Top 5 NFL Week 8 games: Intrastate battles; can Pack surprise Bills?

The Philadelphia Eagles, Buffalo Bills and Minnesota Vikings, all division leaders, return to action after Week 7 byes. The NFC East-leading Eagles (6-0) are aiming to get off to their best start since 2004. The combined winning percentage by NFC East teams this year is .741, which is the best winning percentage by a single division through the first seven weeks of a season since 2002, per NFL research. 

The Houston Texans and Detroit Lions, who both play at home in Week 8, are the only two teams with just one victory.    

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Here are this week’s best NFL matchups:

(4-3) Baltimore Ravens vs. (3-4) Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Ravens and their fifth-ranked rushing attack and are going against a Bucs defense that’s allowed 118 rushing yards per game. Quarterback Lamar Jackson has rushed for at least 50 yards in six straight games. His 510 rushing yards lead all quarterbacks and rank fifth overall in the NFL.

Tampa Bay has lost four of its last five games. The 21-3 loss to the Panthers was just the fifth time in Tom Brady’s career that he was held to three points or fewer, per NFL research. Despite a rocky start, Brady leads all NFC quarterbacks with 1,942 passing yards … and the Ravens have the 26th-ranked pass defense. 

Score prediction: Ravens 23-20

(3-4) San Francisco 49ers vs. (3-3) Los Angeles Rams

The 49ers have defeated the Rams seven straight times in the regular season, including a 24-9 win in Week 4. Newly acquired running back Christian McCaffrey should receive a bigger workload in his second week with the 49ers. McCaffrey tallied 158 yards from scrimmage when he faced the Rams as a member of the Panthers two weeks ago. San Francisco has the league’s third-ranked defense.

The Rams, who are coming off a Week 7 bye, have the fifth-ranked defense in the NFL.  Aaron Donald’s 24 pressures lead all NFC West interior defensive linemen, according to Pro Football Focus. Donald (102 career sacks) is one sack away from moving to 34th place on the NFL all-time sack list (since 1982). On offense, wide receiver Cooper Kupp has five games this season with at least 80 yards.

A win would give the 49ers a 3-0 record versus NFC West opponents this season.          

Score prediction: Rams 24-20

(6-1) New York Giants vs. (4-3) Seattle Seahawks

All six of New York’s wins have been by one score. The Giants have the second-ranked rushing offense, led by running back Saquon Barkley who has 726 rushing yards.

Seattle QB Geno Smith tops the league in completion percentage (73.5) and has the third-best passer rating. First-year running back Kenneth Walker rushed for 168 yards last week, the most rushing yards by a rookie this year. Seahawks linebacker Jordyn Brooks is looking for his 18th game in a row with at least eight tackles, which is the longest such streak since 2000.

Score prediction: Giants 24-20

(3-4) Green Bay Packers vs. (5-1) Buffalo Bills

Aaron Rodgers said Sunday night’s game versus the Bills might be the best thing for the struggling Packers. Green Bay is in the midst of a three-game losing streak, and Rodgers said it may be time the ‘crack the whip.’ The Packers haven’t lost three in a row since 2018. Running back Aaron Jones has at least 75 yards from scrimmage in three of his last four games.

The Bills have the top offense in the NFL. Quarterback Josh Allen’s 109.1 passer rating and wide receiver Stefon Diggs’ 656 receiving yards both rank second in the NFL, respectively. On defense, the Bills rank No. 1 in total defense and allow the fewest points in the NFL. 

Score prediction: Bills 27-19

(4-3) Cincinnati Bengals vs. (2-5) Cleveland Browns

The 2022 edition of the battle of Ohio gets started in Cleveland this year. The Browns have won four straight games versus the Bengals. Browns RB Nick Chubb leads the league in rushing with 740 yards. Defensive end Myles Garrett has 7.5 career sacks versus the Bengals.

The Bengals have won four of their last five games after an 0-2 start. Cincinnati’s offense has scored at least 30 points in each of its last two wins. Joe Burrow has thrown for 781 yards and six touchdowns in the past two games. The Bengals defense has only given up 20-plus points once during the last five weeks.

Score prediction: Bengals 28-20

Follow USA TODAY Sports’ Tyler Dragon on Twitter @TheTylerDragon.

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