Identifying the best, most important games of NFL Week 8 – ESPN

10:47 AM ET

Hank Gargiulo

Close ESPN Analytics Data management analyst at ESPN Graduate of Sacred Heart University

Seth Walder

What are the five must-watch NFL games this week? ESPN’s matchup quality metric, which utilizes ESPN’s Football Power Index to rank games on a 1-100 scale based on the quality of teams and projected closeness of the final score, tells us the top games of Week 8.

1. Dallas Cowboys at Washington Redskins (Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET, FOX)

Matchup quality: 72 out of 100
FPI win projection: Cowboys, 51 percent
FPI playoff leverage: Cowboys 25 percent, Redskins 17 percent

Though breakout campaigns from Philadelphia’s Carson Wentz and Houston’s Deshaun Watson are stealing the show, an interesting but equally important quarterback story is emerging in Dallas: Dak Prescott has been just as good as he was last year.

At the moment Prescott has a 78.1 Total QBR — exactly the same number he had through six games last season. The only difference: There has been a 30-play increase in the number of action plays for the Cowboys quarterback. Currently, Prescott trails only Watson in Total QBR. Despite being 3-3, the Cowboys ought to reach the postseason if Prescott can keep up this level of play.

2. Houston Texans at Seattle Seahawks (Sunday, 4:05 p.m. ET, CBS)

Matchup quality: 67 out of 100
FPI win projection: Seahawks, 71 percent
FPI playoff leverage: Texans 19 percent, Seahawks 8 percent

Watson has been incredible this season, and deserves the heaps of praise he has received. But if there is one reason to be skeptical of the Texans quarterback, it’s this: 24.7 percent of his passes have been off target. The only other qualified quarterback with a higher percentage of his passes off target is Cleveland’s DeShone Kizer, and he is not exactly

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