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#407735 - 10/24/18 12:00 AM NFL Week 8
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Miami Dolphins vs. Houston Texans

The Houston Texans have turned their fortunes around, answering a season-opening three-game losing skid that landed them in the cellar of the AFC South with four straight wins that catapulted them to the top of the division. The torrid Texans bid to continue their winning ways on Thursday when they welcome a familiar face in Brock Osweiler and the visiting Miami Dolphins to NRG Stadium.

"He ain't here no more, so I don't really care for him. We didn't win a lot with him," Pro Bowl defensive end Jadeveon Clowney told the Houston Chronicle of Osweiler, who lasted just one season with the Texans despite signing a four-year, $72 million contract in May 2016. The 6-foot-7, 240-pound Osweiler has fared much better in Miami with 619 yards passing and five touchdowns in two starts in place of the injured Ryan Tannehill. "No emotion. This really is just another game, but it's the most important one because it's the next one," Osweiler said of facing the Texans. An aggressive and opportunistic defense has been a major reason for Houston's ascent, as the club has yielded just 36 points in its last three games while recording three fumble recoveries and as many interceptions -- including one for a touchdown -- in its last two.

TV: 8:20 p.m. ET, FOX, NFL Network. LINE: Texans -7.5. O/U: 44.5

ABOUT THE DOLPHINS (4-3): Trade rumors began to circle as former first-round pick DeVante Parker was made a surprise inactive in Sunday's 32-21 setback to Detroit, but injuries to fellow wideouts Albert Wilson (hip) and Kenny Stills (groin) have made it an easy decision for Adam Gase. "We don't have any more receivers, so I'm sure he's going to play," Gase said of the 25-year-old Parker, who claims he's 100 percent healthy after being hampered by a quadriceps injury. Danny Amendola led the team with six catches for 84 yards and a touchdown versus the Lions. Kenyan Drake found the end zone for the first time since Sept. 16 and has 15 catches in his last three games.

ABOUT THE TEXANS (4-3): Lamar Miller, who recorded his first 100-yard performance since the 2016 season in Sunday's 20-7 win over Jacksonville, shared his reasoning of opting against re-signing with his hometown team and inking a four-year, $26 million contract with the Texans in 2016. "They offered me to come back," the 27-year-old Miller told the Houston Chronicle. "I just felt like Houston at the time was a winning organization. They were giving me an opportunity to showcase my skill set. I don't regret anything. I love it here in Houston." Miller will face a Dolphins rush defense that was gashed for 248 yards by the Lions. Deshaun Watson overcame a bruised lung and injured ribs to throw a touchdown pass last week.

EXTRA POINTS

1. Houston's DeAndre Hopkins didn't take too kindly to Miami CB Xavien Howard claiming he "likes to push off a lot," so much so that the two-time Pro Bowl wideout offered the following response: "Who's Xavien Howard?"

2. Dolphins DE Cameron Wake recorded two sacks and two forced fumbles in last meeting with the Texans.

3. Houston has won seven of eight encounters overall with Miami, including all four at home.

PREDICTION: Texans 26, Dolphins 17
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#407969 - 10/25/18 11:56 PM Re: NFL Week 8 [Re: FREAK]
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Philadelphia Eagles vs. Jacksonville Jaguars

Two teams that played for their respective conference championship last season face the prospect of falling two games below .500 on Sunday as the Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles face the Jacksonville Jaguars at Wembley Stadium in London. The Eagles let a 17-point, fourth-quarter lead go by the boards in a 21-17 setback to Carolina last Sunday while the Jaguars have been outscored 90-28 during their three-game losing skid.

The Eagles embraced the "underdog" theme throughout the playoffs last year despite being the top seed, but that tag may actually apply as this season reaches its midpoint -- so much so that coach Doug Pederson caused a stir by proclaiming that the "pressure's off, so we can go play, have fun, relax." Carson Wentz completed 30 of 37 passes for 310 yards with a pair of scoring strikes last week versus the Panthers, increasing his touchdown total to nine with zero interceptions over the last four games. Jacksonville's Blake Bortles hasn't been as fortunate in his last four contests, as he was picked off six times and drew an early exit last Sunday in a 20-7 setback versus Houston. The 26-year-old will aim to continue his success in London, as he threw for four touchdowns in last year's 44-7 romp over Baltimore and eight scores total in his last three trips across the pond.

TV: 9:30 a.m. ET, NFL Network. LINE: Eagles -3. O/U: 42

ABOUT THE EAGLES (3-4): Alshon Jeffery has returned with a flourish from offseason shoulder surgery, recording 25 catches for 306 yards and four touchdowns in four games. The 6-foot-3, 218-pound wideout has been the target of 24.6 percent of Wentz's throws and likely will go head-to-head with All-Pro cornerback Jalen Ramsey as well as the Jaguars' top-ranked pass defense. Zach Ertz, who leads all tight ends in receptions (57) and receiving yards (618), had nine catches for 138 yards last week and has at least five grabs in nine straight games. The Eagles' new-look ground attack mustered just 58 yards versus the Panthers, although it faces a Jaguars' defense that has been gashed for 157.7 rushing yards per game over the last three weeks.

ABOUT THE JAGUARS (3-4): Carlos Hyde is not Leonard Fournette, although Jacksonville is banking that the former can provide that physical presence to the running game until the latter returns from a hamstring injury that has dogged him since the season opener. "I run angry, downhill, smash-mouth football. That's been my game ever since I started playing this game so I think I'll fit in perfect here," said the 6-foot, 229-pound Hyde, who was acquired from Cleveland for a fifth-round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. Fellow running back T.J. Yeldon has four touchdowns (one rushing, three receiving) over the last four games despite nursing ankle and foot injuries. Hyde and Yeldon could face an uphill battle against the Eagles' second-ranked rush defense that is allowing 85.7 yards per game.

EXTRA POINTS

1. Jacksonville, which has won three in a row at Wembley Stadium, will be playing in London for the sixth straight season on Sunday

2. The Eagles (27th, minus-4) and Jaguars (31st, minus-12) rank toward the bottom of the league in turnover ratio.

3. Philadelphia CB Ronald Darby leads the NFL with 13 passes defensed.

PREDICTION: Jaguars 24, Eagles 20
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#407970 - 10/25/18 11:56 PM Re: NFL Week 8 [Re: FREAK]
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Cleveland Browns vs. Pittsburgh Steelers

The Pittsburgh Steelers made it through their bye week with no further resolution to the Le'Veon Bell drama but are also sitting in first place in the AFC North. The Steelers will go for their third consecutive win and try to maintain their grasp on the top spot in the North when they host the Cleveland Browns on Sunday.

Bell has yet to report to Pittsburgh and is still holding out after failing to sign his $14.54 million franchise tag, but the team is trying not to let it be a distraction. "It's everybody else," defensive tackle Cam Heyward told reporters. "In our locker room, we're not even worried about it. It's unfair for me to even talk about (Bell), and he'll have to answer his questions when he wants to. But we're not talking about it right now. We've got Cleveland Browns football, and if he joins along the way, so be it. But it's not fair to everybody in this locker room, and Le'Veon himself, for us to keep talking about it." The Browns nearly pulled off an upset of the Steelers with a 21-21 tie in Week 1 and played their fourth overtime game of the season in a 26-23 loss at Tampa Bay last week. "What it comes down to is doing little things right," rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield told reporters of learning to win the tight games. "Early on in the game when emotions are high, you have to settle in quickly and do your job. Late in the game when it really matters, you do not have to do too much. You just have to do your job."

TV: 1 p.m. ET, CBS. LINE: Steelers -8. O/U: 49

ABOUT THE BROWNS (2-4-1): Cleveland head coach Hue Jackson pledged to get more involved in the offense after watching it struggle over the last several games, but that doesn't mean he's lost faith in offensive coordinator Todd Haley, who used to hold the same position with the Steelers. "I have total confidence in Todd and what the staff is doing," Jackson told reporters. "In those situations, for me like I said after the game - fuming like I was after losing - I had a chance to sit back and see it all. I just wanted to make sure that as an offense we were crossing the t's and dotting the i's and making sure that everything is moving in the right direction." The Browns enter the week tied for 23rd in the NFL in scoring average at 21.6 points.

ABOUT THE STEELERS (3-2-1): Pittsburgh continues to sing the praises of running back James Conner, who is taking over Bell's spot as the team's top rusher. "It's always the next man up, man," center Maurkice Pouncey told reporters. "We always live by that code here, being a Steeler; and (Conner's) doing a great job with it. He's excelling at a high rate, and guys on the team are loving it." Conner rushed for a season-high 135 yards and two TDs at Cleveland in Week 1, but quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was intercepted three times.

BUZZER BEATERS

1. Steelers S Morgan Burnett (groin) sat out the last four games but is practicing on a limited basis and is questionable for Sunday.

2. Browns DB E.J. Gaines (concussion) and LB Joe Schobert (hamstring) are not expected to play.

3. Cleveland last won at Pittsburgh on Oct. 5, 2003.

PREDICTION: Steelers 31, Browns 27
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#407971 - 10/26/18 12:03 AM Re: NFL Week 8 [Re: FREAK]
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Denver Broncos vs. Kansas City Chiefs

The Kansas City Chiefs look to continue their divisional dominance - especially against the Denver Broncos - when they host their AFC West rivals on Sunday. The Chiefs have won six straight meetings and are 18-2 against divisional opponents since 2015.


Kansas City sits atop the AFC West again thanks to second-year quarterback Patrick Mahomes and one of the league's most dynamic offenses. Mahomes' legend grew when he rallied the Chiefs from a 10-point deficit in the final 13 minutes for a 27-23 win at Denver in Week 4. "It's kind of like we just went in panic mode in the fourth quarter," Broncos cornerback Chris Harris Jr. told reporters. "Everybody just (needs to) calm down when it gets like that, when we get situations like that. Just don't go in panic mode as a defense. Everybody just calm down and play football and read your keys. That's what really hurt us in that fourth quarter." That was the second of four straight losses for the Broncos, who rebounded with a 45-10 romp at Arizona last week but still trail the Chiefs in the division by three games.

TV: 1 p.m. ET, CBS. LINE: Chiefs -10. O/U: 53.5


ABOUT THE BRONCOS (3-4): Denver's run defense had been horrendous for three games before tightening up in last week's win over the Cardinals. The Broncos limited Arizona to 223 total yards and forced five turnovers, but they'll face a much greater challenge against Mahomes and the Chiefs. Rookie running back Phillip Lindsay has emerged as the workhorse in the backfield, but offseason signing Case Keenum has struggled to maintain possession, throwing nine interceptions against eight touchdowns.

ABOUT THE CHIEFS (6-1): The 27 points against the Broncos marked a season low for Kansas City, which owns the league's highest-scoring offense. Mahomes has topped 300 yards passing in six straight games - the longest streak in the league - and leads the NFL with 22 touchdown passes, including seven to speedster Tyreek Hill. The defense gives up a league-worst 435.4 yards per game but is coming off a dominant effort in last week's 45-10 rout of Cincinnati, as it held the Bengals to 239 total yards.


EXTRA POINTS

1. Kansas City LB Justin Houston, who has registered 11 sacks in his last six games against Denver, is listed as questionable with a hamstring injury that already has sidelined him for two contests.

2. Denver WR Emmanuel Sanders, who has recorded at least 100 yards and a touchdown in back-to-back games, is questionable with an ankle injury.

3. Chiefs TE Travis Kelce has notched at least 75 yards and a touchdown in three straight meetings with the Broncos.


PREDICTION: Chiefs 33, Broncos 24
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#407972 - 10/26/18 12:03 AM Re: NFL Week 8 [Re: FREAK]
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New York Jets vs. Chicago Bears

The Chicago Bears have fallen just short in back-to-back losses and hope to have enough to get to the finish line this Sunday when they host the New York Jets. After a three-point overtime loss at Miami on Oct. 14, the Bears went back and forth with the high-powered New England Patriots before falling 38-31, with a Hail Mary completion on the final play leaving them one yard short.

"Coming up one yard short and not tying the game and going to overtime, that's not good enough anymore," quarterback Mitchell Trubisky told reporters after the loss in which he was 26-for-50 for 333 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. The Jets scored 76 points during a two-game winning streak before they were stifled in a 37-17 loss to the Minnesota Vikings at home last week. Rookie Sam Darnold completed only 17-of-42 attempts while throwing a season-high three interceptions and getting sacked three times. "He tries to get better and learn from his mistakes," New York head coach Todd Bowles told reporters of Darnold's mindset after the rocky performance. "He studies. And he works to get better every day. So attitude-wise, he's been great."

TV: 1 p.m. ET, CBS. LINE: Bears -7.5. O/U: 45

ABOUT THE JETS (3-4): The locker room received a bit of a blow when the team announced that running back Bilal Powell, who ranks second with 343 rushing yards, was to undergo season-ending neck surgery that could end the career of the longest-tenured Jet. "It's one of the toughest things," nose tackle Steve McLendon told reporters. "It almost makes me emotional because I know how hard he worked. ... This is how a lot of guys feed their family, and you never want to see someone lose that ability." The team will lean a little more on leading rusher Isaiah Crowell, but he has been hampered by a foot injury since his franchise-record 219 yards against Denver in Week 5 and had just 29 yards on 11 carries last week.

ABOUT THE BEARS (3-3): A Chicago defense that dominated in a 3-1 start has given up nearly 1,000 total yards and 44 first downs during the two-game slide, a trend it hopes to reverse against the 21-year-old Darnold. "As a rookie, we want to make him make a mistake," safety Eddie Jackson told the Chicago Sun Times. "We're going to send pressure at him and hopefully get some turnovers." Star linebacker Khalil Mack had five sacks and four forced fumbles though the first four games but has zero in both categories over the last two contests as he deals with an ankle issue that has limited him in practice this week.

EXTRA POINTS

1. Bears TE Trey Burton had career highs of nine catches and 126 yards last Sunday.

2. Jets CB Trumaine Johnson (quadriceps) is expected to miss his fourth straight game.

3. Chicago is 8-3 against New York and has won the last four meetings.

PREDICTION: Bears 27, Jets 20
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#407973 - 10/26/18 12:04 AM Re: NFL Week 8 [Re: FREAK]
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Washington Redskins vs. New York Giants

The Washington Redskins find themselves in relatively new territory (first place in the NFC East) while the reeling New York Giants are exactly where they were at this point last season (1-6, last place in the division). The Redskins vie for their third straight win on Sunday when they visit MetLife Stadium, where they have dropped 10 of their last 11 contests.

"I think the focus is to try to win a ballgame every single week, whatever it takes to try to win. With that as you stack the weeks together, you hope you are moving in the right direction that you're trending," said Alex Smith, who has thrown three touchdown passes without an interception in the last two weeks. Adrian Peterson has run for at least 96 yards in four of his six games this season and faces a New York rush defense that surrenders 113.9 yards per contest. The Giants dropped their fourth in a row following Monday's 23-20 setback in Atlanta and subsequently parted ways with a pair of former first-round picks Eli Apple (New Orleans) and Damon Harrison (Detroit) over the following 48 hours. "I think we're constantly evaluating and constantly looking for ways to get better," Giants coach Pat Shurmur said. "There is a new GM and new coach because they were 3-13. We're trying to do what we can do to build a winner and a winner that can sustain. That is what we're trying to do."

TV: 1 p.m. ET, FOX. LINE: Pick. O/U: 42.5

ABOUT THE REDSKINS (4-2): Chris Thompson aims to return to action Sunday after a two-week absence due to rib and knee injuries. "It's more so of me feeling comfortable and confident and I can say last week I wasn't as confident as I am this week," the 28-year-old Thompson said. Thompson's team-leading 26 receptions are just four more than tight end Jordan Reed, who has been limited to just eight catches for 100 yards over the last three games. Josh Doctson, who had three receptions for 42 yards in Sunday's 20-17 win over Dallas, scored a touchdown in Washington's 20-10 win over New York on Oct. 23, 2017.

ABOUT THE GIANTS (1-6): Rookie Saquan Barkley has served as the focal point of New York's offense, with the second overall pick of the 2018 NFL Draft finding the end zone six times (four rushing, two receiving) in the last five games. The versatile Barkley leads all running backs in catches (49) as well as the entire NFL with four plays of 50 yards or more from scrimmage and ranks second in scrimmage yards (905). Odell Beckham Jr. reeled in eight receptions and a touchdown for the second time in three weeks while rolling up a season-best 143 receiving yards against the Falcons. The 25-year-old Beckham has averaged eight catches, 105.8 yards per game and a touchdown in five career meetings with the Redskins.

EXTRA POINTS

1. New York QB Eli Manning, who threw for a season-best 399 yards against Atlanta, owns an 8-2 mark with 10 passing touchdowns in his past 10 home starts versus Washington.

2. Redskins LB Ryan Kerrigan, who had two sacks and a forced fumble versus the Cowboys, had a pair of sacks and a forced fumble in his last encounter with the Giants.

3. New York LB Olivier Vernon has recorded four sacks in his past five games overall and 2.5 in his last two meetings with Washington.

PREDICTION: Redskins 24, Giants 13
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#407974 - 10/26/18 12:07 AM Re: NFL Week 8 [Re: FREAK]
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Seattle Seahawks vs. Detroit Lions

The Seattle Seahawks aim for their fourth victory in five games when they visit the Detroit Lions on Sunday. Seattle posted a dominating 27-3 victory over Oakland in London prior to its bye last week and will attempt to end the Lions' two-game winning streak.

Seahawks coach Pete Carroll feels his squad is primed to make a sustained run, and middle linebacker Bobby Wagner is just as optimistic. "We kind of had a little bit of adversity, we responded, and I feel like we're growing," Wagner told reporters. "That's all you can ask for at this point of the season, is to be growing. There are teams that have been 6-0, 7-0, 8-0, and they kind of fall off later in the season." Detroit, which averaged 31.5 points in consecutive games against Green Bay and Miami, is receiving a welcome boost from running back Kerryon Johnson. The second-round pick out of Auburn rushed for a season-high 158 yards in last Sunday's win over the Dolphins and is averaging a stellar 6.4 per carry.

TV: 1 p.m. ET, FOX. LINE: Lions -3. O/U: 49.5

ABOUT THE SEAHAWKS (3-3): Seattle's defense will receive a boost with the return of Pro Bowl linebacker K.J. Wright, who hasn't played since undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery in August and is headed toward free agency after the season. "When you get hurt and you miss some ball, all you care about is football, and the contract stuff will handle itself," Wright told reporters. "I just want to play. The money is the money - whatever. I just want to play ball, be out there with my guys, and just do what I love. Football is first and that stuff will handle itself." Russell Wilson has thrown for 13 touchdowns against four interceptions while Chris Carson (352 yards) has pumped life into the running game by topping 100 yards in two of his last three contests.
ABOUT THE LIONS (3-3): Matthew Stafford has been helped by Johnson's emergence as he has completed at least 75 percent of his passes in three of the last four games and has 11 touchdown tosses against one interception over his last five contests. Wide receiver Golden Tate (37 receptions, 467 yards) is happy to play against his former teammates as he is on pace to record his fifth straight 90-catch season since leaving Seattle as a free agent following the 2013 campaign. Linebacker Devon Kennard has registered a team-best five sacks, but the defense is allowing 26.3 points per game and has given up more than 20 in five contests.

EXTRA POINTS
1. The Seahawks have won four of the last five meetings.
2. Detroit acquired DT Damon Harrison from the New York Giants for an undisclosed future draft pick.
3. Seattle TE Ed Dickson (quadriceps) is expected to play for the first time this season.

PREDICTION: Seahawks 26, Lions 24
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#407975 - 10/26/18 12:08 AM Re: NFL Week 8 [Re: FREAK]
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Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Cincinnati Bengals

The Cincinnati Bengals had a chance to prove themselves as AFC contenders in a road game against a top opponent last week and fell flat on their faces. The Bengals will try to pick themselves up and jump back into the AFC North race when they host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday.

The Bengals were in first place in the AFC North before a 28-21 home loss to the rival Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 6 and made the situation much worse by following that setback with a 45-10 loss at Kansas City in Week 7. "It's a bad look for the whole team to see this happen," linebacker Preston Brown told reporters after the latest setback. "It's such a big score difference. You never want to go out there and get blown out on a Sunday night, (especially) when it's been something we've been waiting to show the whole league what we can do. And now, to put up a goose egg like that, it's not a good look. But we've got to learn from it and find ways to get better." The Buccaneers remain a work in progress defensively but took some steps forward in a 26-23 overtime triumph over Cleveland last week that snapped a three-game slide. Tampa Bay, which is last in the NFL in scoring defense at an average of 32.7 points, squandered a 14-point lead in the fourth quarter but managed to keep the Browns off the scoreboard in the extra period.

TV: 1 p.m. ET, FOX. LINE: Bengals -4. O/U: 54.5

ABOUT THE BUCCANEERS (3-3): The struggling Tampa Bay defense suffered a pair of big losses in last week's win as middle linebackers Kwon Alexander and Jack Cichy went down with ACL tears that will end their respective seasons. "Unfortunate," Buccaneers coach Dirk Koetter told reporters. "Kwon was playing so well and he's the heart and soul of our defense. Just very unfortunate. ... Kwon goes hard every single play and he wears his emotion on his sleeve. He's a terrific competitor. He brings energy to our defense." The offense will need to do a better job of protecting the football and keeping the defense off the field with Alexander out and starting quarterback Jameis Winston is up to six interceptions and four fumbles in three games.

ABOUT THE BENGALS (4-3): Cincinnati scored 34 or more points in three of its first four games but failed to hit 30 points in any of the last three, leaving the offense searching for answers. "(What) really good teams in this league do is they improve, and we were very clear with talking about that with the players," offensive coordinator Bill Lazor told reporters. "And I think they're 100 percent on board. They agree. You're supposed to improve as the year goes on. You're supposed to see issues that you deal with in training camp and preseason, early in the season and then hope not to have those same mistakes come up." Quarterback Andy Dalton averaged 299.3 passing yards in the first four games but watched that number dip to 208.3 over the last three contests.

EXTRA POINTS

1. The Buccaneers signed former Bengals LB Kevin Minter on Tuesday.

2. Cincinnati placed Mason Schreck (knee) on injured reserve and signed fellow TE Jordan Franks off the practice squad.

3. Tampa Bay DT Gerald McCoy (calf) sat out last week and is questionable for Sunday.

PREDICTION: Bengals 34, Buccaneers 31
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#407976 - 10/26/18 12:08 AM Re: NFL Week 8 [Re: FREAK]
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Baltimore Ravens vs. Carolina Panthers

The Carolina Panthers aim for their ninth consecutive home victory when they host the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday in a matchup of playoff hopefuls searching for more consistency on offense. The Ravens have won the last two meetings, including a 38-10 romp in the most recent clash in 2014.


The teams went in opposite directions in the fourth quarter of close games last week, as Baltimore lost 24-23 against New Orleans when Justin Tucker's potential game-tying extra point went wide right, while the Panthers rallied from a 17-point, fourth-quarter deficit for a 21-17 win at Philadelphia. While Carolina benefited from Cam Newton's 17th career game-winning drive, the Ravens lost by fewer than four points for the second time in three games. "I think we're playing really well, but good teams win those football games," Baltimore quarterback Joe Flacco told reporters. "We're getting to the point where it doesn't matter too much what you're going to gain from things, it just matters (that you win). It doesn't really matter how well you play and how pretty it looks either. You just have to win the football game." Sunday's contest will feature five of the top six active players in career tackles - Thomas Davis (1,009), Eric Weddle (1,000), Luke Kuechly (871), Terrell Suggs (830) and Mike Adams (824).

TV: 1 p.m. ET, CBS. LINE: Ravens -2. O/U: 44


ABOUT THE RAVENS (4-3): Baltimore possesses the league's best defense, as it is holding opponents to 14.4 points and 280.6 yards per game. The offense hasn't been as consistent, due in part to an inability to establish the run. Flacco is averaging 295.3 passing yards while throwing 11 touchdown passes and four interceptions, but the Ravens' 3.4 yards per carry is the second-worst mark in the league.

ABOUT THE PANTHERS (4-2): Carolina did some damage through the air in the fourth quarter last week, but Newton's passing numbers have been pedestrian. He averages 237.8 yards but adds 42.8 on the ground to complement the versatile Christian McCaffrey, giving the team the league's fourth-best rushing offense. The defense thrives on takeaways as it has forced nine turnovers in Carolina's four wins and only one in two losses.


EXTRA POINTS

1. Baltimore leads the league with 27 sacks, including 5.5 apiece from OLBs Suggs and Za'Darius Smith.

2. Carolina's 65 points and plus-29 scoring margin in the fourth quarter both rank second in the league behind New Orleans.

3. The Ravens force opposing offenses to go three-and-out 28 percent of the time, which makes them the second-best team in the NFL in that category.


PREDICTION: Panthers 23, Ravens 20


Edited by FREAK (10/26/18 12:58 PM)
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#407977 - 10/26/18 12:08 AM Re: NFL Week 8 [Re: FREAK]
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Indianapolis Colts vs. Oakland Raiders

One team hopes to claw its way back into contention in its division and the other just hopes to scratch out a much-needed victory when the Indianapolis Colts visit the Oakland Raiders on Sunday. The Colts ended a four-game slide with a dominant win over Buffalo last week while the Raiders spent their bye week licking their wounds after being trounced by Seattle in London.

Offense has not been a problem of late for Indianapolis, which has scored at least 34 points in three of its last four contests. Despite residing in the basement of the AFC South, the Colts entered Week 8 just two games behind Houston for first place and have showdowns with division rivals Jacksonville and Tennessee coming in the next few weeks. Oakland has been a major disappointment in coach Jon Gruden's return to the sideline as four of its five losses have been by eight points or more while its lone victory came in overtime. The Raiders will try to get in the win column without two key pieces on offense, as running back Marshawn Lynch (groin/core muscle) landed on injured reserve and receiver Amari Cooper was traded to Dallas.

TV: 4:05 p.m. ET, CBS. LINE: Colts -3. O/U: 50.5

ABOUT THE COLTS (2-5): Andrew Luck, who recorded four touchdown passes without an interception last week, is salivating at the prospect of facing the Raiders. The 29-year-old has thrown for at least two scores and run for another in each of his last two meetings with Oakland. Adam Vinatieri, who aggravated a groin injury in the win over the Bills, hopes to be available Sunday as he is five points away from passing Hall-of-Famer Morten Andersen (2,544 points) to become the NFL's all-time leading scorer.

ABOUT THE RAIDERS (1-5): Doug Martin is expected to shoulder the load in the backfield with Lynch sidelined after making only 27 rushes for 99 yards over the first six games of the season. Rookie linebacker Jason Cabinda figures to make his NFL debut on Sunday after spending the first six weeks of the campaign on the practice squad. Oakland moves on to its third kicker this week as Daniel Carlson was signed to replace Matt McCrane, who was released on Tuesday after going 5-for-9 on field-goal attempts over three games.

EXTRA POINTS

1. Colts S Mike Mitchell was named the AFC's Defensive Player of the Week after registering seven tackles, an interception and a forced fumble against Buffalo.

2. Oakland promoted WR Marcell Ateman and OL Denver Kirkland from the practice squad.

3. Indianapolis' Eric Ebron leads all NFL tight ends with six touchdown catches.

PREDICTION: Colts 37, Raiders 17
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#407978 - 10/26/18 12:12 AM Re: NFL Week 8 [Re: FREAK]
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San Francisco 49ers vs. Arizona Cardinals

The San Francisco 49ers have lost all four of their road games this season and the Arizona Cardinals have dropped each of their four contests at home en route to sharing the basement in the NFC West. One team is likely to finally get in the win column on Sunday, and the 49ers will have revenge on their minds when they visit the Cardinals, who have won the last seven meetings.

San Francisco is looking to snap a five-game losing streak that includes a 28-18 setback against Arizona at home in Week 5. The 49ers, who were trounced 39-10 by the Los Angeles Rams last week, are getting closer to notching their first road win as their last two losses away from home were by a total of five points. Arizona had lost a pair of home contests by a total of five points before getting pounded 45-10 by Denver last week. The Cardinals, who are last in the NFL in total yards (220.7) and rushing yards (64.6), addressed the problem by replacing offensive coordinator Mike McCoy with Byron Leftwich following the loss to the Broncos.

TV: 4:25 p.m. ET, FOX. LINE: 49ers -1. O/U: 42.5

ABOUT THE 49ERS (1-6): C.J. Beathard passed for a career-high 349 yards and two touchdowns in the Week 5 showdown but also threw a pair of interceptions. The 24-year-old has run for a score in each of the last two contests against the Cardinals while running back Matt Brieda caught a TD pass in the Week 5 defeat. Brieda leads the NFL with an average of 6.54 yards per rush while George Kittle tops all tight ends in the league with 367 yards after the catch.

ABOUT THE CARDINALS (1-6): Larry Fitzgerald is hoping the change at offensive coordinator benefits him, as he has made only 26 catches for 255 yards through seven games. The 35-year-old needs 135 receiving yards to pass Hall-of-Famer Terrell Owens (15,934) for second place on the all-time list. David Johnson has been an offensive force against San Francisco of late, rushing for six scores and adding a TD reception in the last four meetings.

EXTRA POINTS

1. Kittle leads the 49ers in both receptions (32) and receiving yards (527).

2. Arizona signed S Eddie Pleasant and OL Oday Aboushi while releasing CB Deatrick Nichols and DT Ifeadi Odenigbo.

3. San Francisco signed QB Tom Savage and placed DB Adrian Colbert (ankle) on injured reserve.

PREDICTION: Cardinals 23, 49ers 21
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#407979 - 10/26/18 12:13 AM Re: NFL Week 8 [Re: FREAK]
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Green Bay Packers vs. Los Angeles Rams

The Los Angeles Rams are running away and hiding in the NFC West, already building a four-game lead in the division as the only undefeated team in the NFL. After completing a sweep of a three-game road trip, running back Todd Gurley and the Rams look to remain perfect when they host Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers on Sunday afternoon.

Los Angeles survived a pair of close calls away from home, beating Seattle and Denver by a combined five points before blowing out San Francisco 39-10 last week. "I think every week is a chance for our football team to continue to try to demonstrate the consistency that they've played with through seven weeks," Rams coach Sean McVay said. "Right now our sole focus and concentration will be on the Packers." Green Bay had to rally for a 33-30 victory over the 49ers prior to last week's bye and has yet to post back-to-back victories this season -- nor have the Packers won on the road. "We're going to have to play better," said Rodgers, whose team will play four of the next five away from home. "If you want to be a competitive team that's playing in January, you've got to win some of these games."

TV: 4:25 p.m. ET, CBS. LINE: Rams -9.5. O/U: 56.5

ABOUT THE PACKERS (3-2-1): Rodgers injured his knee in the season opener and has been hindered since, but he practiced fully Wednesday and has put up huge numbers -- 12 touchdowns versus one interception and 1,997 yards. He should get a boost with the expected returns of wide receivers Randall Cobb and Geronimo Allison, who have sat out three and two games, respectively. Davante Adams has been sensational over the past three games, hauling in 27 catches and three touchdowns while eclipsing 100 yards in each of the past two contests. Green Bay has been unable to put together a consistent ground game and has struggled against the run, ranking 22nd in the league (116.5 yards).

ABOUT THE RAMS (7-0): Gurley was named the NFL Offensive Player of the Year in 2017 and could be on his way to winning MVP honors this season, leading the league in rushing with 686 yards and touchdowns with 14, including 11 on the ground. With Los Angeles leaning on Gurley, Jared Goff has barely passed for more than 200 yards in each of the past two games but he has 14 scoring passes against five interceptions and still averages more than 300 yards passing. Robert Woods and Brandin Cooks are the top two receivers for the Rams, who will be without Cooper Kupp (5 TDs) for the second straight game. Reigning Defensive Player of the Year Aaron Donald is tied for the NFL lead with 8.0 sacks.

EXTRA POINTS

1. Rodgers is the first quarterback to notch back-to-back 400-yard games without an interception.

2. Gurley has scored eight times in the last three games and is the third different player in history with at least 14 TDs through seven games.

3. The Packers have won the last five meetings, although the teams haven't played since 2015.

PREDICTION: Rams 30, Packers 24
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#407980 - 10/26/18 12:13 AM Re: NFL Week 8 [Re: FREAK]
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New Orleans Saints vs. Minnesota Vikings

The New Orleans Saints will not soon forget their last visit to Minnesota, a game that ended in one of the most dramatic finishes in league history and denied them a trip to the NFC Championship Game. The Saints have a chance for a little payback in a rematch against the Vikings, taking a five-game winning streak into Sunday nght's matchup.

New Orleans coach Sean Payton attempted to play down the revenge angle from last season's "Minneapolis Miracle" -- when Vikings wide receiver Stefon Diggs scored on a 61-yard touchdown pass as time expired for a stunning 29-24 victory. "It wasn't like there was bad blood when the game was over or anything like that," Payton said. "Two teams fought hard and made a play at the end that ended up costing us the game. ... This is a new team playing this '18 season and for different reasons." Minnesota has overcome a slow start to rattle off three consecutive wins to move atop a tightly bunched NFC North, but is understandably wary of Saints quarterback Drew Brees. "This guy's amazing," Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said. "I always thought when you talk about Hall of Fame quarterbacks, obviously he's going to be one, but he's very cerebral, accurate."

TV: 8:20 p.m. ET, NBC. LINE: Pick. O/U: 52

ABOUT THE SAINTS (5-1): Brees reached a pair of major milestones this season, becoming the NFL's all-time leading passer and the third quarterback to throw for 500 touchdowns. Brees has 13 scoring passes and zero interceptions for a league-leading passer rating (121.6) and has a special connection with wide receiver Michael Thomas, who is tied for third in the league with 53 catches for 588 yards and four touchdowns. Running back Alvin Kamara is a dangerous two-way threat for New Orleans, rushing for 363 yards and six scores while adding 40 catches and a touchdown. The Saints, who have the league's top-ranked rushing defense (72.3 yards), acquired cornerback Eli Apple from the Giants this week.

ABOUT THE VIKINGS (4-2-1): Dalvin Cook has missed much of the season but Minnesota finally got its ground game untracked over the past two games as Latavius Murray rushed for 224 yards and all three of his touchdowns. That has taken some of the onus off quarterback Kirk Cousins, but it hasn't prevented wide receiver Adam Thielen from joining Charley Hennigan as the only players in league history to have at least 100 yards in each of the first seven games of the season. Thielen, the league leader in yards (822) and catches (67), and Diggs (48 receptions) provide a 1-2 punch for Cousins, who has thrown for 14 TDs and three interceptions. Minnesota's defense ranks 16th against the pass (256.1 yards).

EXTRA POINTS

1. Cousins has passed for 646 yards and seven TDs in two meetings against New Orleans.

2. Brees has nine touchdown passes and zero interceptions in his last four games against Minnesota.

3. Vikings DE Danielle Hunter is tied for the NFL lead with 8.0 sacks.

PREDICTION: Saints 26, Vikings 23
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