With the Baltimore Ravens on their Bye week after watching a 3-0 start be destroyed following a current four game losing streak, I decided to look at four of the matchups to watch in Week 8 for Ravens fans as they wait for Baltimore's matchup with the Steelers next week and hope that the Bye week did the Ravens some good.
Sunday features a couple of big divisional games in the AFC West, AFC East and a 2010 NFC Playoff rematch at the Georgia Dome. Its all capped off with a huge Sunday Night main event with first place in the NFC East on the line.
So lets get started.
The last time the Bills and Patriots squared off was in Week 4 and it was the last game Patriots quarterback Tom Brady missed due to his 4-game suspension. The Patriots lost the game 16-0 at Gillette Stadium, but the team did their job by going 3-1 without Brady. Now, the best quarterback in football is back and the Patriots have racked off three wins in a row since their shutout loss as they head to Buffalo with a 6-1 record and have a 2 game lead over the Bills in the AFC East.
The Bills have won four of their last five since firing former offensive coordinator Greg Roman and will look to do something they haven't done in a long time on Sunday. Bills head coach Rex Ryan will have to utilize every scheme and blitz package in his defensive playbook to stop and defeat Brady, which is something Rex hasn't done since 2013.
With Brady back, the Bills truly have a golden opportunity to sweep the Patriots and show the NFL that they are ready to give New England an actual run at the division and prove that they are legit contenders in the AFC. Orchard Park is going to be rocking on Sunday.
For the second time in three weeks, these bitter AFC West rivals will meet as the rivalry continues in the Mile High City. The Chargers started the season 1-4, but have won two straight games that started with a 21-13 upset win over the Broncos. Meanwhile, the defending champs snapped a two game losing streak on Monday Night after beating the Houston Texans 27-9.
If the Chargers can pull out a win on Sunday and complete a sweep of the champs, they will have a lot of momentum on their side when it comes to competing for a playoff spot in the AFC Wild Card race, and will still be in the hunt for the AFC West division crown along with the Oakland Raiders and Kansas City Chiefs.
History is not on the Chargers side however, as they have not won a divisional road game in 2 years and have not swept the Broncos since 2010. Not to mention the Broncos defense returned to its dominant ways on Monday Night. Can quarterback Philip Rivers lead his team to their third straight victory, or will the Broncos defense be too much for the bolts? This game should be fun to watch.
The Falcons got off to another hot start after beating the Carolina Panthers and handing the Broncos their first loss of the season in Denver. But since then, the Falcons have suffered two tough defeats at the hands of the Seattle Seahawks and Chargers thanks in part due to a controversial finish against Seattle, followed by the loss last week against San Diego when head coach Dan Quinn decided to go for it on fourth down on his side of the field in Overtime as t he Falcons didn't convert and the Chargers won on a game-winning field goal.
Meanwhile, the Green Bay Packers went into last week's game with the Chicago Bears with questions on the offensive side of the ball and even more questions about quarterback Aaron Rodgers' struggles. Then Rodgers went all discount double check on the Bears as he completed 39 passes, threw for 3 touchdowns, and had three receivers catch at least 10 receptions.
The Packers will look to carry over their offensive game plan from the week before into Atlanta, but the Falcons carry a lethal offense of their own that is ranked No.1 in total offense. Expect a lot of points in this game highlighted by a quarterback duel between Aaron Rodgers and Matt Ryan.
Also, we can’t forget about Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones facing an injured Packers secondary. Packers defensive back Micah Hyde said it best when describing how they can cover Jones, "Pray."
This is your main event of the week and its on prime-time. Whether you like the NFC East, or despise it and think the division is severely overrated, the division always comes up big with entertaining games between all four of these teams and Sunday Night will be no different.
It’s a battle of rookie quarterbacks at AT&T Stadium between the Eagles Carson Wentz and the Cowboys Dak Prescott, each quarterback brings their own style of play into this game and it will be interesting to see how both these strong defenses game plan for both rookies. After dropping two straight, the Eagles made a statement last week in Philadelphia as they knocked off the previously undefeated Minnesota Vikings 21-10.
With that victory and the Cowboys on a Bye week, the Eagles pulled within one game of the first place Cowboys in the division heading into their prime-time showdown. This game could very well come down to the play of the two rookie quarterbacks, and if Prescott wins this game, the Cowboys truly will have no other choice but to keep Prescott as the starter when Tony Romo returns.
Its the Eagles and the Cowboys with first place in the NFC East on their minds, so get your popcorn ready.
What do you guys think? With no Ravens football, what game are you most looking forward to watching this week? Comment below and sound off.