NFL Power Rankings: Previewing Week 8's Top 5 Games
This week, the NFL enters their season's halfway mark as they head into Week 8.
So far this season, we've seen our fair share of surprises—both good (San Francisco) and bad (Philadelphia)—but now is when the wheat really starts to separate itself from the chaff.
I've chosen five matchups this week that will be important for both teams involved: Two of them are divisional affairs, one of them is a crossroads game, another is the obligatory Tim Tebow reference, while the last one is a battle between two of the NFL's winningest teams of the last decade.
So why not power rank the five games I selected and give them a quick preview and prediction, including the all important (to some) spread?
5. Detroit Lions at Denver Broncos (4:05 p.m. EST, FOX)
SPREAD: Detroit -3.
PICK: Detroit 27, Denver 17.
Since this is Bleacher Report, and since there's no way I can work LeBron James into this article to capitalize on the LeBron hate that this site has been known for in the last year, I'll go for the Tebow-hate/Tebow-love topic.
Tim Tebow, Tim Tebow, Tim Tebow, Tim Tebow.
There, got it out of my system.
I like this Tebow kid, however, let's not lose perspective on last week: The Broncos beat a team that has gone 1-12 in their last 13 home games and is currently 0-6. Blowing leads is what the Dolphins do best. I'm not taking any credit away from Tebow—he saw an opportunity and took it—but remember, the Dolphins are terrible.
Now, as for the Detroit Lions, they need this victory. After starting off the season 5-0, they've dropped their last two games, both of them at home to other NFC contenders. In order to keep pace with the Green Bay Packers, they have to win this game against the Broncos on Sunday.
And win it they will. Detroit will go into Mile High Stadium (I refuse to use the naming rights to it, plus, I forgot who has it this week) and beat the Broncos. Tebow will perform well, probably one of his better games, too. But in the end, Megatron on offense and Suh on defense will be too much for Tebow and the Broncos.
4. Washington Redskins at Buffalo Bills (4:05 p.m. EST, FOX Played in Toronto)
SPREAD: Buffalo -6
PICK: Buffalo 23, Washington 10
Here we have a battle between two teams who got off to great starts but now find themselves faltering a bit.
With Washington, they're playing quarterback roulette between John Beck and Rex Grossman, which leads me to believe that Snyder and Shanahan will attempt to make a deal with whomever gets the No. 1 pick this year for the chance at acquiring Andrew Luck. However, with the NFC East still up for grabs, Washington will continue to give maximum effort.
Meanwhile, Buffalo is a game back of New England in the AFC East, but holds the all-important tiebreaker so far with their Week 3 victory over the Pats. The Bills will attempt to keep pace with the Patriots following their bye week.
In a matchup between two teams who are attempting to prove that they're for real this season, I'll go with the team that I believe is better and I believe is for real: Buffalo will take the win in Toronto.
3. San Diego Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs (8:30 p.m. Monday Night, ESPN)
SPREAD: San Diego -3.5
PICK: Kansas City 22, San Diego 19
The last time these two teams met was only a month ago, and the wounds are still fresh for Kansas City as they only lost to the Chargers 20-17.
Since then, though, Kansas City has yet to lose, beating Minnesota, Indianapolis, and most recently last week, Oakland. The Chiefs are now 3-3 and just a game behind San Diego in the race for the AFC West.
Not bad for a team that, just a month ago, was considered a candidate for the "Suck For Luck" campaign.
With a Monday night Arrowhead crowd rocking, the Chiefs, led by their powerful rushing attack, will defeat San Diego in another close one between the two AFC West rivals and move to the front of the pack for the AFC West title.
2. New England Patriots at Pittsburgh Steelers (4:15 p.m. EST, CBS)
SPREAD: New England -3
PICK: New England 38, Pittsburgh 28
There seems to be something about Pittsburgh that's just a little off to me. They've shown that they can beat the teams they can beat, but not the teams they're supposed to beat.
I'm not going to say that this will be a repeat of their Week 1 matchup with Baltimore—far from it—but they'll have problems keeping up with the Patriots offense.
But the Patriots defense is terrible, you say? Well, yes it is, but it has been getting better every week and should be just enough to beat the Steelers when you mix in their prolific offense.
1. Dallas Cowboys at Philadelphia Eagles (8:30 p.m. EST, NBC)
SPREAD: Philadelphia -3.5
PICK: Dallas 23, Philadelphia 20.
The Eagles seem to be going through all of the symptoms of a nightmare season.
What is the nightmare NFL season guide, you ask?
1. Did they enter the season making a slew of over-hyped personnel moves? (Check.)
2. Did said personnel moves lead to heightened expectations? (Check.)
3. Is their schedule tougher than they expected? (Check.)
4. Have they blown games they should've won? (Check. See the 49ers and Bills games.)
6. Is their highly touted quarterback likely to get hurt? (Check.)
7. Have they lost a game on the road where they were favored by more than a touchdown to an otherwise terrible team? (Not yet. I'm predicting that will happen against the Dolphins on December 11.)
8. Have they suffered a heartbreaking defeat against a divisional rival on national television? (That's this week.)
So far, two are missing from the checklist, but one of them will be checked off when Dallas and their defense defeats the Eagles in Philly on Sunday night.
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