Week 8 of the 2022 NFL season could show some separation between the teams who are likely going to be in the playoffs come January and those who will be preparing for the draft.
The week started out with a pivotal game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Baltimore Ravens and will end with an AFC North faceoff between the Cleveland Browns and Cincinnati Bengals. On Sunday, there are plenty of interesting matchups to take note of.
The Philadelphia Eagles are on top of the power rankings and remain the only undefeated team in the NFL. But the Buffalo Bills and Kansas City Chiefs aren’t far behind.
New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones was named the NFC Offensive Player of the Week after his performance against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Joe Burrow was named the AFC Offensive Player of the Week for his dominant game against the Atlanta Falcons.
Read below for some games to watch Sunday.
Vikings (5-1) vs. Cardinals (3-4) – 1 p.m. ET, FOX
The Minnesota Vikings will get a real test to see what they’re made up. Kirk Cousins and Justin Jefferson get an opportunity to prove why they’re the best team in the NFC North with their other rivals a few games behind him in the standings. Dalvin Cook and the rushing attack will be a huge factor to the matchup as well.
“We know what the ground game is. It’s a 3-yard, 4-yard fest, and then everything comes to light,” Cook told reporters this week. “But when those big plays hit, we try to take advantage of them.”
The Vikings’ defense allows 19.7 points a game but with DeAndre Hopkins back in the Arizona Cardinals’ lineup, things could get a little bit more difficult. Against the New Orleans Saints, Kyler Murray had a touchdown pass to Greg Dorich in the 42-34 win. Hopkins led the way with 10 catches for 103 yards.
The Cardinals’ defense will have to do its best to try and contain Minnesota. The team allows 25.1 points per game.
Jets (5-2) vs. Patriots (3-4) – 1 p.m. ET, CBS
The New York Jets are another team trying to prove they’re for real. They are off to one of their best starts in recent memory and a win over their division-rival New England Patriots would be huge and keep them on pace with the Buffalo Bills.
Sauce Gardner has continued to be a menace on the defensive side of the football. He led the team with a season-high 10 tackles and three passes defended last week. He’s the only played in the league with at least one pass defended in each of the first seven games of the season.
The Patriots are reportedly starting Mac Jones after switching him up mid-game for Bailey Zappe last week. In his last game against the Jets, Jones had 307 yards and two touchdowns. The team has allowed 20 points per game this season and Matthew Judon and company will need to step up tremendously.
Eagles (6-0) vs. Steelers (2-5) – 1 p.m. ET, CBS
The Philadelphia Eagles are the last undefeated team in the NFL and a bitter battle of in-state rivals awaits them Sunday. The Eagles and Pittsburgh Steelers have been playing each other since the 1930s The Steelers beat the Eagles 38-29 back in 2020. But both teams are in two totally different spaces.
Jalen Hurts, along with Miles Sanders, Devonta Smith, A.J. Brown, and others, are soaring high. A win could match their best start in team history which came in 2004 when they started 7-0. The offense is top five in points scored and yards gained and the defense is fourth in points and yards allowed. The team also acquired Robert Quinn during the week to bolster the line.
The Steelers will go with Kenny Pickett again. Pittsburgh has sputtered over recent weeks and a big win against Philly could build some momentum. Coach Mike Tomlin said he hasn’t seen a reason just yet to alter the offense just yet as heated fans point to offensive coordinator Matt Canada as the problem.
“I don’t feel like I’m there,” Tomlin said, via the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
Rams (3-3) vs. 49ers (3-4) – 4:25 p.m. ET, FOX
The NFC West is tighter than expected and the defending Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams have a tough road ahead. The Rams will have to try to keep the San Francisco 49ers at bay, Los Angeles has lost seven consecutive regular-season games against the 49ers, including back in Week 4.
Both teams look a bit different now. Los Angeles took care of the Carolina Panthers two weeks ago before their bye and seem to be mostly healthy while the 49ers have had a bad spate of injuries to their defense, including Nick Bosa, Emmanuel Moseley and Jimmie Ward. San Francisco did acquire Christian McCaffrey from Carolina, which will add a different wrinkle to deal with for the Rams.
Los Angeles is allowed 21 points per game this season and only scoring 17.3 points. If there’s anyone who needs a big breakout game, it’s the Rams. Stafford has only thrown for more than 300 yards once this year. If the team wants to stay relevant in the NFC West, a win would help tremendously.
Bills (5-1) vs. Packers (3-4) – 8:20 p.m. ET, NBC
Sunday night’s matchup between the Buffalo Bills and Green Bay Packers tells a tale of two stories – one team who is on the highest of highs and another on a low stretch.
Josh Allen has 17 touchdown passes and 1,980 passing yards this season. His arsenal of wide receivers seem to do it all and the defense has done its part by keeping teams down. Their only loss came against the Miami Dolphins earlier this season as they managed to beat the Kansas City Chiefs two weeks ago before going on their bye.
Aaron Rodgers has been openly frustrated with his teammates as it’s been slower than usual getting everyone acclimated and on the same page when it comes to the offense. As the two-time reigning MVP, Rodgers has a 66.8% completion rate and has been sacked 15 times in seven games – half of last year’s total. Going up against the Bills’ defense, isn’t the medicine Green Bay would like to have right now.
How Sunday shakes out
9:30 a.m. ET: Jaguars (2-5) vs. Broncos (2-5)
1 p.m. ET: Falcons (3-4) vs. Panthers (2-5)
1 p.m. ET: Cowboys (5-2) vs. Bears (3-4)
1 p.m. ET: Lions (1-5) vs. Dolphins (4-3)
1 p.m. ET: Saints (2-5) vs. Raiders (2-4)
4:05 p.m. ET: Texans (1-4-1) vs. Titans (4-2)
4:25 p.m. ET: Colts (3-3-1) vs. Commanders (3-4)
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