NFL Picks Week 8: Forecasting Sunday's Biggest Battles
With one more week in the books, the NFL continues to be an unpredictable mess.
Just when one team starts do distance itself from the rest, it falls back down to earth. Even the undefeated Kansas City Chiefs have their flaws, and they haven't exactly gone through the gauntlet. They almost lost to a Houston Texans team led by Case Keenum.
And then you've got the previously winless New York Giants getting their first win on Monday night, still under the belief that they can make the playoffs. And in the weak NFC East, they just might.
The NFL is known for its parity, and it's seasons like this one that make you sit back and truly appreciate how great the league is for that unpredictability.
Without too many mismatches on the schedule for Week 8, fans should be treated to back-and-forth games that go right down to the wire.
Here are predictions for every Week 8 game, followed by in-depth breakdowns for three of Sunday's most competitive games.
|Time (ET)||Home Team||Away Team||Pick|
|Thurs., Oct. 24|
|8:25 p.m.||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||Carolina Panthers||CAR|
|Sun., Oct. 27|
|1 p.m.||Jacksonville Jaguars||San Francisco 49ers||SF|
|1 p.m.||Kansas City Chiefs||Cleveland Browns||KC|
|1 p.m.||New England Patriots||Miami Dolphins||NE|
|1 p.m.||New Orleans Saints||Buffalo Bills||NO|
|1 p.m.||Philadelphia Eagles||New York Giants||NYG|
|1 p.m.||Detroit Lions||Dallas Cowboys||DET|
|4:05 p.m.||Oakland Raiders||Pittsburgh Steelers||PIT|
|4:05 p.m.||Cincinnati Bengals||New York Jets||NYJ|
|4:25 p.m.||Arizona Cardinals||Atlanta Falcons||ATL|
|4:25 p.m.||Denver Broncos||Washington Redskins||DEN|
|8:30 p.m.||Minnesota Vikings||Green Bay Packers||GB|
|Mon., Oct. 28|
|8:40 p.m.||St. Louis Rams||Seattle Seahawks||SEA|
Schedule via NFL.com
Denver Broncos vs. Washington Redskins
The Denver Broncos defense should continue improving as the season goes on. Von Miller made his return last week. You saw some flashes of the monster who got 18.5 sacks in 2012, but for the most part, he still looked a little rusty. The more time he spends on the field, the better and better he'll get.
The Washington Redskins got a huge win last week over the Chicago Bears. In addition, Robert Griffin III looked like the dual-threat QB he was last year.
This game could turn into the Broncos-Cowboys game from Week 5. The winner is the team with the slightly better defense and the quarterback who doesn't give away the ball at the worst possible time.
Don't bet on Denver losing two games in a row. It has a better defense, especially against the run. The Broncos have the fifth-best rush defense, according to Football Outsiders. If they can keep RG3 one-dimensional and limit Alfred Morris' yards, they'll be in business.
Denver 38, Washington 31
Cincinnati Bengals vs. New York Jets
The Cincinnati Bengals continue to be a team that plays up and down to its competition. They got a big win in Detroit last week, even if it came down to a last-second field goal.
Meanwhile, Rex Ryan emboldened his Coach of the Year resume by beating the New England Patriots in overtime.
The Bengals are bound to fall on their face again. Having won three games in a row, they're due for a poor performance.
Leon Hall is out for the season, via ESPN's Chris Mortensen.
No surprise but Bengals will place CB Leon Hall of season-ending Injured reserve after he tore his Achilles on Sunday. Significant loss— Chris Mortensen (@mortreport) October 21, 2013
That's a major loss to the Cincinnati secondary. The corner combo of Terence Newman and Adam Jones won't strike fear into opposing quarterbacks. Geno Smith should be able to move the ball through the air.
With as good as New York's defense has been, the Jets will make Andy Dalton revert to his early-season form.
New York 24, Cincinnati 20
Detroit Lions vs. Dallas Cowboys
The good news for the Detroit Lions is that, despite a Week 7 loss, Calvin Johnson returned to the "Megatron" of old. He was a force of nature against a Bengals secondary that had previously been very good. With Johnson being his usual self, the Lions offense has become great again.
The Dallas Cowboys were underwhelming against the Philadelphia Eagles last Sunday. Had it not been for how bad Nick Foles and Matt Barkley were, the Cowboys could have had a much tougher time.
With any luck, this game will turn into a battle between Tony Romo and Matthew Stafford. Both guys will go for 300-plus yards and tear apart the opposing secondaries.
A lot will hinge on the health of DeMarco Murray. If he's out for another week, Dallas will lack the balanced offense to match Detroit.
The Lions get the slight edge because of Murray's health and playing at home. It should be a very entertaining game.
Detroit 34, Dallas 30
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