We're about at the halfway point of the 2013 NFL season, and while some of the best matchups have already taken place, things are just getting started.
See, now things are heating up with divisional battles starting to see a bigger emphasis. While the best bouts won't come until the end of the season, Week 8 and beyond sets the stage for what are sure to be epic throwdowns.
Here's what is on the table for Week 8, when it occurs and where it can be seen. After the jump, check out a breakdown of three of the top matchups.
|Thurs., Oct. 24||Carolina Panthers||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||8:25 p.m.||NFL Network|
|Sun., Oct. 27||Dallas Cowboys||Detroit Lions||1 p.m.||Fox|
|Sun., Oct. 27||Cleveland Browns||Kansas City Chiefs||1 p.m.||CBS|
|Sun., Oct. 27||Miami Dolphins||New England Patriots||1 p.m.||CBS|
|Sun., Oct. 27||Buffalo Bills||New Orleans Saints||1 p.m.||CBS|
|Sun., Oct. 27||New York Giants||Philadelphia Eagles||1 p.m.||Fox|
|Sun., Oct. 27||San Francisco 49ers||Jacksonville Jaguars||1 p.m.||Fox|
|Sun., Oct. 27||New York Jets||Cincinnati Bengals||4:05 p.m.||CBS|
|Sun., Oct. 27||Pittsburgh Steelers||Oakland Raiders||4:05 p.m.||CBS|
|Sun., Oct. 27||Washington Redskins||Denver Broncos||4:25 p.m.||Fox|
|Sun., Oct. 27||Atlanta Falcons||Arizona Cardinals||4:25 p.m.||Fox|
|Sun., Oct. 27||Green Bay Packers||Minnesota Vikings||8:30 p.m.||NBC|
|Mon., Oct. 28||Seattle Seahawks||St. Louis Rams||8:30 p.m.||ESPN|
New York Jets at Cincinnati Bengals
Look at the New York Jets and Geno Smith go.
New York is now 4-3 and finally upended the New England Patriots last week while its elite defense held Tom Brady in check without a touchdown pass. The rookie Smith has been electric with great anticipation and pocket presence, and the combo has made New York a tough out.
On the other side is Cincinnati, a team riding a three-game winning streak. Quarterback Andy Dalton has thrown for more than 300 yards in his past two contests, and the defense is once again an elite unit but will be without top corner Leon Hall, who is out for the year per Josh Katzowitz of CBS Sports.
Cincinnati sits atop the AFC North alone with Baltimore and Cleveland tied at 3-4 in second place. Now would not be the time to get complacent, as the schedule the rest of the way is not kind. Despite the victory, New York still looks up to New England in the AFC East.
In an offensive league, this one will come down to great defense.
Washington Redskins at Denver Broncos
If the last matchup was all about defense, this one is an offensive fireworks show.
Peyton Manning is red-hot after losing in Indianapolis last week and now gets a shot at one of the NFL's worst defenses. Manning and Co. average 40 points per game, which will be an easy number to match at home.
While that seems like bad news for the Redskins, Robert Griffin III and the Washington offense will be able to put up plenty of points as well against the NFL's worst pass defense.
While the Broncos were one of the league's final undefeated teams before last week, Denver actually sits in second place in the AFC West thanks to the undefeated Kansas City Chiefs. Meanwhile, Washington is just trying to stay relevant at 2-4.
If there is one game to absolutely not miss in Week 8, it's this one. Both sides could experience their highest point totals of the season, and that's an impressive feat.
Miami Dolphins at New England Patriots
As far as divisional matchups go, this is as good as it gets in Week 8.
The AFC East is wide open with the Patriots at 5-2 in first, but the Dolphins are not far behind in third place at 3-3.
It sounds like a big mountain to climb for the Dolphins, but this is the same Miami team that started the year hot with three wins, including a major victory over Indianapolis.
The biggest issue in Miami is the protection around Ryan Tannehill, who has been sacked a league-leading 26 times. Miami thinks it may have a solution to the issue after trading for tackle Bryant McKinnie as reported by Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald.
As hinted, Tom Brady and the Patriots have experienced plenty of their own issues, which primarily center around an ineffective offense that only scores 21.7 points per game.
The return of star tight end Rob Gronkowski did little to help things last week, but developing timing can be a tricky endeavor. Expect both teams to come out swinging for the fences early in one of the week's best matchups.
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