With half a dozen teams enjoying a bye in Week 8, the NFL schedule will be lighter than usual on Sunday. But that doesn't mean there aren't any marquee showdowns to take in this weekend.
Winners of two straight, the Dallas Cowboys will be on the road to match their explosive offense against the Detroit Lions' vaunted aerial attack in a battle of 4-3 NFC contenders. In the AFC, the Miami Dolphins will visit the New England Patriots, and the New York Jets will travel to Cincinnati to face the Bengals in two matchups that could loom large down the road in the conference playoff race.
With kickoff fast approaching, here are my picks for every remaining Week 8 matchup.
*Spread information according to Covers.com.
NFL Week 8 Picks
|Detroit Lions (-3)||Dallas Cowboys||51|
|Kansas City Chiefs (-7)||Cleveland Browns||39|
|New England Patriots (-6)||Miami Dolphins||46.5|
|New Orleans Saints (-10)||Buffalo Bills||48.5|
|Philadelphia Eagles (-5.5)||New York Giants||49|
|San Francisco 49ers (-15)||Jacksonville Jaguars||40|
|Cincinnati Bengals (-5.5)||New York Jets||41.5|
|Pittsburgh Steelers (-1)||Oakland Raiders||40.5|
|Denver Broncos (-11)||Washington Redskins||57.5|
|Atlanta Falcons (+2.5)||Arizona Cardinals||45|
|Green Bay Packers (-7.5)||Minnesota Vikings||46.5|
|Seattle Seahawks (11.5)||St. Louis Rams||42.5|
Bengals Will Continue Streak with Win over Jets
The Cincinnati Bengals will take aim at their fourth straight win on Sunday when they host the New York Jets. And there are plenty of reasons to believe they will move to 6-2 in Week 8.
Which division leader with a late-afternoon matchup at home is the biggest lock to win in Week 8?
Not only have the Bengals won three in a row, but Cincinnati is also undefeated at home this season, allowing just six points to the New England Patriots in its most recent outing at Paul Brown Stadium.
On top of that, the Jets have been incredibly inconsistent through the first half of 2013, having alternated wins and losses through their first seven games. New York hasn't fared well on the road either, dropping two of three games and having been outscored by 26 points outside of MetLife Stadium.
With Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton finally starting to establish a groove, tossing six touchdowns to just two interceptions during Cincy's current winning streak, all signs point to another Bengals victory in Week 8.
Pittsburgh Will Stay on Track in Oakland
Cincinnati's AFC North rival, the Pittsburgh Steelers have won two games in a row since its bye week. Following a head-scratching 0-4 start, they look poised to continue their streak out West in Week 8.
The Steelers will battle the Oakland Raiders with each AFC bottom-dweller searching for win No. 3 on the season. But given what the Steelers defense has been able to accomplish over the past two weeks—holding opponents to just 11 points per game—one has to like Pittsburgh's chances of picking up a road win.
Below, ESPN Pittsburgh radio host David Todd provides some interesting numbers to consider:
Running back Le'Veon Bell (184 rushing yards and two touchdowns over last three games) has finally helped the Steelers develop a somewhat effective running game, while Oakland's offense hasn't found a way to threaten defenses through the air (32nd in passing yards).
Both of these offensive units have lacked balance to start the year, but Pittsburgh seems to be finding some, and that will be the difference on Sunday afternoon.
Broncos Set for Bounce-Back Victory against Redskins
After suffering their first loss of the year last week in Indianapolis, the Denver Broncos appear to be a lock in Sunday's late-afternoon clash with the Washington Redskins.
Through seven weeks, Washington's defense is one of the most porous units in the league, giving up more than 30 points per game. Consequently, Peyton Manning and the Broncos couldn't have asked for a more favorable opponent to take on following a loss, per ESPN Stats & Info:
If the Broncos score 34 points vs the Redskins today, they’ll set an NFL record for points by a team through 8 games.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) October 27, 2013
Denver is averaging a league-best 469.3 total yards and 42.6 points per game this season. Only one other team (Chicago Bears) is averaging at least 30 points per week.
Toss in the fact that Washington is 1-2 on the road this season and 2-4 overall, and it's not difficult to see why few prognosticators have been bold enough to pick the Redskins to win in Week 8.
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