The schedule for NFL Week 8 serves up several compelling interconference and interdivisional games as teams criss-cross the country to face relatively unfamiliar opponents.
Starting with Thursday’s Ravens at Bucs and ending with Sunday night’s Packers at Bills, AFC and NFC teams are meeting up. There are also some division-against-division battles, like the Giants heading West to face Seattle, Arizona heading north to Minnesota, and Las Vegas heading to New Orleans.
We decided to stick with what we know this week and look for games involving teams that are no strangers to each other. Travel won’t be an issue.
Scouting is already half done, and fans know who to hate on the visiting team. There are a handful of divisional games this week, and we decided to look at those, to see what gets sorted out in the race for the divisional titles and which rivalries take another turn.
Carolina Panthers vs. Atlanta Falcons
Sunday, October 30, 2022 – 01:00 PM EDT at Mercedes-Benz Stadium
The Panthers are 2-5 on the season and, a week ago, seemed to be angling for the top pick in the draft. Already on an interim head coach and their third-string quarterback, they traded away All-Pro running back Christian McCaffrey and their second-best receiver in Robbie Anderson.
Instead, the depleted Panthers went out and upset Tampa Bay. Now, incredibly, the Panthers can go 3-0 in the NFC South if they win over Atlanta on Sunday.
Just as incredibly, the Falcons are tied for first in the NFC South at 3-4. The Falcons are in the top five in the NFL in rushing and convert third downs and red zone opportunities, although the defense has been an adventure much of the season. The Panthers are the opposite, carried in most games by a defense, while the offense has been a horror show.
The Panthers could be close to getting back quarterbacks Sam Darnold and Baker Mayfield, but coach Steve Wilks has already declared that PJ Walker will start on Sunday. He’ll face an Atlanta secondary that’s been ravaged by injuries.
Panthers vs. Falcons: The Betting Pick
Carolina looked good against the Bucs, but that may tell us more about Tampa than any new direction for the Panthers. Look for the Falcons to defend their home turf.
NFL Pick: Falcons -4.5 (-110) at FanDuel
New England Patriots vs. New York Jets
Sunday, October 30, 2022 – 01:00 PM EDT at MetLife Stadium
The Jets have been one of the big surprises of the first half of the NFL season, jumping out to a 5-2 record, just a half-game out of first place and riding a four-game winning streak.
The Patriots are 3-4 and in last place in the AFC East. And yet, based on years and years of history, the Jets are still a home dog.
New England is expected to get back Pro Bowl starting quarterback Mac Jones, who suffered an ankle injury at the end of September. Jones returned to the field on Monday night but was pulled from the game after a few series.
Patriots vs. Jets: The Betting Pick
The Jets lost running back Breece Hall to a torn ACL, and that might be the difference in a game that is likely to feature the ground game and stout defensive work on both sides.
NFL Pick: Patriots -2.5 (-114) at FanDuel
San Francisco 49ers vs. Los Angeles Rams
Sunday, October 30, 2022 – 04:25 PM EDT at SoFi Stadium
All four teams in the NFC West are within a game of .500, so the 49ers-Rams showdown will be pivotal for the entire division. The Niners have lost two straight, and star receiver Deebo Samuel is nursing a hamstring injury.
Fullback Kyle Juszczyk is out with a broken finger, and on defense, the team is awaiting updates on lineman Arik Armstead and cornerback Jason Verrett.
Despite the injury problems, the Niners will get to see running back Christian McCaffrey after his first full week of practice with the team. The All-Pro offensive weapon was acquired by trade late last week.
49ers vs. Rams: The Betting Pick
The Rams, known for their creative and explosive offense in previous years, have been at or near the bottom of the league in most offensive categories. The team hopes to get back receiver Van Jefferson, who has yet to play this season.
He was limited in practice early this week, but he was on the field. The team likely won’t have running back Cam Akers, who appears to be on the verge of being traded.
McCaffrey, a new star player that just arrived, could be the difference in this battle of familiar foes
NFL Pick: 49ers -1.5 (-108) at FanDuel