T.G.I. Friday’s NFL Weekend Preview

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The Scores Report has teamed up with T.G.I Friday’s to promote the action in Week 9 of the NFL. Here’s a look at Sunday’s top games.

Buccaneers (5-2) @ Falcons (5-2), 1:00PM ET
If someone would have told me before the season started that the winner of this game would have sole possession of first place in the NFC South, I would have said, “That’s crazy! You mean Tampa hasn’t already taken sole possession of the division?” Look for the Bucs to stick to their ground game with LeGarrette Blount in hopes that he’ll set up the play-action pass for quarterback Josh Freeman. That said, Blount could have trouble finding running room against an Atlanta defense that ranks sixth against the run (95.9 YPG). For whatever reason, Tampa has given the Falcons trouble over the years, so don’t expect a blowout inside the Georgia Dome this Sunday. That said, Matt Ryan has only lost once at home over his career and the Falcons will be fresh coming off their bye.

Dolphins (4-3) @ Ravens (5-2), 1:00PM ET
The Ravens are 3-0 at home and the Dolphins are 4-0 on the road so something has to give this Sunday in Baltimore. Miami is only the fifth team in NFL history to go 4-0 on the road and 0-3 at home in its first seven games. If the Fish are to pick up another road victory, they better stay balanced offensively so that Ray Lewis and company can’t zero in on the run. Chad Henne has put together some good performances this year but he needs to be more consistent and find Brandon Marshall inside the red zone. For the Ravens, the Joe Flacco-Anquan Boldin combination has been outstanding this year but more was expected out of Ray Rice. Much more. Rice could have a tough time finding running room against the 11th-best run defense in the league.

Colts (5-2) @ Eagles (4-3), 4:15PM ET
While this is also true for most teams, the Colts have looked like a completely different team on the road this season. Both of their losses came on the road and Philadelphia is certainly a tougher place to play than Houston and Jacksonville (the cities in which the Colts have already lost in). While Dallas Clark and Anthony Gonzalez have both been ruled out, Joseph Addai and Austin Collie continue to battle injuries themselves. Peyton Manning has a penchant for making any receiver/tight end look like a Hall of Famer, but the Eagles’ have the weapons in their defensive backfield to keep the Colts in check. Michael Vick will make his first start since suffering a rib injury against the Redskins a month ago and it’ll be interesting to see if he can lead Philly to a win in order to keep pace with the Giants in the NFC East. This is a big game for both teams.

Giants (5-2) @ Seahawks (4-3), 4:05PM ET
Nobody wants to be Charlie Whitehurst at the current moment. Charlie Whitehurst doesn’t even want to be Charlie Whitehurst right now. The Giants are red-hot and have once again found their pass rush. They’ve also managed to knock Jay Cutler, Shaun Hill and Tony Romo out of games, which doesn’t bode well for Whitehurst, who will start for the injured Matt Hasselbeck (head injury). It’ll be interesting to see how New York copes with having to fly cross-country and playing a Seahawks team that has been outstanding at home. Still, this is a game the G-Men should win. They have an opportunity to open up a two-game lead in the NFC East if the Eagles lose to Peyton Manning and the Colts Sunday afternoon.

Chiefs (5-2) @ Raiders (4-4), 4:15PM ET
Ah yes, the Chiefs and Raiders battle for first place in the AFC West. That makes sense. Oakland has scored over 90 points in its two victories the last two weeks, while Kansas City struggled at home against the Bills last Sunday but still managed to pick up a win. It’s Jason Campbell’s offense again in Oakland and he appears more comfortable running Tom Cable’s ship. He’ll need to continue to be consistent if he wants to hold off Bruce Gradkowski (when he’s healthy again), who is clearly a favorite of Tom Cable’s. This is a huge test for the Chiefs. Playoff teams need to beat their divisional opponents on the road. While a win against the Raiders won’t definite their season, if the Chiefs can scoop up a victory then they could set themselves up nicely heading into the second half of the season.

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom.

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