With six teams on a bye, the Week 8 slate of National Football League games may seem like a snooze-fest. But, in fact, they feature three match-ups that will be sure to keep fans entertained.
A game that looks to be high scoring and plenty of fun on paper has the Dallas Cowboys (4-3) and Detroit Lions (4-3) facing off in a must-see game this Sunday at 1 p.m. Eastern time. Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo and Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford are two of the league’s most prolific passers, and this year each sits in the top five in passing yards and touchdowns.
It helps that both quarterbacks have star wide receivers to throw to, and this game might turn interesting on comments from Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant when asked about how he stacks up against Calvin Johnson.
“I believe I can do whatever he can do," Bryant told KESN-FM in Dallas, via ESPN.com. "I think it's just a pride thing.” Later in the week, Bryant took a step back and qualified his comments, but the star wide receiver knows the impact of his words and will surely look to let his game speak for itself this Sunday.
From the most visible team in the Cowboys to one that has been all but invisible the past several seasons, the undefeated Kansas City Chiefs (7-0) host the Cleveland Browns (3-4) also at 1 p.m. Eastern time. While some reporters suggested the Chiefs would rebound this season, no one expected them to be undefeated this far along in the season.
Cleveland, on the other hand, has been up-and-down all year thanks to a constantly changing cast of players. Thus far, Cleveland has started Brandon Weeden and Brian Hoyer, at quarterback, and this week will give Jason Campbell his first start of the season. The Browns also traded away first-round pick Trent Richardson early on in the season only to see the team reel off three straight wins before losing their last two.
Kansas City has been a team of remarkable stability so far this season, thanks to their top-rated defense.
“Some games are going to get messy and some games are going to be hard," Chiefs free safety Kendrick Lewis told ESPN.com. “It’s the NFL. However it comes, however we need to get it, we all pull together and get the win."
The Chiefs have only given up 11.6 points per game this season while also sacking the quarterback 35 times, 10 more than the second-ranked Ravens. Despite the stellar start, fans should exhibit a great deal of caution before crowning this Chiefs team. The Chiefs have played one of the easiest schedules thus far, with opponents going a combined 15-33. Kansas City has to look forward to games against Indy, San Diego twice and Denver twice to close out the season.
Speaking of Denver, the Broncos will be tested this Sunday when they get Robert Griffin III and the Redskins at Invesco Field at 4 p.m. Eastern time. The Broncos are coming off a 39-33 loss where a team finally put up more points than Peyton could manage. Manning and his plethora of weapons will be looking to redeem themselves against a Washington defense that ranks 22nd against the pass and 29th against the run.
Redskins quarterback RGIII seems to finally be getting comfortable on his surgically repaired knee and had his best showing of the season last week against Chicago, throwing for 298 yards and running for another 84 while scoring twice.
Many have written the Redskins off this season, but fans should not forget that Washington was a mere 3-6 last season before piling up 7 wins in a row to make the playoffs. If Griffin wants to turn the season around again, he will need to be even better than last week to get the win against Denver.
The other interesting sidebar in this late-day contest will be the return of former Broncos head coach Mike Shanahan, who is now the Redskins head coach. Shanahan led Denver to back-to-back Super Bowl championships in the late 1990s.
The Cincinnati Bengals (5-2), New England Patriots (5-2) and New Orleans Saints (5-1) look to stay atop their respective divisions with wins, while the Atlanta Falcons (2-4) hope Week 7 successes will carry over. Do not sleep on the NFC East battle between the New York Giants and Philadelphia Eagles, which may not look promising on paper, but may prove otherwise on the field.