Week 8 NFL Recap: A successful start to Tua Time

This league is so strange. Within a three week span, several teams have looked like both top-five draft pick contenders AND playoff contenders. I’m talking Titans, Browns, Colts, Rams, 49ers, and more… is there no consistency in this league?! We’re just about at the halfway point of the season, and we’ve had a ton of points, drama, unbelievable losses from the Falcons and a plethora of superstar players suffering season ending injuries. Here’s to less of the injuries, and more of everything else (sorry Falcons fans). Here is our recap of all action from Week 8 of the 2020 NFL season.

Tua Gets His First Win

NFL Week 8 recap
Nov 1, 2020; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Miami Dolphins outside linebacker Andrew Van Ginkel (43) recovers the fumble of Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff (16, not pictured) and runs for a touchdown during the first half at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Whisper it quietly… but the Miami Dolphins have a winning record and Tua Tagovailoa has a 100% win record in the NFL. Incredible. So much credit needs to go to Brian Flores and his coaching staff, who have had to figure out how to take this organisation forward, and really had no right to be as good as they are right now. 

Okay, fine, Tua wasn’t personally amazing yesterday, but he didn’t need to be. The Dolphins defense and special teams stepped up to win them this game. Jakeem Grant’s return ability is a legitimate game changer, and pillaging the Patriots for veterans like Kyle Van Noy has worked for the Dolphins. They sit second in the AFC East, a whole TWO GAMES ahead of the Patriots, and looking up at the Buffalo Bills, rather than over their shoulder at Cam Newton and Bill Belichick. Strange times. 

On the other side of the field, the Rams continue to confuse and befuddle me. Sean McVay is undoubtedly a fantastic coach, but results like this make you question if they really have playoff credentials. They have a great set of receivers, but none of their three running backs has really stepped up, and with Jalen Ramsey out yesterday, the defense suffered a bit. I think the Cardinals and the Seahawks will both finish above them in the NFC West. It’s hard to see how LA manages to “ram” its way into the postseason. Apologies for that one…

Dalvin Cooks the Packers

I am convinced the Green Bay Packers are very very good, but losses like this do plant a seed of doubt in my mind. The Vikings trounced the Packers’ run defense to the tune of 173 rushing yards. They only had 160 passing yards. They won the battle in the trenches and limited the admittedly amazing Aaron Rodgers to Davante Adams connection to 53 yards… although admittedly those yards were on seven catches, three of which were touchdowns… but they did JUST enough. 

To be clear – I still have zero belief in Kirk Cousins being a big-time quarterback in the NFL. But if there Vikings can ride Cook like they did yesterday… Cousins is just good enough to throw for the 130 yards you will need to win any game in the NFL. You like that? Maybe. Not for me personally, but if Cook can (almost single-handedly) beat the (very good) Packers, you can surely find success against the lesser teams too. Minnesota is 2-5, but the bounce from a win like this could drag them back into contention for a wildcard spot if the chips fell their way.

Green Bay needs Aaron Jones back ASAP, and to get their legs back underneath them after a couple of lacklustre showings in their last three games. Next up, they face a 49ers team who resoundingly trounced them in the NFC Championship game last season. Aaron Rodgers’ revenge tour really starts now…

Steelers Remain Undefeated

Something special is cooking in the Steel City. The best start to a season in Steelers’ franchise history has Mike Tonkin dreaming of another Super Bowl run.

The Steelers have taken command of one of the top two divisions in the league, and are stacked on both sides of the ball. Their defense stiffened at the right times to halt Lamar Jackson and the Ravens. The Ravens dominated in terms of yards gained (JK Dobbins looks like he MIGHT be ready to break out…), but the Steelers always seemed to get the play they needed at the right time.

Of course, Pittsburgh’s rookie sensation Chase Claypool was the man who threw the deciding punch with his touchdown in the fourth quarter. He tweeted after the game “Losing? Never heard of her.” Right now, that energy could carry Pittsburgh to the peak of the league.

A Steelers vs Chiefs matchup sounds very interesting right about now. Pittsburgh now faces Dallas, Cincinnati, and Jacksonville before reuniting with the Ravens in week 12… They really should be 10-0 at that point. Baltimore could still be the biggest hurdle they have to jump over to reach an undefeated regular season…

MNF Prediction (Season Record: 9-2)

Quietly, my Monday Night Football predictions have been largely very good. Wish I could predict the games on Sunday like this!! But anyway, back to Monday Night… This one is not a game I’m particularly excited for… largely because I think it’s going to be a very one-sided affair.

This Giants team has nothing of the kryptonite that has twice denied Brady in the Super Bowl, and I think the Tampa Bay defense is way too formidable for Danny Dimes to pick apart. The Buccaneers defense has been stellar – even after losing Vita Vea – and Brady is sure to be trying to continue his renaissance; almost deliberately rubbing it in New England’s face as their struggles continue.

This one feels like a Tampa Bay blowout, and that’s my prediction, though I hope I’m wrong and we at least get a close game.

Prediction: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Quick Hits

  • The Eagles are going to win the NFC East almost by default. I’m sad for the Cowboys.
  • Greg Zuerlein is one hell of a kicker.
  • Mike McCarthy also might be a really bad coach.
  • I really like the Tennessee Titans, but if their defense doesn’t learn how to get a stop when they need one, they’re not gonna be able to make a second deep playoff run in two years.
  • The Bears tried their best to thwart Drew Brees, but the Saints don’t just roll over like that. Shout out to Wil Lutz for bouncing back from that miss to kick the game-winner.
  • Matt Nagy is not a good coach.
  • The Colts have re-awoken. That was more like it.
  • Man, I hate severe wind. That Raiders vs Browns game felt like it was ruined by the conditions. A shame. Tough loss for Cleveland, but they’ve got a nice little run up next to get back in the groove.
  • Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: the Jets are an embarrassment.
  • Stop me if you’ve heard THIS one before: Patrick Mahomes is the best. He’s just the best.
  • REALLY stop me if you’ve heard THIS one before: The Chargers will always find a way to lose a game that is well in hand. Incredible.
  • The Bills (almost certainly) are going to win the AFC East. Change has come.
  • The Seahawks are still the team to beat in the NFC.

Week 9 Plans

Saints vs Buccaneers on Sunday Night Football is the standout game. Both Michael Thomas AND Antonio Brown should be on the field – electric. We ALSO have the NFC East Toilet Bowl mk II!!! Giants v Washington. How can both teams lose!? Think I might bet on a tie in that one

Callum Squires

NFL Analyst