By News Team
Last Updated: 28th October 2021
Fans are getting an early Halloween treat on Thursday night, as the Green Bay Packers visit the undefeated Arizona Cardinals.
The Packers (6-1) and Aaron Rodgers have won six straight since their opening week 38-3 disaster against the Saints in Jacksonville, whilst the Cardinals (7-0) are the last unbeaten team in the NFL. Who will come out on top?
We’ve previewed that and two other key games in Week 8 below.
Green Bay Packers @ Arizona Cardinals
Arguably the best game of Week 8 comes right out of the gate with the undefeated Cardinals hosting Aaron Rodgers and the Packers.
Thanks to their historic start to the season, Cardinals pocket-rocket quarterback Kyler Murray is favourite to win the regular season most valuable player with MVP odds of 15/4.
Ball of energy Murray will oppose the reigning league MVP Aaron Rodgers – a 10/1 chance to win the crown again this season – in a key NFC clash for play-off positioning and a potential first round bye for the top team in the conference.
Something has to give in this match-up, and it’s likely to be the Packers’ defense.
They could be without three of four starters in the secondary and there are injuries in the linebackers too.
Arizona have arguably been better on the road than at home this season, but the injuries might be too much to overcome for the banged-up Packers defense, especially against a lethal Arizona offense which is top 10 in the run and pass, and fourth best in scoring.
Rodgers will need to avoid sacks to make a game of it and try to keep things close to outduel Murray in the fourth quarter.
Billed as a potentially high-scoring shootout between the two top quarterbacks the Packers will do their best to turn it into a tight affair and it could pay to go under the 50.5 points spread. With that in mind, both teams to score a field goal is interesting at 5/2.
Aaron Jones will have to score a touchdown or two if the Packers are to win while Arizona’s key man James Conner will be hard to stop in the red zone.
Pittsburgh Steelers @ Cleveland Browns
The Steelers have a golden opportunity coming off a bye week to get an important road division win in the tough AFC North against the Browns.
Pittsburgh will be well rested and should be ready to support Najee Harris and Ben Roethlisberger as they finally look like they have figured out their offense, winning two straight with an improved offense line.
The Browns are an exciting team to watch but have lost half of their offense to injury and may be without talisman Baker Mayfield again, although they should see the return of Nick Chubb.
However, after putting up 42 in a loss to the Chargers three weeks ago, the Browns have failed to score 20 points in back-to-back games.
Case Keenum was lively as the Browns squeezed the Broncos 17-4 last week, but the Steelers beat up Denver the week before. The Browns defence is 7th against the pass and 2nd against the run but they are a lowly 29th in turnovers.
The Steelers are anything but free scoring – they have yet to reach 30 points in a game this season – but they do have a habit, thanks to Big Ben’s experience, of getting the job done.
Not surprisingly the total points spread is just 42.5 but even that may be a shade generous.
If Mayfield was playing, they would be 7pt favourites for this but with Keenan at the wheel they are 3.5 favourites. So much is expected of the Browns and this looks a must-win. It’s 4/1 Cleveland to win by 7-12 points.
Steelers fans will continue to trust in Roethlisberger and down the stretch in a game the veteran knows how to seal the deal. Pittsburgh are 17/10 for the road win and at venue they love or take them to win by one to six points at 19/5.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ New Orleans Saints
Last season, the New Orleans Saints accomplished something no team in NFL history previously achieved against Tom Brady. They beat him twice during the same regular season.
If they want to make it three in a row, it will be former Bucs QB Jameis Winston who must beat Brady. The latter threw for his NFL-record 600th TD last week.
However, the Buccaneers like to destroy overmatched opponents at home. They tend to make things more interesting against good teams on the road, especially solid all-around ones in their own division.
New Orleans have enough defense and a motivated Winston to make this tight in something close to a home prime-time spot.