When the schedule was announced, AFC runner-up Jacksonville taking on the Super Bowl champion Eagles promised to be among the best match-ups we’ve ever seen at Wembley. Instead, the Eagles are 3-4 and third in their division, while the Jags’ 3-1 start was followed by three consecutive humblings. Last week saw embattled quarterback Blake Bortles benched for Cody Kessler, who’s won precisely zero of the eight career games he’s started.
With running back Leonard Fournette still out injured, Jacksonville brought in first Jamaal Charles, then traded for Carlos Hyde from Cleveland. Without a strong rushing attack, the Jaguars’ winning formula is missing a key ingredient. Expect Philly to recover from last week’s late loss to Carolina and get a first regular season win at Wembley to go with their debut friendly win back in 1989.
Between 1983 and 1992 the New York Giants and the Washington Redskins competed in a combined six Super Bowls, winning five between them. That was back when Bill Parcells and Joe Gibbs, two legends of coaching, were in charge of the Giants and ’Skins respectively. One of the fiercest rivalries in the NFL, those teams featured Hall of Famers like Lawrence Taylor, who once broke Joe Theismann’s leg, Harry Carson, Darrell Green and Art Monk.
It’s been 27 years since Washington graced the game’s showpiece and the Giants last won in 2011 but the lustre has gone from the rivalry. So far this year, they bookend the NFC East division with the Redskins at the top and Giants at the bottom and in pole position for next year’s No1 draft pick. Expect Jay Gruden’s Washington to compound the misery for Pat Shurmur and the Giants defense that will have to contend with a revitalised Adrian Peterson without the recently traded Damon “Snacks” Harrison.
Their rival for the top choice of the best college prospects next year are the Raiders, who claim not to be tanking the season, despite trading away their best wideout in Amari Cooper this week (to Dallas). Andrew Luck’s Indianapolis Colts head into the Black Hole this weekend and will go into their bye week with a second straight victory.
In the NFC Divisional Playoff last year, an in-form New Orleans Saints stomped into US Bank Stadium and with 10 ticks of the clock left, led the favoured Vikings 24-23. Then the Norse gods intervened and performed the Minneapolis Miracle, which saw Saints safety Marcus Williams whiff on his tackle attempt of Stefon Diggs and watch the receiver race 61 yards for the winning score. Drew Brees has been unstoppable so far this season and, with revenge on their minds, the Saints will come out on top.
New Orleans’ big rivals for the NFC top seed are currently the 7-0 Rams, who this week play host to Aaron Rodgers’ Green Bay Packers. Los Angeles will have their work cut out as Mike McCarthy has had an extra week to gameplan for the Rams and for his quarterback to heal up. But the Rams’ offense, led by Jared Goff and Todd Gurley, should have too many weapons for the Packers’ defense.
NFL WEEK 8 PICKS
Redskins over Giants
Rams over Packers
Eagles over Jaguars
Colts over Raiders
Saints over Vikings