NFL

NFL Week 8: Final thoughts on Sunday’s slate

The NFL has 14 games being played this weekend. Not a single one of them is without playoff meaning.

While some teams — we’re looking at you, Miami and Cincinnati — are already thinking about the draft, the foes facing them are trying to stay in the mix.

This slate doesn’t have a ton of matchups which will make the casual fan stay home and turn on the tube, but there are still some intriguing tilts.

For starters, the Sunday night affair between the Green Bay Packers and Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium is fascinating. Kansas City is without a legion of stars including quarterback Patrick Mahomes, but there’s drama in the unknown. Can Matt Moore — a relatively accomplished backup — win his second straight game for the Chiefs by taking down Aaron Rodgers in what promises to be a raucous setting?

During the afternoon, the Chicago Bears are hosting the Los Angeles Chargers in another game featuring the NFC North and AFC West. Unlike the aforementioned contest which has two playoff teams, this one could be more about which team is knocked out of the race. At 2-5, the Chargers need to win. With a loss, you can cross them off any playoff picture graphics for the year. Meanwhile, Chicago is only 3-3 but the NFC is terrific, and the schedule ahead is ridiculous. The Bears still have to play the Packers, Los Angeles Rams, Philadelphia Eagles, Detroit Lions and Minnesota Vikings on the road. They also get the Lions and Chiefs at home along with the Dallas Cowboys. Good luck.

In New Orleans, the Saints will be welcoming back quarterback Drew Brees, who has been out of commission since Week 2 with a torn ligament in his right thumb. Brees will get some game action against the Arizona Cardinals, replacing Teddy Bridgewater, who led the Saints to an impressive 5-0 mark during his time as the starter.

Down in Atlanta, the Falcons are 1-6 and head coach Dan Quinn’s seat couldn’t be hotter. It doesn’t help his case that quarterback Matt Ryan will miss Sunday’s game with a bad ankle, forcing in veteran Matt Schaub. Atlanta is trying to take down the Seattle Seahawks at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. It’s a tall task with Ryan considering how awful the defense has been. Without Ryan, it feels impossible.

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