NFL Week 8
Yet another early start in London, a prime NFC battle in Atlanta and the Buffalo Bills’ quest to do something unseen since 2000 highlight the Week 8 schedule as the NFL season approaches midseason.
For the second week in a row, England plays host to an NFL game, this time featuring the Cincinnati Bengals and Washington Redskins. The Bengals (3-4) were thought to be playoff contenders capable of making a significant postseason run at the start of the season, but they have struggled to find their top form. The Cincinnati offense found it in the second half, seizing a two-score lead in the third quarter, but the defense then allowed Washington to surge back with a pair of touchdowns to take a 24-20 lead. The Bengals answered that with a six-play, 75-yard drive — capped by a one-yard run by running back Jeremy Hill — to take a 27-24 lead. The Redskins then knotted the score at 27 on a 40-yard field goal by Dustin Hopkins to send the game to overtime.
A lengthy drive on the Redskins’ second possession of overtime seemed as though it would bring victory, but a 34-yard field goal attempt by Hopkins hooked to the left of the uprights with just over two minutes remaining. Hopkins earlier missed a 55-yard attempt at the end of the first half.
The Redskins earned another shot after Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton fumbled with just over a minute left, but a last-ditch drive by the Washington yielded no points and Londoners were treated to their first taste of an NFL tie.
It’s the second draw of the season for the league after the Seattle Seahawks and Arizona Cardinals played a 6-6 standstill in Week 7. It’s the first time the NFL has featured ties on consecutive weeks since 1997.
The NFL nearly saw a second tie, before a 41-yard touchdown pass by Derek Carr gave the Oakland Raiders a sudden-death win with just 1:47 left in overtime. Carr finished the game with 513 passing yards one of the best all-time passing games, ranking him ninth all time. Even more notable however, the Raiders set a new league record for most penalties in a game with 24, breaking the former top mark of 22 held by three different teams, the 1998 San Francisco 49ers, the 1944 Chicago Bears and the ’44 Brooklyn Tigers.
The win pushes the Raiders’ record to 6-2 on the season, putting them atop the AFC West, pending the outcome of the Denver Broncos’ ongoing game against the San Diego Chargers.
The Bills have one win against the New England Patriots this season, besting the Pats while Tom Brady was still suspended for his involvement in DeflateGate. It appears that will be the only one they’ll get. The last time a team beat the Patriots and Bill Belichick twice in a season was 16 years ago, and Brady is making sure that mark extends into the future. The New England quarterback threw for four touchdowns to power the Patriots to a 41-25 victory.
The win improves New England’s record to 7-1, three games up on the Bills in the AFC East.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, the Cleveland Browns dropped their eighth-straight game to start the season, falling to the New York Jets 31-28.
In a rematch of last season’s NFC title game, the Carolina Panthers apparently made the most of their Week 7 bye, blitzing the Arizona Cardinals for 24 first-half points en route to just their second victory of the season, 30-20.
In one of the stranger developments of the day, Seattle Seahawks safety Earl Thomas was flagged … for a hug. Of course, the person he hugged was a referee, and the contact was not appreciated, earning him the penalty. Thomas likely wasn’t in such a loving mood after the game, as the Seahawks fell to the Saints, 25-20.
In the afternoon games, Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons bounced back from consecutive losses with a much-needed win over the Green Bay Packers, 33-32. Ryan orchestrated an 11-play, 75-yard drive that ended with an 11-yard toss to Mohamed Sanu for the touchdown with 31 seconds remaining.
Prescott’s late-game heroics against Philadelphia all but secured his role as starter in Dallas. (Read More)
After taking a hit to the knee that was not penalized, the Panthers quarterback says he is not “protected in the pocket” enough. (Read More)
Thanks to Derek Carr, Oakland overcame 23 penalties to move to 6-2 and 5-0 on the road. (Read More)
Atlanta — at least for a week — appeared to be a legitimate contender in its conference. (Read More)
With fan arrests on the rise, a Washington Post study identifies some of the major trends and causes. (Read More)
New England’s vengeance express is running right on time. (Read More)
Hey, Cleveland fans have a lot on their minds these days. (Read More)
This is pretty creepy. (Read More)
It’s all soccer and snooker, it seems. (Read More)
Beating the Patriots and Bill Belichick twice in a season hasn’t happened since 2000. (Read More)
Even if he returns to his starting role this season, the longtime Dallas quarterback may not be on the roster come next fall. (Read More)
The talk continues, but there remain some notable barriers, even if the league believes London fans could support a team season-round. (Read More)
He was supposed to solve the problem, instead Houston may have the same issue while paying more for the privilege. (Read More)
Latest updates: 2:08 p.m.
Two significant offensive contributors will miss big games today as Bills RB LeSean McCoy and Packers WR Randall Cobb will both sit out due to hamstring injuries.
Meanwhile in the London game, both CB Josh Norman and TE Jordan Reed suited up for the Redskins after sustaining concussions earlier in the season. Running back Matt Jones missed the game with a knee injury, while DeSean Jackson left the game with what appeared to be concussion symptoms.
Texans RB Lamar Miller suffered a shoulder injury last week, but is expected to play today as Houston faces the Detroit Lions.
Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith left the game against the Indianapolis Colts to be evaluated for a concussion twice, walking to the locker room in the second half with a baseball cap. After being checked earlier, he was later cleared to return and did so, but a second-half hit forced him from the game. He was replaced by Nick Foles. The Chiefs’ starting running back, Spencer Ware, was also evaluated for a concussion.
Check back later for a full rundown of the day’s top fantasy developments from John Romero, but keep an eye on Mark Ingram in New Orleans. Since fumbling to start the game against the Seahawks he has not seen any touches, giving way to a lot of Tim Hightower.
The Chargers defense is starter-worthy this week. (Read More)
The top 20 players from here to the end of the season. (Read More)
Don’t expect Jordy Nelson’s struggles to end this week. (Read More)
Just how broken is Jordy Nelson? (Read More)
ATS Betting Tips/Picks
Let’s just say the odds aren’t on the Bills to beat the Patriots Sunday. (Read More)
Here’s how Week 8 should play out according to the numbers. (Read More)