NFL Week 8 Recap, Highlights & More
On a weekend that saw the Cardinals lose on Thursday, and the Buccaneers lose Sunday afternoon, the Cowboys took a chance on Sunday night. They sat Dak Prescott for another week of healing and turned over the keys to the offense to Cooper Rush, who made his first-ever NFL start.
A big gamble, opting to play the long game with Prescott’s health while making their chances of gaining a game on the rest of the NFC harder. But Cooper Rush found Amari Cooper in the endzone with less than a minute to play, and the gamble paid off. The Cowboys beat the Vikings, 20-16.
Money had flooded the BetUs sportsbook on Minnesota, driving Vikings from underdogs to NFL point-spread favorites at close. They would have failed to cover their opening line of catching 1½-points, and failed as field-goal chalk at close.
The Cowboys are now seen as the class of the NFC, Prescott will wait to play until he is fully healthy, and Cooper Rush will never have to pay for another drink in Dallas as long as he lives.
Rush finished his first career NFL start with 325 yards, two touchdowns, one interception and the status of backup legend.
The Top of the AFC Tips Again
A week after the Bengals hammered the Ravens in Baltimore and moved to the top of the AFC playoff picture, they are now out, losing to the Jets on Sunday. Rookie quarterback Zach Wilson was out injured, leaving New York with Mike White at quarterback, making his first career NFL start.
The Jets came into the game averaging 13.3 points per game. The Bengals hadn’t given up more than 22. So naturally White, a fourth-year quarterback with 32 career pass attempts, threw for 405 yards and three touchdowns, and led the Jets to 34 points and the huge upset victory.
NFL betting markets faded the Jets, driving the Bengals up to as high as -600 on the moneyline. Ultimately, New York cashed for backers who took them at kickoff for an underdog price of +450.
White is the first NFL quarterback since 1950 to throw for 400 yards and three touchdowns in his first career start.
The Jets used the second overall pick on Wilson, but when head coach Robert Saleh was asked about White taking over as his starting quarterback, he responded, “anything is possible.”
Don’t Sleep on the Patriots
Only Bill Belichick and the Patriots could be in a rebuilding year, yet still make the playoffs.
Mac Jones didn’t have the physical tools of Trevor Lawrence, Zack Wilson, Trey Lance or Justin Fields coming out of college. But of the 2021 rookie draft class, he is winning the most games. On Sunday he won another one, besting last year’s rookie of the year, Justin Herbert.
The Patriots defense picked off Herbert twice, returning one for a touchdown in the fourth quarter to retake the lead. They never gave it up after that and went on to win, 27-24.
The Patriots are now 4-4 and very much in the mix for the wild card. The Chargers have lost two straight, and are now a full game behind the Raiders in the AFC West.
Tom Brady Continues Struggles Against Saints
Tom Brady’s run through the NFC ran into a familiar roadblock on Sunday, when he threw three interceptions in New Orleans and lost to the Saints, 36-27.
Since moving to Tampa Bay, Brady is 1-3 against the Saints with seven interceptions. His backbreaking and very un-Brady-like third interception came when all he needed was a field goal at the end of the game and, instead, he threw a pick-six to seal the win for New Orleans.
The Saints victory did come with the price of quarterback Jameis Winston, who is expected to be lost for the remainder of the season with a knee injury. Third-string quarterback Trevor Siemian took over in Winston’s absence (Taysom Hill was out with a concussion), and threw for 159 yards and a touchdown.
The Saints do expect Hill to clear concussion protocol in time for next week’s game against the Falcons.
Titans Return to Top of AFC
After beating the Bills and Chiefs in back-to-back weeks, the Titans ended their very successful month of October by all but sealing the AFC South. They beat the Colts in Indianapolis on Sunday, completing the season sweep and moving four games ahead in the division.
At 6-2, Tennessee has the best record in the AFC and owns the tiebreaker over the 5-2 Bills. The Titans do have a tough game next week at the Rams and still play the Saints, Patriots, and Steelers. But two games with the Texans remain, as do games with the Jaguars and Dolphins.