Kyle Allen
ESNY Graphic, Getty Images

In this edition of the ESNY NFL Weekly Preview, we’ll recap what went down in Week 7 as well as look forward to this week’s slate of games.

Week 8 in the NFL, already? That’s crazy when you think about it. Preparing for the opening Thursday night game between the Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears feels like it happened just last week. It’s been a quick but wild ride up to this point.

Nonetheless, Week 8 is here, as many teams will be halfway through their regular-season schedules after this upcoming slate of games. There are a multitude of matchups to look forward to, including ones that show importance when it comes to teams’ placements in their division standings.

But before that, let’s recap what occurred around the league in Week 7.

Week 7 Final Scores // Prediction Results

  • Kansas City Chiefs 30 at Denver Broncos 6 (Correct)
  • Los Angeles Rams 37 at Atlanta Falcons 10 (Correct)
  • Miami Dolphins 21 at Buffalo Bills 31 (Correct)
  • Jacksonville Jaguars 27 at Cincinnati Bengals 17 (Incorrect)
  • Minnesota Vikings 42 at Detroit Lions 30 (Correct)
  • Oakland Raiders 24 at Green Bay Packers 42 (Correct)
  • Houston Texans 23 at Indianapolis Colts 30 (Incorrect)
  • Arizona Cardinals 27 at New York Giants 21 (Incorrect)
  • San Francisco 49ers 9 at Washington Redskins 0 (Correct)
  • Los Angeles Chargers 20 at Tennessee Titans 23 (Incorrect)
  • New Orleans Saints 36 at Chicago Bears 25 (Correct)
  • Baltimore Ravens 30 at Seattle Seahawks 16 (Incorrect)
  • Philadelphia Eagles 10 at Dallas Cowboys 37 (Correct)
  • New England Patriots 33 at New York Jets 0 (Correct)
  • Week 7 Results: 9-5
  • Overall Results: 68-38

Recap: What we saw during Week 7

We saw last year’s NFL MVP, Patrick Mahomes, go down with a knee injury in the first half of Thursday night’s 30-6 win over the Broncos. The Chiefs quarterback is expected to be out for at least three weeks. The AFC powerhouse will turn to Matt Moore to take over the duties at that position for right now.

Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan left in the fourth quarter of the team’s 37-10 loss to the Rams on Sunday. The former NFL MVP suffered an ankle injury and will go for an MRI this week. It’s unclear whether Ryan will play this coming Sunday against the Seahawks.

On the other hand, are the Rams back to their old ways? After losing three-straight games to drop to 3-3 on the season, their offense managed to put up 30 points on Atlanta (the defense contributed to a fumble recovery return for a touchdown) and win their first game in nearly a month.

Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins has remained red hot. Since his teammates publicly called him out after the 16-6 loss to the Bears in Week 4, Cousins has led the team to three consecutive victories. In that span, he’s completed 76% of his throws for 976 yards, 10 touchdowns, and just one interception. The Vikings improved to 5-2 with a 42-30 win over the Lions on Sunday.

Jacoby Brissett is looking like he’s the right successor to Andrew Luck. The newly-appointed Colts starting quarterback led his team to a huge win over the Texans on Sunday. Brissett completed 26 of his 39 throws for 326 yards, four touchdowns, and zero interceptions in the victory.

Thus far on the year, Brissett has completed 65% of his throws for 1,388 yards, 14 touchdowns, three picks and has posted a 4-2 record as Indianapolis’ starter. Not to mention, he’s achieved two huge wins now over the Chiefs and Texans.

Daniel Jones struggling for the Giants? In the team’s 27-21 loss to the Cardinals, the rookie threw one interception and lost two fumbles. He now has 12 turnovers on the season, having thrown seven picks and lost five fumbles.

Teddy Bridgewater may be the successor to Drew Brees sooner than we think. The Saints quarterback is now 5-0 as a starter, having defeated the Bears 36-25 this past Sunday. Bridgewater completed 60.5% of his throws for 281 yards, two touchdowns and zero picks in the win.

For the season, Bridgewater has completed 67.7% of his throws for 1,370 yards, nine touchdowns, and two interceptions.

A huge win for the Ravens and quarterback Lamar Jackson over Seattle. The Seahawks have solidified themselves as one of the better teams in the NFC, with the possibility quarterback Russell Wilson could end up becoming this year’s MVP. Despite all that, the Ravens were able to oust them 30-16 on the road.

Jackson has continued to be one of the more fun quarterbacks to watch in the NFL. The second-year pro carried the ball 14 times for 116 yards and a touchdown.

Oh, and lastly, the Patriots defense continues to be dominant. They shutout the Jets on Monday night, only allowing 154 total yards on the night. Jets quarterback Sam Darnold, in the midst of “seeing ghosts,” threw four picks on the night and only completed 34% of his throws.

Preview: What to watch for during Week 8 of the NFL

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-4) at Tennessee Titans (3-4) – Sunday, Oct. 27, 1:00 p.m. ET

Ryan Tannehill will look to go 2-0 as the team’s starter. He surpassed Marcus Mariota on the depth chart prior to their Week 7 win over the Chargers. Tannehill was 23-for-29 with 312 yards, two touchdowns and one interception in the win.

A Tennessee victory paired with a Texans loss would tie the Titans for second in the AFC South. At the moment, they’re in last place in that division.

On the other hand, a Tampa Bay win paired with a Carolina Panthers loss would put the Bucs right back in the mix in the NFC South. I don’t believe any team besides the Saints will win that division, but the Bucs and Panthers could eventually include themselves in the Wild Card race.

However, Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston will need to bounce back from a five-interception, seven-sack loss to the Panthers in Week 6.

Los Angeles Chargers (2-5) at Chicago Bears (3-3) – Sunday, Oct. 27, 1:00 p.m. ET

Both of these teams are coming off defeats and definitely need a victory.

The Chargers have dug themselves a deep hole, suffering three straight losses after starting out 2-2. They’re tied for last place in the AFC West division at the moment and need to start winning some games if they want to fight for a Wild Card spot in that conference. It starts with defeating the Bears this Sunday.

Chicago is also on a losing streak, as they lost their last pair of games. They’ve found themselves in third place in the competitive NFC North division. There are no excuses for them now. They have their No. 1 quarterback Mitch Trubisky back from injury. This organization needs to return to its competitive nature if they want to start making any noise in that division.

Needless to say, this is a much-needed win for either one of these ballclubs.

Carolina Panthers (4-2) at San Francisco 49ers (6-0) – Sunday, Oct. 27, 4:05 p.m. ET

So Panthers quarterback Kyle Allen is looking to be the real deal, huh? Well, for that to be the case, he’ll need to pass his toughest test so far on Sunday. Carolina will take on the undefeated 49ers and the No. 1 passing defense in the league. San Francisco is averaging 133.5 allowed passing yards-per-game through six matchups.

If Allen and the Panthers pull off the victory, they would solidify themselves as a legitimate Wild Card team in their respective conference. Not to mention, a win and a Saints loss would place the Panthers at just .5 games back in that division.

Can Allen remain perfect as a starter? Right now, he’s 4-0 since taking over the job, having completed 65.6% of his throws for 901 yards, seven touchdowns and zero interceptions.

Oakland Raiders (3-3) at Houston Texans (4-3) – Sunday, Oct. 27, 4:25 p.m. ET

The Raiders, coming off a loss, need a win to put themselves back in the Wild Card hunt. Furthermore, Oakland could take advantage of these next few weeks and try to climb the division standings. This, especially with the Chiefs sidelining Patrick Mahomes.

Houston is also coming off a loss. A win and a Colts loss would put them back on top of the AFC South division. It seems like that battle for the first-place spot could flip-flop between Houston and Indianapolis all the way up until the playoffs.

Green Bay Packers (6-1) at Kansas City Chiefs (5-2) – Sunday, Oct. 28, 8:20 p.m. ET

It’ll be interesting to see if the Chiefs will still be able to beat a playoff-type organization such as the Packers without their star quarterback. If they’re able to remain a competitive AFC powerhouse even without Patrick Mahomes, they’ll still have a real chance at achieving a first-round bye when the postseason rolls around.

They’ll put their confidence in the hands of Matt Moore though for this Sunday night. The veteran went 10-for-19 with 117 yards and a touchdown in the win over Denver last Thursday. If anything, Kansas City will need a big day from LeSean McCoy and Damien Williams. Utilizing the running game and maximizing its potential will be crucial in taking some of the pressure off of Moore’s hands.

For Green Bay, it would be a huge win when you consider the status of the NFC North. That’s arguably the toughest division in football right now. Improving to 7-1 will put the Packers in a great spot moving forward, especially with the second-place Vikings breathing down their necks.

Week 8 predictions (In bold) (All times ET)

  • Thursday, Oct. 24, 8:20 p.m. – Redskins (1-6) at Vikings (5-2)
  • Sunday, Oct. 27, 1:00 p.m. – Bengals (0-7) at Rams (4-3)
  • Sunday, Oct. 27, 1:00 p.m. – Cardinals (3-3-1) at Saints (6-1)
  • Sunday, Oct. 27, 1:00 p.m. – Buccaneers (2-4) at Titans (3-4)
  • Sunday, Oct. 27, 1:00 p.m. – Broncos (2-5) at Colts (4-2)
  • Sunday, Oct. 27, 1:00 p.m. – Seahawks (5-2) at Falcons (1-6)
  • Sunday, Oct. 27, 1:00 p.m. – Eagles (3-4) at Bills (5-1)
  • Sunday, Oct. 27, 1:00 p.m. – Chargers (2-5) at Bears (3-3)
  • Sunday, Oct. 27, 1:00 p.m. – Giants (2-5) at Lions (2-3-1)
  • Sunday, Oct. 27, 1:00 p.m. – Jets (1-5) at Jaguars (3-4)
  • Sunday, Oct. 27, 4:05 p.m. – Panthers (4-2) at 49ers (6-0)
  • Sunday, Oct. 27, 4:25 p.m. – Browns (2-4) at Patriots (7-0)
  • Sunday, Oct. 27, 4:25 p.m. – Raiders (3-3) at Texans (4-3)
  • Sunday, Oct. 27, 8:20 p.m. – Packers (6-1) at Chiefs (5-2)
  • Monday, Oct. 28, 8:15 p.m. -Dolphins (0-6) at Steelers (2-4)

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Ryan Honey is a staff writer and host of the Wide Right Podcast.