by Ray Kuhn
As we embark on Week 8, here are some thoughts that I have:
- How many points will be scored in Denver Sunday night? Denver’s defense has been giving up some points this season, and we know how many holes exist in the Saints’ defense. The Saints’ matchup last week with Tampa Bay was a shootout and Peyton Manning is more dangerous than Josh Freeman. Drew Brees looks like he is starting to find his rhythm and with Jimmy Graham looking to be healthy, he has his full complement of weapons in the passing game. I think last week’s bye came at the perfect time for Manning as he rode the momentum from the 35 unanswered points Denver put up on the Chargers. Manning is due for a complete game as he gets more comfortable with the Broncos offense and his receivers. This has all the makings for a shootout as each quarterback tries to top the other. Get your skill position players in there for both teams and watch the points pile up.
- Chris Johnson has burned fantasy owners multiple times this season. Will that happen again this week, or can we say that he is back and ready to be counted on as a top 5 running back. He took advantage of a Bills run defense that is not very good last week and he faces another favorable matchup in the Colts this week. When Shonn Greene faced the Colts two weeks ago, he ran for 160 yards and 3 touchdowns looking like a completely different running back compared to every other week this season. You know the Titans focus will be on continuing Johnson’s positive momentum so the game plan and lack of opportunity will not be options. This week should be another reward for sticking with Johnson thru his early stretch.
- I am not sure Cam Newton owners will be fully rewarded this week for sticking with him so far this season. So far nothing has really helped Newton to turn it around. A blowout on a Thursday night at home followed from some criticism and motivation from Steve Smith, nothing. The Panthers bye week did nothing to help his performance either. Maybe seeing the general manager get fired will light a fire under Newton, but I’m not so sure. There might be some positive signs this week, but this matchup is not optimal for Newton to break out. The Bears have a tough defense and do not have a problem getting after opposing quarterbacks. This week should not be a disaster, but I do not expect this to be a highlight reel type of day for Newton. There is too much not working and not right and too many open issues from last week’s game and subsequent press conference. Newton could surprise me, but the lack of running game and Steve Smith being essentially invisible are problems that also need to be fixed.
- Seattle’s defense essentially rendered Aaron Rodgers mute. What will they do to Matthew Stafford and the Lions? Probably the best thing the Lions have going for them, is that are facing the Seahawks in an early game after Seattle travels east. Calvin Johnson can’t get open and Stafford admittedly is having a hard time targeting him because of that. Stafford is getting beat up and is looking like a rookie most of the time. And Seattle’s defense will not give him any kind of break this week. I’m not saying this is a make or break game for the Lions, but it is pretty close to that. How they respond will say a lot about what to expect from them the rest of the season.
- Jacksonville’s in general has not looked good this season. Their defense allows teams to score at will. If Aaron Rodgers can pass for 6 touchdowns in Houston, what will he do to the Jaguars at home? This could be one of those games where Green Bay’s offense puts up video game type numbers.
Make sure to check out all of our Week 8 rankings: