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Early NFL Week 8 Lines and Predicted Movement (2021)

by October 27, 2021
Los Angeles Rams

Though there’s technically no true halfway point in the NFL season anymore–a side effect of the 17-game schedule–we’ll see many of the league’s clubs play their eighth game this week. That’s quite a bit of data, a quality sample size to peruse when determining whether Vegas is hitting the mark with their early lines each week.

Let’s get into the weeds on Week 8. This week’s lines come courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook.

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Thursday, October 28 — 8:20 p.m. EDT

Arizona Cardinals (-6.5) at Green Bay Packers
O/U 50.5

Predicted movement: For the most part, this NFL season has been spared from many significant coronavirus issues–until now. COVID protocols are wreaking havoc on Thursday Night Football in Week 8. Green Bay wide receiver Davante Adams tested positive, and despite his status as a vaccinate player, the short week will likely force him out of the contest this week. Fellow WR Allen Lazard also landed on the COVID list, but it’s Adams’ projected absence that has pushed this spread more heavily in favor of the road team since the news of his positive test. With the undefeated Cardinals set to take on a group of undermanned opponents, it’s conceivable that the spread could tick up even a little farther in favor of Arizona before kickoff.

Sunday, October 31 — 1:00 p.m. EDT

Cincinnati Bengals (-10.5) at New York Jets
O/U 43

Predicted movement: A human being named Mike White attempted 32 passes for the Jets last week after starting quarterback Zach Wilson exited the game due to injury. Wilson suffered a PCL sprain, which is expected to sideline him for two to four weeks. That news prompted the Jets to scramble and trade for veteran Joe Flacco ahead of this Week 8 tilt with the upstart Bengals. Flacco’s familiarity with the New York offensive system after spending last season with the team could make him viable for a start despite the short notice.

Whether it’s White or Flacco under center this Sunday, the Jets are expected to struggle against first-place Cincinnati. After giving up 54 points to the Patriots last week, New York will have a tough time slowing down the Joe Burrow to Ja’Marr Chase connection. So even though the Jets get this game at home, the spread could keep climbing toward two touchdowns given the unfortunate circumstances of their QB situation.

Miami Dolphins at Buffalo Bills (-14)
O/U 49

Predicted movement: Another week of swirling DeShaun Watson trade rumors have not yet done a thing to change reality for the Miami Dolphins: Tua Tagovailoa is still their starting quarterback, and this season is still shaping up like one to forget. The Dolphins have dropped six straight games heading into this weekend’s divisional battle in Buffalo–they should prepare to make it seven. The wounds from the Bills’ Week 6 loss to the Titans on MNF are still fresh following a bye week for Buffalo in Week 7. Against an inferior Miami opponent, Josh Allen and company are likely to pile it on to right the ship. With the spread already hitting two touchdowns in Buffalo’s favor, though, it seems unlikely to climb much farther.

Los Angeles Rams (-14) at Houston Texans
O/U 47.5

Predicted movement: Hey, it’s the other team involved in the DeShaun Watson frenzy! One thing’s for sure: whether he’s traded before the November 2 deadline or not, the embattled quarterback won’t suit up for Houston against the Rams this week. But, of course, that’s part of the reason for another massive point spread for this week’s slate. The Rams have entered their last two games as heavy favorites, but they didn’t quite live up to the billing in Week 7 against the Lions.

Perhaps taking to the road for the week provides the talented Los Angeles roster with that next level of focus required to dispose of inferior opponents properly; it worked in Week 6 when the Rams traveled to throttle the Giants. Of course, it’s tricky to determine which gargantuan spreads are likely to continue ballooning. Still, of the three double-digit margins we’ve covered this far, this is one I could see finding a bit more helium given the massive talent disparity between these two teams.

Tennessee Titans (-1) at Indianapolis Colts
O/U 50.5

Predicted movement: Two AFC South teams moving in the right direction will clash in Week 8 in a game with possible playoff implications. Though the Colts have won their last two games behind improved play by Carson Wentz, their 3-4 record on the season presents an uphill climb if they can’t come away with a win at home against their division’s leader this week. Stopping Derrick Henry should top Indy’s to-do list for this contest, but the Colts will have their motivated rusher in Jonathan Taylor.

The recent competency of both offenses has this total hovering above 50. Still, the Colts’ general tendency to dial it back with ball control could be in play with added emphasis given the presence of the King on the other side. Since you can’t slow down Henry, perhaps you can keep the ball away from his offense for as long as possible? Regarding the spread, the Titans feel like valid favorites for this game, even on the road. There’s probably not much room for much spread movement in either direction for that reason.

Philadelphia Eagles (-3.5) at Detroit Lions
O/U 48.5

Predicted movement: The Lions still haven’t won a game, but you’ll hear plenty of conversation about how Dan Campbell’s squad is playing hard and giving it their all. That may be true, but Detroit still isn’t exceptionally talented. Jared Goff has struggled. There’s only so much the defense can do to support an offense that hasn’t eclipsed 20 points since the season’s opening week. This week, however, could be an opportunity to make something special happen. The Lions will host the Eagles and their garbage-time specialist Jalen Hurts. This season’s typical trajectory of a Philly game has included three quarters of Hurts disappointing followed by a fourth-quarter charge that makes the final score look more presentable than the game itself was. If the Lions want to earn their first win, it will mean neutralizing Hurts for a full 60 minutes.

On paper, this match-up gives the impression that they may finally breakthrough. However, since Detroit is winless, nearly any opponent is probably a deserving favorite by a field goal or more. This line shouldn’t move in favor of the Eagles, though, for what very well could end up being a trap game in the Motor City.

San Francisco 49ers (-3.5) at Chicago Bears
O/U 39.5

Predicted movement: What do you get when a stoppable force meets a moveable option? This week’s toilet bowl between the Bears and 49ers. Rookie quarterback Justin Fields has had his share of growing pains for Chicago this season. That’s more than the 49ers can say for their rookie gunslinger, Trey Lance. But that’s only because head coach Kyle Shanahan wastes the talent of every player he trades up to acquire.

After another ugly performance by incumbent starter Jimmy Garopollo last week, Shanahan was incredibly enthusiastic about moving forward with Jimmy G, muttering “I would guess so” when asked whether the veteran QB would start again in Week 8. Instead of the battle of the rookies we deserve, we’ll probably get a chance for Shanahan to prop up Garopollo based on a win over another bad team and head coach. For as bad as the 49ers’ offense has been, the Bears’ attack has been worse. This spread is under 40 for a reason. It should stay that way, with San Francisco remaining as a comfortable favorite on the road.

Pittsburgh Steelers at Cleveland Browns (-3.5)
O/U 42

Predicted movement: This AFC North showdown is a spread you’ll want to keep an eye on throughout the week based on the practice reports out of Cleveland. Baker Mayfield is dealing with a series of gruesome-sounding injuries, but after missing last Thursday’s game to rest up a bit, he’s hopeful of returning to the lineup this week against Pittsburgh. It stands to reason that if Mayfield cannot play through the pain this week, the spread would begin to tilt more toward a pick’em. The total could quickly dip below 40 points depending on Baker’s status for Sunday, as these two defenses generally rise to the occasion for divisional games such as this one.

Carolina Panthers at Atlanta Falcons (-3)
O/U 45.5

Predicted movement: The Carolina Panthers need Christian McCaffrey back, whether they want to admit it or not. Sam Darnold hasn’t been the same quarterback without his chief check-down option to help move the chains. Carolina mustered just three points last week against the Giants. CMC’s continued presence on the IR doesn’t bode well for the offense moving into Week 8.

One potential saving grace for the Panthers: they get the Falcons defense this week! Atlanta has allowed 82 combined points to the Washington Football Team, Jets, and Dolphins over the previous three weeks. In addition, Atlanta’s offense has picked up the pace, too. That combination of factors could push the total into the upper-40s as this match-up approaches.

Sunday, October 31 — 4:05 p.m. EDT

New England Patriots at Los Angeles Chargers (-5.5)
O/U 49

Predicted movement: The offensive explosion for the Patriots came in Week 7. New England poured 54 points onto the Jets. But, of course, it’s always the Jets. Anyway, they’ll have a tougher time this week when traveling West to battle a well-rested Chargers squad. Los Angeles impressively thwarted the Chiefs before their bye week, so it’s pretty exclusively good vibes coming out of their camp heading into Week 8.

New England has struggled against the spread in road games in recent times. It just doesn’t seem plausible for the Patriots to keep up with the Justin Herbert-led attack out in L.A. Look for the Chargers to end up somewhere between six and seven-point favorites, with the total eventually pushing 50.

Jacksonville Jaguars at Seattle Seahawks (-3.5)
O/U 43

Predicted movement: The Sunday night contest between the Seahawks and Saints last week was one of the least appealing football games in recent memory. Geno Smith played a prominent role in that, and Pete Carroll’s yawn-inducing coaching plan was responsible for the rest. Look, I get it. Smith isn’t a very adept quarterback. But the constant compulsion to run the ball until it’s time to punt makes for a straight-up miserable football viewing experience, Seattle. Fortunately, it may not matter what the Seahawks try to do offensively this week–it’s likely going to work.

The Jaguars are coming off of their bye week, which followed a hard-fought London victory over the similarly lowly Dolphins. It was a glorious triumph for Urban Meyer’s previously scuffling squad. Still, it would be surprising to see the Seahawks falter similarly in the comforts of their home stadium against the Jags. As a result, Seattle’s favor may increase from its current standing at -3.5.

Sunday, October 31 — 4:25 p.m. EDT

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-5.5) at New Orleans Saints
O/U 49.5

Predicted movement: The Saints escaped Seattle with a 13-10 on Monday night. We’ve already disparaged the whole ordeal enough, but if you missed it… know it was terrible. Anyway, New Orleans heads home this weekend for an NFC South clash with Tom Brady and the Bucs. Brady’s gotten everything squared away, hooking up the fan to whom Mike Evans inadvertently gave his 600th career-touchdown ball. With that milestone in the rearview, he can focus on putting distance between the Bucs and the Saints in the division standings.

New Orleans has a solid defense, but it hasn’t been tested the way Brady is sure to try it this Sunday. Considering the Bucs’ traditional stifling defense is rounding back into form to join their high-octane offensive attack, this spread doesn’t seem substantial enough. Look for the Bucs to end up closer to a touchdown favorite than they currently stand ahead of Sunday.

Washington Football Team at Denver Broncos (-3)
O/U 43.5

Predicted movement: Off the top, it feels like 43.5 points might be a little high of a total for these two offenses. After all, Taylor Heinicke and Teddy Bridgewater don’t exactly combine to light up scoreboards. But after building its identity around strong defensive play in 2020, Washington’s defense has lapsed in a major way this season. WFT endured five straight weeks allowing 29 or more points before last week’s 24-10 loss to the Packers.

Though Bridgewater’s style is more game-manager than game-breaker, look for the one-two running back punch of Javonte Williams and Melvin Gordon to find green spaces to roam against a Washington front seven playing below its expectations to this point in the year. As a result, the Broncos should be favored by closer to five points than the -3 margin currently listed.

Sunday, October 31 — 8:25 p.m. EDT

Dallas Cowboys (-2.5) at Minnesota Vikings
O/U 55

Predicted movement: The 55-point over/under really leaps off the page for this Sunday Night match-up. Kirk Cousins has been rather up-and-down thus far this season for the Vikings, but he put together his most impressive start of the year before his team’s Week 7 bye. Cousins led the Vikings to a 34-28 overtime win, tossing for 373 yards and three touchdowns, no interceptions. He’ll need every bit of that energy to beat Trevon Diggs and an improved Dallas secondary consistently.

On the other side, the Cowboys boast one of the top offenses in the entire league. Moreover, the Vikings’ defense isn’t unique. That combination should theoretically result in an implied point total of 30 or more for Dallas this week; it’s currently hovering just below 30, which means either the total, the spread, or both should find more legs ahead of this marquee NFC contest. Because 55 already feels like a vast number, I’m looking for the Cowboys to get pushed to -3 or -3.5, more so than I would expect the total to jump any farther.

Monday, November 1 — 8:15 p.m. EDT

New York Giants at Kansas City Chiefs (-9.5)
O/U 51.5

Predicted movement: The Chiefs got brutally smacked around by the Titans last week. And Derrick Henry didn’t even rush for a touchdown–though he did throw for one. But, honestly, the underwhelming effort was more about the struggles of the KC offense than the team’s problems defensively. The latter was the expectation; the former is a new concern.

Despite that they’re due to square off against a Giants team riding high off its convincing win over the Panthers, the Chiefs have the necessary template to fix it this week. They’re playing at Arrowhead. They’re opposed by a lackluster offense, though Daniel Jones should be able to decently move the ball against KC since virtually everyone does. Nevertheless, this should be a bounceback win for the Chiefs.

The extent to which they control the game against a decidedly lesser opponent should be informed about how far the Chiefs still have to go to reclaim their stature among the league’s best teams. Last week’s alarming letdown could keep the Chiefs’ favoritism narrowly below double digits, but the total climbing more comfortably into low-to-mid 50s seems plausible.

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Brenden Schaeffer is a featured writer at BettingPros. For more from Brenden, check out his archive and follow him @bschaeffer12.

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