Here are five takeaways from week 8:
1. Jackson under pressure
For all the good things Lamar Jackson has done in his young career, he continues to struggle in big games against good defenses. That was the case Sunday in the Baltimore Ravens’ 28-24 loss to the undefeated Pittsburgh Steelers.
When NFL teams find a perceived weakness, they’re going to do everything they can to exploit it. Unfortunately for the Ravens, Jackson has shown a weakness when pressured.
Pressure rate is percentage of dropbacks when the quarterback is sacked, under duress or hit. His pressure rate, according to Trumedia, is 37.7%, which is second-most of any quarterback in the NFL this season.
Teams have decided, “We’re not going to sit back and play zone and give you space to let your magic happen.” The only way Jackson can get defenses to let up is by making some throws. Otherwise, the pressure will keep coming.
And it definitely doesn’t help that outstanding offensive tackle Ronnie Stanley is out for the season.
2. Seattle’s dynamic duo
Outside of the Patrick Mahomes-to-Tyreek Hill combination in Kansas City, the Russell Wilson-to-DK Metcalf connection may be the most dangerous in the NFL right now.
Wilson has a league-best 26 TD passes. Metcalf and teammate Tyler Lockett both have seven TD catches, which is tied for the league lead. Metcalf is averaging nearly 19 yards per reception.
With his four TD passes Sunday, Wilson joined Peyton Manning and Dan Marino as the only QBs with at least 250 touchdown passes in their first nine seasons. But in his first seven seasons, he never had a weapon like Metcalf.
3. New England not done yet
Last week, we speculated that if the Patriots lost to Buffalo in Week 8, they might become sellers before Tuesday’s trade deadline. We’ll see. I know I’m in the minority right now, but I don’t think the Patriots are out of it. Yes, they’re three-and-a-half games behind the AFC East-leading Bills, but I wouldn’t be shocked to see New England make a run – and it doesn’t hurt that there are seven playoff teams in each conference this season.
The Patriots were massively undermanned Sunday, yet they were in position, with 37 seconds left in the game, to at least force overtime and possibly win. That’s when Cam Newton’s fumble iced the game for Buffalo. Should Newton’s job be in jeopardy? That’s the question Bill Belichick needs to address.
4. Packers have issues on both sides of the ball
The Packers are 5-2 and in first place in the NFC North, but they have some issues to address if they want to be Super Bowl contenders. Everybody knows Aaron Rodgers needs more weapons in the passing game. Devante Adams had seven targets Sunday and no other receiver had any significant production. Green Bay should try to get a receiver from Houston — Brandin Cooks, Will Fuller and Kenny Stills are all possibilities — by Tuesday’s trade deadline.
But just as important, the Packers need to do something about their run defense. Dalvin Cook had his way with them Sunday, but Green Bay’s run defense has been terrible most of the season. And if you can’t stop the run, then nothing else matters.
5. No ordinary Joe
Joe Burrow outplayed Ryan Tannehill in the Bengals’ win over Tennessee on Sunday. Justin Herbert has been getting more attention, but the No. 1 pick is playing very well.