Necessary Roughness, Week 8 Preview: Which of the NFL’s Six Undefeated Teams Will Finally Lose a Game?
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It’s Week 8 in the NFL season, and somehow we still have five teams sitting at 6-0. I can’t remember a year where there were so many undefeated teams this deep into the season. We can nitpick all day about which of these teams is the best, the worst, the luckiest, etc., but the bottom line is that they haven’t lost. Not once. In a sport where every week counts, and every game is a battle, winning six games in a row to start a season is nothing less than super impressive.
This week, however, at least one of these teams’ season of perfection will end; on Sunday night Green Bay visits the mile high city for a showdown with the Broncos. Denver has without a doubt been the most scrutinized of the undefeateds, with Peyton Manning looking less like one of the greatest QBs to ever play the game and more like a demented, old nursing home escapee trying to assemble a jungle gym. The stout Broncos defense will be put to the ultimate test as they try to slow down Aaron Rodgers and his high octane Packers offense. Both teams are well rested and relatively healthy after each had a bye in Week 7, so I expect a good, highly competitive game. But in order for Denver to have a chance, Manning has to turn a corner and put up big numbers. As good as Denver’s defense is, I don’t think they can shut down Green Bay for very long, especially if the time of possession is lopsided in the Packers’ favor. When it’s all said and done I think the Broncos’ luck runs out and Green Bay comes away with a convincing victory to remain undefeated.
There are a few other games of interest this week. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous about the Panthers‘ MNF matchup against the Colts. Indy is sitting atop their atrocious division, but they are in desperation mode and trying to avoid a three-game losing streak. Andrew Luck is “due” for a big game after struggling for much of the year and let’s face it, Chuck Pagano is trying to save his job. I fully expect the Colts to come in to Charlotte fired the hell up and ready to play. That being said, the Panthers are a team of great poise and seem to be unfazed by adversity. Their “bend but don’t break” defense has been highly effective, and Cam Newton has proven to be a clutch playmaker when this team needs a score. It’s going to be a close game, probably decided late in the 4th quarter, and I hope like hell the Panthers go into the locker room with a 7-0 record. Fingers crossed.
I honestly never thought I would see a day where I was even remotely interested in the Jets vs. Raiders matchup. But y’all, Oakland is 3-3 and they actually look like a real-life professional football team. And Raiders fans, you have your QB of the present and future; Derek Carr is the real deal, and the duo of him and Amari Cooper will be on highlight reels for years to come. As for the Jets, I was actually impressed with their showing last week against the Patriots. This is a team to be reckoned with and, in my estimation, a wild card contender. Chris Ivory is suffering from a tight hamstring, however, and his status is uncertain after having a rough game (only 41 yards rushing) against New England. His production is critical to the Jets’ success. If he doesn’t play (and play well), I think the Raiders win this game at home. Also, I’m really looking forward to the Revis/Cooper matchup.
That’s all I have this week folks. Should be another fun week with some great games. There will be some snoozers as well…. I’m looking at you Chiefs/Lions, Titans/Texans, 49ers/Rams. Enjoy, and go Panthers!!!
- Philip Rivers, QB, San Diego ($6,600). Not exactly a cheap option, but SD is up against the laughably bad pass defense of the Baltimore Ravens. Philip Rivers throws a ton of passes no matter who he’s playing, and I could see him having an absolute field day against this Ravens team.
- Chris Johnson, RB, Arizona ($4,600). Todd Gurley might be the more obvious choice, but Johnson is cheaper and he’s on fire. He’s run for over 100 yards in three of his last five games, and he’s matched up against a Browns team this week that boasts literally the worst run defense in the NFL.
- Carolina Panthers defense ($3,200). This is the first time I’ve suggested a defense, and anytime I mention the Panthers team or a Panthers player you can bet that it’s coming from a place of complete bias and unadulterated fandom. But with that said, I firmly believe Josh Norman is currently the best pass defender in the league, and the linebacker tandem of Luke Kuechly and Thomas Davis is the best in the league. Granted, they are up against a hungry Colts offense, but I’m buying this Carolina defense. They are vicious, and they force turnovers.
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