It's hard to pick games between teams that are evenly matched, but there are always at least a couple of these buggers on the NFL's schedule every week.
Some games are easy to predict. For instance, a cursory understanding of the league is all you need to come to the conclusion that the San Francisco 49ers should make mincemeat out of the Jacksonville Jaguars.
But there are a few games on the schedule in Week 8 that have the look of a toss-up. Here's a look at every game on the schedule, followed by a closer look at a few head-scratchers that bear further analysis.
|Week 8 NFL Picks|
|Dallas Cowboys||Detroit Lions||DET (-3)||Lions|
|Cleveland Browns||Kansas City Chiefs||KC (-7.5)||Chiefs|
|Miami Dolphins||New England Patriots||NE (-6.5)||Patriots|
|Buffalo Bills||New Orleans Saints||NO (-11)||Saints|
|New York Giants||Philadelphia Eagles||PHI (-5)||Eagles|
|San Francisco 49ers||Jacksonville Jaguars||JAC (+16.5)||49ers|
|New York Jets||Cincinnati Bengals||CIN (-6.5)||Jets|
|Pittsburgh Steelers||Oakland Raiders||OAK (+2.5)||Raiders|
|Washington Redskins||Denver Broncos||DEN (-13)||Broncos|
|Atlanta Falcons||Arizona Cardinals||ARI (-2.5)||Falcons|
|Green Bay Packers||Minnesota Vikings||MIN (+9)||Packers|
|Seattle Seahawks||St. Louis Rams||STL (+11)||Seahawks|
|Betting Lines via Covers.com|
Dallas at Detroit
Talk about a tricky matchup—these two teams both have Jekyll and Hyde tendencies.
Since losing two games in a row to the San Diego Chargers and Denver Broncos, Dallas has rebounded with two wins—both of which came against NFC East opponents.
Detroit, on the other hand, is slumping a bit. Two losses to good teams have been sandwiched by a win against Cleveland the past three weekends, and the Lions must win at home this weekend to avoid finishing the first half with a 4-4 record.
The Cowboys were absolutely torched by Peyton Manning and Philip Rivers earlier this year. And though the secondary has put together two outstanding games in a row since that time, Calvin Johnson, Reggie Bush and the Lions offense presents a difficult challenge.
The Lions will be able to move the ball on offense, which means Tony Romo and his offense must respond in kind. DeMarco Murray is expected to play after missing more than a game with a knee sprain. If the Cowboys can generate a running game with Murray, then the team has a chance on the road.
Unfortunately, Dallas has continually abandoned the running game this year in favor of a pass-happy approach, which will backfire this weekend.
Final Score: Lions win 35-28.
New York Giants at Philadelphia
The Giants finally got off the schneid with the first win of the year against the Josh Freeman-led Minnesota Vikings. It was an ugly win, but it was one New York needed badly.
Philadelphia recently acquired two wins—one of which came against this same Giants squad—but the Cowboys completely handled the Eagles last weekend, and there's no doubt that this team is in danger of falling apart completely after opening the season so impressively with a big win over Washington.
These two teams are equally bad.
Michael Vick is listed as probable to play and is expected to return to the starting lineup after missing a couple of games with a hamstring injury, as noted by Pro Football Talk's Josh Alper.
Look for the Eagles to bring a run-heavy offensive approach to this contest to take advantage of New York's suspect front seven. LeSean McCoy has been the most impressive running back in the league this year, and he's going to have a huge game at home against the Giants.
Final Score: Eagles win 31-24.
New York Jets at Cincinnati
The Cincinnati Bengals are quietly atop the AFC North with a record of 5-2, having rattled off three wins in a row. This team has beaten the Green Bay Packers, Buffalo Bills and New England Patriots, and its last two wins were decided by three points.
Toughness and grit are the binding elements that fused Cincinnati's talent into a veritable powerhouse, but it's not the only team in this upcoming contest that embraces those qualities.
The New York Jets also have beaten tough teams this year, and this young roster is still coming together. With four wins and three losses, the Jets have been close in every game but one—the 38-13 blowout loss to Tennessee in Week 4.
Geno Smith is coming into his own midway through his rookie season. Though turnovers have been a problem, Smith's never-say-die attitude and confidence in the huddle are shining through to his teammates, and New York's offense is coming together.
The biggest battlefront for this game will be between New York's defensive front seven and Cincinnati's offensive line. If the Jets can dominate the line of scrimmage—shutting down the run and bringing pressure to Andy Dalton—then New York has a great shot to upset the Bengals.
This is a battle I expect New York to win.
Final Score: Jets win 24-21.
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