NFL Week 8 🏈

Featuring:

Falcons @ Panthers

The Panthers become the latest team to open the Falcons mystery box on TNF. If the Panthers are serious about being a playoff team they need a result here before a Chiefs/Bucs double-header that would likely finish them off otherwise. They’re certainly good enough to defeat a Falcons team that doesn’t need any help defeating itself, but this is likely to be a close one and trying to predict what’ll happen with the Falcons is a mug’s game.

Steelers @ Ravens

I’m already annoyed that I have to spend money on a NowTV day pass to watch this but it promises to be an absolute stormer. It’s arguably the first game the Steelers have played against real contenders (or at least contenders who aren’t usually prefixed with “upstart” or “pesky”), and Jackson’s mobility will present the kind of challenge that Pittsburgh’s fearsome pass rush hasn’t encountered yet this season. The Ravens are healthy coming off a bye week and three notional bye weeks of squashing the Bengals and assorted NFC East dross, so this is the first real opportunity to see what they learned from that dismantling at the hands of the Chiefs. Hubba hubba.

Vikings @ Packers

The game that will probably get Mike Zimmer fired.

Jets @ Chiefs

Another game that won’t get Adam Gase fired but really should.

Titans @ Bengals

One of the things that makes the Titans such a curious team is their innate ability to play up or down to their opponents. With the exception of an anomalous thumping of the Bills every one of their games this season has been decided by less than one score. In theory this should make for compelling viewing against a Bengals team that has specialised in the kind of close, spirited losses that are good for a rebuilding team’s morale without leading to a slide down the draft order. In truth the Titans should have far, far too much for the Bengals 28th ranked rushing defence and should be out of sight before either team has the chance to revert to their mean.

Patriots @ Bills

Well, well, well, if it isn’t our old friend the narrative. The Bills steadied their ship with an exceptionally ropey 18-10 win against the Jets, featuring a 2019 vintage Josh Allen performance and an awful lot of kicking. The Patriots appear to be in free fall after last week’s borderline unwatchable offensive stinkfest against the 49ers. In years past the Patriots would recover from an out of division humbling with a 40 point+ offensive explosion against a willing divisional opponent. Can they do it again? Has the magic really gone? Does anyone have the patience for 9 more weeks of Jarrett Stidham chat?

Rams @ Dolphins

Tua takes his bow (no, those 2 passes against the Jets don’t count) against a Rams team that’s…not sure. Overachieving? Returning to their natural level after a down 2019? Either way McVay has made hay of a soft schedule and the entire league forgetting how to defend that bootleg to tight end play they do and has put the team into playoff contention. The Dolphins are still in the “just happy to be here” stage of the rebuild, and the Rams will know they need a result here with a slate of 49ers, Bucs, Cardinals and Seahawks (twice each) waiting after their bye week.

Colts @ Lions

Two of the NFL’s biggest mysteries meet in a game I’d probably watch any other week. The Lions have all the hallmarks of a terrible team, but sit at 3-3 after last week’s debacle against the Falcons. Marmalard and co have made it to 4-2 by beating some awful teams (and whatever the Bears are this year). We could learn a lot about either or both of these teams with a statement win, but the chances are we’ll get a close game that poses more questions than it answers.

Raiders @ Browns

My gut feeling is that the Raiders aren’t as bad as their record and that the Browns are much worse than theirs. This game could have huge tiebreaker implications in a typically congested AFC playoff picture, and should be a high scorer given that each team has conceded at least 20 points a game this season. OBJ being done for the year is obviously a big loss but might add consistency to an offense that’s never really been able to rely on his output anyway. The Raiders had a better day against the Bucs than 45-20 suggests but need more from their running game (yes I own Josh Jacobs in fantasy, what of it) to look anything more than a fun to watch 8-8 team.

Chargers @ Broncos

Better teams than the Broncos will have the Chiefs tee off on them this season, but they need to be a lot better to stop a resurgent Chargers team. Justin Herbert looked phenomenal against the Jags (who doesn’t lol) last week and Joey Bosa is building a DPOY campaign on the other side of the ball. The Broncos wrote this year off when Von Miller got injured and are playing for pride at this stage, but a win here could raise hopes of a late wildcard charge.

Saints @ Bears

What’s going on with Michael Thomas then? There’s been some low-level trade chat this week that’s been driven by his mystery injury and what’s otherwise been a slow news week. He’s likely to miss this one as well against Swingin’ Nick and the Bears defence. Expect the depleted Saints to roll here, but that defence and Nick’s record against better teams means they should still be treated with caution.

49ers @ Seahawks

It says a lot about the NFC West that the 4-3 49ers currently sit in 4th place. It’s not inconceivable that all 4 of these teams make the play-offs, but it’s highly unlikely so these divisional matches will be hugely important. Despite losing their unbeaten record last week the Seahawks looked hugely impressive against the Cardinals last week. The 49ers looked perfectly fine, which as it turns out is all you need to be to be the Patriots now. There’s a chance that both teams will be starting 4th choice RBs, fact fans, which probably tips the balance in favour of Fun Russ and the Hawks.

Cowboys @ Eagles

Maybe if we don’t look at it we can pretend it’s not happening?

Buccaneers @ Giants

Despite signs of life from Daniel Jones and the Giants in the last couple of weeks Brady and his geriatrics should absolutely destroy them. If you stay up for this maybe drink every time Antonio Brown is pictured, mentioned or otherwise. It’ll help.

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Also, a fun bonus trivia question based on something I learned this week. Who is the highest paid player currently on the New York Jets roster? Their highest cap hit is Le’Veon Bell by some distance, but I was amazed to find out who’s getting the most money to actually play.

Crowder or Mosley I’d guess? Surely not Elite Joe?

Got to be CJ Mosely didn’t he sign a massive deal years ago?

Crowder is correct. In fairness to him he has logged 3 100+ yard games this season, but it speaks more to just how threadbare the rest of the roster is. He’s getting $10.5m this year (Mosley is getting $10m).

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Well I’ll give it a go - the Falcons will find a way to lose a winnable game in a manner than none of us could even conjure up in our wildest dreams, possibly involving a penalty on their cheerleaders and/or a bear on the field.

The bookies are giving the Jets 19.5 points, the largest line I have ever seen. Might be too low even so, entirely depends on whether the Chiefs get bored and when they hook Mahomes. I reckon 10 minutes into the third quarter.

Leveon Bell revenge game…

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I’d put money on the Falcons conceding a safety by virtue of their offense getting confused and running the wrong way, were it not for the fact it’s happened before in the NFL.

Yeah crowder is one of those players you forget exists then see that he’s the 8th ranked fantasy wide receiver in points per game this season.

At least they’re paying the most money to probably their best player

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I like Crowder, he’s a good and reliable player in the budget* Landry mode, but your highest paid player should be someone to build your team around. Building around him would be silly.

*Landry makes $15m a year, so this somehow works.

Only just seen that Carlos Dunlap has been traded to the Seahawks. Magnificent player for the Bengals, arguably their best of the last decade (along with Geno Atkins and AJ Green). Vaguely rooting for the Seahawks now.

HEY

it’s our defense and on rare occasions special teams that lose us games in ‘funny’ ways

our offense loses us games in more subtle ways, thank you very much

(easy enough to predict a loss, but considering the 99% win games that got lost, idk)

Apologies. I will downgrade it to two point conversion returned by other team for game-winning score.

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think we lost against the Chiefs that way a few seasons back. ahh, a fine vintage.

More Jamison crowder chat: I reckon he’s up there with Allen Robinson on having his career prime ruined by playing with useless bastards. We all know what the Jets are like but check out the WAS frying pan he left in 2018, in particular that offense.

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No way was Mark Sanchez on an NFL roster in 2018. That has to be an April Fools edit that never got corrected.

I know this rumour comes out whenever a junior is the consensus number 1 pick but it would be very, very funny if it happened this year

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On the roster and was a starting quarterback! For one game, where he went 6-14 for 38 yards and 2 interceptions, then he was benched for whoever Josh Johnson is and went back to wherever he came from. I vaguely remember all this, but it’s almost impossible to believe.

Didn’t Josh Johnson get called up from the AFL? San Diego Fleet if memory serves

Yeah, had a fairly steady career as a backup/practice squad QB when teams had to start planning for Newton, Kaepernick, Wilson etc.

Actually, having checked wikipedia I’ve discovered that he spent time on 13(!!!) different NFL franchises while still finding time to be in the UFL and the XFL. Fairly steady doesn’t seem to do him justice any more.

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