For the New England Patriots, the eighth week of NFL action will begin later today: the reigning world champions will host the Cleveland Browns to try to improve to 8-0 on the year. This means that the early portions of Sunday will be a stressless affair for the team and its fans. All in all, there are 10 games on the menu today, so let’s quickly go through the contests to find out who will face off today, and who Patriots fans should be rooting for.
1:00 pm ET
Seattle Seahawks (5-2) at Atlanta Falcons (1-6): FOX
Go Seahawks! Neither Seattle nor Atlanta has much impact on the AFC’s playoff race, but the Patriots still have something at stake: the seventh-round picks they received from the Seahawks (for Jacob Hollister) and Falcons (for Jordan Richards) in previous trades. Rooting for Seattle is therefore preferred, as a win should help Atlanta’s pick become one of the first five in the round.
Philadelphia Eagles (3-4) at Buffalo Bills (5-1): FOX
Go Eagles! The Patriots have both teams on their schedule this year, so the game has little impact on strength of schedule or the like. However, an Eagles victory would give the team more wiggle room atop the AFC East.
Los Angeles Chargers (2-5) at Chicago Bears (3-3): FOX
Go Chargers! The game has a similar rooting reason as the one between the Seahawks and Falcons: the Patriots own the Bears’ third-round pick in next year’s draft and a Chargers win would therefore help with the position of the selection.
New York Giants (2-5) at Detroit Lions (2-3-1): FOX
Go Giants! This one is pretty straight-forward: the Patriots have already beaten the Giants this year, and a New York victory would therefore improve the team’s strength of schedule and strength of victory — two potential tiebreakers for the AFC’s playoff scheduling.
Denver Broncos (2-5) at Indianapolis Colts (4-2): CBS
Go Broncos! While the Patriots don’t have either team on their schedule this year, a Broncos victory would help create some separation in the playoff standings between New England and a hot Colts team.
New York Jets (1-5) at Jacksonville Jaguars (3-4): CBS
Go Jets! The Patriots won both games against the Jets this year, so a New York win would help with strength of schedule and strength of victory. Furthermore, it would hurt the Jets’ quest for a top-three draft pick next year.
Cincinnati Bengals (0-7) at Los Angeles Rams (4-3): CBS
Go Rams! The Bengals are one of two winless teams at this point in the season — the other playing in the AFC East in the form of the Miami Dolphins. The Bengals losing today would further help them in the race for the top overall draft selection in 2020.
Arizona Cardinals (3-3-1) at New Orleans Saints (6-1): CBS
Go good game! The return of Saints quarterback Drew Brees is a nice storyline to watch, but the contest itself has no direct link to the Patriots’ and the race for the AFC’s playoff spots.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-4) at Tennessee Titans (3-4): FOX
Go Titans! New England has little at stake here, but rooting for former Patriots linebacker Mike Vrabel, who is now the Titans’ head coach, is an easy decision.
4:05 pm ET
Carolina Panthers (4-2) at San Francisco 49ers (6-0): FOX
Go good game! Once again a game that has no direct impact on the Patriots or their quest for earning the number one seed in the AFC’s playoff race. You could root for Jimmy Garoppolo and the 49ers, but the Panthers are also a fine choice.