Matt Eberflus outcoaches Bill Belichick.

Titans at Texans (+2)
Tennessee is beginning to have that nasty look that has defined Mike Vrabel’s squads.
BEST BET: TITANS, 20-13

Commanders at Colts (-3)
All kinds of QB quandaries here. Washington’s defense could cause some problems for Indy. We finally hit an Upset Special winner last week with the Giants. Maybe we can repeat with …
COMMANDERS, 24-15
Broncos vs. Jaguars (-2 ) at London
If the NFL really wants to impress international audiences, it would have scrapped this game.
JAGUARS, 16-10
Steelers at Eagles (-10 ½)
We picked the Eagles to go down against Dallas. Not making that mistake here.
EAGLES, 26-17
Giants at Seahawks (-3)
Two very pleasant surprises, well coached, resourceful and confident. Might be the best game this Sunday.
SEAHAWKS, 24-23
Bears at Cowboys (-9 )
Matt Eberflus outcoaching Mike McCarthy this week? Or was Chicago’s beatdown of New England a fluke?
COWBOYS, 20-9
Bengals at Browns (+3 ½)
Cleveland has mastered one thing this season: losing close games. Here’s another one.
BENGALS, 30-28

Packers at Bills (-11)
Never would have imagined such a spread on this game – until the Packers dropped three straight to supposedly weaker competition. Buffalo is STRONG competition.
BILLS, 32-20

Patriots at Jets (+2 ½)
A good chance for the Jets to stop a 12-game slide against New England. Nah.
PATRIOTS, 17-13

49ers at Rams (+1)
San Francisco has had LA’s number, and the Niners are getting healthier.
49ERS, 22-17

Cardinals at Vikings (-3 ½)
We’re still not sure what the Vikings are, even as they cruise in the NFC North.
VIKINGS, 27-23

Dolphins at Lions (+3 1/2)
No one – not even in the Lions organization – is sure what that team is. Except likely to lose.
DOLPHINS, 23-17

Raiders at Saints (+1 ½)
We have no clue which versions of these teams will show up. Who does?
RAIDERS, 26-23

Panthers at Falcons (-4)
Same thing as Las Vegas-New Orleans. Except the Falcons seem more dependable.
FALCONS, 23-20


Wilner’s 2022 RECORD
Last Week – Straight up: 10-3. Against the spread: 10-3.
Season – Straight up: 61-39-1. Against the spread: 57-42-2.
Best Bet – Straight up: 3-4. Against the spread: 1-6.
Upset Special – Straight up: 1-6. Against the spread: 2-5.

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