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OUT-PICK A PRO:
AP’S WEEK 8 PICKS
Los Angeles Chargers at New England Patriots (-7.5)
Pierce’s Pick: Patriots (-7.5)
Just like last week, AP is backing Tom Brady at home. The New England defense is improving and the offense is one of the best in the league. The 3-4 Chargers have bounced back nicely from an 0-4 start, but Philip Rivers hasn’t fared well against the Patriots. He’s 1-4 overall and 0-2 in Foxborough, losing by a combined 38 points in the two road games.
Carolina Panthers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-2.5)
Pierce’s Pick: Buccaneers (-2.5)
The Panthers just lost 17-3 on the road in Chicago in a game where the Bears threw seven passes. Seven! With Luke Kuechly out — which it looks like he will be — the Carolina defense isn’t the same. You saw that last year. Inconsistent as Tampa has been, Jameis Winston and company are coming off a 27-point performance against a solid Buffalo defense. AP think they’ll do enough to outpace Carolina’s laboring attack.
Oakland Raiders at Buffalo Bills (-2.5)
Pierce’s Pick: Raiders (+2.5)
The Oakland passing game got back on track in a big way in Week 7 as Amare Cooper came out of hiding. Derek Carr looked the best (and healthiest) he has in ages, reminding us all why this team went 12-3 with him at the helm last year. The Bills are tough at home, but their offense is one-dimensional and their defense isn’t as good as it looked in the first few weeks of the year. Don’t worry about the Marshawn Lynch suspension; Jalen Richard and Deandre Washington are plenty to keep the run game viable.
Houston Texans at Seattle Seahawks (-5.5)
Pierce’s Pick: Seahawks (-5.5)
Hop off the Deshaun Watson hype-train for a week because it’s about to run headlong into a rockslide. Watson’s been lighting up the league in his last four games, but those all came against bottom-tier defenses. Seattle’s D is anything but, especially against the pass. They’ll give the rookie a rude welcome to the Pacific Northwest, while Russell Wilson does enough against an undermanned Houston defense to cover.
Dallas Cowboys at Washington (+2.5)
Pierce’s Pick: Cowboys (-2.5)
What do you get when you pit a surging Dallas run game against an injury-riddled Washington defense? A lot of ball-control, and more than a few touchdowns.
What do you get when you matchup a surprisingly effective Dallas pass rush against a decimated Washington O-line? Very little time to throw.
The Cowboys know they’re on borrowed time with Ezekiel Elliott and will come into DC with a sense of urgency, just like Week 7 in San Francisco (a 40-10 Cowboy rout). Washing
Pittsburgh Steelers at Detroit Lions (+2.5)
Pierce’s Pick: Steelers (-2.5)
Mike Tomlin learned some math the last couple weeks: Le’Veon Bell + run-heavy gameplan = win. AP trusts that he’s smart enough to keep that calculation in mind.
With a surprisingly stout defense that’s held much better attacks in check (like KC in Week 6), Pittsburgh will Detroit fans that their upstart Lions have a ways to go before they’re real Super Bowl contenders.