LOS ANGELES: The election is almost upon us, but politics is not the scariest occurrence this week. Welcome to All Hallow’s Eve, where we encounter hobgoblins, ghosts, and things that go bump in the night. In the world of COVID, trick or treating will be canceled in many parts of America. However, we can still put on our best costumes.
This brings us to football. Orange and black are the colors of Halloween. The Browns wear orange and the Raiders wear black. They play each other this Sunday, although every NFL Sunday is Halloween for the Raider Nation. The Chargers this year brought back their revered powder blue uniforms from the old American Football League. Meanwhile, Frankenstein and Dracula have nothing on Patrick Mahomes. He is definitely a creature from another planet.
So grab your friends, dead and undead, and pop open a cold one. The election can wait until Tuesday. For now, the only fright we experience should be the beloved traditions of October 31. Then comes all Saints Day on November 1st, where darkness gives way to beauty…except for Jets fans.
With that, here is the NFL 2020 Week 8 Preview and Bettor’s Guide, with point spreads provided by DraftKings and all times Eastern.
Thursday, October 29, 2020, 8:20 p.m.
Atlanta Falcons at Carolina Panthers (-3) —
These teams have solid quarterbacks in Matt Ryan and Teddy Bridgewater, but the defenses are giving up far too many leads. Nobody blows games like the Atlanta Falcons. Panthers cover.
Sunday, November 1, 1:00 p.m.
Pittsburgh Steelers at Baltimore Ravens (-5.5) —
This is why we watch football. The Steelers are the lone unbeaten team in the NFL. The Ravens lost once. The Steelers have weapons on offense, and they outplayed previously unbeaten Tennessee last week. Baltimore has the defense. Ben Roethlisberger threw three interceptions last week. This could be another classic AFC North slobber-knocker. Ravens win but fail to cover.
Los Angeles Rams (-4) at Miami Dolphins —
Miami is not as awful as in past years, but the Rams have a pinball offense and Aaron Donald wrecking opposing offensive lines. The Rams are just superior. Rams cover.
New York Jets at Kansas City Chiefs (-20.5) —
The worst team in the league takes on perhaps the best team in the league. The spread is something resembling a college football spread. The Jets are witless, winless and worthless, but the Chiefs might get bored in the first quarter. A garbage touchdown could beat the spread. Chiefs win but fail to cover.
Minnesota Vikings at Green Bay Packers (-7) —
Aaron Rodgers can still sling it, and the Minnesota defense is a shell of what it was in past years. Rodgers has too many weapons. Packers cover.
Indianapolis Colts (-3) at Detroit Lions —
Philip Rivers has more weapons than Matthew Stafford and is better coached. In a close game, go with that. Colts cover.
Las Vegas Raiders at Cleveland Browns (-3.5) —
Baker Mayfield was spectacular last week, but Cincinnati is still in the bottom tier. Derek Carr has a potent offense that suffers when Henry Ruggs or Trent Brown is out injured. The Raiders defense is still porous, especially in the secondary. However, with Odell Beckham out for the season with a torn ACL, give the Raiders the edge in a shootout. Upset special, Raiders win outright.
Tennessee Titans (-4) at Cincinnati Bengals —
The Titans were knocked from the unbeaten ranks last week, but Cincinnati has no defense. They were torched last week by a Cleveland team that lost Odell Beckham early in the game. The Titans can hand the ball to Derrick Henry and let him grind the Bengals into dust. Titans cover.
New England Patriots at Buffalo Bills (-4) —
The Patriots are 2-4 and the Bills are 5-2. You read that correctly. The Patriots 20-year reign atop the AFC East may finally be coming to an end. This is the game that can finally end the Patriots dynasty. Every ounce of logic says to favor the Bills. The wild card is the Evil Hoodie Bill Belichick. Put logic aside and assume he has another trick up his sleeve. Upset special, Patriots win outright.
Sunday, November 1, 4:00 p.m.
Los Angeles Chargers (-1) at Denver Broncos —
Justin Herbert is for real, but Vic Fangio’s defense is fighting hard. The Chargers find ways to lose games. In the cold weather, trust Denver’s defense. Upset special, Broncos win outright.
San Francisco 49ers at Seattle Seahawks (-3.5) —
The Seahawks finally lost their first game, but they were winning the entire game until the final play. The 49ers are up and down, and they face an angry Seattle team. Russell Wilson is still throwing touchdowns at a breakdown pace. Seahawks cover.
New Orleans Saints (-4) at Chicago Bears —
Drew Brees has a balanced offense. The Bears have a solid defense and no offense. Chicago’s defense could frustrate Brees early on, but containing him the whole game is a lot to ask. Saints win but fail to cover.
Sunday, November 1, 8:00 p.m.
Dallas Cowboys at Philadelphia Eagles (-7.5) —
The NFC Least is awful. The Cowboys might be down to their third string quarterback. Carson Wentz has to play better, and until that happens the spread is too high to trust him. Ezekiel Elliott will atone for his previous fumbles. As badly as the Cowboys are playing, they gear up for the Eagles. Upset special, Cowboys win outright.
Monday, November 2, 8:20 p.m.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-10) at New York Giants —
The Buccaneers are clicking on all cylinders. The Giants are one failed two-point conversion away from being winless. Tom Brady throws touchdowns. Daniel Jones commits fumbles. The spread is high, but the Giants are talentless.