So it's on to Week Nine and the NFL enters with one of the more discussed trade deadline deals seen in awhile after Jamie Collins got shipped from the 7-1 Patriots to the winless Browns.
Buccaneers over Falcons - The Falcons are flying high after a clutch win over the Packers while the Bucs are smarting over a bitter defeat in overtime to the Oakland Raiders. The Falcons lead the league in points and Matt Ryan has been boffo so far, but this scene has played out before as the Falcons jump out early then falter late; they get a Bucs team that beat the Falcons in Week One and has won two of its last three games to go with the bitter overtime loss. The Bucs have cleaned up on turnovers the last three games with just one vs. three in that same span for the Falcons.
Dolphins over NY Jets - The Dolphins have shown some shocking improvement the last two games with 928 yards of offense, not a single turnover, and 58 points scored, this as the Jets struggled to beat a winless Browns outfit and were awful the first half of that game. Jets quarterbacks have combined for twelve INTs this year - and of course Rumor Control Central has it Tony Romo will be arriving in time for 2017.
Ravens over Steelers - The Ravens have faltered after winning their first three games, but have a three-game streak (and five of the last six meetings) over the Steelers going, this as the Steelers have gagged up four turnovers the last three games where the Ravens are plus-three in turnover differential in that same span.
Eagles over NY Giants - The Eagles have stumbled the last four weeks but are still fourth in fewest points allowed in the league facing a Giants team that has shown little ability to score and has gagged up seven turnovers in that span.
Chiefs over Jaguars - The Lions fired their offensive coordinator last season and have won ten of their last sixteen games as a result; the Ravens fired their offensive coordinator earlier this year but it's still too early to gauge if it's worked. So the Jaguars' change at coordinator bears watching against the Chiefs, who've quietly gotten into a crowded AFC West race.
Vikings over Lions - Two straight losses leaves the Vikings stewing and determined to right the ship, so look for the Vikes to come out firing against a Lions squad that's been midpack in points and points allowed but which has taken care of the football with zero turnovers the last three games.
Cowboys over Browns - The Browns look more and more like an 0-16 lost cause while Dakota Prescott has ended any competition from Tony Romo.
Saints over 49ers - Speaking of lost causes the 49ers have become just that and Colin Kaepernick in particular is a lost cause and a waste of space.
Panthers over Rams - More and more speculation about Jared Goff is circulating as the Panthers finally got off the skids last week and need to string together more wins.
Titans over Chargers - Three INTs last week and eighteen turnovers overall graphically showcase that Philip Rivers is not the answer anymore, that Mike McCoy and company were never the answer at the coaching level (with the upshot that Titans coaching washout Ken Whisenhunt is now the Chargers' offensive coordinator), and that the Chargers' season looks like another lost cause as they host a Titans team quietly building upward. The Titans aren't causing turnovers but they're not gagging them up, either - just two the last four games. San Diego's run defense could be a problem allowing just 3.7 yards per carry as they face a Titans ground game averaging 4.9 YPC. Marcus Mariota's passer rating is also slightly higher than Rivers' right now.
Colts over Packers - This at first glance has mismatch written all over it with the 3-5 Colts coming off only their third loss to the Chiefs in their last sixteen meetings facing the ostensibly mighty Packers. But the 4-3 Packers have struggled pretty much all season and are midpack in points and points allowed with yet another Aaron Rodgers failure when he has to lead a comeback coming last week. While Andrew Luck hasn't been great shakes, the Packers didn't acquit themselves all that hotly the last time they faced an AFC South team.
Raiders over Broncos - The Raiders now have the ultimate opportunity to make a statement about 2016. Derek Carr is made of sterner stuff than Philip Rivers or Brock Osweiler and to go with what looks like a mismatch of a sort at quarterback (Trevor Siemian's 6.1 yards per throw contrasts poorly with Carr's 7.2), the Broncos run defense has been shaky of late with the Raiders rushing at 4.8 yards per carry and splitting carries well between three primary backs.
Bills over Seahawks - This is my upset pick of the week. The Bills have fallen to 4-4, but the Seahawks have struggled to score and have just one win in their last three games; contrast this with a Bills offense that is in the top-ten in points, this despite two straight losses and some pedestrian efforts by Tyrod Taylor. Fear of the Seahawks appears to be waning around the league and the Bills are already ahead of where one would have thought they'd be at this point of the season.
So we thus await the raising of the curtain of Week Nine.