Week 8 NFL: Late Afternoon Games!
The late afternoon games feature a couple divisional showdowns with playoff implications on the line. I expect all 3 of these games to be close, so let's see how they matchup and who I think will cover the spread.
Late Afternoon Games
Denver Broncos (+160) vs. Los Angelas Chargers (-180)... Spread: Chargers (-3.5)
We have a battle between two 2-4 teams in the AFC west on Sunday afternoon with one of these squads looking to salvage their season. The Broncos have been decimated with injuries on both sides of the ball this year with pto-bowler LB Von Miller out for the season, and their top WR on offense, Courtland Sutton, also out for the year. Luckily for the Broncos, their starting QB Drew Lock will be back for his third straight game after missing time due to injury. In a 43-16 landslide loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, Lock managed to throw for 254 yards with 2 INT's, and he hasn't thrown a TD yet since his return from injury. He will need to to get WR Jerry Jeudy going this week because he's been quiet the past 2 games with only 52 total receiving yards. Also, this will be a 'revenge game' for RB Melvin Gordon as he's facing his former team after they wouldn't cough up the money to re-sign him. Look for him to play his heart out in this one and make an impact early and often.
The Chargers are coming off a huge 39-29 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars in week 7 and are looking keep that momentum going against their division rival. QB Justin Herbert is finding his rhythm in the NFL as he's coming off his best performance yet. In week 7, Herbert threw for 347 yards and 3 TD's while also rushing for 66 yards and 1 TD. However, we have to keep in mind that they were playing against the Jaguars, so we shouldn't let recency bias dictate how we feel about this Chargers team. They are only 2-4 on the season with their other victory coming over the Bengals in week 1. But, the Chargers still have a lot of playmakers on defense with DE's Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram causing havoc on opposing QB's, and with CB Casey Heyward in the secondary. With that being said, the line for this game is set at -3.5 for the Chargers and I don't trust them in this spot on the road in Denver. The Broncos have only lost to good teams that includes the Pittsburgh Steelers, Tennessee Titans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and Kansas City Chiefs. Il take the Broncos at home to cover the +3.5 spread in this game with big performances from their RB's Melvin Gordon and Philip Lindsay.
Prediction: Broncos +3.5 (-115)
Chicago Bears (+175) vs. New Orleans Saints (-210)... Spread: Saints (-4)
The Bears entered last week with a 5-1 record and I was right to fade them against the Los Angelas Rams as they lost 24-10. If it weren't for miracle 4th quarter comebacks against the Atlanta Falcons and the Detroit Lions, the Bears would be below .500 with a 3-4 record. At the QB position, the Bears have alternated between Mitch Trubisky and Nick Foles this season and Foles is still the starting QB... for now. Foles has been 'lackluster' in relief of Trubisky and is coming off a poor 261 passing yard with 2 INT's performance against the Los Angelas Rams in week 7. We may be one more poor performance and loss away from seeing Trubisky back in the starting position, so this is a huge game for Foles. Also, after a concussion scare this week, the Bears are relieved to have WR Allen Robinson in the lineup as he's been their best weapon on offense this season. However, the Bears can only rely on their defense for so long before it starts going downhill for them, so their offense needs to step up this week.. and beyond.
For the Saints, what in the world is going on with WR Micheal Thomas? He's expected to be out once again in this game due to injury, and the saga continues for him and the Saints in 2020. They will also be without WR's Marquez Callaway and Emmanuel Sanders this week. Without these threats on the outside, the Saints are really struggling to find consistency in the pass game with WR Tre'Quan Smith and TE Jared Cook getting the bulk of the snaps and work. In week 7, the Saints snuck by the Carolina Panthers with a 27-24 win where they were led by RB Alvin Kamara once again. He had 148 yards from scrimmage and is carrying this team on offense so far in 2020. They will need other people to step up this week because we know QB Drew Brees is awful when he's on the road and not in the dome. With that being said, there's no way I can trust this Saints team on the road, even against this Bears team that isn't that good. The Bears d is still elite and I think they will keep it close, and maybe even pull off the upset. Let's take the Bears at +4 in this one in an ugly game.
Prediction: Bears +4 (-110)
Seattle Seahawks (-150) vs. San Fransisco 49ers (+130)... Spread: Seahawks (-3)
This is the marquee matchup for the late afternoon games on Sunday. It's an NFC West showdown that will have major implications in the toughest division in football with the Arizona Cardinals and Los Angelas Rams in the division as well. In week 7, the Seahawks has their undefeated record snapped in a heartbreaking 37-34 overtime loss to the Arizona Cardinals. I have no doubt that last week's ending has left a bitter taste in the mouths of Seahawks players and they will be itching to get back onto the field. The Seahawks defense is still the major downfall of this team as they allow opposing offenses to have their way with them. Injuries have caused this defense to crumble in the past couple weeks, but they may get some much needed help back as S Jamal Adams is 'questionable' to return from injury.
Also, RB Chris Carson will be a game time decision in this matchup and his availability will be vital to the Seahawks offense because he's the workhorse back and 'Mr Reliable.' The Seahawks will rely heavily on QB Russel Wilson and their offense in this game to pick up the win and avoid going on a 2 game skid.
After getting blown out by the Dolphins 43-17, the 49ers are riding a 2 game win streak with wins against the Los Angelas Rams and the New England Patriots. In week 7, they had their most dominating performance yet with a 33-6 win over the Patriots. Despite winning in a blowout, QB Jimmy Garoppolo managed to throw 2 INT's and 0 TD's with 277 passing yards. He needs to turn his game around quick to give the 49ers a chance for a playoff spot. The 49ers were led by RB Jeffrey Wilson who had 3 TD's and 112 yards on the ground. But, the RB position has been a revolving door for the 49ers so far this year as Wilson was forced to go the the IR alongside Raheem Mostert. This leaves 2 healthy RB's, JaMychal Hasty and Jerick McKinnon, who are in line for increased work in week 8 with Tevin Coleman just returning from an injury. Like the Seahawks, the 49ers have had major injures on the defensive side of the ball and have struggled to keep offenses off the scoreboard. The Seahawks are favoured -3 in this game and I'm going to take them to cover at home. They had a crushing defeat last week and I can't see them coming out flat in this game against a 49ers team that is really inconsistent. Hammer the Seahawks in this divisional matchup.
Prediction: Seahawks -3 (-110)