Vilardo: ’23 Week 8 NFL West Power Rankings and Previews

Once again, the eight teams combined for a 3-5 mark in their respective AFC and NFC divisions

Posted on October 25, 2023

  By Stephen Vilardo, SuperWest Sports

Just like last week, the NFL West teams combined for a 3-5 mark in Week 7.

In games outside of head-to-head matchups, the teams tallied a combined 1-3 record with the only win coming from the Broncos over the Packers.

It was a wild week throughout the NFL with many surprises, and I certainly was not immune to the chaos that resulted in a rough week of picks.

Across the entire NFL, I went 5-8 overall, 5-8 mark against the spread and 9-4 over/under. Woof! Let’s do better this week.

Season-long, I’m 64-42 overall, 58-46-1 ATS, and 60-44-2 O/U.

Below are my Week 8 Power Rankings for the eight teams with a quick look at the upcoming week’s matchups and my game picks.

1. Kansas City Chiefs (6-1) ▲1

Chargers Review

The Chiefs have now won six in a row since their season-opening defeat. Against the Chargers, Kansas City scored 30+ points for the second time this season.

It is a good sign that the offense is starting to find its groove, but the two games scoring over 30 came at the expense of the Bears and Chargers.

Neither of those teams will get confused with the 2000 Ravens for their defensive prowess. But defense is what is making this KC team go this season. The Chiefs are third in the league allowing just 15.0 points per game.

Kansas City is 10th in the NFL with a sack rate of 8.49%, and the Chiefs got to Justin Herbert five times in the win last week, posting a staggering sack rate of 14.29%.

Offensively, Patrick Mahomes to Travis Kelce is always going to be there, and it was on Sunday, to the tune of 12 connections for 179.

But the receivers also came up with big plays and Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Rashee Rice combined for eight receptions for 144.

With the addition of Mecole Hardman and his past connection with Mahomes, the Chiefs could be set up for a big second half of the season.

Denver Broncos Preview

Sunday, October 29
1:25 pm PT, CBS

The Chiefs will look to run their current win streak to seven games this week with a trip to Denver. This will be the first rematch of the season for KC.

The Bronco defense has played better in the last couple of weeks and did a pretty good job against Kansas City in the first meeting.

Denver’s offense is still struggling to move the football and this one could once again play into the hands of the KC defense.

Expect to see a lot of pressure on Russell Wilson and Kansas City to limit the opportunities all game long. The first meeting saw Wilson throw for just 95 yards and the run game pick up just 115 on the day.

Once again, it is going to be a good day for the Chiefs’ defense.

My Pick: Chiefs 23, Broncos 10

[Advice: The early line favors the Chiefs by 7.5, look for the KC cover and the total will stay under 46.]

2. San Francisco 49ers (5-2) ▼1

Vikings Review

In the world of the NFL you can go from virtual lock for the Super Bowl to “Are you still a legitimate Super Bowl Contender?” in two weeks.

Yes, that is what happens when you lose two straight games.

So is San Francisco still a contender? Yes. The sky is certainly not falling yet, but the two-game slide is cause for concern.

Against the Vikings, the 49ers got no pass rush on Kirk Cousins at all and the veteran QB made them pay. San Francisco finished Monday Night with no sacks on 45 pass attempts by Cousins.

San Francisco is still a top team in this league but will need to prove it in the coming weeks with some other contenders on the schedule.

Over the next seven games, the Niners will face Jacksonville, Philadelphia, Seattle twice, and Cincinnati.

The 49ers will have their chance in the coming weeks to prove they are still the class of the NFL.

Cincinnati Bengals Preview

Sunday, October 29
1:25 pm PT, CBS

San Francisco will get a shot at redemption right away with the suddenly resurgent Cincinnati coming to town. The Bengals are coming off a bye, and they could use the extra time to get healthy.

Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase have figured things out on the field in the past few games. After a slow start for the pair, Chase has averaged 10 receptions for 121.5 yards per game in his last four.

This offense will test the 49ers and San Francisco will need to get some pressure on Burrow or else he will pick them apart even more than Cousins did.

I think San Francisco will crank up the pressure this week, they have too much talent on that line for two stinkers in a row. Look for the 49ers to avoid a three-game slide and win in an entertaining game.

My Pick: 49ers 27, Bengals 23

[Advice: The 49ers are five-point favorites at home, they’ll get the win, but the Bengals will cover the spread. Both offenses put up points in this one and the total goes over 45.5]

3. Seattle Seahawks (4-2) ◄►

Cardinals Review

Seattle came away with a 20-10 win over Arizona and it seems like it was a game the Seahawks should have put away much earlier than they did.

Geno Smith did not throw an interception in the red zone in any of his first 21 games with Seattle. He has thrown one in each of the last two games.

This season in the red zone he is completing 45.5% of his passes and has taken four sacks along with the two picks.

Last season he hit 53.9% with 18 TDs no picks and just six sacks taken in 17 games. It is safe to say the QB is pressing a bit this season.

The Seahawks allowed the Cardinals to run the ball, but Arizona is a good running team. Seattle is still among the best in the NFL against the run and I don’t see much cause for concern moving forward.

Cleveland Browns Preview

Sunday, October 29
1:05 pm PT, FOX

Seattle should be able to limit what Cleveland can do offensively. The Browns can run the ball, but if PJ Walker is under center then the Browns are certainly limited.

In fact, even with Deshaun Watson back for the first half against Indianapolis, the passing game still struggled to produce.

Seattle’s issue will be moving the ball on Cleveland.

The Browns defense showed some signs of normalcy against the Colts, but Myles Garrett did not! Against Indy, he became the first player since at least 2000 to have two sacks, force two fumbles, and block a field goal.

All of that led to 17 points for the Browns and potentially took three off the board. Seattle will have to try and keep the All-Pro contained.

My Pick: Seahawks 17, Browns 16

[Advice: Seattle is a three-point favorite early. I think the Seahawks will get the win but fail to cover the number. This defensive battle should stay below the 40-point total.]

4. Los Angeles Rams (3-4) ◄►

Steelers Review

The Rams fell by seven points to the Steelers in SoFi. Brett Maher missed a PAT and two FGs in the loss, leaving the margin of victory off the board.

Puka Nacua has 58 receptions in his first seven games, the most by a player in his first seven career games all-time. Even with Cooper Kupp back, the rookie out of BYU continues to shine.

The Rams were outscored 14-0 against Pittsburgh in the fourth quarter and that kind of late letdown cannot continue if the Rams would like to take the next step middling .500 team to a playoff contender.

Better run production late will not help secure wins.

Dallas Cowboys Preview

Sunday, October 29
10:00 am PT, FOX

The Rams up-and-down season will head to Dallas next week. The Cowboys are coming off their best win of the season against the Chargers and had an extra week to prepare for the Rams.

Los Angeles has an offense that will move the ball against Dallas. If the run game can step up I think the Rams can leave Jerry World with a victory.

The Dallas offense has had some issues and the Rams’ pass rush could force the Cowboys into unfavorable situations.

My Pick: Rams 26, Cowboys 23

[Advice: The Rams are giving up 6.5 in this one, I think they will definitely get the cover and like them to get the win straight up. The point total is set at 46.5 and I think this one goes north of that.]

5. Los Angeles Chargers (2-4) ◄►

Chiefs Review

The Chargers are way too talented of a team to be sitting at 2-4 after their first six games.

This is the first game they have played that was not a one-score game in the end. The three prior losses were by a combined eight points.

Brandon Staley is feeling the heat with an underachieving season. Coming into this game, the run defense was the major issue. The Chargers were ranked 28th in the league at stopping the run.

Against the Chiefs, it was the pass defense that was the issue. Patrick Mahomes and Kansas City torched the Chargers with most of the damage coming in the opening 30 minutes.

LA gave up 24 points and 321 passing yards in the first half.

Chicago Bears Preview

Sunday, October 29
5:20 pm PT, NBC

The rush offense has also been an issue this season as the Chargers entered the KC game 30th in the NFL in rushing. Joshua Kelley was able to bust some big ones on Sunday and ended the game with 75 yards on the ground.

The big plays helped, but even a modest run game will help get the offense going again.

This week it is a Sunday Night game with the Bears, and as bad as Chicago has been this season, their run defense has been stout, ranking fifth in the league against the run.

The Bears are 28th in the NFL against the pass, though. Look for Justin Herbert to have a field day against the Chicago secondary.

The Chargers will get things right against the Bears. Now, the question is if they can sustain it.

My Pick: Chargers 31, Bears 20

[Advice: The Chargers are giving nine points at home, they will cover that number and score enough to get the total over 46.]

6. Las Vegas Raiders (3-4) ◄►

Bears Review

The Raiders laid a giant egg in Chicago, and it is that simple.

Were there injuries? Yes. But the Bears were starting Tyson Bagent at QB and were down to D’Onta Foreman at RB and were able to completely turn around their struggling offense against Las Vegas.

The Raiders had no answer for the Bears, especially the run.

For the Raiders, Brian Hoyer got the start over Aidan O’Connell. Hoyer gives the Raiders a better chance to win than O’Connell, but the offense struggled against Chicago.

Hoyer has now lost his last 13 starts at QB dating to the 2016 season.

Davante Adams ended the day with seven receptions for 57 yards. Five of those catches and 48 yards were on the first three drives of the game.

The difference between 4-3 and 3-4 after this Bears game is huge for a team that was looking like they could have an outside shot at the playoffs.

Detroit Lions Preview

Monday, October 30
5:15 pm PT, ABC/ESPN

Things will get a lot more difficult in Week 8 with a Monday Nighter against the Lions. Detroit is coming off a listless performance of their own in Baltimore, but Ford Field will be rocking for the prime-time game.

The Lions’ offense is much better than what the Raiders saw the last two weeks in New England and Chicago.

Lamar Jackson was able to move the ball on Detroit with his arm and legs. The dual threat could be an issue for the Lions’ defense.

Jimmy Garoppolo has more mobility than Hoyer, but we are not talking about Lamar Jackson-level.

Jahmyr Gibbs and the Lions offense will be able to run on the Raiders defense and this one could get away from the visitors in a hurry.

My Pick: Lions 27, Raiders 17

[Advice: Detroit will get the cover on 8 points. The total is set at 45 currently, that seems pretty much on the money but go under with the uncertainty at QB for the Raiders.]

7. Denver Broncos (2-5) ▲1

Packers Review

The Broncos got a 19-17 win over the Packers on Sunday.

Denver had the lead and let it slip away, which has become a common theme recently, only this time the Broncos were able to mount a drive at the end for the winning score.

It broke a losing streak of 10 games in which the Broncos had led at halftime.

While Denver came away with a win, a lot of it had to do with the Packers being a rough opponent rather than Denver correcting a lot of the things that limited them all season.

Russell Wilson was much more efficient against Green Bay as he was 20-for-29 with 194 yards. If the Broncos can get more consistency on offense, they could start to turn things around.

Will Lutz connected on four FGs, but Denver needs to see more drives finish in the end zone.

Kansas City Chiefs Preview

Sunday, October 29
1:25 pm PT, CBS

Denver has played better on defense the last two weeks. They limited Kansas City in the first meeting and kept things tight despite the offense struggling to move the ball at all.

The offense will need to find the endzone rather than settle for field goals this week. Partrick Mahomes will make them pay for keeping points off the board a lot more than Jordan Love was able to.

My Pick: Chiefs 23, Broncos 10

[Advice: The early line favors the Chiefs by 7.5, look for the KC cover and the total will stay under 46.]

8. Arizona Cardinals (1-6) ▼1

Seahawks Review

Against the Rams the Cardinals stalled out in the red zone. Against Seattle in the last game, the Cardinals forced three turnovers and only got three points out of them.

Two of the turnovers set up Arizona at Seattle’s 30 and 34-yard line and both were derailed by bad snaps and self-inflicted errors.

The passing game really let the Cardinals down. The Cardinals failed to complete a single pass longer than 21 yards.

Baltimore Ravens Preview

Sunday, October 29
1:25 pm PT, CBS

Baltimore is coming off a really solid win over Detroit. Lamar Jackson might be playing the best football of his career right now and looks comfortable with his new contract.

This one will be a long day for Arizona.

The Cardinals can run the football and will be able to do that against Baltimore. That will keep things close for a bit, but once the Cardinals are forced to rely on the pass things could get out of hand.

My Pick: Ravens 29, Cardinals 13

[Advice: The Ravens will cover the 8.5 points they are favored by. The point total will stay just under 44.]

—More from Stephen Vilardo—