NFL Sunday Preview, Week 8: Giants-Seahawks, 49ers-Rams highlight another exciting Sunday slate of games in the National Football League

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP/Shutterstock (13452371s) Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp (10) runs onto the field for the start of an NFL football game aginst the Dallas Cowboys, in Inglewood, Calif Cowboys Rams Football, Inglewood, United States – 09 Oct 2022

NFL Sunday Preview, Week 8: Giants-Seahawks, 49ers-Rams highlight another exciting Sunday slate of games in the National Football League

Denver Broncos (2-5) at Jacksonville Jaguars (2-5) (London)

Time/TV: 8:30 a.m. CT/ESPN+

Sunday’s Week 8 NFL action gets started in London first thing in the morning, where either the Denver Broncos or Jacksonville Jaguars will halt a four-game losing streak. Jaguars’ second-year quarterback Trevor Lawrence won his first career NFL game in London last season over the Miami Dolphins, while Broncos’ quarterback Russell Wilson hasn’t played there since a trip with the Seahawks in 2018. Games played in London tend to skew toward feeling like home games for Jacksonville, as they’ve become accustomed to playing there on an annual basis. Jacksonville takes on a rather unique opponent in the 2022 Denver Broncos, a team that arguably pairs the best defense in the NFL with the worst offense in the NFL. Denver has scored more than 16 points in a game just once this season, but perhaps Jacksonville’s 22nd-ranked scoring defense and Russell Wilson’s return from injury finally click the offense into gear. On the offensive side of the ball for Jacksonville, they’ll lean on Trevor Lawrence’s chemistry with college teammate Travis Etienne Jr. after shipping James Robinson to the New York Jets in a trade. 

Las Vegas Raiders (2-4) at New Orleans Saints (2-5)

Time/TV: 12:00 p.m. CT/CBS

The New Orleans Saints return home to the Superdome Sunday afternoon for a critical matchup with the Las Vegas Raiders in a game between teams badly needing a win. New Orleans remains just a game out of first place in the NFC South, while Las Vegas is more likely looking to climb into the AFC Wild Card hunt as the season nears its midpoint. The Las Vegas offense has been gelling of late, averaging 33 points over their last three games. Josh Jacobs has been a major catalyst, pouring in six touchdowns this season for a team that now ranks third in the NFL in points per game. They’re running into the Saints’ defense at seemingly an ideal time, with New Orleans having allowed at least 28 points in each of their last four games. On the offensive side of the football, New Orleans seems set to start Andy Dalton at quarterback again but seemingly has both Jameis Winston and tight end Taysom Hill ready to take snaps depending on how things go. Despite going 1-3 over their last four games, the offense has been humming for New Orleans to the tune of 31 points per game during that span. Whichever defense is able to step up for a few big stops likely gets the win Sunday in the Big Easy. 

Carolina Panthers (2-5) at Atlanta Falcons (3-4)

Time/TV: 12:00 p.m. CT/FOX

The Carolina Panthers head to Atlanta for a divisional showdown with the Falcons following what many considered an unlikely win over Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last Sunday in Charlotte. Carolina’s defense put on a clinic, allowing only three points to the vaunted Tampa Bay offense while running away with a blowout win. Third-string quarterback PJ Walker, playing instead of Baker Mayfield or Sam Darnold, put together a solid two-touchdown performance while D’Onta Foreman rushed for 118 yards. Atlanta had a very different experience a week ago, getting run out of the building early in Cincinnati by a Bengals’ offense clicking on all cylinders. Atlanta is 2-1 at home this season, their only loss coming in Week 1 by a single point to New Orleans. Either team could find themselves atop the NFC South with a win following Tampa Bay’s loss to Baltimore Thursday night, even despite the Panthers being left for dead by many just two weeks ago. 

Miami Dolphins (4-3) at Detroit Lions (1-5)

Time/TV: 12:00 p.m. CT/CBS

Things have gone south in a hurry for the Detroit Lions in recent weeks, a team that is certainly happy to be back on their home turf as they welcome the Miami Dolphins into Ford Field. The Lions have scored a combined six points in their last two games, blowout losses on the road to the Cowboys and Patriots with a bye week in between. Detroit’s offense had been on fire before then, averaging 35 points per game. They’re finally looking relatively healthy heading into Sunday with Amon-Ra St. Brown and D’Andre Swift both expected to play, a pair they’re hoping helps them get back on track against a beat-up Miami secondary. Miami picked up a win last week at home against Pittsburgh but struggled offensively for much of the night. In theory, they’ll have what is a much easier assignment this week, as Detroit’s defense ranks dead last in points per game allowed. The Lions badly need a win Sunday afternoon if they want to climb back into playoff contention, while Miami battles to stay within range of the Buffalo Bills and New York Jets in the AFC East. 

Arizona Cardinals (3-4) at Minnesota Vikings (5-1)

Time/TV: 12:00 p.m. CT/FOX

The Arizona Cardinals got their top wide receiver back last Thursday night in DeAndre Hopkins, and it seemingly made a massive difference for an offense that scored just nine points four days earlier in Seattle. The Cardinals’ 42-34 win over the Saints moved them to 3-4 on the season, meaning just a game separates all four teams in the NFC West entering Sunday. They now head to Minnesota, where the well-rested first-place Vikings await them after a bye. Minnesota has won four in a row, creating some separation between themselves and the rest of the NFC North. One potential pothole for Arizona Sunday is a banged-up offensive line that will be without Justin Pugh and Rodney Hudson but may also end up missing Max Garcia and D.J. Humphries after they each missed practice Wednesday and Thursday. The Vikings enter Sunday with one of the healthiest rosters in the NFL, an advantage they’re looking to exploit in front of their home crowd. Minnesota fans remember last season’s high-scoring affair in Glendale well, a 34-33 heartbreaking loss to the Cardinals that has them seeking revenge. 

New England Patriots (3-4) at New York Jets (5-2)

Time/TV: 12:00 p.m. CT/CBS

The New York Jets have been one of the biggest surprises in the NFL through seven weeks, entering Sunday having won four consecutive games for the first time since 2015. Their 5-2 start is their best in 12 years, and they’ll look for yet another win as the up-and-down New England Patriots come to Metlife Stadium for a divisional matchup. New England was surprisingly embarrassed Monday night by the Chicago Bears, a 33-14 loss in which they allowed 243 yards rushing. It goes without saying that the Patriots will need to play better defensively this week against the Jets if they want to have a chance to win, but they’ll also need to figure out the quarterback position. Mac Jones was benched in the first half last week against the Bears in favor of rookie Bailey Zappe, who looked electric on his first two possessions before turning the lights out on his own offense with two interceptions late. New England has beaten the Jets 12 consecutive times entering Sunday, including two wins last season by a combined 60 points. While the Jets believe in themselves now more than they have in years, nothing comes easy against Bill Belichick and the bullies from Foxborough in this rivalry. 

Pittsburgh Steelers (2-5) at Philadelphia Eagles (6-0)

Time/TV: 12:00 p.m. CT/CBS

The Philadelphia Eagles will put their undefeated record on the line Sunday afternoon as their Pennsylvania neighbors from Pittsburgh come to Lincoln Financial Field. The game between the Steelers and Eagles kicks off a wild stretch of sports in Philadelphia, as the Houston Astros and Philadelphia Phillies will play Games 3-5 of the World Series on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday night across the parking lot. Pittsburgh enters the game, having lost five of their last six games, struggling to find an offensive rhythm under rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett during his first few starts. Philadelphia didn’t make Sunday’s task any easier for the Steelers this week, acquiring defensive end Robert Quinn from the Bears to continue to beef up an already intimidating Eagles’ defense. The Eagles rank fourth in the NFL in both points per game and points per game allowed, putting them in elite company with the Buffalo Bills as the most balanced teams in the league. Pittsburgh needs a win like blood if they want to climb back into the AFC Playoff hunt, but toppling the mighty Eagles will be no small task. 

Washington Commanders (3-4) at Indianapolis Colts (3-3-1)

Time/TV: 3:25 p.m. CT/FOX

The Washington Commanders and Indianapolis Colts have each been stuck in neutral so far this season, making Sunday’s matchup at Lucas Oil Stadium critical for both teams. Neither starting quarterback thought they’d be atop the depth chart this week, as Taylor Heinicke continues to fill in for injured Carson Wentz in Washington while Sam Ehlinger takes over at quarterback for benched veteran Matt Ryan this week. Heinicke led the Commanders to a huge win last weekend over Green Bay, passing for two touchdowns while Washington controlled the ball for almost two-thirds of the game. Indianapolis comes home after a deflating divisional loss at Tennessee, snapping their two-game win streak as they turned the ball over three times. Ehlinger’s primary assignment at quarterback for Indianapolis will be to take care of the football and hand it to Jonathan Taylor against the Commanders’ 16th-ranked rush defense. 

New York Giants (6-1) at Seattle Seahawks (4-3)

Time/TV: 3:25 p.m. CT/FOX

Two of the more surprising teams this season battle in Seattle when the Seahawks host the New York Giants on Sunday afternoon. New York has won four games in a row, but every game they’ve played this season has been decided by one score. Seattle, meanwhile, has won two games in a row, toppling the Arizona Cardinals and Los Angeles Chargers to take sole custody of the top spot in the NFC West. Geno Smith is having a huge bounce-back year at quarterback for the Seahawks, passing for 11 touchdowns while throwing just three interceptions, making it easy for fans at Lumen Field to forget about Russell Wilson. The travel spot is intense for the Giants, who have played in London, New York, and Jacksonville over the last three weeks. They’ll lean on running back Saquon Barkley, whose 726 rushing yards this season rank second in the NFL behind Nick Chubb.

San Francisco 49ers (3-4) at Los Angeles Rams (3-3)

Time/TV: 3:25 p.m. CT/FOX

The San Francisco 49ers head to Los Angeles for a divisional battle with the Rams, a team they’ve owned in the regular season in recent years. They’ve beaten LA seven consecutive times dating back to the beginning of the 2019 season, the lone loss coming over that span in the NFC Championship game last January. San Francisco will notably be without do-it-all wide receiver Deebo Samuel but should have Christian McCaffrey up to speed with enough of the playbook to make a real impact Sunday. San Francisco’s defense is littered with injury questions, which may open the door for the Rams’ offense to finally get on track after their bye week. Los Angeles enters a stretch starting Sunday that sees them battle four 2021 playoff teams over the next five weeks, but Sunday’s game against San Francisco may prove the most critical of the bunch. They’ll get back several key pieces Sunday, including wide receiver Van Jefferson, cornerback Troy Hill, and center Brian Allen, as they look to move to 4-3. 

Green Bay Packers (3-4) at Buffalo Bills (5-1)

Time/TV: 7:20 p.m. CT/NBC

The Green Bay Packers find themselves in unfamiliar territory as they head to Buffalo Sunday night as massive underdogs against the 5-1 Bills. Buffalo has won three of their five games by double digits and ought to be well rested Sunday following their bye last week. The Bills lead the league, allowing only 13.1 points per game, presenting a difficult defense for Aaron Rodgers and the struggling Packers’ offense to figure it out against. The Packers have lost three straight and are averaging just 18.3 points per game in Aaron Rodgers’ first season without star wideout Davante Adams. They’ll also be without veteran Randall Cobb and Allen Lazard at wide receiver this week, meaning young players like Romeo Doubs and Amari Rodgers will need to play more prominent roles. On the defensive side, Green Bay has allowed the fewest passing yards in the NFL but has been gashed on the ground for an average of 139.6 yards per game.

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