Cortana’s NFL picks – Week 8

It all starts on Thursday night in Baltimore where the surprising 4-2 Miami Dolphins face the Ravens. Baltimore has lost two straight and its three wins are against teams with a combined five wins. The Dolphins have somehow managed to go 4-2 with an offense that averages 15.3 points per game and now will be without starting quarterback Jay Cutler. Matt Moore, who threw two touchdowns in last week’s win over the Jets, will start. Cortana’s prediction: Ravens – 55% chance

Speaking of the Jets, they will entertain the slumping Atlanta Falcons. The reigning NFC champs have now lost three in a row and will face their third straight AFC East opponent when they travel to New York. Last year’s NFL-best offense has put up just 31 points combined in the last three weeks.

The rest of the AFC East pits Buffalo (4-2) against Oakland, which is coming off a huge 31-30 win over Kansas City. The Raiders are now 3-4 and right back in the thick of the AFC West race. The Chargers, fresh off a 21-0 shutout of Denver, head to Foxborough to face New England, which has seemed to find the defense that was lacking in the first six weeks of the season. Cortana’s prediction: Bill’s to win – 51% chance.

Both the Browns (0-7) and the 49ers (0-7) are likely to finish the first half of the season without a win. Cleveland takes on NFC North leader Minnesota (5-2) while San Francisco has to face the 6-1 Eagles in Philadelphia. Both the Browns and 49ers have issues offensively. The Browns managed just nine points in a loss to Tennessee last week. The Niners weren’t much better. They put up 10 in a loss to Dallas. Cortana’s prediction: Eagles to win – 81% chance.

Cincinnati (2-4) gets a chance at the win when it faces the NFL’s worst defense, Indianapolis. The Colts give up an average of over 31 points per game. If not for the schedule gods – Indy played Cleveland and San Francisco – the Colts would be winless. The Bengals need to find a running game. They are 28th in the league in rushing (81.8 yards per game) and score just 16.3 points a game. Cortana’s prediction: Bengals to win – 77% chance

One of the more surprising wins last week was the Bears’ 17-3 victory over Carolina. Can Chicago do it again? This week, the Bears will face 4-2 New Orleans, a team that has won four in a row. There is no secret how the Saints do it – Drew Brees. The New Orleans quarterback leads an offense that is third in the league in passing and fourth in scoring (28.5). The Bears will need some offense – they scored two defensive touchdowns to beat Carolina – if they are going to have any chance at success. Cortana’s prediction: Saints to win – 78% chance

The Panthers, now 4-3, face another critical game this week when they travel to division foe Tampa Bay. The Bucs season hasn’t gone as planned as head coach Dirk Koetter’s team has now lost three straight. Tampa Bay has lost those three games by a combined 13 points. The Bucs beat the Panthers in both meetings last season. Cortana’s prediction: Tampa Bay to win – 51% chance

Houston travels to Seattle, which very quietly has reeled off three straight victories. The Seahawks can tie the surprising Rams for the NFC West lead with a win. Los Angeles is off this week. Dallas travels to the nation’s capital to face rival Washington. The winner stays in playoff contention and the loser, while not out of it, will have a much more difficult road to navigate. Cortana’s prediction: Cowboys to win – 53% chance

Pittsburgh travels to Detroit to take on the Lions on Sunday night. The Steelers won the only other time the two teams have played at Ford Field. Week 8 concludes with an AFC West showdown in Kansas City. The Broncos, which were shutout for the first time since 1992 last week, have lost three of their last four games and are in desperate need of a win. Kansas City, losers of two in a row, has beaten Denver the last three times the two teams have played. Cortana’s prediction: Kansas City Chiefs to win – 70% chance

 Local timeETTVPredicted winnerChance
Thursday, October 26, 2017
Miami Dolphins at Baltimore Ravens8:25p (ET)8:25pCBS/NFLN/AmazonBaltimore Ravens55%
Sunday, October 29, 2017
Minnesota Vikings at Cleveland Browns (London)1:30p (GMT)9:30aNFLNMinnesota Vikings80%
Oakland Raiders at Buffalo Bills1:00p (ET)1:00pCBSBuffalo Bills51%
Indianapolis Colts at Cincinnati Bengals1:00p (ET)1:00pCBSCincinnati Bengals77%
Los Angeles Chargers at New England Patriots1:00p (ET)1:00pCBSNew England Patriots66%
Chicago Bears at New Orleans Saints12:00p (CT)1:00pFOXNew Orleans Saints78%
Atlanta Falcons at New York Jets1:00p (ET)1:00pFOXAtlanta Falcons73%
San Francisco 49ers at Philadelphia Eagles1:00p (ET)1:00pFOXPhiladelphia Eagles81%
Carolina Panthers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers1:00p (ET)1:00pFOXTampa Bay Buccaneers51%
Houston Texans at Seattle Seahawks1:05p (PT)4:05pCBSSeattle Seahawks66%
Dallas Cowboys at Washington Redskins4:25p (ET)4:25pFOXDallas Cowboys53%
Pittsburgh Steelers at Detroit Lions *8:30p (ET)8:30pNBCPittsburgh Steelers61%
Monday, October 30, 2017
Denver Broncos at Kansas City Chiefs7:30p (CT)8:30pESPNKansas City Chiefs70%
Byes:  Arizona, Green Bay, Jacksonville, Los Angeles Rams, New York Giants, Tennessee