We got back to our winning ways last week, thanks to the Vikings’ improbable win over the 49ers on Monday night. The themes this week are divisional dogs, all of whom are looking for revenge, and beware the look-ahead spot for three large favorites.
Here are my three Week 8 puppies:
Commanders +7 vs. Eagles
These teams met just four weeks ago in Philly, with the heavily favored Eagles escaping with an OT win. I wonder if Ron Rivera wished he would have lived up to his Riverboat Ron nickname and gone for two and a win in regulation if he could do it all over again.
Washington returns home for the rematch after an uninspiring effort against the Giants that should have gotten everyone’s attention. Rivera’s seat is getting warmer, and Sam Howell’s spot at the table is getting less assured each week. But I think the Commanders battle for 60 minutes in this one, knowing they were this close to springing the upset in the first meeting.
Philly’s defense is coming off an impressive performance, shutting down the high-flying Dolphins. But they struggled to slow down Howell a few weeks ago. Washington’s defense also appears to be on the uptick, and they get a somewhat gimpy Jalen Hurts in this matchup.
Divisional home dogs are hitting at a 60% clip this season. I think Washington keeps it within one score, especially since the Eagles may be looking ahead to their game against the hated Cowboys next week.
Broncos +7 vs. Chiefs
Here’s another divisional rematch. Denver showed signs of life in the first meeting, its much-maligned defense holding the Chiefs to only 19 points at Arrowhead. Russell Wilson and the offense weren’t able to do anything, but they come into this one with a bit of a swagger after finally winning a home game last week.
They’ve moved on from their high-priced pass rushers, and the youth movement appears to be paying off. Of course, this is a huge step up in class, and the Broncos have lost something like 18 straight games to the Chiefs. I bet against Mahomes and Co. last week, and it bit me, but history tells us KC is not very good ATS when they’re laying this many points.
The look-ahead factor may also be in play here, with a trip overseas to play the Dolphins and then the Super Bowl rematch with the Eagles coming up in the next two weeks. Mahomes’ spotless record on the road in the division is not in jeopardy, but the Broncos will make them sweat.
Patriots +9½ at Dolphins
I’m aware that the Dolphins are coming off a big, high-profile loss and seem to be able to crush the bad teams and lose to good teams. But I think the Patriots ride the momentum of last week’s shocking win and stay competitive in this Week 2 rematch.
I will always trust Bill Belichick to make adjustments and craft a game plan against a team he’s already seen. However, he’s yet to figure out Tua, going 0-5 against him. Lucky for him, Tua may not get them at full strength: Tyreek Hill, Jaylen Waddle and Raheem Mostert are all nicked up, questionable and unlikely to be 100%.
I don’t see Miami scoring 30 points, so Mac Jones won’t need to put even 20 points on the board to cover this number. He looked much more confident last week, and he may not have to deal with Jevon Holland, who’s still in the concussion protocol.
This has the feel of the Week 2 24-17 score and one more time on the look ahead angle. As I mentioned earlier, Miami is headed to Germany for a high-profile game against Mahomes and the Chiefs next week. The Pats may not have their complete and undivided attention.
Last Week: 2-1