It's never a promising sign to be facing a must-win situation by Week 8 of the NFL regular season, but in those situations it's victory or bust for struggling teams.
This weekend, a number of underachieving NFL teams will be playing to save their seasons. The action will kickoff when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers travel north to Minnesota on Thursday night to play the Vikings in a game Greg Shiano's team must win in order to avoid falling three games under .500.
With the arrival of the weekend though will come a handful of more must-win scenarios.
Here are my picks for teams that will earn season-saving wins this Sunday.
San Diego Chargers
The Bolts have dropped three of their last four games and managed to blow a 24-point halftime lead in their most recent outing against division rival Denver in Week 6.
A win in Cleveland this weekend is an absolute must for San Diego, as Norv Turner's squad is in danger of falling below .500 and a game back in the AFC West race. Not to mention the Browns sport the NFL's worst record through the first seven weeks of the season.
After resting on a bye in Week 8, the Chargers have no excuse to come up short in Cleveland. A defeat at the hands of the Browns would not only be crippling but embarrassing for San Diego.
Detroit will host the Seattle Seahawks in Week 8 in a game they must have in order to keep any hope alive of reaching the playoffs for the second straight season. At 2-4, the Lions have little room for error considering they are already three games back of the NFC North-leading Chicago Bears.
The Seahawks pose a real challenge for any team they play because of their dominant, Top 10 defense. But this week, I expect Detroit to find some success through the air with its second-ranked passing attack.
Detroit still has plenty of weapons, even if they've been kept under wraps for the most part so far.
Seattle's offense isn't explosive enough to put the Lions away on the road either. Like they did in Week 6 against the Philadelphia Eagles, look for the Lions to will themselves past Seattle for a much-needed victory in Week 8.
The Titans are surging after two straight wins and can pull to 4-4 with a win over the Indianapolis Colts in Nashville on Sunday.
Most people, including myself, felt Tennessee was headed for the dumps before somehow finding a way to beat Pittsburgh on Thursday Night Football in Week 6. After a last-second win in Buffalo this past weekend, the Titans have ignited a winning streak and are in position to jump into second place in the AFC South behind the Houston Texans.
With Chicago coming to town in Week 9 the Titans can't miss an opportunity like the one they'll have on Sunday afternoon against the Colts. Division games are important, but absolutely vital at home.
Expect a big game from Chris Johnson as well, just one week after he rushed for a season-high 195 yards on the road against the Bills.
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