Nostrathomas Predicts: Week 8 Division Showdown Edition

It’s going to be a cold and windy day across the National Football League today. There are also some interesting spreads to deal with in today’s schedule of games. A couple of those spreads will also be tough to predict considering that there are a couple of excellent division showdown games happening in Baltimore and Seattle this week.

Unfortunately, we’re also looking at a couple of prime time nightmares that will close the Week 8 slate.

Nostrathomas had a very good Week 7. Counting the Under that I predicted for Monday Night’s game, the final record was 9-3-1 against the spread and 9-3 straight-up. That result puts my against the spread record at 37-34-1 and 47-23 straight-up. Let’s keep riding that hot streak.

Game of the Week

Pittsburgh Steelers +4.5 vs Baltimore Ravens (1PM ET; M&T Bank Stadium, Baltimore, MD)

This is game one this season of the battle between these two rivals for control of the AFC North. This contest should have been flexed to be played on the national stage. Instead, it will cast its shadow over the other seven 1PM games on the Week 8 schedule.

Pittsburgh is No. 3 and the Ravens are No. 5 in this week’s Football from A to Z’s Power Rankings.

This game is going to boil down to what Lamar Jackson can do against the Steelers defense. Pittsburgh tops NFL defenses at creating negative pass plays (sacks + interceptions/drop backs). Can Jackson extend plays and find receivers despite the pressure Pittsburgh’s defense will bring.  

Baltimore’s strength is in running the football but that will bring up the situation of the irresistible force meeting the immovable object. The Steelers have the second strongest run defense in the NFL, allowing a paltry 3.4 yards per attempt. Also, Ravens running back Mark Ingram will be out for this game.

There is one trend to consider when picking this game. The Steelers are 12-3 ATS in their last 15 when listed as underdog.

Nostrathomas is going to ride the strength of Pittsburgh’s defense, along with that trend, and take the Steelers to win and cover but won’t be surprised if  Baltimore comes out on top. This is going to be that good of a game.

Pittsburgh Steelers 29 Baltimore Ravens 26

Best Bets

Los Angeles Rams -3.5 vs Miami Dolphins (1PM ET; Hard Rock Stadium, Miami, FL)

This week marks the debut of Tua Tagovailoa, Miami’s quarterback of the future, replacing Ryan Fitzpatrick. To start with, this is the move the Dolphins have needed to make.

Yes, Miami could have spent this season making a strong playoff push with Fitzpatrick at the controls, and then been a one and done. All of that while not finding out whether Tagovailoa had the talent for the team to build around.

Tagovailoa can make a great first impression if he can move the ball on Los Angeles’ defense. The Rams are second in the NFL on defense in points per play and points per drive allowed. Los Angeles is also first in net passing yards per attempt allowed and seventh in defensive passer rating.

Miami would be easier to pick in this game if they could move the ball on the ground. They’re 30th in the NFL in rushing yards per attempt with a 3.8 average. That will prevent the Dolphins from being able to control the game when Los Angles quarterback Jason Goff is second in the league in net passing yards per attempt and the Rams running game averages 4.4 yards per rush.

The public has been betting up Los Angeles while the sharps have been coming in heavy on the Dolphins. That has kept the spread at -3.5 all week. Normally Nostrathomas would say to follow the sharps but not in this game. Tagovailoa is making his first start against Aaron Donald and a defensive front that will be looking to make his debut as miserable as possible.

The Rams are competing in a division where every team is currently over .500. They can’t afford to take their foot off the gas for a second. Take them to win and cover.

Los Angeles Rams 26 Miami Dolphins 17

Minnesota Vikings vs Green Bay Packers -6.5 (1PM ET; Lambeau Field, Green Bay, WI)

Minnesota is coming off of a bye week. The only thing Minnesota accomplished with their week off was trading their sacks leader, defensive end Yannick Ngakoue. That move is the equivalent of the team running up the white flag on the 2020 season.

The Packers are getting starting left tackle David Bakhtiari back this week. That should give Aaron Rodgers plenty of protection to have his way with the Minnesota secondary.

Green Bay Packers 30 Minnesota Vikings 20

Los Angeles Chargers –3 vs Denver Broncos (4:05PM ET; Empower Field at Mile High Stadium, Denver, CO)

The Chargers have lost four games, three of those to teams over .500 by a total of 18 points. They have one of the best young quarterbacks in the league in Justin Hebert plus Keenan Allen and Justin Henry for him to throw to.

The Broncos have Drew Lock, a lot of problems converting offensive yards into points and too many injuries to stay competitive.

Best of the Rest

New York Jets vs Kansas City Chiefs -20 (1PM ET; Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City, MO)

No, do not bet on this game. Just the fact that this spread is three scores is absurd, but in a way, not surprising. Kansas City topped the Football from A to Z Power Rankings this week while the Jets came in dead last.

We should call this the Le’Veon Bell revenge game just to add an element of interest to the game. The only way the Jets cover this spread is if the Chiefs take their foot off the gas.

Kansas City Chiefs 35 New York Jets 10

Tennessee Titans -7 vs Cincinnati Bengals (1PM ET; Paul Brown Stadium, Cincinnati, OH)

Tennessee took the Steelers to the limit last week before losing 27-24. The Titans are still a team that is capable of going deep into the postseason.

As good as Bengals rookie quarterback Joe Burrow is, Cincinnati is in the bottom third of the league in most of Nostrathomas’ statistical measures.

Tennessee recovers from Steven Gostkowski’s last second missed field goal against the Steelers to win and cover in Cincinnati.

Tennessee Titans 29 Cincinnati Bengals 20

New England Patriots vs Buffalo Bills -4 (1PM ET; Bills Stadium, Buffalo, NY)

This is a tough game to predict. Which is the real Josh Allen, the quarterback who led the Bills to a 4-0 record to start the season or the one who lost two straight to quality opponents and barely beat the Jets last week?

For that matter, will the real Cam Newton please stand up.

Nostrathomas is taking the Bills to win and cover in this game.

Buffalo Bills 24 New England Patriots 19

Las Vegas Raiders vs Cleveland Browns -2.5 (1PM ET; FirstEnergy Stadium, Cleveland, OH)

It’s going to be a sloppy track in Cleveland today. That’s going to make this game a battle between Kareem Hunt and Josh Jacobs.

The Browns can be beaten through the air but their defense is better tuned at stopping the run.

Cleveland Browns 23 Las Vegas Raiders 20

New Orleans Saints -4.5 vs Chicago Bears (4:25PM ET; Soldier Field, Chicago, IL)

There are going to be strong winds along the shores of Lake Michigan which is going to affect the passing game on both sides. The Bears will be starting two undrafted free agents on their offensive line, a line that has struggled to win battles off the snap as it is.

The Bears can’t run the ball. The Saints can. Take New Orleans to win and cover.

New Orleans Saints 20 Chicago Bears 13

San Francisco 49ers vs Seattle Seahawks -3 (4:25PM ET; CenturyLink Field, Seattle, WA)

It’s tough to bet against Russell Wilson at home.

Seattle Seahawks 33 San Francisco 49ers 28

Dallas Cowboys vs Philadelphia Eagles -11 (Sunday Night Football; Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia, PA)

This matchup is a prime time battle for first place in the NFC East. The challenge in this game will be for Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth to hold everyone’s attention until halftime.

Dallas was facing the Football Team, their fiercest rivals last week. In the third quarter when quarterback Andy Dalton had his head taken off by Washington linebacker Jon Bostic not one teammate came to his defense. Once the Cowboys lost Dak Prescott for the season they’ve become a team with no heart.

Pity rookie quarterback Ben DiNucci and lay your money on Philadelphia.

Philadelphia Eagles 25 Dallas Cowboys 3

Tampa Bay Buccaneers -12.5 vs New York Giants (Monday Night Football; MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ)

This is the second prime time game of the weekend that looks like a blowout in the making. The Buccaneers are second in Football from A to Z’s Week 8 Power Rankings while the New York Giants ranked at No. 30.

New York won’t be moving the ball well enough to make a significant dent in the Buccaneers defense. Tampa Bay is also averaging 31 points per game. Nostrathomas’ recommendation, bet the Bucs and find something else to watch after halftime.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers 35 New York Giants 13

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