Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers revealed he has been playing with a broken thumb on his throwing hand but insists it "doesn't make a difference" to him playing.

Rodgers reluctantly confirmed on Wednesday that he suffered a right thumb injury on the final play of the October 9 game in Week 5 to the New York Giants in London, a 27-22 loss.

The Packers QB conceded the injury was hurting but not harmful, and insisted it would not impact his availability for Sunday's game against the 9-1 Philadelphia Eagles.

"It doesn't make a difference with me playing," Rodgers told reporters. "It doesn't make a difference. You saw the tape on my thumb. Didn't make a difference."

Since Week 6, Rodgers ranks joint 32nd in the NFL for win-loss (1-5), 28th for total QBR (38), 22nd for yards per attempt (6.7) and 26th for completion percentage (62 per cent), with a minimum two starts. Rodgers has thrown 11 touchdowns and four interceptions during that six-game span.

The Packers had started the season 3-0 but are now 4-7 and appear destined to miss the postseason.

"I think I've had worse injuries I've played with," Rodgers said. "Definitely a challenge, but the days off helped. Feeling better this week.

"I actually didn’t even want to get X-rays because I still was going to play but they talked me into it."

The Packers have had an extended break after last Thursday's 27-17 loss to the Tennessee Titans, offering Rodgers additional days to rest the injury.

"I hope it helped his thumb," Packers head coach Matt LaFleur said.

Marcus Jones scored the first punt return touchdown of the NFL season in the final seconds as the New England Patriots continued their hoodoo over the New York Jets.

The AFC East rivals appeared destined to take a game severely short on offensive production into overtime.

However, with the game locked in a 3-3 tie, rookie Jones took Braden Mann's punt back 84 yards to clinch a 10-3 win for New England and spark delirium at Gillette Stadium.

The dramatic ending was in stark contrast to the nature of a game that saw field goals from Nick Folk and Greg Zuerlein in the second quarter as the only scoring prior to Jones' decisive touchdown.

His return means the Patriots have won their last 14 games against the Jets, who were held to 2.1 yards per play in an offensive performance likely to spark significant questions about second-year quarterback Zach Wilson.

Had they ended their drought against New England, the Jets would have sat atop an ultra-competitive AFC East.

Instead, their defeat, combined with the Buffalo Bills' win over the Cleveland Browns, means drops them to the bottom of the division at 6-4.

Eagles survive scare

The Philadelphia Eagles lost for the first time on Monday, suffering defeat at the hands of the Washington Commanders, and they narrowly avoided a second successive loss on Sunday.

Philadelphia trailed the Indianapolis Colts, playing their second game under interim coach Jeff Saturday, 13-3 going into the fourth quarter.

But Jalen Hurts threw a 22-yard touchdown to Quez Watkins to set a comeback in motion, and eventually broke Indianapolis hearts with a seven-yard touchdown run with 80 seconds left, improving the NFC-leading Eagles to 9-1 with a 17-16 win.

Philadelphia also gained extra breathing room in the NFC East as the New York Giants dropped to 7-3 with a home loss to the Detroit Lions.

Patterson makes history in Falcons win

The Atlanta Falcons are still in the mix in the NFC playoff picture after coming through a thrilling game with the Chicago Bears 27-24.

It is a win Cordarrelle Patterson will remember forever after he took a kick return 103 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter. Patterson's score marked the ninth kick return touchdown of his career and saw him claim the outright record for the most in NFL history

Atlanta's NFC South rivals, the Carolina Panthers, lost 13-3 to the Baltimore Ravens, who are now 7-3 at the top of the AFC North.

There are no more perfect teams in the NFL, just some very good ones.

The Philadelphia Eagles lost their 100 per cent record against the Washington Commanders on Monday, and will look to bounce back in Indianapolis in Week 11.

The New York Jets return from their bye week looking to continue to surprise, though they have a tough trip to the New England Patriots to contend with, while the Minnesota Vikings host the Dallas Cowboys in another enticing clash.

Stats Perform has taken a look at some of the more interesting numbers ahead of these and other big games on Sunday.

Philadelphia Eagles (8-1) @ Indianapolis Colts (4-5-1)

Philadelphia possessed the ball for just 19 minutes and 36 seconds of game time in the loss to the Commanders. It was their lowest time of possession in a game since another loss to Washington in Week 4 of the 2015 season (18:52).

Jalen Hurts rushed for a touchdown last week, giving him 20 in his career. At 24 years and 99 days old, he became the second-youngest quarterback in NFL history to reach 20 rushing touchdowns, trailing only Cam Newton (23 years, 199 days).

Matt Ryan had a 39-yard rush in last week's win over the Las Vegas Raiders, the longest run of his career. It was the longest rushing play by a Colts quarterback since Jim Harbaugh ran for 41 yards in Week 4 of the 1994 season.

With a win, Jeff Saturday would join Jim Caldwell (2009) as the only Colts head coaches to win the first two games of their careers.

New York Jets (6-3) @ New England Patriots (5-4)

The Patriots have won 13 consecutive games against the Jets, winning every meeting since the beginning of the 2016 season. That is tied for the longest active win streak against a single opponent for any team (the Chiefs over the Broncos).

The Jets entered their bye week with a 20-17 win over the Bills in which they had 136 net passing yards. They are 5-0 this season when having 250 or fewer passing yards in a game compared to 1-3 when they have more than 250.

Players aged 23 and younger have gained 2002 yards from scrimmage for the Jets this season, the most in the NFL (next most is the Colts with 1336). That is already the most scrimmage yards for the Jets by players 23 and under since the 1990 season (2452).

Jakobi Meyers leads the Patriots with 457 receiving yards this season, one of five New England players with 200+ receiving yards this season. Only the Green Bay Packers (six) have more players with at least 200 receiving yards in 2022.

Dallas Cowboys (6-3) @ Minnesota Vikings (8-1)

Last week was the Vikings' third win this season after trailing by double digits in the fourth quarter, tying the 1980 Dolphins, 2000 Jets, 2003 Colts and 2011 Lions for the most such wins in a campaign in NFL history.

Justin Jefferson has 814 receiving yards over his last six games, the most in a six-game span in Vikings history and the most by any NFL player over a six-game span in a single season since Antonio Brown recorded 868 in 2015.

With his 81-yard rushing touchdown last week, Dalvin Cook has now had a rush of at least 65 yards in five straight seasons, level with Derrick Henry (2017-21) for the longest streak by any player since the 1970 merger.

Last week's loss to Green Bay snapped the Cowboys' streak of 195 consecutive wins when leading by 14 or more points entering the fourth quarter (including postseason), which had been the longest streak in NFL history.


The Buffalo Bills take on the Cleveland Browns having had at least 100 rushing yards and 300 total yards in 16 straight games, including postseason, the third-longest streak in the Super Bowl era behind the Seattle Seahawks (19, 2014-15) and the Vikings (18, 2002-03).

The Detroit Lions will need to stop Saquon Barkley, who had a career-high 35 rushing attempts for 152 yards in the New York Giants' 24-16 win over the Houston Texans last week. His 35 rushes were the most in a game by any NFL running back this season and the most by a Giant since Joe Montgomery had 38 against the Jets in 1999. 

Ahead of facing the Pittsburgh Steelers, Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow has completed 76.8 per cent of his passes over his last four games, the fourth-highest by any QB over a four-game span in a single season in NFL history (minimum 140 attempts, excluding overlapping spans) behind Peyton Manning (78.8) and Philip Rivers in 2013 (78.3), and Sam Bradford in 2016 (77.9).

The Kansas City Chiefs defeated the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 2, 27-24. Since 2018, six of the nine games between the Chiefs and Chargers have been decided by seven points or fewer, tied for the third most of any matchup since then (Bears-Lions and Texans-Colts, seven each).

The Philadelphia Eagles have signed a second veteran in as many days in an effort to shore up a leaky run defence, as the team announced Thursday it has agreed to a one-year contract with five-time Pro Bowl tackle Ndamukong Suh.

Suh's addition comes one day after the 8-1 Eagles signed 34-year-old defensive tackle Linval Joseph to a one-year deal, and just three days after Philadelphia surrendered 152 rushing yards and were handed their first loss of the season with a 32-21 home defeat to the Washington Commanders.

The 35-year-old is yet to play this season while he fielded offers with the intent to sign with a contender, but started all 17 games for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2021 and finished with six sacks for a second straight campaign.

Over 12 NFL seasons with the Detroit Lions, Miami Dolphins, Los Angeles Rams and Tampa Bay, Suh has started 191 regular-season games and compiled 70.5 sacks.

The 2010 No. 2 overall pick was named to the Pro Bowl five times between 2010-16 and was a starter on the Buccaneers' 2020 Super Bowl champion team.

The Eagles were seeking reinforcements in their defensive interior after recently placing tackles Jordan Davis and Marlon Tuipulotu on injured reserve, and to address the team's struggles in stopping the run.

Philadelphia have allowed 124 rushing yards or more in five consecutive games and rank 25th in the NFL in average yards allowed per rush attempt (4.7).

The Eagles have permitted an average of 144.4 yards per game on the ground during that five-game stretch.

The NFL season has reached the point where the playoff picture truly starts to take shape.

Many players have proven themselves in an unpredictable 2022 campaign while others have fallen below expectations.

Stats Perform has focused on the former, selecting a pick for every position in Week 11, including the defense/special teams slot, for players that deserve to be in your consideration.

If you have any of these rostered, or they are somehow available on the waiver wire, now is the time to make your move!

Quarterback – Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills vs Cleveland Browns

Questionable for the entire week leading up to Week 10 against the Minnesota Vikings, Allen was not at his best as he threw two interceptions and had a critical late fumble in the fourth quarter, but still racked up the points.

A tally of 29 completions was Allen's highest since Week 2 against the Tennessee Titans (42), with a total of 330 yards his third-highest of the season. Cause for concern, however, is the fact Allen has thrown more interceptions (six) than touchdowns (three) over the past three weeks.

The Browns' defense has struggled to defend the pass, though, conceding 11.91 yards per completion on average, the sixth-worst in the NFL. Look for Allen to bounce back here.

Running back – Saquon Barkley, New York Giants vs Detroit Lions

No player has more rushing yards in the NFL this season than Barkley (931), who had 152 against the Houston Texans in Week 10, his highest return since 164 yards in Week 1 against the Titans.

With rushing touchdowns in seven of his nine games this season, including four in his last five, Barkley is almost guaranteed to yield a strong return of fantasy points – especially against a vulnerable Lions defense.

Only the Texans (1,636) have allowed more rushing yards this season than the Lions (1,448), while an average of 5.34 yards allowed per carry is third worst in the league – both numbers that will encourage Barkley to run riot.

Wide receiver – CeeDee Lamb, Dallas Cowboys @ Minnesota Vikings

The Cowboys' trip to Minnesota is a matchup where elite receivers will be the focus, with Justin Jefferson of the Vikings and the Cowboys' CeeDee Lamb top of the agenda – the latter being our pick for the week.

In the Week 10 loss to the Green Bay Packers, Lamb caught 11 of 15 targets and racked up 150 yards, reaching three figures for the first time this season, with two receiving plays of 25 or more yards.

Opponents against the Vikings have racked up a total of 2,537 yards, giving the Minnesota defense the sixth-worst record in that regard. The Vikings are also allowing 32 plays of at least 20 yards – with only five teams in the NFL conceding more.

Tight end – George Kittle, San Francisco 49ers @ Arizona Cardinals

Utilised predominantly as a blocker in Week 10, George Kittle should see more of the ball against a Cardinals defense that has allowed a total of 2,619 passing yards this season, behind only the Atlanta Falcons and the Titans, and 17 passing touchdowns, the fourth-most across the NFL.

When targeted, Kittle is a reliable option to get the ball moving downfield, catching 29 of 41 targets and securing a first down on over half of them (15). A total of 340 yards this season has seen 165 yards after catch, illustrating his power when he gets moving.

Kittle boasts a burn rate, which is when a receiver wins his matchup against a defender on a play where he is targeted, of 65.9 per cent – ranking seventh among tight ends who have been targeted at least 30 times.

Defense/Special teams – Philadelphia Eagles @ Indianapolis Colts

Defeat to the Washington Commanders in Week 10 brought an end to the Eagles' eight-game winning streak but the 4-5 Colts should be an easier proposition for the NFC favourites to deal with.

The Eagles defense has allowed just 1,813 passing yards overall, the second-best record behind the Denver Broncos (1,769). Philadelphia's 13 interceptions is the joint-best tally in the NFL along with the Bills – intercepting 4.1 per cent of passing attempts they have faced.

Only three teams have recorded more sacks than the Eagles (29) this season, with opponents losing a total of 214 yards in the process – only the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (217) and Cowboys (225) have seen opponents lose more yards on sacks.

Ron Rivera hailed the unity of his Washington Commanders players after they handed the Philadelphia Eagles their first loss of the season following a turbulent week.

The Commanders stunned the NFL's only remaining unbeaten team, claiming a 32-21 win at Lincoln Financial Field.

Washington dominated the game on the ground, finishing with 157 rushing yards as they controlled the clock, holding the ball for more than 40 minutes and limiting the Eagles to under 20 minutes of possession.

"We found that one of the best ways to slow [Eagles quarterback] Jalen Hurts down is to keep him off the field," Rivera said.

Rivera was emotional after the win, which came just weeks after the death of his mother.

It also came amid more controversy surrounding the team's ownership.

Last week, the attorney general for Washington, D.C. announced he had filed a civil lawsuit against the Commanders, owner Daniel Snyder, the NFL and commissioner Roger Goodell for allegedly colluding to deceive fans and district residents over the NFL's investigation into the franchise's toxic workplace culture and allegations of sexual assault.

The Commanders then received widespread criticism for responding to the attorney general with a statement referencing the shooting of running back Brian Robinson Jr. in an attempted robbery in August.

Robinson has since returned to the field after recovering from his injuries, and it was he who played a leading role in the win over the Eagles.

The rookie rushed for 86 yards and a touchdown as the Commanders made it four wins in their last five.

"In a situation like this, I've always thought that we've got the kind of guys in that locker room that can do things, and we're starting to see it come together," added Rivera.

"It meant a lot because the guys were able to stay focused. It resonates with these guys, the hard work is beginning to pay off.

"Coming into this game we felt we had an opportunity. We told the guys don't worry what's going on out there, just stay focused on what's important; I'll handle all the interesting stuff. They did that. We went into it with the attitude, 'Don't be surprised.'"

Plenty may be surprised to see the Commanders firmly in the playoff mix at 5-5, but Rivera is keen for his team not to get ahead of themselves.

He explained: "We can't just sit back and say we've arrived, because we have not arrived."

Philadelphia Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni stressed that Monday's 32-21 loss to the Washington Commanders will only turn them into a better football team, despite having their run defense exploited in an eye-opening first loss of the season.

The Commanders came in with a clear game plan to limit the undefeated Eagles' time of possession, favouring long, grinding drives leaning heavily on their running game.

It led to Washington carrying the ball 49 times – one carry away from the season-high of 50 set by the Eagles in their Week 4 win against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

That in turn gave the Commanders over 40 minutes of possession, while the Eagles had less than 20 minutes.

Despite their lack of possession, the Eagles pulled the margin back to 23-21 in the fourth quarter, but gave up three fumbles down the stretch to torpedo their own chances of a comeback.

The cracks shown in the Eagles' run defense come at a bad time, with upcoming fixtures against elite running backs Jonathan Taylor of the Indianapolis Colts, Aaron Jones of the Green Bay Packers and Tennessee Titans superstar Derrick Henry.

Sirianni said right now all of his focus is on Taylor with the Colts coming up in Week 11, and that he knows his team will have to show they can stop the run to avoid being attacked in that fashion.

"I'm only worried about Jonathan Taylor at this point," he said. 

"Obviously we'll have to go look at this tape and see what went down in this game, knowing that when you show you can be attacked in a certain place, we're going to see it again.

"We'll work like crazy to get it fixed, and we understand that will be the narrative of how to beat us. We've got to own that, we've got to fix it, and we will." 

Sirianni refused to blame a crucial missed penalty by the referees in the fourth quarter, resulting in a fumble, saying his team needs to accept responsibility for their first loss.

"[The refereeing] is not at all what lost us the game," he said. "That's pretty simple, the three turnovers lost us the game, the time of possession loses you the game, we lost it together. 

"Offense, defense, special teams, coaching – we lost it together. We've got to protect the ball better. We didn't do a good job of that all game, we were loose with that football, it came out, and they got it.

"I give them a lot of credit, I think that's a good football team and I have a lot of respect for coach [Ron] Rivera. So I don't like to ever say we lost it, they played and they played well.

"But we know that we made mistakes, we made uncharacteristic mistakes, so it's both. We give them all the credit, but we did not play our type of game, we made mistakes, we had penalties, we had uncharacteristic fumbles, we threw an interception.

"We [as coaches] didn't do a good enough job, there's some things we want back as calls, I didn't do a good enough job coaching this week… that loses you football games in this league."

Sirianni finished by adding: "We started 8-0 together, we lost this game together, we're going to move on together. We'll get better from this."

The Washington Commanders were unstoppable on the ground all game to inflict the first loss of the Philadelphia Eagles' season, leaving Lincoln Financial Field with a 32-21 victory.

Knowing they were likely outmatched in a shootout, the Commanders came in with the strategy to keep possession for as long as possible, limiting the Eagles' chances to score.

Things looked headed for the Eagles' ninth consecutive win to start the season after Commanders quarterback Taylor Heinicke lost a fumble on the first drive due to Josh Sweat's strip-sack, leading to a quick Jalen Hurts rushing touchdown to put the hosts up 7-0.

Washington's ensuing drives would span 13 plays and over seven minutes, 12 plays and over six minutes, before scoring their second touchdown of the first half to cap a 16-play, seven-minute march downfield to lead 20-14 at halftime.

Commanders running backs Brian Robinson Jr and Antonio Gibson scored the first-half touchdowns, and they were key on another 14-play, eight-minute drive to open the third quarter, resulting in a field goal.

A Devonta Smith touchdown early in the fourth quarter cut the lead to 23-21, and a late Heinicke interception gave the Eagles a chance to mount a late comeback, but they would lose two fumbles down the stretch before their Hail Mary attempt with five seconds left resulted in a third fumble and a defensive touchdown.

The Commanders ran the ball 49 times for 152 yards – the second most rushing attempts in a single game this season, trailing only the Eagles in their Week 4 win against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

It resulted in Washington having 40 minutes and 24 seconds of ball control time, while the Eagles possessed it for just 19 minutes and 36 seconds.

The win pulls the Commanders to an even 5-5 record, while the Eagles have their first blemish, now 8-1.

Jalen Hurts warned the Philadelphia Eagles "haven't accomplished anything yet" after moving to a franchise-best 8-0 start to the NFL season.

The quarterback threw two touchdowns in his hometown of Houston for the visitors against the Texans to seal a 29-17 win at NRG Stadium.

Hurts has helped guide the team to their best season start in the franchise's 90-year history, silencing doubters who wondered if he would be their long-term starter.

But he said there is still work to be done, pointing to his own days playing college football with Alabama as proof that a superb start can come to nothing in the end.

"I know it's special for the city of Philadelphia," Hurts stated "[But], I mean, I've been 8-0 before and lost the national championship. [We've got to] just take it day by day.

"We haven't accomplished anything yet. It's a day-by-day thing of us controlling things we can, playing to our standard and trying to grow every day. I think that's truly what it's about."

Hurts dashed hopes for his hometown team with his impressive performance, but acknowledged it was a "special moment" to play in the city, while adding the Eagles still have room to grow.

"There's a lot to be grateful about," he added. "There's a lot to reflect on and look at the things that we did well. There's also a lot of things that we can improve on.

"Personally, playing in the city of Houston, being the first time playing back home, that's a special moment for me personally. I think the job is still not done."

The Philadelphia Eagles reached 8-0 for the first time in franchise history with a 29-17 victory on the road over the under-manned Houston Texans at NRG Stadium on Thursday.

Jalen Hurts claimed his 11th straight regular-season win, which is the longest streak in franchise history, completing 21 of 27 passes for two touchdowns and 243 yards with no interceptions.

Hurts has multiple touchdowns in three consecutive games for the first time in his career, but the Eagles also did damage with their rushing game.

Running backs Miles Sanders, 17 carries for 93 yards, and Kenneth Gainwell both scored touchdowns. The latter's TD was the Eagles' 16th rushing TD of the season, which is the franchise's most through eight games since 1949.

The Texans pushed the Eagles in the first half, with quarterback Davis Mills finding Teagan Quitoriano for their first opening drive score of the season, but the visitors hit back, with Sanders scoring after Hurts and tight end Dallas Goedert had combined for a 16-yard gain.

Sanders' 25-yard gain led to Gainwell's touchdown  in the second quarter, with a huge run by impressive Texans rookie running back Dameon Pierce, who made a career-high 139 yards on 27 carries, leading to Chris Moore squaring the game up at half-time with a TD.

Mills, who made 13 of 22 passes for 154 yards, threw one of two interceptions to C.J. Gardner-Johnson in the third quarter, leading to A.J. Brown's TD when wide open from Hurts' 17-yard pass.

Hurts and Goedert combined twice in the same drive leading to the latter's fourth-quarter TD. Goedert finished the game with 100 yards on eight receptions.

The Philadelphia Eagles are 7-0, but A.J. Brown still does not believe they have played close to their best.

Brown was the star of the show for the Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field as they routed the Pittsburgh Steelers 35-13.

He caught six passes for 156 yards and three touchdowns in an emphatic demonstration of why the Eagles traded a first-round pick to the Tennessee Titans to acquire Brown.

But the former Ole Miss star still sees plenty of room for the Eagles to improve as they bid to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl.

"This team is hungry and, most importantly, humble. We know there is a lot of work to be done," said Brown.

"We still have not played a complete game, and I promise you, everybody in this room is going to know when we play a complete game.

"Once we do that, the whole world will know that."

Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts is enjoying an excellent second season as the Philadelphia starter and has rapidly developed an excellent rapport with Brown.

They have combined for 659 yards and five touchdowns through the air, Hurts registering a passer rating of 121.8 when targeting Brown.

"I have a lot of trust in A.J. I think that’s a lot of the reason why he’s here," Hurts said. "We’ve always had a great relationship.

"It’s been beautiful to see how it’s unfolded throughout the year, personally for him and I, and us on the field.

"I always had a lot of admiration for his mentality. He's been doing great things for us, I'm proud of him as a friend and as a quarterback."

Hurts and Brown will look to develop their understanding further and move to 8-0 when they visit the Houston Texans on Thursday.

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts threw a career-high four touchdown passes in Sunday's big 35-13 home win against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

It was also a career day for Hurts' top receiver, A.J. Brown, who caught three touchdown passes for the first time – and he did it all in the first half.

Brown's first score came on a 39-yard deep-ball into the endzone, coming down with it between two Steelers defensive backs in the first quarter. He then added two more scores in the second quarter –  a 27-yard touchdown and a 29-yard touchdown to open up a 21-10 lead.

He finished the game with six catches for 156 yards and three touchdowns, becoming the first Eagles receiver to total at least 150 yards and three touchdowns in a single game since 2007.

Hurts would start the second half with his fourth touchdown pass, this time to Zach Pascal, and a fourth-quarter rushing touchdown for Miles Sanders would complete the rout.

For the Steelers, rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett completed 25 of his 38 passes for 191 yards and one interception, getting sacked six times and fumbling twice.

C.J. Gardner-Johnson collected one of those six sacks for the Eagles, and he also had the game's only interception.

The Eagles have a great chance to move to 8-0 on Thursday when they travel to take on the Houston Texans.

Tagovailoa leads strong Dolphins comeback

The Miami Dolphins had to claw their way out of an early deficit to defeat the Detroit Lions 31-27 in a high-scoring shootout.

Detroit jumped out to a 14-0 lead in the first quarter after touchdown runs to D'Andre Swift and Jamaal Williams, and after Jaylen Waddle got on the end of a Tua Tagovailoa touchdown pass to trim the margin, Williams ran in his second score of the opening half to make it 21-7.

Tagovailoa then found his rhythm and delivered another touchdown to Waddle, with the talented young receiver going on to finish with eight catches for 106 yards and two scores. He was not alone as teammate Tyreek Hill gave the Lions' secondary headaches all game, catching 12 of his 14 targets for 188 yards.

A one-yard fullback dive from Alec Ingold and an 11-yard touchdown to Mike Gesicki would pull the Dolphins ahead 31-27 late in the third quarter, and their defense would rise to the challenge down the stretch to shut the door.

Cook carries the Vikings to impressive 6-1 start

The Minnesota Vikings are one of the most surprising stories of the season and are likely playoff-bound after moving to 6-1 with a 34-26 win over the Arizona Cardinals.

Star running back Dalvin Cook was at his best, shouldering 20 carries for 111 yards and a touchdown, while quarterback Kirk Cousins and backup running back Alexander Mattison also collected rushing touchdowns.

Top Cardinals receiver De'Andre Hopkins enjoyed a big performance, catching 12 passes for 159 yards and a touchdown, but it was not enough as the Minnesota defense stepped up and denied Arizona a potential game-tying score on their final three drives. 

The big boys are back in Week 8 as the NFL season edges its way closer to the playoffs.

The Philadelphia Eagles, Buffalo Bills and Minnesota Vikings all return after a bye week, as do the defending champion Los Angeles Rams, who will look to increase the pressure on the San Francisco 49ers.

The Eagles are aiming to maintain their 100 per cent record when the Pittsburgh Steelers come to town, while the Bills host Aaron Rodgers and his wobbling Green Bay Packers.

Stats Perform has taken a look at the numbers ahead of Sunday's games, starting in the city of brotherly love.

Pittsburgh Steelers (2-5) @ Philadelphia Eagles (6-0)

It promises to be a tricky trip for Pittsburgh, as the Eagles own a nine-game winning streak at home against them, a streak that started in 1966 (Pittsburgh's last win there was Week 6, 1965). It is the Eagles' longest home winning streak against a single opponent in franchise history.

The Steelers lost 16-10 at the Miami Dolphins last week, and are averaging just 15.3 points per game, the second fewest in the NFL (Denver Broncos, 14.3). The last time they finished in the bottom two of the NFL in scoring was 1969 (15.6 points per game, second worst).

The Eagles have held a lead of at least 14 points in each of their six games this season. The last team to do so in seven straight games to begin the season was the 2007 Patriots (eight straight).

Philadelphia have won Jalen Hurts' last nine starts, tied for the longest quarterback win streak in franchise history with Carson Wentz (2017), Donovan McNabb (2003) and Norm Van Brocklin (1960). The Eagles were 6-10 in Hurts' first 16 career starts in the NFL.

San Francisco 49ers (3-4) @ Los Angeles Rams (3-3)

Including a 24-9 home win in Week 4, the 49ers have won seven straight regular-season games against Los Angeles, their second-longest streak against the Rams all-time (17 straight from December 1990 to December 1998). However, the Rams beat the 49ers in last season's NFC Championship Game at SoFi Stadium.

San Francisco lost to the Kansas City Chiefs, 44-23, at home last week. It was the first time they have lost back-to-back games by at least 14 points since Weeks 9-10 in 2020. They followed those games up with a 23-20 win against the Rams in Los Angeles.

Last week, Jimmy Garoppolo threw for 303 yards, the 11th game in his career with at least 300 yards. The 49ers won the first seven of those games but are just 1-3 in the last four. The only win in that span came on the road against the Rams in Week 18 last season.

Rams QB Matthew Stafford is 1-6 in his regular season career against the 49ers, his worst record against any NFC opponent. He has thrown four touchdown passes and five interceptions in his three games against them since joining the Rams, losing each one.

Green Bay Packers (3-4) @ Buffalo Bills (5-1)

The Packers have won their last four home games against the Bills, but are 0-6 all-time in Buffalo, most recently losing a 21-13 game there in Week 15, 2014. The Bills are the only active franchise the Packers have never beaten on the road.

Green Bay lost 23-21 to the Washington Commanders last week, and have lost three straight games for the first time since Weeks 11-13 in 2018. They have not lost four straight since Weeks 8-11 in 2016. The last time they lost four of their first seven games was in 2006 (also 3-4).

The Bills are coming off their bye week following a 24-20 win in Kansas City in Week 6. Since the Bills' last Super Bowl appearance in 1993, they have begun a season 5-1 four times – 1995, 2008, 2019, and this year.

Buffalo's offense has faced a blitz on 35.3 per cent of its passing plays this season, the fourth highest in the league. The Packers have faced a blitz just 20.2 per cent of the time, second lowest in the league (Miami, 18.2). The Bills have blitzed opponents just 12.9 per cent of the time, the lowest in the league.


Dak Prescott should face the Chicago Bears (3-4) after making his return in the Dallas Cowboys' (5-2) win over the Detroit Lions last week, moving his career record as a starter to 54-33 (.621). Since 2016. The Cowboys are 9-8 when Prescott does not start (.530) while averaging almost 60 total yards fewer per game when he is not the starter (382.3 with, 322.9 without).

The New York Jets (5-2) enter their clash with the New England Patriots (3-4) with a chance to break their current 12-game losing streak against them, which dates back to the 2016 season. With a loss, the streak would match Denver's 13-game losing streak to Kansas City as the longest active one in the NFL.

Saquon Barkley (110 rushing yards) and Daniel Jones (107) each ran for over 100 yards last week, the third time a New York Giants (6-1) duo has eclipsed that mark. Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw did so in Week 14, 2010 and Week 16, 2007. The only other team with such a duo this season was the New Orleans Saints in Week 5 against the Giants' opponents for Week 8, the Seattle Seahawks (4-3).

The Tennessee Titans (4-2) own a four-game win streak after a 19-10 win at home against the Indianapolis Colts. This is the Titans' sixth-straight season with a winning streak of at least four games, and it could go to five with a win at the Houston Texans (1-4-1).

The Philadelphia Eagles have bolstered their defense by acquiring pass-rusher Robert Quinn from the Chicago Bears on Wednesday.

Quinn, who set a Bears franchise record for sacks in a single season last year with 18.5, leaves a rebuilding Chicago team and joins an Eagles team who are 6-0 with Super Bowl aspirations.

Philadelphia have the NFL's fourth-ranked scoring defence at 17.5 points per game and sent a fourth-round pick to Chicago for Quinn, whose 102 career sacks are tied with three-time Defensive Player of the Year Aaron Donald for the sixth-most by an active player.

Quinn has one sack, three quarterback hurries and two tackles for loss in seven games this year, and although the 12-year veteran is not stuffing the stat sheet like he did in 2021, his inspired play on Monday helped the Bears upset the New England Patriots in a stunning 33-14 victory.

Despite the encouraging win, the 3-4 Bears have their eye on the future.

A first-round pick by the St. Louis Rams in 2011, the 32-year-old Quinn is under contract through 2024, with a base salary of $12.8million this year.

Quinn was in his third season with the Bears, and the Eagles will be his fifth team after spending 2018 with the Miami Dolphins and 2019 with the Dallas Cowboys.

There is no such thing as a sure thing in sport, and certainly not in fantasy football.

Every week, expected stars underperform while big-time contributors come out of nowhere.

But for this week's fantasy picks, Stats Perform has dug through the data to identify four offensive players and a defense that represent extremely strong bets for productive fantasy performances in Week 8.

If any of these selections disappoint, don't blame us!

Quarterback: Tua Tagovailoa, Miami Dolphins @ Detroit Lions

The Lions defense finally showed some fight last week against the Dallas Cowboys, but they still represent a favourable matchup for the Dolphins and Tagovailoa.

Detroit's defense is allowing 7.33 yards per pass play, the most in the NFL, and the Dolphins are coming off an efficient performance on offense against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Though they only scored 16 points in their Week 7 win, the Dolphins averaged 7.5 yards per pass play, and surely would have scored more points with better efficiency on third down, on which Miami went four of 14.

It was an encouraging return for Tagovailoa, who should find third-down joy much easier to come by against this porous Lions group. Back Tua and the Dolphins for an explosive showing in Week 8.

Running Back: Christian McCaffrey, San Francisco 49ers @ Los Angeles Rams

McCaffrey only had 10 touches in his 49er debut last week against the Kansas City Chiefs, but he averaged 6.2 yards on those touches, showing the burst and the vision that led San Francisco to trade much of their 2023 draft for the former All-Pro.

With a full week to get to grips with the playbook, McCaffrey will be an integral part of San Francisco's gameplan in a critical division matchup with the Rams.

The Rams have a top-10 run defense by yards per rush allowed (4.17), but this is less about matchup and more about opportunity. McCaffrey will get rushing opportunities and he will get targets against an opponent the 49ers have dominated in the regular season, winning the last seven meetings. Los Angeles will have designs on ending that streak, but the volume McCaffrey figures to receive makes him a must-start.

Wide Receiver: Tyler Lockett, Seattle Seahawks vs. New York Giants

The matchup between the 6-1 Giants and the 4-3 Seahawks is one between two of the NFL's most surprising teams, and it promises to be a compelling one.

Though the Giants have given up only seven passing touchdowns this season, their defensive approach could play into the hands of the Seahawks.

In 2022, the Giants have blitzed 43.1 per cent of the time when defending the pass, according to Stats Perform data, well above the league average of 30.6 per cent.

When faced with five or more rushers or with a defensive back blitzing, Geno Smith has delivered a well-thrown ball on 85.7 per cent of attempts, the second-best among quarterbacks with at least 10 such passes.

In other words, he is excelling against the blitz and, with D.K. Metcalf out, Lockett will be a safety net who should be the beneficiary of a plethora of pass attempts.

Winning his matchup with a defender on 67.9 per cent of targets this season – the average is 61.7 for wide receivers with 25 or more targets – Lockett remains a supremely talented pass catcher who can take advantage of those opportunities and enjoy a huge fantasy day.

Tight End: Dallas Goedert, Philadelphia Eagles vs. Pittsburgh Steelers

The Pittsburgh defense is not the force it once was, especially without T.J. Watt. 

The Steelers are giving up 6.91 yards per pass play, the fifth-most in the league, and Goedert can capitalise on their vulnerability.

He has been targeted at least six times in four of his six games this season and has a big play rate of 34.8 per cent that is fifth-best among tight ends with at least 20 targets.

Goedert clearly has the trust of Jalen Hurts, with this matchup the perfect mix of opportunity and opponent for him to flourish and put up big fantasy points.

Defense/Special Teams: Buffalo Bills vs. Green Bay Packers

Starting a defense against Aaron Rodgers?! 

That's how far the Packers have fallen, and fantasy owners should have no hesitation in starting the Bills against Green Bay's dismal passing attack.

Rodgers' average depth of target this is season is just 6.4 yards, with Green Bay lacking the ability to test defenses downfield with any kind of consistency.

Only two teams have more takeaways than the Bills (13), and the Buffalo defense – which has allowed a successful offensive play just 38 per cent of the time; the average is 39.4 – has the formula to frustrate Rodgers once again.

The Bills lead the league with a pressure rate of 45.4 per cent but blitz on just 15.1 per cent of passing downs. Simply put, they consistently get pressure with four pass rushers, giving them the resources in the back seven to rally to the ball and limit the impact of the short passing game on which Rodgers is suddenly reliant.

Buffalo can stop the Packers gaining yards and have a proclivity for taking the ball away. It promises to be a painful game for Rodgers and a productive one for the Bills' defense and those who start it in fantasy.

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