2019 NFL picks, score predictions for Week 8

Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images
Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images /
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Photo by Naomi Baker/Getty Images
Photo by Naomi Baker/Getty Images /

Carolina Panthers (4-2) at San Francisco 49ers (6-0)

Sunday, October 27, 4:05PM ET

If there’s any team that can upend the undefeated 49ers in the coming weeks, it’s the Carolina Panthers. I don’t think they’re good enough to go undefeated this season, so I’m predicting their NFC South foes hand them their first defeat here in Week 8.

How will the Panthers do it? It starts with their defense, which has been one of the very best in 2018 at collapsing the pocket and getting after opposing passers. They lead the league in sacks right now, and should spend most of Sunday hunting Jimmy Garoppolo. As long as Carolina can keep the 49ers from running rampant on the ground, this one shouldn’t get away from them.

Then, it’ll be up to Ron Rivera to come up with a plan that works to counteract the 2nd-ranked San Francisco defense. They’ve been downright deadly at times in 2018, having shut down most of their opponents with ease. However, they have yet to meet a talent like Christian McCaffrey, who will be the x-factor for the Panthers.

McCaffrey runs wild, as Carolina finds creative ways to put the ball in his hands quickly. The 49ers defense makes plenty of big plays, but the Panthers avoid making costly mistakes and earn a hard-fought road win to knock San Francisco from the ranks of the undefeated.

Prediction: Panthers win 21-20