Week 8 is here and it's already been a busy week for NFL headlines. Tom Brady had a horrible week -- beginning with an agonizing loss to Baltimore on Thursday Night Football and culminating with a heartbreaking divorce announcement on Friday. The struggle was so real Thursday night I actually found myself feeling sorry for Brady, which is a foreign feeling I'm sure many of us are not familiar with.
The future Hall of Famer isn't having an easy go of it this season. The Ravens handed the Bucs their third consecutive loss and thrust Brady into his first losing streak in 20 years. Brady's professional life is beginning to look reminiscent of when a television series decides to keep going for a couple more seasons, even though it'd be best if they wrapped it up and went out on a high note instead of angering fans. Watching the 45 year old legend is a little bit like watching the final season of How I Met Your Mother.
On top of that, Lamar's passing abilities were exploited and exposed Thursday night. Despite beating the Buccaneers, it's becoming more and more evident that Jackson isn't developing his passing game. I mean, Jacoby Brissett has more passing yards this season than the Ravens quarterback. Luckily we had some lighter notes this week to make us laugh and bring the joy, like the Kansas City Chiefs bye week bonding shenanigans.
Now we get to turn our focus to Sunday Funday-- here are some of the storylines giving me life ahead of Week 8's Sunday kickoff.
Lackluster in London
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Sunday's action kicks off aggressively early and we have London to thank for that. Yup, that's right, this Sunday the NFL's third and final series game in London (there are two more international games this season in Munich and Mexico City) will kickoff at 9:30am on the east coast and a coffee-requiring 6:30am on the west. You might be wondering if it's worth getting up at an unreasonable Sunday morning hour to watch two 2-5 teams battle it out across the pond. It's a fair question given how lackluster Russell Wilson looks this season.
The NFL could have never predicted the Broncos would be so painful to watch this season, I know I didn't -- did you? The last time these two teams faced off the Broncos beat the Jags 23-13. But I'm not so confident this Denver bunch can pull off a win Week 8. Is that because the Broncos look so bad this season or is it because I secretly enjoy watching sophomore Trevor Lawrence helm the Jags. Admit it, the Jacksonville quarterback looks like the perfectly cast star quarterback for the next angsty football drama series on the CW -- his stats this season aren't bad either, they're better than Russ's.
So why do I care about this game? Well, there's something unpredictable about these London games. Maybe it's because of the travel, maybe it's some sort of magical British spell. Whatever it is, we've witnessed some close battles and rare double doinks this season in the UK. The Broncos and Jaguars may hold losing records, but it's likely the London air will gift us another entertaining match up. Tune in to ESPN+ to catch the London action.
The Battle Of Pennsylvania
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There's nothing quite as satisfying as watching a good old fashioned rivalry and this week the fans of Pennsylvania have a doozy. To add lighter fluid to the rivalry fire -- it's Week 8 and the Philadelphia Eagles remain undefeated. It's still too early to project where the Eagles will land come the end of the season, but if they keep playing like this they'll be hard to stop -- that easy schedule doesn't hurt either. This week they're facing the 2-5 Steelers at home. On paper this should be an easy W to secure. However, when it comes to long standing rivalries, anything can happen.
The Keystone state's inter-conference rivalry has been going since the teams first meeting back in 1933. The home team has a penchant for pulling out the win in this series. The 6-0 Eagles find themselves with the honor of that advantage this Sunday. The Eagles also lead the overall series 48-29-3 and are 26-8-2 at home. The fact that the Philly home team is coming off a bye week could play a factor, but I don't expect a sluggish return from the high flying eagles. I do expect a fun rivalry matchup that in all likelihood will put the Philadelphia team soaring to 7-0.
Aaron Rodgers Calls Out Teammates Ahead of Road Battle in Buffalo
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Green Bay is 0-6 in Buffalo and with the way they've been playing this season I fully expect the Bills to extend their home field record against the Packers to 7-0. Aaron Rodgers' Packers are 3-4 and have only managed to secure one win on the road this season against the struggling Buccaneers. The Pack is also heading to Buffalo on a three game losing streak. Bills Mafia will undoubtedly bring the hometown energy to the stadium Sunday night, making an already uphill challenge for Green Bay even more difficult.
It would be absolutely bonkers for the Packers to steal a win on the road against an exponentially better Bills team. If they could though, it would make for a shocking upset and fulfilling win for the green and cheese gold -- finally nabbing a win on Bill's home turf.
I'm keeping my eye on this one because it could help solidify Buffalo's power in the league whilst further unsettling Aaron Rodgers -- I can't help it, I love to see his fit throwing. Rodgers has been outspoken about his team this season, eager to point blame anywhere other than at himself. His recent appearance on the Pat McAfee Show stirred a lot of controversy around the veteran and his willingness to speak loosely about his teammates perceived weaknesses.
Rodgers said, "Guys who are making too many mistakes shouldn't be playing. Gotta start cutting some reps." I'm curious if the Green Bay quarterback is wise to the irony of his criticism -- with his stats this season, he's not blameless to the mess the Packers find themselves in.
All eyes will be fixed to Buffalo Sunday night, a prime-time spot favoring the Packers -- Rodgers has won 13 consecutive prime-time starts.
A New Face In Indy
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The Indianapolis Colts are .500 heading into Week 8 and changing it up at the helm. Veteran Matt Ryan, who sits at the league's fifth spot for passing yards this season, will find himself on the sidelines Sunday as the Colts trot out Sam Ehlinger. Indy's new QB1 will be making his first NFL regular season career start, but Ehlinger knows a thing or two about winning.
The former Texas Longhorn quarterback broke numerous records in the Lonestar state, including the Big 12 record for most consecutive pass attempts without an interception, 308. The Longhorn captain led his team to multiple bowl game wins and in 2020 was named Jason Witten Collegiate Man of The Year. He earned himself quite a collegiate resume.
The question is, can the hungry, young pro step up and turn Indianapolis's season around, and that's uncertain. The Colts are putting a lot of faith in the newbie and fans are anxious to see if Ehlinger can deliver. The promise of witnessing a young NFL talent take-off makes this Colts vs. Commanders matchup an intriguing one, especially when you take into consideration that Washington will also be led by a fresh faced quarterback in Taylor Heinicke.
Week 8's game will be Heinicke's second appearance commanding the Washington team. Last week he helped secure the Commanders second consecutive win this season. The team had a prior ugly four game losing streak. It could end up being a fun Sunday matchup between the two young gun's searching for their place in the league. It could also end up being a chaotic mess, but I'm optimistic for the former.
Vikings Are Hot and It's About Time We Talk About It
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The Minnesota Vikings are 5-1. I'm going to say that again, the Minnesota Vikings are 5-1 and I don't think we're talking about it enough. The NFC is led by the undefeated Eagles, the inspired Giants and America's Cowboys which could be why we aren't hearing enough about the stellar football taking place in the land of 10,000 lakes.
So, let's talk about it. This week the Vikings are at home, hosting the Cardinals and are primed to advance to 6-1. Yes, the Minnesota men have faced a lot of struggling teams this season and their toughest challenges will come in the back half of the season, but the early wins put them in a powerful position. When you look at their remaining schedule, it's fully possible that Kirk Cousins could manage to lead them to a 13-5 season and possibly 14-4 if they could steal a win late in the season at home against one of the traveling New York teams.
This puts the Vikings in the mix and I for one am here for it. The Minnesota warriors could be due for a renaissance, something the fans are long overdue. If the Vikings can keep this momentum going it would make for a contentious playoff race in the NFC.
Adding to the fun this week is the fan element, there could be 73,000 mullets in the stands this Sunday. The Mullet Militia returns this weekend in what promises to be an amped up home game against the Cardinals. And I've got to say, with a fandom and team this silly and fun, it's hard to not root for them to unseat one of the NFC's supreme teams.
Tune in this Sunday on NFL Sunday Ticket or check your local listings to catch all the electric Week 8 storylines.
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