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The Sunday Slate (Week Eight): Big Games in Big D, Music City

Posted: Oct 26, 2008

Finally, we have a few big games to savor.

As Always, SPF teams in CAPS with (Week 7's T.I. Poll Ranking)

TAMPA BAY (4) @ DALLAS (1) - This pivotal Swampland Showdown game takes place in Dallas when the Buccaneers travel to Texas Stadium to battle the inconsistent Cowboys. One reason for Tampa’s 5-2 start has been the “team” feeling that exists in their locker room.

We don't see that same chemistry with the ‘Boys, who are trying to keep up with the Giants and Redskins in the NFC East. Although Jerry Jones said Wade Phillips’ job was safe after the Dallas’ brutal loss in St. Louis last week, Jean-Jacques Taylor believes the Cowboys could make a change if they lose the next two games. Dallas won’t have quarterback Tony Romo for either one of those contests against the division-leading Buccaneers and Giants. Randy Galloway called the Cowboys “gutless” after the loss to the Rams and believes that the club has reached its lowest point during Phillips’ tenure. There is a ton of individual talent in Dallas, but that also means a lot of egos.

We're not sure that Phillips is the type of disciplinarian needed to keep all of those egos in check, and get the whole team pulling in the same direction. If he doesn’t figure it out soon, there will be another coach on the sidelines for Jerry Jones, whose organization has not won a Playoff game since 1996.

INDIANAPOLIS (5) @ TENNESSEE (2) - This is the other great Swampland Showdown but with an AFC twist.  A Titans' win solidifies their AFC dominance.  A Colts win creates an opening.

Unless Peyton plays the game of his life, there isn't a whole lot to like about the Colts' chances.  The Titans could come in flat, but that doesn't seem likely.

Is this a permanent changing of the guard in the AFC South?

CINCINNATI (13) @ HOUSTON (12) - It's the Swampland Cellar Showdown!  Is there really a winner here?  Both Houston and Cincy have been colossal disappointments, but Cincy has the excuse of no Carson Palmer.

Houston's excuses have been running thin all season.  They had better win this one.

Arizona @ CAROLINA (6) - Carolina has had a solid season, but the best thing has been their play at home.  They are undefeated this season which is a marked change from seasons past under John Fox.

Arizona can be a very difficult matchup because they have the weapons to test defenses - just ask Miami.  Carolina must win this game decisively to show that they are ready to contend in the NFC playoff picture.

ATLANTA (8) @ Philadelphia - The bye week is over.  The Falcons have a rude awakening.  They've proven they can beat good NFC North teams, but the NFC East is a different animal.

Matt Ryan will have his hands full with the Eagles blitz-intensive scheme.  For the Falcons to have any chance, their defense must contain the Eagles offense and keep it close.

San Diego @ NEW ORLEANS (9) - The Saints have had a season of near misses which puts them in parallel with their London opponent.  This is about as even of a matchup as we've seen.  Both teams are great when at their potential, but both have a tendency to fall asleep.

Buffalo @ MIAMI (7) - Tony Sparano knows the importance of this game.  He wants to show NFC East rivals that the Dolphins are no longer a lay down win.  Expect the Fins to be a tough out today.

Cleveland @ JACKSONVILLE (10) - Ok Jags, are you ready for your playoff push?  It started two weeks ago in Denver and won't stop until mid-December.

ST. LOUIS (11) @ New England - If I'm Bill Belichick, I'd be afraid.  Jim Haslett's team is playing with an abandon that will leave you at the least wounded and at worst, with an embarrassing loss.

WASHINGTON (3) @ Detroit - Well, Washington has a bye this week.  Let's hope they can rest some of their wounded players up.

related tags

Mercenary Territory,
Southern Pro Football,
New Orleans,
North Carolina,

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