Around the League: Week 8

Around the League

Intro by Phill Lytle

You aren’t going to find a better or more comprehensive preview of all the NFL games anywhere on the net. Think of this as teaser trailers for every NFL game. Mark does an amazing job of hitting the main story lines while still finding less obvious things to bring to our attention. Enjoy!

New York Giants @ Detroit Lions

After missing just 3 games due to a severe ankle sprain Saquon Barkley returned last week. Just another reason to wonder if the man is human! The additional week of rehab will benefit Barkley as will facing the Lions’ 28th ranked run defense. The Lions are the tough luck team of 2019. This is probably a must win game which would keep their season afloat at .500. Stafford became the fastest QB to reach 40,000 passing yards in his career. Let that sink in for a moment in this pass happy era of the NFL! This could be a high scoring match up!

Seattle Seahawks @ Atlanta Falcons

The Seahawks will be nasty angry after last week’s loss at home. Russel Wilson is the engine that propels this team to take flight. Wilson played one of his worst games of the season last week and the team could not overcome it. Only 7 weeks into the season and the Falcon’s are already playing for a 2020 draft pick. Matt Ryan added his name to the long list of QB’s that have been injured this season, but he is listed as Questionable for the game. When this is the best news for the Falcons then it’s going to be a long year.

San Diego Chargers @ Chicago Bears

Last week the Chargers had a chance to infuse life back into their season. But they came up one yard short against the Titans (a phrase Titans fans are all too familiar with!). Now life support alarms are resounding throughout the organization in this must win game. In his return from injury Mitchell Trbisky played well against a tough Saints defense. But the coaching staff abandoned the run way too soon in that game. 54 pass attempts compared to only 7 running plays is not a good recipe for success for any team. Coach Nagy and company need to do better.

Arizona Cardinals @ New Orleans Saints

Kyler Murray looks like an athletic talent who is still learning to play QB in the NFL. And yet his team is still .500 for the season. Last week the Saints defense had no answers for Lamar Jackson’s ability to run the ball. Could the Raven have discovered a recipe for success against the Saints? Certainly Murray is capable of doing damage with his legs. The Saints unquestioned leader, Drew Brees, might play in this game. Regardless, there’s no QB controversy in New Orleans. But with the team playing well behind backup QB, Teddy Bridgewater, there is a decision to be made whether or not to give Brees more time to recover.

New York Jets @ Jacksonville Jaguars

The Jets are a better offense with Sam Darnold back under center, but he needs help. After a season of holding out Le’Veon Bell has more rust on him than the Tin Man from the Wizard of Oz. Will this team put the pieces together or will the season be a bust? The Jags remain a dangerous team. They are 3-2 in their last 5 games. Both losses were close games against hot teams, the Panthers and Saints. A win would level the Jags record at .500 and keep them in contention for the post season.

Denver Broncos @ Indianapolis Colts

Old Peyton Manning’s team versus young Peyton Manning’s team. Ok, that’s completely unfair to say, but I’m a big Manning fan. Joe Flacco has not been the answer to the Broncos unending search for a QB. With the imminent return rookie QB, Drew Lock, the team might consider starting Lock to see what he can do. Though this will likely result in seeing Lock black and blue given Denver’s futility at pass protection. Can a QB remain under the radar while tossing the second most TD’s in the NFL compared to a mere 3 INT’s? Could anyone fill the void in the roster left by Andrew Luck? I would have thought not, but Jacoby Brissett has done both of these and more. The Colt’s are once again legit contenders in the AFC.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Tennessee Titans

Which QB will show up for the Bucs: Dr. Jameis or Mr. Hyde? New head coach, Bruce Arians, hasn’t been able to turn things around in Tampa. But was it fair to think he could do so this soon? This game was supposed to be a showdown between the QB’s who were selected #1 and #2 overall in the 2015 draft. But Marcus Mariota has been benched in favor of Ryan Tannehill. And the Titans responded by looking much better on offense last week. However, one of the most difficult elements in sports is repeating success. Can Tannehill play at a high level and inspire the offense once again?

Cincinnati Bengals @ Los Angles Rams

The Bengals were never going to light the NFL on fire in 2019. But the team shouldn’t be this bad. Fans should start cutting out eye holes in their paper bags. Jared Goff played one of his best games of the season last week. But he and the Rams’ normally high powered offense has yet to find their top gear in 2019. New acquisition, Jalen Ramsey, has brought a swagger to the defense.

Philadelphia Eagles @ Buffalo Bills

The Eagles missed an opportunity to take sole possession of first place last week when the Cowboys clipped their wings. Doubts and questions have been a cloud amid this team since their loss in week 1. A road win against a quality opponent could be exactly what the Eagles need to turn their season around. For the first time in a long, long time the Bills have a chance to win their division. Their defense is real, but the offense needs to improve before they can challenge the NFL’s elite.

Carolina Panthers @ San Francisco 49ers

The Panthers have a real QB controversy: benching the former MVP who’s eating up $20+ million of cap space in favor of a rookie making only $500,000 may seem like bold move. But I believe it’s the right decision. Tossing Cam into the fire against the 49ers in San Fran could damage his already hurt psyche. And Allen will have the opportunity to prove exactly how good he really is against one of the NFL’s best defenses. Everyone knows the 49ers have a top tier defense. But the offense needs to start pulling their weight. Jimmy G. must play better. Thus far he’s played not to lose rather than helping his team win. With this defense that’s been enough, but I don’t think this approach will work in the post season.

Cleveland Browns @ New England Patriots

The Browns have wilted under the pressure of expectations. A pressure the franchise had not faced in a long time. If the team wants to remain relevant in the AFC then this is a virtual must win game. When backed into a corner such as this the last place you want to be is in Foxborough looking across the field at the Patriots. The New England Patriots are once again at the summit of the NFL. But mounting injuries especially to their WR’s and TE’s might slow them down. Next man up! It’s the Patriot’s way.

Oakland Raiders @ Houston Texans

Both of these teams were humbled a bit by a loss last week. Especially the Raiders who were tested against one of the NFL’s best and came away lacking. But in sports redemption is often just a play or a game away! Houston stands on the verge of joining the elite of the NFL. But to this point has stumbled when trying to take that final step.

Green Bay Packers @ Kansas City Chiefs

This was supposed to be Rodgers vs. Mahomes. But fans should be in store for a treat despite Mahomes’ absence. Last week Rodgers parted his shirt to reveal the “S” imprinted on his chest almost to prove that he still could when needed. Do not sleep on Andy Reid’s ability to craft a winning game plan even without his superstar QB.

Miami Dolphis @ Pittsburgh Steelers

Last week the Dolphins looked like they knew how to play football. They had more yards, time of possession, first downs, fewer penalties than their opponent. But still came away on the losing end. Despite being a shell of their former selves the Steelers have some fight in them. The team has lost to the Seahawks, 49ers, and Ravens by an average of only 3 points! Mike Tomlin will keep his team motivated and playing hard.

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Author: Mark Sass

Mark is a mythical being commonly known as a native Nashvillian. He's married and raising an 11-year-old rabbit. Some of his passions include movies, sports, board games, TV, his local church, Christ, and recently discovered audiobooks.

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