Week 8 features several games with blowout potential. So while the San Francisco 49ers, New Orleans Saints and Seattle Seahawks are all likely cruising to victory, other teams should get a chance to shine in more competitive contests.
After all, lopsided games are fun for the winning team and its fans, but the excitement level is low for everybody else. It's the battles that go right down to the wire that keep fans around the league coming back for more every weekend.
With that in mind, let's check out some of the most even matchups on tap for Week 8 and make predictions for which teams will score the narrow victories. The breakdowns are followed by a full list of picks for the rest of the week's action.
New York Giants at Philadelphia Eagles
When the division rivals faced off earlier in the month, the Eagles rushed for 140 yards and DeSean Jackson was able to torch the Giants secondary to the tune of 132 yards and a touchdown. It was the most complete offensive performance of the season for Philadelphia.
Michael Vick is expected back in the lineup on Sunday after overcoming a hamstring injury, per Eliot Shorr-Parks of NJ.com. Given the combined struggles of Nick Foles and Matt Barkley last week, his return comes at a perfect time to provide a boost to the offense.
Even though the Giants showed signs of progress in their first win of the season last week, they didn't do enough to completely restore faith quite yet. Add in the fact Eli Manning and Co. are losing by an average score of 33-15 on the road, and Philadelphia should sweep the season series.
Prediction: Eagles 28, Giants 21
Atlanta Falcons at Arizona Cardinals
Matt Ryan didn't get enough attention for his performance last week. He completed 20 of 26 throws for 273 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions despite his two favorite targets, Julio Jones and Roddy White, being sidelined due to injury, which will remain the case for Week 8, according to John Breech of CBSSports.com.
Harry Douglas stepped into the No. 1 receiver role, and versatile running back Jacquizz Rodgers was also a force in the passing game. It provided hope the Falcons offense can survive without its two biggest playmakers, at least in the short term. That will be key heading into a matchup with the Cardinals, who rank 19th against the pass.
The other good news for Atlanta is that it should receive some help from Carson Palmer, who's thrown at least two picks in five straight games. A team can't afford those types of mistakes in close games.
Prediction: Falcons 24, Cardinals 21
Dallas Cowboys at Detroit Lions
Anything less than a shootout between the Cowboys and Lions would be a surprise. It should be a fantasy owner's dream, as two of the league's top-10 passing offenses will go up against two of the bottom-five defenses against the pass.
The most worrisome thing about Dallas is the lack of consistency, which has been an ongoing issue over the past few seasons. One week, the Cowboys will look like NFC contenders, and the next, they'll look like a team that doesn't belong in the playoffs, which usually aligns with when the defense fails to show up.
On the flip side, Detroit has been a little more reliable. The only truly poor showing it had came against the Green Bay Packers in Week 5 when Calvin Johnson was sidelined, which explains the offensive problems. It gives the Lions a slight edge in a game that could very well steal the spotlight.
Prediction: Lions 35, Cowboys 31
Complete Picks for Week 8
|Week 8 NFL Picks|
|Date||Road Team||Home Team||Pick|
|Oct. 27||49ers||Jaguars (London)||SF|
|NFL Week 8|