Wednesday, November 25, 2020

NFL: 3 Week 8 Matchups to watch out for

We’re nearing the half-way point of the 2020 NFL Season which seems ridiculous bearing in mind we were considering if it was even safe to play football just a few months ago. There have been a few outbreaks, and I wouldn’t go anyway near saying the league have handled them well, but at least we’ve still got football.

Looking at the Week 8 schedule, there are a tonne of rivalry matchups that just make you lick your lips in anticipation. You’ve got rookie quarterbacks making their NFL debut on top of Tom Brady facing off against his bogey team, the New York Giants. Here are three Week 8 Matchups to watch out for.

Pittsburgh Steelers @ Baltimore Ravens – Week 8 on CBS, Sky Sports NFL, 1PM ET, 6PM GMT

The Pittsburgh Steelers have been a joy to watch since the return of their quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger. He’s alreadyv found a new target in Chase Claypool, a rookie out of Notre Dame.

Look no further than THE game of the week in Baltimore, Maryland between two Super Bowl contenders in the Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers. This is the best rivalry currently in the NFL, as both teams are relevant in December, as they have been for decades.

Week 8 sees two AFC North powerhouses collide for the first of two games this season, and it is going to be mega. Baltimore are the favourites (-3.5) and I’m inclined to go that way as Pittsburgh are without star linebacker Devin Bush. He’s key to stopping the run and would be the guy to keep up with Lamar Jackson.

One thing I’ve learned watching this bloodbath over the years is it’s gonna be close, it always is. Under Mike Tomlin and John Harbaugh, the Steelers and Ravens have met 24 times and will share a football field yet again, becoming the first pair of head coaches in the Super Bowl era to face off 25 times in the regular season, in the process. Harbaugh leads the series 13-11, which is an incredibly close record compared to some other AFC North rivalries. Hehe.

Los Angeles Rams @ Miami Dolphins – Week 8 on FOX, NFL Gamepass, 1PM ET, 6PM GMT

Aaron Donald will be after one man, and one man only, Tua Tagovailoa.

Another cracker of an early game, which has two teams who are in the hunt not only for a wildcard spot but also in their division. Got ya yet? This’ll do it, this game will see the 2018 National Championship winning rookie quarterback, Tua Tagovailoa make his first start for the Miami Dolphins.

Tua is the most accurate passer of the football the college game has ever seen, and would probably be on the Cincinnati Bengals had he not suffered a potential career-ending hip injury less than a year ago. His remarkable recovery is one thing I’ve enjoyed following in this pandemic. If I’m being honest, I’m a little worried for Tua ahead of this Week 8 matchup. He’s facing off against a ferocious LA Rams defense that features two-time defensive player of the year Aaron Donald, probably the best player in the entire league right now. He’s bound to get a couple sacks on Sunday.

The Rams should win this one and are the favourites (-3.5), especially as it’s really hard for rookie quarterbacks to win games, heck Joe Burrow and Justin Herbert have won two games between them, both against the hot mess that is the Jacksonville Jaguars. Tua will put on a show, but the Rams will be too strong from Miami.

San Francisco 49ers (4-3) @ Seattle Seahawks (5-1) – Week 8 on FOX, Sky Sports NFL, 4:25PM ET, 9:25PM GMT

Russell Wilson escapes a tackle from 49ers defensive end, Nick Bosa.

My final game is another divisional rivalry that has been incredibly well contested in recent seasons. Both games last year were great and came down to the final play of the game. The first went to overtime in Week 10 on Monday Night Football, with Seattle coming out on top while the second in Week 17 was the for the number one seed in the NFC. San Francisco were victorious after a goalline stand. The 49ers went on to the Super Bowl, losing out to the Kansas City Chiefs. They’re panning out to be yet another team that has become a victim to the Super Bowl Hangover.

Russell Wilson has been having an MVP calibre season in 2020, but saw his odds fall after throwing three interceptions in their Sunday Night Football loss to Arizona last week. Jimmy Garoppolo, on the other hand, has looked a shell of himself since coming back from injury against the Miami Dolphins in Week 5. Since then he’s thrown 3 TD’s and 4 picks in three games.

Now, both sides have had some pretty big injuries, especially on the defensive side of the ball. I’m expecting a lot of points to be scored, and a bounce-back game in Week 8 from DangerRuss. Seattle are favoured by three, which I’m not surprised by with Russell Wilson at the helm. I have a sneaky feeling San Francisco might turn it around however, starting with this game.

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