NFL Week Eight Takeaways
Week eight of the NFL season was perhaps the wildest of them all. We had a powerhouse matchup between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens, multiple five win teams were upset; oh and Patrick Mahomes is still pretty good at football. With that being said, let’s get into the top takeaways from week eight.
Green Bay still has the same kryptonite
One of the biggest upsets of the week came when the Minnesota Vikings defeated the Green Bay Packers 28–22. Losses happen in the NFL and that’s fine. The way Green Bay lost however, may cause worrisome flashbacks for Packers fans. During the Minnesota game, Vikings running back Dalvin Cook had a field day. He finished with 226 total yards (163 rushing) and four total touchdowns (three rushing). The first thing that likely came to the mind of many people watching, was the similarities to last season’s NFC Championship game. During a 37–20 loss to the 49ers, Green Bay allowed running back Raheem Mostert to have 220 yards rushing and four touchdowns. As was the case last season, the Green Bay Packers can’t stop the run. This is largely due to the poor play of their linebackers. This shouldn’t necessarily be shocking however, considering Pro Football Focus ranked Green Bay’s linebacking unit 28th entering the season. The Packers have definitely lived up to that standard. Many people think Green Bay needs to trade for a receiver, when the real need is on the defensive side of the ball. If the Packers want any chance at winning a Super Bowl this season, they better make a move for a linebacker quick.
The Raiders are a playoff team
Yet another five win team was upset, as the Raiders marched into Cleveland and secured a victory. Las Vegas defeated the Browns 16–6 to improve their record to 4–3. The Raiders have some impressive wins this season. They defeated the Browns, along with securing victories over the Saints and Chiefs. More wins should be on the horizon as well, considering Vegas has the third-easiest remaining schedule in the NFL. The Raiders still get the face the Chargers and Broncos twice, along with games against the Jets and Falcons. Sunday’s victory over Cleveland was different though, mainly because Vegas is known for their offense. The Raiders currently rank in the top 12 in total yards per game (11th), rushing yards per game (10th), and points per game (12th). Against the Browns however, it was the Raiders’ typically weak defense (eighth-most points allowed per game) that shined. Cleveland only gained 223 total yards, while scoring a league-low six points on Sunday. The Vegas offense has proved they’re legit. If the defense puts on more performances like the one on Sunday, then the Raiders should easily make their return to the postseason.
The dynasty is officially over
On Sunday, it felt like the New England Patriots dynasty officially ended. There was some hope when the team signed quarterback Cam Newton during the offseason. That hope has since been shattered. The reality is the New England Patriots are not a good football team. It started when Tom Brady decided to leave during free agency. The next domino happened to be multiple key contributors on defense opting out of the season. Finally, injuries have piled up for the Patriots. This has left Bill Belichick and Cam Newton with a roster devoid of talent. Things don’t appear to be getting much better for New England either. They must still play the Ravens, Bills, Rams, and Cardinals, all of which should be losses considering the way Newton has played this season. The former MVP appears to be a shell of himself. In six games this year Newton has just 1,143 passing yards (28th in the NFL), two passing touchdowns, and seven interceptions. The Patriots defense has also taken a step back (12th in points allowed per game compared to 1st last season), and may soon get much worse as Stephon Gilmore is on the trade block. It appears more and more that the historic dynasty has finally ended.
Joe Burrow is the real deal
During the NFL draft there wasn’t much skepticism surrounding quarterback Joe Burrow. Some didn’t believe he had the highest ceiling of all the quarterbacks coming out of college. Burrow however, seemed like he had the safest floor. Well as of right now, his potential appears to be through the roof. Burrow and the Bengals are coming off a 31–20 upset win over the then 5–1 Tennessee Titans. Burrow played extremely well, finishing with 249 yards, two touchdowns, and no interceptions. This game just adds to an already great rookie season for Burrow. This year, the rookie has 2,272 passing yards (third in the NFL), and 14 total touchdowns (three rushing). Burrow has also only thrown five interceptions, which is even more impressive if you look at the numbers. The former LSU QB has the most pass attempts this season (330), but still has less interceptions than guys like Russell Wilson and Kyler Murray. Burrow is also constantly being pressured, as he has been sacked the second most times in the NFL (28). Now some people may criticize Burrow for not having more victories on the season. It however, was unrealistic to expect the Bengals to win many games this year. They were 2–14 and had the first pick for a reason. This year, Burrow has already matched that win total, and honestly should have already surpassed it (see the end of the Chargers game). There’s no criticisms over here. The rookie has been everything Cincinnati could ask for.