The action continues through the weekend with a slate of great matchups across the league, from the Miami Dolphins taking on Kansas City Chiefs in what is expected to be a blockbuster in Germany to Super Bowl contenders Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles lining up against each other in arguably the pick of the day.
The NFL’s International Series continues this weekend when the Miami Dolphins take on the Kansas City Chiefs in Frankfurt, Germany. The AFC heavyweight matchup is the fourth of five international games this season, with the series concluding next week when the Indianapolis Colts face the New England Patriots.
The Chiefs will look to move on from last week’s disappointing 24-9 loss to the Indianapolis Colts. Star quarterback Patrick Mahomes entered the game with flu-like symptoms, and subsequently had his worst game of the season.
He did not throw a single touchdown pass, was sacked three times, threw two interceptions and lost a fumble.
During Friday’s press conference, Mahomes said he is ready to play on Sunday.
“I’m feeling perfectly fine,” Mahomes told reporters. “It was kind of just that night and a little bit that next day. I kind of got back pretty quickly.”
Miami will look to build on their stellar start to the season and improve their record to 7-2. Led by quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, the offense leads the NFL in nearly every offensive category – including total offense and red zone efficiency.
Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel described the team as “joyfully deliberate,” citing his players’ enthusiasm and dedication to details as the main reasons for their recent success.
“I think one step that we’ve made as a team this season as opposed to last is understanding the value of the work week and how you can get game reps in practice,” McDaniel said. “This 2023 version of the Miami Dolphins really enjoys working on things that will prepare them for Sunday.”
He added: “As a result, I think they feel prepared … They’re able to find that happy balance of enjoying what they’re doing but taking it very serious at the same time.”
Arguably the biggest game of the weekend features two legitimate Super Bowl contenders – the Cowboys and the Eagles. The divisional rivals are two of the best teams in the NFC, each boasting top-ranked defenses and offenses.
While the season is only halfway through, Sunday’s game could potentially have playoff implications for the NFC East foes.
Both teams will likely make the playoffs. However, only one can win the division and be the top seed in the conference, earning a first-round bye and home field advantage throughout the playoffs – crucial advantages for Super Bowl hopefuls.
At 7-1, Philadelphia currently holds the No.1 overall seed in the NFC and a two-game lead over Dallas (5-2) in the division.
Sunday’s game is the first of two in the next five weeks between the pair and the Cowboys’ chances of being fast-tracked to the divisional round will increase significantly if they sweep the Eagles during the regular season.
As for the Eagles, the top seed is theirs to lose. Their schedule only gets more challenging after Sunday’s clash, facing the Chiefs, Bills, 49ers, and Cowboys again on the other side of their Week 10 bye.
To close out Sunday’s action, Josh Allen and the Buffalo Bills will take on Joe Burrow and the Cincinnati Bengals.
As two of the AFC’s top contenders, the teams are familiar foes. Last season, the Bengals ended the Bills’ campaign with a heartbreaking divisional round defeat. Meeting at the season’s halfway point, the stakes aren’t as high, but a win for either side would provide much-needed momentum to carry into the season’s second half.
Buffalo enters the matchup with the rest advantage after their Thursday Night Football win over the Buccaneers in Week 8.
Allen injured his shoulder during that victory, but managed to finish the game and did not miss a single offensive snap. He was a full participant in practice on Thursday and Friday and is expected to play on Sunday. The 27-year-old QB currently leads the league in total touchdowns and ranks fifth in passing yards.
The Bengals reside at the bottom of the highly competitive AFC North, despite winning their last three games. In Week 8, Burrow earned AFC Offensive Player of the Week honors after accruing a season-high 43 rushing yards while completing 87.5 percent of passes for 283 yards and three touchdowns. He will look to continue this upward trend on Sunday, making just his second career start against the Bills.
Sunday’s game also marks the return of Damar Hamlin, who nearly lost his life after suffering cardiac arrest on the field at Paycor Stadium last season.
Though Hamlin participated in the opening kickoff against the Miami Dolphins earlier this season, he has spent the majority of the first eight weeks on the inactive list.