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Week 8 NFL Picks: Feeling Optimistic About Washington Redskins Vs. Buffalo Bills

A trend is developing in the NFL in 2011: teams playing poorly after a bye week. The Buffalo Bills face the Washington Redskins, last week the Bills had a bye. Will it be enough?

Last week delivered another money maker for our NFL Picks feature, though it came at the expense of another Washington Redskins loss. I am not a strictly hometown picks maker here. When I think the Redskins will lose and not cover, I will say it. I did so in the Philadelphia Eagles game. But last week was different. The defense was supposed to keep it tight, and they didn't. Thereofre, we begin our Week 8 NFL picks with the Redskins.

Now they go to Toronto to play the Bills, huh? It’s a weird game, one I think the Redskins will lose, but the real question is by how much. One trend to keep track of this year is teams laying eggs coming off a bye week. The Redskins followed the formula last week. This week, the Redskins catch the Bills off a bye. Will it make a difference?

All lines from SB Nation Odds.

Washington Redskins at Buffalo Bills (-7): Not a soul alive would have guessed this line at the beginning of the season. We have seen enough to know the Bills are legit. Fred Jackson runs the ball with purpose and is a top three back in the league. The Buffalo defense gives up yards and points, but makes plays. The Redskins' defense gave up yards, points and didn’t make plays last week. I’m not sure why, but I think the bye week thing and playing in Toronto hurts the Bills more than the Redskins. Even in wins, the Bills tend to play tight games. I don’t see that changing this week. Pick: Skins.

Arizona Cardinals at Baltimore Ravens (-14): Wow, did the Ravens suck on Monday night. Readers of the Picks enjoyed that game though, cashing in on the Jaguars. This week, we must go the other way. Arizona could barely move the ball at home last week against the Steelers. Kevin Kolb is mostly a joke, and playing without Beanie Wells will really screw up the Cardinals. Joe Flacco’s production looks about like a Redskins quarterback so far this season, but I think Ray Rice and the Ravens' cheap shot artists on defense take care of business in a big way at home. Pick: Ravens.

Minnesota Vikings at Carolina Panthers (-3.5): This line is tricky. Shouldn’t the Panthers be favored by five points or so? Does Vegas know something? I’m always nervous when a line seems off by more than a half point. The Vikings just gave Aaron Rodgers and the world champion Packers a big-time scare, and I think rookie Christian Ponder shows up in a matchup with Cam Newton. The Panthers run defense can’t stop Marcus Mason, so I will certainly roll with Adrian Peterson. Pick: Vikings.

Jacksonville Jaguars at Houston Texans (-10): The Texans impressed me last week going to Nashville and blasting the Titans. The Jaguars impressed me shutting down the Ravens and moving the ball just enough to win that game. Houston will win this game, but I think Jacksonville will keep it ugly, low-scoring and within 10 points. If Andre Johnson plays, re-adjust. Assuming no Andre, take the Jaguars plus 10.

Miami Dolphins at New York Giants (-10): With the Giants, we have another team coming off a bye, but I think the Dolphins suck so much it will not matter. Some of this may be residual anger at the Dolphins for letting St. Tebow score 15 points in the final three minutes of last week’s game against the Broncos to cost me money. The Dolphins suck. Pick: Giants

New Orleans Saints at St. Louis Rams (+13): Ugh. After the shellacking the Saints gave the Colts last week, expectations call for Drew Brees and Co. to carry the number against an even worse Rams team. Only caveat here is if Sam Bradford plays. The Saints defense gives up big plays, and Bradford to Brandon Lloyd could produce some points. No Bradford, no worries. Pick: Saints.

Indianapolis Colts at Tennessee Titans (-10): If the Colts ship hasn’t sunk, it is certainly taking on water. But the problem here is that Tennessee is not that good either. They got killed last week, at home, by the Texans. I think the Titans rebound from an awful loss last week and beat the JV Colts. I just worry because this is a lot of points. I hate giving up a lot of points in NFL games. This is a great game to tease, and there are a lot of good options on the slate with many double-digit spreads. Pick: Titans.

Detroit Lions at Denver Broncos (+2.5): I’m doing it again. For two weeks now, I’ve bet against the Lions despite public sentiment going the other way. Don’t mess with a hot streak. The Lions have a big name quarterback who hasn’t been playing that well in Matthew Stafford, and he's now battling an ankle injury. Obviously Megatron will score a TD -- that’s just what he does -- but Tebow will have Mile High jumping and the Broncos defense will do enough to win. Pick: Broncos.

New England Patriots at Pittsburgh Steelers (+3): Great game. All of America will tune in to watch the Golden Boy Tom Brady play the Sleazy Boy Ben Roethlisberger. Much like the myth of blue collar Pittsburgh (the city now employs more bankers than steel workers), Pittsburgh is no longer a ground and pound team. Big Ben airs it out. Mike Wallace and Antonio Brown are going to punk the New England secondary all day. I know New England has had the Steelers number of late, but I think it ends this week. The Patriots' last three weeks: played OK in a win over the Jets, played poorly in a win over the Cowboys and a bye week. The Steelers had the perfect warmup for the Patriots' defense last week in the desert and will be ready to play. Pick: Steelers.

Cleveland Browns at San Francisco 49ers (-9): If the Niners are the team we think they are, they prove it this week. They need to treat the Browns like a punching bag, and I think they do it. Good tease here if you’re so inclined. Pick: 49ers. 

Cincinnati Bengals at Seattle Seahwaks (+2.5): I think people would be more excited for a rerun of Golden Girls than this game. Seriously. I’m taking the Bengals because I haven’t gotten a single Bengals game right this year and that has to change at some point. How weird is it that the Bengals could be quite good in a few years? Andy Dalton and A.J. Green are legit, there are a couple good players on that defense and they basically fleeced the Raiders in the Carson Palmer deal like the Dutch buying Manhattan. Don’t worry too much, the Bengals will screw it up. Icky Woods isn’t walking through that door. Pick: Bengals.

Dallas Cowboys at Philadelphia Eagles (-3): This one is hard. For starters, the Cowboys are starting to play well. DeMarco Murray might give them a weapon they haven’t had in a few years, and Dez Bryant is nasty. I want to take the Cowboys and not think about it. But on the other side are two conflicting streaks. Eagles coach Andy Reid has won 12 straight games after a bye week. That’s a lot. The flip side of that is the weird NFL bye week thing where teams play sluggish after the bye in 2011, perhaps a result of the new labor deal. Michael Lombardi wrote on

Teams coming off a bye have been horrible this season. Three wins and nines losses to this point. All the time off actually hurts the players, especially since training camps were so condensed.

Something’s got to give. I think Andy Reid’s streak comes to an end. Pick: Cowboys.

San Diego Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs (+3.5): This one is not hard. A home dog playing in front of a wild crowd on a nationally televised game? We’ve seen this formula before. Take the points and the Chiefs.

Last week: 8-4-1

Season: 28-24-4