For many teams, Week 8 of the NFL season is a time for redemption. This is the week that many teams will play themselves into our out of the playoffs. For teams that are struggling, this week is a chance to bounce back and take control of the rest of their season.
San Diego Chargers
San Diego is coming off two disappointing losses. In Week 5, the Chargers coughed up a fourth-quarter loss to the then winless Saints. In Week 6, the Chargers led the Broncos by 24 points at the half. They then allowed 35 uncontested points.
After a bye week to recover from these two losses, San Diego will look to rebound against the 1-6 Cleveland Browns.
The Browns have one of the worst defenses in the league. They give up an average of 276.9 passing yards and 133.7 rushing yards per game.
Phillip Rivers struggled in the loss against Denver. He threw four interceptions, and more than that, he looked to have lost control of the offense. Look for him to get back on track against the dismal pass defense of the Browns.
Ryan Mathews has looked better in the Chargers’ losses to the Saints and Broncos. He ran for 154 yards and one touchdown. Still, Chargers fans expect more from a previous first-round pick. It would not be surprising to see Mathews burn the poor run defense of Cleveland.
The Chargers should be able to bounce back against a lackluster Browns team.
New York Jets
The Jets have disappointed thus far this season. They had a legitimate chance to take down Tom Brady and the Patriots, but they failed to convert several fourth-quarter chances.
Mark Sanchez will look to quiet his critics in Week 8 against the Miami Dolphins. Miami has one of the worst pass defenses in the league. They give up an average of 284.8 passing yards per game. Sanchez will look to exploit this weakness as he targets Jeremy Kerley and Stephen Hill.
Shonn Greene will look to build on his recent successes against Indianapolis and New England. He will have rough go of it, though. Miami ranks fourth in rushing yards against this season, only allowing 78.2 yards per game.
When these two teams met in Week 3, the result was a 23-20 overtime win for the Jets.
The Jets will hope for a more convincing win to get them back on track this season.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Josh Freeman is coming off the best game of career. Unfortunately, his efforts came in a loss to the Saints.
Freeman will look to build on his 420-yard performance last week against the Minnesota Vikings in Week 8. The Vikings have given up an average of 219.4 passing yards per game. Freeman will look to connect with his favorite target, Vincent Jackson, who has 586 yards receiving and five touchdowns.
Tampa Bay’s Achilles' heel this season has been their horrible pass defense. They rank second to last in the league in passing yards against. They have surrendered an average of 323 passing yards per game. Luckily, this week, they come up against Minnesota’s Christian Ponder. Last week, Ponder threw for only 58 yards against Cardinals. Tampa Bay will likely not be defeated by Ponder’s arm alone.
At 2-4, Tampa Bay is tied for second in the NFC South. If they have any playoff ambitions, they must win this week at Minnesota.