By: Robert Bishop
Back again, and in Sunday’s best match-up, the Pittsburgh Steelers outlasted the Baltimore Ravens to remain undefeated. Pittsburgh’s defense remained a massive difference-maker, forcing the reigning MVP, Lamar Jackson, into four turnovers. Despite Jackson’s turnovers, the Ravens remained within striking distance of the win going into the closing seconds. However, Pittsburgh’s defense managed one final stop as time expired to improve to 7-0. Baltimore falls to 5-2 with the loss. Tennessee has now dropped two straight games thanks to an unexpected loss to the Cincinnati Bengals (2-5-1-). Despite injuries decimating Cincinnati’s offensive line, the Bengals managed to outscore the Titans and notch a much-needed win. Tennessee running back Derrick Henry had another big day on the ground with 112 yards on 18 carries, but an ever-impressive Joe Burrow decimated the Titans defense. The Titans will look to avoid a third consecutive loss next Sunday against the Chicago Bears. Dolphins rookie quarterback Tua Tagovailoa notched a victory in his NFL debut thanks in large part to a disastrous outing from Rams quarterback Jared Goff. Working against a less-than-elite Dolphins defense, Goff tossed a pair of interceptions, lost two fumbles, and had a few other turnover-worthy plays. The brutal loss drops the Rams to 5-3, and Goff’s lack of consistency is a massive cause for concern as L.A. heads into a bye week. On the other hand, Miami is now 4-3 and in the thick of the AFC East race heading into a match-up with the Cardinals next Sunday. Buffalo managed to keep pace ahead of the Dolphins in the standings due to a late-game fumble by Cam Newton that ended New England’s hopes of a come-from-behind win. The Patriots offense is entirely devoid of playmakers around Newton, who fared well in the game before the late-game turnover. New England has now lost four straight games, while the Bills improve to 6-2 with the victory. Buffalo will face the Seattle Seahawks in Week 9. Running back Dalvin Cook was an absolute force for the Minnesota Vikings, racking up over 200 total yards and four touchdowns in an upset win over the Green Bay Packers (5-2). Green Bay’s defensive woes continue to be the team’s undoing. The Packers are heading into a quick turnaround with a Thursday match-up against the 49ers looming on the schedule. Amidst swirling wind and rain, the Browns dropped a winnable game to the Las Vegas Raiders, with much of the blame going to the team’s offense. Baker Mayfield and company failed to find the end zone in the game, and he continues to be laughably bad when under duress in the pocket. Cleveland is heading into a much-needed bye, and though the Browns are 5-3, it remains challenging to buy the team as a legitimate playoff contender. The Raiders are now 4-3 heading into a match-up with the Chargers. It wasn’t pretty, but the New Orleans Saints outlasted the Chicago Bears, kicking a game-winning field goal during the closing minutes of overtime. New Orleans benefitted from a solid showing from its defense, which limited Chicago’s ability to put points on the board. Nick Foles’s receiving corps also did him zero favors by dropping multiple passes. The Bears failed to capitalize on Green Bay’s loss, and Chicago has now dropped two straight with a date against the Titans next Sunday. New Orleans has won four straight, and the Saints will look to make it five with a must-watch showdown with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers next Sunday night. Philadelphia survived four turnovers from quarterback Carson Wentz to defeat the Dallas Cowboys and improve to 3-4-1 in the NFC East. Somehow, that record is good enough to put the Eagles atop the division. Despite the win, there was little encouragement to take away for the Eagles, as Wentz was borderline unwatchable at times. Philadelphia’s defense benefitted from Dallas’s inability to take advantage of open receivers. The Eagles are heading into a bye week. Dallas will face the juggernaut Pittsburgh Steelers next Sunday. Later.