The big story going into Week Eight was Brett Favre's return to Lambeau in what ended up being a pretty good game.
I'll get to that later, but I want to briefly touch on something else that has annoyed me all season. Can we please stop with the throwbacks? I understand this is the AFL's 50th anniversary and that the NFL is using that to sell more jerseys, but this is too much.
It's getting very annoying seeing these AFL throwbacks every week and we are only halfway through the season.
Houston (5-3) def. Buffalo (3-5), 31-10: Houston was down early in this game and it seemed like they were on their way to having one of their letdown games, but they eventually blew it open and won easily. The big story out of this game was Owen Daniels' season-ending injury. Daniels was playing like one of the best tight ends in the league, and Houston will sorely miss him.
Chicago (4-3) def. Cleveland (1-7), 30-6: Derek Anderson now has a lower passer rating than JaMarcus Russell. The passer rating formula is ridiculous, but it has a little bit of validity to it and Derek Anderson is lower than every other starter.
Their offense is painful to watch. Chicago dominated and never broke a sweat. The Browns are a pathetic mess right now and a lot of it falls on their head coach.
Dallas (5-2) def. Seattle (2-5), 38-17: Seattle is too beat up to do anything against a good team right now. Dallas controlled everything from the outset and bullied their way to the win. The 'Boys have now quietly won three straight games and Tony Romo has established great chemistry with Miles Austin.
Next week's game against the Eagles is now huge in the NFC East, not to mention what happened the last time Dallas played in Philly.
St. Louis (1-7) def. Detroit (1-6), 17-10: The Rams are a horrible football team, but they always play hard. It finally paid off when they beat Detroit. Steven Jackson was once again the best player on the field as he and Marc Bulger led the Rams to their first victory in 18 games.
Minnesota (7-1) def. Green Bay (4-3), 38-26: I wrote on Friday that Green Bay would win because they wanted it more. I was wrong. Every single Viking player looked like they took this game personally. Outside of the third quarter, Minnesota looked great.
Green Bay, on the other hand, looked like they were taking this as just another game, which it clearly wasn't. Aaron Rodgers was the only Packer on the field who really wanted this more than if it was just another game. He took a ridiculous amount of punishment again and still almost led a comeback.
Minnesota now has a commanding lead in the division and a favorable schedule after their bye. Green Bay let a big opportunity slip through their fingers and the Vikings took advantage and are on the fast track to the division title.
Indianapolis (7-0) def. San Francisco (3-4), 18-14: San Francisco played an extremely solid game. Alex Smith put up extremely solid numbers. The defense held Peyton Manning without a touchdown pass. They led for most of the game, but they couldn't close it out.
Miami (3-4) def. New York Jets (4-4), 30-25: Ted Ginn, Jr. was a goat last week in Miami but he more than made up for it this week with two 100-plus yard returns to lead the Fins to a sweep of the Jets.
The Jets stopped everything Miami wanted to do on offense and moved the ball relatively well. But they forgot that special teams is also a part of the game, and it cost them.
Baltimore (4-3) def. Denver (6-1), 30-7: Baltimore's bye week was huge for them. They played defense better than they have all year and confused Denver all game long. Kyle Orton struggles throwing the ball down the field and the Ravens exploited that by taking away all of his short stuff.
Each team has a huge game next week, so this was a big win for Baltimore.
Tennessee (1-6) def. Jacksonville (3-4), 30-13: Vince Young played pretty well in his first start since Week One last season. He didn't throw any picks and he was pretty efficient. However, it was the running backs who took over this game as Chris Johnson and Maurice Jones-Drew put on great performances, although Jones-Drew's was in a losing effort.
San Diego (4-3) def. Oakland (2-6), 24-16: Nothing important came out of this game. San Diego continued to beat up on bad teams and Oakland continued being horrible. San Diego has a pretty big game next week against the Giants. Both teams will be looking to show that they are for real.
Philadelphia (5-2) def. New York Giants (5-3), 40-17: Speaking of the Giants, they now have serious problems. A three game losing streak doesn't always mean everything is wrong, but the Giants have looked horrible on defense in two of the last three weeks.
They have injuries in the secondary, but two blowouts have made that excuse a moot point. We'll find out next week if their 5-0 record was just a result of playing bad teams or not.
This team can strike at any second, which makes them extremely dangerous.
Carolina (3-4) def. Arizona (4-3), 34-21: These kinds of games are becoming too much of a norm for the Cards. They just picked up a big win in the Meadowlands against the Giants then come out flat against a bad team at home.
Kurt Warner mirrored Jake Delhomme's playoff performance from last year turning the ball over six times, effectively taking Arizona out of the game.
New Orleans (7-0) def. Atlanta (4-3), 35-27: The Falcons were able to stay with the Saints all game long, but turnovers killed them. Matt Ryan's pedestrian stat line was a bit misleading, but he turned the ball over too much.
The positive for the Falcons is that they had a chance to tie the game up at the end of the game.
Top 12 Teams (Last week's ranking in parenthesis)
- New Orleans Saints (1): With their win against Atlanta, they have a great shot at getting to 10-0 before a big one with New England. Next week: vs. Panthers (3-4)
- Indianapolis Colts (2): They picked up a tough win this week, which is a good character builder. Next week: vs. Texans (5-3)
- Pittsburgh Steelers (4): They only move up after their bye as a result of Denver's loss. Next week: at Denver (6-1)
- Minnesota Vikings (5): Went into Lambeau and dominated three quarters of a huge game. Very impressive performance. Next week: BYE
- New England Patriots (6): Like the Steelers, they move up after their bye because of Denver's loss. Next week: vs. Miami (3-4)
- Philadelphia Eagles (8): Absolutely demolished the Giants in every aspect of the game. Their offense is dangerous. Next week: vs. Dallas (5-2)
- Denver Broncos (3): Every team has a bad game. Denver needs to have a good one next week to prove that their first six games were not an aberration. Next week: vs. Pittsburgh (5-2)
- Cincinnati Bengals (10): Their next two games against Baltimore and Pittsburgh will let us know if they will stick around or fade out by December. Next week: vs. Baltimore (4-3)
- Baltimore Ravens (12): Their win against Denver cannot be overstated. It was big. Their game against the Bengals will be bigger. Next week: at Cincinnati (5-2)
- Arizona Cardinals (7): I probably should drop them lower, but I don't think they're worse than my No. 11 and 12 teams. That was a really bad loss though. Next week: at Chicago (4-3)
- Dallas Cowboys (NR): Two of their last three wins have come against bad teams, but they're playing mistake free. This next game will go a long way in telling us how good they are. Next week: at Philadelphia (5-2)
- Atlanta Falcons (11): They lost, but they kept it close in the Superdome. Not a moral victory, but not a bad loss either. Next week: vs. Washington (2-5)
Team to Drop Out of the Top 12:
New York Giants: They have problems. The defense looks horrible. The running game has disappeared. Eli Manning looks more and more like he's missing Plaxico Burress. They have a lot of things to iron out before next week. Next week: vs. San Diego (4-3)
That's it for a very busy week. Be sure to check out my picks on Friday.
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