Week 8 Early Game Previews


Photo Courtesy of Robert Robinson @badasskidsent

Philadelphia Eagles (3-4) vs. Jacksonville Jaguars (3-4) (London)


Preview

The Eagles and Jaguars will be two desperate teams facing off early Sunday morning in London. Philadelphia has not looked like the Super Bowl team that we saw last year and a loss here could derail their season, as the NFC Playoff chase will come down to a game or two. Jacksonville is on a downward spiral and with the reports of team chemistry being questioned, a loss here could be devastating for a once-promising season. Each team will need to perform at their best, and while both still have the talent to do so, they have yet to show that they can this season.


Players to watch

The Eagles need to find a way to get their running game going with Corey Clement and Wendell Smallwood. It was a big part of their success last season and it has been a way to wear down the Jaguars defense this year. Jalen Ramsey will more than likely be on Alshon Jeffery and with A.J. Bouye out, it will be on Nelson Agholor to help expose Jacksonville’s secondary. Blake Bortles is the biggest determining factor in how this game will go. Will we see the London Bortles from the past or the player that got benched last week? The Jags’ season depends on him showing up.


Keys to the game

Philadelphia Eagles

  • Establish the run

  • Don’t let Bortles beat you

  • Force turnovers

Jacksonville Jaguars

  • Pressure Carson Wentz

  • No costly turnovers

  • Feed Carlos Hyde


Injury list

Philadelphia Eagles

  • Nathan Gerry, LB - Ankle/Knee (Out)

  • Corey Graham, S - Hamstring (Out)

  • Sidney Jones, CB - Hamstring (Out)

  • Darren Sproles, RB - Hamstring (Out)

  • Haloti Ngata, DT - Calf (Questionable)

Jacksonville Jaguars

  • A.J. Bouye, CB - Calf (Out)

  • Leonard Fournette, RB - Hamstring (Out)

  • James O’Shaughnessy, TE - Hip (Out)

  • Tyler Patmon, CB - Neck (Out)

  • D.J. Hayden, CB - Toe (Doubtful)


Top 5 Fantasy Players

  • Zach Ertz, TE (PHI)

  • Alshon Jeffery, WR (PHI)

  • Carson Wentz, QB (PHI)

  • Carlos Hyde, RB (JAX)

  • Keelan Cole, WR (JAX)


Prediction

With both teams being desperate for a win, I expect them to exchange blows until the Eagles find a way to pull away with a win. The loss of A.J. Bouye will show up on Sunday, making life easier for Carson Wentz. Philadelphia’s front should be able to get in Blake Bortles’ face throughout the whole game which will lead to a turnover or two. Philly will get things right while the Jags will be wondering if this season has turned into a lost cause.


Final Score: Eagles 24, Jaguars 20


Written by: Cody Manning



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

Preview

In this game, we have a rematch of what was a very close Week 4 matchup between two divisional rivals. Denver will be seeking revenge over this Chiefs team, whom they lost to 27-23 in their last meeting. However, it will be a tougher task as the Broncos now come into a tough environment at Arrowhead Stadium. This game could be another close one, but I also strongly believe that it could be a blowout as this Kansas City team is rolling right now. I guess we'll just have to see if Case Keenum and Co. are up to the task.


Players to watch

As has been the case all season, all eyes will be on quarterback Patrick Mahomes for the Chiefs. It will be up to the pass rush of the Broncos, led by Von Miller, to make things uncomfortable for Mahomes. The Broncos must attack this struggling Chiefs secondary. I look for Demaryius Thomas or Emmanuel Sanders to be keys to keeping the Broncos in this game as they will be matched up with two mediocre corners in Steven Nelson and Kendall Fuller.


Keys to the game

Denver Broncos

  • Attack through the air

  • Put pressure on Mahomes

  • Limit turnovers

Kansas City Chiefs

  • Protect Mahomes

  • Establish the run

  • Big game from the secondary


Injury list

Denver Broncos

  • Von Miller, OLB - Ankle (Questionable)

  • Brandon Marshall, ILB - Knee (Questionable)

  • Nico Falah, C - Concussion (Questionable)

  • Jared Veldheer, T - Knee (Out)

  • Shane Ray, LB - Ankle (Doubtful)

  • Darian Stewart, SS - Neck (Out)

  • Royce Freeman, RB - Ankle (Out)

  • DaeSean Hamilton, WR - Knee (Out)

Kansas City Chiefs

  • Justin Houston, OLB - Hamstring (Doubtful)

  • Eric Berry, SS - Heel (Doubtful)

  • Mitch Morse, C - Concussion (Out)


Top 5 Fantasy Players

  • Patrick Mahomes, QB (KC)

  • Tyreek Hill, WR (KC)

  • Kareem Hunt, RB (KC)

  • Demaryius Thomas, WR (DEN)

  • Emmanuel Sanders, WR (DEN)

Prediction

I believe this game will be a little different than the first meeting between these two teams. The Broncos will score early to keep things interesting, but I see the Chiefs running away with this one. Denver simply lacks the firepower on offense to keep up with Kansas City. Mahomes has a big game in this one and the Chiefs win by double digits to improve to 7-1 on the season.


Final Score: Chiefs 34, Broncos 17


Written by: Ryan Lippert



Cleveland Browns (2-4-1) vs. Pittsburgh Steelers (3-2-1)

Preview

Both of these teams will be looking to improve on an ugly Week One performance. As we all saw, the last meeting between these teams ended in a tie, as neither team could take advantage of opportunities to come away with the win. Pittsburgh is finally rolling, as they have won their last two to take over the lead in the AFC North. On the other hand, the Browns have put together two wins behind rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield but have still struggled in close games, only winning one out of their four overtime games this season. We will see if they can get over the hump in what should be another hard fought divisional

matchup.


Players to watch

For the Steelers, James Conner will be looking to repeat his strong performance in the last meeting between these two teams. I believe he can do just that as he will be facing a run defense that ranks towards the bottom of the league. Baker Mayfield will try to prove that he can win the big games in a tough environment at Heinz Field. He will be facing a struggling Steelers secondary. Artie Burns must step up, as he has been a liability at corner for the Steelers so far. The Browns will likely attack his side with wide receivers Jarvis Landry and Antonio Callaway.


Keys to the game

Cleveland Browns

  • Attack the secondary

  • Put pressure on Roethlisberger

  • FINISH

Pittsburgh Steelers

  • Protect Roethlisberger

  • Get Conner going early

  • Create turnovers


Injury list

Cleveland Browns

  • Joe Schobert, ILB - Hamstring (Out)

  • Da’Mari Scott, WR - Shoulder (Questionable)

  • Damarious Randall, SS - Groin (Questionable)

  • Rashard Higgins, WR - MCL (Out)

  • JC Tretter, C - Ankle (Questionable)

  • E.J. Gaines, DB - Concussion (Out)

Pittsburgh Steelers

  • Marcus Gilbert, T - Knee (Out)


Top 5 Fantasy Players

  • Antonio Brown, WR (PIT)

  • James Conner, RB (PIT)

  • Juju Smith-Schuster, WR (PIT)

  • Ben Roethlisberger, QB (PIT)

  • Jarvis Landry, WR (CLE)

Prediction

This game will be a close one for at least three full quarters. Mayfield will take advantage of mistakes in the secondary and keep the Browns in the game. For Pittsburgh, Conner will have another huge game on the ground. This one will come down to the fourth quarter, where Ben Roethlisberger will take over and help the Steelers pull away. I have the Steelers winning by two touchdowns.


Final Score: Steelers 31, Browns 17


Written by: Ryan Lippert



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

Preview

Who would have thought, at the beginning of the season, that the Redskins would be leading the NFC East by 1.5 games through week 7? And also, who would have thought that the Giants would already begin to tear down their roster before the halfway mark of the season, giving up on a team that new GM Dave Gettleman thought would make a playoff run this year? These two teams are trending in completely opposite directions, and with the Giants having already traded two of their defensive starters, this game seems like a freebie for the Redskins.


Players to watch

The one strength of this Giants defense was its interior rush, but with Damon “Snacks” Harrison now a Lion, Redskins RB Adrian Peterson may find daylight. Promising rookie Dalvin Tomlinson will look to fill Snacks’ shoes. Washington receivers still have yet to show consistent production. QB Alex Smith might be able to build a stronger rapport with them, particularly Ryan Grant and Jamison Crowder against a struggling and depleted Giants secondary. Janoris Jenkins will be tasked with covering at least one of them, and we might be seeing his last game in a Giants uniform.. DE Olivier Vernon has been injured for much of the season, so the Giants are hoping he can have a big game so they could potentially get trade value out of him.


Keys to the game

Washington Redskins

  • Don’t get complacent

  • Take advantage of a weak passing D

  • Give Adrian Peterson rest if up early

New York Giants

  • Open up running lanes for Saquon

  • Protect Manning

  • Dalvin Tomlinson steps up


Injury list

Washington Redskins

  • Jamison Crowder, WR - Ankle (Out)

  • Quinton Dunbar, CB - Shin (Questionable)

  • Paul Richardson, WR - Shoulder/Knee (Questionable)

  • Chris Thompson, RB - Rib/Knee (Questionable)

New York Giants

  • Jawill Davis, WR - Concussion (Out)

  • Alec Ogletree, LB - Hamstring (Out)

Top 5 Fantasy Players

  • Saquon Barkley, RB (NYG)

  • Odell Beckham Jr., WR (NYG)

  • Adrian Peterson, RB (WAS)

  • Sterling Shepard, WR (NYG)

  • Washington D/ST


Prediction

I have lost faith in the Giants this season. Despite being loaded on offense and with a fair amount of talent on defense, the team has just looked uninspired and overmatched. Washington hasn’t looked pretty, and still has a bunch of kinks to work out, but they have shown that they can pull off gritty wins against good teams. As long as they take this game seriously, they should have an easy win.


Final Score: Redskins 24, Giants 13


Written by: Alexander Amir



Seattle Seahawks (3-3) vs. Detroit Lions (3-3)

Preview

After starting off the season 0-2, both teams have rebounded, winning three over their last four outings. It has been an impressive turnaround for first time Detroit head coach Matt Patricia and the new-look Seahawks. The Lions, a half game back in the NFC North, will look to continue their recent success against the Seahawks, who look rejuvenated after battling injuries early in the year. In a tightly contested NFC, both teams are looking to make a playoff push over the second half of the season. This is sure to be an exciting matchup in what should be a ground and pound defensive battle in Detroit.


Players to watch

The Seahawks’ Legion of Boom is no more, but Frank Clark and the defensive front have led the Seahawks defense to ranking 6th in yards per game and 5th in points per game, and now they will be getting pro-bowl linebacker K.J. Wright back from a 6 game absence. The Seahawks have leaned on the ground game, utilizing a three headed monster in the backfield, but Chris Carson will be taking the biggest load against a defensive line that just acquired All-Pro defensive tackle Damon “Snacks” Harrison to anchor the interior rush. Following the bye week, Russell Wilson tends to explode the stat sheets — it will be interesting to see what he can do against a solid pass rush and the number 7 defense against the pass. It will be up to Doug Baldwin to continue his impressive outing from week 6 and the responsibility of All-star corner Darius Slay to slow him down.


Keys to the game

Seattle Seahawks

  • Establish the Run

  • Protect Russell Wilson

  • Force Turnovers

  • Pressure Matt Stafford

Detroit Lions

  • Hit and fluster Russell Wilson

  • Crowd the Front Seven

  • Spread the Ball Around

  • Establish the Run


Injury list

Seattle Seahawks

  • Jordan Simmons, G - Out (Doubtful)

  • Rasheem Green, DE - Ankle (Questionable)

  • Neiko Thorpe, CB - Groin (Doubtful)

Detroit Lions

  • Ezekiel Ansah, DE - Shoulder (Questionable)

  • Jarrad Davis, LB - Calf (Questionable)

  • Theo Riddick, RB - Knee (Out)

Top 5 Fantasy Players

  • Russell Wilson, QB (SEA)

  • Matt Stafford, QB (DET)

  • Kerryon Johnson, RB (DET)

  • Golden Tate, WR (DET)

  • Doug Baldwin, WR (SEA)


Prediction

This is sure to be a defensive battle, as neither offense has been great over their first six contests. Expect a game controlled by the ground, as Detroit has finally found a feature back in rookie Kerryon Johnson. Expect a low scoring affair and a few turnovers by both teams as they attempt to get closer to the playoffs. This game may come down to the wire, but coming off the bye week and ready to rumble, expect Wilson to put on a show late in the game to pull off the victory on the road.

Final Score: Seahawks 23, Lions 20


Written by: Jason Feiner



Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-3) vs. Cincinnati Bengals (4-3)

Preview

After the first 5 weeks of the season, the Cincinnati Bengals were sitting atop the AFC North with a record of 4-1. Since that point, they have dropped their last two ball games. They are welcoming in a Tampa Bay Buccaneers squad that is coming of a lackluster, albeit victorious, performance against the Cleveland Browns last week. The Bucs rely on their explosive offense to make plays down the field, so this matchup will come down to who can get the most stops from their defense.


Players to watch

After evaluating the game versus the Cleveland Browns, this could be the week that Ronald Jones II steps up for the Bucs. The Bengals give up big plays in the running game. O.J. Howard and Mike Evans should have plenty of opportunities to make big plays in the intermediate passing game, especially if Darqueze Dennard sits out this week. The Bengals have to get the ball in Joe Mixon’s hands early and often. Sometimes they abandon the run way too fast. Of course, if Andy Dalton can find A.J. Green against a zone heavy scheme, they could have a huge game as well.


Keys to the game

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

  • Establish the run game

  • Win the turnover battle

  • Limit big plays in the passing game

Cincinnati Bengals

  • Take deep shots down the field early

  • Let Joe Mixon run

  • Cover the tight ends


Injury list

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

  • Vinny Curry, DE- Ankle (Out)

  • Gerald McCoy, DT- Calf (Out)

Cincinnati Bengals

  • Gio Bernard, RB- Knee (Out)

  • Vontaze Burfict, LB- Hip (Out)

  • Darqueze Dennard, CB- Sternum (Out)

  • Tyler Kroft, TE- Foot (Out)

  • John Ross, WR- Groin (Out)

  • Nick Vigil, LB- Knee (Out)

  • Billy Price, C - Foot (Doubtful)


Top 5 Fantasy Players

  • A.J. Green, WR (CIN)

  • Joe Mixon, RB (CIN)

  • Mike Evans, WR (TB)

  • O.J. Howard, TE (TB)

  • Ronald Jones II, RB (TB)

Prediction

The Cincinnati Bengals will get back on track this week against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers behind a big game from Joe Mixon. The Bucs played some very soft, easy coverages against the Cleveland Browns last week, and I believe that Andy Dalton will make them pay if they play the same coverages this week. The Bucs will put up some points, but ultimately the Bengals will get a few big stops late in the game.


Final Score: Bengals 34, Bucs 27


Written by: Jake Leicht



New York Jets (3-4) vs. Chicago Bears (3-3)

Preview

A struggling, turnover prone rookie quarterback on the road, going up against a stout defense with an elite pass rush? We’ve all seen how this story ends, right? Jets quarterback Sam Darnold is coming off of his worst performance of his season: 3 interceptions, 2 fumbles, and a 37-17 loss against the Minnesota Vikings. Chicago, on the other hand, gave the New England Patriots a run for their money last weekend, coming within a yard of sending the game into overtime. The Bears offense is currently rolling, coming off of three straight weeks of 450+ yards of total offense. Any way you slice it, this is a bad matchup for the Jets.


Players to watch

After an insane start to the season, Khalil Mack has finally come back down to earth over the past two weeks. But while the Jets have an above average offensive line, expect Mack to be in Sam Darnold's face all day. Mitchell Trubisky has been doing a lot with both his arm and his legs as of late and there is nothing that says this trend won’t continue. Look for Trey Burton and Allen Robinson to be targeted early and often, especially with cornerback Trumaine Johnson sidelined for another week. With Bilal Powell now on IR, Isaiah Crowell should be heavily involved in the Jets’ offensive game plan. The Bears’ backfield has been leaning heavily on Tarik Cohen due to the pass heavy approach required to compete. But Jordan Howard could see an increase in action if Mack and company are able to wreak havoc on the Jets offense.


Keys to the game

New York Jets

  • Feed Isaiah Crowell 16-20 times

  • Win the turnover battle

  • Protect your rookie QB

  • Hold the Bears to under 20 points

Chicago Bears

  • Establish the run & stretch the field with play action

  • Pressure Sam Darnold early and often! (move Mack around)

  • Force 3rd and long situations


Injury list

New York Jets

  • Kevin Pierre-Louis, LB- Foot (Questionable)

  • Marcus Maye, S- thumb (Questionable)

  • Morris Claiborne, CB- Shoulder(Questionable)

  • Spencer Long, C- Lower leg (Questionable)

  • Trumaine Johnson, CB- Quadriceps (Doubtful)

  • Robby Anderson, WR- Ankle (Doubtful)

  • Quincy Enunwa, WR- Ankle (Out)

Chicago Bears

  • Eric Kush, G- Neck (Out)

  • Allen Robinson, WR- Groin (Questionable)

  • Khalil Mack, LB- Ankle (Questionable)


Top 5 Fantasy Players

  • Mitchell Trubisky, QB (CHI)

  • Tarik Cohen, RB (CHI)

  • Allen Robinson, WR (CHI)

  • Trey Burton, TE (CHI)

  • Isaiah Crowell, RB (NYJ)


Prediction

Khalil Mack will have 2 sacks and cause at least one turnover as the Chicago Bears have their way with rookie quarterback Sam Darnold, who turns the ball over another 3+ times. The Jets defense showed signs of life against the Vikings in the 1st half but eventually gave way to 27 2nd half points, and that was at home. On the road, I can’t see an already banged up Jets defense being able to handle the potent, gadget-style college system that Matt Nagy likes to run. The Chicago backfield will be facing a stout run defense, but Tarik Cohen should be able to make an impact in the underneath passing game and break off some chunk plays. I expect Darnold to struggle but keep his team in the game, at least through 3 quarters, but it won’t be enough to beat a desperate Bears team in Chicago.


Final Score: Bears 34, Jets 17


Written by: Jack Bourgeois



Baltimore Ravens (4-3) vs. Carolina Panthers (4-2)

Preview

Both of these teams are coming off hard-fought games that came down to the wire. The Ravens lost because of a rare, one-time missed PAT by Justin Tucker and will be looking to get back on track before falling to .500. The Panthers fought their way back to get a win against the Eagles nd will be looking to continue their momentum in Week 8. This is about as equal of a match that you can get as each team does things well on both sides of the ball. This could come down to who has the ball last to determine who walks out with the win.


Players to watch

The Ravens need to find a way to get Alex Collins going so they can wear down the Panthers defense and ease the load on their passing attack. It will be on C.J. Mosley to help keep tabs on Cam Newton so he doesn’t beat them with his legs. Christian McCaffrey has been solid this year but hasn’t taken over a game quite yet. It will be a daunting task against Baltimore’s defense, but if Carolina can get him going it will be a long day for the Ravens. We are also waiting for D.J. Moore to have his breakout game. If he does, the Panthers offense could be one of the more explosive ones in the league.


Keys to the game

Baltimore Ravens

  • Contain Cam

  • Establish the run

  • Control the clock

Carolina Panthers

  • Feed CMC

  • Pressure Flacco

  • Force turnovers


Injury list

Baltimore Ravens

  • Marlon Humphrey, CB - Thigh (Out)

  • James Hurst, G/T - Back (Out)

  • Alex Lewis, G/T - Neck (Doubtful)

  • Anthony Averett, CB - Hamstring (Questionable)

  • Bradley Bozeman, C - Calf (Questionable)

  • Anthony Levine, DB - Hamstring (Questionable)

  • Jimmy Smith, CB - Groin (Questionable)

Carolina Panthers

  • Torrey Smith, WR - Knee (Out)

  • Andre Smith, LB - Hamstring (Out)

  • Rashaan Gaulden, S - Ankle (Doubtful)


Top 5 Fantasy Players

  • Cam Newton, QB (CAR)

  • Christian McCaffrey, RB (CAR)

  • Alex Collins, RB (BAL)

  • John Brown, WR (BAL)

  • Greg Olsen, TE (CAR)

Prediction

I can see either team squeezing out a win here, but I think last week’s heartbreaking loss for the Ravens is going to spill over into this matchup. The Panthers are home, which also gives them an edge over Baltimore. They will establish the run with McCaffrey and take advantage of the banged up secondary. Cam finds a way to get the job done and helps lead his team to a surprising 5-2 start.


Final Score: Panthers 27, Ravens 21


Written by: Cody Manning

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