By the end of this Sunday, many NFL teams will have played half their scheduled games this season. Things are getting really serious. Here's what to watch out for in Week 8:

Thursday, Oct. 23

Finally A Decent Thursday Night Game (Maybe)

San Diego at Denver | Sports Authority Field at Mile High; 8:25 p.m (ET) on CBS/NFL Network

Philip Rivers
Getty Images

The NFL's Thursday night football schedule moved to CBS this season, and the games have stunk. Prior to the past two weeks, the average margin of victory on TNF games was 29 points. Even after the semi-close Colts-Texans and Pats-Jets games, it's still nearly a 22-point average margin between Thursday night teams. Ugh.

That should all change this week when Philip Rivers and the Chargers challenge Peyton Manning and the Broncos. Then again, the way San Diego (5-2) has given up points to the Raiders and Chiefs the past two weeks, Manning may be the last person the Chargers want to face this week. Hope for a close game, with a final score more reminiscent of a college basketball game.


Sunday, Oct. 26

How About Some Football For Breakfast?

Detroit at Atlanta | Wembley Stadium, London; 9:30 a.m. (ET) on Fox

Getty Images
Getty Images

West Coast fans are already very familiar with Sunday morning NFL football, thanks to the time difference, but East Coast fans will get to experience pigskin with their bacon and eggs this Sunday when the Lions take on the Falcons in London at 9:30 a.m. Eastern Time. What they may not get is a close game.

Atlanta (2-5) has lost four in a row by an average margin of more than 14 points. Detroit (5-2) has quietly established itself as one of the NFC's best teams with quarterback Matthew Stafford leading the team to signature wins over Green Bay and New Orleans. Unless the Lions fill up on fish and chips, they should have little trouble with the Falcons.

You Don't Know What Cross-Flex Means, But That's OK

Seattle at Carolina | Bank of America Stadium; 1 p.m. (ET) on CBS

Cam Newton
Getty Images

Normally, AFC games are broadcast on CBS, while NFC contests air on Fox. The networks then presumably divide the inter-conference games with a haggling death match (we're assuming; no one knows for sure). This week, the NFL introduces us to "cross-flexing." Wait, what?

Relax, cross-flexing is not what defensive ends do when they get a sack. It's an attempt to allow games to switch networks to gain more viewers. This week, AFC-centric CBS gets the compelling Seahawks-Panthers game in Charlotte, while Fox gets the Texans-Titans game… Uh, Fox totally got screwed there. Not even a potential hair-battle between Tennessee QB Charlie Whitehurst and Houston DE Jadeveon Clowney would make that game watchable. The Legion of Boom vs. Super Cam, though, is must-see TV.

We'll Find Out How Good The Cardinals Are This Week

Philadelphia at Arizona | U of Phoenix Stadium; 4:05 p.m. (ET) on Fox

Larry Fitzgerald
Getty Images

The Cardinals are winning games with some brand of strange desert magic. Arizona (5-1) sits atop the NFC West, the same division which produced both teams who played in last season's NFC title game (Seattle and San Francisco). Wins over San Diego and San Francisco signal the Cards could be for real.The Eagles may be the judge of that.

The NFC's most dynamic offensive team, Philadelphia (5-1) will challenge Arizona's 31st-ranked pass defense (2nd -worst) and pressure the heck out of QB Carson Palmer on defense. They'd better guard his talented receivers — Larry Fitzgerald, Michael Floyd and John Brown — downfield, too.

Rodgers vs. Brees In The _ome

Green Bay at New Orleans | Mercedes-Benz Superdome; 8:30 p.m. (ET) on NBC

Aaron Rodgers Drew Brees
Getty Images

Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees will never actually face each on the field, but they are the biggest names in this showdown of NFC teams. Rodgers and Green Bay (5-2) have had a much better season than Brees and New Orleans (2-4), but the Saints have yet to lose a game in the Super_ome this year. … Where's the D in dome, you ask? Good question. You may not see any in this match-up of elite QBs vs. sketchy defenses. The team that has the ball last could very well have the best shot to win this game.

Other Games

Sunday, Oct. 26
St. Louis at Kansas City | Arrowhead Stadium; 1 p.m. (ET) on Fox
Houston at Tennessee | LP Field; 1 p.m. (ET) on Fox
Baltimore at Cincinnati | Paul Brown Stadium; 1 p.m. (ET) on CBS
Minnesota at Tampa Bay | Raymond James Stadium; 1 p.m. (ET) on Fox
Miami at Jacksonville | EverBank Field; 1 p.m. (ET) on CBS
Chicago at New England | Gillette Stadium; 1 p.m. (ET) on Fox
Buffalo at N.Y. Jets | MetLife Stadium; 1 p.m. (ET) on CBS
Oakland at Cleveland | FirstEnergy Stadium; 4:25 p.m. (ET) on CBS
Indianapolis at Pittsburgh | Heinz Field; 4:25 p.m. (ET) on CBS

Monday, Oct. 27
Washington at Dallas | AT&T Stadium; 8:30 p.m. (ET) on ESPN

Bye: N.Y. Giants, San Francisco

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