NFL Betting: Winners and Losers from Week 8
Week 8 of the current NFL betting season brought many new surprises and upsets. By this time of the season no one would predict the Cincinnati Bengals to remain undefeated . The Raiders also came up in big fashion this past weekend, beating the New York Jets and taking the second spot in the AFC West. But what else happened this past weekend? Let’s take a look at the biggest winners from Week 8.
St. Louis Rams
The St. Louis Rams went against the grain this year when they drafted running back Todd Gurley in the first round. After all, conventional wisdom had started to say that you didn’t need to pick up a running back high, because the ones available later on would be just as good. However, Todd Gurley has been the exception to that rule, though, rushing for 566 yards in his first four starts, the most of any rookie tailback since the Super Bowl era began. The last person to hold that record? You have to go all the way back to Billy Sims.
In each of these starts, Gurley has broken out on a big run. Against Cleveland, he had a 48-yard gain. Against Arizona, a 52-yard gallop. Green Bay? 55. San Francisco this past week? 71. Only two other running backs in the NFL had more than one carry that had gone for at least 40 yards on the season. Adrian Peterson had three, and Chris Johnson had two. Don’t forget that Gurley missed the early part of this season because he is recovering from an ACL tear.
That 71-yard gallop showed just how much Gurley has transformed the Rams. The team was behind the Niners, and the Rams have become well-known for letting very winnable games get away, as they tend to play at the level of their competition. Then Gurley blew through a hole and scored, and suddenly a team that was down 3-2 went on to win, 27-6, and are now 4-3, including a 3-1 record in the four games that Gurley has started.
— St. Louis Rams (@STLouisRams) November 1, 2015
So is Todd Gurley already the best running back in the league? He’s playing better than Devonta Freeman and Adrian Peterson – and Le’Veon Bell is done with a knee injury. DeMarco Murray has not lived up to his billing with the Eagles yet.
So who else was a winner this week? The Oakland Raiders absolutely manhandled the New York Jets this past week, winning 34-20. Quarterback Derek Carr threw for four touchdowns against a Jets secondary that was billed at the start of the year as the NFL’s best. He also racked up 333 yards through the air. He is a true franchise quarterback of the future, and the weapons around him are impressive. Their defense is not the best, but all of the wild card contenders in the AFC have flaws right now, and so it’s not beyond the realm of possibility for the Raiders to make the postseason for the first time since 2002.
Calvin Johnson, on the other hand, has to be considered a loser this week. He is one of the dominant receivers of this generation, but he is playing for an awful franchise, much like Barry Sanders was often the only decent weapon for the Lions a generation ago. Quarterback Matthew Stafford has fallen back significantly this year, which is why Megatron’s immense talent is simply going to waste on a 1-7 franchise. As the Lions got blown out, 45-10, by Kansas City in London, it is just sad to watch Johnson have to see another year of his NFL career fade away without any shot at contention.