NFL Week 8 odds, picks: Backing the winless Lions (again), plus fading Bill Belichick's defense in L.A.

NFL Week 8 odds, picks: Backing the winless Lions (again), plus fading Bill Belichick's defense in L.A.
NFL Week 8 odds, picks: Backing the winless Lions (again), plus fading Bill Belichick's defense in L.A.

So is the NFC really good, or does it just have a lot of bad teams? I've seen plenty of people mention that the NFC has five teams with one loss or fewer, while nobody in the AFC has fewer than two losses, but that's some incredibly surface-level evaluation.

So I decided to look deeper into the situation, and by deeper, I just mean I looked at how the conferences have fared against one another. You see, what's more interesting to me isn't that everyone in the AFC has at least two losses; it's that the AFC also has four teams with only one win. The only NFC team with fewer than two wins is the 0-7 Lions. That suggests the NFC is stronger, and their 19-14 record against the AFC confirms it.

Looking a little deeper, we see that the five NFC teams with one loss or less are 11-0 against AFC teams. Meanwhile, the AFC's four 5-2 teams are only 5-4 against the NFC. Why does any of this matter? It doesn't. I'm just trying very hard not to jinx myself by mentioning how well I've been doing with my NFL picks this season, and I couldn't think of anything else to talk about. So let's just get to those picks! 

All NFL odds are via Caesars Sportsbook.

Eagles at Lions: Lions +3.5 (-115)

Somebody help me; I can't stop betting on the Lions. Scratch that, I don't need help. The Lions might be 0-7, but they're 4-3 ATS because most people don't want to bet on them. Well, I do! I'm here for you, Lions! I believe in you(r ability to cover the spread)! Of course, that only plays a small role in this pick. We must also factor in that the Philadelphia Eagles -- the same Eagles that are 2-5 on the season -- are favored by more than a field goal on the road.

Remember last week when Sam Darnold and the Carolina Panthers were field-goal favorites on the road against a bad Giants team? We've got a repeat situation here in which you're supposed to trust Jalen Hurts and a mediocre Eagles offense to cover as a favorite. I'm not saying it isn't possible, but it sure isn't something I'm trying to bet on.

Latest Odds: Detroit Lions +3.5

Prediction: Lions 27, Eagles 24

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This strikes me as something of a problematic matchup for the Browns. While Cleveland is an excellent rushing team, and it looks like they'll be getting Nick Chubb back, the Browns have had trouble protecting their quarterbacks. This season, the Browns have given up a sack on 8.3% of their dropbacks, which ranks 27th in the league. Conversely, the Steelers defense has sacked opponents on 6.6% of their dropbacks this season, which ranks seventh in the NFL.

Also, while the Browns offense ranks eighth in the league with 2.44 points per possession, that number is skewed by two outstanding performances against the Chiefs and Chargers. In Cleveland's other five games, it has averaged a more pedestrian 2.04 points per possession. I'm also concerned about a Cleveland offense that has scored touchdowns on only 56% of its red-zone possessions, which ranks 24th in the league. I think a Steelers defense that ranks 11th in the league in points allowed per drive and sixth in red-zone efficiency will be able to keep the Browns and a banged-up Baker Mayfield within range.

Latest Odds: Cleveland Browns -3.5

Prediction: Browns 23, Steelers 21

Patriots at Chargers: Over 49 (-110)

Listen, I've been rough on Mac Jones all season long, but the guy balled out last week against the Jets. Even if Zach Wilson hadn't left the game due to an injury, I don't think the Jets would've covered, and while the Patriots offense isn't explosive, there is an efficiency to it. They rank 10th in the league in points per possession, just behind the Chargers in ninth. They've also managed to score points on 46.7% of their possessions this season, which ranks fifth in the NFL. Sure, you'd like to see more of those drives finish with touchdowns instead of field goals, but it's difficult to argue the results.

This week that Patriots offense will face a Chargers defense that ranks 24th in the league in points allowed per drive (2.42) and has allowed opponents to put up points on 43.5% of their possessions, which ranks 25th. The Patriots have been much better

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