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NFL

2013 NFL Pick ‘Em: Week 8

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Picking the NFL's Week 8 Action

Pryor
Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Don’t look now, but it appears as though we are already at the midway point of the 2013 NFL campaign. Week 8 is upon us, which means another round of gridiron action is headed your way. It also means that we must get a look at this weekend’s action and make a few predictions as to what will go down.

Last week was a bit of a rough one for me, as I finished with a 9-6 record through the weekend’s 15 games. That brings my record on the season to 66-41, a respectable yet still disappointing showing through seven weeks of action. My best single-weekend record is 13-3, while I have managed a pitiful 7-9 twice so far this year. Hopefully this week gets a little better, especially with only 13 games to pick.

Despite a shortened slate of games, there’s plenty of intriguing matchups to watch for as we inch closer to the midpoint of what’s turned out to be an exciting NFL season. The weekend features a couple showdowns between middle-of-the-road teams looking to gain ground in the race for their respective division’s crown. We’ll also get a look at a few potential blowouts and maybe even a shootout or two.

No matter what happens, it’s sure to be another awesome week of NFL action.

With that in mind, here’s a look at this week’s games and my picks for who will walk away with another notch in the win column.

Week 8 Byes: Baltimore Ravens (3-4), Chicago Bears (4-3), Houston Texans (2-5), Indianapolis Colts (5-2), San Diego Chargers (4-3), Tennessee Titans (3-4)

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Carolina Panthers (3-3) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-6)

Newton
Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

The Panthers are enjoying a surprising two-game winning streak as the offense continues to roll. Cam Newton is moving the ball efficiently, and the defense is finding ways to get the ball back in his hands quickly. This Buccaneers team is a mess right now, especially with Doug Martin out of the picture. While Ron Rivera makes a case to stay in Carolina, Greg Schiano will take one step closer to getting the ax.

Winner: Panthers

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San Francisco 49ers (5-2) at Jacksonville Jaguars (0-7)

Kaepernick
Don McPeak-USA TODAY Sports

Do I really need to explain this one? The 49ers have won four straight and are near the top of the class in the NFC. Meanwhile, the Jaguars are just trying to make it through the 2013 campaign without being demoted to the CFL. Even though they showed some competitiveness against the Broncos, there’s no way Jacksonville can keep Colin Kaepernick and the San Fran offense under wraps.

Winner: 49ers

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Cleveland Browns (3-4) at Kansas City Chiefs (7-0)

Charles
Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

There would be plenty of reason to believe the Browns could knock off the undefeated Chiefs – if Brian Hoyer was still their quarterback. Instead, Jason Campbell will be under center for Cleveland, and the Kansas City defense is going to take advantage of it early and often. Turnovers should run rampant, which will give Jamaal Charles plenty of opportunities to shine as the Chiefs move to 8-0.

Winner: Chiefs

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Miami Dolphins (3-3) at New England Patriots (5-2)

Gronkowski
Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

There were a lot of people who refused to buy the Dolphins when they were 3-0, and for good reason. They’ve now lost three straight and are caught in a tailspin as we reach the midpoint of the season. The Patriots, however, are desperate to keep their one-game lead in the AFC East intact after being upset by the Jets last weekend. Expect Rob Gronkowski to rip up the Miami secondary and walk away with a victory.

Winner: Patriots

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Buffalo Bills (3-4) at New Orleans Saints (5-1)

Brees
Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports

As much as the Bills would like to think that they contenders still, the Saints aren’t going to have too much trouble putting them in their place this weekend. The Buffalo secondary has been ravaged by injuries this season – not a promising situation against an elite passer like Drew Brees. Meanwhile, the Bills’ offense is led by a third-string quarterback and an injured running back. Enjoy the loss.

Winner: Saints

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Dallas Cowboys (4-3) at Detroit Lions (4-3)

Suh
Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

All year long, the Cowboys have been fighting to stay atop the NFC East and it’s worked. Unfortunately, the majority of their wins have come against subpar competition. That’s something that the Lions are not, and they’re going to give Dallas everything they have. While Matt Stafford and Calvin Johnson wreck the Cowboys defense, Ndamukong Suh will make Tony Romo feel quite uncomfortable in the pocket.

Winner: Lions

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New York Giants (1-6) at Philadelphia Eagles (3-4)

Cole
Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Slow your roll, Giants fans. Just because the G-Men beat the lowly Vikings doesn’t mean their season is undergoing some unprecedented revival. As long as Michael Vick stays healthy through this game and they don’t have to insert Matt Barkley, the Eagles will come away with a win. Trent Cole and the defense are going to keep Eli Manning under pressure and force him to make too many mistakes for the Giants to overcome.

Winner: Eagles

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Pittsburgh Steelers (2-4) at Oakland Raiders (2-4)

Houston
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Coming off a bye week, the Raiders are fresh and looking to find another win after back-to-back losses. The Steelers, meanwhile, finally appear to be headed in a positive direction but still have their fair share of issues. Assuming Lamarr Houston and the Oakland defensive line can get pressure on Ben Roethlisberger, the Raiders should come away with a victory in what will be a tight battle.

Winner: Raiders

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New York Jets (4-3) at Cincinnati Bengals (5-2)

Green
Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

The Jets come into this game fired up after upsetting the Patriots in Week 7. Unfortunately for Geno Smith and Co., the Bengals are just as hot heading into Week 8 and appear ready to put a chokehold on the rest of the AFC North. The New York defense just isn’t good enough to keep Andy Dalton, A.J. Green and the rest of the Bengal’s passing game contained.

Winner: Bengals

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Atlanta Falcons (2-4) at Arizona Cardinals (3-4)

Umenyiora
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

When the season began, it was clear that Carson Palmer could be effective as the Cardinals’ starting quarterback – if the offensive line could keep him upright. Well that hasn’t happened so far, and that’s why they sit at 3-4. The Falcons will be looking to start a winning streak after a big win in Week 7, and will allow Osi Umenyiora and the defensive line to wreak havoc on Palmer as they notch another W.

Winner: Falcons

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Washington Redskins (2-4) at Denver Broncos (6-1)

Manning
Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Coming off their first loss of the season, the Broncos are looking to get back on track. Fortunately for Peyton Manning and Co., the head into a Week 8 matchup that leans heavily in their favor. The Redskins boast one of the worst passing defenses in the league, which means that Manning will be shredding the secondary on his way to big numbers and a win.

Winner: Broncos

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Green Bay Packers (4-2) at Minnesota Vikings (1-5)

Lacy
Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

As much as you’d like to think the rivalry factor is going to make this a close game, it won’t be. As proven in Week 7, the Vikings are terrible at this point in the season and stand absolutely no chance of staying competitive against a Packers team that is on a three-game winning streak. Look for Eddie Lacy to have another big day against a crumbling Vikings defense.

Winner: Packers

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Seattle Seahawks (6-1) at St. Louis Rams (3-4)

Sherman
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

With Kellen Clemons starting at quarterback, the Rams are doomed. The Seahawks have arguably the most dominant defense in football, with a defensive line that gives little ground and the Legion of Boom shutting down opposing passing games with ease. The Rams might get a few splash plays on offense, but Richard Sherman and Co. will make Clemons pay for every single mistake he makes.

Winner: Seahawks