The last two Super Bowl winners will face off on Sunday when the Los Angeles Rams (3-4) travel south to face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-5).
It will be the eighth time in the last 20 seasons that the two most recent Super Bowl champions will meet in the regular season.
Two seasons ago, the Bucs defeated Patrick Mahomes’ Chiefs to win Super Bowl LV. Quarterback Tom Brady won his seventh Super Bowl title and fifth MVP award, both the most by a player ever.
Last season, the Rams eliminated Joe Burrow’s Bengals to win Super Bowl LVI. Receiver Cooper Kupp was awarded MVP for his game-winning touchdown and coach Sean McVay made history as the youngest coach to win a Super Bowl.
But before reaching the main stage, Los Angeles conquered Tampa Bay in the divisional round. This week’s matchup will be the first time the teams have met since then.
With both the Bucs and Rams riding losing records, this season presents completely different situations.
The Buccaneers have lost three straight games, making it Brady’s worst start of the season. The Rams, who lost to the San Francisco 49ers last week, have lost two division games this season.
What has caused these two groups to fight?
Tampa Bay has been plagued by injuries since the start of the season. Most recently, linebacker Shaq Barrett suffered a season-ending Achilles injury.
However, they could welcome back some key players in the coming weeks. The team made no moves before the trade deadline because they believe the current roster is competent for the season.
The Rams’ biggest struggle has been on offense. They rank 28th in the league in converting third downs of six yards or longer. In comparison, they finished third in that category last season.
They have trouble running the ball, as shown in last week’s loss to the 49ers. In that game, just 56 of the 223 yards of total offense gained were on the ground.
For both teams, a win this week would give them momentum heading into the second half of the season.
With both teams struggling most offensively, this game could be a low-scoring affair where capitalizing on opposing mistakes is the main difference between success and defeat.
Tune in Sunday at 4:25 PM ET to see which team emerges victorious.
Week 9 also features a divisional matchup between the Buffalo Bills (6-1) and the New York Jets (5-3).
The AFC East is one of the most competitive divisions in the league, and one of only two divisions (NFC East) in which all four teams have won at least four games. Buffalo enters the matchup on a four-game winning streak and has given its opponent a big favor.
The game presents an interesting comparison between quarterbacks Josh Allen and Zach Wilson.
In his fifth year, Allen is having one of the best seasons of his career. He is constantly in the conversation with names like Mahomes and Brady as the best signal callers in the league.
Through seven games, his combined 2,504 passing and rushing yards trail only Peyton Manning and Pro Football Hall of Famer Drew Brees by a quarterback through the first seven games of a season.
Wilson, on the other hand, has struggled early in his sophomore year. His passer rating is 34th among quarterbacks who have started at least three games, and his completion percentage is tied for 35th.
The interesting part is that Wilson’s last performance recalls the same moment in Allen’s career.
For example, Wilson had three interceptions in the Jets’ Week 8 loss to the Patriots. Allen had an almost identical experience, throwing three interceptions and making many other mental mistakes in the Bills’ 2019 loss to the Patriots.
Allen is a shining example that not all great quarterbacks come out of the gate great; some need more time than others to immerse themselves in their role and reach their highest potential.
The rest of the season will be a testament to whether Wilson is able to repeat a similar rise to eminence.
Through eight games, Wilson’s flashes of greatness have been dimmed by mistakes and inexperience. In a highly competitive AFC East, Wilson has the second half of the season to prove whether or not he has the ability to be the Jets’ next franchise quarterback.
To watch Wilson and Allen in action, tune in Sunday at 1pm ET.
Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes has a chance to make history Sunday as the Chiefs (5-2) take on the Tennessee Titans (5-2).
The QB has thrown for 20 touchdowns this season and is fourth in passing yards with 2,159. In 70 career games (all starts), Mahomes has passed for 21,150 yards and 171 touchdowns.
With 105 yards against the Titans, Mahomes would pass Matthew Stafford for the most passing yards ever by a quarterback in his first 75 career starts.
With three touchdowns, Mahomes will surpass Pro Football Hall of Famer Dan Marino in his first 75 career starts, one-quarter of all-time.
The Titans enter the competition for the first time in their division and on a five game winning streak. Of the last ten meetings with Kansas City, Tennessee has won eight.
Kickoff is set for Sunday night at 8:25 PM ET.
Here’s how to catch these teams and others around the league in action, from wherever you are.
Australia: NFL Game Pass, ESPN, 7Plus
Brazil: NFL Game Pass, ESPN
Canada: CTV, TSN, RDS, NFL Game Pass on DAZN
Germany: NFL Game Pass, ProSieben MAXX, DAZN
Mexico: NFL Game Pass, TUDN, ESPN, Fox Sports, Sky Sports
UK: NFL Game Pass, Sky Sports, ITV, Channel 5
USA: NFL Game Pass, CBS Sports, Fox Sports, ESPN, Amazon Prime