Here are a couple of facts straight from the NFL PR department:
- Close games have been a staple of the 2012 season as 62 games have been decided by eight points or fewer, the most such games through the first seven weeks of a season in NFL history. That total is already tied for the third-most games determined by eight points or fewer in the first eight weeks of any year (66 through Week 8 in 1999).
- Last week, 11 of 13 games (84.6 percent) were decided by eight points or fewer, including all three primetime contests. That is the highest such percentage since the single-week record was set in 2001 (Week 5: 12 of 14; 85.7 percent).
- Including the two in Week 7, there have been nine overtime games in 2012, the most through Week 7 of a season since 2003 (10).
So this is parity.
Entering week eight, there are 19 teams either in first place in their division or within one loss of the divison leader. Any of those teams will be a playoff contender if they can put together a two- or three-win stretch. For all intents and purposes, it's like they're entering Week 2 with only one game played so far. The only exception to this are the Texans and Falcons, who've built quite commanding leads in their divison.
None of this makes picking the winners any easier this week. Our panel did fairly well last week, with Brandon, Dave, KD and Tom all going 12-1, as did our consensus pick. The BTB consensus now stands at 64-40, one pick above the consensus picks for KD's 10-for-10.
But all of the above ranks a distant second to the key question Cowboys fans are asking themselves this week: Can the Cowboys beat the Giants?
"Of course they can," say six of eight BTB writers. And without further ado, here are our picks for Week 8, 2012.
Archie and rabblerouser break rank and take the Giants against the Cowboys. Does that augur well for the game on Sunday or not? What's your prediction for the game?