Scully’s NFL Week 8 picks: 49ers will hand Seahawks second loss
Favorites went 6-8 against the spread in Week 7, which dropped them to 49-54-1 ATS overall, and home teams are worse, with a 45-58-1 ATS record for the season.
After a dreadful start, my handicapping has improved significantly, with back-to-back winning weeks. Let's keep it rolling in Week 8.
San Francisco 49ers vs. Seattle Seahawks
Sun, November 1 2020, 8:25 PM
San Francisco 49ers
I'm grabbing the points with San Francisco, which has improved significantly over recent weeks. The 49ers will put pressure on quarterback Russell Wilson, who must carry Seattle with his arm, because the defense is so bad.
The Seahawks may be entering a mini-slump, after they opened 5-0. Wilson couldn’t do it all in a loss to Arizona last week, with three interceptions, and injuries continue to take a toll upon their porous defense. Seattle ranks last in passing defense and total defense and blew multiple double-digit leads in the second half against Arizona. The Seahawks also lost top cornerback Shaquill Griffin to a concussion in the second half.
According to NFL Next Gen Stats, DK Metcalf reached a max speed of 22.64 MPH while running down Budda Baker on Baker's interception.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) October 26, 2020
The only higher max speed by any player who made a tackle this season was by his defensive teammate Shaquill Griffin, who hit 22.75 MPH in Week 3. pic.twitter.com/tBvpdVg8n4
They must try to run the ball, but running back Chris Carson appears doubtful with a foot injury. It’s a bad recipe with San Francisco coming to town.
When they’re rolling, the Niners start fast. They logged more than 300 yards on offense in the first half against a respected New England defense and led 23-3 at intermission.
Quarterback Jimmy Garappolo is also starting to make a positive impact. He completed 20 of his 25 passes for 277 yards, and the San Francisco defense has been suffocating the last two weeks.
With the engine rolling downhill, San Francisco should win outright in Week 8.
Pick: 49ers +3
Las Vegas Raiders vs. Cleveland Browns
Sun, November 1 2020, 5:00 PM
Las Vegas Raiders
Cleveland appears bound for the playoffs, given its remaining schedule, and this is a reasonable number to lay against a reeling Las Vegas defense.
The Browns exit a back-and-forth win over divisional rival Cincinnati, who always plays them tough at home. Cleveland lost Odell Beckham Jr. to a season-ending knee injury, but the Browns are built upon defense and the rushing game.
The offense has underperformed against the formidable defenses of Baltimore and Pittsburgh, but Cleveland has been explosive (37.4 points per game) in its five wins.
Look for continued success against the Raiders, which has hit the skids on defense. They outscored Kansas City in an upset win, but opponents are piling up nearly 38 points per game over the last four contests.
After he was sacked three times in Week 8, Derek Carr will be forced into passing situations. Cleveland owns the fifth-ranked run defense and has been the most opportunistic team in the league, with 14 takeaways. Myles Garrett (six sacks in October) is a beast.
After a 25-point home loss to Tampa Bay, Las Vegas will face an uphill challenge traveling for this 1 p.m. ET kickoff.
Coach Kevin Stefanski has implemented a new culture in Cleveland, and the 5-2 Browns will exploit Las Vegas’ weaknesses.
Pick: Browns -2.5
Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. New York Giants
Tue, November 3 2020, 12:15 AM
New York Giants
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
This is a trap game for Tampa Bay, which will host New Orleans six days later. The Buccaneers were in a similar situation in Week 5, when they traveled to Chicago before a home showdown with Green Bay, and lost to the Bears.
I don’t expect New York to win, but the improving Giants will cover the double-digit number.
The Buccaneers just want to get out of MetLife Stadium unscathed. They will lean on their ground game for time-consuming drives, but the Giants can frustrate opposing offenses.
New York has made big strides defensively in recent weeks. The Rams squeaked by the Giants, 17-9, and Philadelphia was held to just 10 points until it rallied late in Week 8.
The loss of Saquon Barkley in Week 2 was a devastating blow, but the Giants are quietly on a path to respectability. They’ve played better each week, Daniel Jones keeps progressing, and first-time head coach Joe Judge is starting to find his footing.
It’s unrealistic to expect Tampa Bay’s best. New York has returned home after playing three of its last four games on the road, and the Giants will be competitive enough to stay within the bulky point spread.