Week 8: Predicting a Patriots-less Sunday

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-4) @ Atlanta Falcons (6-1) – 1:00 P.M. EST

Despite piloting his team to a 6-1 record, Matt Ryan has been head-scratchingly mediocre as of late. He hasn’t thrown for over 300 yards since Week 2, hasn’t totaled more than two touchdowns in one game, and has logged multiple interceptions in three games. Look Ryan to get back on the elite quarterback horse this week against the middling Bucs.

Prediction: Falcons 34, Buccaneers 13

Must-read: A few thoughts from the blowout win over Miami

San Diego Chargers (2-5) @ Baltimore Ravens (1-6) – 1:00 P.M. EST

Here’s an odd stat: neither the win nor the loss column in the Chargers’ final regular season record has reached double digits since that golden 2009 season of 13-3. Since then, it’s been 9-7 (2010), 8-8 (2011), 7-9 (2012), 9-7 (2013) and 9-7 (2014). With a November surge beginning with a romp over the Ravens in Week 8, the Chargers could find themselves finishing the season with a 7-9, 8-8 or even 9-7 record once again.

Prediction: Chargers 28, Ravens 14

Minnesota Vikings (4-2) @ Chicago Bears (2-4) – 1:00 P.M. EST

Perhaps the least-talked about upstart of the season, the Vikings will extend their winning streak to three games with a road win over the Bears. Stefon Diggs will once again be at the center of the action against an underwhelming Chicago secondary. The rookie knows how to stretch the field; he has averaged at least 18 yards per reception in each of the past two games.

Prediction: Vikings 27, Bears 20

Next: ARZ @ CLE, TEN @ HOU, NYG @ NO