Sunday’s Best: Giants (7-1) at Eagles (5-3)
If you don’t like a good ‘ol fashion NFC East battle than you don’t like America. The Giants need a win to stay two games up on the Redskins in the division while the Eagles need a victory just to keep pace. Neither team has huge injury concerns so we’re about to see the best each squad has to offer. The G-Men swept the series between these two teams last year and sacked Donovan McNabb 12 times, which tied an NFL record. But the Eagles have won three straight and have averaged 31 points per game in those victories. Keeping McNabb healthy and upright has been the key, which will again be a main concern for the Eagles against a stout Giants’ pass rush. Perhaps no team in the league plays better on the road than Tom Coughlin’s bunch, but Philadelphia is always a tough environment to play in and the Giants will look to neutralize Jim Johnson’s blitz-happy defense by running the back effectively with Brandon Jacobs. Neither team turns the ball over very much, so this game will likely come down to which squad forces their opponent out of their game plan first.
Upset Watch: Seahawks at Dolphins, 1:00 PM ET
An easier upset to call might be Detroit over Jacksonville with how bad the Jaguars have looked the past two weeks. But I’m willing to bet the Jags can handle Daunte Culpepper much better than they did Ryan Fitzpatrick last Sunday. There’s everything to love about the Dolphins and nothing about the Seahawks, but that’s exactly why I like Mike Holmgren’s bunch this week. Typically teams that travel from the West to East don’t fare well, but the Hawks were just in Florida to play the Bucs so they’re used to the travel preparations. Miami has been the talk of the NFL the past two weeks, which means they’re in uncharted territory. They’re due for a letdown and while the Seahawks are missing six starters and have zero offense, the underdog has covered the last six games involving the Dolphins. Okay, so Miami might win. But the Hawks cover the 9-point spread after falling behind early.
Intriguing matchup: Titans at Bears, 1:00 PM ET
Even though pundits have been impressed with the Titans’ start, you get the feeling that everyone is waiting for them to stumble eventually. They aren’t blowing teams out by any means and narrowly escaped defeat last week at home against Green Bay. Chicago starts a pissed off Rex Grossman this weekend and while that normally spells trouble, he did rally the Bears last week against Detroit. Word is that it’s supposed to snow in Chicago this Sunday, which only plays into the Bears’ hands. They’re so banged up on defense that the Titans still have the advantage, but don’t be surprised if this is the week Tennessee is finally tripped.
Other notable games:
Saints (4-4) at Falcons (5-3), 1:00 PM ET
This game is going to reach the mid-50’s or 60’s by its conclusion. Even without Reggie Bush, the Saints’ offense is a juggernaut, but they’ve struggled defensively and will be without DE Charles Grant for the rest of the year due to injury. Rookie Matt Ryan has been nothing short of phenomenal this year and has the Falcons thinking playoffs. Teams have forced him to beat them through the air, which he has. This is one of the more underrated rivalries in the league and a sure bet for a shootout this weekend.
Bills (5-3) at Patriots (5-3), 1:00 PM ET
Bill Belichick should be ashamed of the way he game planned for the Colts last week and will no doubt be looking to smoke division rival Buffalo to get back on track. The Bills, meanwhile, have lost two games in a row because Trent Edwards can’t keep the turnovers low. The Jets are right in the mix too, but a win in this game is huge for the division.
Colts (4-4) at Steelers (6-2), 4:15 PM ET
Indy got back on track last week with a win over the Patriots, now they have to show that they can be consistent. The Steelers thumped the Skins on the road last Monday, but are coming off a short week and could be without Ben Roethlisberger. Can Byron Leftwich lead Pittsburgh to another victory? Or has the return of Bob Sanders lifted the Colts?
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