The best Primetime lineup of NFL games this season comes your way in Week 8. The Patriots host Miami on Thursday, while unbeatens Green Bay and Denver meet on Sunday night, and Indianapolis travels to Carolina on Monday. Elsewhere on Sunday, the Bengals visit Pittsburgh in a pivotal AFC North clash at 1:00 pm EST, and Seattle travels to Dallas at 4:25 pm.
Let’s take a closer look at each game on the slate.
Miami (3-3) at New England (6-0) – Spread: Patriots -7.5
The Dolphins have been significantly better on the road this year than in Florida (though they dominated Houston in Miami on Sunday). Their road resume to date features a win in their opener at Washington, 17-10, a loss at Jacksonville in Week 2, 23-20, and a win over the Titans in Week 6, 38-20. The Fins are 2-1 ATS on the road (failing to cover in the Jaguars game), though they did get pummeled by the Jets in London as the “home” team.
The Patriots have won six straight home games against Miami by an average margin of more than 18 points. They’re also 3-0 straight up at home on the year (but just 1-1-1 ATS); they beat the Steelers, 28-21, at Foxborough to begin the campaign, crushed the Jags, 51-17, in Week 3, and then rallied from behind to beat the Jets in Week 7, 30-23. Overall in 2015, New England is 3-2-1 against the number.
Detroit (1-6) vs Kansas City (2-5) in London — Spread: Chiefs -5
After back-to-back divisional home games, which included a win over Chicago and a loss to Minnesota, the Lions travel for the first time since their 13-10 setback in Seattle during Week 4. They have yet to win away from home this season, dropping games at San Diego and Minnesota to begin the year, and are an ugly 1-6 ATS overall in 2015. They did prevail in London last year, though, coming from behind to stun the Falcons, 22-21.
Kansas City, the designated home team in this match-up, has played a difficult slate thus far and haven’t fared well, either straight up or against the number (2-5 ATS, 1-3 away), even though all of their losses have been one-score affairs. They snapped a five-game losing streak by beating Pittsburgh (and covering) on Sunday. As is customary for teams that travel to London, both squads will get a bye next week.
Tampa Bay (2-4) at Atlanta (6-1) – Spread: Falcons -7.5
The Bucs (1-2 road, 2-1 ATS) are playing a second straight road game after losing in the final seconds at Washington in Week 7 (31-30). They won at New Orleans, 26-19, and lost in Houston, 19-9, early in the season. Tampa Bay has dropped six of their last seven appearances in Atlanta.
The Falcons are 3-0 at home and 2-1 against the spread. They covered in a blowout over the Texans and narrow Week 1 win over the Eagles, but missed in an OT contest with Washington. Since blowing out Houston, the offense has dried up – scoring-wise anyway; Atlanta took a narrow 10-7 win in Tennessee. These squads will meet again in Tampa Bay during Week 12.
Arizona (5-2) at Cleveland (2-5) – Spread: Cardinals -4.5
The Cardinals (2-1 road, 2-1 ATS) are in a stretch of four road games in five weeks. The only home game during the span was Monday’s 26-18 win over Baltimore, a game that the Cards led most of the way but had to survive in the final seconds. Arizona won at Detroit, 42-17, lost in Pittsburgh, 25-13, and travel to Seattle following a Week 9 bye. Their only road game over the first month of the year was a blowout victory in Chicago.
The Browns (1-2 home, 1-1-1 ATS) have been uneven at home this year. They beat the Titans, 28-14, lost to the Raiders, 27-20, and were clipped by Denver, 26-23. Turnovers and penalties killed their chances in a 24-6 loss at St. Louis last week. They have a quick turnaround after this game with a date in Cincinnati coming up on TNF.
San Francisco (2-5) at St. Louis (3-3) – Spread: Rams -9.5
The Niners (0-3 road, 1-2 ATS) and Rams (2-1 home, 2-1 ATS) have the first of two get togethers in Week 8. (They’ll meet again in the Bay Area in Week 17.) The all-time series is incredibly close with San Francisco holding a slight 65-63-3. But the Niners have won three of the last four and the Rams have just two wins since 2010. This year’s 49ers team is terrible on the road, though, getting blown out by Pittsburgh (43-18) and Arizona (47-7) early in the year, and then (putting in a better effort but still) falling to the Giants (30-27) in Week 5. The squad is also coming off a 20-3 Thursday night home setback against Seattle.
This is a second straight home game for the Rams, who dominated Cleveland in Week 7. St. Louis beat the Seahawks at home to start the year, but got clipped by Pittsburgh, 12-6, in Week 3.
New York Giants (4-3) at New Orleans (3-4) – Spread: Saints -3
The Giants have been a mixed bag on the road this season, going 1-2 straight up and 2-1 for betting purposes. They lost (but covered) at Dallas, 27-26, beat Buffalo (SU and ATS), 24-10, but looked lousy in Philadelphia, falling 27-7 and missing the cover by a wide margin. Special teams proved the difference maker last weekend when they beat Dallas 27-20 at home.
The Saints (2-1 home, 2-1 ATS) took a shocking loss at home to the Bucs in Week 2, but rebounded to beat the Cowboys and Falcons in their last two, snapping a six-game home losing streak. Last weekend, the team built an early lead and held on to win at Indy, bringing the team back into the NFC playoff hunt. They’ll look to keep the momentum going against the Giants, whom they’ve beaten in three of the last four.
San Diego (2-5) at Baltimore (1-6) – Spread: Ravens -3
The Ravens are at home, and that is a story unto itself. Baltimore played five of its first seven on the road, going 1-4 including Monday’s eight-point loss at Arizona. Now they get three straight at home (with a bye tossed in), but that could be a mixed blessing; Baltimore is not only 0-2 at home, but winless against the number.
Fortunately for the Ravens, they’ll be facing a San Diego team that is 0-3 outside of California (1-2 ATS), with one-score losses to Cincinnati (23-18) and Green Bay (27-20), plus a dismal 31-14 setback in Minnesota. The Chargers only managed to cover against the Pack. In one of the more curious results of the first half of the season, San Diego was blown out at home by Oakland on Sunday. These teams have split ten all-time meetings, with the Chargers winning in Baltimore last year, 34-33.
Cincinnati (6-0) at Pittsburgh (4-3) – Spread: no line until Ben Roethlisberger’s status becomes more clear
The Bengals come off of a bye looking to go to 7-0. A win would put significant distance between themselves and the Steelers, their closest pursuer in the AFC North. Cincinnati has road wins at Oakland (33-13), in Baltimore (28-24), and against the Bills (34-21) and covered in all three.
The Steelers are 2-1 at home (2-0-1 ATS) with double-digit home wins against San Francisco and Arizona, plus a narrow 23-20 OT loss to Baltimore (which resulted in a push). Pittsburgh fell at Kansas City, 23-13, last weekend with third-string quarterback Landry Jones running the offense. The team expects Ben Roethlisberger to be back in the starting lineup come Sunday.
Tennessee (1-5) at Houston (2-5) – Spread: no line until Marcus Mariota’s status becomes more clear
Last year, the Texans swept Tennessee with two lopsided victories. They’ve also won five of the last six in this series. Houston is playing its only home game over a four week stretch in this one. They are 1-2 in Texas so far (SU and ATS), opening with a 27-20 loss to Kansas City, beating the Bucs, 19-9, in Week 3, and losing to Indianapolis, 27-20, in Week 5. They’ll be looking to rebound from a dismal 44-26 loss in Miami on Sunday.
The Titans (1-1 road, 1-1 ATS) are on the road after four straight home losses. (Yes, not only did Tennessee get four straight home games – which is unheard of in the NFL – but they lost them all.) The losing-streak saw them fall to the the Colts, Bills, Dolphins, and Falcons, though they did manage to cover against Indy and Atlanta. Tennessee opened the year with a blowout win over Tampa Bay and a lopsided loss at Cleveland, putting their overall ATS record at 3-3.
New York Jets (4-2) at Oakland (3-3) – Spread: Jets -1
New York (2-1 road, 2-0-1 ATS) has won the last two matchups with the Raiders, but lost their last visit to Oakland back in 2011. This will be the fourth game away from home for the Jets, but only their third true road game after playing as the away team in London in Week 4. New York won in Indianapolis (20-7) early on, fell at New England (30-23) on Sunday, and beat the Dolphins in London (27-14).
The Raiders are 1-2 straight up and against the spread at home in 2015. They lost to the Bengals, 33-13, beat the Ravens, 37-33, and fell to Denver, 16-10. The Raiders were impressive following their bye last weekend, jumping out to a huge 30-6 halftime lead at San Diego and cruising to an easy 37-21 victory.
Seattle (3-4) at Dallas (2-4) – Spread: Seahawks -6
The Cowboys have won four of the last five matchups against Seattle and are 6-2 all-time against the Seahawks in Big D, outscoring Seattle 231-116 in those eight games. But the Cowboys – who will still be without starting QB Tony Romo – are 1-2 at home this year and have yet to cover. They beat the Giants, 27-26, then lost to Atlanta, 39-28, and fell to New England, 30-6. They looked like the better team for much of last Sunday’s 27-20 setback at the Giants, but Matt Cassel’s interceptions and some special teams miscues sealed their fate.
The Seahawks (1-3 road, 1-2-1 ATS) have extra time to prepare for this game after beating San Francisco on the road on Thursday in Week 7 (20-3). The Seahawks entered their game with the Niners 0-3 outside of Washington with tight losses against the Rams and Bengals, and a ten-point setback in Green Bay.
Green Bay (6-0) at Denver (6-0) – Spread: Packers -3
A powerhouse battle on Sunday Night Football features the 6-0 Packers (5-1 ATS, including 2-0 ATS on the road) against the 6-0 Broncos (4-1-1 ATS, including 1-1 ATS at home). Green Bay has road wins at Chicago (31-23) and San Francisco (17-3), while the Broncos have home wins over Baltimore (19-13) and Minnesota (23-20).
Despite three more interceptions from Peyton Manning, Denver got by Cleveland (26-23) last time out for their fourth road victory of the year. The Packers got to watch that one from home during their Week 7 bye.
Indianapolis (3-4) at Carolina (6-0) – Spread: Panthers -7.5
Despite not playing their best ball, the Colts are 2-1 on the road (1-2 ATS) and atop the weak AFC South. Indy lost at Buffalo, 27-14, to kick off the year, but rebounded to beat the Titans, 35-33, and Texans, 27-20. Indianapolis is coming off a home loss against New Orleans (27-21) in which they were dominated during the first half and came up short during a second-half rally.
Carolina is playing a second straight Primetime home game after a SNF win over the Eagles in Week 7 (27-16). The victory moved the team to 3-0 at home (2-1 ATS) with wins over Houston (24-17) and New Orleans (27-22), covering in the former but not the latter. Not only does recent play favor the Panthers in this one, but so do history; Carolina is 4-1 all-time against the Colts (though the last meeting came in 2011).
(Photo credit: SteelCityHobbies (flickr) “MRR_0058″ [https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/legalcode]. Photo has been cropped.)