Eight weeks into the 2022 season, the contenders are beginning to create separation from the pretenders. Teams like the Philadelphia Eagles (7-0), Minnesota Vikings (6-1), the Dallas Cowboys (6-2) and the New York Giants (6-2), who appear to have the NFC race cornered. As well, the Buffalo Bills (6-1) and Kansas City Chiefs (5-2), who are setting the standard in the AFC.
After the aforementioned Fab Five, featuring the fewest defeats to date, there is a mix of teams spanning both conferences (10 in total) that are either smack on or above .500. Perennial favorites such as the Baltimore Ravens (5-3) and the San Francisco 49ers (4-4) belong to this middling group. But among them are several surprise packages too, such as the New York Jets (5-3), Seattle Seahawks (5-3) and the Atlanta Falcons (4-4).
It remains to be seen which teams will carry the momentum into the second half of the season. But with NFL Week 8 in the books, we look toward key takeaways for insight about some of these teams. We’ll analyze the results of Week 8 and discuss the latest NFL news, injury reports, and updated NFL odds.
NFL Week 8 Highlights & Lessons Learned
Bills Team to Beat in AFC
The Buffalo Bills are making good on their preseason favoritism for Super Bowl LVII. They’re 6-1 straight up (SU) and 4-2-1 against the spread (ATS) through eight weeks, a run of form that is underscored by landmark wins against the Los Angeles Rams, Tennessee Titans, Kansas City Chiefs, and Green Bay Packers.
The Bills are attacking on both sides of the ball. They have the No. 2 scoring offense (29 points per game) and top-scoring defense (14.0 ppg). In the meanwhile, Josh Allen’s case to be this season’s MVP is strengthening with each passing week.
Right now, it’s hard to find a team more complete than the Bills. Thus, they go into the second half of the season as the top favorites in the AFC and Super Bowl LVII betting markets.
Los Angeles Rams Down, But Not Out
The defending Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams (3-4-0) are seeing their odds of running it back in 2022 dwindle with each passing week. Most recently, the Rams suffered their eighth straight defeat in the regular season to the San Francisco 49ers – and their second this season.
But that wasn’t the worst bit for Sean McVay’s side as Super Bowl MVP Cooper Kupp suffered an ankle injury.
The play where Cooper Kupp got injured pic.twitter.com/i2x4A2pCT3
— MLFootball (@_MLFootball) November 1, 2022
The Rams are down to third in the NFC West, but they’re not entirely out of the frame in the division – and beyond largely in part due to an NFC conference that is relatively wide open and unpredictable.
In order for the Rams to deliver on their lofty expectations, they’re going to need to play better in every facet of the game. This begins with Matthew Stafford and the offense and extends to Aaron Donald and the defense. Most importantly, they need a healthy Kupp. Otherwise, they’ll struggle to mask the glaring lack of depth on the O-line.
Titans Win With Backup QB play
The Tennessee Titans (5-2-0) are first in the AFC South and second in the AFC race, nudging ahead of the Kansas City Chiefs due to a better win percentage in conference games. And yet, nobody is taking this team seriously at all.
Instead, they’re coasting under the radar, overshadowed by the electric offenses and elite quarterbacking of their biggest AFC rivals, the Bills and Chiefs. But maybe the Titans shouldn’t be underestimated. As the saying goes, slow and steady wins the race.
The Titans clinched their fifth straight win over the Houston Texans in Week 8, doing it with backup quarterback play no less. Rookie Malik Willis stepped in for Ryan Tannehill after he was ruled out due to a combination of illness and injury (ankle).
Although Willis’ NFL debut left much to be desired, the Titan still won. Mike Vrabel took the ball out of Willis’ hands and fed it to King Derrick Henry, who posted his fourth straight 100-yard rushing game. It’s fair to say that the Titans didn’t win because of Willis rather (respectfully), they won in spite of him. That’s a good sign for a team that hopes to be one of the seven to emerge out of the AFC into the playoffs.
Whether you are buying what the Philadelphia Eagles (7-0) are selling right now, it doesn’t matter. The markets are high on them across the NFL odds board, tipping them amongst the top bets to win Super Bowl LVII.
The Eagles are undefeated through eight weeks and they’re almost certainly playoff-bound this season. Looking at their remaining schedule, six of their 10 games are against teams that are below .500.
New QB, Same Old Colts
The Indianapolis Colts made a big show of benching Matt Ryan for the duration of the season, opting to go with untried and untested Sam Ehlinger instead. But the outcome was the same – a big fat L in the column.
One of the interesting takeaways from the 17-16 loss was that many of the issues that led to Ryan’s benching (read: getting thrown under the bus) cropped up again. The Colts struggled in the end zone, lacked creativity and ran out of ideas toward the end. There comes a time when one has to ask whether the quarterback is the problem or whether it is actually a coaching and/or organizational issue that is holding back the Colts. Put simply, is Frank Reich on borrowed time?
San Fran Bounces Back
Christian McCaffrey’didn’t take long to assimilate into Kyle Shanahan’s offense. In only his second game, the star running back threw a touchdown pass to Brandon Ayuk, caught a 9-yard touchdown pass from Jimmy Garoppolo, rushed for 94 yards and put up 55 yards receiving.
McCaffrey’s singular efforts helped the Niners bounce back from a demoralizing loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. They’re 4-4-0 going into NFL Week 9 and second in the NFC West behind the surprisingly impressive Seattle Seahawks (5-3-0).
“The odds and predictions in the article are based on the time of writing and publication. They may differ as to when the actual event takes place.”