Posted on October 27, 2022
Week eight is going to be a big one for the west teams.
Even with two of the better teams of the bunch—the Chiefs and Chargers—inactive due to the bye week, there are still plenty of entertaining games on the schedule.
The slate this week is highlighted by an NFC Championship Game rematch between the Rams and the 49ers, although both teams are in different situations than they were last year.
There are also matchups between competitive teams like the Seahawks and the Giants and the Cardinals and the Saints.
Then there are games between teams trying to get back on track like the Broncos and Jaguars and the Raiders and Saints.
Maybe these matchups won’t produce the same fireworks as some of the past week’s games. But the games will still surely be exciting and entertaining, so here’s to another fun week of football.
Broncos (2-5-0) vs Jaguars (2-5-0)
Sunday, October 30
6:30 a.m., PT, ESPN+ (London)
At first glance, there are several reasons to maybe skip watching this game.
Both teams have been struggling lately at putting points on the board, which doesn’t lead to the most exciting games. This game is also in London so I can’t blame you for sleeping in instead of turning this game on at 6:30 in the morning.
It does seem like quarterback Russell Wilson will play this week, which does give the Broncos a better shot of earning the victory.
Of course, to do so they will have to overcome a pretty solid Jacksonville defense.
The Jaguars are in the top half of the league in both points allowed and yards per play, and they clearly have the talent to be good on that side of the ball.
The Broncos will have to look a lot better than their usual 14.3 points per game this year if they want to win this international contest. But they may not need to score too many points if their defense plays like it has been.
Denver has one of the best defenses in the league, allowing the second-fewest points among teams that have played seven games.
The Jaguars will certainly be facing their biggest test on offense. Quarterback Trevor Lawrence has had his ups and downs this year but when he’s on his A-game he can put up points on anybody.
The Jaguars are now going to lean fully into running back Travis Etienne now that they’ve traded away James Robinson. His success against a very stout Denver defense will be critical to the Jaguars’ ability to stay in this matchup.
But at the end of the day, Denver’s offense is going to dictate whether it wins or not.
Maybe Wilson and that unit discover something overseas and things start to click. If not, it will be another ugly game for the Broncos that may end up as a defeat to a solid Jaguars team.
Raiders (2-4-0) vs Saints (2-5-0)
Sunday, October 30
10:00 a.m., PT, CBS
Neither of these teams has been great this year, so a win, either way, will be huge.
Both teams currently sit at two wins and notching a third would go a long way toward getting back into the playoff discussion.
The Raiders are likely going to use running back Josh Jacobs a lot because that has been working for them lately. The Saints are allowing 4.6 yards per carry, so they are potentially vulnerable on the ground, and the Raiders will surely look to exploit that.
The Saints will probably look to attack the Raiders’ pass defense, which has been bottom-five in the league. They may have trouble doing so if quarterback Andy Dalton draws another start in the place of Jamies Winston.
New Orleans has had plenty of injuries on offense, including Winston and wide receivers Michael Thomas and Chris Olave, so they may not be able to take advantage of a favorable passing matchup.
That could give the Raiders’ subpar pass rush an opportunity to make a difference for once. Defensive Maxx Crosby is an absolute stud, so if he can get to Dalton then he can have a huge impact on the game.
Las Vegas should have the upper hand because it is the healthier team and is playing better of late. But this is the NFL and unpredictable outcomes happen all the time, so the Raiders will need to play a good game in order to get the win.
Cardinals (3-4-0) vs Vikings (5-1-0)
Sunday, October 30
10:00 a.m., PT, FOX
The Cardinals looked a lot better in last week’s win against the Saints, but now they will face a much more formidable opponent in the Vikings.
Minnesota has been very good this season and is coming off a bye week so they will be rested.
How the Cardinals plan to slow down the Minnesota offense will be the most interesting aspect of the game.
Arizona has not been great on that side of the ball but showed some life last week, courtesy of two pick-sixes off Dalton. The Cardinals probably won’t get that lucky this week, and it will take a lot more to stop the Vikings’ high-powered offense.
The Vikings feature two of the best offensive weapons in the league in wide receiver Justin Jefferson and running back Dalvin Cook. They are led by quarterback Kirk Cousins, who is a very solid operator of that offense.
Minnesota has had its struggles on offense this season, but it’s scored in the 20s every week so there is no question that it will find the end zone this week.
How the Cardinals’ defense, which has allowed the sixth-most points this year, responds will be interesting. They may just try to outscore the Vikings in a shootout, as they did in last week’s 42-34 win.
Arizona has the players on offense to light up the scoreboard. Mainly quarterback Kyler Murray and wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins, who made his season debut last week.
The Vikings’ defense is solid but has its deficiencies. They have allowed the sixth-fewest points this year but at the same time are one of the worst defenses when it comes to yards per play.
With neither defense being particularly effective this year, the offense that plays better on Sunday will likely get the victory.
The Cardinals will need to repeat last week’s output in order to outplay Cousins and company, but that is certainly within the realm of possibility.
Seahawks (4-3-0) vs Giants (6-1-0)
Sunday, October 30
1:25 p.m., PT, FOX
Almost nobody would have expected this week eight matchup to be between two of the better teams in the NFC.
Both the Seahawks and Giants came into the season with low expectations and have drastically exceeded them.
A lot of that has been due to the play of quarterbacks Geno Smith and Daniel Jones, who have led the Seahawks and Giants, respectively, to very hot starts.
Where these two teams differ is on defense. The Giants are allowing just 18.5 points per game while the Seahawks are allowing 26.6 points per game.
Seattle has looked better defensively lately and it will need to play well again in order to win this matchup.
The Giants have been just average offensively, but not on the ground. They are 5.2 yards per carry and have the second-most rushing yards in the league.
Most of that success is due to running back Saquon Barkley, who is playing out of his mind, but Jones has been contributing as well.
The Seahawks are tied with the Bears for the most rushing yards allowed, so if they lose the game that will probably be why.
It may be tough for the Giants to outscore the Seahawks, though, given the recent play of their offense.
Seattle has scored the second-most points in the league this year. They are also a Top 10 passing offense and are averaging the most yards per carry on the ground.
The emergence of rookie running back Kenneth Walker has certainly helped them keep up the scoring. But if wide receiver D.K. Metcalf is forced to miss time after suffering an injury last week, that could hinder the offense.
The Giants are equally as vulnerable in the run game, though, where they are giving up a league-leading 5.7 yards per carry.
There will probably be plenty of points scored in the game, and if that is the case then the Seahawks and the better offense will win.
But the Giants haven’t gotten out to this hot start for no reason. They have demonstrated an ability to play tough games and pull out wins so this should be a down-to-the-wire matchup.
Rams (3-3-0) vs 49ers (3-4-0)
Sunday, October 30
1:25 p.m., PT, FOX
This game probably won’t be as exciting as the last time these two teams met, last season, in the NFC Championship Game.
The Rams are experiencing a major Super Bowl hangover while the 49ers are dealing with injuries and coming off a tough loss to the Chiefs.
There is at least one reason to get excited about this matchup: the full debut of 49ers’ running back Christian McCaffrey.
San Francisco used McCaffrey in spurts last week despite him having only days to assimilate into the offense. He looked pretty good, though, turning 10 touches into 62 yards.
How McCaffrey will look as the full-time running back will be very interesting this week, especially against a team like the Rams.
For all of Los Angeles’s struggles this year, the defense has still been good. It has allowed the third-fewest yards and seventh-fewest points, so this unit can still ball.
But McCaffrey did play well against the Rams the last time he played them, which coincidentally was his final game with the Panthers. He had 13 carries for 69 yards on the ground as well as eight catches for 89 yards in the passing game.
The 49ers may not even need McCaffrey to beat the Rams, but it won’t hurt.
San Francisco’s defense should be enough for this team to win, as long as the unit is healthy.
The 49ers have one of the best defenses in the league and since the Rams are averaging the fifth-fewest yards per play, the 49ers should be alright.
Obviously, wide receiver Cooper Kupp poses a challenge to any defense he goes against but he may not be enough by himself to get the victory.
The Rams’ offensive line has been a major issue this season, so unless they used to bye week to completely fix that unit, the 49ers’ defensive line should be wreaking havoc all game long.
This game is the Rams’ chance to show the league that they are still the team that won the Super Bowl last year. A big win here would put them back into the conversation of NFC contenders.
But if the 49ers win, then they could take a huge step toward winning the division and establishing themselves as Super Bowl contenders.
—More from Cody Schoeler—
- Cody Schoeler’s 2022 Week 13 NFL West Previews
- Cody Schoeler’s Week 13 NFL West Power Rankings
- Cody Schoeler’s 2022 Week 12 NFL West Previews
- Cody Schoeler’s Week 12 NFL West Power Rankings
- Cody Schoeler’s 2022 Week 11 NFL West Previews
- Cody Schoeler’s Week 11 NFL West Power Rankings
- Cody Schoeler’s 2022 Week 10 NFL West Previews
- Cody Schoeler’s Week 10 NFL West Power Rankings
- Cody Schoeler’s 2022 Week 9 NFL West Previews
- Cody Schoeler’s Week 9 NFL West Power Rankings
- Cody Schoeler’s Week 8 NFL West Power Rankings
- Cody Schoeler’s 2022 Week 7 NFL West Previews
- Cody Schoeler’s Week 7 NFL West Power Rankings
- Cody Schoeler’s 2022 Week 6 NFL West Previews
- Cody Schoeler’s Week 6 NFL West Power Rankings
- Cody Schoeler’s 2022 Week 5 NFL West Previews
- Cody Schoeler’s Week 5 NFL West Power Rankings
- Cody Schoeler’s 2022 Week 4 NFL West Previews
- Cody Schoeler’s Week 4 NFL West Power Rankings
- Cody Schoeler’s 2022 Week 3 NFL West Previews
- Cody Schoeler’s Week 3 NFL West Power Rankings
- Cody Schoeler’s 2022 Week 2 NFL West Previews
- Cody Schoeler’s 2022 Week 2 NFL West Power Rankings
- Cody Schoeler’s 2022 Preseason NFL West Power Rankings
- Cody Schoeler’s 2022 Week 1 NFL West Previews
- Cody Schoeler’s 2022 NFL West Previews: Seattle Seahawks
- Cody Schoeler’s 2022 NFL West Previews: 49ers
- Cody Schoeler’s 2022 NFL West Previews: Rams
- Cody Schoeler’s 2022 NFL West Previews: Chargers
- Cody Schoeler’s 2022 NFL West Previews: Las Vegas Raiders
Cody Schoeler’s 2022 Week 13 NFL West PreviewsThe Chiefs will be out for revenge against the Bengals in an AFC Championship Game rematch - December 1, 2022
Cody Schoeler’s Week 13 NFL West Power RankingsThe season is far from over, but not far enough to give some of the struggling teams a chance - November 30, 2022
Cody Schoeler’s 2022 Week 12 NFL West PreviewsThe eight NFC and AFC West Division teams will be competing in five contests on Sunday - November 27, 2022