Bold Predictions

NFL Week 8 bold predictions: Jameis Winston bests Tom Brady; Justin Jefferson cooks Cowboys

Throughout the 2021 NFL season, NFL Network analysts will provide one bold prediction heading into each week's slate of games (see the full Week 8 schedule).

Marc Ross: The Jameis Winston Revenge Game! This prediction might go beyond bold to a little crazy, but stranger things have happened. In case you forgot, Winston was drafted No. 1 overall by the Buccaneers in 2015, and the team let him walk after five seasons. (He threw for a league-leading 5,109 passing yards with 33 TDs -- also logging an NFL-high 30 picks -- during his final year in Tampa.) On Sunday against his former team, Winston records his first 300-yard passing game since 2019 and outduels Tom Brady to lead the Saints to their third straight win this season. The performance also hands Brady his third consecutive regular-season loss to the Saints.

James Jones: One matchup everyone is looking forward to: Minnesota receiver Justin Jefferson vs. Dallas cornerback Trevon Diggs on Sunday Night Football. Jefferson was the fifth wideout selected in the 2020 NFL draft, while Diggs was the eighth cornerback off the board. A season and a half later, Jefferson easily leads the class in receptions (129) and receiving yards (1,942), while Diggs comfortably owns the most interceptions (10, including two pick-sixes this season). The last time Diggs and Jefferson faced off was Nov. 9, 2019, when Jefferson's top-ranked LSU team beat Diggs' No. 2 Alabama squad 46-41. Jefferson finished with seven catches for 79 yards, but per Pro Football Focus, Diggs was not the primary defender in coverage on any of the wideout's targets. In their first head-to-head matchup in the NFL, Jefferson comes out the winner with a career-best 200 receiving yards. (As a former NFL receiver, I had to go with the wideout -- even if he is a Viking.)

Joe Thomas: Washington quarterback Taylor Heinicke has struggled over the last three weeks, going 0-3 with two passing TDs, four INTs and a 67.5 passer rating. He flips the switch Sunday in Denver by rushing for 50 yards and a touchdown while throwing for two scores in a road victory.

David Carr: Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots are 9-2 vs. opponents coming off a bye week in the last 10 seasons. They keep that run going Sunday, beating the Chargers with a massive defensive performance. The Patriots' D tests the pass protection of Brandon Staley's group and sacks Justin Herbert eight times.

Maurice Jones-Drew: Sunday night's Cowboys-Vikings game is stacked with talent at the running back position. With Dak Prescott's status up in the air, Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard take matters into their own hands for Dallas, each rushing for 100 yards against a Minnesota defense that ranks 26th against the run.

DeAngelo Hall: The Derwin James-led Chargers defense makes life hard for Patriots rookie quarterback Mac Jones and holds New England's offense to fewer than 250 total yards for the first time this season.

Full NFL Week 8 schedule

Monday, November 1

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