Around the NFL: Week 8 Preview

We are here on a weekly basis to provide you with impartial matchup analysis to navigate each week and make informed, data-driven decisions with the latest information at hand. We rely on our game and player matchup analysis dashboards that provide a concise overview of a team’s strengths and weaknesses at every level of the game and produce advantage insights by identifying key mismatches in the trenches, at the skill positions and in the secondary that will have a significant impact on game results across the league each week.

Mismatches that Will Impact Game Results in Week 8

  • A week after Patrick Mahomes threw 424 yards and 4 TD’s against the worst secondary in the league, the Chiefs will have another excellent matchup against a Denver defense that ranks 32nd in defensive efficiency, EPA/play and YPP allowed, 30th in passing YPG allowed (273 passing YPG), 31st in passes of 10+ yards and 24th in sacks per game. Mahomes is averaging nearly 293 passing yards per game, good for 3rd in the league and is also leading a Chiefs offense that ranks 3rd in the league in passes of 10+ yards. KC ranks 1st in the league in sacks allowed, meaning that Mahomes will likely have plenty of time in the pocket to dissect against bad Broncos’ pass rush.
  • Off a week in which the Ravens’ offense found its stride against Detroit and amassed 503 yards of total offense, they’ll be facing a Cardinals’ defense that ranks 27th in defensive efficiency, 29th in EPA/play, 29th in YPP, 25th in passing YPG allowed, 30th in passes of 10+ yards, 24th in rushing YPG and 23rd in YPC. Baltimore has been excellent in the ground game this season, ranking 3rd in rushing YPG and 1st in runs of 10+ yards and just posted 146 yards on the ground against a Detroit run defense that entered Week 7 ranking 1st in rushing YPG allowed (64.7 YPG) and 2nd in runs of 10+ yards. Arizona has allowed an opposing back to rush for 100+ yards in four of the last 5 weeks – most recently, Kyren Williams rushed for 158 yards and a TD on 20 carries in Week 6, while Kenneth Walker carried the ball 26 times for 105 yards in Week 7.
  • San Fran will likely be without Brock Purdy in Week 8 against Cincy, which could lead to an increased dependence on the run game, although Sam Darnold for the first time in his career will be playing in an offensive system with competent coaching under Kyle Shanahan. That said, SF ranks 7th in the league in rushing YPG, YPC and runs of 10+ yards, facing a Bengals’ run defense that has struggled in 2023 and ranks 29th in both rushing YPG and runs of 10+ yards and 28th in YPC. Derrick Henry, who’s slowed down in 2023 in his 8th season, had his best game of the 2023 campaign in Week 4 against Cincy, carrying the ball 22 times for 122 yards and a TD, while the Cardinals in total rushed for 142 yards on the ground in Week 5 even after losing James Conner to the IR in the first half.
  • Will Levis will make his first career start against an Atlanta defense that’s been excellent in 2023, ranking 9th in EPA/play, 5th in YPP allowed, 3rd in 3rd down conversion rate, 5th in passing YPG and 7th in YPA. The Titans’ have struggled in the passing game, ranking 29th in passing YPG and 30th in passes of 10+ yards, and have also not protected their QB particularly well, ranking 29th in sacks allowed and QB hits allowed.
  • The Chargers dropped to 2-4 after getting smoked by the Chiefs in Week 7, but they enter Week 8 with a juicy matchup in the passing game against a Bears’ secondary that ranks 29th in passing YPG allowed, 28th in YPA and 26th in passes of 10+ yards allowed. Justin Herbert ranks 5th in the league in passing YPG and 8th in YPA, and should have plenty of time in the pocket against a Bears’ pass rush that ranks 32nd in sacks and 27th in QB hits. The Chargers also rank 6th in the league in RZ TD %, facing a Bears’ defense that ranks 31st in RZ TD %.

Matchups in the Trenches

  • As discussed previously, Mahomes should have time in the pocket against a Denver pass rush that ranks 22nd in sacks allowed and allowed Mahomes to throw for 306 yards and a TD on 30-40 passing in a TNF matchup in Week 6 where wind was a significant factor at Arrowhead.
  • CJ Stroud has been excellent in the pocket despite playing behind an OL that’s been a revolving door with injuries to start his rookie season. He should get some relief off a bye in Week 8 facing a Carolina defense that ranks 22nd in sacks and 25th in QB hits. That said, Carolina has defended the pass well in 2023, ranking 9th in passing YPG allowed at just 214 and 6th in passes of 10+ yards.
  • Sam Howell will be operating behind a Commanders’ OL that has allowed the most sacks in the league through the season’s first 7 weeks, facing a Philly pass rush that ranks 3rd in sacks and 4th in QB hits per game. Howell was effective against Philly in their previous meeting in 5 where he threw for 290 yards and a TD on 29-41 passing, but he was sacked 5 times. Howell has been sacked at least 5 times in 6 of 7 games this season.
  • Tyson Bagent may be off his first career win in Week 7 against the Raiders, but he’ll be facing a Chargers’ pass rush that features Khalil Mack and Joey Bosa that ranks 7th in sacks in 2023 behind a Bears’ OL that ranks 30th in sacks allowed. The Chargers got to Aidan O’Connell 7 times in Week 4 and to Dak Prescott 5 times in Week 6.
  • PJ Walker looks like he’ll be starting again in Week 8 behind a Cleveland offensive line that ranks 28th in sacks allowed, facing a Seattle pass rush that’s been excellent in 2023 and ranks 5th in the league in sacks and 3rd in QB hits per game.
  • Russell Wilson’s mobility has been an issue in his tenure in Denver, and he’ll be facing a KC pass rush that ranks 7th in the league in sacks behind a Denver OL that ranks 27th in sacks allowed. KC got to Russ 4 times in their previous meeting in Week 6 and forced 3 TO’s, including 2 INT’s.

Red Zone Matchup Analysis

  • Baltimore heads into Week 8 leading the league in RZ trips with an excellent matchup against an Arizona defense that ranks 32nd in the league in RZ trips allowed. Baltimore’s execution in the red zone with regard to play calling has been a topic of conversation, but the Ravens rank 7th in RZ TD % and finished 5-6 on RZ trips in Week 7 against Detroit.
  • Arizona has struggled to move the ball into the red zone and will be facing an elite BAL defense that ranks 6th in RZ trips allowed and 2nd in RZ TD %. This will likely mean tough sledding for the Cardinals to score points against a defense that ranks in the league’s top 5 in many key metrics, including 2nd in EPA/play, 1st in YPP, 7th in passing YPG allowed and 1st in sacks per game.
  • KC ranks 3rd in the league in RZ trips, facing a DEN defense that ranks 31st in the league in RZ trips allowed. Only Arizona has allowed more RZ trips than Denver’s defense, although their RZ TD conversion rate ranks just 20th in the league. All that being said, KC should have plenty of opportunities to convert drives into points. They finished 1-5 in the RZ against Denver in Week 6, and if they can improve on that number in this matchup, this could turn into a rout quickly in Denver.
  • Jacksonville ranks 24th in the league in RZ trips per game and will be facing a PIT defense on the road that allows the 4th fewest RZ Trips. The Jags have struggled to punch the ball into the end zone this season and may have a tough time doing so against this defense that’s allowed opponents into the RZ just 15 times through 7 weeks.
  • Cleveland’s offense has sputtered under both PJ Walker and Deshaun Watson as they rank 30th in the league in RZ trips – they are matching up this week with a Seattle defense that ranks 1st in the league in RZ trips allowed. That said, Seattle’s defense ranks 32nd in the league in RZ TD % when opponents do reach that area, but they’ve allowed just 12 such trips through 7 weeks.
  • Cincy is off a bye but heads to SF to face a defense that’s allowed just 13 RZ trips in total in 2023, good for 2nd in the league. The Bengals meanwhile have managed just 14 RZ trips of their own in 2023, good for 30th in the league, as the offense has struggled in the first trimester of the season with Joe Burrow nursing a calf injury.

Player Prop of the Week

Alvin Kamara O93.5 Rushing + Receiving Yards

  • Kamara has been a focal point of this offense since his return from suspension in both the run game and the passing game. He’s averaging 17.3 carries per game, 65.3 rushing YPG, 8.8 receptions, 9.8 targets and 44.3 receiving yards per game and has cleared this number in each of the last three weeks.
    • Week 5 vs NE: 22 carries, 80 yds, 3 catches 17 yds – 97 total yards
    • Week 6 vs Houston: 19 carries, 68 yards, 7 receptions on 8 targets, 36 yards – 104 total yards
    • Week 7 vs JAX: 17 carries, 62 yards, 12 receptions on 14 targets for 91 yards – 153 total yards
  • Kamara is averaging over 26 touches per game and will be facing an IND defense that’s ranks 25th in the league in passes of 10+ yards, 21st in rushing YPG and 22nd in runs of 10+ yards. He is one of the most talented backs in the league and should see enough touches to clear this number in Week 8.


Game Matchup Dashboard: PIT vs JAX

Steelers / Jags U41

  • Pittsburgh enters this matchup with one of the most inefficient offenses in the league, ranking 29th in EPA/play, 32nd in series conversion rate, 24th in YPP and 31st in early down success rate. They have not been efficient through the air, ranking 25th in passing YPG and 26th in passes of 10+ yards, and the run game has been non-existent, as they rank 28th in rushing YPG, 25th in YPC and 23rd in runs of 10+ yards.
  • Pittsburgh has struggled to move the ball into the red zone, ranking 32nd in the league in RZ trips per game with just 10 in total on the season. They found their stride in the 4th quarter in LA in Week 7, but managed just 91 yards of offense in the first half in which they failed to convert a third down and just 110 yards of total offense heading into the 3rd quarter.
  • The Steelers will match up with a Jags’ defense that ranks 5th in EPA/play and series conversion rate, 6th in early down success rate and 3rd down conversion rate, 4th in rushing YPG allowed and 5th in YPC.
  • On the defensive side of the ball, the Steelers have been susceptible to both the run and pass, ranking 26th in passing YPG allowed and 28th in rushing YPG, but they rank 6th in RZ trips allowed per game and have an excellent pass rush headlined by TJ Watt that ranks 8th in the league in sacks per game and 7th in QB hits per game. They also force turnovers at a high clip, ranking 6th in the league in TO’s per game.
  • Pittsburgh is 5-1 to the UNDER in 2023, and their offense looked awful for the first 3 quarters in Week 7 against a pedestrian Rams defense that features Aaron Donald and not many other premium players.
  • There is rain in the forecast in Pittsburgh throughout this game, which could create some slippery conditions in the passing game.
  • This is a Model play from a system that’s hit historically at a 64.7% clip. Browse to the Model Selection section of our Dashboards to check out past performance and other picks our system is taking this weekend.

Head over to our Dashboard section of the site to comb through game matchup dashboards for every game on the board in Week 8, and browse our Player Matchup Analysis dashboards to optimize your DFS / FF lineups and target the player prop markets.

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