By Dan Durkin–
(CBS) We know this much will happen in Week 8 — save for a tie in Denver, at least one team will fall from the ranks of the unbeaten.READ MORE: Sprinkler System Floods Skokie Apartment Building While Dousing A Fire
The Sunday night matchup is the game of the week, as Aaron Rodgers and the Packers square off against Peyton Manning and the ferocious Broncos defense.
It wasn’t a tough pick, but I did get the week off to a 1-0 start by taking the Patriots over the Dolphins on Thursday night.
Here’s my take on how this week’s action will play out.
(Home team in all CAPS)
Lions 27, CHIEFS 23— 8:30 a.m. in London
Two disappointing teams take their turn to “entertain” an international audience in London. The Lions pushed reset on their offensive staff, but what change will come of it? Oddly, I still have confidence in the Lions receivers to carry them to a win against a porous Chiefs secondary.
Vikings 26, BEARS 23 — noon
The Bears have had an extra week to prepare, while the Vikings are playing their second straight division game on the road. Regardless, the best unit in this game is the Vikings defense, which should control the line of scrimmage.
FALCONS 34, Bucs 24 — noon
Atlanta just barely got by Tennessee on the road, while Tampa Bay blew a 24-point lead on the road against Washington. Matt Ryan will have his way against a Bucs pass defense that’s given up 15 passing touchdowns this season.
Giants 30, SAINTS 27 — noon
The Giants just got by the Cowboys, while the Saints have won two straight. Don’t expect much defense to be played in this game, in which the Giants’ passing game should be the difference.
RAMS 27, 49ers 10 — noon
As things are crumbling in San Francisco, they’re coming together in St. Louis. The Rams will physically impose their will against the 49ers with a dominant run game and a lights-out defense.
Cardinals 34, BROWNS 16 — noonREAD MORE: 4 People Shot When Gunman Opens Fire At Crowd In Jackson Park
Josh McCown is dealing with a shoulder injury, which is bad news heading into a game against the attacking, high-pressure Cardinals defense. This game will get out of hand quickly.
Bengals 27, STEELERS 24 — noon
Ben Roethlisberger could return this weekend against the division-leading Bengals, but how effective will he be? The Bengals defensive line will get after Roethlisberger, and their offense should have the upper hand against a shaky Steelers secondary.
RAVENS 30, Chargers 27 — noon
The Chargers haven’t won on the road, while the Ravens haven’t won at home. Something has to give this weekend. The Ravens should be able to establish their ground game against the Chargers’ woeful run defense and win a potential shootout.
Titans 20, TEXANS 17 — noon
Two dreadful AFC South teams square off in Houston. The Titans hung in until the end with a backup quarterback against the high-flying Falcons last week. Marcus Mariota’s status is uncertain, but the Titans should limit a terrible Texans offense.
Jets 27, RAIDERS 17 — 3:05 p.m.
The Jets travel west to take on a confident Raiders team that just lit up the Chargers. However, the Jets defense is in a different stratosphere and will limit Derek Carr and Co.
Seahawks 26, COWBOYS 17 — 3:25 p.m.
Would the real Seattle Seahawks please stand up? Or is this simply a case of misaligned expectations? The Seattle defense looks like itself in spurts, but there’s been no consistency. Either way, the Seahawks are a better team than the depleted Cowboys.
Packers 24, BRONCOS 20 — 7:30 p.m.
What a matchup this should be. Next to the Patriots offense, the Broncos defense is the most dominant unit in the league. The Packers offense is no slouch either, but they’ve struggled to get the ball down the field, and their running game is out of sorts. Either way, I trust Aaron Rodgers more than Peyton Manning.
PANTHERS 27, Colts 21 — Monday night, 7:30 p.m.
Monday night’s matchup features two former top overall quarterback selections. Cam Newton is playing at an MVP level, while Andrew Luck is struggling. The Colts are in disarray, and it starts at the top. The Panthers will dominate the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball and remain unbeaten.
Season record through Week 7: 68-38 (Last week: 9-5)MORE NEWS: Chicago Weather: Cooler Weekend Ahead
Dan Durkin covers the Bears for CBSChicago.com and is a frequent contributor to 670 The Score. Follow him on Twitter at @djdurkin.