Week 8 Late Game Previews


Photo Courtesy of Robert Robinson @badasskidsent

Indianapolis Colts (2-5) vs. Oakland Raiders (1-5)

Preview

This matchup features two teams that have been at the bottom of the leagues standings throughout this season. The Colts finally found some life last week in a 37-5 route of the Buffalo Bills. On the other side, the Raiders are still struggling to find their identity and just traded away their top offensive weapon in Amari Cooper. As bad as the Colts have been this season, they should be able to take advantage of an even worse Raiders team.


Players to watch

For the Colts, it all starts with quarterback Andrew Luck, who has been playing some good football here lately. Luck finally got his top target back last week in T.Y. Hilton. Hilton will look to have a big game, as he will likely be matched up against second year corner Gareon Conley. On offense for the Raiders, they will be looking to find a playmaker after the departure of Cooper and injury to Marshawn Lynch. Wide receivers Jordy Nelson and Martavis Bryant could be two players looking to fill that role.


Keys to the game

Indianapolis Colts

  • Establish a run game

  • Put pressure on Carr

  • Get Luck going early

Oakland Raiders

  • Attack through the air

  • Shut down Hilton

  • Limit turnovers


Injury list

Indianapolis Colts

  • Jabaal Sheard, DE - Abdomen (Questionable)

  • Robert Turbin, RB - Shoulder (Out)

  • Clayton Geathers, SS - Neck (Questionable)

  • Malik Hooker, FS - Hip (Out)

  • Marlon Mack, RB - Ankle (Questionable)

  • Jihad Ward, DE - Ankle (Out)

  • Ryan Grant, WR - Ankle (Out)

  • Adam Vinatieri, K - Groin (Questionable)

  • Erik Swoope, TE - Knee (Out)

  • Zach Pascal, WR - Head (Questionable)

Oakland Raiders

  • Kelechi Osemele, G - Knee (Questionable)

  • Daryl Worley, CB - Ankle (Questionable)


Top 5 Fantasy Players

  • Andrew Luck, QB (IND)

  • T.Y. Hilton, WR (IND)

  • Derek Carr, QB (OAK)

  • Marlon Mack, RB (IND)

  • Jared Cook, TE (OAK)


Prediction

I see the Raiders hanging around in this one for maybe three and a half quarters. In the fourth quarter, the leadership of Luck will take over and help the Colts pull away and gain some momentum in the AFC South. Meanwhile, T.Y. Hilton will have a breakout game against a struggling Raiders defense. The Raiders will drop another one as they just have too much turmoil going on within their team to pull together a win.


Final Score: Colts 24, Raiders 14


Written by: Ryan Lippert



San Francisco 49ers (1-6) vs. Arizona Cardinals (1-6)

Preview

With the 49ers and Cards all but out of playoff contention, it would take a miracle to come back in a division led by the undefeated Rams. Currently holding the 2nd and 3rd picks in the 2019 NFL draft, it is fitting that most sports books have this game set as a pick ‘em. The Cardinals have just one win on the season, which was due primarily to five turnovers by the 49ers three weeks ago. This is not a pleasant matchup, as this divisional showcase is looking to be the worst game of the year. With both teams heading in the same direction with mounds of turmoil at their feet, it is unlikely that either team rises from the depths of despair in the coming weeks. The 49ers lost their franchise quarterback to a knee injury earlier this season, and the Cardinals just fired their offensive coordinator. It hasn’t looked pretty for either side.


Players to watch

David Johnson is the best player in the Cardinals offense and with Byron Leftwich taking over the play calling duties, he figures to get Johnson involved early and often. Josh Rosen has shown flashes, but his play has been vastly inconsistent with little time to throw in the pocket. If the Cardinals want to capture their second win of the season, Chandler Jones will need to pressure CJ Beathard, who has been a turnover magnet since taking over as the starter. With Matt Breida unlikely to play, all eyes will be on Raheem Mostert battling the trenches against the league's worst run defense. The Cardinals secondary has been the strong suit of the team, but this past week, team leader and captain Patrick Peterson requested a trade prior to Tuesday's trade deadline. Will this impact the chemistry and play of the Cardinals?


Keys to the game

San Francisco 49ers

  • Protect the Ball

  • Establish the Run

  • Pressure Josh Rosen

Arizona Cardinals

  • Get DJ involved

  • Stop the Run

  • Force Turnovers


Injury list

San Francisco 49ers

  • Richard Sherman, CB - Calf (Questionable)

  • Weston Richburg, C - Knee (Questionable)

  • Matt Breida, RB - Ankle (Questionable)

  • Pierre Garcon, WR, Knee/Shoulder (Doubtful)

Arizona Cardinals

  • Mike Iupati, OL - Back (Questionable)

  • Corey Peters, DT - Ankle (Questionable)

  • Justin Pugh, OL - Hand (Questionable)

  • Phil Dawson, K - Hip (Questionable)

  • Jeremy Vujnovich, OL - Hamstring (Out)

  • Tre Boston, S - Shoulder/Ribs (Out)

  • Jermaine Gresham, TE - Heel (Questionable)


Top 5 Fantasy Players

  • David Johnson, RB (ARI)

  • Raheem Mostert, RB (SF)

  • CJ Beathard, QB (SF)

  • Christian Kirk, WR (ARI)

  • Marquise Goodwin, WR (SF)


Prediction

Byron Leftwich is the wildcard in this game, as it is yet to be seen if he can change the fortune of the 32nd ranked offense in the league. He will need to get David Johnson involved early, while spreading out the offense to have success in this contest. The key to this game will be the turnover margin, and this is the area in which these two teams differ. The 49ers have a league leading (in a bad way) -15 turnover differential with the Cardinals coming in at a middling -3. Neither team can protect the ball or move the ball efficiently. Cardinals win in a poor offensive effort.


Final Score: Cardinals 16, 49ers 13


Written by: Jason Feiner



Green Bay Packers (3-2-1) vs. Los Angeles Rams (7-0)

Preview

This game has me so excited for week 8. Matched up against the undefeated Rams, the Packers will certainly have their hands full. Against a powerful offense led by Todd Gurley and the arm of Jared Goff, and an admirable defense called by the future Hall of Fame coach in Wade Phillips, Aaron Rodgers and Co. will need to use every inch of their magic to get a win in the Coliseum. With the Pack sitting at 3-2-1, a win here would prove many doubters wrong, as this could be the gateway to a deep postseason run. With the bye week behind them, only time will tell if they are ready to make that push. Will they get in the ring with the best team in the league and battle into the late rounds, or get knocked out early? Either way, this matchup will prove to be a great one.


Players to watch

The Rams offense has been able to score at will, and Todd Gurley will once again take center stage against Green Bay’s 22nd ranked run defense that is allowing 116.5 yards per game to opposing backs. Jared Goff has been solid throughout the season, leading the Rams to wins against top ranked teams, but will he be able to build a lead large enough that even Aaron Rodgers can’t come back from? With an extra week of recovery, Rodgers should be full go against a banged up defense. Coming off a 4 sack performance, it will be up to Aaron Donald to disrupt the passing lanes and prevent Rodgers from escaping outside the pocket. It will be an interesting show on the perimeter as Brandin Cooks and Robert Woods attempt to out-maneuver the Packers young secondary, with standout rookies Jaire Alexander and Josh Jackson.


Keys to the game

Green Bay Packers

  • Protect Aaron Rodgers

  • Stop Todd Gurley (as much as they can)

  • Spread the Ball Around

  • Force Turnovers

Los Angeles Rams

  • Establish the Run

  • Protect the Ball

  • Spread the ball around

  • Pressure Rodgers from the Interior


Injury list

Green Bay Packers

  • Randall Cobb, WR - Hamstring (Questionable)

  • Jason Spriggs, T - Knee (Questionable)

  • Equanimeous St. Brown, WR - Knee (Questionable)

Los Angeles Rams

  • Trevon Young, OLB - Back (Doubtful)

  • Cooper Kupp, WR - Knee (Doubtful)


Top 5 Fantasy Players

  • Todd Gurley, RB (LAR)

  • Aaron Rodgers, QB (GB)

  • Jared Goff, QB (LAR)

  • Davante Adams, WR (GB)

  • Brandin Cooks, WR (LAR)


Prediction

This game could very well come down to who has the ball last, as both teams have the firepower to score at will. The Rams will need to do everything in their power to stop Aaron Rodgers who has the talent and ability to blow a game wide open. In a battle of Cal QBs, Jared Goff will need to channel back to his performance against Kirk Cousins and the Vikings in order to outplay the former MVP and Super Bowl Champion. Expect multiple lead changes in an exciting battle leaning in LAR’s favor. However, if these two teams happen to meet again, football in January is an entirely different story.

Final Score: Rams 38, Packers 34


Written by: Jason Feiner



New Orleans Saints (5-1) vs. Minnesota Vikings (4-2)

Preview

This will be one of the must-see games of the year. Riding a 5 game win streak, the Saints face a surging Vikings team that has finally regained its defensive identity. This game very well may determine playoff seeding, as both of these teams will be at the top of the NFC come week 17. Each team has just a one game lead in their respective divisions, so there should be a strong sense of urgency coming from both sidelines. This is the game of the week in my book.


Players to watch

This game will all come down to which team has a better pass rush. Saints defensive linemen Alex Okafor, Cameron Jordan, and Marcus Davenport need to get some serious pressure on Kirk Cousins. His receivers, Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs have been killing it, so Marshon Lattimore must fully return to last season’s form to stop them. Plus, will we see newly acquired corner Eli Apple appear for the Saints? The Vikings, meanwhile, welcome back defensive end Everson Griffen just in time to put a beatdown on Drew Brees. Minnesota won’t stand a chance if Brees is too comfortable in the pocket. Finally, linebackers Erin Kendricks and Anthony Barr need to help contain Alvin Kamara.


Keys to the game

New Orleans Saints

  • Keep the pocket clean

  • Shut down at least one receiver

  • Get pressure

Minnesota Vikings

  • Let Everson Griffen feast

  • Hold the Saints run game

  • Keep Brees and co. off the field


Injury list

New Orleans Saints

  • Mitchell Loewen, DL - Neck (Out)

Minnesota Vikings

  • Anthony Barr, LB - Hamstring (Out)

  • Tom Compton, OL - Knee (Out)

  • Dalvin Cook, RB - Hamstring (Out)

  • Andrew Sendejo, S - Groin (Out)

  • Riley Reiff, OT - Foot (Doubtful)

  • Linval Joseph, DT - Ankle/Knee (Questionable)

  • Xavier Rhodes, CB - Ankle (Questionable)


Top 5 Fantasy Players

  • Adam Thielen, WR (MIN)

  • Alvin Kamara, RB (NO)

  • Drew Brees, QB (NO)

  • Michael Thomas, WR (NO)

  • Kirk Cousins, QB (MIN)


Prediction

This is such a hard prediction to make. On the one hand, the Saints offense has looked so good, but I’m not sure if their defense will be up to the task. Meanwhile, Minnesota has looked good but against bad teams. I believe by the end of the season the Vikings will be the better team, but at this point, I can’t bet against a Saints team that looks better and better each week. The defense will let up a lot of points, but the offense will score just enough to pull out a win.


Final Score: Saints 33, Vikings 30


Written by: Alexander Amir