For the first time in a little while, there are three NFC South games in the early slate, and all of them could have significant ramifications for the division.
We’ll start with the Cardinals and Panthers. Arizona hasn’t necessarily been great this year, but they’re still a strong team with David Johnson keying their offense, and they’re matched up against the Panthers. If the Cardinals beat Carolina this week, I’d say that just about puts the final nail in the Panthers’ 2016 season, meaning all they’ll be able to do the rest of the way is play spoiler. I wouldn’t be sad to see the best team in the South the last two years buried by mid-season.
Then we have the Saints playing the Seahawks, which is not an insanely tough matchup for a New Orleans team reliant on scoring tons of points. A loss for the Saints here would all but bury them in the NFC South, too, particularly if Atlanta wins.
Finally, it’s the Buccaneers, winners of two straight, against a good Raiders team (that Atlanta already beat!) I’ll be rooting for Oakland to win big and help give the Falcons more breathing room in the division...assuming Atlanta does their part later today.
Discuss the games while we wait for the Falcons-Packers, which is the national game this afternoon.
NFL Week 8 early games
Washington Redskins @ Cincinnati Bengals, 1 p.m.
Arizona Cardinals @ Carolina Panthers, 1 p.m.
Detroit Lions @ Houston Texans, 1 p.m.
Seattle Seahawks @ New Orleans Saints, 1 p.m.
Kansas City Chiefs @ Indianapolis Colts, 1 p.m.
New York Jets @ Cleveland Browns, 1 p.m.
New England Patriots @ Buffalo Bills, 1 p.m.
Oakland Raiders @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 1 p.m.