Friday, August 17, 2018
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

NFL Week 8 preview capsules

Redskins vs. Bengals at London, 9:30 a.m.

Line/OU: Bengals by 3; 49½

Bengals face former offensive coordinator for second straight game. Washington coach Jay Gruden developed Andy Dalton in Cincinnati from 2011-13. Bengals beat Hue Jackson's Browns 31-17 last Sunday. Redskins have only six three-and-out series all season, best in NFL. Dalton ranks fourth in NFL with 2,065 yards passing, but he has been sacked 22 times, second most in NFL. A.J. Green leads NFL with 50 catches and is second to Atlanta's Julio Jones with 775 yards.

Patriots at Bills, 1

Line/OU: Patriots by 6; 47

The Patriots and Bills are fairly similar in scoring, points allowed, total offense and total defense. But those figures include the four games New England played without Tom Brady. The Patriots have hit a different gear since their star QB returned from a suspension. With Brady this season, the Patriots have averaged 31.7 points a game, and he has looked better than ever, completing 75 percent to a diverse group of receivers. Buffalo relies on its running game and defense to win games, with Tyrod Taylor throwing more than 250 passing yards just once this season. It is a formula that works most weeks but is not enough to keep up with Pats' offense.

Cardinals at Panthers, 1

Line/OU: Panthers by 3; 47½

In a stark contrast from their last meeting, in last season's NFC Championship Game, this matchup has relatively low stakes. Most notable is that the 1-5 team is favored, a shocker even if it is a home game. That says a lot about how inconsistent Arizona has been and how fluky people consider Carolina's awful start to be. Arizona's defense is one of the best, and will have quite a task in trying to slow Cam Newton and the Carolina offense. Whichever team wins, it is just a single step on the long road to fixing a bad season. The losing team, however, may need to start looking forward to the offseason.

Chiefs at Colts, 1

Line/OU: Chiefs by 3; 50½

Frank Gore, 33, is in the twilight of his career, but the Colts running back is still productive and again in the top 10 in the NFL in rushing yards with 495. The former University of Miami star has passed Thurman Thomas, Franco Harris, Marcus Allen, Edgerrin James, Marshall Faulk and Jim Brown on his way to being ninth on the career rushing list. Next up is Tony Dorsett, and while Gore probably cannot get the 204 yards he needs to catch him this week, he can still play a big part in a Colts upset.

Lions at Texans, 1

Line/OU: Texans by 1½; 46

Matthew Stafford has been getting a great deal of praise for leading the Lions to three consecutive wins, but each was a nail-biter in which he received plenty of help from the opposing team falling apart. Stafford deserves credit for taking advantage, and if he can get more support from the running game, which should not be a problem against Houston, he might be able to get a road win without quite as much drama.

Jets at Browns, 1

Line/OU: Jets by 3; 44½

It's expected to be chilly and rainy, the Browns have not won this season, and with Cody Kessler working his way back from a concussion, Cleveland is likely to start either Josh McCown or Kevin Hogan at QB. Add all of that to Cleveland fans being distracted by preparation for Game 5 of the World Series and this could be one of the least-watched NFL games in memory.

Chargers at Broncos, 4

Line/OU: Broncos by 4; 44

Denver remembered how to run the ball last week: C.J. Anderson helped lead the way in an easy win over Houston. Unfortunately, Anderson also sustained a knee injury that forced the team to put him on injured reserve and will keep him out for several weeks, which leaves rookie Devontae Booker to carry the load. Provided Denver's defense plays better than it did in a loss to San Diego two weeks ago, the drop-off from Anderson to Booker should not affect the outcome.

Packers at Falcons, 4:25

Line/OU: Falcons by 3; 52½

Two teams with good QBs, questionable running games and bad secondaries could result in a wild game of throwing the ball up and seeing what happens. In the past, that might have favored the Packers' Aaron Rodgers, but other than in last week's easy win over the Bears, he has not looked nearly as polished this season as the Falcons' Matt Ryan, who is leading the NFL with 2,348 passing yards and has averaged an incredible 9.6 yards an attempt. Green Bay has been using WR Ty Montgomery in various roles with depleted backfield situation.

Seahawks at Saints, 1

Line/OU: Seahawks by 2; 48

Seattle seemed to take a major step back last week, with the team's offense looking absolutely incompetent in a 6-6 tie with Arizona. The New Orleans defense is a lot easier to score on than the Cardinals', but with his style of play seemingly affected by various issues this season, QB Russell Wilson will have to find a way to rekindle his previous success if he wants to outscore Drew Brees.

Eagles at Cowboys, 8:30

Line/OU: Cowboys by 5; 43

Philly has won three straight at Dallas, tied with Denver for longest current streak. QBs Carson Wentz (Eagles) and Dak Prescott (Cowboys) face each other after trading rookie record for pass attempts without INT to start career. Prescott eventually set overall record at 176. Wentz leads rookies with eight passing TDs; Prescott has passer rating of at least 100 in five straight games, all wins. Cowboys' Ezekiel Elliott, coming off career-high 157 yards rushing against Green Bay, is first rookie with four straight games of at least 130 yards. Cowboys are second in NFL with eight rushes of at least 20 yards. Eagles have allowed six, among worst in league.

Vikings at Bears, 8:30 Monday

Line/OU: Vikings by 4½; 41

Vikings tied for league lead with average of 14 points allowed, fewest through six games for this franchise since 1988. Vikings lead NFL in turnover margin (plus-11) and turnovers forced (16). With Thursday night game last week and bye coming up, this is Chicago's lone game in 23-day span. Bears are averaging league-low 15.9 points. With QB Brian Hoyer breaking left arm against Green Bay, Jay Cutler is back after missing past five games because of sprained right thumb. Expect more from WR Alshon Jeffery with Cutler more likely to go deep than Hoyer.

Times wires

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