The Huddle: NFL Week Eight

Halfway home, our experts take a look at Week 8 on the gridiron!
Halfway home, our experts take a look at Week 8 on the gridiron!

Week Eight puts the 2016 NFL season halfway wrapped up, and this week our PTB panel checks in with its impressions. As always, it’s time to toss on your jersey and get inside The Huddle!

Kickoff questions:

1. Who is your choice for first-half MVP?

2. What/who are your first-half surprises?

3. And finally, what about disappointments thus far?

Cam Newton and the Panthers are a major disappointment in 2016.
Cam Newton and the Panthers are a major disappointment in 2016.

JT Rozzero:

1. First half MVP for me is … Zeke Elliott? He has been a beast, gotten a ton of touches, and helped make things easier for Dak [while] the Cowboys are the NFC Conference Game favorites as of now. Honorable mentions to David Carr and Matt Stafford too.

2. The Falcons were a big surprise, but now are coming back to earth. Prescott is a big surprise, but he is getting the job done. The Vikings too, naturally.

3. Arizona is a disappointment but we kind of saw that coming. Carolina is a big one, but that division is amazingly not that far out of reach just yet. The fact that Aaron Rodgers is still struggling so much is disappointing as well.

Also, we have been predicting that REX moment for weeks now and here we are… The Bills are flying high and looking to be in good shape for wild card or even division contention, since they have that win in hand on the Pats… But then they force/allow a dinged-up Shady [LeSean] McCoy to play, and he does nothing while aggravating his injury, and his defense plays like shit and gets ripped up by a crap Dolphins team.

J Arsenio D’Amato:

New England and Seattle up next for Buffalo, 4-5 is inevitable.

The biggest disappointment is Carolina. We know about the history of the losing Super Bowl team but 1-5 and 0-3 in the division is shocking. With that the division is still up for grabs in the “NFC Soft”.

Philadelphia has been a major surprise. The Eagles were expected to rebuild and take their lumps with a rookie QB but they have a legitimate defense, great special teams, and a rookie head coach making every right move.

Joel Barnhart:

Looking ahead to this week, what match-ups stand out?

The Packers at the Falcons is a marquee Week 8 contest.
The Packers at the Falcons is a marquee Week 8 contest.

JT Rozzero:

I don’t think the Bills have a chance Sunday, but this is pretty much the last chance for a team to challenge the Pats for the division this year.

Green Bay at Atlanta continues the Falcons’ tough stretch and a big win at home could erase memories of last year’s collapse. If they are legit, this is a game they need to win.

Philly versus Dallas is a great Sunday night game too, as Dallas can really grab a chokehold on the East with another division win here.

J Arsenio D’Amato:

Green Bay at Atlanta sticks out [Sunday] at 4 p.m. With only one other late game, there will be a lot of eyes on this offensive showdown, which could have a rematch in the postseason. Atlanta’s defense has got to step up one of these weeks and change the culture on the same old soft defense in the “NFC Soft”.

Roger Morrissette:

Philadelphia versus Dallas and Green Bay at Atlanta are the two big games for me. The Bills predictably took some of the luster off this matchup by losing to the Dolphins [last Sunday] and further injuring McCoy for no reason. I think the Pats stomp them.

I think the Falcons take care of business at home. The Packers’ offense is nowhere near as good as San Diego’s, and the Falcons are so tough to stop. I like Dallas at home, but barely. I think the Eagles will sell out to stop Zeke and the short passing game and make Dak beat them downfield. I like Dez to have a big first game back.

Brian Cullinane:

1. First half MVP for me would be David Johnson. He has really picked up the slack for that offense.

2. The Vikings have been a pleasant surprise as their defense is dominant. Dak Prescott’s play for the Cowboys has been great and he has shown remarkable poise.

3. The Panthers are easily the biggest disappointment for a team. From the Super Bowl to a team with no defense or offensive line. I might call Brock Osweiler the biggest disappointment despite being unproven. He does not look like an NFL starting quarterback at all.

Eli Manning and the Giants continue to struggle.
Eli Manning and the Giants continue to struggle.

JT Rozzero:

What do you guys make of the Giants. Why has Eli looked like such dogshit? Their run game has too so is it their line?

And the Rams keep on keeping on as the worst decent team ever.

Brian Cullinane:

Both of those teams being where they are goes to show you how the quality of play is down across the entire league. A decent defense and terrible offense can get you to .500.

J Arsenio D’Amato:

The Giants have the 32nd-ranked running game, an offensive line that can’t pass block, and a struggling rookie coach trying to juggle play-calling along with his other duties. They also refuse to use high draft picks or spend any money on a quality tight end along with Eli’s usual inconsistency and inaccuracy. On the road to another “8-8, 7-9 home for the playoffs” season.

And with that, we march on to the NFL’s second half. Thanks for reading, Place to Be Nation!

Author: Joel Barnhart

A big-time baseball nerd, Joel is currently teaching English as a Second Language in San Antonio, Texas. In addition to his MLB passion, he enjoys good whiskey, good music, good movies, and good friends. He is currently engaged in an ongoing 12-year online debate over the merits of bubble wrap.