NFL Week 8 Preview

Nick Evans, Senior Sports Writer

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Another week (Week 7) in the NFL season has passed and another week is to come. As the NFL season continues, some teams seem doomed too terrible seasons while others seem destined for glory. Although some teams are considered “bad” (offense that can’t move the ball and/or a defense that can’t stop the CHS football team), and others are considered “good” (an offense lead by a good QB, and have a defense that can lock down any team and cause turnovers at any given opportunity), Week 8 gives new opportunities to most of the teams to change the narrative. That’s what this article is, a preview of how I believe the narratives will change for the NFL teams playing this week. I hope you enjoy.

 

The teams that are on bye this week are Chargers, Cowboys, Falcons, and Titans.

Most of these teams have narratives that will stay the same, but the Cowboys have some news as they acquired WR Amari Cooper, from the Oakland Raiders. This pro-bowl receiver is an elite talent when he’s getting the ball thrown to him and should help open up the field for the Cowboys offense. This should also help Ezekiel Elliot see less eight-man defensive boxes. Expect the Cowboys to make a playoff push and possibly come out of the dismal NFC East.

 

Now onto the matchups:

 

TNF: Miami Dolphins (4-3) at Houston Texans (4-3)

 

Although most Thursday Night Football games seem, at times, tedious to watch, this game should be quite entertaining. The Dolphins will be without Ryan Tannehill and will be starting Brock Osweiler. For the Texans, DeShaun Watson should start unless he has a setback to his chest injury. The Dolphins defense, especially their corners, seem like a legitimate foe for the talented receiving core for the Texans, led by DeAndre Hopkins. The Texans’ pass rush should be enough to stop Frank Gore and Kenyan Drake, but the question is will Osweiler be able to sling the football and make some big plays happen. My answer is simply no. I believe the Texans’ will pull away early in this game and cause Osweiler to have to make big plays that will result in turnovers. This game can turn into a blowout early. Expect the Texans to move to 5-3 and the Dolphins to fall to 4-4.

 

Sunday: Philadelphia Eagles (3-4) at Jacksonville Jaguars (3-4)

 

This matchup last year would be one of the biggest games of the season, but in week 8 of 2018, this matchup is a battle between two lackluster teams. These two teams are both coming off tough losses, and now are both facing a tough record of 3-5. I believe the team that will fight it’s way to .500 is the Eagles. The Eagles have a strong defense, and if Blake Bortles is not starting, expect backup Cody Kessler to make some mistakes. The Eagles offense should be able to put up enough points to win outscore the lackluster offense of the Jags. Expect the Eagles to bounce back, and the Jags to fall to 3-5.

 

Baltimore Ravens (4-3) at Carolina Panthers (4-2)

 

This matchup on paper is a great game, but I believe this could be an unexpected blowout. The Panthers have to keep pace in their tough division, while the Ravens are coming off a tough game against the New Orleans Saints. Carolina has a great defense and a strong offense led by Cam Newton. The Ravens have an alright offense, lead by mediocre QB, Joe Flacco and a great defense. With that being said the Ravens, if the Panthers take an early lead, expect the Flacco to throw a couple picks. I’m expecting the Panthers to go to 5-2 and the Ravens to fall to 4-4.  

 

Denver Broncos (3-4) at Kansas City Chiefs (6-1)

 

This could be another blowout. The Chiefs are coming off a very impressive primetime win against the competitive Cincinnati Bengals, and look to continue with that momentum. The visiting team, Broncos, are coming off an easy win against the horrendous Cardinals. This game is simple if the Broncos don’t score early and score often, the Chiefs will run away with this. I believe the Chiefs will have at least 30 points and I don’t believe the Broncos will come close to that number. Expect the Chiefs to move to 7-1 and the Broncos to fall to 4-4.

 

Cleveland Browns (2-4-1) at Pittsburgh Steelers (3-2-1)

 

A divisional matchup with two teams that hate each other, know each other’s tendencies, and are both desperate for a win… this game is destined to be close. The Steelers are still without X Factor, Le’veon Bell, but that should not slow down this offense as Ben Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown, Juju Smith-Schuster, and James Conor will keep the ball moving I expect this team to put up about 28 points. For the Browns, this game will rest on the shoulders of two rookies: QB, Baker Mayfield, and RB Nick Chubb. If these two can keep the ball moving and run down the clock, they will have success. I think this game could go into overtime, as the Browns have been in four OT matchups already this year, and with that, I’ll take the desperate Browns to get the win. Expect the Browns to rise up to 3-4-1 and the Steelers to fall to 3-3-1.

 

Seattle Seahawks (3-3) at Detroit Lions (3-3)

 

Two good quarterbacks, two offensive lines that are starting to have a run game, two defenses who are limited in star power, and two teams trying to not go below .500. I believe this game will come down to the two opposing, rising star, running backs: rookie Kerryon Johnson for the Lions and Chris Carson for the Seahawks. These backs have become the X-factor for both of their respective teams I believe the RB with more yards will end up with the win, and on Sunday, I believe it will be Kerryon Johnson. Expect the Lions to improve to 4-3 and the struggling Seahawks to fall to 3-4.

 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-3) at Cincinnati Bengals (4-3)

 

The narrative for the Bengals for the past decade is a team that starts out strong and looks like a playoff contender and then falls off in late October and early November. Although this franchise seems to be fools gold every year, this 2018 this team seems legit. With the emergence of Tyler Boyd and the consistent talent of A.J. Green, I believe that this team puts up points against the porous secondary of the Buccaneers. The Buccaneers will not be able to keep up, and with a bad running game, I expect the Bucs to fall to 3-4 and the Bengals to rise to 5-3.

 

New York Jets (3-4) at Chicago Bears (3-3)

 

The Bears defense is great, while the Jets offense is young and inexperienced. This game could be low scoring, but after Tribitsky’s six TD game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and a strong showing against the New England Patriots, I expect the home team to put up plenty of points against a weak secondary. This game seems simple, as I expect the Bears to advance to 4-3 and the Jets to fall to 3-5.

 

Washington Redskins (4-2) at New York Giants (1-6)

 

The Redskins have a winning record and are facing a terrible Giants team, this should be an easy pick… WRONG. This is my upset of the week. The Redskins are a team that has no offensive explosion and a lackluster pass rush. The Giants should be able to put up enough points to keep this game close, and if the Giants have the ball at the end of this game, I expect the ball to be in the hands of the rookie phenom, Saquon Barkley to give them the lead late. With that give me the Redskins falling to 4-3, and the Giants rising to 2-6.

 

Indianapolis Colts (2-5) at Oakland Raiders (1-5)

 

The Oakland Raiders are in trouble. They lost Beast Mode, RB Marshawn Lynch, to injury and traded away WR Amari Cooper. I expect this offense to struggle, and without a defense that can make stops in big moments, I expect this team to lose at home. Also, watch out for running back, Marlon Mack, for the Colts, as he tries to continue his momentum after a stellar performance against the Bills. The Colts will likely advance to 3-5, and the Raiders will fall to 1-6.

 

San Francisco 49ers (1-6)  at Arizona Cardinals (1-6)

 

Good news, one of these struggling teams will get a desperate win. Bad news, this game will be painful to watch. I expect the home team to win in this tough matchup as Cardinal RB David Johnson looks to have a breakout game. This game is painful to pick, but I’ll take the Cardinals advancing to 2-6 and the 49ers to fall to (1-7).

 

Green Bay Packers (3-2-1) at Los Angeles Rams (7-0)

 

This is by far the best game of the day, even though the Packers have a lackluster record. The Rams are undefeated and look to keep it that way, but they have to get through the fantastic quarterback for the Packers, Aaron Rodgers. Rodgers has had a dwindling group of receivers to throw to, but he still has his go-to-guy in Davante Adams, I expect these two to connect for about 150 yards and two TDs. They will have to face an amazing team that can score on offense often and can create trouble for any offense.  This will come down to who hold this ball last and will be very fun to watch. As in most cases, I’ll take the team with Aaron Rodgers. I expect the Pack to rise to 4-2-1 and the Rams to find their first loss, going to 7-1.

 

New Orleans Saints (5-1) at Minnesota Vikings (4-2-1)

 

This primetime matchup will be fun to watch. The Vikings are starting to find their groove, and the Saints QB, Drew Brees, is having a great year (passing multiple “all-time milestones”). The Saints are a team that can punish teams in multiple ways. With a strong pass game, led by WR Michael Thomas, and a brutal rushing attack, led by RB’s Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram (both pro-bowlers) I expect the Saints to be able to put up plenty of points. The Vikings have a great offense too but are playing another week without their star running back, Dalvin Cook. With similar defenses, I believe the stud backs for the Saints to be too much to handle for the Vikings defense. I anticipate the Saints improving to 6-1 and the Vikings to fall to 4-3-1.

 

MNF

 

New England Patriots (5-2) at Buffalo Bills (2-5)

 

To end the week, I expect the Patriots to roll their division rival on primetime television. With the emergence of Josh Gordon, the Patriots offense has found its mid-season form, and I expect it to stay that way till the postseason. The Bills, on the other hand, have a poor offense and will be without rookie QB Josh Allen. Expect multiple turnovers from Derek Anderson, and expect the Pats to advance to 6-2, while the Bills struggle to 2-6.

Nick Evans is a beat writer and sports analsyts for the Spinnaker Website. He’s also got a great set of chompers.

 

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