After a great week of games, we’re ready for overreactions once more in week 8 and here are just some of the things we are jumping to conclusions about this week in the NFL!
Patriots – End of a Dynasty?
This comes up every year, just like the ‘Brady is finished’ argument. And every year the Patriots prove us wrong, winning a bunch of games in a row before moving on to the Playoffs and, usually, the Super Bowl. However, this season feels different. The Bills just beat the Patriots at home for the first time since 2011. With the ball in Bills territory, in a position where Brady normally would have orchestrated a game-winning touchdown drive, Cam Newton rolled out and took off running before putting the ball on the ground. The Bills recovered and the game was over. What could easily have been a very Patriots way to win a ball game, turned into a very un-Patriots way to lose one.
Making matters worse, New England has now lost four straight as they trail both the Bills and the Dolphins in their division. Previously the Patriots had won the AFC East an incredible eleven times in a row! It isn’t impossible for the Patriots to win their division this year, though it is highly improbable at this stage. Still, ruling New England out is rarely a wise move.
Steelers’ Quest for Seven
Unlike the Patriots Dynasty, the Steelers are trending up. Pittsburgh is tied with New England on six Lombardi trophies, but they will hope to move ahead this season. Having beaten the Ravens at the weekend, they have moved two ahead in the division and they currently sit unbeaten at the top of the AFC. Their main battle could well be with the Chiefs for the #1 seed, as only one team gets a bye in the playoffs this year.
The overreaction would be to say that the Steelers are the best team in the NFL. There are questions about the arm strength of their QB Ben Roethlisberger, their running back James Conner is injury-prone and inconsistent, and their defence has looked vulnerable over the past few weeks. Also, this is the same franchise that failed to win a Super Bowl while they had both Le’Veon and Antonio Brown at their respective bests. Take nothing for granted, but I believe that Pittsburgh is a more well-rounded team this year. They’ll be tough to stop once they are in the playoffs.
Record Breaking Cook?
This one is a bit of a stretch, but you have to go out on a limb once in a while. I am hyped about Dalvin Cook, and I’m sure a lot of Vikings fans are too. He put the team on his back as Minnesota ran over the division-rival Packers on Sunday. Four total touchdowns in that game (three rushing, one receiving) took him to eleven on the season.
Now, I am about to suggest that Cook could challenge LaDainian Tomlinson’s record of thirty-one touchdowns in a season, which sounds crazy! But hear me out. Cook has scored eleven touchdowns despite missing a game. Eleven in six games, and on pace for about twenty-seven total over the course of the season. Couple this with the fact that the Vikings might just be convinced to put the entire offence on Cook’s back for the rest of the season. Barring injury, Dalvin could certainly threaten this record. But hey, I’ll probably be proven wrong again.
Niners Unlikely to Make Playoffs (Week One) + They’re This Season’s Eagles (Week Two)
In week one and two I had a lot to say about the 49ers. Mainly that they were losing games and getting a lot of injuries in the process. And guess what? Both of those facts are still true. In the loss to the Seahawks on Sunday George Kittle limped off with what would later be diagnosed as a foot fracture. This potentially season-ending injury, paired with the news that San Francisco will likely give Jimmy Garoppolo more time off to recover from a high-ankle sprain, leaves the Niners in trouble.
We all know that Kyle Shanahan is a great coach, but it will take an almighty effort to rally his team in time to beat the Packers on Thursday Night Football. If they fall to a losing record this week they might not recover, particularly in a competitive division.
The End of Minshew Mania (Week One)
This one is painful. I am still firmly on the Minshew bandwagon, but he has had a miserable stretch of games for the struggling Jaguars. And now he has multiple fractures and a strained ligament in his right thumb. The story is that he got the injury the first time the Jaguars played the Texans…in week five! Now, I love the competitive attitude, but you do have to question whether this injury contributed to the issues that Jacksonville and their second-year QB have been having lately.
Even before news of the injury broke there was word going around that the Jags were considering benching Minshew. Now we will get to see what sixth-round pick from this year’s draft, Jake Luton, has to offer. It doesn’t seem like all that long ago that we were talking up another talented sixth-round selection.
Spare a Thought for Dak (Week Four)
I said in week four that Prescott could have broken the single-season passing yards record. In fact, he was well on course to do so before a horrific season-ending injury cut his effort short. We only have to look at how poor the Cowboys have been since his injury to see just how important Dak is to Dallas. In the last three games, the Cowboys have managed a paltry twenty-two combined points. Moreover, it looks like Dallas will start their fourth QB of the season this coming weekend, with Dalton on the Covid list and DiNucci underwhelming on Sunday Night.
Will Cooper Rush or Garrett Gilbert start for the Cowboys against the Steelers? I’m not sure. What I can tell you is that the Cowboys would be crazy not to give Dak the big contract he deserves. They’ll regret not giving it to him sooner.
Let us know what you think of our NFL Week 8 overreactions!
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