NFL Week 8 Preview: Saints eye another win, huge Cal-Berkeley matchup

We are now heading into week eight of the regular NFL season and things are starting to take shape, as favourites to go all the way emerge and the playoff picture becomes increasingly clearer every week.

While the likes of the LA Rams continue to tear their way through the NFL, taking their record to 7-0 by easing past the 49ers last weekend, things are already starting to look bleak for a number of franchises.

This weekend also brings the last of London’s three NFL games for the year, as the Eagles tackle the Jaguars as both sides seek to get their campaign back on track after a slow start. We have dived into all of the fixtures below, so take a look.

Bye week: Los Angeles Chargers, Dallas Cowboys, Atlanta Falcons, Tennessee Titans.

Miami Dolphins (4-3) @ Houston Texans (4-3) (Friday, 01:20 BST)

The Texans have started to find their feet after a slow start to the season saw them lose all three of their opening fixtures but this week’s hosts have responded well, boasting a four-match winning streak heading into their clash against the Dolphins.

Miami will know this fixture is important due to the fact they have the Jets breathing down their neck in the AFC East and a win will put the pressure on New England ahead of their game in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

Philadelphia Eagles (3-4) @ Jacksonville Jaguars (3-4) (Sunday, 13:30 GMT)

After going deep into the playoffs last season, the Jaguars have found things difficult this season and head to London aiming for a victory that will put them ahead of the Titans in the AFC South, who have a bye week.

The Eagles will also be looking to take advantage of the fact their division rivals, the Cowboys, have a bye week but travelling to London for an early kick-off is not going to be easy for either franchise as they seek to get their campaigns back on track.


Baltimore Ravens (4-3) @ Carolina Panthers (4-2) (Sunday, 17:00 GMT)

Cam Newton faces a tough test with the Panthers this week as he looks to continue their charge for the playoffs as the hosts come up against a Ravens defence that is ranked as #1 in the NFL. However, Baltimore have stumbled in recent weeks.

A narrow defeat to the Saints last time out means the Ravens head to Carolina with just one win out of their last three games, which came with a shutout against the Titans, and the Panthers will be full of confidence having edged past the Eagles last week.

Denver Broncos (3-4) @ Kansas City Chiefs (6-1) (Sunday, 17:00 GMT)

A rematch of a thrilling encounter that saw the Chiefs dramatically comeback to beat the Broncos 27-23 in Denver, picking up 14 points in the fourth quarter, the hosts have been solid this season and another win would push them closer to the playoffs.

Denver, who ended a run of four consecutive losses by smashing past the Cardinals last weekend, need a win in what could be a decisive AFC West clash as the Chargers are on a bye this weekend. However, it is difficult to look past the Chiefs.

Cleveland Browns (2-4-1) @ Pittsburgh Steelers (3-2-1) (Sunday, 17:00 GMT)

Baker Mayfield‘s face said it all for the Browns last weekend as they suffered a last-gasp defeat to the Buccaneers after Chandler Catanzaro‘s 59-yard field goal in overtime. If that wasn’t bad enough, the Browns are 2-17 at Pittsburgh since returning to Cleveland in 1999.

The Steelers sparked life back into their season by winning two in a row before their bye week last weekend and victory against their division rivals could be decisive in what is shaping up to be a very close affair in the AFC North.

Seattle Seahawks (3-3) @ Detroit Lions (3-3) (Sunday, 17:00 GMT)

Two sides who excel with their running games, Seattle head to Detroit after easing past Oakland at Wembley two weeks ago. While there is still a lot of work to do for Pete Carroll‘s side, encouragement can be taken by the fact that two of their three defeats this season have been by three points or less.

Meanwhile, the Lions have bounced back from a difficult start to win three of their last four matches, their only defeat being a narrow loss to Dallas at the end of September, and will be encouraged by the fact Seattle have never won at Ford Field.

Two of the Seahawks’ defeats in Detroit came against the Lions, with their first being at Superbowl XL in 2006 against the Steelers.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-3) @ Cincinnati Bengals (4-3) (Sunday, 17:00 GMT)

A tie that looks fairly even on paper when you compare the two sides’ records this season, a closer dive into the stats suggest that the Buccaneers, with the #1 offence in the NFL, should sweep past the Bengals’ #31 rated defence.

The Bengals have seen their charge for the playoffs stumble in recent weeks with defeats against the Steelers and the Chiefs, with the latter hitting 45 points last weekend, while Tampa Bay bounced back from three consecutive losses last week after their dramatic overtime win against the Browns.

New York Jets (3-4) @ Chicago Bears (3-3) (Sunday, 17:00 GMT)

A battle of the young quarterbacks takes place in Chicago this week, as the Jets’ Sam Darnold faces off against Mitch Trubisky of the Bears. The former has already thrown ten touchdowns in his rookie season, half of what Trubisky has secured since he was drafted in 2017, but Darnold has also thrown ten interceptions compared to Trubisky’s 13.

After being swept aside by the Vikings last weekend, the Jets need a win to remain in the hunt alongside the Dolphins and Patriots in the AFC East while the Bears also need a victory to aid their chances of advancing from an extremely tight NFC North.

Washington Redskins (4-2) @ New York Giants (1-6) (Sunday, 17:00 GMT)

Losing four in a row, and giving up over 30 points in three of those matches, it is not a good time to be a Giants fan right now and it is a bad time to come against their NFC East rivals. However, they are 10-6 against the Redskins since 2010.

Racking up wins against the Panthers and the Cowboys in the past few weeks, a win for the Redskins could see them take control of the NFC East with the Cowboys on a bye week and the Eagles facing a tough test in London.

Indianapolis Colts (2-5) @ Oakland Raiders (1-5) (Sunday, 20:05 GMT)

Defeat for the Raiders at Wembley two weeks ago leaves Jon Gruden with his joint-worst start to any NFL season and it now seems extremely unlikely that Oakland will return to the playoffs for what would only be their second appearance since 2003.

Meanwhile, the Colts are currently propping up the AFC South but a victory in Oakland could put them within touching distance of the Jaguars and the Titans. While the Colts lost their last clash with the Raiders in 2016, they had won four in a row prior to that.

San Francisco 49ers (1-6) @ Arizona Cardinals (1-6) (Sunday, 20:05 GMT)

A clash of NFC West rivals the 49ers and the Cardinals sees two of the worst teams in the NFL go toe-to-toe in Arizona, where the loser would be pushed towards the number one draft pick in 2019. On the face of it, that could be exactly what both teams need.

The 49ers have now lost five in a row this season but will not be confident heading into the clash against a Cardinals side who have won all of the last seven meetings with San Francisco.

Green Bay Packers (3-2-1) @ Los Angeles Rams (7-0) (Sunday, 20:05 GMT)

How do you stop the LA Rams? The answer, so far at least, is that you don’t and the Rams will be confident of extending their seven-match winning streak when they host a Raiders side in what will be the first Cal-Berkeley quarterback matchup in the NFL since 1983.

It’s a battle of the young pretender Jared Goff, the number one draft pick in 2016, against the great Aaron Rodgers, whose Packers side only narrowly defeated the 49ers last time out. Green Bay have won six in a row against the Rams, who last won this tie in 2006.

New Orleans Saints (5-1) @ Minnesota Vikings (4-2-1) (Monday, 00:20 GMT)

The Saints may have gone somewhat under the radar compared to the Rams and the Chiefs but a victory over the Vikings in the early hours of Monday morning could get a lot of people talking, as it would see New Orleans win for the sixth time in a row.

Meanwhile, the Vikings currently sit top of the NFC North with a narrow advantage but the pressure ahead of the game will be increased by the fact that the Lions, the Bears and the Packers all play earlier this weekend in what is an extremely tight division.

New England Patriots (5-2) @ Buffalo Bills (2-5) (Tuesday, 00:15 GMT)

Early Tuesday morning action brings us the AFC East rivalry clash between the Patriots and the Bills, where the hosts face a daunting task after winning just two of their meetings against New England since the turn of the millennia.

The Patriots have won 13 on the bounce, last tasting defeat against the Bills in 2003, and will be full of confidence after a four-game winning streak. In reality, it is difficult to predict anything other than New England extending that run to five.

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About Josh Challies 24 Articles
Yorkshire-based Seattle Seahawks follower. Iconic Atlanta United manager on FM18. Only here so I don't get fined.