NFL Week 8 2018

NFL Week 8: Approaching the Midway Point

A few games in particular to discuss...

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Week 8 of the 2018 NFL season brought us some exciting games and a few blowouts. A few teams hit their bye week and did not play, while others saw their players traded to other teams before the trade deadline and terminated personnel. Some teams continue to surprise and succeed with stellar players, and others continue to struggle because of injuries and poor play, or even incompetent coaching. As teams approach the halfway mark of the season, they cannot afford many losses and slip-ups. There is plenty of action to discuss, but here are five of the most prominent games this week.

Denver Broncos 23, Kansas City Chiefs 30

Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes continued impressing in his sophomore season as he shredded the Broncos defense for 303 passing yards and four touchdowns en route to a 70.6 completion percentage. Denver quarterback Case Keenum has now thrown at least one interception in every single game this year and the Broncos' playoff hopes are very slim at 3-5. Kansas City still leads the AFC at 7-1.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers 34, Cincinnati Bengals 37

Arguably the best game of the week, this one came down to the last second. The Bengals held a sizable lead in the first half but blew it in the ensuing 30 minutes. Tampa Bay quarterback Jameis Winston threw four interceptions and Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter subsequently benched him for Ryan Fitzpatrick, who recaptured his "FitzMagic" from early in the season, leading the Bucs to tie the game at 34 late. However, their defense was too weak, as the Bengals drove down the field and kicked the game-winning 44-yard field goal as time expired.

Indianapolis Colts 42, Oakland Raiders 28

Colts quarterback Andrew Luck had himself an efficient day with 239 passing yards and three touchdowns, making some dazzling throws into tight spaces along the way. Raiders quarterback Derek Carr turned in a solid performance with 244 passing yards and four total touchdowns (three passing, one rushing), but it was not enough as Oakland's defense continued its abysmal play, falling before the Indianapolis defense could break.

Green Bay Packers 27, Los Angeles Rams 29

Packers fans showed up in droves at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum and left heartbroken as the Rams snatched victory from the jaws of defeat. Another contender for Game of the Week, it was a back-and-forth affair that ended with the Rams recovering a Ty Montgomery fumble on a Packers kickoff return after a Rams touchdown. Green Bay's star quarterback Aaron Rodgers would have been in prime position to make yet another comeback attempt if Montgomery kneeled in the end zone for a touchback after fielding the kickoff. The Rams remain undefeated at 8-0 while the Packers fall to 3-3-1.

New Orleans Saints 30, Minnesota Vikings 20

The Saints (sort of?) unloaded their revenge on the Vikings for the Minneapolis Miracle on Sunday Night Football. Despite Saints quarterback Drew Brees throwing for only 120 yards, New Orleans' defense forced two turnovers, including a pick-six that helped secure the win and a forced fumble on Vikings star wide receiver Adam Thielen, both by cornerback P.J. Williams In addition, the Saints defense pressured and sacked Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins multiple times.

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Why I Love Basketball

I will never stop playing what I love —​ this sport that is my comforter, my teacher and my companion in life.
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The squeak of the court, the swish of a shot, the smack of a block, the shared laughter of teammates — these moments and memories last forever. Ever since the 7th grade, basketball has been one of my favorite aspects of life. I’m not an incredible player, but it has never made a difference. I was easily the worst player on my team in middle school, yet it never changed how much I loved the sport. Endless hours, which were well spent, were put into my practice with the school team, with friends or just by myself. Be it an actual game, practice drills, or imagining I was actually a great player hitting a game winning shot, I would always use my spare time to play.

Even though I love every aspect of basketball, there has always been one part of it that sits as king above all the rest — playing a real game. Those who’ve played on a team know exactly what I’m talking about. There is absolutely nothing like the nerves you get right before a game, the hype that rises within you as you listen to your music during warm-ups and the rush of adrenaline as soon as that jump ball starts. Once the ball goes up, you know what’s about to go down. All that matters in that moment is playing the game.

Reflecting on all this, it becomes clear to me that I love basketball not because it’s a sport but because it represents so much more. It’s my release, the opportunity for me to just set aside any worries or troubles, even for a moment, and to focus on just playing my heart out in a game that brings me so much excitement and joy. I get connected to those I play with, not only growing closer with teammates but also developing respect for those I play against. Basketball forces me to trust my teammates, teaches me to be a team player and pushes me to get back up and keep playing, no matter how bad the score may be or how bad of a game I might have had. The next game can always be different.

Even with all the losses, the injuries and the frustrations that may arise when playing basketball, there remain endless memories of sheer happiness, joy, contentment. I wouldn't trade any of it away because it has made me who I am today. Without basketball, I wouldn’t have had the determination to keep moving forward, the opportunity to meet new people or the feeling of freedom from burdens and responsibilities. To imagine my life without this sport and all that comes with it would be impossible.

I could simply go on forever about the reasons why I love basketball, which I’m sure by now is pretty clear. I dread the day when my body can no longer handle running on the court or handling the ball, but until that day comes, I will never stop playing what I love — this sport that is my comforter, my teacher and my companion in life.

Cover Image Credit: Artie Markosov

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Will The Seahawks Extend Bobby Wagner?

The star veteran linebacker will turn 29 in June.

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The Seattle Seahawks have made a few notable moves so far in the 2019 NFL offseason. They traded star pass rusher Frank Clark to the Kansas City Chiefs for significant draft capital and made quarterback Russell Wilson the highest-paid player in NFL history after his self-imposed April 15 deadline for a contract extension. In addition, they selected Ohio State wide receiver D.K. Metcalf in the 2019 NFL Draft after he surprisingly fell to the 64th overall pick at the end of the second round. However, there are still a few questions to be answered. Most notably, will the Seahawks extend veteran linebacker Bobby Wagner?

Seattle drafted two linebackers in Cody Barton and Ben Burr-Kirven in this year's draft. However, Wagner has been one of the NFL's top linebackers throughout his seven-year career and is considered by many to be the best along with Carolina Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly. Although a versatile player, he is perhaps most known for his elite tackling ability and efficiency in that department. In the 2018 season, he missed only one tackle out of 139 attempts and was given a 139.0 tackling efficiency score from Pro Football Focus, more than double the score of runner-up Jon Bostic. However, he is entering a contract year and approaching his 29th birthday, so Seattle must make a decision on his long-term future.

Wagner is expected to become the highest-paid linebacker in the NFL after being overtaken by five other players of his position since he signed his initial four-year, $43 million contract extension on August 2, 2015. He has been one of the most consistent linebackers in the league and has stayed relatively healthy throughout his career with few character concerns. After Jets linebacker C.J. Mosley set the market for the position with his five-year, $85 million contract, the Seahawks will have to offer a significant amount of dough to their star to keep him. Wagner has stated that he will play the 2019 season as if it is his last in the Emerald City and reports say that he is not keen on taking a hometown discount to stay with the team.

The Seahawks were in a similar situation with veteran safety Earl Thomas last offseason when he held out for a contract extension that paid him his perceived value. We all know how that turned out. Could the same scenario happen with Wagner? All we know for sure is that Seattle has another large decision to make for another veteran star player.

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