Jan the Intern’s NFL Week 8 Preview
Well here we go. It’s officially Week 8 in the National Football League. The Denver Broncos kicked it off last night with a dominant performance against AFC West rival, the San Diego Chargers. While everyone is talking about another Peyton “touchdown-throwing machine” Manning game, I was mostly impressed with Denver’s defense. San Diego’s offense had been seemingly unstoppable until recently, but Denver’s defense seemed to just overpower the Chargers’ offensive line. With Denver’s defense greatly improved from last season (and that Super Bowl performance… seesh) and Peyton’s laser rocket arm, I can’t see anyone in the AFC coming close to really challenging the Broncos.
So let’s take a look at the Week 8 match-ups.
Detroit Lions (5-2) vs. Atlanta Falcons (2-5)
Wembley Stadium – London, England, 9:30 AM ET – FOX
Yeah. You read that correctly. The Lions and Falcons play at historic Wembley Stadium at 9:30 AM Eastern. That’s 7:30 AM Mountain. 6:30 AM West Coast. And because I don’t want the Central time zone to feel left out, that’s 8:30 AM Central. The NFL on Fox crew has to do a pregame show from LA BEFORE this game starts. That’s like, really early. Curt Menefee told me on Twitter that he’ll be taking a double espresso coffee IV.
So the Lions have the best defense in the NFL. The Falcons offensive line is totally made of goo. Matt Ryan might be limping away from London if Ndamukong Suh and Co. continue to get to the QB like they have been. I feel badly for the London NFL goers… we finally send them teams other than the Raiders and the Jaguars and they get Matty Ice and his Legion of Goo.
Jan’s Pick: Lions
Minnesota Vikings (2-5) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-5)
Raymond James Stadium, 1:00 PM ET – FOX
I love Teddy Bridgewater. I want him to succeed so badly, I often hear the Vikings horn thing in my head when I see the colors purple and yellow. I want a Teddy shirsey. I cheer TED-DY TED-DY from my couch. I’m not a Vikings fan. It’s safe to say the Vikings offense is not very good. Minnesota has a 62.7 QB rating… that’s the worst in the NFL.
So here we have two last place teams: Minnesota the bottom of the NFC North and the Bucs the most Southern of the South. The good news is that Minnesota’s offense is currently ranked 13th, but if they can’t get their offense going, Tampa Bay might be able to get their second win of the season.
Except Tampa Bay can’t win at home. They’re 0-4 at Raymond James Stadium, dating back to last season. The Vikings are 0-6 at Raymond James. Someone has to win this game, right? Oh wait, teams can still tie in the NFL.
Jan’s pick: Minnesota – because Teddy
Buffalo Bills (4-3) at New York Jets (1-6)
MetLife Stadium, 1:00 PM ET - CBS
Here we have an AFC East match up. The Bills have their best start in three years, but both CJ Spiller and Fred Jackson are out with injuries that happened within minutes of each other last Sunday. The Bills have benched QB EJ Manuel in favor of Kyle Orton, who had a nice performance last week with the help of rookie WR Sammy Watkins. The Bills are still in the chase for the AFC East, right behind the Patriots.
Jets are pulling up the rear in the AFC East and are hoping to avoid a seventh consecutive loss. One of the biggest stories in the NFL over the last two weeks has been the trade between the Jets and the Seahawks for WR Percy Harvin. This Sunday should mark the debut of Harvin in a Jets uniform, who will have to have quite the performance against a Bills defense that has been impressive so far this season if the Jets are going to have a chance to grab their second win. Good news is that the Jets have won four in a row against the Bills and 12 of the last 16 at MetLife.
Jan’s pick: Bills – banged up backfield? Percy who? Buffalo’s defense will lead them to their fifth win.
Chicago Bears (3-4) at New England Patriots (5-2)
Gillette Stadium, 1:00 PM ET – FOX
The Patriots are on a roll and haven’t lost at home all season. However, the Pat’s defense is going to be missing Chandler Jones, who leads the team in sacks, for the next four games. New England’s defense is banged up and if Cutler can get back in a rhythm with his plethora of offensive weapons, we may have ourselves a game in the New England. But the Patriots have this guy:
Jan’s pick: Patriots – that guy ^
Seattle Seahawks (3-3) at Carolina Panthers (3-3-1)
Bank of America Stadium, 1:00 PM ET – CBS
The defending Super Bowl Champions are undoubtedly struggling after losing two in a row to the Cowboys and the NFC West rival Rams. This is arguably a must-win for the Hawks as they travel to the opposite coast to take on the also struggling (but NFC South leading) Panthers.
Russell Wilson is seemingly unstoppable right now after he had the first ever 300 yard passing, 100 yard rushing game in NFL history last week. If Russ can get a little bit of help from the dormant (and injured) Legion of Boom and unleash the Beast in Marshawn Lynch, I think the Hawks will get this much needed win and get back on track to defending their title as Super Bowl Champs.
Carolina also needs this win to keep their spot atop a struggling NFC South division, so look for this game to be one of the better contests of the week.
Jan’s pick: Seahawks – you’re welcome for that ^
Miami Dolphins (3-3) at Jacksonville Jaguars (1-6)
Everbank Field, 1:00 PM ET – CBS
Guys, the Dolphins have one of the best defenses in the NFL right now and teams do really well against the Jaguars if you haven’t noticed. Ryan Tannehill and the Miami offense looked impressive in last week’s win against the Bears and that impressiveness is poised to continue against the Jags. If Tannehill can stay consistent, look for Miami to move over .500 and make a run at second place in the AFC East.
Jan’s pick: Dolphins
Baltimore Ravens (5-2) at Cincinnati Bengals (3-2-1)
Paul Brown Stadium, 1:00 PM ET – CBS
This is the second meeting this season between the two AFC North leading teams, with the Bengals taking the first game 23-17. But Cincy seems to be in a bit of a funk, after practically not showing up last week against Indianapolis. The Ravens are cruising right now, with Joe Flacco playing pretty well. I think we’ll see a much different game than the season opener, as the Bengals try to get back into actually scoring points against the opposition. History is on their side, as the Ravens have lost 7 of their last 9 in Cincinnati.
Jan’s pick: Ravens
Houston Texans (3-4) at Titans Titans (2-5)
LP Field, 1:00 PM ET – FOX
Here we have two sub-.500 teams in the same division. The Texans are currently in second place, with the Titans right behind them in the AFC South. JJ Watt is incredible. I don’t know what else to say about him. He needs some offensive help and they need to not blow games. JJ Watt can only score so many defensive touchdowns before the offense needs to step in and do their part.
The Titans are starting rookie QB Zach Mettenberger against JJ Watt-I mean the Texans’ defense. Tennessee’s offense is struggling with no running game to really speak of but Delanie Walker hasn’t been too shabby. It will definitely be interesting to see how the Titan’s offensive line protects the rookie QB from Justin James Watt.
Jan’s pick: JJ – I mean, the Texans
St. Louis Rams (2-4) at Kansas City Chiefs (3-3)
Arrowhead Stadium, 1:00 PM ET – FOX
Both the Rams and the Chiefs are coming off big wins – the Rams beat the Super Bowl champs thanks to some special teams magic and the Chiefs beat the Charges to snap their five-game winning streak. The Chiefs can get some momentum with a win over the Rams, as they have the Jets up next. I have a feeling the Rams will get up early, but blow the lead… wait has that happened before?
Jan’s pick: Chiefs
Philadelphia Eagles (5-1) at Arizona Cardinals (5-1)
University of Phoenix Stadium, 4:05 PM ET – FOX
Two of the NFL’s hottest teams face off in a battle for NFC supremacy and a sixth win. The Eagles are coming off a bye, the Cardinals are in first place of arguably the toughest division in football. Both teams are looking to get a couple key guys on both sides of the ball back from injury, which will only help these two NFC leaders. I’m going with a blind pick here and only choosing the Cardinals because they’re the home team (and undefeated at home, so far). But look for Chip Kelly’s Eugene Eagles to put up quite the fight.
Jan’s pick: Cardinals
Indianapolis Colts (5-2) at Pittsburgh Steelers (4-3)
Heinz Field, 4:05 ET – CBS
Did you guys see that craziness on Monday night from the Steelers?! I saw the replay because I was doing homework like any good college senior should (no, really - I was). Experts are calling the Colts the “most complete team” in the NFL. I’ve watched a couple Colts games and didn’t they almost blow a lead against the Texans two weeks ago? Sure, they shut out the Bengals last week, but I’m not sure I’d call them the most complete team in the NFL. It’s still early for that. Andrew Luck is really, really good but he also looks like a caveman. His opposing QB is… yeah, I won’t go there but maybe the inconsistent Steelers will be consistently consistent enough to consistently not let Andrew Luck embarrass them at home.
Jan’s pick: Steelers
Oakland Raiders (0-6) at Cleveland Browns (3-3)
Firstenergy Stadium, 4:25 ET – CBS
The Raiders are not very good, guys. Arizona’s Darnell Dockett will tell you that:
Jan’s pick: Browns
Green Bay Packers (5-2) at New Orleans Saints (2-4)
Mercedes-Benz Superdome, 8:30 ET – NBC
This is going to be a sneaky game that I will be watching closely. Aaron Rodgers and the Packers offense is literally on fire right now. The Packers and Saints haven’t played each other since 2012, so of course the Rodgers vs. Brees match up is Sunday Night Football worthy. The Saints could win this game and be right in the hunt for the NFC South title, with Carolina sitting at the top at 3-3-1. I have a feeling that both QBs will shine in primetime and it will be up to the defenses to get stops. It’ll be a high scoring game, but my heart tells me Aaron Rodgers and the Pack can’t be stopped right now. But for fantasy purposes, I’m going to need Drew Brees to score lots of points, too. Whoever has the ball last will win this one.
Jan’s pick: Packers
Washington Redskins (2-5) at Dallas Cowboys (6-1)
AT&T Stadium, 8:30 PM ET – ESPN
One of the most storied rivalries in the NFL take center stage on Monday Night Football. The Cowboys have THE BEST RECORD IN THE NFL. Guys – the COWBOYS HAVE THE BEST RECORD IN THE NFL. This isn’t the 90s. The Tony Romo Cowboys have the best record in the NFL. DeMarco Murray is unstoppable. He’s on pace to rush for like a bajillion yards and I am eating up the fantasy points every week. If Murray can stay healthy, I’m not sure there’s much stopping this guy from having one of the best rushing seasons in NFL history. Romo hasn’t imploded either. He hasn’t been throwing pick after pick in crucial moments and the Cowboys defense isn’t hot garbage. Washington’s football team hasn’t named a starter yet. I’m writing this on Friday. RGIII could come back from his dislocated ankle, or not. Kirk Cousins was benched last week and Colt McCoy lead the Skins to a comeback hail victory. Brian Orakpo is also out with an injury. The ‘skins look to be in bad shape on all sides of the ball. Cowboys will improve to an NFL best 7-1 to close out Week 8.
Jan’s pick: Cowboys
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