Monday, October 31, 2011

Week 8: Did we Learn Anything?

All but one game has been completed in Week 8's weekend of NFL action, and there has been plenty to talk about.


  • Cam Newton continues his streak of success, despite another Carolina loss.

  • St. Louis shocks Drew Brees and New Orleans without starter Sam Bradford in the lineup.

  • Pittsburgh's LaMarr Woodley (2 sacks) and Ryan Clark (8 tackles) contains New England, keeps Brady under 200 passing yards in 25-17 victory at home.

  • Baltimore's 24-point second half caps an 18-point comeback win over the one-win Cardinals.

  • Colts, Phins add another L to the loss column, remain in the running for "Suck for Luck" campaign (if that's even a real thing).

  • Buffalo shuts out Skins (23-0) as the Lions improve to 6-2 after pouncing the Broncos, 45-10; Tebow's offense goes 2/14 on third downs.

  • Eagles turn heads, shut down Romo's Cowboys 34-7 on national television.
There were several worthy MVP candidates for great performances this week, but only one could win my Most Valuable Player award for Week 8 (must be on winning team)...and here are the nominees..

LeSean McCoy: 30 att, 185 yards, 2 TD
Steven Jackson: 25 att, 159 yards, 2 TD
Ben Roethlisberger: 36/50, 365 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT
Eli Manning: 31/45, 349 yards, 2 TD
Calvin Johnson: 6 Rec., 125 yards, 1 TD
Christian Ponder: 18/28, 236 yards, 1 TD
Ray Rice: 18 att, 63 yards, 3 TD; 7 Rec., 36 yards
Arian Foster: 33 att, 112 yards, 1 TD; 1 Rec., 12 yards
Marcell Dareus: 4 tackles, 2.5 sacks, 3 QB hits
NaVorro Bowman: 12 tackles (11 solo), 1 TFL, 1 PD
Reggie Nelson: 5 solo tackles, 2 PD, 75-yard INT TD
Matt Hasselbeck: 23/33, 224 yards, 1 TD

AND, the winner is...

New York Giants' quarterback Eli Manning

Without Eli orchestrating the two fourth-quarter scoring drives, the Giants would not have come back from the early 11-point deficit (14-3 in the second qtr) and Miami would have earned its first win of the season. Manning has put up a solid stat-line this season, and New York's 5-2 record has the G-Men atop the NFC East through eight weeks of play.
Rants and Ramblings concerning the masses...

*Rookie quarterback Cam Newton has been the key asset for Carolina's offense, and he has surely impressed everyone and their mother this season despite the Panthers' 2-6 record.

Each week he goes out and leaves everything he has on the field. It already appears as though he has the trust of his teammates, and his results have proved he has potential to get to elite status one day. His combined passing and rushing TDs puts him at 18 total, and though he has thrown nine interceptions, maturity seems to be coming quickly for the young gun.

Five of Carolina's six losses have been within a touchdown or less, meaning Carolina has been blown out just once this season and Newton is at least top five in Offensive Rookie of the Year at this point in the season.
*Green Bay, sitting out this week for its bye, is still the top team in the league without a doubt, but a couple of teams will give the defending Champs a run for its money in the coming weeks: Pittsburgh, New York (Giants), New England, Detroit, and even such teams as San Francisco and Buffalo.

The next couple of weeks the Packers will be on upset watch, in fact I'd like to think they could lose two or three different times in the next five weeks (San Diego, Minnesota, Tampa Bay, Detroit, New York Giants).

Minnesota's rookie quarterback Christian Ponder came up just short last week against Green Bay, 33-27, so what makes you think he couldn't finish the job with Adrian Peterson running the ball out of the backfield for him?

*Speaking of Ponder, he had another great outing yesterday, getting his first win in just his second professional start.

It turned out to be a shootout with fellow rookie signal caller Newton in Carolina. Ponder protected the ball well, throwing for 236 yards and a touchdown, as well, in the three-point victory. Turns out, a missed Olindo Mare ended up being the deciding factor.

*Pittsburgh has bounced back, with Ben Roethlisberger being the key factor in this match-up with the well-rested New England Patriots. Roethlisberger attempted 50 passes, completing 36 of them for two touchdowns and close to 400 yards. He threw the ball 30 times in the opening half and built up an early lead that was hard for Tom Brady & Co. to overcome.

LaMarr Woodley provided great pressure on Brady, sacking him twice and hitting him three times total, while Ryan Clark brought great coverage on Brady's receivers. But, it was actually New England's weak secondary that proved to be the achilles heel of Bill Belichick's squad.
*Tonight's Monday night game has huge implications on the AFC West. Kansas City, without Pro Bowl running back Jamaal Charles–he was lost for the season due to injury–has been struggling to get anything going offensively this season. San Diego has somewhat sputtered this season as well, but we may just have to wait until December to see the real Chargers (just like every other season).

My prediction: Philip Rivers breaks 400 yards passing with two TDs in a 31-17 victory, snapping Kansas City's three-game win streak and improving San Diego's record to 5-2.

Photo credit
Asomugha/Babin: Chris Trotman/Getty Images
Manning: Nick Laham/Getty Images
Ponder: Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images
Woodley: Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

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