Previewing NFL Week 8

Unbeaten New England seems to be a lock for the top seed in the AFC since only two other teams have fewer than three losses.

In the NFC, by contrast, the 49ers are unbeaten and the Packers and Saints only have one loss, so it is too early to anoint a favorite as the team head to the midway point of the season.

Game of the Week

Green Bay’s visit to Kansas City in prime time should have been a midseason primetime Sunday night classic.

Lots of tradition for the two teams that played in the first Super Bowl. And Aaron Rodgers vs. Patrick Mahomes in their first meeting would have been must-see TV.

But now that Mahomes is recovering from a dislocated ankle, the game lacks the drama it could have had. Even though Mahomes returned to practice earlier than expected this week, he’s been ruled out.

Game of the Weak

A pair of two win teams, Giants at 2-5 and Lions at 2-3-1, meet in Detroit. Rookie Daniel Jones is struggling at quarterback so the Lions should have the edge with Matthew Stafford.

The Lions think they are better than their record but have to prove it by going on a run to get in contention.

What to watch for this weekend

–Ryan Tannehill led the Titans to a victory over the Chargers in a game that had a wild finish last Sunday. Now he goes for his second win against the Bucs.

Tannehill is trying to show the Titans he can fill in for a year or two as they start searching for their quarterback of the future now that Marcus Mariota has been benched and doesn’t appear to have a future in Tennessee.

–The game pitting Philadelphia at Buffalo will feature two surprising teams. It is surprising the Eagles are 3-4 and just as surprising the Bills are 5-1 and fighting for an AFC wild card spot. The Eagles are the more desperate team. Another loss would drop them to 3-5 at the halfway mark and leave them two games behind the Cowboys, who have a bye, in the loss column.

–The New England Patriots are not only going for an 8-0 start against Cleveland but can become the first team to score at least 30 points a game and allow fewer than 10 for the first time since the 1962 Green Bay Packers. That may have been Vince Lombardi’s best team and suffered only one loss, a celebrated Thanksgiving Day game in Detroit which led to Lombardi pulling the Packers out of the Thanksgiving Day game.

–The league’s only other unbeaten team – San Francisco – also is strong on defense. They can become the sixth team to allow fewer than 200 total yards of net offense in four consecutive games since the 1970 merger when they host Carolina. The best mark since then is five in a row, which Pittsburgh did in both 1974 and 1975 when they won their first two Super Bowls. When the Steelers did it, it got no attention but decades later, no team has topped it.

–How good is Houston DeAndre Hopkins? If he gets 55 receiving yards against Oakland Sunday, he will be the third youngest player to reach 8,000 career receiving yards. Randy Moss and Larry Fitzgerald were slightly younger when they did it.

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