Cover Photo: Hannah Foslien/Getty Images
More than half of the schedule in Week 8 of the NFL season has games featuring teams within one game of one another in the standings. If you think you'll have an easy time picking them this weekend, well then good luck, my friends.
Here are eight games that will shape the way we look at the rest of the 2018 NFL schedule.
8. New York Jets (3-4) at Chicago Bears (3-3) – Sunday, 1:00 p.m. EST
Mark Brown/Getty Images
The Bears started 3-1 but have since dropped two straight to AFC East opponents, the New England Patriots and Miami Dolphins. They take on another one in the New York Jets on Sunday, and they'll need this one to stay in the hunt in the NFC North. The Jets will be missing six starters (three on offense, three on defense) so look for the Bears take advantage at home this weekend.
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-3) at Cincinnati Bengals (3-4) – Sunday, 1:00 p.m. EST
Scott Cunningham/Getty Images
Both teams started out well -- the Bengals at 4-1 and Bucs at 2-0 -- but have since begun a descent to normalcy. The Bucs need this game as a loss would basically take them out of contention in the NFC South. The Bengals technically could afford a loss, but would certainly love to overtake the Steelers for first place in the division. Look for this game to be an entertaining shootout as both teams rank in the Top 10 (Bucs: 3rd, Bengals: 10th) in situation-neutral pace.
6. Miami Dolphins (4-3) at Houston Texans (4-3) – Thursday, 8:20 p.m. EST
Bob Levey/Getty Images
Thursday Night Football features a set of intriguing 4-3 teams as the Dolphins head to Houston to take on the Texans. While Houston is in the midst of a four-game winning streak after starting the season 0-3, the Dolphins have done the opposite. They started 3-0 before dropping three of their last four. Neither team can afford to lose a game here as both the AFC East and AFC South are still clearly up for grabs. Look for Houston to roll as Miami will have to travel on a short week. It'll also be the first time Texans running back Lamar Miller takes on his former team.
5. Seatte Seahawks (3-3) at Detroit Lions (3-3) – Sunday, 1:00 p.m.
Mark Brown/Getty Images
Two teams that got off to 0-2 starts will now face each other with one of them hopefully (barring another tie) climbing over .500 for the first time this season. The Seahawks would normally be at a distinct disadvantage playing two time zones behind their normal routine, but they did just have a bye in Week 7 after playing in London, further adding to the intrigue of this game with two teams at identical records.
4. Philadelphia Eagles (3-4) at Jacksonville Jaguars (3-4) – Sunday, 9:30 a.m. EST
Mitchell Leff/Getty Images
Speaking of foggy Londontown, that's where the Eagles and Jags will square off on Sunday. The Jags have the advantage here, believe it or not, considering they have made this trip over the pond five times before. The defending-champion Eagles are reeling after losing three of the last four games, with the only win coming against the doormat New York Giants. Whichever one of these final-four teams from last season loses will certainly have more of an uphill-battle trying to make it back to their respective conference title game.
3. Cleveland Browns (2-4-1) at Pittsburgh Steelers (3-2-1) – Sunday, 1:00 p.m. EST
Joe Robbins/Getty Images
These teams met in Week 1 and played to the 16th tie in NFL history -- the Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Vikings played to the 17th the following week. I doubt we'll see that same result, but an upset win by the Browns in Pittsburgh would put the AFC North into a whirlwind. And for anyone laughing about the possibility of a Browns' victory, all but one of their games have been decided by four points or less, with four of those games going to overtime.
2. Baltimore Ravens (4-3) at Carolina Panthers (4-2) – Sunday, 1:00 p.m. EST
Mitchell Leff/Getty Images
An interesting battle goes down in Charlotte as the Ravens make the short trip from Baltimore to face the Panthers, who are coming off a miraculous win on the road in Philly -- after coming back from down 17-0 in the fourth quarter to win 21-17. The Ravens are coming off a heartbreaking loss to the Saints after kicker Justin Tucker missed the first extra point of his career -- these stories usually have a heartwarming ending (see: Mason Crosby) so look for Baltimore to bounce back for their all-world kicker in a heated battle in Carolina.
1. New Orleans Saints (5-1) at Minnesota Vikings (4-2-1) – Sunday, 8:20 p.m. EST
Jamie Squire/Getty Images
The Saints will look to get their revenge on the Vikings after the "Miracle in Minnesota" in last year's playoffs. Both teams got off to slow starts, but have since turned it around. The Saints have won five straight, since dropping their season opener at home to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, while the Vikings have won three straight after a 1-2-1 start. The winner of this game, not only puts themselves in a nice divisional spot, but perhaps an inside track to that No. 2 seed and, hopefully, avoid the Rams until the NFC Championship Game.
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Al Walsh is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Al Walsh also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username 14AdotWalsh. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.