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NFL

Picks for NFL Week 8 Games

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NFL Picks for Week 8

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Jake Roth-US PRESSWIRE

Another extended weekend of NFL action is here, so let the fireworks begin! If you're like me, then you absolutely love how wide open the league is this year. Sure, there's one undefeated team left, but does anybody see them or any other team as a surefire Super Bowl pick? If you do, you're awful gutsy because no one could have predicted everything correctly through seven weeks of play and at midseason, the 2012 NFL playoff picture is as fuzzy as that sorry excuse for a beard Santonio Holmes had going a few weeks back.

If the 2011 season told us anything, it was that a hot team is better than an "elite" team any day of the week. Now half the league is convinced they can win the Super Bowl if they just finish 9-7. That may be true for some teams, but certainly not all of them and that just over .500 mark might be out of reach for several clubs after this weekend. So let's get to the games:

Thursday night matchup:

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Minnesota Vikings

Sunday early games:

Carolina Panthers at Chicago Bears

San Diego Chargers at Cleveland Browns

Seattle Seahawks at Detroit Lions

Jacksonville Jaguars at Green Bay Packers

Miami Dolphins at New York Jets

Atlanta Falcons at Philadelphia Eagles

Washington Redskins at Pittsburgh Steelers

New England Patriots at St. Louis Rams

Indianapolis Colts at Tennessee Titans

Sunday afternoon contests:

Oakland Raiders at Kansas City Chiefs

New York Giants at Dallas Cowboys

Primetime on Sunday night:

New Orleans Saints at Denver Broncos

Monday Night Football:

San Francisco 49ers at Arizona Cardinals

Now for the picks:

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Vikings over Buccaneers, 31-24

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Brace Hemmelgarn-US PRESSWIRE

Who would have thought the Vikings, who finished 3-13 in 2011, would be in the thick of the playoff race at midseason? Well they are and the Bucs are awful. Expect a big day from Christian Ponder and Minnesota to rest stars like Adrian Peterson in the fourth quarter with a comfortable lead.

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Bears over Panthers, 33-10

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Rob Grabowski-US PRESSWIRE

Chicago is rolling right now and Carolina…isn't. The Bears' defense is going to give the slumping Cam Newton fits all day, so expect about three interceptions and at least one defensive touchdown. The Panthers' defense certainly won't do anything to slow down Matt Forte and the Bears' running game, making this a blowout.

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Browns over Chargers, 24-18

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Jason Miller-US PRESSWIRE

San Diego is done. The Chargers' morale is at an all-time low after their historic collapse on Monday Night Football and now they have to travel to Cleveland to face a hungry Browns team that will only make matters worse. There will be lots of passing yards in this one from Brandon Weeden as the Browns get their second win.

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Lions over Seahawks, 23-21

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Kirby Lee-US PRESSWIRE

This will be one of those "ugly" games, which are the kind Detroit always seems to win. Seattle is fading fast after their strong start, so expect the Lions to capitalize in an attempt to save their season.

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Packers over Jaguars, 42-10

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Fernando Medina-US PRESSWIRE

Green Bay is rolling right now and Jacksonville is in turmoil without Blaine Gabbert and Maurice Jones-Drew. Expect guys like Aaron Rodgers to be in ball caps on the sideline by the end of the third quarter.

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Jets over Dolphins, 17-14

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Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE

This isn't going to be pretty, but New York is slowly starting to gain some traction and its secondary is figuring out how to succeed without Darrelle Revis. That spells trouble for Ryan Tannehill and Miami. Jets win another ugly one against the Dolphins.

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Falcons over Eagles, 28-23

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Daniel Shirey-US PRESSWIRE

The Falcons are the NFL's only undefeated team at this point and that won't change this weekend. Michael Vick has been a turnover machine thus far in 2012 and Atlanta's defense will make him pay for it. Vick's former team will get the best of the Eagles in this one.

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Steelers over Redskins, 26-18

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Rafael Suanes-US PRESSWIRE

With or without Robert Griffin III, the Steelers will win this contest because old defensive gurus like Dick LeBeau know how to shut down running quarterbacks. Expect Mike Shanahan's face to be red for most of the day and Pittsburgh to come out on top.

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Patriots over Rams, 28-27

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Stew Milne-US PRESSWIRE

New England will be taken to the wire once more and escape by a thread, but this time next year, that won't be the case. St. Louis is getting better and better all because of Jeff Fisher's doings and he'll have his team ready to compete for a title in two years. However, that won't help the Rams as the Patriots will sneak out a win in this one.

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Colts over Titans, 38-35

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Brian Spurlock-US PRESSWIRE

Hang on to your hats because this one is going to be wild. Expect nearly 80 total points in a high-scoring affair between two awful defenses. Andrew Luck will shred Tennessee's secondary enough to edge the Titans' passer, whether it be Matt Hasselbeck or Jake Locker. If you have any fantasy football player on either team, start them in this one.

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Raiders over Chiefs, 21-17

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Denny Medley-US PRESSWIRE

This one will be tough to watch, but the Raiders will win this pillow fight to stay in the race for second place in the AFC West. Carson Palmer isn't great, but he'll have a big day against Kansas City's porous defense while Brady Quinn continues to show he's not an NFL-caliber quarterback. At this point, it's looking like the Chiefs will be in the running for the first overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft.

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Giants over Cowboys, 31-21

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Anthony Gruppuso-US PRESSWIRE

New York is rolling right now (sound familiar?) and the Cowboys are not. The Giants are undefeated at Cowboys Stadium and that won't change as Dallas is without DeMarco Murray. That means about 50 passing attempts for Tony Romo and that never ends well. The Giants will take a stranglehold on the NFC East with this win.

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Broncos over Saints, 38-31

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Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE

The two men pictured above will put up a truckload of points in this one, but Peyton Manning will get the best of Drew Brees in this shootout. Here's your ironic play of the game: Tracy Porter, who picked off Manning in the Super Bowl to give Brees his first ring, will intercept his old teammate to seal the win for his new one. Is that about as clear as mud?

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49ers over Cardinals, 16-10

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Kyle Terada-US PRESSWIRE

For whatever reason, San Francisco hasn't been as dominant in the past couple of weeks, but they still manage to get it done. That will be the case yet again when the 49ers beat a highly overrated Cardinals team that is on its way back to mediocrity.