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NFL Week 8 Picks: Home Teams That Will Earn Narrow Victories on Sunday

OAKLAND, CA - OCTOBER 06:  Quarterback Terrelle Pryor #2 of the Oakland Raiders throws against the San Diego Chargers in the first quarter on October 06, 2013 at O.co Coliseum in Oakland, California.   The Raiders lead 17-0 in the first half. (Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images)
Brian Bahr/Getty Images
Rob GoldbergFeatured ColumnistOctober 24, 2013

If there is one thing that we have learned in the NFL it's that the final score does not matter, as long as you get a win.

This week, a number of squads around the league will barely survive with important home victories.

Fans always want to see blowouts to make them comfortable in looking ahead while gamblers are usually just looking to cover the spread. However, neither faction will be happy in the following Week 8 games.

The home teams will find a way to pull out a win, but all of these matchups will likely come down to a field goal at most.

 

Dallas Cowboys at Detroit Lions

As one of only two NFL games this week featuring two winning teams, the battle between the Cowboys and Lions should be a good one. 

Last week showed that the Lions were not invincible at home, although they fought hard against the talented Cincinnati Bengals. Most importantly, Calvin Johnson finally came through with his first huge game since Week 3, showing that he is healthy enough to dominate once again.

If Megatron can force his way to 155 receiving yards and two touchdowns against the Bengals, he should have a field day against the Cowboys pass defense, which ranks 30th in the league.

Dallas will put up a lot of points as well behind Tony Romo and Dez Bryant, as well as the emerging Terrence Williams. However, the Cowboys' running game remains a question mark with DeMarco Murray still injured.

Despite the Cowboys' solid defensive effort last week, Detroit should still be able to score enough to come away with a close victory.

 

Pittsburgh Steelers at Oakland Raiders

The Steelers appeared to have turned things around with two straight wins coming out of the bye. However, you can expect an emotional letdown this week after a late victory over the rival Baltimore Ravens last Sunday.

More importantly, the same problems that led to the Steelers' early losses are still there. Ben Roethlisberger was sacked three times in each win and the defense still struggles to force turnovers.

Those sore spots will hurt Pittsburgh against a Raiders team that has actually been pretty good when Terrelle Pryor is on the field. The Raiders are 2-0 at home when Pryor starts while Oakland's three road losses have come against teams with a combined 18-3 record.

Pryor will continue to showcase his development as a passer and playmaker in finding a way to close out a win against the Steelers.

 

Atlanta Falcons at Arizona Cardinals

/Getty Images

Atlanta proved its resolve last week with its win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Julio Jones, Roddy White and Steven Jackson were all injured, but the Falcons found other playmakers to help score 31 points in the victory.

Of course, every performance against the 0-6 Buccaneers has to be taken with a grain of salt. The Falcons' 18 rushing yards on 18 carries was not exactly encouraging either.

On the other hand, the Cardinals have dealt with a tough schedule over the past two weeks in losses to the San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks. As their games begin to get easier, the Cardinals will prove that they are actually a quality team.

Carson Palmer should succeed against a mediocre Atlanta pass rush and a Falcons defense that has allowed the second-highest opposing quarterback rating in the NFL. That will allow the Cardinals to outscore the struggling Falcons for a much-needed win.

Full Week 8 Picks
AwayHomePick
Carolina PanthersTampa Bay BuccaneersPanthers
San Francisco 49ersJacksonville Jaguars49ers
Dallas CowboysDetroit LionsLions
Cleveland BrownsKansas City ChiefsChiefs
Miami DolphinsNew England PatriotsPatriots
Buffalo BillsNew Orleans SaintsSaints
New York GiantsPhiladelphia EaglesEagles
New York JetsCincinnati BengalsBengals
Pittsburgh SteelersOakland RaidersRaiders
Washington RedskinsDenver BroncosBroncos
Atlanta FalconsArizona CardinalsCardinals
Green Bay PackersMinnesota VikingsPackers
Seattle SeahawksSt. Louis RamsSeahawks

 

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