Week 8 will go down as the week the 1972 Miami Dolphins can officially celebrate with some champagne. You see, it has become a yearly tradition for members of that team to celebrate when the last unbeaten team loses. The reason for this is that they want to continue being the only team to complete a whole season undefeated. So naturally when Arizona fell to the Packers this past Thursday, that Miami team was in a good mood. The same can’t be said for Detroit fans, as they saw their Lions lose another game. Based off that game’s performance, there’s a real chance that the Lions will go the entire season winless. There are still plenty of games left, but it’s not looking good for Detroit. How did the rest of the league fare? Let’s jump in and find out!
Winner #1 Backup QBs
This past Sunday saw not one, not two, not even three, but FOUR backup QBs win. Regardless of what you say, Geno Smith is a backup QB, and he led the Seahawks to victory over Jacksonville. The Saints saw Jameis Winston go down to injury (later found out to be a torn ACL). Enter Trevor Siemian, who came in and did just enough to outlast Tom Brady and the Bucs. Mike White started his first career game for the Jets against the Bengals. Not only did he lead a late double-digit comeback, but he did it by racking up a bunch of yards. In fact, only Cam Newton threw for more yards in his first start in NFL history. Last, but certainly not least, Cooper Rush led the Cowboys to a victory over Minnesota on Sunday Night Football. Overall, a great day to be a backup QB.
Loser #1 Cleveland Browns
Cleveland lost at home to a Pittsburgh Steelers team that is arguably the worst it has been in the last decade. In a crowded AFC this a damaging loss to a team that has Super Bowl aspirations. Yes, Cleveland was without some of their stars, and Baker Mayfield is playing with a torn labrum, but the game waits for no one and the Browns really need to start winning these winnable games. With that loss, the Browns find themselves in the basement of the division. For this team that is unacceptable, and things need to change fast. This is purely speculation, but if Mayfield doesn’t improve his play soon, he could be potentially looking for a new team. As for the rest of the team, they need to step up sooner rather than later as well. They only play one team with a current losing record the rest of the season.
Winner #2 New England Patriots
The more things change the more some things stay the same. The Patriots once again beat the Chargers – a franchise New England has usually beaten – this past Sunday. After losing 44-0 last season, this was supposed to be the year the Chargers avenged that score line. Instead, the Patriots took care of business for the second straight year in the same stadium. While this loss is cause for concern for the Chargers, this win was brilliant for the New England faithful. Even though they currently sit at 4-4, the Patriots have quietly had a good season. They went toe-to-toe against a really good Dallas team. A missed FG ruined their chances at beating Brady and an ill-timed fumble against Miami cost them a win. If those breaks go New England’s way, this team could easily be 7-1 or 6-2, and they are a legitimate playoff team.
Loser #2 Minnesota Vikings
I mentioned above that Cooper Rush led the Cowboys to a win, and that was great for Dallas. On the flip side, this loss was a damaging blow to the Vikings. Granted, a few weeks ago this game could’ve been counted as just a loss. But Dallas not having Dak Prescott was an opportunity for the Vikings to essentially steal a win on their schedule. Unfortunately, they couldn’t take advantage of this golden opportunity. The loss drops Minnesota to 3-4 and just outside of the last playoff spot. Yes, there’s still plenty of games to play and it might not ultimately matter, but this a wasted opportunity, especially considering that it seems like the Packers have already wrapped up the division. Viking fans will hope that they don’t rue missing out on getting a win this week.
Winner #3 Los Angeles Rams
Beating the Texans by a comfortable margin isn’t what makes the Rams winners this week. They are winners for various reasons that happened outside of their game. First, Arizona lost and now have the same record as the Rams, although they still hold the tiebreaker. Tampa Bay also lost, which helps the Rams in potential seeding purposes later in the season. The perfect weekend would’ve seen Dallas lose as well, but 2 out of 3 isn’t bad. Plus, the Rams traded for future Hall of Famer Von Miller to make that LA defense awfully scary. If that wasn’t enough, then news coming out about Derrick Henry being unavailable next week (potentially the rest of the season) when they play the Rams should be. At least for one weekend, just about everything went the Rams way.
Loser #3 Cincinnati Bengals
A week after marching into Baltimore and dominating the Ravens, the Bengals inexplicably lost to the Jets. What’s most baffling about this loss is the fact that Cincinnati had an 11-point lead in the 4th quarter. In that scenario you’d back the Bengals to finish out that game with no problem. Instead, they allowed a QB making his first ever start to complete a 4th quarter comeback against them, and undo all the work they accomplished last week. The loss dropped the Bengals from the #1 seed in the conference to the 5th seed. As the season progresses you have to make sure you win these games, as easier opponents become fewer to come by. Now, the Bengals can still turn this around and go on another winning streak. It’s just extremely unfortunate that the team to beat them was the very beatable Jets.