We’ve officially reached the halfway point of the 2019 NFL season and with eight games to go, many teams in both the NFC and AFC have started to take shape as contenders, and thus, given us many juicy takeaways from the week.
The New England Patriots have a real shot at going 16-0 this season, while the Cleveland Browns may not be a playoff contender, after all. The Kansas City Chiefs look like they’ll be just fine until Patrick Mahomes returns despite losing a thrilling contest against the Green Bay Packers.
We’ve reached the pivotal point of the season where top-tiered teams continue to keep their stride while teams hanging around make their final push with eight games remaining.
Each week has been filled with storylines to dissect and Week 8 was no different. These are our five takeaways from the week that was.
NFL Week 8 Takeaways
5. New England Stays Perfect
You can try and fault the New England Patriots all you want for their “easy schedule” or “weak division” that they play in, but the fact remains that Tom Brady and company still have to go out and execute each week no matter who their opponent, weak or strong, happens to be. This team is gifted with playmakers all around and they’re flexing their muscles.
Whether it’s their 42-year-old quarterback slinging it around or their historic defense that’s creating all kinds of chaos, the Patriots remain king of the AFC and appear to be on their way to another Super Bowl appearance. They do have some tough games coming up but no one has managed to challenge them yet.
4. San Francisco Also Perfect
While everyone acknowledges the Patriots as an undefeated juggernaut, you may want to pay attention to what’s happening down by the Bay Area. The 49ers have really jumped out this year as a team that’s going to clobber you when you don’t give them the respect they deserved.
They’ve emerged as one of the most dominant football teams on offense and defense this season and they’re beating teams a number of ways. One week it’s a nine-point shutout and the next they put up 50+ points. The golden ones are back in the NFC and they’re going to be awfully tough to beat.
3. Drew Brees Returns
Drew Brees gave himself a thumbs up performance for his Week 8 return against the Arizona Cardinals at home. The New Orleans Saints were flying high with backup quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, but now, with Brees back, the Saints have truly returned to Super Bowl contenders.
The Saints, even without Alvin Kamara, proved that playing in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome remains a daunting task for opposing teams and they can put up points at will. If this team secures home-field advantage, they should at least find themselves in another deep playoff run.
2. The Colt Way
So, the Indianapolis Colts continue to find ways to win a game. No matter the quality of the opponent, head coach Frank Reich continues to push the right buttons giving his team at least a chance to win. Where Jacoby Brissett may have struggled, the Colts defense and kicker Adam Vinatieri came up huge in clutch time against the Denver Broncos.
There’s a special feeling about this team when they suit up on Sunday and they’re letting the NFL know it. Let’s not beat the Andrew Luck storyline to death but it bears reminding that this team could’ve easily folded. Instead, they’re a dark horse AFC contender that may surprise a lot of people in these final eight games.
1. Aaron Rodgers, the Magician
The Green Bay Packers entered a very, very hostile environment on Sunday Night Football even as the Kansas City Chiefs were without Mahomes. Backup quarterback Matt Moore still had weapons to utilize and it showed throughout the game. However, when you have Aaron Rodgers as your quarterback making impossible throws all game long, then you have a chance of winning on the road.
Both of Rodgers’ throws, one to Jake Kumerow, and the other to Jamaal Williams, were completely insane and they’re quite possibly the type of passes that only he can make. To put a spin on a ball so it glides away from a defender and throwing one into a window of about five inches are some of Rodgers’ best throws of all time. The Chiefs had no answer for it and the Packers are excelling at the halfway mark of the season at 7-1.
Teams continue to give us NFL takeaways each week and with the playoff picture starting to take shape, who will excel down the stretch and who will falter? Onto Week 9!