By Flint Wheeler
The action in NFL Week 8 was full of drama and major developments, as there were major injuries around the league, teams staying undefeated and plenty of late game drama that led to some upsets on the schedule. The New York Giants and New Orleans Saints played an offensive shootout, while there were also some last second victories by teams.
Here are 6 things to know from the NFL Week 8 slate:
There were some injuries to notable players
Ouch! The list of names injured in Week 8 includes Matt Forte, Le’Veon Bell, Reggie Bush, Steve Smith, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Khiry Robinson, Ricardo Lockette and Cameron Wake. Some players are out for the season like Wake and Smith, who suffered an Achilles injury, along with Bush, who reportedly has a torn ACL. Bell’s injury looked scary after getting tackled in the game against the Bengals, but the Steelers are reportedly “optimistic” about the injury. Robinson suffered a serious leg injury and was taken to the hospital, while the Ravens confirmed that Smith has a torn Achilles and will miss the rest of the season. Fitzpatrick injured his hand against the Raiders and he was replaced by Geno Smith. Week 8 saw some big injury blows for teams.
The NFL still has some strong undefeated teams
The Bengals stayed undefeated with a win against the Steelers on Sunday, while the Patriots stayed unbeaten with a win over the Dolphins on Thursday night. The Denver Broncos won over the Green Bay Packers on Sunday night and now the Broncos remain undefeated. The Carolina Panthers play on Monday and they are the other undefeated team in the NFL. Teams that start 6-0 are almost guaranteed to make the playoffs and one of these teams could end up as the Super Bowl champions after starting undefeated. Tom Brady is on pace for a record setting season with his stats and he has the Patriots on a mission after all the offseason drama.
There was some late game drama in Week 8
The Minnesota Vikings won on the road against the Bears with a late field goal and that was the first win in Chicago for Minnesota in the Jay Cutler era. The Baltimore Ravens converted a last-second field goal from Justin Tucker to send the San Diego Chargers home with a defeat 29-26. Tucker made the kick as time expired, while the Seahawks hung on for an ugly victory against the Cowboys 13-12 in Dallas. The Buccaneers won in overtime over the Falcons. The wildest game of the week also had some drama, as the Saints won on a last second field goal against the Giants 52-49.
Saints-Giants had a shootout for the ages
The New Orleans Saints and New York Giants had the most entertaining game of the weekend, combining for 13 touchdown passes, over 1000 total yards and over 100 total points in the Saints victory. The two teams put up 1030 total yards and a set a record for combined touchdown passes in a game, but things ended up being decided by a last second field goal. The Saints got the benefit of a Giants penalty on a return and that set up the 50-yard field goal. The game was wild and Drew Brees threw for over 500 yards and seven touchdowns, while Eli Manning had six passing scores.
The weekend saw some upsets
The Ravens had a tough start to the season, but they pulled an upset with the win over the Chargers, while the Buccaneers shocked the Falcons with a win in Week 8. The Falcons are now 6-2 and they lost to the Buccaneers in overtime, while the Raiders won over the Jets on the road in Oakland. Both teams are now 4-3 and with the way the Raiders played it doesn’t seem like much of an upset, but the team put a show on one of the best performing defenses in the league coming into Week 8.
World Series competition kept the numbers from reaching the stratosphere, but Sunday’s battle of undefeated teams still did well on NBC.
The Week 8 Packers/Broncos Sunday Night Football game drew a 14.3 overnight rating on NBC, up 25% from Packers/Saints last year (11.4) and up 39% from Packers/Vikings in 2013 (10.3). The 14.3 overnight is the highest yet for SNF opposite the World Series (six telecasts), topping the previous high of 11.8 for Steelers/Saints in 2010.
The Broncos’ blowout win would likely have done far better if not for competition from Game 5 of the World Series on FOX, which had an 11.7 overnight. The last time a pair of undefeated teams met this late in the season, 2007, Patriots/Colts delivered a 22.5 on CBS.
Sunday’s game was the eighth of nine on NBC this season to have an increase in overnights, with the lone exception Eagles/Panthers the previous week (-8%). All nine games on NBC have topped a 13.0 overnight, the network’s longest streak to start the season since resuming coverage in 2006.