NFL Week 8 takeaways – Lessons, massive questions for each sport

Week 8 of the 2022 NFL season featured an early riser and loads of video games of significance.

The Baltimore Ravens and Tampa Bay Buccaneers kicked issues off Thursday night time with the Ravens pulling out a 27-22 victory, handing Tom Brady a 3-5 document for the primary time in his profession as a starter. With an OT win over the Carolina Panthers on Sunday afternoon, the Atlanta Falcons took over first place from the Bucs within the NFC South.

On Sunday morning, the league performed its third and last sport in London this season. Russell Wilson and the Denver Broncos’ offense had been removed from excellent, however they had been adequate to get previous the Jacksonville Jaguars 21-17.

The Philadelphia Eagles improved to 7-0 with a 35-13 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers propelled by three first-half touchdowns from A.J. Brown. The Miami Dolphins rallied again to beat the Detroit Lions on the highway, the Vikings held on to win their sixth sport of the season and the New England Patriots beat the New York Jets for the thirteenth straight sport. Led by Tony Pollard’s three touchdowns, the Dallas Cowboys scored 49 factors at residence towards the Chicago Bears.

Aaron Rodgers and the Inexperienced Bay Packers face the Buffalo Payments on Sunday night time, whereas the “Monday Night Football” sport options an all-Ohio battle when the Cincinnati Bengals tackle the Cleveland Browns on ESPN.

The Kansas Metropolis Chiefs and Los Angeles Chargers are on a bye and can return to motion in Week 9.

Our NFL Nation reporters react with the largest takeaways and lingering questions popping out of this week’s matchups and look forward to what’s subsequent. (Video games are Sunday except in any other case famous.) Let’s get to it.

Leap to a matchup:
DEN-JAX | BAL-TB | ARI-MIN
PIT-PHI | MIA-DET | LV-NO
CHI-DAL | NE-NYJ | CAR-ATL

Saints

What to know: Saints working again Alvin Kamara urged the workforce to get its swag again after a loss to the Cardinals in prime time. The workforce definitely responded. Kamara scored his first (and second and third) touchdowns of the season; quarterback Taysom Hill could not be stopped as a runner; and the protection seemed prefer it did when Saints coach Dennis Allen was the defensive coordinator, with the go rush attending to quarterback Derek Carr all sport. All of that contributed to a simple win towards Allen’s previous workforce. It was the Saints’ most full sport of the season, offensively and defensively.

Can the Saints use this as a launching level to win a weak NFC South? The Saints have had a tough begin to the season, however the NFC South remains to be very a lot in attain. The Saints have misplaced a number of video games this season due to their very own errors, whether or not that be vital penalties or key turnovers. Their win towards the Raiders felt like one of many few occasions this 12 months they performed pretty mistake-free soccer. If the Saints can get gamers resembling Jarvis Landry and Michael Thomas again from harm and proceed to maintain the errors down, it definitely feels as if they might make a run. — Katherine Terrell

Subsequent sport: vs. Ravens (Monday, 8:15 p.m. ET)


Raiders

What to know: Perhaps the Raiders aren’t able to go on a run in any case. Sure, after final week’s blowout of the lowly Texans, we thought Las Vegas, which opened 0-3, was primed to run off a sequence of victories to get above .500. However after no-showing within the Large Simple to fall to 2-5, the Raiders must do a critical self-scout on their week on the IMG Academy earlier than Sunday’s sport at Jacksonville. Particularly as vast receiver Davante Adams had only one catch for 3 yards and minus-1 speeding yards.

May the Raiders commerce away gamers at Tuesday’s commerce deadline? It relies upon what they’ll get in return. Offensively, the one gamers who may probably garner a big package deal could be tight finish Darren Waller, who missed his second straight sport with a hamstring harm however signed a three-year, $51 million extension in August, and working again Josh Jacobs, the workforce’s finest participant who’s in a contract 12 months. If Las Vegas has no intention of re-signing Jacobs, it may probably get a third-round comp choose for him. — Paul Gutierrez

Subsequent sport: at Jaguars (Sunday, 1 p.m. ET)

Eagles

What to know: The Jalen Hurts-A.J. Brown tandem is a power to be reckoned with. Hurts threw a career-high 4 touchdowns Sunday — three going to his good buddy/No. 1 receiver Brown, who erupted for 156 yards on six catches. The Eagles’ offense continues to indicate it may well assault in quite a lot of methods. Sunday it was with the deep ball. Hurts is simply the third QB with 4 landing passes of 20-plus air yards in a single sport since ESPN started monitoring air yards in 2006.

Who can sluggish this workforce down? The undefeated Eagles had the best remaining energy of schedule coming into this week, in keeping with ESPN’s Soccer Energy Index. Their subsequent three video games are towards the Houston Texans, Washington Commanders and Indianapolis Colts, none of whom entered Week 8 with a profitable document. — Tim McManus

Subsequent sport: at Texans (Thursday, 8:15 p.m. ET)


Steelers

What to know: The Pittsburgh Steelers’ protection is not elite. It hasn’t been elite for the reason that second T.J. Watt went out in Week 1. Towards the Buccaneers and Dolphins, the Steelers’ unit confirmed indicators of enchancment. However in a 35-13 loss to the Eagles, the Steelers’ secondary was uncovered as Jalen Hurts picked on Ahkello Witherspoon and linked with A.J. Brown for 3 touchdowns. Witherspoon was in protection on two of these scores. Even security Minkah Fitzpatrick seemed outmatched. The go rush recorded a uncommon multisack sport, however the protection was overwhelmed because it gave up practically 9 yards per play.

What can the Steelers’ offense fairly repair through the bye week? Each section wants work, however there’s solely a lot that may be addressed in every week. The offense is inconsistent, extra usually working a fast three-and-out than an extended scoring drive. The run sport and 2021 first-rounder Najee Harris are invisible. Kenny Pickett could be taking incremental steps ahead, however he is nonetheless lacking receivers and making pricey rookie errors. The offensive line, whereas not as dismal because it appeared within the preseason, is committing pricey penalties along with not getting a ton of push on run performs. Even the go safety fell aside towards the Eagles as Pickett obtained sacked six occasions. There is definitely no simple repair, however is there any troubleshooting the Steelers can do to enhance their offensive output? Or are the issues too pervasive to unravel in-season? — Brooke Pryor

Subsequent sport: vs. Saints (Sunday, Nov. 13, 1 p.m. ET)

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Jalen Hurts throws three lengthy landing passes to A.J. Brown within the first half.

Patriots

What to know: It wasn’t fairly, however the Patriots needed to have it. They hung within the struggle after a horrible first half to assist Invoice Belichick break a tie with George Halas to maneuver into second place on the profession wins checklist (325), thanks largely to clutch kicker Nick People, hard-charging working again Rhamondre Stevenson and a few presents from interception-happy Jets QB Zach Wilson. This was removed from a win that makes the Patriots a workforce to beat within the AFC, however bettering to 4-4 not less than buys them extra time to attempt to play higher soccer on a extra constant foundation.

How a lot concern is there with Mac Jones’ decision-making? Jones’ decision-making had the Patriots residing on the sting at occasions. He was fairly lucky late within the second quarter to have a pick-six negated by a roughing-the-passer penalty. He additionally had a would-be interception within the second half dropped by a Jets defender. This is not to place all of it on Jones, who was working for his life on a day during which the offensive line struggled to guard him (six sacks) and rookie left guard Cole Unusual was changed by Isaiah Wynn within the second half. The ultimate stat line was stable — 24-of-35 for 194 yards, with 1 TD and 1 INT — however Jones nonetheless appears to be knocking off some rust from his three-game absence with a excessive left ankle sprain. — Mike Reiss

Subsequent sport: vs. Colts (Sunday, 1 p.m. ET)


Jets

What to know: With out star rookie RB Breece Corridor, who’s misplaced for the season with a knee harm, the Jets wanted quarterback Zach Wilson to be the catalyst on offense. He failed miserably, and so ended the four-game profitable streak. A skittish Wilson threw three interceptions, all beneath duress. Clearly, Invoice Belichick is in his head. This was paying homage to final 12 months’s residence sport towards the Patriots, when he threw 4 interceptions. Wilson is not a rookie anymore, so there is no excuse. His play has regressed, and it does not get simpler subsequent week as they face the Buffalo Payments.

Why cannot the Jets beat the Patriots? The coaches change, the rosters change, however the outcomes stay the identical: The Jets have an enormous psychological block in the case of the Patriots. This was their thirteenth straight loss within the sequence. The Jets felt this was their time, speaking robust about avenging final 12 months’s 54-13 loss, however they dedicated too many massive errors — most notably a roughing-the-passer penalty on DE John Franklin-Myers. This was the type of missed alternative that may hang-out a workforce. — Wealthy Cimini

Subsequent sport: vs. Payments (Sunday, 1 p.m. ET)

Dolphins

What to know: Eight video games into the season, we are able to make it official — the Dolphins’ id has finished an entire 180 from the previous three seasons. The offense has clearly been their strongest unit and needed to carry the workforce throughout Sunday’s win over the Lions. Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa proved as soon as once more he may be the rationale his workforce wins a sport, throwing for 382 yards and three touchdowns on 29-of-36 passing. Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle additionally every cracked 100 receiving yards for the third time this season.

Can the protection regulate to accidents within the secondary? The Dolphins do not know when cornerback Byron Jones can be able to return from offseason Achilles surgical procedure, and Nik Needham and Brandon Jones are out for the 12 months. It is time to cease fascinated with the gamers who’re lacking and begin taking a look at those that have taken their place. Miami’s secondary at full energy makes it attainable for defensive coordinator Josh Boyer to name aggressive, blitz-heavy schemes. However Boyer and the Dolphins will now want to regulate to the quick-passing offenses their opponents have had a lot success working this season. — Marcel Louis-Jacques

Subsequent sport: at Bears (Sunday, 1 p.m. ET)


Lions

What to know: The Lions’ secondary could not include Tua Tagovailoa and the Dolphins’ offense. The Miami QB picked Detroit aside, throwing for 382 yards and three touchdowns whereas Miami wideouts Tyreek Hill and Jalen Waddle every went over 100 yards receiving. Relationship again to final season, the Lions’ protection has now allowed 24 factors in 9 consecutive video games, which is the second-longest such streak in franchise historical past.

Will the offense proceed to place up massive numbers? The offense topped the league in factors via the primary 4 weeks, nevertheless it put up simply six within the subsequent two video games. Towards Miami, working again D’Andre Swift and receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown returned to the lineup to assist put up 27 factors within the first half, however the offense stalled out after the break. The second-half shutout is definitely regarding, however Detroit has proved it may well nonetheless rating among the many finest within the NFL. — Eric Woodyard

Subsequent sport: vs. Packers (Sunday, 1 p.m. ET)

Cowboys

What to know: The bye week all the time comes at a great time, and this can be a good time for the Cowboys. Dallas is 6-2 and misplaced a linebacker, two safeties — not less than quickly — and did not have three different starters Sunday, together with Ezekiel Elliott. The earlier 10 occasions the Cowboys have began a season 6-2 or higher since Jerry Jones took over as proprietor and basic supervisor in 1989, they’ve made the playoffs. The offense confirmed indicators of life, scoring touchdowns on its first 4 possessions. Tony Pollard, changing Elliott, grew to become the primary Cowboys working again with 100 yards speeding and three speeding touchdowns in a sport since Julius Jones in 2004. Dak Prescott threw two touchdowns because the offense topped 25 factors for the primary time this season.

Have the Cowboys finished sufficient to repair their run protection? The Cowboys traded for Johnathan Hankins final week hoping his 340-pound body may assist sluggish the run. They could must do extra after Chicago ran for 240 yards Sunday. Justin Fields did not damage them as a lot with designed quarterback runs, however he was in a position to scramble for large positive factors. In six of their eight video games, the Cowboys have allowed not less than 117 yards on the bottom. The commerce deadline is Tuesday, however the repair may need to be extra schematic than personnel at this level. — Todd Archer

Subsequent sport: at Packers (Sunday, Nov. 13, 4:25 p.m. ET)


Bears

What to know: The Bears’ offense is evolving. Chicago’s 29 factors had been essentially the most allowed by Dallas’ protection — a top-six unit — this season. The Bears had 4 completely different gamers rush for not less than 30 yards, and the offense scored on 4 of its six journeys contained in the pink zone, which had been a weak point all season. Second-year quarterback Justin Fields went 17-of-23 for 151 yards and two touchdowns and added 60 speeding yards and a TD. Fields continues to get higher, regardless of the noticeable expertise hole round him. The Bears must focus their efforts on constructing round him.

What occurred to the Bears’ run protection? Chicago entered Week 8 ranked twenty ninth towards the run (149.7 yards per sport) and confirmed indicators of enchancment after holding New England to 70 speeding yards in Week 7. That progress went out the window when the Bears let Tony Pollard rush for 131 yards and three touchdowns. On two of these TD runs, Chicago did not make any contact with the working again. All the pieces begins up entrance, and the dearth of stress or potential to set the sting sheds mild on what Chicago’s priorities must be this offseason. — Courtney Cronin

Subsequent sport: vs. Dolphins (Sunday, 1 p.m. ET)

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Tony Pollard was unstoppable as he gashed the Bears for 3 touchdowns within the Cowboys’ 49-29 win over the Bears.

Vikings

What to know: The Vikings picked up the place they left off earlier than their bye: needing second-half heroics to carry on for a victory. They compelled three turnovers after halftime Sunday and closed out the sport with two sacks to beat the Arizona Cardinals. Their offense set a season excessive with 34 factors, however eight weeks in, followers would possibly want to just accept that that is the best way the workforce will play this season: effectively sufficient to win, however needing 4 quarters and a few white-knuckling alongside the best way to take action.

How will the Vikings deal with DT Dalvin Tomlinson’s harm? Tomlinson departed within the third quarter with a calf harm and didn’t return. The Vikings have been extremely freed from accidents, however Tomlinson has been having a Professional Bowl-caliber season, and a calf harm may take time to fix. If he has to overlook prolonged time, the Vikings can be hard-pressed to exchange him with an equal performer. — Kevin Seifert

Subsequent sport: at Commanders (Sunday, 1 p.m. ET)


Cardinals

What to know: The Cardinals obtained off to yet one more sluggish begin Sunday in Minnesota, which induced them to be preventing for the sport within the last minutes. Arizona had simply three factors till the ultimate minute of the primary half, a place the Cardinals are all too aware of this season. Amid their comeback within the second half, which noticed them pull forward at one level, a handful of self-inflicted errors — two interceptions, a botched snap and a muffed punt — put the brakes on any kind of late-game heroics.

How can the Cardinals get going within the first half? It comes all the way down to tempo and using the proper personnel. Getting vast receiver DeAndre Hopkins concerned extra shortly and having quarterback Kyler Murray make extra performs along with his toes, which might make the protection have to contemplate him always, may set the tone for Arizona within the early minutes — Josh Weinfuss

Subsequent sport: vs. Seahawks (Sunday, 4:05 p.m. ET)

Falcons

What to know: Atlanta ought to have misplaced this sport twice. However within the wacky, bizarre NFC South this 12 months, something seems attainable. And in a division during which each workforce has much more questions than solutions, the inconceivable Falcons could be the most effective of the bunch. How they arrived right here — a powerful run sport and an opportunistic protection highlighted by a Lorenzo Carter interception returned for a landing towards Carolina — has been one of the underrated tales within the NFL. Atlanta is in first place within the division by a sport, with what coach Arthur Smith known as a “unique opportunity” a number of occasions this week. And it is a possibility that, thus far, the Falcons have been in a position to benefit from.

What’s going on with Atlanta’s protection? Atlanta’s protection failed on Sunday. Giving up a Hail Mary with 12 seconds left was a backbreaker — particularly contemplating DJ Moore beat two defenders. Sure, the Falcons had been bailed out by the Panthers – twice — however there are points. Getting off the sector on third down has been one of many largest issues for the Falcons all 12 months, and so they allowed Carolina to go 5-of-12 on Sunday. That included a number of explosive performs to elongate drives, like a 21-yard reception by Moore within the fourth quarter and a 29-yard reception within the third. Atlanta’s protection, down three starters within the secondary, struggled within the second half total. If the Falcons are going to be real looking contenders in a weak NFC South, they want to determine a approach to be higher on third down. When it mattered, although, linebacker Rashaan Evans sacked Carolina quarterback PJ Walker on what ended up being the ultimate Carolina third down of the sport. — Michael Rothstein

Subsequent sport: vs. Chargers (Sunday, 1 p.m. ET)


Panthers

What to know: Panthers proprietor David Tepper mentioned interim coach Steve Wilks needed to be “exceptional” to get a shot at the job permanently. Wilks has been exceptional at keeping a team competitive that was left for dead at 1-4, and accused of tanking when it traded star running back Christian McCaffrey to the San Francisco 49ers. He didn’t let them give up when they appeared beaten Sunday. He kept them believing they could win by playing hard defensively and committing to the run game, something former coach Matt Rhule never did. With D’Onta Foreman putting in consecutive 100-yard games, including a three-touchdown effort on Sunday, Wilks has helped Carolina fans forget about McCaffrey for the time being. Carolina lost this one in overtime because it missed a chip-shot field goal, but Wilks has been exceptional.

What does the future look like for Baker Mayfield? Despite a pick-six by PJ Walker in the first half, replacing him with Mayfield (who was healthy) was never a consideration. With Sam Darnold likely to come off injured reserve this week, and the Panthers wanting to see what he can do, it appears Mayfield’s future with the team may be that of a backup at best. Mayfield’s NFL-worst 15.3 Total QBR through the first five games may have sealed his fate as he becomes a free agent after the season. — David Newton

Next game: at Bengals (Sunday, 1 p.m. ET)

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Younghoe Koo kicks the game-winning field goal in overtime to beat the Panthers 37-34.

Broncos

What to know: Well, the Broncos certainly did bring everything to London, including penalty woes (10 in the first half alone), spotty quarterback play from Russell Wilson (his second pass attempt was intercepted) and a pile of offensive troubles that have plagued the Broncos all season, including repeated stumbles on first downs. It was all there on display in Wembley. Right up until they somehow, some way put together an 80-yard drive for a game-winning touchdown with 1:43 to play for a 21-17 lead, and K’Waun Williams made it stand with an interception. No team or coaching staff likely needed a win more than this one.

Will the Broncos be sellers at the trade deadline? General manager George Paton said Thursday in London the Broncos were “not in a mode the place we need to do away with our greatest gamers,” however now we’ll see whether or not that is actually the case. Exterior linebacker Bradley Chubb has, and can, draw essentially the most curiosity as Tuesday’s deadline approaches. Chubb is within the final 12 months of his rookie deal and having his finest all-around season as a professional. Vast receiver Jerry Jeudy, who scored Sunday in London, has additionally gotten some curiosity, however the participant who may have the most effective probability to maneuver is tight finish Albert Okwuegbunam. He was a game-day inactive for the third consecutive week and had been clearly displaced within the offense by rookie Greg Dulcich. Okwuegbunam has uncommon velocity (4.49 on the mix) and was in John Elway’s final draft class because the Broncos’ high soccer decision-maker. — Jeff Legwold

Subsequent sport: at Titans (Sunday, 1 p.m. ET)


Jaguars

What to know: Any considerations about whether or not Travis Etienne Jr. may deal with the RB1 function ought to be put to relaxation after Sunday. Etienne ran for a career-high 156 yards and averaged 6.5 yards per carry. His one TD run ought to have been adequate for the game-winning rating had the protection not given up a TD drive late. For this reason the Jaguars felt snug buying and selling James Robinson earlier within the week.

Has anybody seen Josh Allen? Allen had simply two tackles towards the Broncos and has simply two QB hits up to now 4 video games and one sack up to now 5 video games. This was a sport during which the Jaguars’ go rush was vital with Russell Wilson coping with a hamstring harm, however Allen was virtually invisible. A top-10 choose ought to be counted on to make performs when the sport is on the road, and Allen is not. — Mike DiRocco

Subsequent sport: vs. Raiders (Sunday, 1 p.m. ET)

Thursday

Ravens

What to know: The Ravens must embrace their ground-and-pound id. Within the first half, Baltimore scored three factors when Lamar Jackson threw the ball 30 occasions. Within the second half, the Ravens totaled 24 factors once they ran the ball 26 occasions for 204 yards. It is tempting to need to let Jackson throw the ball extra in his fifth NFL season. He simply hasn’t proven sufficient consistency to take action. Since Jackson took over as starter halfway via the 2018 season, Baltimore is 37-8 (.822) when the Ravens run the ball 30 or extra occasions.

How important are the accidents to Mark Andrews and Rashod Bateman? Andrews and Bateman had been dominated out for your complete second half, however coach John Harbaugh mentioned neither suffered “serious” accidents. Andrews injured his proper shoulder, and Bateman aggravated his left foot harm that sidelined him for 2 video games earlier this season. The excellent news is the Ravens play just one sport over a 23-day span (on the Saints on Nov. 7 earlier than happening a bye). The Ravens did study they’ll win with out Jackson’s high two targets. Isaiah Doubtless (six catches for 77 yards) and Demarcus Robinson (six for 64 yards) stepped as much as fill the void. — Jamison Hensley

Subsequent sport: at Saints (Monday, 8:15 p.m. ET)


Buccaneers

What to know: The Bucs’ gorgeous free fall continues. Regardless of scoring on their first possession and ending the NFL’s fourth-longest opening drive scoring drought, the Bucs could not preserve it rolling. They failed to attain one other landing till 53 seconds remained, when Julio Jones hauled in an 8-yard seize in his first sport again since aggravating a knee harm in Week 4. They managed to include the Ravens’ offense till Shaq Barrett suffered an ankle harm within the third quarter, surrendering three touchdowns after.

How do the Bucs climb out of this? The one factor going for them proper now could be the NFC South is trying extraordinarily weak, with the Bucs at 3-5, simply behind the 3-4 Falcons however holding the head-to-head tiebreaker over Atlanta. However there aren’t many actual “gimme” video games remaining on this schedule, though the mixed document of their remaining 9 opponents is 30-39. Subsequent week encompasses a sport they have been eyeing for the reason that schedule got here out — a rematch of their NFC divisional playoff sport towards the Los Angeles Rams, they misplaced to 30-27. Brady has gone 0-3 towards the Rams since becoming a member of the Bucs. — Jenna Laine

Subsequent sport: vs. Rams (Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET)