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N.F.L. Week 8 Predictions: Our Picks Against the Spread

Seahawks at Lions, 1 p.m. Fox

The Seahawks (3-3) have won three of their last four games, but with two of the wins coming against Oakland and Arizona, it is hard to get too enthusiastic about them. Even with the improvement, their path to a wild card looks awfully steep (there is no point in pretending they have a chance of catching the Rams for the division title). They have a brutal stretch over the next five weeks. Going on the road to Detroit is more complicated than it has been in recent years, thanks to the Lions (3-3) finding some balance in their offense, with Kerryon Johnson and LeGarrette Blount giving them a decent running game. This game should be an excellent barometer for whether Seattle’s rebuilt defense has gotten better, or if they have just gone against easy competition. Pick: Lions -3

Redskins at Giants, 1 p.m., Fox

Give the Giants (1-6) some credit: They made a game of it on Monday night against Atlanta. Coach Pat Shurmur took some grief for a few calls that were deemed unconventional and didn’t go the team’s way, but they were the same type of mathematical decisions that have had everyone praising Philadelphia’s Doug Pederson and Carolina’s Ron Rivera in recent years. Hosting the Redskins (4-2) is a tough matchup, though, as Washington not only has more talent, but they have something to play for with the N.F.C. East looking like it is theirs for the taking. Pick: Redskins -1

Colts at Raiders, 4:05 p.m., CBS

The Raiders (1-5) are definitely not tanking. Coach Jon Gruden has made that clear throughout his short second tenure with the team. They intend to win as many games as possible in their last year(s) in Oakland. Trading away Khalil Mack, their best defensive player, before the season was not tanking, and trading Amari Cooper, their most talented wide receiver, earlier this week was also not tanking. Surely the draft picks they picked up will help them beat the Colts (2-5) this week. Pick: Colts -3

49ers at Cardinals, 4:25 p.m., Fox

It is hard to imagine a game being more irrelevant this early in the season. The 49ers (1-6) had their season essentially end when Jimmy Garoppolo was injured way back in Week 3, and the Cardinals (1-6) had no expectations to begin with. The Upshot’s Playoff Simulator gives San Francisco a better chance at making the playoffs: That team is at 1 percent, while Arizona is labeled <1 percent. This game should end in a tie, as neither team deserves a win, but Arizona will probably win based on little more than home-field advantage. Pick: Cardinals +1

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