There are no locks in sports betting but this is: From now on, there will be at least one NFL game every year streamed live over the Internet. Did you happen to check out Sunday morning's Bills-Jaguars game from London? It was only available outside those two markets via Yahoo and other than a couple of times where the screen froze for a few seconds, it looked pretty good. The NFL is thrilled with the numbers as the game reportedly was seen by around 33.6 million people worldwide (15.2 million unique viewers). About a third of that total was internationally, covering 185 countries. As an aside, I also called that Jaguars upset here at Doc's once I saw the Bills' injury report.
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We also saw an NFL first on Sunday as the Carolina Panthers beat the Philadelphia Eagles and the New England Patriots beat the New York Jets, giving the league five teams at 6-0 for the first time ever. The Cats and Pats joined the Broncos, Packers and Bengals at 6-0; those latter three were all on the bye in Week 7.
The individual star of the week was Dolphins QB Ryan Tannehill. He completed 18 of 19 passes (94.7 percent) for 282 yards with four touchdowns, no interceptions and a perfect 158.3 passer rating in the Dolphins' 44-26 win over Houston. Tannehill completed his first 18 passes of the game and, combined with his seven completions in a row to end the previous week's game at Tennessee, set an NFL record with 25 consecutive completions. That one Tannehill incompletion probably could have been caught by tight end Dion Sims, who got a hand on the ball. I know a few books entering the season offered a prop on whether we would have a QB with a perfect rating in 2015. It only happened once last year.
Here are some Week 8 games and opening lines that caught my eye. As usual, I will not touch on the Thursday game, my featured Sunday game (easy choice this week: Packers at Broncos) or the Monday night game.
Lions at Chiefs (-4, 47): Pretty meaningless game, but it's another 9:30 a.m. ET start from London. Jaguars coach Gus Bradley kept his job on the way back from London because his team did beat Buffalo on Sunday. Might Detroit coach Jim Caldwell lose his if the Lions fall here? Detroit (1-6) lost 28-19 at home to Minnesota on Sunday, a game I actually thought the Lions would win. They blew an 11-point lead as Matthew Stafford was sacked seven times. Stafford got X-rays on his hand afterward, but it's not thought to be serious. Kansas City ended a five-game losing streak with Sunday's 23-13 win over the Steelers; obviously, it helped that Pittsburgh started third-string QB Landry Jones. He was picked off twice and lost a fumble that helped end the game. Key trend: Kansas City is 5-5 ATS in past 10 as favorite of at least four points. The pick: Lions.
49ers at Rams (-7.5, 39): This is the lowest total on the board for Week 8. I'm in a fantasy football keeper league where you only draft rookies each season. I tried desperately to trade up for the No. 1 overall pick so I could take Georgia's Todd Gurley, but I wasn't willing to pay the price the holder of that pick wanted. Really wishing I had. Gurley rushed for 128 yards and two touchdowns in the Rams' 24-6 win over Cleveland on Sunday. Gurley, who had rushed for 146 and 159 yards in his previous two games, is the first rookie since 2005 (Tampa Bay's Cadillac Williams) to rush for at least 125 in each of his first three career starts. Gurley finished with 97 rushing yards after contact -- the most for any player in a game this season. He looks like a young Eric Dickerson to me. I could easily see the Rams blanking the 49ers here even though San Francisco has extra time to prepare, having come off a 20-3 home loss to the Seahawks last Thursday. The Rams and Niners split their meetings last season, with each team winning on the road. Key trend: St. Louis is 4-4-2 ATS in past 10 as home favorite in series (not since 2010). The pick: Rams and under.
Giants at Saints (-3, 49.5): This likely will be a bit more meaning for New York quarterback Eli Manning as he was raised in New Orleans and still lives down there part of the year. The G-Men retook the NFC East lead with Sunday's 27-20 win over the visiting Cowboys and Philly's loss in Carolina. New York snapped a five-game slide against Dallas as Dwayne Harris ran back a kickoff 100 yards for the winning points in the fourth quarter against his former team. It was the 100th career regular-season win for Giants coach Tom Coughlin. The Saints got a pretty surprising 27-21 win in Indianapolis -- nearly blowing a 27-0 lead. The New Orleans defense played probably its best game of the season, sacking Andrew Luck four times and forcing three turnovers. Mark Ingram gained 143 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries, including the four longest run plays of New Orleans' season. First meeting between Giants and Saints since 2012. Key trend: New Orleans 4-6 ATS in past 10 as home favorite of at least three points. The pick: Saints.
Seahawks at Cowboys (+5.5, 40.5): Sometimes Cowboys owner/GM Jerry Jones just says really stupid things. Hothead defensive end Greg Hardy during Sunday's loss got into a heated argument with injured receiver Dez Bryant, who was simply trying to calm Hardy down after he shoved special teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia's clipboard back into the coach's face. Here's what Jones said of Hardy's actions: "He's one of the real leaders on this team & he earns it. That's the kind of thing that inspires." Wow. Remember, this is the guy who allegedly threatened to kill his girlfriend and threw her on a bed of guns. If Hardy wasn't a good player, he'd have been waived already. It's possible that Bryant returns for this game. Will Matt Cassel be his QB or will Dallas go back to Brandon Weeden? Cassel struggled Sunday against the Giants in his first start of the year. He was picked off three times, on returned for a touchdown and one at the New York goal line. Dallas has dropped four straight since Tony Romo was lost, and he's not back until Nov. 22 at the earliest. This is a revenge game for Seattle as its only home loss last year was 30-23 to Dallas. Key trend: Dallas 6-4 ATS in past 10 as home dog. The pick: Huge on Seattle.
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