What does the NFL deliver week in and week out? Nail biters, head scratchers and fantastic finishes.
And here’s the evidence: through Week 7, there have been 57 games decided by seven or fewer points, the most at this point of a season in NFL history.
Also of note through the first seven weeks, there are 17 teams at or within one game of a .500 record. That’s the highest total through Week 7 since 1970.
Check out these predictions for the top five games of Week 8!
5. Washington Redskins (3-4) at Pittsburgh Steelers (3-3)
Why Watch: RGIIII against Big Ben will be a treat, but the Steelers receivers are so dang quick that life will be tough once again for the Washington Redskins that will be a much better team than their eventual 3-5 record indicates.
Plus, the Redskins defense has been pummeled against the pass, which is really the strength of Pittsburgh’s offense. Dwyer gets another start and is the perfect back to keep the chains moving and allow the Steel Curtain to own the battle of field position.
Danny V’s Pick: Steelers 28, Redskins 17
4. San Francisco 49ers (5-2) at Arizona Cardinals (4-3)
Why Watch: This is Monday Night Football after all, and these two defenses can slug it out with the best of them.
Expect a ton of heavyweight punches (per se) thrown as this will quickly turn into a boxing match. Arizona will struggle to complete a ton of passes in this one, so look for QB John Skeleton to hand off quite a bit to avoid getting thumped. Frank Gore should have a solid game in this one, which will bleed the clock and lead to David Akers getting back on track.
Danny V’s Pick: Niners 26, Cardinals 17
3. New Orleans Saints (2-4) at Denver Broncos (3-3)
Why Watch: Drew Brees and Peyton Manning at the end of their careers might wind up being two of the greatest quarterbacks that have ever lived. Manning certainly has the best case with all his illustrious achievements, but Brees has absolutely willed his team to victory.
The Broncos have been a ton of fun to watch through their first six contests on offense and last Sunday the Saints went into Tampa and rolled up more than 400 yards of offense without the services of tight end Jimmy Graham (ankle).
Look for another shootout although there should be a few stops early on as both of these teams get a better feeling for one another. There is essentially no ground game in New Orleans, and that is why Willis McGahee and the Broncos should come away with the win. New Orleans is improving and appears to be a decent team, but this isn’t a serious postseason contender like Denver.
Danny V’s Pick: Broncos 30, Saints 24
2. New York Giants (5-2) at Dallas Cowboys (3-3)
Why Watch: Will the G-Men dominate the NFC East and continue to win in the clutch or can the ‘choke artists’ turn the tables and sweep the defending Super Bowl champions?
Tony Romo can escape the ferocious pass rush of Big Blue, but he needs to find his trio of stars with much more ease than we have seen through the first six weeks of the season.
Tight end Jason Witten and wide receivers Dez Bryant and Miles Austin will be expected to have a big weekend in order for the ‘Boys to avoid falling below .500.
Giants receivers Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks will be tough as nails to contain as well, so this high-stakes marquee matchup boils down to discipline and avoiding self-inflicted wounds.
The penalties have gone against the Cowboys and it will not get any easier with running back DeMarco Murray missing yet another important affair. Giants RB Ahmad Bradshaw is still dinged up, but he will be giving it a go as usual.
The matchup between Eli Manning and Tony Romo in the fourth quarter is a no-brainer, however Dan Bailey and this Dallas special teams/defense has far too much upside even without Sean Lee; who will be replaced by Dan Connor. Give me Dallas in what should be the most entertaining game of the entire weekend.
Danny V’s Pick: Cowboys 31, Giants 27
1. Atlanta Falcons (6-0) at Philadelphia Eagles (3-3)
Why Watch: Matty Ice against Mike Vick may sound like a mismatch on paper, but this is the game of the weekend for a reason.
The Falcons are due for a loss sometime soon and the Eagles are coming off a bye, which could be the blueprint on how to dethrone Atlanta. The only problem is that the Falcons too are coming off a bye week and Hotlanta’s explosive offense is next to impossible to stop when it gets going.
While they have struggled against the Eagles before, bank on a thrilling back-and-forth game that should feature a decent amount of points. DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin, Julio Jones, Roddy White, Tony Gonzalez, Mike Vick and Matt Ryan equal fantasy bonanzas.
The defenses have both been relentless at harassing the opposing quarterback and it looks as this one should come down to whether or not Philadelphia can run the football well. Look for McCoy to have a big day and the Eagles (despite being favored) should pull off the slight upset.
Danny V’s Pick: Eagles 24, Falcons 23