CLOSE

SportsPulse: NFL insider Jarrett Bell breaks down the spectacular play of Deshaun Watson in addition to different subjects from across the league.
USA TODAY Sports activities

Playoff photos and division races are beginning to settle because the halfway level of the NFL season rapidly approaches.

Listed below are 4 overreactions we’re pushing again on after Week eight:

The Lions are out of the NFC North image

Detroit failed to attain a landing and settled for 5 Matt Prater subject objectives of their 20-15 loss towards the Steelers. The three-Four Lions have dropped their final three contests and path the division-leading Minnesota Vikings by two and a half video games.

The postseason, although, remains to be in play.

The Lions posted 482 whole yards, with quarterback Matthew Stafford accounting for 423. And this was towards a smothering Steelers secondary that entered the sport main the NFL in pbading yards allowed at simply 147 a sport.

Detroit merely didn’t money in on their alternatives. The Lions had been stonewalled on 5 pink zone journeys, together with three goal-to-go conditions. Some tweaks to the play calling, nonetheless, might restore the difficulty.

The Lions have two video games left towards the Inexperienced Bay Packers (Four-Three), who sit one sport forward within the division. They’ve yet another towards the Vikings, however Detroit might maintain a vital tie-breaking benefit after beating Minnesota in Week Four.

Extra: Seven NFL trades that may make sense earlier than deadline

Extra: 40 issues we discovered in Week eight of the 2017 NFL season

Purple-zone points an indication of bother for the Falcons

Atlanta scored touchdowns on simply two of six journeys within the pink zone in its 25-20 victory towards the New York Jets.

Together with a two-point conversion attempt, the Falcons fumbled the ball twice on QB-center exchanges contained in the 5-yard line. Quarterback Matt Ryan had 4 fumbles, shedding two of them. Tight finish Austin Hooper additionally had a positive landing slip out of his arms on a perfectly-thrown ball within the second quarter, leaving Atlanta to accept a subject purpose.

The blame for the sloppy play didn’t relaxation solely with Atlanta. A nor’easter pelted the sector with rain and wind all through the sport, which Ryan mentioned featured “among the hardest situations” he has performed in.

Whereas the Falcons have regressed to the imply after main the league in scoring final season (33.eight factors a sport), they truly confirmed some progress. Atlanta hit on two explosive performs within the second half: A 53-yard bomb to receiver Julio Jones within the third quarter, and a 52-yard scamper by working again Tevin Coleman within the fourth quarter.

However within the respective drives after these mbadive performs, Atlanta scored 10 factors.

The Seahawks’ protection is in dangerous form

Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson didn’t safe the victory, however what the rookie pbader did towards the Seahawks in Seattle’s 41-38 victory was nothing wanting beautiful.

Watson grew to become the primary participant in historical past to surpbad 400 pbading yards and 50 speeding yards whereas throwing for 4 or extra touchdowns in a sport. And that got here on the highway towards an aggressive Seahawks protection that entered the week permitting the fewest factors per sport (15.7) of any crew.

Much more spectacular was that Watson didn’t shy from attacking Seattle’s prime defenders, together with cornerback Richard Sherman.

The rookie quarterback has a talent set that matches up effectively towards Seattle. He’s correct, makes good selections, can prolong performs and scramble for yards, and may flash deep-ball accuracy once in a while.

However for all of the stats and factors, the Seahawks protection capitalized when Watson gave them a gap for a game-altering play.

Seattle intercepted Watson 3 times, with Sherman nabbing the rookie’s closing throw in a last-ditch comeback effort. Security Earl Thomas picked one other go off and returned it 78 yards for a landing. The Seahawks additionally sacked the elusive Watson 5 occasions.

Regardless of the miscues, Seattle’s protection stays one of many league’s most feared items.

Extra: Russell Wilson for MVP? Seahawks QB constructing a powerful case

Week eight proved it is a down yr for the AFC

The Lions’ loss was the NFC’s lone blemish on a Three-1 mark in interconference matchups.

However that doesn’t imply the AFC is the inferior convention. The Steelers, New England Patriots and Kansas Metropolis Chiefs are all authentic Tremendous Bowl contenders. And each New England and Pittsburgh look like on the ascent.

For the defending-champion Patriots, the protection is steadily progressing after permitting 32 factors a contest of their first 4 video games of the season. Since then, they’ve allowed simply 12.eight.

The Steelers are limiting turnovers, have received three in a row and are discovering rising playmakers on offense, together with receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster.

Although it appeared like parity would reign within the NFL by the primary half of the season, the AFC’s conventional powers are hitting their stride.

Comply with Lorenzo Reyes on Twitter @LorenzoGReyes.

PHOTOS: Better of NFL Week eight

Autoplay

Present Thumbnails

Present Captions

Final SlideNext Slide