Wednesday Morning QB (NFL Week 8)

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The NFL finished up their International series this week with the Bills in Toronto game taking place in Week 8. The NFL started this international series in 2005 after the NFL Europe league folded and since then the NFL has explored new markets of expansion. Since 2005 the NFL has continued this tradition to play games outside of the U.S.A as a major expansion effort. The NFL has conquered the U.S as the largest sports league in the states and in North America. Earning about $8 billion annually the NFL earns more than any other sports league in North America. The success of the NFL in the U.S. has led to the discussion by many of what they could do next and in 2005 they decided. The first game that was played in the International Series took place in Mexico City between the Cardinals and 49ers with the game drawing a record 103,467 spectators, that record has been broken. The success of this first game led the NFL to attempt other games in other places in an attempt to spread the brand internationally. In 2007 the Miami Dolphins and New York Giants went oversees to play in Wembley Stadium in London, England. This was another attempt to break into the European market after NFL Europe folded in 2005 after low attendance forced the European franchises to fold. This effort however was a more concentrated one as the game would be more of an event for the people of London and therefore they would sell more. This tradition has continued in the NFL as in week 7 the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Chicago Bears made the trip to London for this year’s game. Another part of their international series has been the Bills in Toronto Series that came into action in 2008. In 2008 the Buffalo Bills signed a deal with Rogers Communications in Toronto to play Bills home games in Toronto. The deal was to play five regular season games and three pre-season games in the Rogers Centre in Toronto. This year marks the fourth year of the deal and in week 8 the Bills took on the Washington Redskins in Toronto. Both of these international series serve a big purpose for the NFL as talk has swirled. Firstly with the International Series in London the talk has become whether or not the NFL would attempt to make a team overseas. This will most likely not happen as the travel schedule would be too much for a team to be located there. There is a possibility of the NFL playing more games overseas in the future in other places like Germany which is a country in love with football, they had all but one NFL Europe team before the league folded. The possibility if strong to play more games overseas and possibly establish another NFL Europe league if they can garner enough interest. Establishing a league may be far off but playing more games could occur within the next few years. Meanwhile the Bills in Toronto Series may have a bigger and more realistic consequence. The Bills are in some trouble and only because they are in one of the smallest markets in the NFL and their owner, Ralph Wilson, is getting up in age. When Ralph Wilson passes the Bills will be for sale and potential buyers may not want to keep the Bills in Buffalo. Instead they may think of moving the team to Canada where there is an interest in having an NFL team. Moving the team to Toronto would be an option but could be difficult to pull off. Another option could be keeping the team in Buffalo and splitting the home games between Buffalo and Toronto. The Bills in Toronto Series ends in 2012 and it remains to be seen where this agreement will go after it is finished. The two international series that the NFL is a part of are a way for the NFL to become the worldwide leader in sports and the future of the NFL could rely on how these series pan out in the next years. With the potential for more games overseas and a team playing in Canada the NFL’s future is located in the international series and both of them will be good to watch of football fans in the U.S., Canada, and Europe.

As the international series wraps up the NFL season is reaching the halfway point and many teams are beginning to show their true colours. There have been teams that many assumed to be challengers for the Super Bowl this year that ended up not performing. The beginning of the season was a tough one for these teams but some have begun to turn it around. Two of these teams were the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Philadelphia Eagles. The Steelers were coming off of an appearance in the Super Bowl but started their season in less than impressive fashion. The Steelers got lucky with a soft schedule but did lose their first game to the division rival Ravens. The Steelers have always been a defensive minded team but with the lockout and lack of contact practices the Steelers defence looked to show their age at the beginning of the season. The Steelers have since turned it around as their defence has shown signs of life despite some key injuries. The Steelers could be back to a team to beat and their big test will be Sunday night against the Ravens. Meanwhile the Philadelphia Eagles started the season with a bang signing a number of big free agents that quickly made them favorites for a Super Bowl. The season started terribly for the team as they beat the Rams and then went on a four game losing streak that sent shockwaves around Philly. The talk started and people began stating that you cannot buy a championship like the Eagles were attempting to do. The problems were many but it surrounded one key factor. This was that head coach Andy Reid was attempting to put these players into his team strategy instead of letting the players do what they are good at. With Nnamdi Asomugha this was true as he is used to playing bump and run coverage but was required to play off of receivers in the Eagles defensive scheme. This forced him to be less than effective. The Eagles have now seemed to fix these issues with an impressive win over the Dallas Cowboys in week 8. These two teams seem to be back on track but there are plenty more that are still looking for their turnaround. It will be interesting to watch as teams like the Dallas Cowboys, Denver Broncos, Minnesota Vikings, and Atlanta Falcons look to end their bad seasons and try to make the playoffs in the last part of the season.

 

Standings

 

American Football Conference

AFC East:

1. Buffalo Bills (.714)

2. New England Patriots (.714)

3. New York Jets (.571)

4. Miami Dolphins (.000)

AFC North:

1. Pittsburgh Steelers (.750)

2. Cincinnati Bengals (.714)

3. Baltimore Ravens (.714)

4. Cleveland Browns (.429)

AFC South:

1. Houston Texans (.625)

2. Tennessee Titans (.571)

3. Jacksonville Jaguars (.250)

4. Indianapolis Colts (.000)

AFC West:

1. San Diego Chargers (.571)

2. Oakland Raiders (.571)

3. Kansas City Chiefs (.571)

4. Denver Broncos (.286)

 

National Football Conference

NFC East:

1. New York Giants (.714)

2. Philadelphia Eagles (.429)

3. Dallas Cowboys (.429)

4. Washington Redskins (.429)

NFC North:

1. Green Bay Packers (1.00)

2. Detroit Lions (.750)

3. Chicago Bears (.571)

4. Minnesota Vikings (.250)

NFC South:

1. New Orleans Saints (.625)

2. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (.571)

3. Atlanta Falcons (.571)

4. Carolina Panthers (.250)

NFC West:

1. San Francisco 49ers (.857)

2. Seattle Seahawks (.286)

3. Arizona Cardinals (.143)

4. St. Louis Rams (.143)

 

POW Awards:

 

American Football Conference

Ben Roethlisberger, QB (AFC Offensive POW)

72.0 cmp%

365 yds

2 TD

1 INT

97.5 rtg

 

Derrick Johnson, LB (AFC Defensive POW)

13 tkl

1.0 sck

1 PDef

1 INT

 

Brandon Tate, KR (AFC Special Teams POW)

3 PR

24 avg

1 PTD

4 KR

28 avg

 

National Football Conference

LeSean McCoy, RB (NFC Offensive POW)

30 rsh

185 yds

6.2 avg

2 TD

 

Cliff Avril, DE (NFC Defensive POW)

3 tkl

2.0 sck

2 FF

1 Frec

1 TD

 

Robert Quinn, DE (NFC Special Teams POW)

2 tkl

1.0 sck

1 BK

 

Key Scores:

St. Louis Rams 31 – 21 New Orleans Saints

– The St. Louis Rams got their first win this week and it was against the team that put up 60 points against the Colts last week

 

Pittsburgh Steelers 25 – 17 New England Patriots

– The Steelers and Patriots faced off in a matchup of the two AFC powers with the Steelers taking advantage of a bad Pats defence

 

Philadelphia Eagles 34 – 7 Dallas Cowboys

– The Eagles looked like they were what they were supposed to be as they crushed the struggling Cowboys led by LeSean McCoy

 

Kansas City Chiefs 23 – 20 San Diego Chargers

– The Chargers hit another speed bump in their season after a big fumble in the fourth quarter that cost the Chargers the game against the two AFC west rivals

 

Key Week 9 Matchups:

New York Jets vs. Buffalo Bills (November 6th; 1:00 pm)

– The Bills will look to continue their great season but will face a re-focused Jets team in a matchup that will go a long way to determining the AFC North

 

New York Giants vs. New England Patriots (November 6th; 4:15 pm)

– The Giants will be looking to stay ahead of the surging teams in the NFC North with a win over an average Patriots team

 

Baltimore Ravens vs. Pittsburgh Steelers (November 6th; 8:20 pm)

– The matchup of one of the best rivalries in recent years will reach its second stanza as the Steelers look to even up the series and get revenge for a week 1 loss

 

Chicago Bears vs. Philadelphia Eagles (November 7th; 8:30 pm)

– The Eagles are beginning to look like the preseason favorites and will look to continue their role against the up and down Bears

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