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NFL Week 8 Picks: 3 Favorites Primed for an Upset

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - OCTOBER 07:  Quarterback Brandon Weeden #3 of the Cleveland Browns drops back to pass against the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium on October 7, 2012 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Alex Trautwig/Getty Images)
Alex Trautwig/Getty Images
Bill PivetzCorrespondent IIIOctober 25, 2012

The NFL season is flying by as we get ready for Week 8.

There are some good games going on, including the Eagles hosting the Falcons as they try to hand Atlanta their its loss.

The Green Bay Packers look to continue their winning ways against the Jacksonville Jaguars, and the Patriots and Rams take their game across the pond in London.

There are seven teams at 3-3, and this week will see teams start to pull away from their division rivals as they get ready for the playoffs.

The Houston Texans and Baltimore Ravens are on their bye, so their spots atop the AFC are safe. The NFC could see a tie at the top if the Bears defeat the Panthers and Eagles beat the Falcons.

Here are three teams who could upset their opponents on the way to a Week 8 victory.

 

Washington Redskins over Pittsburgh Steelers (-4.5)

The Washington Redskins could easily be 4-3 right now, but they left too much time left for Eli Manning and the Giants.

Robert Griffin III drove the Redskins 77 yards to take the lead, capping it off with a 30-yard touchdown to Santana Moss. Nineteen seconds later, Manning matched it with a game-winning 77-yard touchdown to Victor Cruz.

The Pittsburgh Steelers are coming off a Sunday-night victory over division rival Cincinnati Bengals. The Steelers defense held the Bengals to only three points in the second half after they scored 14 points in the first half.

The Steelers' defense does a much better job than the Giants' stopping the run. They allow only 92.5 yards rushing per game—unlike the Giants, who allow 126.4 rushing yards per game.

However, the Steelers haven’t played against a quarterback like RGIII. He is an explosive player who can make plays with his arm and legs. He had 258 passing and 89 rushing yards last week.

The Redskins have a balanced offense with Alfred Morris at running back and average 28.7 points per game, fifth in the NFL. The Steelers are dealing with some injuries on defense that RGIII will expose on their way to a win on the road.

 

Cleveland Browns over San Diego Chargers (-2.5)

The San Diego Chargers are known as a team of two halves, and Week 6 continued that trend.

They were up 24-0 against the Denver Broncos at halftime. However, the Broncos came out as a whole different team. The defense shut out the Chargers in the second half. Philip Rivers threw three interceptions in the fourth quarter alone and Peyton Manning threw three touchdowns on his way to a 35-24 victory.

The Cleveland Browns are off to a typical start at 1-6, but have shown some promise. They lost close games against the Philadelphia Eagles and Indianapolis Colts.

Rookie quarterback Brandon Weeden is developing a connection with wide receiver Josh Gordon. Gordon leads the team with 333 yards and four touchdowns, which came in the last three games.

With the collapse the Chargers have faced in recent years, I can see the Browns winning this game at home. The Chargers are typically the favorites in the weak AFC West, but have been known to prove otherwise.

The Chargers defense allows 268.2 passing yards per game, which is 25th in the league. Weeden averages 244.9 passing yards per game and seems to be more comfortable in the pocket each week. The Browns are a young team, but should be able to cover the 2.5-point spread.

 

New Orleans Saints over Denver Broncos (-6)

Many fans and analysts were worried that Peyton Manning wouldn’t be able to play at the level they were used to seeing.

That all changed in Week 1 when Manning threw for 253 yards and two touchdowns against the Steelers.

Although the Broncos are 3-3, Manning is playing like he never took last year off. He has thrown for 1,808 yards with 14 touchdowns and only four interceptions. Willis McGahee is complementing Manning well with 441 yards and three touchdowns.

The Saints had a rough start earlier in the season. They began 0-4, but have since turned it around. They are currently on a two-game winning streak after their shootout win last week against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Interim head coach Joe Vitt makes his return after serving a seven-week suspension. According to ESPN, he immediately plans to fix the Saints defense, who has allowed 30.3 points and 465.5 yards per game. 

"I met with Spagnuolo this morning, and we know there are things we can do better from a coaching standpoint and from a players' standpoint and from a schematic standpoint," he said.

This may be a tough spread for the Saints to cover, but with the way their offense has been playing recently, it’s not impossible. The return of Vitt as head coach will also provide a spark for the defense.

Although they are playing against Manning, he is still prone to making mistakes and the Saints need to capitalize on them in order to win.

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