You may have heard this week, but Aaron Rodgers is a double-digit underdog for the first time in his NFL career.
The next question is whether 11.5 points is enough for the Green Bay Packers.
The Packers started the week as a 10.5-point underdog against the Buffalo Bills, and that line went up. With Rodgers, the Packers have never been more than an 8.5-point underdog. Depending on the closing line, that record might increase by three points.
There's not much mystery to the line. The Bills are the best team in the NFL, and the Packers are a disappointing 3-4. The Packers are coming off a loss to the Washington Commanders in which Rodgers and the offense struggled. The Bills aren't just a fantastic team with a few blowout wins already, they're rested. Buffalo had its bye last week. Nobody is surprised to see the Bills as a favorite. Seeing them laying double digits was a little surprising through.
After last week's loss, Rodgers said everyone writing off the Packers "might be the best thing for us." Maybe he's right. The "nobody believes in us" story is one as old as organized sports, and through the years Rodgers has dipped into that well with success. Calling out teammates for making too many mistakes might light a fire. If nothing else we should see the best effort the Packers have on Sunday night.
On the other side it's going to be scary to fade Buffalo all season. A week ago the Bills had the No. 1 ranked offense and No. 1 ranked defense in Football Outsiders' DVOA (the Chiefs took the top spot on offense after a great Week 7). They can put up a blowout win in any game they play.
Still, the line seems too high. When the lines were released on each game before the season, the Packers were +4. The Bills are about what we expected. They're really good and we knew that coming into the season. Have the Packers changed so much that it's worth a 7.5-point adjustment to the line? Probably not. I'll take the Packers and those 11.5 points. Maybe Rodgers can turn this thing around.
Here are the rest of the picks against the spread for Week 8, with the lines coming from BetMGM:
Ravens (+2) over Buccaneers
I hate making this pick before I know if Mark Andrews will play for the Ravens, but I do trust Baltimore more (as stated in today's Daily Sweat).
Jaguars (-2.5) over Broncos
I just can't take this Broncos team. I can't think of a worse way to start my Sunday than waking up early, turning on the London game and spending three hours praying for the Broncos to move the ball.
Falcons (-4.5) over Panthers
Maybe the Panthers are suddenly going to play better for Steve Wilks. They certainly looked good against the Buccaneers last week. I need to see that again before I buy in. Though, the Falcons' stubborn refusal to even try to throw the ball makes me wary of laying this many points.
Cowboys (-9.5) over Bears
I'll acknowledge that the Bears looked good on Monday night and they finally seem to be figuring out how to use Justin Fields. It shouldn't have taken this long, but whatever. Regardless, on a short week with a second straight road game, against a nasty defense, I'll take Dallas.
Dolphins (-3.5) over Lions
The Dolphins are 4-0 in games that Tua Tagovailoa has started and finished. I'm not sure why Miami has been downgraded for losing with backup quarterbacks, especially when they were mostly competitive in those three losses. Meanwhile, the Lions look entirely broken.
Vikings (-3.5) over Cardinals
If you watched last Thursday night's Cardinals win over the Saints, you know the Arizona offense wasn't entirely fixed. Two pick-sixes blew that game open, and you can't count on that happening again. The Vikings aren't an impressive 5-1 or anything, but I don't believe in the Cardinals.
Raiders (-1.5) over Saints
I still don't think the Raiders are bad. We know how good the Chiefs are, and the Raiders probably should have won at Kansas City just a few weeks ago. I'm just not sure what to really like about the Saints. Their offense isn't good outside of rookie sensation Chris Olave and the defense has taken a huge step back too.
Patriots (-2.5) over Jets
This is a Bill Belichick special. The entire world is burying the Patriots after a bad loss on Monday night. I've seen this movie before. The Patriots aren't a bad team. The Jets aren't bad either, but Breece Hall was such a big part of their offense. With Hall done for the season, I don't know that I want to back Zach Wilson against Belichick this week.
Steelers (+10.5) over Eagles
I don't love it, but we saw the Steelers battle hard on Sunday night. That's what they do. The Eagles are really good and rested too, so this isn't a comfortable pick. But it's a double-digit underdog in the NFL and I have to look at that side first.
Titans (-2.5) over Texans
The Titans are pretty much the AFC's Seahawks, a team that always is better than we think they'll be. Analytics don't like Tennessee that much. They just keep winning. Just like last season. And laying less than a field goal against a Texans team that is certified bad? Sure.
Commanders (+3) over Colts
I usually take a team in its first game with a new quarterback — they'll generally rally around the new guy — but that's usually as an underdog. I don't know what Sam Ehlinger is going to bring to the Colts offense as he takes over for benched Matt Ryan. Maybe it's good. Maybe not. I'm not laying the points with the Colts until I find out.
49ers (-1.5) over Rams
I haven't given up on the 49ers, as dumb as that might end up being. The talent is obvious. Kyle Shanahan usually beats Sean McVay. The Rams have significant issues that haven't been fixed. I don't think the second meeting between these teams goes much differently than the first.
Giants (+3) over Seahawks
I think the Seahawks are pretty good. If you forget about what we thought the Seahawks would be before the season began and watch their games, you'll see a good football team. This pick isn't a fade of Seattle. I just will keep taking the Giants as long as the oddsmakers disrespect them.
Bengals (-3.5) over Browns
I'm a little wary of all the "Bengals are coming alive!" takes from this week. They beat the Falcons at home. That might not be the awakening we believe it is. Still, Cincinnati has won two in a row and that's an accomplishment in this weird season. The Browns are pretty bad on both sides of the ball. Whatever life the offense has shown might disappear without tight end David Njoku, who has been a nice breakout but is out for a few weeks with an injured ankle. We'll know by the end of Monday night if the Bengals are back.
Last week: 7-7
Season to date: 56-51-1