It's almost hard to believe the NFL season is already on the cusp of Week 8, and the league landscape has shifted to say the least.
Before getting into an overview of coverage for every game on tap, let's take time to acknowledge the most stunning development.
Yes, it's Kansas City Chiefs appreciation time.
The Chiefs had the No. 1 overall pick in the most recent draft, yet they find themselves as the only undefeated team standing at 7-0. That development alone is an indicator of how wild 2013 has been to date.
Sunday's opponent, the Cleveland Browns, will start their 20th quarterback since reentering the league in 1999.
Jason Campbell will be the 20th QB to start for the #Browns since 1999. Good times.— Marc Sessler (@MarcSesslerNFL) October 23, 2013
Jason Campbell and Co. shouldn't threaten to derail the raging success head coach Andy Reid has enjoyed in his first year at the helm.
Quality of wins and the mediocre play of quarterback Alex Smith can be used as arguments against Kansas City, but an unblemished record is a monumental achievement for any franchise at this juncture. It's worth recognizing it as such instead of discounting the ways in which the Chiefs have won.
Now that the best team in the league has been broken down, here is a look at where to catch every game on the schedule, with a focus on some of the less lopsided battles set to take place.
|Date||Away Team||Home Team||Time (ET)||Network|
|Thursday, Oct. 24||Carolina Panthers||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||8:25 p.m.||NFL|
|Sunday, Oct. 27||Dallas Cowboys||Detroit Lions||1 p.m.||FOX|
|Sunday, Oct. 27||Cleveland Browns||Kansas City Chiefs||1 p.m.||CBS|
|Sunday, Oct. 27||Miami Dolphins||New England Patriots||1 p.m.||CBS|
|Sunday, Oct. 27||Buffalo Bills||New Orleans Saints||1 p.m.||CBS|
|Sunday, Oct. 27||New York Giants||Philadelphia Eagles||1 p.m.||FOX|
|Sunday, Oct. 27||San Francisco 49ers||Jacksonville Jaguars||1 p.m.||FOX|
|Sunday, Oct. 27||New York Jets||Cincinnati Bengals||4:05 p.m.||CBS|
|Sunday, Oct. 27||Pittsburgh Steelers||Oakland Raiders||4:05 p.m.||CBS|
|Sunday, Oct. 27||Washington Redskins||Denver Broncos||4:25 p.m.||FOX|
|Sunday, Oct. 27||Atlanta Falcons||Arizona Cardinals||4:25 p.m.||FOX|
|Sunday, Oct. 27||Minnesota Vikings||Green Bay Packers||8:30 p.m.||NBC|
|Monday, Oct. 28||Seattle Seahawks||St. Louis Rams||8:30 p.m.||ESPN|
Dallas Cowboys (4-3) vs. Detroit Lions (4-3)
Which quarterback is under more pressure to win on Sunday?
Sitting a half-game behind in the NFC North, it is critical for the Lions to take care of business at home against the East-leading Cowboys, who may be atop their division, but that's not saying much.
Dallas' No. 29 pass defense is going to have an even harder time matching up with Detroit star receiver Calvin Johnson than other teams that draw the misfortune of facing him.
Although the Cowboys gave up only three points on the road in Philadelphia last week, that was more attributable to Nick Foles and Matt Barkley being the opposing quarterbacks than anything.
Several notches above that pair is Detroit signal-caller Matthew Stafford, who should combine with Johnson to light up the scoreboard at Ford Field.
Like passing? Tony Romo or Matthew Stafford rank in the top 5 in pass att and yards in the last 2 seasons (DAL at DET, Sunday 1 ET)— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) October 22, 2013
In spite of the dire state of the defense, the pressure will fall on Tony Romo, who had his first two-interception game of the season last week and will need to do a lot to pull off this road win.
Romo has the benefit of a prolific receiver of his own in Dez Bryant to face a lackluster Detroit secondary, but the Lions' front four should get to Romo often, especially since he won't have a good running game to complement him.
Prediction: Lions 38, Cowboys 31
Miami Dolphins (3-3) vs. New England Patriots (5-2)
What makes this game stand out from the crowd is that it's a divisional matchup and the biggest test in the young career of Ryan Tannehill.
The 2012 No. 8 overall pick guided the Dolphins to a 3-0 start, gaining acclaim for his progress in his second season. Now that chatter has subsided, because Tannehill has been sacked a league-high 26 times and Miami has dropped three straight.
#Dolphins QB Ryan Tannehill's accuracy has taken a hit recently. He's completing just 51.9 percent of his passes the past 2 games.— James Walker (@JamesWalkerNFL) October 23, 2013
There is no better measure of how a young team stacks up than to face a perennial championship contender like New England.
It's on Tannehill to shine and to make enough plays to give the Dolphins a chance at victory in Foxboro in a duel with future Hall of Famer Tom Brady.
Unfortunately, Miami is 25th against the pass, and Rob Gronkowski is back for the Patriots—coming off of an eight-catch, 114-yard performance in his season debut in Week 7.
Unless Lamar Miller and Daniel Thomas come to life out of the Dolphins' backfield behind a suspect offensive line, the Pats may prove that the Dolphins are still a year away from seriously threatening in the AFC East.
Prediction: Patriots 27, Dolphins 20
Washington Redskins (2-4) vs. Denver Broncos (6-1)
Second-year stud Robert Griffin III has reestablished himself as a runner over the past two weeks, helping put to rest concerns about his surgically repaired knee.
Meanwhile, Peyton Manning is hampered with an ankle injury—albeit a minor one—according to ESPN.com's Jeff Legwold:
Manning has minor ankle injury...espected to practice tomorrow for #Broncos.— Jeff Legwold (@Jeff_Legwold) October 23, 2013
A competitor like Manning—who hasn't missed a start in 14 previous NFL seasons—will be on the field in all likelihood on Sunday, but the development is nevertheless quite a turning of the tables.
Griffin was the one who had injury concerns and whose stock was down, but he's now run for 77 and 84 yards in the past two weeks, respectively. It seems he is quite literally turning a corner, and Washington is still in the hunt to defend its NFC East title.
Robert Griffin III had a Total QBR of 91.8 Sunday, his highest Total QBR this season and the fourth highest in a game in his career— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) October 20, 2013
Manning lost to his old Indianapolis Colts team, and if he loses this one, the Broncos could find themselves two games behind Kansas City for the AFC West lead.
The Redskins give up 30.7 points per game, though, and are about to face Manning and the No. 1 scoring offense in the NFL on the road. Even with Griffin rounding into form, that's too much for the underdogs to overcome.
Look for Manning to get redemption and have another virtuoso performance in a shootout victory.
Prediction: Broncos 45, Redskins 34