Penn State, Ohio State pits 2 Top 10 teams: Dolphins visit Eagles in stellar SNF tilt: Texas have Bye

It looks like we will finally have a good Sunday Night Football game to watch this week when the Miami Dolphins visit the Philadelphia Eagles in prime time.

That will be a pleasant departure from what we had to witness two weeks ago when the Dallas Cowboys were blown out on SNF by the San Francisco 49ers, 42-10. Thankfully for Cowboy fans (and I’m one of them), Dallas will have its bye week, along with the Texans, to try and figure out how to salvage a season that started with so much promise. After back-to-back dominating wins over the Giants and Jets, Dallas lost at Arizona, blew out New England (which isn’t saying much if you’ve seen how bad Bill Belichick’s team is this year) and then had it handed to them by the 49ers.

Dallas QB Dak Prescott continues to struggle to make plays downfield and the defense that looked so good in Weeks 1 and 2 were thoroughly dominated by Brock Purdy (four touchdown passes) and the 49ers.

While the Cowboys were being dominated, the Texans lost a 21-19 heartbreaker at Atlanta on a last-second field goal.

DeMeco Ryan’s team is showing a lot of fight and rookie QB C.J. Stroud is looking like he could be the franchise quarterback Houston has been looking for since it parted ways with Deshaun Watson.

While Texas’ teams take the week off, the focus on Sunday will be the prime time meeting between the Dolphins and Eagles in what should be an offensive shootout. Both teams have weapons galore on that side of the football, so this game should be must viewing.

Other key games on Week 8 have the Jaguars visiting New Orleans. Jacksonville won backto- back games in London with wins over the Falcons and Bills, while the Saints handed the Patriots a 34-0 stomping two weeks ago.

Detroit, which leads the NFC North, has a tough road matchup at Baltimore, while the Browns and Colts go at it in Indy. Week 8 will conclude with Monday Night Football as the cruising 49ers visit the disappointing Vikings in what could be a make or break game for Minnesota’s season.

In the college land, there’s a big one in the Big 10 as No. 6- ranked Penn State visits No. 3- ranked Ohio State. In the SEC, No. 19-ranked Tennessee visits No. 11-ranked Alabama. A year ago, the Vols upset the Crimson Tide 52-49 on a last-second field goal. You’d better believe ‘Bama head coach Nick Saban will be looking for revenge on Saturday in Tuscaloosa. In the ACC, No. 17-ranked Duke visits No. 5- ranked Florida State.

In District 14-6A play, MacArthur visits district leader Westfield on Thursday night, while Eisenhower and Davis square off in a key game for both teams on Thursday night. On Friday evening, Nimitz, which suffered its first loss of the season two weeks ago against Westfield (42-28) takes on Aldine High.

Before we take a look at this week’s games, let’s review last week’s record. A 6-6 week brought the record to 34-28 (55%).


MacArthur at Westfield – Wayne Crawford’s Generals take on District 14-6A leader Westfield on Thursday night at Planet Ford Stadium. Two weeks ago, the Generals fell to Eisenhower, while Westfield took down Nimitz, 42-28. The Generals will look for a solid game from QB Derrick McNeil (81 yards, 2 TDs). The MacArthur defense will be tested by Westfield QB Miles Dent (733, yards, 9 TDs) and wide receiver Austin Abrams (19 receptions, 212 yards). My pick, Westfield 34, MacArthur 18

Eisenhower vs. Davis: Odell James’ Eagles take on Kelvin Chatman’s Falcons on Thursday night at George Stadium in an important league game for both squads. The winner remains alive for one of the district’s four playoff berths, while the loser could be on the inside looking in. Two weeks ago, Ike defeated MacArthur 40-6, while Davis fell to Dekaney in a 49-42 shootout. Eisenhower is led by QB Jared Guter (559 yards, 3 TDs) and wide receiver Ulysses Thibodeaux, (13 receptions, 180 yards) while Davis is led by QB Kamryn Jackson (1,303 yards, 13 TDs/218 rushing yards), and wide receivers J’Marcus Hopes (15 receptions, 282 yards) and Treveon Bossier (14 receptions, 203 yards). My pick, Davis 24, Eisenhower 22

Aldine vs. Nimitz: Cirilo Ojeda’s Mustangs take on Cornelius Harmon’s Cougars on Friday night at George Stadium. Two weeks ago, Aldine fell to Spring, while Nimitz suffered its first loss of the year, 42-28 to Westfield. Look for Nimitz to rally behind QB Albert Brown (1,128 yards, 12 TDs), running back Brashard Miles (234 yards) and wide receivers Ke’lyn Washom, (15 receptions, 190 yards), Malachi Augustus (16 receptions, 278 yards)and Kaden Phillips (10 receptions, 202 yards). Aldine will be led by running back Rory Hernandez (210 yards). My pick, Nimitz 34, Aldine 17


Duke at Florida State: No. 17-ranked Duke travels to Tallahassee to take on No. 5- ranked Florida State in an ACC battle. The Blue Devils hope to have dual-threat quarterback Riley Leonard (912 passing yards, 3 TDs/326 rushing yards, 4 TDs) back for this one and they will need him against the highscoring Seminoles. Leonard sustained an ankle injury in Duke’s 21-14 loss to Notre Dame on Sept. 30. He missed last week’s game against North Carolina State. If Leonard is out, that could limit big-play wide receiver Jordan Moore (24 receptions, 313 yards, 4 TDs). But it’s the Duke defense that will have its hands full come Saturday with FSU QB Jordan Travis (1,198 yards, 12 TDs), running back Troy Benson (496 yards, 6 TDs) and wide receivers Johnny Williams (20 receptions, 357 yards, 2 TDs) and Keon Coleman (20 receptions, 278 yards, 6 TDs). The ‘Noels not only want to win the ACC, but also have dreams of a berth in the College Football Playoff. Look for them to roll on Saturday. My pick, Florida State 36, Duke 13

Penn State at Ohio State: This is a huge one in the Big 10 for both teams as No. 6-ranked Penn State visits No. 3-ranked Ohio State on Saturday. Both teams won their first five games with relative ease and this should be a competitive contest. The Nittany Lions have a balanced offense led by QB Drew Allar (1,092 yards, 9 TDs) and one of the most explosive running backs in the country in Keytron Allen (307 yards, 2 TDs). They also have a big-play wide receiver in KeAndre Lambert-Smith (25 receptions, 372 yards, 3 TDs). The Buckeyes have some weapons of their own in first-year starting QB Kyle McCord (1,375 yards, 8 TDs), veteran running back TreVeon Henderson (295 yards, 5 TDs) and perhaps the best wide receiver in the land in Marvin Harrison Jr. (25 receptions, 499 yards, 4 TDs). OSU proved it can win a tight game as evidenced by its road win at Notre Dame. Look for Henderson to the difference maker in this one as OSU sets it sites on No. 2-ranked Michigan in the final week of the season. My pick, Ohio State 26, Penn State 23

Tennessee at Alabama: The Vols visit the Tide on Saturday looking for a second straight win over Nick Saban’s team. A year ago, the Vols won in Knoxville on a last-second field goal to finish off a wild 52-49 win. I don’t think this will be the offensive shootout that it was a year ago, but Tennessee can put points on the board behind QB Joe Milton III (1,164 yards, 9 TDs), running back Jaylen Wright (435 yards, 1 TD) and wide receiver Squirrel White (26 receptions, 276 yards). After a Week 2 loss at home to Texas, ‘Bama has reeled off four straight wins and QB Jalen Milroe (1,159 yards, 9 TDs) is improving as a passer week-by-week. Two weeks ago, in a 26-20 win at Texas A&M, Milroe hooked up with wide receiver Jermaine Burton (17 receptions, 386 yards, 4 TDs) nine times for 197 yards and two TDs. Running back Jase McClellan (371 yards, 3 TDs) is also finding his groove, along with the ‘Tide defense that allowed just three points to the Aggies in the second half. Look for a solid effort on both sides of the ball come Saturday as Alabama looks to keep ahold of the top spot in the SEC West. My pick, Alabama 27, Tennessee 18


Jacksonville at New Orleans: Week 8 of the NFL season kicks off with Thursday Night Football as the Jaguars visit the Big Easy to take on the Saints in what should be a competitive contest. After losing two of their first three games, the Jags won two straight in London (over Atlanta and Buffalo) to move into first place in the AFC South, while the Saints also won three of their first five games. It looks like Jacksonville QB Trevor Lawrence (1,255 yards, 5 TDs) is finding his groove, along with running back Travis Etienne (396 yards, 3 TDs). Lawrence has two solid targets to throw to in wide receivers Christian Kirk (30 receptions, 335 yards, 1 TD) and Calvin Ridley (22 receptions, 333 yards, 2 TDs). The Saints have gotten decent play from QB Derek Carr (946 yards, 4 TDS) and wide receiver Chris Olave (25 receptions, 381 yards, 1 TD). Having running back Alvin Kamara (131 yards, 1 TD in 2 games) back has also been a boost to the NO offense. Look for the Saints defense to be the difference maker in this one as NO picks up the win on Thursday night. My pick, New Orleans 24, Jacksonville 20

Detroit at Baltimore: This will be a good road test for the Lions, who have been taken control of the NFC North thus far. Two weeks ago, Detroit blew out Carolina. QB Jared Goff (1,265 yards, 9 TDs) and running back David Montgomery (371 yards, 6 TDs) have the offense rolling. Goff has two big-play targets in wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown (26 receptions, 331 yards, 2 TDs) and rookie tight end Sam LaPorta (25 receptions, 289 yards, 3 TDs). That offense will be tested by a solid Baltimore defense, but it’s the Ravens offense that should have its fans concerned. QB Lamar Jackson (1,030 passing yards, 4 TDs/265 rushing yards, 4 TDs) is pretty much a one-man offense. Baltimore is having trouble running the ball and Jackson has only one legitimate weapon in the passing game in tight end Mark Andrews (20 receptions, 225 yards, 3 TDs). The Lions defense is banged up, so look for Jackson to have a big day running and passing come Sunday. My pick, Baltimore 24, Detroit 20

Cleveland at Indianapolis: A key AFC game for both teams who so far are alive in their respective division races (Cleveland in the AFC North and Indy in the AFC South) and in the Wild Card race. The Browns had a bye week two weeks ago and should have QB Deshaun Watson (678 yards, 4 TDs) back after he missed his team’s Oct. 1 home loss to Baltimore with a shoulder injury. If Watson is back, he will look to make plays down field to wide receiver Amari Cooper (18 receptions, 259 yards, 1 TD). The Colts could be without rookie QB Anthony Richardson who injured his shoulder two weeks ago in a win over Tennessee. Indy has a capable backup in Gardner Minshew (553 yards, 2 TDs). Indy also has star running back Jonathan Taylor back after he missed his team’s first four games. His backup, Zac Moss (445 yards, 3 TDs) filled in well and the Colts should use both of them to pound the ball. My pick, Indianapolis 23, Cleveland 20

Los Angeles Chargers at Kansas City: A big one in the AFC West pits the Chargers against the Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium. The Chargers are hoping to have versatile running back Austin Ekeler back for this one after missing three of the team’s first four games with an ankle injury. If Ekeler is back, that should only help QB Justin Herbert (1,106 yards, 7 TDs) and wide receiver Keenan Allen (35 receptions, 434 yards, 3 TDs). The Chiefs will do what the Chiefs do, and that’s to let QB Patrick Mahomes (1,287 yards, 10 TDs) make plays down field to tight end Travis Kelce (27 receptions, 222 yards, 3 TDs). KC also has found a running back behind second-year back Isiah Pacheco (325 yards, 3 TDs). The Chiefs own the Chargers, especially at home. Look for that trend to continue come Sunday. My pick, Kansas City 33, Los Angeles Chargers 24 Miami at Philadelphia: The best Sunday Night Football game so far this season pits the Dolphins against the Eagles in what should be an offensive shootout. Miami is led by QB Tua Tagovailoa (1,614 yards, 11 TDs), wide receiver Tyreek Hill (36 receptions, 651 yards, 5 TDs) and rookie sensation running back De’Von Achane (460 yards, 5 TDs). Achane and Hill are two of the fastest players in the NFL, and they should provide a stern test to a sturdy Philly defense come Sunday night. The Eagles have a few weapons of their own on offense with QB Jalen Hurts (1,262 yards, 6 TDs/206 rushing yards, 4 TDs), running back D’Andrew Swift (424 yards, 2 TDs) and wide receiver A.J. Brown (35 receptions, 541 yards, 2 TDs) and Devonta Smith (23 receptions, 290 yards, 2 TDs). Miami struggled at Buffalo on Oct. 1 and was blown out, 48-20 by the Bills. I think head coach Mike McDaniel and his term learned a hard lesson in that one that should keep them focused on Sunday night, but winning at the Link is a tall order. Look for the Eagles to pick up the win in what should be a very entertaining game. My pick, Philadelphia 34, Miami 30

San Francisco at Minnesota: Week 8 concludes on Monday Night Football when the 49ers visit the Vikings. Two weeks ago, SF routed Dallas 42-10 on Sunday Night Football, while the Vikings lost at home to the Chiefs. SF looks like a total team on both sides of the ball. On offense, they have a young QB in Brock Purdy (1,271 yards, 9 TDs) who has yet to lose a regular season game in his first two years in the league. They have perhaps the best running back in the NFL in Christian McCaffrey (510 yards, 8 total TDs) and a big-play wide receiver in Brandon Aiyuk (21 receptions, 378 yards, 2 TDs). They also have a ball hawking defense that can also pressure the QB. That’s not good news for Kirk Cousins (1,498 yards, 13 TDs), who will be without star wide receiver Justin Jefferson (36 receptions, 571 yards, 3 TDs) who will miss at least four games with a hamstring injury after being placed on the injured reserve list. Looks like another win for the 49ers. My pick, San Francisco 31, Minnesota 18