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Stampede Blue’s NFL Week 8 staff picks

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NFL: Atlanta Falcons at Seattle Seahawks Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

After seven straight weeks of at least a handful of enjoyable matchups, we’ve finally come to the dreaded Week 7 that doesn’t bring me a ton of excitement. Just a warning before we get through the rest of this piece, I sound extremely pessimistic about the slate of games — but I feel as though it’s warranted.

Not only is the schedule underwhelming to me, I feel like the spacing out of games is nearly just as bad as what we saw three weeks ago. We have nine games at 1:00 p.m. EST, and only three during the late afternoon portion. I get that the Rams are playing in London and their fans out West don’t want to wake up at 6:30 a.m. to watch the game, but if you’re living in California then I personally think you have too many things going well in your life to complain about an early Sunday morning. Pull your TV outside and watch in the beautiful weather.

Alright, I’ll stop complaining.

Here’s my rundown of how I have the games between Thursday and Monday categorized, with the majority falling into my “I’m falling asleep” section.

Can’t miss contests:

* crickets *

Should be good, but I have concerns:

Panthers @ 49ers

Packers @ Chiefs

Could be surprisingly fun:

Eagles @ Bills

Cardinals @ Saints

Raiders @ Texans

Browns @ Patriots

I think I’m falling asleep:

Redskins @ Vikings

Seahawks @ Falcons

Chargers @ Bears

Giants @ Lions

Jets @ Jaguars

Bengals @ Rams

Buccaneers @ Titans

Broncos @ Colts

Steelers @ Dolphins

Seems like I’ll be struggle staying awake this Sunday. Now let’s take a look at some of the awards before we start the week.

The boldest upset award: Stephen Reed (Miami over Pittsburgh)

The Miami Dolphins walk in to Heinz Field as two-touchdown underdogs, but that didn’t stop Mr. Reed for picking Ryan Fitzpatrick to waltz into town and steal a win from the Steelers. Now I will say I don’t think Pittsburgh should be favored against anyone by more than two touchdowns, but given the spread it’d technically be the biggest upset if it happened.

Others receiving votes: Mateo Caliz (Cleveland over New England (-13.0))

The Chucky Chalk award: Greg Rader

Mr. Rader takes this one home for the week, as all of his picks lined up with the majority of the staffers. He is in first place, however, so maybe its better for the rest of the staff to be in line with him.

The road warrior award: Matt Danely & Stephen Reed (6)

Only two road teams were picked by the majority of the staff, but Danely and Reed see the road dogs having a pretty successful day in enemy territory. They might find themselves on the right side of history, as road teams are off to a historic pace in the win column.

Greg Rader: 72-33 (68.6%) / Elliot Denton: 69-36 (65.7%) / Zach Hicks: 69-36 (65.7%) / Chris Blystone: 67-38 (63.8%) / Mateo Caliz: 67-38 (63.8%) / Blake Pace: 67-38 (63.8%) / Brett Mock: 66-39 (62.9%) / Josh Hudgens: 55-36 (60.4%) / Chris Shepherd: 63-42 (60.0%) / Matt Danely: 60-45 (57.1%) / Stephen Reed: 58-47 (55.2%) / Andrew Aziz: 55-50 (52.4%)

Thursday 8:20 pm ET

Redskins @ Vikings

Sunday 1:00 pm ET

Seahawks @ Falcons

Chargers @ Bears (7) | Contrarians: Andrew Aziz, Matt Danely, Elliot Denton

Giants @ Lions (9) | Contrarian: Stephen Reed

Jets @ Jaguars (9) | Contrarian: Josh Hudgens

Bengals @ Rams

Buccaneers @ Titans (7) | Contrarians: Aziz, Chris Blystone, Danely

Eagles @ Bills (5) | Contrarians: Aziz, Mateo Caliz, Denton, Hudgens, Reed

Broncos @ Colts

Cardinals @ Saints

Sunday 4:05 pm ET

Panthers @ 49ers (8) | Contrarians: Danely, Denton

Sunday 4:25 pm ET

Raiders @ Texans (7) | Contrarians: Danely, Blake Pace, Reed

Browns @ Patriots (9) | Contrarian: Caliz

Sunday 8:20 pm ET

Packers (8) @ Chiefs | Contrarians: Blystone, Brett Mock

Monday 8:15 pm ET

Dolphins @ Steelers (9) | Contrarian: Reed

Who do you have coming out on top in Week 8?