Could Colin Kaepernick be back in the NFL by the time you read this? Maybe. With Ravens QB Joe Flacco sidelined at least the first week of training camp, the Ravens are considering signing Kaepernick, who essentially has been blackballed by the league. Coach John Harbaugh indicated Baltimore is primarily looking for someone to help the team only in the short term. Of course Kaepernick’s best seasons came under John’s brother Jim in San Francisco. Here are a couple of NFL betting picks for Week 8 this 2017 season.
NFL Week 8 Top Matchups, Betting Picks & Previews
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Carolina Panthers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
When: Sunday, Oct. 29, 1 PM ET
Where: Raymond James Stadium
Radio: WBT 1110 AM (Carolina) / WDAE 620 AM (Tampa Bay)
Stream Option: NFL Live
Opening NFL Week 8 Lines: Bucs -2.5
Newton Running Less?
So will Cam Newton run less this year or not? Coach Ron Rivera says that’s the plan. Newton, the 2015
NFL MVP, says he’s not changing. Rivera said late last season the offense needed to evolve to take the pressure off Newton to run out of the read-option and to keep the 2015 NFL MVP from taking so many hits.
Carolina then drafted dual-threat running back Christian McCaffrey with the eighth pick of the draft and added slot receiver/running back Curtis Samuel in the second round to give Newton more options on short passes and checkdown throws. The coaching staff has tinkered with the offense. Fewer designed runs and read options. More rollouts and quicker passes.
“I’m just going to take what the defense gives me. Do I have weapons? Absolutely. But it’s still going to be on me and in me to focus on getting those different outlets the ball at the right time,” Newton said. “As far as designed and called runs? I could care less. I want to win in the worst way. Straight up.”
But the Panthers aren’t expecting him to become a pocket passer. This offseason, Newton, a sweet tooth, cut back on sweets. He arrived at camp weighing 246 pounds, likely the lightest he’s been since his college days.
“That’s my edge. You going to expect a lion not to roar?” Newton asked of running. “The thing that puts me at advantage most times is having that ability to run.”
Bucs Moving McCoy Around?
Tampa has one of the NFL’s best defensive tackles in Gerald McCoy. But the Bucs want to get him snaps at defensive end. Tampa is looking for ways to find McCoy more pass-rush opportunities. Bucs DC Mike Smith plans to use some 3-4 packages with Chris Baker in the middle and McCoy and Robert Ayers at end. McCoy has seven-plus sacks in four straight seasons.
The Bucs are obviously hoping to get a lot more pressure on the opposing passer this year and with alignments that include McCoy at defensive end they should be able to do it. Last year, Tampa had 38 sacks (tied for ninth in the league) but had only 76 quarterback hurries.
The Bucs are featured on HBO’s “Hard Knocks” this year and you can expect to see plenty of McCoy. In one teaser trailer for the show, McCoy is the focal point in the clip, and it ends with a pull-away shot that captures the star defensive tackle perched atop Raymond James Stadium after a grueling stairs workout.
The Bucs had a rare sweep of Carolina last year, winning the two games by a combined four points. It was 17-16 in Tampa in Week 17. Jameis Winston threw for 202 yards and one touchdown and the Bucs broke up Newton’s two-point conversion throw in the closing seconds. Carolina had nothing to play for so tried for the win.
Denver Broncos at Kansas City Chiefs
When: Monday, Oct. 30, 8:30 PM ET
Where: Arrowhead Stadium
Radio: WDAE 620 AM (Denver) / 101 The FOX (Kansas City)
Stream Option: WatchESPN
Opening NFL Week 8 Lines: Chiefs -4
Who Starts For Denver?
One of the most interesting teams this preseason in the NFL is Denver because it might have the best quarterback battle in the NFL in incumbent Trevor Siemian and second-year Paxton Lynch, who is the presumed future of the franchise. The Broncos opened camp on Thursday and Siemian took the first-team reps, but new coach Vance Joseph says this competition is wide open and that the QBs will rotate days with the first team.
Siemian won last summer’s quarterback derby to replace the retired Peyton Manning. The 2015 seventh-round pick from Northwestern started 14 games and the Broncos were 8-6. Siemian completed 59.5 percent of his passes for 3,401 yards, 18 touchdowns and 10 interceptions.
GM John Elway traded up from No. 31 to No. 26 in the first round of the 2016 draft to take Memphis’ Lynch. He saw action in three games last year and completed 59 percent of his throws for 497 yards, two scores and a pick for a rating of 79.2. At 6-foot- 7, 244 pounds with a huge arm, Lynch clearly has the higher ceiling. But he’s not as accurate as Siemian. Expect a decision on the starter by the third preseason game.
The Broncos already got some bad news as running back Devontae Booker is expected to miss six weeks with a fractured wrist and will undergo surgery. Booker, who became the team’s starter last season as a rookie after CJ Anderson went to injured reserve just before Halloween, finished with a team-leading 612 yards rushing.
Final NFL Week 8 Predictions
Denver was swept by Kansas City last year, losing 33-10 at Arrowhead. Give the 4 points here. I like the
Bucs to cover against Carolina.