The Court’s Decision – 2021 Week 8 NFL Predictions – Seattle Hopes To End Losing Streak Against Jacksonville

Things looked good for the Seahawks in the first quarter after Geno Smith hit D.K. Metcalf for an 84-yard touchdown and an early 7-0 Seattle lead. Then the Hawks went ice cold. The result was a 13-10 loss to New Orleans and a 2-5 record. Seattle’s losing streak now sits at three games.

The last time the Seahawks were 2-5 dates back to 2011, the team’s previous season without a particular guy named Russell Wilson on the roster. It was also the last season during which the Hawks had lost three straight games. Wilson’s finger injury has kept him from playing the last two and a half games and Seattle is right back where it was B.R. – “Before Russell.” That 2011 team started 2-6 before finishing 7-9.

Fortunately for the Seahawks, their Week 8 opponent is a team that sits at 1-5 and has lost 20 of its last 21 games – the Jacksonville Jaguars. It’s Seattle’s most winnable game of those Wilson can’t suit up for.

Now for my Week 8 picks.

My season picks record: 8-5 last week, 68-39 overall

Jacksonville (1-5) at Seattle (2-5)

The Jaguars were on a bye in Week 7. Matthew Wright ended Jacksonville’s 20-game winning streak with a 53-yard field goal as time expired and the Jags flew out of London with a 23-20 win over Miami in Week 6. Trever Lawrence, this year’s No. 1 overall draft pick, threw for 319 yards and a touchdown to Marvin Jones Jr., who finished with 100 yards on seven catches. James Robinson netted 73 yards and a score on 17 carries. 

As mentioned above, the Seahawks lost to New Orleans, their third consecutive defeat. Metcalf only caught one more pass after his 84-yard jaunt to the end zone as he finished with 96 yards on two grabs. Geno Smith threw a mere 22 passes, completing 12 of them for 167 yards – more than half of which came on the TD pass to Metcalf. Alex Collins led the team in rushing with 35 yards on 16 carries. On the Hawks’ final drive, Smith was sacked on both second and third downs, forcing a fourth-and-28 situation from the Seattle 7-yard line. An incomplete pass gave possession to New Orleans with 1:13 left and the Seahawks had no way to stop the clock.

Jacksonville is just what a struggling Seattle team needs.

Pick: Seahawks 26, Jaguars 20

Green Bay (6-1) at Arizona (7-0) – Thursday

The Packers unsurprisingly beat Washington, 24-10. It’s Green Bay’s sixth straight win. Aaron Rodgers passed for 274 yards and three touchdowns. Davante Adams had six grabs for 76 yards and a score. Robert Tonyan and Allen Lazard each caught a TD pass as well. Tonyan had 63 yards on four catches while Lazard finished with 60 yards on five receptions. There’s a chance both Adams and Lazard miss this week’s game due to COVID-19 protocols.

The Cardinals apparently needed only three quarters to down Houston 31-5 and remain unbeaten. Arizona trailed 2-0 after the first quarter and the deficit swelled to 5-0 early in the second before the Cards decided to actually start playing. Zach Ertz made his Arizona debut in a big way, taking a Kyler Murray pass 47 yards into the end zone in the third quarter. Ertz finished with a co-team-high 66 yards on three catches. A.J. Green also had 66 yards on three grabs. Murray netted 261 yards, three TDs, and an interception through the air. The Cardinals’ defense held the Texans to 160 yards of total offense, including 42 yards on the ground.

Who knows if or when Arizona will lose its first game of the season. But I’m not thinking it’s this week against Green Bay, especially when missing two key receivers.

Pick: Cardinals 37, Packers 33

Carolina (3-4) at Atlanta (3-3)

Oh, the Panthers. Once 3-0, now 3-4 after they were trounced 25-3 by the Giants. Oddly enough, Carolina led 3-0 after one quarter thanks to Zane Gonzalez’s 45-yard field goal. D.J. Moore caught six balls for 73 of Sam Darnold’s 112 passing yards. Darnold was picked off once. The Panthers finished with 173 yards of total offense. 

Kyle Pitts is becoming a problem for NFL defenses. The rookie tight end racked up 163 yards on seven catches in the Falcons’ 30-28 win over Miami. Younghoe Koo nailed the game-winning 36-yard field goal as time expired. Matt Ryan passed for 336 yards, two scores, and a pick. Cordarrelle Patterson ran for 60 yards and a TD on 14 carries. 

Expect Atlanta to hand Carolina a fifth straight loss.

Pick: Falcons 27, Panthers 17

Miami (1-6) at Buffalo (4-2)

Tua Tagovailoa tossed four touchdowns in the Dolphins’ loss to Atlanta. Tagovailoa finished with 291 yards and was intercepted twice. Mike Gesicki had 85 yards and a score on seven catches. Rookie wideout Jaylen Waddle finished just behind Gesicki with 83 yards on seven grabs. 

The Bills were on a bye in Week 7. Josh Allen’s sneak attempt on fourth and less than a yard from the Tennessee 3-yard line with 22 seconds left in the game was stuffed by the Titans defense and Buffalo lost 34-31 in Week 6. Allen finished with 353 yards and three TDs through the air while being picked off once. Emmanuel Sanders had five catches for 91 yards.

Here’s a hot take – Buffalo is better than Miami. Oh, that’s not a hot take? Well, it’s just a fact then.

Pick: Bills 36, Dolphins 21

San Francisco (2-4) at Chicago (3-4)

Elijah Mitchell finished with 107 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries to lead the 49ers in their loss to Indianapolis. He found the end zone on a 14-yard run to cap San Francisco’s opening drive and give the Niners a 6-0 lead – Joey Slye missed the PAT. Deebo Samuel caught seven of his 11 targets for 100 yards and a TD. Jimmy Garoppolo finished with 181 yards, a touchdown, and a pair of interceptions through the air. 

Cairo Santos kicked a 28-yard field goal in the second quarter to get the Bears on the board, cutting their deficit to 21-3. Chicago wouldn’t score again en route to a 38-3 blowout loss to the Buccaneers. Khalil Herbert’s 100 yards on 18 carries was the lone bright spot for the Bears. Justin Fields accounted for all five of Chicago’s turnovers as he threw three interceptions and lost two fumbles. He finished with 184 yards passing.

Both teams were disappointing in their Week 7 showings, but San Francisco should rebound better than Chicago.

Pick: 49ers 25, Bears 17

Pittsburgh (3-3) at Cleveland (4-3)

The Steelers were on a bye in Week 7. Pittsburgh escaped with a 23-20 overtime win over Seattle in Week 6. T.J. Watt knocked the ball out of Geno Smith’s hand as he started taking off for a run and the Steelers recovered the live ball at the Seahawks’ 16-yard line. Chris Boswell kicked the game-clinching 37-yard field goal two plays later. Rookie running back Najee Harris ran for 81 yards on 24 totes while adding 46 yards and a 5-yard touchdown on six catches.

A third-string running back and a backup quarterback powered the Browns to a 17-14 win over Denver – a team with its own injury troubles (which we’ll touch on later). D’Ernest Johnson racked up 146 yards and a touchdown on 22 carries while filling in for the injured Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt. Case Keenum played in place of Baker Mayfield under center, passing for 199 yards and a score.

There’s a slight chance Mayfield and Chubb return, but assuming Cleveland takes a cautious approach, I don’t see Pittsburgh falling to Keenum.

Pick: Steelers 31, Browns 23

Philadelphia (2-5) at Detroit (0-7)

In roughly seven minutes of game time between the end of the first quarter and the beginning of the second, the Eagles let a 7-7 game turn into a 24-7 hole, ultimately losing 33-22 to Las Vegas. Jalen Hurts threw for 236 yards and a pair of touchdowns while running for 61 yards on 13 totes. Dallas Goedert netted 70 yards on three grabs. 

The Lions came up short in the matchup against their former quarterback, Matthew Stafford, falling 28-19 to the Rams. Jared Goff passed for 268 yards, a touchdown, and two interceptions against his former team. D’Andre Swift racked up 96 yards and Detroit’s lone touchdown on eight receptions. Swift added 48 yards on 13 carries. Kalif Raymond had a team-high 115 yards on six catches. 

Not sure why, but something tells me Detroit gets its first win of the season this week.

Pick: Lions 23, Eagles 20

Tennessee (5-2) at Indianapolis (3-4)

In an odd narrative, Derrick Henry finished with only 86 yards – his first game since week 1 with less than 100 rushing yards – and threw a touchdown pass as the Titans routed Kansas City 27-3. Tennessee led 27-0 at halftime and pulled its starters for much of the second half. A.J. Brown had easily his best game of the season, gaining 133 yards on eight catches, including a 24-yard TD. Ryan Tannehill completed 21 of his 27 pass attempts for 270 yards, a TD and was picked off once. MyCole Pruitt caught Henry’s 5-yard scoring lob.

Jonathan Taylor had 107 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries in the Colts’ win over San Francisco. Carson Wentz threw for 150 yards and a pair of scores – 105 of those yards and one of the TDs went to Michael Pittman Jr., who finished with four catches. Wentz also scored on a 1-yard run with a minute to play before halftime that gave Indianapolis a 13-12 lead. The Colts’ defense forced four turnovers (two interceptions, two fumble recoveries).

Indy has played much better over the last two weeks, but Tennessee looks like it could be class of the AFC right now.

Pick: Titans 33, Colts 20

Cincinnati (5-2) at New York Jets (1-5)

Are the Bengals a team to be feared? Cincinnati dismantled Baltimore 41-17 behind a career day from Ja’Marr Chase. The rookie wideout racked up 201 yards, including an 82-yard touchdown, on eight catches. Two of C.J. Uzomah’s three catches went for scores as the tight end finished with 91 yards. Joe Burrow threw for a career-high 416 yards, three TDs, and an interception.

The Jets were on the wrong end of a blowout in Week 7, losing 54-13 to New England. New York not only lost the game, but it also lost rookie quarterback Zach Wilson, who will miss the next two to four weeks with a sprained PCL. Mike White threw for 202 yards, a touchdown, and a pair of interceptions in relief of Wilson. Corey Davis scored the lone touchdown for the Jets and finished with 47 yards on four catches. 

Cincy should make easy work of New York this week.

Pick: Bengals 38, Jets 12

Los Angeles Rams (6-1) at Houston (1-6)

In a matchup of quarterbacks traded for one another over the offseason, it was the Matthew Stafford-led Rams that came away with the victory over Jared Goff’s Lions. Stafford showed his former team why it picked him No. 1 overall in 2009, throwing for 334 yards and three touchdowns. His favorite target was Cooper Kupp, who hauled in 10 catches for 156 yards and two scores. L.A.’s defense picked off its former QB twice but gave up 415 total yards. The Rams finished with 374 yards.

The Texans were routed by Arizona, 31-5. Houston gained a mere 160 yards in its sixth straight loss. Not too much happened in a positive sense for the Texans, but Jacob Martin’s sack of Kyler Murray in the end zone in the first quarter gave Houston a 2-0 lead. Ka’imi Fairbairn’s 53-yard field goal five seconds into the second quarter increased the lead to 5-0 before going scoreless the rest of the way. Jonathan Greenard came away with a pair of sacks, his second consecutive game with two QB takedowns. He’s registered at least one sack in all four games he’s played in so far this season and has six in all.

L.A. is really good, Houston is really bad.

Pick: Rams 39, Texans 13

New England (3-4) at Los Angeles Chargers (4-2)

Damien Harris led the charge with 106 yards and a pair of scoring runs in the Patriots’ 54-13 domination of the Jets. Mac Jones netted 307 yards and two touchdowns through the air. Brandon Bolden had six receptions for 79 yards and a TD. New England’s defense forced three turnovers (two interceptions, one fumble recovery).

The Chargers were on a bye in Week 7. Week 6 wasn’t kind to L.A., which was battered and beaten all game in its 34-6 loss in Baltimore. Justin Herbert was held to a season-low 195 yards on 22-of-39 passing. He threw a 1-yard TD to tight end Jared Cook in the second quarter and was intercepted once as well. Herbert also led the team in rushing… with 12 yards. Keenan Allen caught five passes for 50 yards.

I’m thinking L.A. rebounds nicely after its bye week and downs New England at home.

Pick: Chargers 31, Patriots 29

Tampa Bay (6-1) at New Orleans (4-2)

The Buccaneers throttled Chicago 38-3. Tom Brady threw for 211 yards and four touchdowns, including three scoring strikes to Mike Evans, who had 76 yards on six catches. Chris Godwin caught the fourth TD pass and totaled 111 yards on eight receptions. Leonard Fournette ran for 81 yards and a score on 15 carries. Tampa forced five turnovers (three interceptions, two fumble recoveries) and had four sacks, including two from Jason Pierre-Paul. 

Alvin Kamara’s 179 combined yards propelled the Saints to a 13-10 win in Seattle. Kamara did most of his damage in the receiving game, catching 10 passes for 128 yards and a 13-yard touchdown that gave New Orleans a 10-7 lead heading into halftime. Jameis Winston threw for 222 yards and the TD to Kamara. Kicker Brian Johnson was a perfect 2-for-2 on field goal attempts in his first-ever NFL game. He hit the 33-yarder that proved to be the deciding factor with1:56 left to play. He also connected on his only PAT.

While both are coming off wins, Tampa Bay is the superior team.

Pick: Buccaneers 30, Saints 16

Washington (2-5) at Denver (3-4)

Terry McLaurin’s 40-yard touchdown catch knotted things up at 7-7 at the end of the first quarter, but the Football Team couldn’t keep up with Green Bay, falling 24-10. McLaurin finished with 122 yards on seven catches. Taylor Heinicke threw for 268 yards and the McLaurin TD while being intercepted once. Heinicke also led the team on the ground with 95 yards on 10 carries.

The injury-riddled Broncos lost to the injury-riddled Browns. It was Denver’s fourth straight loss after starting the season 3-0. Teddy Bridgewater had 187 yards, two touchdowns, and an interception on 23-of-33 passing. Courtland Sutton was the game’s top receiver as he netted 68 yards on five grabs. The Broncos lead the league in linebackers lost due to injury with seven.

Denver’s woeful offensive line and predictable play calling will feed Washington’s defense.

Pick: WFT 24, Broncos 19

Dallas (5-1) at Minnesota (3-3)

The Cowboys were on a bye in Week 7. Dak Prescott threw for 445 yards, three touchdowns, and an interception to lead Dallas to a 35-29 overtime win over New England in Week 6. Ceedee Lamb hauled in nine catches for 149 yards and a pair of TDs. Rookie cornerback Trevon Diggs registered a 42-yard pick-six to continue his torrid interception pace – he now has one in each of the Cowboys’ six games and has seven picks in all, which tied him with Rod Woodson for the most interceptions in a team’s first six games to start a season.

The Vikings were also on a bye in Week 7. Minnesota won in overtime as well, downing Carolina 34-28 on the road. Kirk Cousins’ 27-yard scoring strike to K.J. Osborn sealed the win for the Vikes. Cousins totaled 373 yards and three TDs through the air. Dalvin Cook took 29 carries for 140 yards and a score. Adam Thielen racked up 126 yards on 11 grabs, including a 5-yard touchdown in the third quarter.

This game screams upset potential… but I’m not falling for it.

Pick: Cowboys 34, Vikings 31

New York Giants (2-5) at Kansas City (3-4) – Monday

The Giants tasted victory for the first time since Week 4 with their 25-3 stomping of Carolina. Down 3-0 early in the second quarter, a penalty enforced in the end zone resulted in a safety against the Panthers and put New York on the board, but the Giants still trailed 3-2. Graham Gano’s 49-yard field goal two minutes later gave New York its first lead at 5-3 and they never looked back. Devontae Booker’s 19-yard scoring run late in the fourth capped the Giants’ scoring. Booker finished with 51 yards on 14 carries. New York’s defense racked up six sacks, including 2.5 from Azeez Ojulari.

In one of the biggest surprises of Week 7, the Chiefs were dominated by Tennessee, 27-3. Perhaps more concerning for Kansas City was Patrick Mahomes taking a knee to the head during the blowout loss, which forced him to leave the game, and is questionable to play in Week 8. Mahomes had 206 yards and an interception before the injury forced him out. He also led KC with 35 rushing yards.

Saquon Barkley might be out, Mahomes might be out. Even if it’s backup quarterback Chad Henne at the helm, Kansas City has too much talent for New York to overcome.

Pick: Chiefs 24, Giants 20

Teams on bye: Baltimore Ravens (5-2), Las Vegas Raiders (5-2)