Is anyone else a little mind blown how fast this season’s going by? It seems like just yesterday we were all in high anticipation to start the new season, and now we’re already eight weeks in. That’s right, half of the season’s already over, but don’t fret, there’s still plenty of football to go this season, and with that being said, let’s all enjoy the second half of the regular season, including what should be very exciting week 9 … but first, let’s recap back to some of the biggest storylines of week 8.
OPENING DRIVE – Panthers remain undefeated. It wasn’t pretty, but Carolina beat the Indianapolis Colts in an overtime battle Monday night. Then again … is any Panthers victory ever pretty? From what I can remember, the Carolina Panthers rarely crush teams. They typically win their games in close, and exciting fashion. But anyways, back to this weekends game. The weather sucked, and it was a huge factor early on in the game for both teams. The Colts were looking to steal a what felt like a must win victory on the road against Carolina, and Carolina was trying to stay unbeaten. Early on Indianapolis turned the ball over multiple times, and eventually found themselves down 10-6 going into the half. However, it wasn’t any prettier for the Panthers, because Carolina did the same thing. Conditions played out huge for both teams, and turnovers appeared to be coming left and right. Fumble, interception, fumble, fumble, interception, interception. Practically how it went this game. With the third quarter coming to a close Carolina seemed to be taking the game away from the Colts, as they went into the fourth quarter up 17-6, and then eventually up 23-6. The game wasn’t done yet though. Indianapolis impressively came back with less than seven minutes to play, and long story short, tied the game up to head to Overtime. In OT, Indianapolis notched a three point lead from another deep Adam Vinatieri field goal, they lead 26-23. Carolina would do the same, get close, and kick a field goal. So now we’re in sudden death mode, and just when you think Andrew Luck‘s gonna lead his team to a victory, he throws a costly interception to arguably the best middle line backer in the game, Luke Kuechly, who gives the Panthers offense good field position, and they win the game with another Graham Gano field goal, game over, 29-26 Carolina wins. So Carolina held off the late comeback from Andrew Luck and the Colts, a team that needed a win, but instead took another costly loss. This loss puts them at a record of 3-5. Carolina moves on to 7-0, and are one of the four undefeated teams left standing in the league.
Back in business? With the crushing 29-10 victory over the Green Bay Packers, the Denver Broncos looked impressive on all cylinders. As they have all season, the defense looked amazing. However, this time the offense actually looked good as well. Maybe it was the bye week, and longer week off that helped them fix their struggling problems, maybe it was a good old fashioned Peyton Manning locker room pep talk, or something in the water, I don’t know, but to me it looks like the offense is back. The offensive line appears to be getting stronger, Peyton looked close to his old self, DeMaryius Thomas looked outstanding, racking up over 160 receiving yards, and C.J Anderson FINALLY rushed for 100 yards, and even ran in a score as well! With the defeat over Green Bay, the Broncos look like a top three team in the NFL, and if they have more games like this one, they could become trouble for the other 31 teams.
Drew Brees, Eli Manning TD Feast – Prior to this weeks Saints-Giants game, the record for most passing touchdowns in a game between two quarterbacks was 12. Now, the record currently stands at 13. Drew Brees threw for 511 passing yards, and seven touchdowns, while Eli Manning threw for 350 passing yards, and six touchdowns, three to Odell Beckham Jr. The Saints ended up winning the game by a slim margin of 52-49, off a buzzer beating field goal, and are now 4-4. Same record for New York, this loss puts them at 4-4 as well. Could you imagine if this game had went into overtime? Manning would’ve probably hit over 400 yards, Brees over 550, and there most likely would’ve been one more passing touchdown. Very impressive stuff from two very underrated quarterbacks in my eyes.
The end for Steve Smith Sr? – In a close battle with the San Diego Chargers on Sunday, Wide receiver of 15 seasons, Steve Smith Sr. tore his right Achilles tendon, an injury sidelining Smith for the rest of the season, but it could also mean a lot more than that. The injury could put the Veteran receiver out for good, as Smith was eyeing retirement after this season. It’s likely Smith does retire, mainly because sustaining from an achilles injury, and then working to get back to playing 100% is a very tough thing to do, and if Smith is thinking about retiring, it would be the easier thing to do right now. However, just based on the type of player Steve Smith Sr. is, and the person he seems to be, I don’t see him retiring just yet. I expect Smith to play at least one more season after this injury. I was never really a huge Steve Smith Sr. fan, but this season something’s changed, and I like watching Smith play. I know I’m not alone when I say I hope the best for Steve Smith Sr., and hope him a speedy recovery, and a quick return to the field next season.
How but them … Raiders? Yes, yes, I said it. How about them Oakland Raiders?! For once in what feels like forever, the Oakland Raiders are finally good again. Mainly their offense. I love watching the connection between Derek Carr and Amari Cooper. Not to mention the other offensive weapons being thrown into the equation, like Michael Crabtree, and Latavius Murray. As for the defense, man they’re alright. These Raiders are legit, and have a great chance of making some noise, and getting back to playoff football.
If you read the italicized words formally, and not like some hipster fan of the Raiders, then you my frie… HOMIE, read it all wrong. In all seriousness, I love what the Oakland Raiders have been doing lately. Question is, will it keep working, and will it work enough to get them into the playoffs, and possibly in a land farther than that?
Week 9 Game of the Week – Carolina vs Green Bay – With the Carolina Panthers still perfect, and the Green Packers wishing they were, the game of the week can be no other than…. you guessed it, Panthers-Packers! Carolina’s offense is red hot, the defense has been fantastic, and I’m sure they wanna see how long this streak lasts. As for the Packers, they’re coming off of an embarrassing loss to the Broncos, and need something to refuel their team. From previous NFL history, when a team gets humiliated on a Sunday night like the Packers did, they usually go out the next week with a bang. My prediction, after seeing the sloppy play from the Packers, and the Panthers barley pulling through with a win against Indianapolis, I could see this game go either way, but for the heck of it, give me Green Bay by a touchdown. 27-20.
Halfway there. Ok, so I mentioned how the season’s halfway over, and all that gooey stuff, so with that being said, I’ve decided that it’d be nice to give my (UPDATED) predictions for the twelve post season teams.
AFC – Patriots, Broncos, Bengals, Colts, Steelers (WildCard), Raiders (WildCard)
NFC – Panthers, Packers, Cardinals, Giants, Falcons (WildCard), Seahawks (WildCard)
Obvious reasons for the Pats,Broncos,Bengals, and Panthers, as they’re all still 7-0, and basically just need like three-five wins to clinch a playoff spot. As for teams like the Packers, Cardinals, and Falcons, I still really like all of them, and can’t picture a playoff atmosphere without them as of now. Same thing with the Colts, who at 3-5 still lead their division, and the Seahawks who’ll figure something out and barley get back to the postseason. I see Pittsburgh getting better down the stretch, along with the Giants, and well, you already know how I feel about the Oakland Raiders. Still, when determining the wild card teams, there are still so many teams I think could do something. In the AFC, there’s still the Jets, Dolphins, and Chargers among teams I could see in the playoffs. And in the NFC, I like all of the NFC East teams potentially, the Saints, and the Vikings. But I just see the above teams prevailing, regardless of what their record now says.
Week 8 Player of the Week – DeMaryius Thomas, Den, WR – Coming back from the bye week, the Broncos looked to kickstart their offense, and shape it back into what it used to be. Now I know they didn’t win their last game against the Packers because of DeMaryius Thomas, but he was a huge part in their victory, totaling 168 receiving yards, off of 8 receptions. Thomas was a huge playmaker for the Broncos offense, and proved he’s still the wide receiver he’s always been. Usually it’s Peyton Manning who makes Thomas look good, but this week it was Thomas who made Manning look good. A tip of the hat to you DeMaryius Thomas, as you’re my Week 8 player of the week.
AB’s Fantasy Team of the week – Daily Fantasy Stile
After thinking about it, it came to my senses that it would be a lot fairer, and smarter to do my Fantasy team of the week by way of Daily Fantasy. That way I can’t just pick all the stacked players. So I went on Draft Kings, and made a team for this week that way, with a salary cap of $50,000.
QB – Derek Carr, Oak at Pit ($5,500)
RB – Jeremy Hill, Cin at Cle ($5,200)
RB – Chris Ivory, Nyj at Jax ($5,900)
WR – Demaryius Thomas vs Ind ($7,500)
WR – Brandon Marshall, Nyj at Jax ($7,600)
WR – Martavius Bryant, Pit vs Oak ($5,500)
TE – Gary Barnidge, Cle vs Cin ($4,800)
FLEX – Lamar Miller, Mia at Buf ($5,000)
DST – Broncos, vs Ind ($3,000)
AB’s Winners of the Week – Bengals, Dolphins, Packers, Jets, Vikings, Patriots, Saints, Giants, Steelers, Falcons, Broncos, Eagles, Chargers
Fingers crossed for these winners above… I haven’t been doing so hot lately, and need a good predictions week. Thanks for reading again, and enjoy week 9 everybody!