Week 8 of the 2012 NFL Season means a London game, as the New England Patriots and the St. Louis Rams play in England. Meanwhile, Sunday night football will be about a passing duel between Drew Brees and Peyton Manning (Saints at Broncos) and a big NFC East match-up in Cowboys Stadium as the New York Giants visit the Dallas Cowboys.
Carolina Panthers (1-5) at Chicago Bears (5-1), 1:00
After changing the GM, the head coach’s job comes next. The Chicago Bears don’t only stop teams with their defense; it just might be their biggest offensive weapons, with the highs & lows Jay Cutler goes through each season. Matt Forte is always a good tool to get some yards, and the Bears should be able to get big numbers on the ground in this one, while the Panthers have to try and get more out of someone other than Cam Newton, who’s trying to do too much by himself.
San Diego Chargers (3-3) at Cleveland Browns (1-6), 1:00 PM
A great chance for the reeling Chargers to get back on the winning track against the simply terrible Cleveland Browns. The Chargers have a problem with protecting Rivers, who’s doesn’t cope well with pressure after losing Vincent Jackson, and his offensive line is struggling to create holes for the running backs to punch through. Still, the Browns defense is terrible, allowing 411 yards per game; Trent Richardson, who might be missing, is getting only 3.4 yards per carry and Brandon Weeden always tries a bit too much at a certain point, throwing 10 interceptions this season.
Seattle Seahawks (4-3) at Detroit Lions (2-4), 1:00 PM
It’s going to be interesting to see how the Seahawks’ big defensive backs handle Calvin Johnson (38 receptions, 592 yards, 1 touchdown), but the way Matthew Stafford manages to work without the number 2 receiver, Nate Burleson, out for the season. Stafford doesn’t have help from the running game (only 99 yards per game), but he can find hope in the fact that Russell Wilson is terrible on away games.
Jacksonville Jaguars (1-5) at Green Bay Packers (4-3), 1:00 PM
It gets pretty simple. The only reliable offensive weapon on the Jaguars offense is Maruice Jones-Drew (414 yards, 1 touchdown) and he’s out. For the Packers, who will be without injured defensive back Charles Woodson, there’s not much to worry about from the direction of Gabbert (906 yards, six touchdowns, 3 interceptions), especially with Aaron Rodgers playing as well as he has over the last couple of weeks.
Indianapolis Colts (3-3) at Tennessee Titans (3-4), 1:00 PM
The Titans have a bad defense, giving up 416 yards per game this season, and especially struggling to cover the middle of the field, which should mean we’ll see a lot of double tight end formations from the Colts, also to help Andrew Luck try and get his first road win. The Titans can put their faith back in Chris Johnson, who is averaging 7.7 yards per carry over the last two games after rushing for 195 yards and two scores against the Bills. The Colts give up 142 yards on the ground each game.
New England Patriots (4-3) vs St. Louis Rams (3-4), 1:00 PM, London Game
The recipe is pretty simple against the Patriots. Just stay close to them until the fourth quarter, and gravity does the rest. The Patriots and Tom Brady, despite posting 436 yards of offense each game find it very hard to get stops in the final quarter and are giving up an average of 338.0 passing yards and 14 touchdowns through the air in the last five contests. During that stretch, the club has surrendered season-high yardage totals to Baltimore’s Joe Flacco, Buffalo’s Ryan Fitzpatrick, Seattle’s Russell Wilson and New York’s Mark Sanchez.
Miami Dolphins (3-3) at New York Jets (4-3), 1:00 PM
Ryan Tennehill is doing a decent job on his rookie season, but the most important part of the Dolphins’ offense is Reggie Bush, with 434 yards and three touchdowns so far. The Jets allow 148 rushing yards per game, and in order to win this one and give Mark Sanchez, who has looked better in recent weeks, a shot at winning this one, they need to stop the run.
Atlanta Falcons (6-0) at Philadelphia Eagles (3-3), 1:00 PM
A perfect team which no one can understand why they’re so good going in against a desperate Eagles team. Desperate for a win, and to stop Michael Vick from getting hit and turning the ball over so much (17 times so far this season). The Falcons struggle stopping the run game (allowing 144 per game) so LeSean McCoy has a pretty good shot of having a big game. Matt Ryan needs to put his performance against the Raiders (throwing two interceptions) behind him and get back to being a mistake-free decision maker.
Washington Redskins (3-4) at Pittsburgh Steelers (3-3), 1:00 PM
RG3 is getting a lot of attention for the numbers he’s putting up this season with 1601 yards of passing (70.4% completion rating) and 468 yards (6 touchdowns on the ground). But few have been passing as well as Ben Roethlisberger has this season, going for their first consecutive win stretch of the season. The Steelers allow only 277 total yards per game, and finally found their running game (161 yards) in the win over the Bengals.
Oakland Raiders (2-4) at Kansas City Chiefs (1-5), 4:05
A terrible team coming to play the one that’s probably the worse in the NFL. Brady Quinn will make his second straight start, hoping to throw his first touchdown of the season. The Raiders aren’t having much trouble with their quarterback, as Carson Palmer has thrown for 1732 yards (7-4) so far this season, but have to get their ground game, with a slumping Darren McFadden, going again. The Chiefs have had nothing but their running game, with Jamaal Charles, leading the NFL with 98.5 yards per game this season.
New York Giants (5-2) at Dallas Cowboys (3-3), 4:25 PM
Beyond the numbers, the Dallas Cowboys haven’t beaten the New York Giants in their new stadium. They haven’t swept the Giants in a season since 2007, but then they lost to the G-Men in the postseason. After a very solid opening night win, the Cowboys have struggled with consistency in their passing game, going 2-3. The Giants simply find ways to make insane fourth quarter comebacks, with Eli Manning putting all his mistakes behind him in crunch time. The Cowboys having no DeMarco Murray might be too much to overcome.
New Orleans Saints (2-4) at Denver Broncos (3-3), 8:20 PM
However you’d like to spin it, this is Drew Brees vs Peyton Manning. Both teams are all about the passing game; Manning has thrown for 1808 yards with 14 touchdowns and 4 interceptions; Brees has thrown for 2097, 18 touchdowns and 7 interceptions. Brees has the bigger arm, but Manning has been much more accurate (by 7%) this season. It’ll fall down to who preforms better.
San Francisco 49ers (5-2) at Arizona Cardinals (4-3), Monday Night Football, 8:30 PM
Can the 49ers steamroller of a rush offense get things going against the Cardinals, who have allowed 121 yards on the ground per game but seem impossible to throw against? The big key will be John Skelton and the protection he gets. He was sacked 7 times last time out and the Cardinals have virtually no running game or an offensive line that can keep a pass rush away from him. That sounds very bad for Skelton, facing on of the more physical defenses in the NFL.