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NFL scouting reports — Week 8

Browns (3-4) at Chiefs (7-0)

Time: 1 p.m. today.

Line: Chiefs by 7½.

The skinny: I’m proud to announce the Browns’ 20th starting quarterback since 1999: Jason Campbell. I’m guessing the Brandon Weeden era is over in Cleveland. It won’t be an easy spot for the former Redskins and Raiders quarterback. Campbell faces the Chiefs, who are NFL’s No. 5 total defense and lead the league with 35 sacks. Kansas City has covered seven of its past 10 games in October.

The pick: Chiefs.

Cowboys (4-3) at Lions (4-3)

Time: 1 p.m. today.

Line: Lions by 3.

The skinny: When Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant was asked last week to compare himself to the Lions’ Calvin Johnson, Bryant said: “I believe I can do whatever he can do.” In terms of career stats, Johnson has played three more seasons so it’s not a fair comparison. But this season, Bryant (42 receptions, 569 yards, 6 touchdowns) has outperformed Johnson (33-492-6). However, I believe Johnson & Co. will come out on top this weekend. Dallas is 6-15 against the spread (ATS) in its past 21 games after a win (it beat the Eagles last Sunday), while Detroit is 11-4 ATS in its past 15 October games.

The pick: Lions.

Giants (1-6) at Eagles (3-4)

Time: 1 p.m. today.

Line: Eagles by 5½.

The skinny: Finally! I don’t have to hear any more complaints about my picking of the Giants, who won their first game Monday. The Giants-Philadelphia rivalry used to be one of the NFL’s best matchups. However, this hasn’t been one of its better chapters. The Giants are 2-8-1 against the spread in their past 11 meetings against the Eagles, but the underdog is 13-4-1 ATS in the last series meetings. Philly, which will start Michael Vick after he missed two weeks with a pulled hamstring that he suffered against the Giants, is one of the worst plays in the NFL the past two-plus seasons. The Eagles are 6-16-1 ATS in their past 23 games overall, and 6-22-1 ATS in their past 29 home games. More significantly, they have lost nine consecutive games at home. Take the points.

The pick: Giants.

Dolphins (3-3) at Patriots (5-2)

Time: 1 p.m. today.

Line: Patriots by 6½

The skinny: Has the annoying whining from New England subsided yet? Would Patriots coach Bill Belichick just get over last week’s loss to the Jets? Your guy pushed a teammate in the back on Nick Folk’s late field goal. A rule is a rule. A penalty is a penalty. Get over it! Miami is 2-5 against the spread in its past seven roadies, and the Patriots are 8-3 ATS in their past 11 games after a loss.

The pick: Patriots.

49ers (5-2) vs. Jaguars (0-7)

Time: 1 p.m. today in London.

Line: 49ers by 16½.

The skinny: The 49ers have covered four consecutive games, and Jacksonville, has been, uh, Jacksonville with a 1-7 ATS record in its past eight games. If one takes the 49ers out of the equation, Londoners have seen three teams (Steelers, Vikings and Jags) with a combined record of 0-13 entering their games. Poor blokes!

The pick: 49ers.

Bills (3-4) at Saints (5-1)

Time: 1 p.m. today.

Line: Saints by 11.

The skinny: The Saints are 19-7 against the spread in their past 26 home games, but I’m playing a hunch here. The Bills have covered six of their past eight games overall.

The pick: Bills.

Steelers (2-4) at Raiders (2-4)

Time: 4:05 p.m. today.

Line: Steelers by 2½.

The skinny: Can the Steel Curtain make it three in a row? They’ll have a cross-country test here against the Raiders, who are coming off a bye. Interestingly, Oakland has lost 10 consecutive games (and are 1-9 ATS) after a bye week.

The pick: Steelers.

Jets (4-3) at Bengals (5-2)

Time: 4:05 p.m. today.

Line: Bengals by 6½.

The skinny: When you have a good defense, can run the ball on offense and don’t turn the ball over, you can be pretty successful in the NFL. And when the Jets have used that recipe this season, they’ve given bettors a pretty good treat. Linebacker David Harris anchors the Jets’ solid defense with a team-best 57 tackles. I’m not sure there’s a more inconsistent NFL team than the Bengals (2-2 against the spread in their past four games overall). Cincinnati is good enough to beat teams like the Patriots and Lions, but lose to the Browns. After a 20-10 Week 2 win against the Steelers, the Bengals have won their past four games by an average of just 4.3 points. I can’t say Gang Green will win this game outright, but the points will help.

The pick: Jets.

Redskins (2-4) at Broncos (6-1)

Time: 4:25 p.m. today.

Line: Broncos by 12½.

The skinny: The Broncos have dropped three consecutive covers, including last week when they lost their first game of the season. This one could finish with a total in the 70s. The punters should stay home. Denver is 3-11 against the spread in its past 14 October games, and Washington is 6-1 ATS in its past seven games against winning teams.

The pick: Redskins.

Falcons (2-4) at Cardinals (3-4)

Time: 4:25 p.m. today.

Line: Cardinals by 2½.

The skinny: The Falcons usually beat up on losing teams (15-8 ATS in their past 23 games against teams with a losing record). The Cardinals are a brutal 3-10 in their past 13 October contests.

The pick: Falcons.

Packers (4-2) at Vikings (1-5)

Time: 8:30 p.m. today.

Line: Packers by 9.

The skinny: The quarterback carousel continues to spin in Minnesota, and it landed on ... Christian Ponder. Welcome back, son! Josh Freeman, who was abysmal against the Giants on Monday, is suffering from concussion-like symptoms. I can’t believe Vikings coach Leslie Frazier didn’t pull Freeman in favor of Ponder against the Giants. It’s like saying you’re not going to call the fire department as your home goes up in flames. The Packers are 24-10 against the spread in their past 34 divisional games.

The pick: Packers.

Seahawks (6-1) at Rams (3-4)

Time: 8:40 p.m. Monday.

Line: Seahawks by 11.

The skinny: Sad but true: The Rams — after losing starting quarterback Sam Bradford to a season-ending knee injury last Sunday — reportedly called Brett Favre. Say what? The 44-year-old, who had not played since December 2010, told a radio station: “It’s flattering, but you know there’s no way I’m going to do that.” And there’s no way I’m going to take the Rams, who will start Kellen Clemens.

The pick: Seahawks.

— John Boell, Newsday



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