Road games were kinder than usual to NFL teams last week, as squads tasked with contests in hostile environments managed to win six games.
It should not come as a major surprise that paid professionals are able to adapt to noisy and unkind conditions and still play quality football, but a road victory seems elusive more often than not.
The Week 8 narrative in this regard is not as sexy as Peyton Manning's return to Indianapolis last week, but there are still a variety of head-scratching matchups to peruse.
Unlike Manning was able to do in Week 7, here are three teams sure to pull off victories away from home.
|Away Team||Home Team||Predicted Winner|
|Carolina Panthers||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||CAR|
|Dallas Cowboys||Detroit Lions||DAL|
|Cleveland Browns||Kansas City Chiefs||KC|
|Miami Dolphins||New England Patriots||MIA|
|Buffalo Bills||New Orleans Saints||NO|
|New York Giants||Philadelphia Eagles||NYG|
|San Francisco 49ers||Jacksonville Jaguars||SF|
|New York Jets||Cincinnati Bengals||CIN|
|Pittsburgh Steelers||Oakland Raiders||PIT|
|Washington Redskins||Denver Broncos||DEN|
|Atlanta Falcons||Arizona Cardinals||ATL|
|Green Bay Packers||Minnesota Vikings||GB|
|Seattle Seahawks||St. Louis Rams||SEA|
Bye: Chicago, Tennessee, Indianapolis, San Diego, Baltimore, Houston
Carolina Exploits Tampa Bay
Cam Newton is playing some of the best ball of his career just in time for a matchup with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Thursday Night Football.
As ESPN points out, Newton's 15-of-17 effort for 204 yards and a touchdown while battling through an injury against St. Louis was rather historic:
Cam Newton was 15-for-17 passing today, the most accurate passing day in Panthers history (88% completion rate)— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) October 20, 2013
Newton has completed 76 percent or more of his passes in two consecutive weeks against questionable secondaries, and Tampa Bay is not any better, as the unit led by Darrelle Revis allows 252 yards through the air on average.
It gets worse for the Buccaneers. The Panthers tout the league's No. 3 overall defense and a run defense that allows just 84.5 yards per game. Tampa Bay is starting rookie quarterback Mike Glennon, and Doug Martin was in a sophomore slump of epic proportions as he had rushed for over 100 yards just once and scored a single touchdown before being lost for the season with a torn labrum per NFL.com:
Bucs lose RB Doug Martin for season with torn labrum http://t.co/qM5W0nTgnL— NFL: AroundTheLeague (@NFL_ATL) October 21, 2013
This one is going to get ugly in a hurry.
Prediction: Panthers 33, Buccaneers 17
Atlanta Pummels Arizona in the Desert
It mattered little last week that Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan was without his two top receivers and starting running back.
Rather than fret about the absences of Julio Jones, Roddy White and Steven Jackson, Ryan made a star out of Harry Douglas, who brought in seven receptions for 149 yards and a score. Backup running back Jacquizz Rodgers got in on the action, too, with 62 total yards and two scores.
While Atlanta was busy bouncing back from a three-game losing streak, Arizona was busy losing its second in a row as quarterback Carson Palmer was sacked seven times and tossed two more interceptions.
Arizona is one of the NFL's better teams against the run, but it matters little against an Atlanta squad still insistent on featuring a pass-heavy attack. Last week Ryan managed 273 yards and three scores against a Tampa Bay defense that allows just 252 passing yards per game—the Cardinals allow 252.7.
Thanks to a horrific offensive line, a turnover-prone quarterback and a defense that does not stand a chance when spread out, the Falcons will cruise to a major road victory in the desert.
Prediction: Falcons 28, Cardinals 21
Seattle Pulverizes St. Louis
Things were bad for St. Louis entering last week with consecutive wins over Jacksonville and Houston, which did not not exactly solidify the team's status as a contender in its own division, let alone for the postseason.
It's cliché, but things went from bad to worse in a matter of seconds against Carolina, as quarterback Sam Bradford took a hit that will keep him out the rest of the season per ESPN's Adam Schefter:
Rams QB Sam Bradford tore his ACL. He's out for year...— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) October 21, 2013
St. Louis has time to figure things out with the game against Seattle occurring on Monday Night Football, but an already run-of-the-mill passing attack backed up by one of the NFL's worst rushing attacks is not going to improve with Bradford sidelined.
Seattle touts the NFL's No. 2 overall defense, and loud dome or not, the unit will have no issue stopping the Rams' attack no matter who happens to be under center.
Offensively, Seattle averages 154.4 yards on the ground per game, which bodes well against a St. Louis defense that ranks in the bottom three league-wide in that regard.
This is not the Rams team that went 4-1-1 against the NFC West last season. Under the national microscope, this may turn out to be the most lopsided end result of the 2013 season.
Prediction: Seahawks 45, Rams 10
Follow B/R's Chris Roling on Twitter for more news and analysis @Chris_Roling