There won’t be many times in an NFL season that Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers are significant underdogs. However, that will be the case when they visit the undefeated Los Angeles Rams on Sunday. That potential NFC playoff matchup preview will headline an intriguing list of matchups scheduled for this week. Here is a look at the top five games in the NFL for Week 8.
Miami Dolphins @ Houston Texans
Line: Houston -7
Houston has won four straight following a 0-3 start to climb to the top of the AFC South. Now the Texans will host the Miami Dolphins, who are also 4-3, in a potential revenge game for Brock Osweiler vs his former team.
The Texans are now atop the AFC South but their wins have been very ugly. Their first three came by field goal margins – all of which could have gone the other way. Last week, they won in Jacksonville while totaling a paltry 259 yards.
Philadelphia Eagles @ Jacksonville Jaguars
Line: Philadelphia -3.5
On the other side of the expectation spectrum, the Eagles and Jaguars are both suddenly trending in the wrong direction heading into their Week 8 meeting in London. The defending Super Bowl champions blew a 17-point fourth-quarter lead in last week’s 21-17 loss to the Carolina Panthers. Meanwhile, Jacksonville had no answer for the Texans on either side of the football in a game in which Doug Marrone benched Blake Bortles. Two teams with Super Bowl aspirations both desperately need a win to get back on track.
Cleveland Browns @ Pittsburgh Steelers
Line: Pittsburgh -7.5
The Browns have taken four of their first seven games to overtime with a 1-2-1 record to show for those contests. That includes a 21-21 tie against the Steelers in Week 1. The Steelers have shown signs of life with back-to-back wins over the Atlanta Falcons and Cincinnati Bengals in their final two games before the bye week. And they’ve seen division rivals Cincinnati (lost two straight) and Baltimore (lost two of three) stumble while they now find themselves atop the division. This is a golden opportunity for the Steelers to keep momentum on their side.
Green Bay Packers @ Los Angeles Rams
Line: Rams -9
The Packers aren’t often significant underdogs but that will be the case on the road against the undefeated Rams in Week 8. Aaron Rodgers is dealing with a nagging knee injury and he hasn’t received that much help from his defense this season. Meanwhile, Los Angeles has strung together seven straight wins, including a 39-10 blowout victory over the San Francisco 49ers last week.
New Orleans Saints @ Minnesota Vikings
Line: Minnesota -1.5
The last Sunday matchup will be a rematch from last season’s playoffs when the Vikings orchestrated the Minnesota Miracle.
The Saints survived a scare on the road in last week’s 24-23 win over the Baltimore Ravens thanks to a missed extra point from Justin Tucker in the dying seconds of that game. Meanwhile, the Vikings are rolling following a 37-17 blowout win over the New York Jets as they’ve won three straight. The potential is there for this game to have plenty of fireworks with New Orleans looking to earn a measure of redemption following last year’s last-second loss. With Drew Brees and Kirk Cousins going head-to-head, this prime-time showdown undoubtedly has the potential to be the best game of the week.