I’m in a NFL contest where you need to submit five ATS picks each week. Through seven weeks, those picks are 20-15. After a solid start finishing at least 3-2 each week, these picks have finished 4-6 in the last two weeks. Picking a single winner can be tough, much less picking five but it’s a good challenge. It’s worth noting that the lines are set spreads released each Wednesday and selections are submitted Friday night.
Here are the five ATS picks I like for Week 8 in the NFL.
As a Texas alum, I am very familiar with Colts QB Sam Ehlinger. The former Texas quarterback is making his NFL starting debut after Matt Ryan was benched. If there is one thing I remember about Sammy E, it’s that he was one of the most sacked quarterbacks in college history. Ehlinger was sacked 93 total times during his college career, finishing inside the top 30 for most sacks each season. In his first start, Ehlinger gets to face a Washington defense that is top 10 in sacks with DT Jonathan Allen back in the lineup after missing last week’s contest against Green Bay. It’s not just that the Colts have a bad offensive line for QB protection, but the run blocking is sub-par, as well. Colts RB Jonathan Taylor has only 386 rushing yards this season and only one rushing score. The Commanders' pass rush and defense gets the win this week.
Giants +3 at Seahawks
It’s hard to back the Giants because statistically, this team shouldn’t be winning games, much less be 6-1. Say what you want about the Giants' lack of playmakers but give credit where it’s due, and that’s with head coach Brian Daboll. The halftime adjustments that are being made are clutch. New York is scoring on 50% of second-half possessions, good for second best in the league. The one data point that has me believing in this team is that in Week 6, the rush-heavy Giants were only able to produce 83 total rushing yards at 2.7 yards per carry … and still won 24-20. Call it luck. I call it good coaching.
Cardinals +3.5 at Vikings
This year at home, the Vikings have won three games by 7 points or less, including a 3-point win over the Saints. Cardinals QB Kyler Murray now has his best weapon back in the mix with DeAndre Hopkins. In the one-game sample size with Hopkins in play, Murray threw 69% completion for 7 yards per pass, his best average of the season. Hopkins had over 100 receiving yards for a 10-yard average. Minnesota’s defense has faced a mediocre Aaron Rodgers, Jared Goff, Andy Dalton, Justin Fields, Teddy Bridgewater and Skylar Thompson. The Vikings have faced these sub-par quarterbacks and offenses and yet are still allowing 7.3 yards per passing play, 30th in the league. Now, Minnesota gets the Murray/Hopkins connection.
Dolphins -3.5 at Lions
This is the Dolphins wide receivers against a terrible Lions defense. Detroit is second-worst in opponents converting on third downs, has the second-highest rate of drives to reach the red zone or score before reaching the red zone and allows the highest rate of first or second down plays to result in a first down or touchdown. This will be the best passing offense the Lions have faced this season. The Lions offense was producing but has hit a road bump as of late. After scoring a touchdown in 18 of 48 drives in the first four weeks, Detroit has failed to score a touchdown in back-to-back games.
Patriots -2.5 at Jets
Jets QB Zach Wilson no longer has RB Breece Hall to lead the offense. The Jets are averaging 24 yards per drive with Wilson, 31st in the league. Despite Monday’s loss to the Bears, the Patriots produced four sacks against Chicago QB Justin Fields. The New England pass rush is top 10 in the league and will feast on Wilson. When under pressure, Wilson has a 16% completion for 54 total yards (1.7 yards per pass attempt) and two interceptions. Give me the Patriots defense against Wilson every time.