Week 8 NFL capsules

Houston Texans (3-3) at Carolina Panthers (0-6): Carolina selected Bryce Young with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2023 draft and Houston took C.J. Stroud next. The rookie quarterbacks are the main attraction Sunday with each team coming off of bye weeks. The Texans beat the New Orleans Saints in their most recent game for their third win in their last four outings. The Panthers are still searching for their first victory under coach Frank Reich. Young is leading a different setup as offensive coordinator Thomas Brown has taken over the play-calling in place of Reich and plans to commit to running the ball and getting RB Miles Sanders more involved. The Panthers have been outscored by 74 points and have a net-TD total of -11. Only the New York Giants are worse (89, 13).

Los Angeles Rams (3-4) at Dallas Cowboys (4-2): Health is on the side of the Cowboys, who come out of the bye week for their first home game in four weeks. After throwing three interceptions against the 49ers, Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott completed 70 percent of his passes (21 of 30) against the Chargers in a 20-17 victory Week 6. He threw for a season-best 272 yards with a touchdown and no picks. The Rams are working to replace starting RB Kyren Williams (ankle) with a combination of Royce Freeman and Darrell Henderson and a goal of balancing a steady passing game. QB Matthew Stafford has been sacked 18 times, causing concern about his longevity if Los Angeles continues falling behind.

Minnesota Vikings (3-4) at Green Bay Packers (2-4): The Vikings were being escorted to the NFL cellar after an 0-3 start but with three wins in the past four games, they’re closer to the top of the NFC North after seven games. The Packers have lost three in a row and haven’t scored more than 20 points in four consecutive games. QB Jordan Love has posted a subpar 79.4 passer rating this season while completing 57.5 percent of his passes for 1,263 yards, 10 touchdowns and seven picks. Much of the Vikings’ recent confidence has come from the emergence of rookie wideout Jordan Addison, who has formed a fast connection with quarterback Kirk Cousins. Addison caught seven passes for 123 yards and two touchdowns against the 49ers, and he has six touchdown receptions in his first seven games.

New Orleans Saints (3-4) at Indianapolis Colts (3-4): Despite injuries (QB Anthony Richardson) and unrest (RB Jonathan Taylor), the Colts are the only team in the NFL to score 20-plus points in every game this season. First-year coach Shane Steichen said the Colts are 3-4 for one primary reason. “We need to protect the football,” he said. QB Gardner Minshew has four fumbles and four interceptions and the Colts have lost consecutive games for the first time this season entering Week 8. This will be New Orleans’ third game against an AFC South opponent in two weeks. The loss to the Jaguars was preceded by a 20-13 setback at Houston four days earlier. New Orleans wide receiver Chris Olave is expected to play against the Colts despite being arrested for suspicion of reckless operation of a motor vehicle on Monday night.

New England Patriots (2-5) at Miami Dolphins (5-2): The Dolphins’ five wins this season have come against squads with a combined 8-25 record and a lowly .242 winning percentage. The Patriots are one of those foes, as Miami notched a 24-17 road win in Week 2. Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa passed for 249 yards, and Raheem Mostert rushed for 121 yards and two touchdowns in that encounter. While Patriots coach Bill Belichick may have recorded his 300th career regular-season victory in last week’s 29-25 win over the Buffalo Bills, Tagovailoa is 5-0 when starting against the legendary Belichick. There were positive signs of life from a heavily scrutinized offense last week, capped by Mac Jones tossing a 1-yard scoring pass to former Dolphins TE Mike Gesecki with 12 seconds left. New England has scored 46 points over the past two games after tallying just 55 over their first five.

New York Jets (3-3) at New York Giants (2-5): It might not be the Aaron Rodgers-Daniel Jones matchup most wanted to see in the quadrennial regular-season showdown, but these co-tenants lock up in a game that will be important to any turnaround plans either franchise has for the 2023 season. With Zach Wilson in for Rodgers, the Jets’ saving grace has been a defense that has yielded just 19.8 points per game. Their eight interceptions are off the Buffalo Bills’ Josh Allen (three), Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes (two) and Philadelphia’s Jalen Hurts (two). This week, they’ll get a close up with Tyrod Taylor while attacking an offensive line under serious ridicule for allowing 37 sacks in seven games. “I say they have a really good front four,” Giants coach Brian Daboll said. “Call it more than a front four with the amount of times they rotate in there. Two good cover corners (Sauce Gardner and D.J. Reed). … This is a challenging defense to get ready for, and it shows.”

Jacksonville Jaguars (5-2) at Pittsburgh Steelers (4-2): Given the team’s minus-24 point differential, the Steelers are still questioned as a contender in the AFC. But they’re also a half-game out of first place in the AFC North and rallied to beat the Rams even as offensive production appears only in fits and starts. The Jaguars ride a four-game winning streak into Heinz Field, a run that coincides with a commitment to giving RB Travis Etienne the ball early and often. The Jaguars are in the top 10 in scoring and time of possession. Etienne leads the NFL in rushing attempts (127) and is fourth in rushing yards (504). Pittsburgh is still trying to find rhythm in the running game. Najee Harris has 300 yards on the ground through six games and just one touchdown.

Atlanta Falcons (4-3) at Tennessee Titans (2-4): The Titans scored 27 points in each of their two wins and haven’t topped 16 in any of their four losses. It could be up to rookie second-round pick Will Levis to help put points on the board Sunday with Ryan Tannehill dealing with a high ankle sprain. The Falcons won the road to jump into first place in the AFC South last week even without their bell-cow RB Bijan Robinson at full strength. Atlanta has been white-knuckling victories due to turnovers. QB Desmond Ridder fumbled three times in the red zone last week and has six total turnovers in the past two games. Levis has yet to throw a regular-season pass, pointing to a game plan that features RBs Derrick Henry and rookie Tyjae Spears. Henry has 98 carries for 425 yards (4.3 yards per carry) and three touchdowns through six games. He also has 11 receptions for 117 yards.

Philadelphia Eagles (6-1) at Washington Commanders (3-4): Philadelphia escaped the first meeting between these teams with a 34-31 overtime win and the Eagles made a big addition this week before a second spin with the Commanders this month. Hard hit by injuries at safety, the Eagles acquired two-time All-Pro Kevin Byard from the Titans to shore up the secondary. Now Philadelphia’s defensive line can focus on heating up the pocket around QB Sam Howell. He has been sacked 40 times through seven games, a record-setting pace that includes five takedowns by the Eagles in the Oct. 1 matchup. A.J. Brown caught nine passes for 175 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Eagles in that meeting, part of his active streak of five consecutive games with 125-G7 Plus Green Gummies Reviews receiving yards. Howell was sacked six times in last Sunday’s 14-7 road loss to the New York Giants.

Cleveland Browns (4-2) at Seattle Seahawks (4-2): Seattle has held opponents to 30 total points in three games this month and the Seahawks have four wins in their past five games. The Browns, winners of three of their last four games, shift back to No. 2 QB PJ Walker with Deshaun Watson (shoulder) focused on rehabbing from his lingering injury. Walker hasn’t thrown a TD pass with the Browns and has four interceptions with a completion percentage of 50 and QB rating of 48.2, a signal the Seahawks are likely to see a lot of RB Kareem Hunt. Jerome Ford (foot) could play, but isn’t 100 percent. Slow starts have been a bugaboo for the Browns, who average less than three points in the first quarter this season. DE Myles Garrett (7.5 sacks) leads a Cleveland defense with multiple dominant outings, but the Browns allowed 38 points at Indianapolis last week. Walker came off the bench and led the Browns to a 39-38 comeback victory against the Colts and steered Cleveland past San Francisco, 19-17, the week prior.

Kansas City Chiefs (6-1) at Denver Broncos (2-5): Kansas City’s dominance of its AFC West rival can be summarized in a pair of active winning streaks: The Chiefs (6-1) haven’t lost in Denver since 2014, and they hold a 16-game winning streak over the Broncos (2-5) that dates to the Peyton Manning era. The Broncos last beat the Chiefs on Sept. 17, 2015 — a 31-24 win in Kansas City. Denver lost 19-8 at Kansas City two weeks ago. Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes is 12-0 all-time in the matchup with a 96.4 passer rating — part of a larger dominance of the entire division. Mahomes last lost a game in the division in Week 3 of the 2021 season (against the Los Angeles Chargers). Mahomes called playing any opponent twice in less than three weeks a “unique challenge,” but it’s the Chiefs who force a more dynamic level of preparation from opponents. Mahomes is more than capable of winning a shootout, but this season he has rarely been asked to outscore teams thanks to a stellar defense. Kansas City ranks second in the NFL in both total offense and scoring defense. Denver has two big dates coming up: the NFL trade deadline is Tuesday (Oct. 31), which falls in the middle of the Broncos’ bye week.

–Capsules for the following games will be updated Friday evening following the release of final injury reports to reflect significant changes related to 49ers QB Brock Purdy, Raiders QB Jimmy Garoppolo and all merited MNF status changes.

Cincinnati Bengals (3-3) at San Francisco 49ers (5-2): Two straight losses brought the 49ers back to the pack in the NFC West with a narrow one-game lead over the Seahawks (4-3) and a matching 4-1 conference record with the NFC North-leading Detroit Lions. While it’s too early to weigh playoff positioning, the 49ers don’t want to lose their grip on the division or enter their Week 9 bye with a three-game losing streak. San Francisco plays three of four on the road out of the bye, including at Seattle and Philadelphia in back-to-back weeks. The health of QB Brock Purdy (concussion) looms as a critical factor for an offense working through other injuries and isn’t expected to have WR Deebo Samuel. Sam Darnold could get the nod at QB. Cincinnati strolls in out of its bye week with QB Joe Burrow (calf) close to full strength. Two of the Bengals’ three wins this season are against NFC West teams (Seattle, Arizona) and largely a credit to a resurgent defense.

Chicago Bears (2-5) at Los Angeles Chargers (2-4): Defensive breakdowns have been a regular issue for the Chargers, who’ve allowed 18 touchdowns and 310 passing yards per game. The usually potent L.A. offense put up 17 points in two straight games – both losses – but the Chargers have three losses by three or fewer points. Big plays have been the undoing of the Chargers’ secondary. Overall the Chargers have been scorched for a league-worst 37 plays of 40-plus yards. Chicago might not be explosive with undrafted rookie Tyson Bagent at the controls, but TE Cole Kmet said this week the Bears are going to open the playbook in the second consecutive game without QB Justin Fields (thumb). Chicago has only one play over 39 yards this season – WR DJ Moore’s 58-yard TD against the Commanders. Backups are delivering for Chicago. D’Onta Foreman is averaging 4.7 yards per carry with three touchdowns (one receiving) since Khalil Herbert was placed on IR.

Las Vegas Raiders (3-4) at Detroit Lions (5-2): Lions coach Dan Campbell was seething after a 38-6 loss in Baltimore, critiquing himself and his best players – or “dudes” – who didn’t win in one-on-one matchups. This matters to the Raiders because the fiery Campbell vowed the Lions would be ready to rock Ford Field in this primetime matchup. Las Vegas might not have its top quarterback ready. Jimmy Garopppolo (back) didn’t play last week and the Raiders’ offense went stagnant with Brian Hoyer and rookie Aiden O’Connell sharing time. The Raiders mustered 12 points, nine of which came in the fourth quarter in a blowout, and have scored 20 or more points only once this season. The one “dude” that worries Detroit is Raiders pass rusher Maxx Crosby, who has a team-high 6.5 sacks. But his mano-a-mano matchup with Lions OT Penei Sewell could be more intriguing than many expect. Sewell has a league-high 326 snaps without allowing a pressure this season.

–Field Level Media

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