Aaron Donald and the Rams are hoping to make life miserable for Tua Tagovailoa in his first career start. Photo by @PFF (Twitter).
- Week 8 of the 2020 NFL season continues Sunday, November 1st
- Our Best Bets were 3-0 in Week 7 (12-9 overall, +1.81 units)
- Read below for analysis on the Week 8 NFL slate and our favorite ATS picks
It doesn’t happen often, but everything went right for us in Week 7. Our best bets were a perfect 3-0, thanks in large part to an insane finish in the Detroit Lions vs Atlanta Falcons game.
— Detroit Lions (@Lions) October 25, 2020
It never hurts to have a little run good on your side, and we’ll look to ride the momentum of a perfect card into Week 8.
Week 8 ATS Picks
|Los Angeles Rams vs Miami Dolphins||LAR (-3)||LAR (-3)||1|
|Minnesota Vikings vs Green Bay Packers||GB (-5.5)||GB (-5.5)||1|
|Las Vegas Raiders vs Cleveland Browns||CLE (-2.5)||CLE (-2.5)||1|
Odds taken Oct. 29th at FanDuel. See bottom for rest of Week 8 Picks.
The first team in our crosshairs this week will be the Miami Dolphins, who despite wins in three of their last four, have opted to sit Ryan Fitzpatrick in favor of rookie Tua Tagovailoa.
Pick #1: Rams Rough Up Tua and Dolphins
There aren’t many worse matchups for a rookie QB making his NFL debut than Aaron Donald and the LA Rams. Los Angeles ranks sixth in adjusted sack rate, sixth in pass rush win rate and sixth in sacks per pass attempt. Donald is once again leading the charge, ranking second in the NFL in sacks, pressures, and pass rush productivity.
Tua Tagovailoa’s first opponent as starter … Aaron Donald and the Rams 😤 pic.twitter.com/lQN67tk67d
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) October 20, 2020
Donald is just the fourth player in NFL history with at least 8 sacks in each of his first four seasons and it’s going to take at least two, if not three, Dolphins to slow him down. Miami ranks 30th in pass block win rate, while the Rams are allowing the second lowest yards per pass attempt, and the second fewest points per game. Good luck rookie.
Tagovailoa’s number one target DeVante Parker is likely to draw shadow coverage from Jalen Ramsey, which is a matchup not many wideouts have won this season. Over his past six games, Ramsey has permitted just 8 total catches in his coverage, most recently shutting down Allen Robinson.
Jalen Ramsey calls GAME 😤pic.twitter.com/kXBF1VASOL
— PFF (@PFF) October 27, 2020
On the other side of the ball, Miami has allowed the second fewest passing touchdowns, but are getting torched on the ground. The Dolphins are surrendering 5.06 yards per carry and enemy running backs have already hit paydirt six times. That plays perfectly into LA’s hands, who should have game script in their favor as 3-point favorites. The Rams run at the league’s fourth highest clip, averaging 138.7 rushing yards per contest.
Pick #2: Packers Over Vikings
What we’ve learned about the Green Bay offense so far in 2020, is that opposing teams don’t stand a chance if they can’t pressure Aaron Rodgers. The two-time MVP is Pro Football Focus’ second highest graded quarterback, and has the Packers operating as the league’s second highest scoring offense.
Aaron Rodgers is really, really good…
Since 2018, Rodgers has thrown for 68 TD and 8 INT for a TD/INT ratio of 8.5 (best in NFL).
— CBS Sports HQ (@CBSSportsHQ) October 28, 2020
Green Bay is a 5.5-point favorite over visiting Minnesota in Week 8, a team they hung 43 points on in Week 1. The Vikings defense is a mess, ranking 30th in points allowed per game, and boasting a bottom-five pass rush.
Much like their first matchup, Rodgers and Davante Adams are set-up for success as Mike Zimmer’s unit is allowing the highest completion percentage in the league on throws 15+ yards downfield. Adams is fresh off a 13 catch, 196 yard, 2 touchdown performance last week, and racked up 14 catches, 156 yards and two scores versus the Vikings in Week 1.
Aaron Rodgers ➡️ Davante Adams
ALL DAY 😤 pic.twitter.com/gjjZ0rSxEy
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) October 25, 2020
He’s logged 100 yards or a touchdown in seven straight meetings against Minnesota, and the Vikings coverage unit ranks 25th in the NFL.
Pick #3: Browns Rout Raiders
Online sportsbooks expect a close game between the Las Vegas Raiders and Cleveland Browns, as evident by the slim Browns -2.5 line, but the stats suggest otherwise.
The Raiders enter play with PFF’s second worst defense grade and a bottom-two coverage unit. They rank bottom-five in sack and QB hit rate, and have allowed an average of 160.5 all-purpose yards to enemy running backs in six games.
Most rushes gaining 10+ yards:
1. Kyler Murray – 18
2. Kareem Hunt – 17
T-3. Clyde Edwards-Helaire/ Derrick Henry – 15 pic.twitter.com/BUGpycBVXs
— PFF (@PFF) October 28, 2020
That must be music to Kareem Hunt’s ears, who has taken total control of the Cleveland backfield in Nick Chubb’s absence. Hunt handled 21 of the Browns 22 RB touches in Week 7, and is set-up to smash Las Vegas’ 22nd ranked run defense.
Baker Mayfield meanwhile, is fresh off a career-high 5 touchdown passes, while the Raiders secondary has given up 8 TD throws over their last three games.
Baker Mayfield started 0/5 with an INT, then went nearly perfect:
His only incomplete pass was a spike to stop the clock.
Shut the haters up. pic.twitter.com/Rj1lLbWYSL
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) October 25, 2020
On the other side of the ball, Cleveland has already racked up 18 sacks, and is allowing the fifth fewest rushing yards per game. That spells trouble for Josh Jacobs, who is averaging nearly a yard and a half less per carry than in his rookie season, and was just held to 17 yards on 10 attempts versus the Buccaneers.
Week 8 Quick Picks
- Colts (-2.5) vs Lions: Indy desperately needs this game because after Detroit, they’ll face Baltimore, Green Bay and Tennessee.
- Patriots (+3.5) vs Bills: A must win game for New England versus a Buffalo team that has looked mediocre at best over the last few weeks.
- Jets (+19.5) vs Chiefs: Here’s something you don’t see everyday, the point spread is bigger than New York’s team total. Our best bet for this game is to hope KC takes its foot off the gas early.
- Ravens (-3.5) vs Steelers: Baltimore hands Pittsburgh its first loss and re-establishes itself as the AFC North favorite.
- Bengals (+5.5) vs Titans: Joe Burrow has passed for at least 300 yards in five of his past six games, and should feast on a Tennessee team allowing the seventh most passing yards per game.
- Chargers (-3) vs Broncos: Justin Herbert’s rookie of the year push continues against Denver’s depleted defense.
- Bears (+5) vs Saints: Chicago is a fraudulent 5-2 team, but five points at home against an overrated New Orleans squad is too many.
- Seahawks (-2.5) vs 49ers: Seattle outlasts San Francisco in what should be one of the most entertaining games of the week.
- Eagles (-8.5) vs Cowboys: Dallas under Mike McCarthy is a train wreck, which begs the question: How good is Aaron Rodgers that he made McCarthy look like a competent coach for 13 years?
- Buccaneers (-12) vs Giants: The entire Giants offensive line is a question mark thanks to the coronavirus. That’s trouble against a Tampa Bay defense ranked number 1 by DVOA.
Chris began his career at Hockey Night in Canada over 15 years ago. He has since worked at TSN for over 12 years as a writer, line-up producer, field producer, newsroom supervisor for Sportscentre, and presently as a promotions producer.