Week 8 of the 2014 NFL schedule brings some great rivalries & a marquee matchup in London, England, as the NFL & Roger Goddell work to convince us all that England wants the NFL so incredibly badly & that the NFL game could be bigger in England than any Manchester United game overseas.
Oh yeah, remember that in Europe, football is our soccer. We are the only ones who play football like this. Ok, now that that rant is over, lets get to the breakdown for Week 8 of the 2014 NFL season.
Detroit Lions vs Atlanta Falcons – London, England – 9:30 a.m., FOX
For the first time, the Lions & Falcons will both make their appearances in Wembley Stadium in London, England for the annual Eurotrip for the league. This game will be a must watch simply because if you are a tailgater, how you will get ready at 9:30 a.m. for a game will be absolutely astonishing to see. For me, personally, im guessing the pregame show will be at like 8:00 a.m. Thankfully we have NFL Gameday Morning that could get us ready, but this is a game that will make the league look at a few things.
A SuperBowl in England?
Locally, the game will start at 3:30 London time, which is about the normal time for an NFL game to either be getting ready for the late games or the early games to get ready to wrap up. The NFL has talked about possibly having a SuperBowl in London at some point, but when would you start it?
The game has traditionally started at 6:00 p.m. ET, and it is a complete holiday for people across the United States. People get comfortable, get their food ready all day long, & make sure that the SuperBowl party is all the way fun & full of people. The SuperBowl starting at 1:00 p.m.? 10:00 a.m? I can comfortably say that that will be terrible for the league all the way around.
Having NFL Regular Season Games in London
Before we get too far with the SuperBowl talk, let’s look at having regular games there with a team based in London. With the comforts of travel that many NFL teams have, it may not bother them as much, but the start time of the games for fans could be a big issue.
The games in London could only start at around 9:00 ET & its even worse on the west coast with the games starting at 6:00 a.m PT. This will get reiterated again……………people in London do not need the NFL there. We don’t need the NFL there. They love soccer, which the rest of the world loves outside of Americans. Let the soccer stay there. The NFL is a North American game through & through. The game is already popular worldwide through TV ratings. The Superbowl is the most watched TV show in the world every year, with the exception of a World Cup year.
Let’s keep the one or two games in London each year but keep the bulk of the game here.
Oh yeah, the Lions vs Falcons
This game will be fun to watch due to seeing high powered offenses go against each other, but in different ways. The Atlanta Falcons have a better balanced offensive setup than the Detroit Lions, in that they can run the ball with better consistency than the Lions with Jacquizz Rodgers & Stephen Jackson in the backfield to spell quarterback Matt Ryan from having to constantly make the perfect throw to Julio Jones & Roddy White.
The Lions have an average to below average running game, even with Reggie Bush & Joique Bell in the backfield. Bush is mostly a slasher & many times he’s lined up on the outside or in the slot as a wide receiver or coming out of the backfield to be a receiver. Bell is great for the short yardage situations, but the pressure is always on Matthew Stafford to get the ball downfield to Calvin Johnson.
This season, the Lions have even more weapons in the passing game that will challenge a talented Falcons secondary, but the same can be said about the Falcons offense against a Lions secondary that was not addressed in the NFL Draft.
Back in Merica……..
St. Louis Rams @ Kansas City Chiefs – 1:00 p.m., FOX
This is probably the best that both the Rams & Chiefs may be at one time, which makes this Missouri battle a fun one to watch in Week 9.
As the entire world now knows, the Rams drafted Michael Sam in the 7th round of the NFL Draft, the first openly gay NFL player in history. My guess is that either he will be dominant if he is playing by this point, or he will be deep on the bench or not playing on the Rams roster at all.
Be that as it may, the Rams have almost an elite level defense that will be a great test for the Chiefs, who are in year 2 of the Andy Reid/Alex Smith experience. The Chiefs have a solid team coming in on the offensive & defensive sides of the football, & the key matchup will be the Chiefs defense against the Rams offense, which features Sam Bradford & Tavon Austin, but someone will need to emerge through the season to become another legit weapon for Bradford to get the ball to consistently, especially if the Chiefs decide to double Austin & dial up some blitzes on Bradford.
The Chiefs are going to have a big time test against a Rams defense that was top 10 in sacks last season in the NFL & features dominant pass rushers in Chris Long & Robert Quinn, a dominant cornerback in Janoris Jenkins & great linebacking play from James Laurainitis. Alex Smith will need to make sure that he is getting the ball to Jamaal Charles on a regular basis & hope that Dwayne Bowe is continuing to ascend to being one of the top wide receivers in the NFL.
Chicago Bears @ New England Patriots – 1:00 p.m. FOX
The main matchup in this game is the quarterbacks – Jay Cutler vs Tom Brady. No question that Brady is far more accomplished overall than Cutler & has the hotter wife, but this particular season, Cutler may have the better offensive weapons around him in Alshon Jeffery & Brandon Marshall. Brady has Gronkowski (if healthy) & Julian Edelman, but outside of that, there isn’t much else there unless one of the young receivers steps up & becomes the true #2 or #3 receiver.
The Bears offense is definitely better than the Patriots offense, but the key is that #12 on New England, yeah he has 3 SuperBowl rings in 5 trips. That alone makes this game some good TV & a game that can very easily get moved to the flexgame.