We’re all set to get going with the Week 8 odds for NFL this week at Bang the Book, as there are a plethora of games that we are going to be focusing in on that are going to have some huge impacts on the entire season.
Injuries are a big part of the game in the NFL, and unfortunately, a heck of a lot of teams are going to have massive problems going forward because of the issues that they had in Week 7.
The team that comes to mind right away is the St. Louis Rams. QB Sam Bradford’s season is over with, as he tore his ACL last week against the Carolina Panthers. Could the timing possibly be any worse for QB Kellen Clemens to be forced into action? Clemens and his Rams are taking on the Seattle Seahawks in an NFC West showdown. Two weeks ago, St. Louis probably would have been a six-point underdog or so. However, this week, the team has opened up at +11, making it one of the five double-digit underdogs in this shortened week with only 13 games on the docket and six teams on bye.
We hadn’t seen a double-digit road favorite all season long until this week, and now, we have three of them. The Seahawks are playing the Monday Night Football duel as double-digit favorites, but the Sunday Night Football game also pits a team favored by 10 on the road. The Green Bay Packers are giving 10 to the Minnesota Vikings at the Metrodome, and it’s tough to say that that line isn’t warranted. The Vikes were just beaten by the previously winless New York Giants, and that loss was one of the worst that we have seen a team take this year. QB Josh Freeman has taken over as the starter for Minnesota, after going 20-of-53 last week against a bad New York secondary, it’s a wonder just how badly Freeman is going to play against Green Bay. Remember that the Packers don’t have WR Randall Cobb or TE Jermichael Finley in this one, and WR James Jones sat out last week as well. The options for QB Aaron Rodgers are really starting to get limited, especially knowing that WR Greg Jennings is now playing on the other side of this rivalry game.
However, the biggest of the big favorites is another road team, and it’s really tough to argue with it. The Jacksonville Jaguars are the first team in three decades to lose their first seven games by double digits, and they are once again double-digit underdogs, this time at home against the San Francisco 49ers. The Niners have been rolling right through teams of late, posting three straight wins and covers. This is a massive 16.5-point spread that we are looking at, and it is tough to justify giving that many on the road in a game that starts at 10:00 a.m. local time on the West Coast for the 49ers. The implied line if this game was played at Candlestick Park would be San Fran -23 or so, and we’ve already seen Jacksonville pick up its only cover of the season against a number of that magnitude against the Denver Broncos earlier this year.
The double-digit dogs don’t stop there, though. The Washington Redskins are going to be stuck going on the road to Mile High to take on that Denver team that just suffered its first loss of the season last week at the hands of the Indianapolis Colts. QB Peyton Manning has to be licking his chops about going against a secondary that allowed over 40 points to hit the board with QB Josh McCown playing half of a game last week. However, we saw QB Robert Griffin III put up his best game of the season last week as well, and if he can play just as well this week on the road, Washington at least has a shot of sticking in front of the 13-point spread. The fifth of the double-digit doggies is the Buffalo Bills, who will forced to start QB Thad Lewis for a third straight game. Lewis is 1-1 SU and 2-0 ATS thus far in his time in Buffalo, but this is a big challenge at +12 on the road against the New Orleans Saints, who are coming off of their bye and have covered five in a row in that situation.
Fortunately, one of the teams that has a massive quarterback issue right now is on bye. The Chicago Bears will be without QB Jay Cutler for the next month after he hurt his groin. The other team that lost its starting quarterback, the Philadelphia Eagles are expecting to at least have the option of either using QB Nick Foles (concussion) or QB Michael Vick (hamstring) this week against the New York Giants. One of these two had better play. If not, it’ll be up to QB Matt Barkley to try to beat the G-Men, who have to think that this game at +5.5 is winnable in the City of Brotherly Love, especially after seeing what this offense can do just a few weeks ago.
One team that has a big question mark to fill is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Forget about the fact that the quarterback situation in Tampa Bay is grim at best. The fact of the matter is that most of the team’s offense was probably knocked out for the season last week when RB Doug Martin took a shot to the arm and tore his labrum. Now, the Bucs have to play against a surging Carolina Panthers team on Thursday Night Football. The Panthers have won and covered back to back games, scoring at least 30 in each of those outings. Carolina is giving six on the road, and that’s at least mildly interesting after watching Tampa Bay win both of the games last season by exactly six points.
The Detroit Lions are giving three at home against the NFC East leading Dallas Cowboys, while the last undefeated team in the game, the Kansas City Chiefs are likely to stay that way. They are -7.5 at home against the Cleveland Browns in a line that really suggests to us that the oddsmakers still aren’t buying that this is one of the best teams in the NFL. The Arizona Cardinals are favored for the first time this season, as they are giving 2.5 to the Atlanta Falcons. That’s the same point spread that the Pittsburgh Steelers are favored by over the Oakland Raiders at the Black Hole.
The Cincinnati Bengals are still coasting atop the AFC North, and they are going to have a great shot to maintain or perhaps extend that lead on Sunday when they take on the New York Jets. The Jets are coming off of their emotional win against New England and are due for a total letdown. The Bengals have won back to back road games, and they are -6.5 to claim this one as well. As far as those Patriots are concerned, they’re giving a TD to the Miami Dolphins at home in a game that could shift the balance of power in the division should the Pats lose it. New England is already 0-4 ATS this year in AFC East games.
The two lowest ‘totals’ of the week are both 39.5. We haven’t seen a game lined at less than 39 in quite some time, and this week is no exception. The Thursday nighter in the NFC South between Tampa Bay and Carolina features just a 39.5, while the Browns and Chiefs have the same number to beat. On the flip side of things, the Giants and Eagles have a 53 on the board, but the highest number of the week is not surprisingly the duel between Manning and RG3, which is set at 57.5.
is a staff writer living in the Orlando area. He has covered NFL, MLB, college football, CFL, AFL, NBA, college basketball, NASCAR, golf, tennis, and the NHL for a number of various outlets in his career, and he has been published by a number of different media outlets, including the Orlando Sentinel and the Wall Street Journal.