NFL week 8 tips: Patriots and Broncos look to maintain AFC stranglehold
Week 8 of the NFL season sees some crunch battles across the league, particularly in the AFC where teams at the top of the seedings face a challenge to remain there.
New England Patriots and Denver Broncos face divisional matches against the Buffalo Bills and San Diego Chargers respectively. Both sides have been at the top of the conference for the past five years, and their dominance will be tested by their rivals this week.
Here, Coral gives its five top tips, including these two showdowns, for week 8 of the campaign.
Washington Redskins @ Cincinnati Bengals
The International Series returns to Wembley this week after its first showing at the home of English rugby Twickenham, where New York Giants overcame Los Angeles Rams.
Cincinnati earned a vital win towards their post-season aspirations by defeating Cleveland Browns in week 7, but face a tough task against the Redskins.
The Redskins’ defense let their side down against Detroit Lions, losing their advantage with just seconds remaining in the contest to fall to 4-3 in the NFC East. Kirk Cousins has been steady, but not spectacular and head coach Jay Gruden will want to see more from him in London.
Both teams are in similar positions in their respective divisions, which makes the contest tough to call. However, backing the Redskins to cover the +2.5 spread with Coral at 19/20 would be a prudent option given that there is little to choose between the outfits.
New England Patriots @ Buffalo Bills
Rex Ryan will have been extremely disappointed by his side’s defeat to the Miami Dolphins. A win against Adam Gase’s men would have given the Bills the opportunity to leapfrog the Patriots at the top of the AFC East with a victory at Orchard Park.
However, they still have the chance to sweep New England for the first time since 1999, following their 16-0 win over Bill Belichick’s men in week 4.
Their defeat in Miami was a humbling experience as Jay Ajayi ran for 200 yards, and Ryan will know that his team cannot afford any mistakes against the Patriots in the light of Tom Brady’s form.
The 39-year-old was serving the final game of his suspension in the first meeting between the teams, which saw injured rookie quarterback Jacoby Brissett struggle at Gillette Stadium. Brady has been sublime since his return and will be eager to extend his side’s lead at the top of the AFC.
Buffalo could be without the services of running back LeSean McCoy, which could see a lopsided game. Despite Ryan’s decent record against Brady, a 7-12 point victory for the Patriots at 10/3 would be a smart bet to take.
Kansas City Chiefs @ Indianapolis Colts
The Colts earned a vital win in the AFC South last week, claiming a narrow victory over Tennessee Titans thanks to a late defensive score from Robert Mathis. A defeat for Chuck Pagano’s men would have all but ended their push for the playoffs, but the victory has given them a glimmer of hope.
Kansas City have rounded into form since their hammering at the hands of Pittsburgh Steelers, reeling off back-to-back wins over Oakland Raiders and New Orleans Saints. Andy Reid’s side have qualified for the playoffs in two of the last three terms and after their early setback, they appear poised for a another trip to the post-season.
The Chiefs were on the receiving end on one of the greatest comebacks in NFL history in the 2013 campaign, when Andrew Luck guided the Colts back from a 28-point deficit to secure a 45-44 victory over Reid’s men. The teams have not met since the game at Lucas Oil Stadium, meaning that the Chiefs will be desperate for revenge.
Kansas City have the players and scheme to trouble the Colts, which is why backing Reid’s side to win by a 13-18 point margin at 13/2 is a wise option, especially since they will have extra motivation.
San Diego Chargers @ Denver Broncos
The Chargers have pulled themselves from the mire in their last two matches, which included a nerve-jangling win over the Broncos. Mike McCoy was staring down the barrel after losing four close matches at the start of the campaign due to a number of late collapses.
Denver ended a run of back-to-back losses to Atlanta Falcons and San Diego with a dominating performance against Houston Texans, securing a 27-9 win at Sports Authority Field. The victory came at a price as running back CJ Anderson has been ruled out for a minimum of eight weeks, leaving the club’s already weak offense without one of its best players.
Their defense remains a force, although Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers bested them in their week 6 clash by spreading the ball around to his receivers.
As a result, backing San Diego to complete a clean sweep of the Broncos makes an intriguing option on the money line at 7/4.
Philadelphia Eagles @ Dallas Cowboys
This clash in the NFC East features a battle between two players that have taken the NFL by storm in their rookie seasons. Dallas’ Dak Prescott and Philadelphia’s Carson Wentz have enjoyed excellent starts to their respective careers, guiding their sides to solid starts to the term.
Prescott has been the surprise package of the duo, having been selected in the fifth round of the 2016 Draft rather than first overall as Wentz was. He has been composed with ball in hand, and has limited his mistakes so much so that he broke Tom Brady’s record for most throws without an interception to start an NFL career.
The Cowboys have struck gold with their rookie class as running back Ezekiel Elliot has also been outstanding, but will be tasked with their biggest game against the Eagles’ potent defense.
Doug Pederson’s men limited Minnesota Vikings to 10 points, and are currently ranked fifth in total defense for this season.
Wentz has gone off the boil following his flawless start, but has still displayed considerable poise and will take advantage of positive situations he is put in by the Eagles’ defense.
This match will likely be decided by five points or less, so backing Philadelphia to cover the +4.0 spread at 19/10 is a good bet to take.
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