Bing Predicts NFL Week 8
Fans have seen a flurry of huge plays, heroic comebacks, broken records, and many unlikely outcomes as they march toward the midpoint of the 2018 NFL season. A variety of storylines—the Hail Mary that fell one yard short, more dominance from who appear to be the league’s two best teams (the Rams and the Chiefs), and a missed kick from the most unlikely of sources—highlighted last week.
The Falcons, Titans, Cowboys, and Chargers all receive extra rest with Week 8 byes, but the rest of the league is here with a few key matchups to get you invested in the Week 8 slate of games:
—Eagles @ Jaguars: It was thought these two could matchup in Super Bowl LIII. Now they’re both fighting to keep their seasons alive. Only 17.5% of teams with 3-4 records go on to make the playoffs.
—Ravens @ Panthers: The league’s top defense looks to fend off the pesky Panthers who are riding high after a huge come-from-behind victory over the reigning Super Bowl champion Eagles.
—Broncos @ Chiefs: Can Patrick Mahomes II stay hot and take the division rival Broncos for the second time this season?
—Packers @ Rams: Is this the week the undefeated Rams fall? Aaron Rodgers will give Los Angeles its toughest test yet.
—Saints @ Vikings: A rematch of one of the most historic playoffs wins of all time. Can the Saints exact their revenge and move to 6-1?
Guiding you through every game is Bing Predicts, which leverages search, social, and historical statistics to forecast the week’s winners and losers. Read on for Week 7 predictions.
ALSO: See how Bing predicted the entire season here.
Miami Dolphins (4-3) @ Houston Texans (4-3)
Game time: Thursday, Oct. 25, 8:20 p.m. EST
Historical matchup: Houston Texans lead series 7-1
The Houston Texans look to stay hot this Thursday after a huge 20-7 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars Sunday. Despite an 0-3 start, the Texans put together a four-game winning streak and currently hold sole possession of first place in the AFC South. Houston is only the sixth team in the Super Bowl era to win four-consecutive games after losing its first three of the season. Only one of the previous five—the 1998 Buffalo Bills—went on to reach the playoffs.
If the Texans can extend their winning streak to five, they’ll likely have to do so without dynamic rookie receiver Keke Coutee who left Sunday’s game with a hamstring injury. Coutee has given Houston a viable third pass-catching option, after he missed the first three games of the season with a hamstring injury. This time around, it looks to be less serious, but he’s not expected to dress on Thursday.
Houston welcomes its former quarterback Brock Osweiler and the Miami Dolphins this week. Osweiler is expected to start for the third consecutive game this season as regular starter Ryan Tannehill continues to nurse an injured right shoulder. Despite a Dolphins’ loss last week, the team hasn’t seen much of a drop off, if any, with Osweiler under center. In his two-game sample size, the backup QB is averaging more passing yards-per-game and has a better touchdown-to-interception ratio than Tannehill has averaged in 2018.
The Dolphins and the Texans haven’t played since 2015 when Miami won 44-26, but Houston has been victorious the seven other times these two franchises have met.
Bing Predicts: Houston Texans
Bing Predicts winner: Houston Texans (75% chance)
See more on the Houston Texans
Philadelphia Eagles (3-4) @ Jacksonville Jaguars (3-4)
Game time: Sunday, Oct. 28, 9:30 a.m. EST
Historical matchup: Jacksonville Jaguars lead series 3-2
The third and final London game of the season was one many had circled before the season’s start. Both teams enter Week 8 though sitting on the wrong side of .500: The Jaguars have lost three-straight games, and the Eagles have lost three of their last four.
After fumbling in the second quarter, Jacksonville quarterback Blake Bortles was benched on Sunday in favor of Cody Kessler. Bortles has committed 11 turnovers this season (eight in the last three games). Bortles, who signed a three-year, $54 million contract extension in the offseason, will reclaim his starting role this Sunday.
Philadelphia relinquished a 17-point lead to Carolina last week: The Panthers scored three touchdowns in the fourth quarter to defeat the Eagles 21-17. The NFC East is still very much up for grabs with the Redskins currently sitting atop the division at 4-2, but Philadelphia still faces Washington two times this season.
Both of these teams need to turn their seasons around, and a victory across the pond would be a good step in that direction.
Bing Predicts: Philadelphia Eagles
Bing Predicts winner: Philadelphia Eagles (58% chance)
See more on the Philadelphia Eagles
New York Jets (3-4) @ Chicago Bears (3-3)
Game time: Sunday, Oct. 28, 1 p.m. EST
Historical matchup: Chicago Bears lead series 8-3-0
The Bears have been brought back to reality after stringing together a three-game winning streak earlier this season. Chicago dropped its second straight game after a near-miracle almost brought last week’s game against the Patriots into overtime. A Mitchell Trubisky last-second, 54-yard heave to Kevin White fell one yard short of the end zone.
Now at 3-3, the Bears are heavy favorites against a Jets’ team that fell 37-17 to the Vikings in Week 7. New York’s rookie quarterback Sam Darnold struggled. He was 17-of-42 with three interceptions, and the Jets’ two-game winning streak was halted.
The Bears’ prolific pass rusher Khalil Mack has had one of the most impressive starts to a season in recent history, but the team’s All-Pro acquisition is battling a tweaked ankle (suffered in the Week 6 loss to the Dolphins) and doesn’t look like the same player. Chicago’s defense is fueled by Mack’s success. The defense was credited with only one sack and three quarterback hurries last week. Mack recorded only one tackle and spent most of the afternoon in pass coverage.
The Jets have a chance this week if the Bears’ defense can’t return to regular form.
Bing Predicts: Chicago Bears
Bing Predicts winner: Chicago Bears (72% chance)
See more on the Chicago Bears
Washington Redskins (4-2) @ New York Giants (1-5)
Game time: Sunday, Oct. 28, 1 p.m. EST
Historical matchup: New York Giants lead series 100-68-4
This NFC East battle features the Redskins boasting the best record in the division and the Giants sitting firmly at the bottom.
Washington nearly allowed Dallas back into last week’s game after leading 20-10 in the fourth quarter, but a missed field goal at the end of regulation by Cowboys’ kicker Brett Maher secured a 20-17 victory for the Redskins. Quarterback Alex Smith did just enough, throwing for 178 yards and score. Running back Adrian Peterson added 99 yards on the ground for Washington.
New York has trailed for the most minutes of any team in the NFL this season. They trailed for most of Monday night’s 23-20 loss to the Falcons, despite bringing the game within one score in the fourth quarter. Questionable clock management by quarterback Eli Manning left the Giants with almost no time to kick and recover an onside kick. They had the ball on the Falcons’ one-yard-line with over 40 seconds left in the game when Manning attempted two failed QB sneaks with no timeouts.
Odell Beckham Jr. went off for a season-high 143 yards receiving on eight receptions, but New York will need more than a big game from their star receiver if they want to compete with Washington.
Bing Predicts: Washington Redskins
Bing Predicts winner: Washington Redskins (53% chance)
See more on the Washington Redskins
Baltimore Ravens (4-3) @ Carolina Panthers (4-2)
Game time: Sunday, Oct. 28, 1 p.m. EST
Historical matchup: Carolina Panthers lead series 3-2
The Panthers and the Ravens have shown through the first seven weeks of the season that both teams have the potential to make a playoff run.
The Panthers used 21-unanswered points last week to come from behind and take down the reigning Super Bowl champion Eagles. Quarterback Cam Newton threw for 269 yards and two touchdowns (both in the fourth quarter) and added 49 rushing yards in the victory.
The Ravens also battled back from a fourth quarter deficit and were an extra point away from tying the game, but the most accurate field goal kicker in the history of the NFL, Justin Tucker, missed an extra point. He was 222-for-222 on conversions prior to the miss. The improbable failed attempt prevented a chance at overtime and a chance for the Ravens to move into sole possession of first place in the AFC North.
These uncommon opponents have only faced one another five times. The Ravens won their 2014 matchup 38-10, but the Panthers have won their last eight home games.
Bing Predicts: Baltimore Ravens
Bing Predicts winner: Baltimore Ravens (53% chance)
See more on the Baltimore Ravens