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3 Week 8 Games With Playoff Implications

Written by Pat Pryor, @PryorGraphics

Week 7 Results

Pittsburgh Steelers(5-0) at Tennessee Titans(5-0)

Result: Steelers 27, Titans 24

The top matchup between undefeated teams did not disappoint. Once down 27-7, the Titans led a furious comeback, fueled by an A.J. Brown 73 yard touchdown from Tannehill, and of course Derrick Henry finding the endzone as usual. However, it came down to a final drive. Down by three, Tannehill tore it up, going from his own 20 all the way down to the Pittsburgh 28, only for Stephen Gostowski to miss the game-tying 45 yarder. The three-time Super Bowl champion is now 10 for 16 on the year. Thanks to the missed kick, Big Ben and company didn’t have to go into overtime to defend their lead in the North, and they stayed on top. As for the Titans in the South, they’re still above the Colts in second but Indy is looking to take it with a win this week and next.

Dallas Cowboys(2-4) at Washington Football Team(1-5)

Result: Football Team 25, Cowboys 3

This was a matchup between two teams, and everyone could see it. In the first quarter, Andy Dalton was strip-sacked, and Dalton Schultz would recover it, only to be tackled for a safety. That was the first rough play in what turned out to be a long day for America’s Team. During the blowout, Andy Dalton took a nasty concussion on a hit that would get Jon Bostic ejected. He’s still recovering, and now 7th round rookie Ben DiNucci will start against the Eagles. Now with a head-to-head loss, the Cowboys are third in the division but can jump back to first with a win against the Eagles this week. Washington is rooting for them, as they’ll be able to be 3-5 on top if they come back from a bye week with a victory against the Giants. Yes, a 3-5 division leader in week 9. The NFC East may be the most heated division race this season.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers(4-2) at Las Vegas Raiders (3-2)

Result: Buccaneers 45, Raiders 20

Tom Brady is still Tom Brady. As soon as the Buccaneers walked on the field, it was over. Brady threw for over 350 yards for 4 touchdowns. He’ll be out in week 8, but Chris Godwin reeled in 9 catches in just as many targets, for 88 yards in a touchdown. Gronk, Tyler Johnson, and Scotty Miller would also have touchdowns, as the Raiders couldn’t keep it. They struggled to get anything going on the ground, and despite a great game from Nelson Agholor, the Buccaneers took the lead in the second quarter and never gave it up. As for the Buccaneers, a Saints win might’ve had them nervous, but they came out and proved they deserved sole possession of first in the South, and now face the Giants on Monday Night Football, where they should remain on top. In Las Vegas, they were flying high after beating the Chiefs but now have to face the Browns, and risk falling to 3-4. After next week, they could fall to third in the division, behind the Chargers or Broncos.

Week 8 Games

Pittsburgh Steelers (6-0) at Baltimore Ravens (5-1), Sunday 1:00 PM

Somehow, what should absolutely be the game of the week is a one o’clock game. This game is going to be a showdown between two of the hottest teams in the league. Whoever wins will be in possession of first in the AFC North. If the Ravens win, they’ll be 6-1 with a head-to-win for first. However, if the Steelers win, they’ll have a two-game lead, and remain as the only undefeated team left. The Ravens are coming off a week 7 bye, and the Steelers already had their bye in week 4 due to the Covid-19 breakout within the Titans organization. Overall, the winner will control the best division in the AFC, heading into a rough stretch of eight straight games for both teams. This means both teams will have to finish the second half of the season at their best, without a break. Reigning MVP Lamar Jackson will be facing the league's toughest defense when it comes to yards. However, breakout rookie Chase Claypool and teammate Diontae Johnson will be facing the Ravens defense, who’s allowed the league’s least amount of points. Ben Roethlisberger hopes to have a bounceback game, as he threw three picks last week, including one to give the Titans their final drive which ended up in the missed game-tying kick. Two top ten defenses, against bottom half offenses, this game will be a hard-fought matchup in the trenches.

New Orleans Saints (4-2) at Chicago Bears (5-2), Sunday 4:25 PM

After a disappointing loss to the Rams on Monday Night Football, the Bears have to bounce back and put up a fight to stay in the division race for the NFC North. Meanwhile, Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints are looking to continue a three-game winning streak. They’re the third-ranked defense, and the struggling Bears offense will be challenged. The Bears are no pushovers either, however, as they’ve allowed the 7th fewest points. In theory, Chicago could take the North this week, like the Vikings, despite coming from a tough loss, haven’t looked terrible. They’ve lost two games by just one point, and they came against tough opponents in Tennessee and Seattle. If this turns out to be a trap game for the Packers, and the Bears can pull out a win at home, they’ll be first in the division. However, a Saints win would drop the Bears to 5-3 and currently out of the playoff picture. New Orleans would also be on top of the division until at least Monday night when the Buccaneers face the Giants. Now even if the Packers and the Buccaneers win, the winner of this matchup will be in control of the fifth seed, and the loser would be out of the picture if the season ended after this week. This head to head matchup could come down to deciding who earns a wildcard spot, and maybe even the only one of three wildcards not in the high powered NFC West.

San Francisco 49ers (4-3) at Seattle Seahawks (5-1), Sunday 4:25 PM

It’ll be tough to choose a game to pay attention to, as both the 4:25 games should be great matchups, and very important in the playoff picture. The 49ers are coming off the domination of the Patriots, winning 33-6 in Gillette. Meanwhile, the Seahawks lost in Russell Wilson’s worst game of the season, as he threw three picks in an overtime loss to the Cardinals. The 49ers don’t hold their own fate in this game, as they’ll be relying on the Dolphins to beat the Rams to try and move up to third in the division. However, for the Seahawks, a loss would be a killer. If the Rams take care of business Seattle would immediately drop to third in the division if they lose. Although, a win would put them above the Cardinals at 6-1, and would make it very challenging for the 49ers to put themselves back in the race. Rams and Cardinals fans are rooting for San Francisco come 4:25, as a win by Jimmy G puts 1st in prime position for the taking, especially with the Seahawks facing Buffalo next week. The 49ers relied heavily on the defense in their win against the Patriots, but this is the opportunity to light it up on offense, against a bottom 5 defense in Seattle. Russell Wilson has to come back strong, against a defense ranked higher than that in Arizona. It could end up as a shootout, or either team could take an early lead and control the game.

Both of these 4:25 games are going to be excellent games, and have long term impacts. It’ll be quite the afternoon to recap next week.



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