By Brett Minnick
An NFL season that felt like it began not long ago has reached the midpoint, week 8. Week 7 was a fun and exciting week where some premier matchups, tight games, and blowouts pivoted the direction teams wish to take.
Teams like the Colts, who were shut out by the oppressive Jacksonville defense, should consider “tanking” the season and keeping injured quarterback Andrew Luck on the bench for the remainder of the season. Teams like the Saints and Chargers should go all in on their runs and not take their feet off the pedal as they make runs for the top spot in their division after initially being written off. This is especially true for the Drew Brees led Saints who have quietly been one of the most dangerous teams in the league in the talented NFC South. The Chiefs suffered a last second shocking loss to the Raiders led by Amari Cooper’s breakout performance as the Raiders finally looked like the team they are supposed to be. The Bills have also showed they are not to be slept on as they beat the Bucs and are ready to give the Patriots a true fight for the division.
Taking a look at week 8, there are many matchups that should be a chance for an expected win and a potential “rest”, though no team should ever be taken lightly. Examples like this are matchups between the Bengals and Colts where the Bengal’s talented offense should wreak havoc on the Colts defense, or the Saints against the Bears where the Saints offense should overtake the Bears solid defense and the Saints defense should take advantage of young Mitch Trubisky inexperience. Despite these should be blowouts, there are two out of division matchups that I think are especially interesting. The Chargers take on the Patriots at Foxborough where the Chargers will look to expose the Patriots weak defense and have their great pass rush lay some hits on Tom Brady. If the Chargers win this game it will easily vault them into Super Bowl conversation. However, Tom Brady has had his way with Philip Rivers in the past and the Patriots should always be the favorite to win at home. The Lions and Steelers face off in Detroit where the streaking Steelers, led by Le’veon Bell on the ground, play the Lions coming off their bye week. The Texans and Seahawks play in Seattle where Deshaun Watson will face his toughest test against the ever threatening Legion of Boom. Him and Russell Wilson are similar quarterbacks and both will have to utilize their scrambling ability to gain yardage in this one.
The game to watch this week is one of the few divisional matchups this week between the Cowboys and Redskins. The Redskins have a good run defense and will need it to shut down Zeke Elliot. Josh Norman will face off against Dez Bryant for the first time this year. And the Redskins receiving corps will need to find a way to get it going against a Dallas Defense that shouldn’t shut them down but is not pushover. Kirk Cousins vs Dak Prescott should be great to watch in a high scoring affair. I think the Redskins will be desperate for a win and will get one this week at home.