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Ben Axelrod's Week 8 NFL picks: Panthers beat Falcons, Browns beat Raiders

3News' Ben Axelrod makes his picks against the spread for every game in Week 8 of the 2020 NFL season.


“Sometimes you're flush and sometimes you're bust, and when you're up, it's never as good as it seems, and when you're down, you never think you'll be up again, but life goes on.” - Fred Jung (Ray Liotta) in "Blow."

My run of five consecutive non-losing weeks came to an end in Week 7, with my 5-9 record bringing my total for the season to 51-52-1. Let's try to get back to my winning -- or at least tying -- ways with my Week 8 picks.

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Carolina Panthers (-1.5) vs. Atlanta Falcons

Pick: Panthers -1.5

The Panthers seem like a chalky pick here, but there's not much you could do to get me to pick the Falcons right now -- at least not if I'm only getting 1.5 points. While Carolina will have to wait another week for Christian McCaffrey's return, Mike Davis has proven plenty capable of handling the workload in the Panthers' backfield

Detroit Lions (+3) vs. Indianapolis Colts

Pick: Lions +3

Are we sure the right team is favored here? Indianapolis' defense should be healthier coming off a bye, but we still don't know what we're getting week to week with Phillip Rivers. Give me Matthew Stafford, Kenny Golladay, an emerging D'Andre Swift plus the points.

Green Bay Packers -7 vs Minnesota Vikings

Pick: Vikings +7

Seven points just seem like too many to lay in this rivalry, even if the Vikings appear to have packed it in for the season. But until it trades Adam Thielen, Minnesota should possess more than enough firepower to keep pace with Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams.

Buffalo Bills -3.5 vs. New England Patriots

Pick: Bills -3.5

It seems like the Patriots get more respect in these lines than they deserve because of their history. Between their preseason COVID-19 opt-outs and shaky quarterback situation, it's probably time we stop treating them like Tom Brady's still in town.

Cincinnati Bengals (+5.5) vs. Tennessee Titans

Pick: Titans -5.5

The Bengals couldn't stop Baker Mayfield and an Odell Beckham-less Browns offense, and I don't suspect they'll have much more success against Ryan Tannehill, Derrick Henry and A.J. Brown. Plus, it's hard to imagine Joe Burrow picking apart Mike Vrabel's defense the same way he Cleveland's.

Cleveland Browns (-2.5) vs. Las Vegas Raiders

Pick: Browns -2.5

I don't think the Browns are better without Beckham, but I think Baker Mayfield might be (which isn't ideal). Either way, Cleveland's offensive momentum should continue against a Raiders defense that ranks 31st in Football Outsiders' DVOA.

Kansas City Chiefs (-19.5) vs. New York Jets

Pick: Chiefs -19.5

A line this large would typically be a stay away for me, but when picking every game, I don't have that luxury. Instead, I'll lay nearly three touchdowns and hope for Patrick Mahomes to put it away early.

Miami Dolphins (+3.5) vs. Los Angeles Rams

Pick: Rams -3.5

There would have much more ideal spots for Tua to open his NFL career in than one with Aaron Donald lining up across from him.

Chicago Bears (+4.5) vs. New Orleans Saints

Pick: Bears +4.5

Even at 4-2, something about this Saints team doesn't pass the sniff test for me. Had this line stayed at three, I might be on New Orleans, but 4.5 points just seem like too many.

Seattle Seahawks (-3) vs. San Francisco 49ers

Pick: Seahawks -3

As Kyler Murray showed last week, the only way to beat Russell Wilson is to keep pace with him. Without Raheem Mostert, I think the 49ers offense lacks the necessary firepower to do just that.

Philadelphia Eagles (-9.5) vs. Dallas Cowboys

Pick: Cowboys +9.5

I'm not even sure who's playing quarterback for the Cowboys this week, but I do know I'm not laying 9.5 points with the Eagles, who may once again be without Miles Sanders.

Denver Broncos (+3) vs. Los Angeles Chargers

Pick: Chargers -3

Denver is quietly one of the worst teams in the NFL. The Chargers have more than enough talent to run away with this one so long as Anthony Lynn can stay out of the way.

Baltimore Ravens (-4) vs. Pittsburgh Steelers

Pick: Steelers +4

Simply put, I think Pittsburgh is the better team. I'll gladly take the Steelers and the points.

New York Giants (+10.5) vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Pick: Buccaneers -10.5

Tompa Bay is rolling. Even laying 10.5 points, it's hard for me to imagine the Giants getting in the Buccaneers' way.