By Don Banks
October 24, 2013
Calvin Johnson (center) and the Lions will face the Cowboys Sunday in what could be a high-scoring affair.
Greg Nelson/SI

For all of Week 8's picks, see below:

Last week: 9-6; Season 71-36
Thursday, Oct. 24
8:25 p.m. ET (NFL Network) Carolina Panthers (3-3) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-6)
The Panthers sound positively giddy at the prospect of climbing over the .500 mark for the first time in the Ron Rivera/Cam Newton era, and the franchise hasn't been on the winning side of life since the end of 2008, its most recent playoff-qualifying season. Can't imagine Carolina getting a better opportunity to win on the road than this, against a free-falling Bucs team that probably isn't in the mood to rally around embattled head coach Greg Schiano to help save his job. That's just how it appears from the outside looking in, but the silence is deafening in terms of support for Schiano coming from his own locker room.
Sunday, Oct. 27
1 p.m. ET (FOX) New York Giants (1-6) at Philadelphia Eagles (3-4)
The Giants could actually move to within a game of Philly by making it two in a row, but the Eagles should be desperate to win and stay within reach of first-place Dallas. Chip Kelly's club won at MetLife Stadium three weeks ago against the Giants, in the game in which Michael Vick pulled his hammy. Vick's back and that should provide a lift for a Philly offense that went nowhere in Week 7 against the Cowboys.
1 p.m. ET (CBS) Cleveland Browns (3-4) at Kansas City Chiefs (7-0)
So the Chiefs stand alone as the league's last unbeaten, having taken the wholly improbable ride from first overall pick to 7-0 and first place in the AFC West in a dizzying span of six months. I suppose the only thing that could top that is the franchise's first playoff win since 1993, but we're getting a bit ahead of the story. For the Browns, the story remains the same. Year after year after year. Cleveland starts Jason Campbell at quarterback this week, its third different passer in the season's first eight games. My gut tells me he'll play better than the deposed Brandon Weeden, but nowhere close to as well as the injured Brian Hoyer.
1 p.m. ET (CBS) Buffalo Bills (3-4) at New Orleans Saints (5-1)
For a guy both the Browns and Lions gave up on, Thad Lewis has acquitted himself quite well as Buffalo's pinch-hit starting quarterback, but taking your act on the road for a gameday in the Superdome is a whole 'nother world. And it doesn't help that the Saints are rested and ready after a Week 7 bye.
1 p.m. ET (CBS) Miami Dolphins (3-3) at New England Patriots (5-2)
The Dolphins doubters have to be coming out of the woodwork in SoFlo after the Fish lost a home division game to the Bills, the last-place team in the AFC East. Now they get a road game against the first-place Patriots, fresh off a frustrating loss to the hated Jets, as their reward. Not the combination you want if you're Miami and trying to keep your nose above the .500 mark.
1 p.m. ET (FOX) Dallas Cowboys (4-3) at Detroit Lions (4-3)
This should be one of those back-and-forth scoring fests, with Tony Romo and Matthew Stafford throwing the rock all day long. But the Lions need a win to stay relevant in the NFC North race and enter their Week 9 bye with a sense of momentum. For the Cowboys, 4-4 at midseason is going to feel like a disappointment, but 5-3 would be the blueprint for halfway to a playoff berth.
1 p.m. ET (FOX) San Francisco 49ers (5-2) at Jacksonville Jaguars (0-7)
Hey, if the football fans of London find this lopsided matchup appealing, the NFL really should expand to Britain, because those fine folks will buy anything.
4:05 p.m. ET (CBS) New York Jets (4-3) at Cincinnati Bengals (5-2)
Pretty rough schedule in Week 8 -- this is one of only two matchups that pit two winning teams against each other, with the other being Dallas at Detroit. The Jets' win-one, lose-one pattern means it's loss week for Geno Smith and Co., but they'll make it close and Cincinnati will have to play some defense to hang on. The Bengals at 6-2, with a 4-0 home record, will start to look like the AFC Super Bowl contender they should be.
4:05 p.m. ET (CBS) Pittsburgh Steelers (2-4) at Oakland Raiders (2-4)
If this were the 1970's in the playoffs, it'd be a classic matchup and must-see TV. But alas, a last-place 2-4 versus a last-place 2-4 doesn't move the needle quite so much.
4:25 p.m. ET (FOX) Atlanta Falcons (2-4) at Arizona Cardinals (3-4)
Harry Douglas made like Larry Fitzgerald last week, basically carrying a Falcons receiving game that was missing both Julio Jones and Roddy White. But the real Larry Fitzgerald will make his presence known in this one, snapping Arizona's two-game losing streak.
4:25 p.m. ET (FOX) Washington Redskins (2-4) at Denver Broncos (6-1)
The Redskins' two wins have come against a pair of backups in Oakland's Matt Flynn and Chicago's Josh McCown, but their luck is probably going to run out this week against Mr. Manning and the Broncos. It's not Peyton returning to Indy, but Mike Shanahan back in Denver facing the Broncos for the first time is no small potatoes. The man spent 14 years coaching there (the same number of years Manning spent as a Colt) and actually delivered a pair of rings to the franchise (as opposed to just one for Manning). At least that's what Jim Irsay told me.
8:30 p.m. ET (NBC) Green Bay Packers (4-2) at Minnesota Vikings (1-5)
So it sounds like it's back to Christian Ponder at quarterback in Minnesota, and at least he'll give the Vikings more of a chance against first-place Green Bay. Ponder did orchestrate a win over the Packers in the Metrodome in Week 17 of last year, playing some of his best football in that game. But a lot has happened since then, hasn't it? If this gets to be a blowout, there's always that Red Sox-Cardinals game to watch on FOX.
Monday, Oct. 28
8:30 p.m. ET (ESPN) Seattle Seahawks (6-1) at St. Louis Rams (3-4)
The better you get as a team, the more you play on anything but Sunday afternoons at 1 p.m. Seattle is 2-0 this year in night games, winning at home against San Francisco on a Sunday nighter in Week 2 and at Arizona last Thursday night. The Seahawks are getting used to the glamor-team treatment and seem ready to play no matter when they kick off. Make no mistake, the Rams without Sam Bradford are not a glamor team. Kellen Clemens is in for a rough night in the home dome, with maybe Game 5 of the World Series going on just down the street.
BURKE: Seahawks overtake Broncos at No. 1 in Power Rankings
MOCK GM: Allen to Patriots, more deals that should happen now
FARRAR: Brief history of rule that cost Patriots in overtime
BURKE: Sour Rankings: Breaking down worst from Week 7
BELLER: Player-by-player fantasy projections for Week 8

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