FOX Sports Betting Analyst
Week 8 of the NFL season is coming to an end, with only Monday Night Football left to play. After 13 games on Sunday, whose stock has gone up and down? I have my answers.
At the top
I have publicly stated that a single wide receiver has far less impact on winning and losing than most football fans would like to believe. For example, the trade of Tyreek Hill had no impact on Chiefs‘ win-loss record. Davante Adams did not help the Raiders win at all. But like all theories, it’s never absolute — and every once in a while, a trade for a wide receiver can turn an offense and/or the quarterback around. That’s what AJ Brown did for the Eagles offense.
The Eagles offense lacked a consistent passing offense down last season. I firmly believe that you can’t win at the elite level in this sport without explosive passing. This type of passing attack would loosen up a defense that would be primed to stop the Eagles’ outstanding running game. Philadelphia traded for Brown to help Jalen hurts unlock a deep passing threat for the offense and it was on full display Sunday. Brown had three touchdowns in the first half and finished the game with six receptions for 156 yards. He absolutely had an impact. Safeties need to locate Brown instead of focusing on the running play, and the Eagles’ rushing offense gets more favorable covers to run the rock. This business has already paid off in Philadelphia.
In his second game since being traded to the 49ers, McCaffrey’s diverse abilities were on full display. When the trade to CMC was done, I thought it only made sense for the Niners if CMC was able to create explosive passing games. They didn’t need him to run between tackles; they already have this game. They need it to make games in space, and without Deebo Samuel in the Sunday lineup, CMC was that guy. McCaffrey had eight catches for 55 yards, including an impressive touchdown. He added 94 yards on the ground. Additionally, he threw for a touchdown on a match-fixing play.
I will caution today’s performance by saying the Niners own the Rams in the regular season. Whatever they do on offense seems to be working against Los Angeles. So while CMC was able to unlock more yards and more points, their formula still seems to be working against this team. I want to see him against other opponents before passing judgment on CMC’s impact on this offense.
The Vikings are 6-1 and have the second-best winning percentage in the NFC. They absolutely haven’t gotten the respect they deserve for their quick start this season. They beat only one team with a winning record, and that was the dolphins without Tua as a quarterback. The Vikings are right in the middle of the pack in offensive and defensive efficiency and they’ve missed big plays in the passing game. That seemed to change after their bye against the Cardinals. Both Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen had explosive catches today and Cousins averaged 6.4 yards per attempt. This number is low but it is higher than what we have seen in the Vikings. It is a positive improvement. The Vikings Pass rush was able to stalk Kyler Murray today and complicates his life. The Vikings’ defense also thwarted the Cardinals’ traditional running game. The Vikings are on course to win the NFC North and while they may not give them the appreciation they deserve, their stock is on the rise.
Vikings beat Cardinals 34-26 after two clutch sacks by Minnesota defense in last two games of game
The Vikings defense proved to be the hero in their 34-26 win over the Cardinals. Za’Darius Smith and Harrison Phillips came with the bags.
Where to start? The Rams are just not good right now, and that seems unlikely to change this season. GM Les Snead’s mantra is “F*** them picks,” and while it worked last year, the lack of depth on the roster now shows. Their offensive line is a wreck, they don’t have reliable running backs, and they don’t have a passing rush outside of Aaron Donald. Matthew Staffordthe arm of doesn’t look so neat and Allen Robinson didn’t help much. To make matters worse, it seems Cooper Kupp suffered a potentially serious injury late in their loss to the 49ers. If he’s out for a while, the Rams offense will really struggle to score.
Unfortunately, it’s hard to see a way forward outside of adding more pieces before the trade deadline, which the Rams shouldn’t be doing. The Rams have the Bucs, the Chiefs, two games with the sea hawks, Chargers and more challenges ahead. With the 49ers and Seahawks playing the way they do, it looks like the Rams won’t be a playoff team.
The worst division in football can see a team with a losing record winning the division. After the craziest match of the day, where the Falcons should have lost many times but still won, they are 4-4 and lead the division. But what are the Falcons doing well? Run the ball? OK of course. The Saints and Panthers are 3-5, and if the Saints can regain their health, they will be nothing short of fiery. The Panthers are just good enough to make close games, but they won’t win more than six games this season. The best option for a team with a winning record to take on the division crowd is Tampa Bay. The Bucs look completely broken right now. They can’t do anything right but they have Tom Brady. They also have a struggling offensive line, horrible play calls at times, and wide receivers with drop issues. I’m just getting into the habit of not counting Tom Brady.
Atlanta earns wild overtime win over Panthers
Carolina tied the game with 12 seconds left in the game, but due to an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty after the Panthers touchdown, they were held back and missed the PAT.
I played over 80 games and sat out for another 40. In those 120 games, I can count on my hand the number of times the team I was playing with or against executed a full line change with the substitutes. It’s rare because even in an eruption there is always the feeling that a comeback may occur. Plus, guys have playtime bonuses and other incentives to keep playing. Well, the Eagles had an empty game, every player who got dressed got a chance to play because there was no chance the Steelers could make a comeback. Eagles Center Jason Kelce was even spotted wearing a Halloween mask on the sidelines during the fourth quarter.
That’s a long way of saying the Steelers are bad. They are not competitive against any competent opponent. They lost to the Invoices 38-3 and the Eagles 35-13. The offense was expected to struggle like Kenny Pickett learned of the position but the scheme is so horrific it doesn’t help the young quarterback. The defense still flashes against the worst offenses, but they are clearly missing TJWatt. When he comes back, I’m curious to see if the defense keeps them in games.
Geoff Schwartz played eight seasons in the NFL for five different teams. He started as a right tackle for the University of Oregon for three seasons and was a second-team All-Pac-12 selection his senior year. He is an NFL analyst for FOX Sports. Follow him on Twitter @GeoffSchwartz.
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