Miami Dolphins at Cincinnati Bengals: Both teams lost by a narrow margin in Week 7. Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger’s controversial goal line fumble still has fans in South Beach fuming. The Bengals fell short of a comeback in Atlanta, due in large part to coach Marvin Lewis’ decision to go for two after two third quarter touchdowns. The Dolphins are a young team still going through some growing pains; however, the Bengals are a veteran team with no chemistry. The Dolphins spotless 2010 road record foreshadows what is to come in Cincinnati.
Dolphins 24, Bengals 17
Jacksonville Jaguars at Dallas Cowboys: The Cowboys season was over before quarterback Tony Romo broke his collar bone in their Week 7 loss to the Giants. The Jaguars’ defense gives up an average of 29.9 points per game and is the 30th ranked unit in the NFL. The Cowboys new starting quarterback, Jon Kitna, is a veteran with starting experience so he should not be fazed by the struggling Jaguars.
Cowboys 23, Jaguars 13
Washington Redskins at Detroit Lions: Eight weeks into the season and the Lions finally get to continue rebuilding where they started with second-year quarterback Matt Stafford. The defense of the Redskins has been strong enough to alleviate their offensive struggles under Donovan McNabb. The Redskins offense will have to take advantage of a favorable matchup with the Lions 26th ranked defense in order to come away with a win at Ford Field.
Lions 31, Redskins 24
Buffalo Bills at Kansas City Chiefs: Even after coming so close to upsetting the Ravens last week, the Bills remain the last team still searching for their first win of the season. They will face a team in the Chiefs with a similarly weak history but a team that seems to have righted the ship in 2010. Quarterback Matt Cassel is coming off his strongest performance of the season in which he completed 77% of his passes for two touchdowns. His performance should carry over against a Bills’ defense that has allowed 14 touchdowns to one interception when facing the pass.
Chiefs 27, Bills 21
Carolina Panthers at St. Louis Rams: Quarterback Matt Moore’s heroic come-from-behind performance led the Panthers to their first win of 2010 last week over the 49ers. The Rams are 3-1 at home this season and seem to be heading in the right direction under rookie quarterback Sam Bradford. The key to the game could be the Rams star running back Steven Jackson, who broke his finger last weekend and underwent surgery Monday but should play this week.
Rams 20, Panthers 13
Green Bay Packers at New York Jets: The Packers are coming off an emotional win over Brett Favre and the Vikings, while the Jets had the week off. The Packers placed their 10th player on injured reserve this week, starting outside linebacker Brad Jones, while the Jets main injury concern, shut-down cornerback Darrelle Revis, has reportedly returned to full strength. The Jets are tied for the best record in the league and carry the NFL’s longest winning streak into this Week 8 matchup. The Packers could be down three of their starting four defensive lineman against one of the best rushing attacks in the game. How the Packers backups perform will be a deciding factor in this matchup.
Jets 23, Packers 20
Denver Broncos at San Francisco 49ers: This cannot be the showcase the Commissioner had in mind for the NFL’s annual game in Europe. The 49ers may be the league’s most disappointing team, tabbed by most to take the weak NFC West, while the Broncos, who sacrificed 59 points to the Raiders, are also struggling. Broncos quarterback Kyle Orton has put together a nice season so far and he may be enough to lift Denver over the 49ers, who are starting Troy Smith at quarterback this week in relief of Alex Smith.
Broncos 17, 49ers 10
Tennessee Titans at San Diego Chargers: The Chargers boast both the number one offense (422.7 yards per game) and defense (244.3 yards per game) in the NFL, yet still stand at a disappointing 2-5. Their task will not be any easier this week when they host a solid Titans team and their speedy running back Chris Johnson. It will be interesting to see whether the Chargers actually play up to what their numbers suggest they could be this week.
Chargers 28, Titans 20
Seattle Seahawks at Oakland Raiders: The Seahawks are 4-2 and in sole possession of first in the NFC West. The Oakland Raiders are coming off their own 59-14 drubbing of the Broncos last weekend, but can the widely inconsistent Raiders do it two weeks in a row? The Seahawks’ defense has been tough on the ground, allowing only 77.5 yards per game to opposing running backs this season. This may be the deciding factor against a Raiders’ offense that relies heavily on the run.
Seahawks 24, Raiders 17
Minnesota Vikings at New England Patriots: Last week Brett Favre returned to the place where he spent 16 historic seasons of his career. This week it’s wide receiver Randy Moss’ turn as the Vikings travel to New England to take on the Patriots, the team Moss caught over 50 touchdown passes for. Favre has serious injuries and is turning the ball over at an alarming rate. The Patriots are a young team with a high-profile quarterback of their own. Assuming Favre plays, two future hall of fame quarterbacks facing off is more than enough reason to watch this high-profile matchup.
Patriots 31, Vikings 24
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Arizona Cardinals: Another come-from-behind victory for the young Buccaneers has coach Raheem Morris claiming they are the team to beat in the NFC. It is hard to believe the Cardinals sit at 3-3 despite a league worst minus 62 point scoring differential. This game boasts two young teams that, despite holes, are finding ways to win.
Buccaneers 20, Cardinals 16
Pittsburgh Steelers at New Orleans Saints: The Super Bowl champions from the past two years square off in the Superdome on Halloween night, as the Saints try to keep from falling into the “Super Bowl hangover” trap the Steelers are very familiar with. Pittsburgh was getting it done on defense before Roethlisberger returned. Drew Brees, who is 0-3 against the Steelers, cannot afford to keep turning the ball over and forcing his defense into difficult situations.
Steelers 28, Saints 24
Houston Texans at Indianapolis Colts: Can the Texans bolster their playoff push by sweeping the division rival Colts on Monday Night in Indianapolis? Peyton Manning has glistened on the big stage throughout his career but he will have to do it this time without Pro Bowl tight end Dallas Clark and wide receiver Austin Collie. The Texans are coming off a bye and finally suspension-free, but when in doubt, never bet against the elder Manning.
Colts 34, Texans 28