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Potent Giants offense facing Steelers' top-rated 'D'

The marquee game on the Week Eight NFL schedule is easily the New York Giants interconference game against the Steelers in Pittsburgh's Heinz Field.It's a clash of old-line NFL franchises that first met back in 1933 when the Steelers were known as the Pirates. More important, each team is off to a 5-1 start. Pittsburgh has taken over the NFL lead in total defense. The Giants are No. 2 in total offense, behind the New Orleans Saints.Tennessee, the last of the NFL unbeatens, goes for win No. 7 at home against AFC South rival Indianapolis. The teams split their season series each of the last two years.

>Game of the day

Giants (5-1) at Steelers (5-1)

TV: Ch. 29, 4 p.m.

The line: Steelers (-3).

The scoop: Are we looking at a Super Bowl preview? Two of the league's most solid teams, especially when the Steelers have a healthy Willie Parker. . . . WR Plaxico Burress is becoming a major headache for Tom Coughlin and the Giants. His latest escapade: After committing a dumb penalty, Burress exchanged words on the sideline with Coughlin during the win over the Niners. Then he missed practice this week with mysterious injuries.

Outlook: The Steelers are tough at Heinz Field, but injuries at OL and RB hurt. Giants, 24-13.


>Top attractions

Bills (5-1) at Dolphins (2-4)

TV: Ch. 4, 1 p.m.

The line: Bills (-1).

The scoop: Suspicion here is that this is a game the Fish have been pointing to, especially since the Bills have suddenly been "discovered" by the national sports media. . . . The Fish need a win to stay competitive in the AFC East and they don't need to be reminded that Buffalo has won the last three and seven of the last eight in this series. Miami leads the all-time series, 49-34-1, but the advantage was 34-6-1 before Jim Kelly and Marv Levy came along. . . . Surprisingly, Miami (No. 11) ranks higher in offensive yardage than the Bills (No. 17). . . . Jets reject Chad Pennington is completing passes at a 68.6 percent rate for Miami, but has struggled at times against the Bills. Buffalo QB Trent Edwards has an even higher completion rate, 69.7.

Outlook: Expect the Dolphins to try to shorten the game by controlling clock with Pennington's dink-and-dunk passes and the running of Ronnie Brown. Miami, 24-21.


Buccaneers (5-2) at Cowboys (4-3)

Kickoff: 1 p.m.

The line: Cowboys (-2 1/2 ).

The scoop: Brad Johnson will get another start at QB for the Cowboys with Tony Romo (pinky) out. . . . The teams last met two years ago at Texas Stadium with Cowboys winning, 38-10, behind a big day by Romo. . . . The Bucs are 1-2 on the road but the losses were by four at New Orleans and three at Denver. . . . Tampa has held three opponents to 10 points or less and leads the league in red zone defense. . . . The last four Dallas opponents averaged 28 ppg.

Outlook: The Cowboys respond to the home crowd, and owner's tongue lashing. Dallas, 27-17.


Cardinals (4-2) at Panthers (5-2)

Kickoff: 1 p.m.

The line: Panthers (-4).

The scoop: It is a big test for the Cards, who haven't been on the road since a 56-35 rout by the Jets. . . . It will be a test, too, for the Panthers' defense, which has held opponents to 33 points in four home games (4-0).

Outlook: The Panthers' defense, allowing only 275.7 ypg, will contain Kurt Warner and the Cards' passing game. Carolina, 24-16.


Colts (3-3) at Titans (6-0)

TV: ESPN, Monday, 8:30 p.m.

The line: Titans (-4).

The scoop: The Colts will try to rebound from a 34-14 loss at Green Bay, their worst defeat since a 44-17 rout at Jacksonville in 2006. . . . Dominic Rhodes probably will start at RB for Indy in place of Joseph Addai. . . . The Titans are third in league in total defense and tied for first in turnover margin (plus-6). Tennessee has won its last nine regular season games, the longest current streak in league.

Outlook: It will take a huge game from Peyton Manning if the Colts are to topple the Titans, who have given up the fewest points in the league (66). Tennessee, 20-17.


>Best of the rest

Rams (2-4) at Patriots (4-2)

TV: Ch. 29, 1 p.m.

The line: Patriots (-7 1/2 ).

The scoop: The Rams shocked the Redskins on the road and the Cowboys at home the last two weeks and are 2-0 under Jim Haslett. . . . The Patriots are coming off an impressive 41-7 Monday night rout of the Broncos. Has the demise of the Pats been exaggerated? . . . St. Louis RB Steven Jackson, who was huge against Dallas, may be hobbled today.

Outlook: The Patriots look ready to start a roll. New England, 27-10.


Chargers (3-4) vs. Saints (3-4) in London

Kickoff: 1 p.m.

The line: Chargers (-3).

The scoop: The game at London's Wembley Stadium matches the NFL's leader in passing TDs (16) and passer rating (108.5), Philip Rivers of the Chargers, and the league leader in passing yards (2,224), Drew Brees of the Saints. It should make for a jolly good offensive show. . . . The Saints will be without RB Reggie Bush so the passing game and RB Deuce McAllister will have to come up big. . . . The Chargers are a disappointment so far, but they are only a game out of first in the weak AFC West.

Outlook: Rivers and Co. put on offensive show. San Diego, 41-31.


Falcons (4-2) at Eagles (3-3)

Kickoff: 1 p.m.

The line: Eagles (-9).

The scoop: Both teams had last week off. . . . We'll see if Falcons rookie QB Matt Ryan is really the cool customer he is being made out to be. Ryan will be going against a tough Eagles defense and a myriad of blitzes cooked up by defensive coordinator Jim Johnson. Ryan had a career-best 301-yard game in his last start against the Bears. . . . RB Michael Turner, who ranks third in the NFL with 597 rushing yards, lends balance to Atlanta's attack. . . . The Falcons are looking for a third straight victory.

Outlook: Unsung Mike Smith is doing an outstanding job as rookie head coach of the Falcons. Philadelphia squeaks by, 20-17.


Browns (2-4) at Jaguars (3-3)

Kickoff: 4:05 p.m.

The line: Jaguars (-7).

The scoop: Anybody remember a season when NFL teams suspended so many of their own players (Steve Smith, Plaxico Burress, Larry Johnson and now Browns TE Kellen Winslow)? . . . Cleveland has won the last three games it's played in Jacksonville, but the teams have not played there since 2002. . . . The Jaguars are only 1-2 at home with losses to the Bills and Steelers and an OT win over the Texans.

Outlook: The Browns hang in even though they will be missing Winslow. Jaguars, 17-13.


Raiders (2-4) at Ravens (3-3)

Kickoff: 1 p.m.

The line: Ravens (-7 1/2 ).

The scoop: The Raiders topped the Jets on a 57-yard FG in OT last week. The Ravens won at Miami after a poor showing the week before in Indianapolis. . . . Baltimore is second in the league in total defense. . . . Ravens rookie QB Joe Flacco had a 73.9 completion percentage and a 120.2 passer rating, both personal highs, against the Dolphins.

Outlook: Raiders QB JaMarcus Russell is improving little by little each week, but Baltimore's tough defense should bother him. Ravens, 28-17.


Chiefs (1-5) at Jets (3-3)

Kickoff: 1 p.m.

The line: Jets (-14).

The scoop: Coming off a loss to the Raiders, the Jets need a break and get one with the hapless Chiefs and former Gang Green coach Herm Edwards coming to town. . . . Tyler Thigpen, a waiver pick from Minnesota a year ago, will get the QB start for K.C. . . . Brett Favre found a new receiving target last week in TE Chris Baker to go with WRs Jerricho Cotchery and Laveranues Coles.

Outlook: The Chiefs could use a few tips from Favre. Jets, 34-14.


Bengals (0-7) at Texans (2-4)

Kickoff: 4:05 p.m.

The line: Texans (-9).

The scoop: The Bengals are 3-0 all-time against the Texans, but they will need Carson Palmer at QB, not Ryan Fitzpatrick, to have chance of winning this one. . . . This is the second winless opponent in a row for the Texans, who nearly blew a 21-0 lead in a home win over the Lions last week. . . . The game was originally scheduled for Nov. 9 but shifted when that date was needed for the Texans-Ravens makeup game.

Outlook: Houston, 33-21.


Redskins (5-2) at Lions (0-6)

Kickoff: 1 p.m.

The line: Redskins (-7 1/2 ).

The scoop: Dan Orlovsky makes his third start at QB for the Lions. . . . Washington QB Jason Campbell has not thrown an interception in 202 attempts this season. . . . Redskins RB Clinton Portis is averaging 142.2 yards in his last four games. . . . The Redskins have won 18 of the last 20 in the all-time series with the Lions. Both Lions wins were in Michigan. The Lions have never won a game in Washington (0-21).

Outlook: The Lions have to win some time don't they? Not this week. Redskins, 31-17.


>Dog of the day

Seahawks (1-5) at 49ers (2-5)

Kickoff: 4:15 p.m.

The line: 49ers (-5 1/2 ).

The scoop: Mike Singletary makes his head coaching debut for San Francisco, taking over from Mike Nolan. . . . The Niners defeated the Seahawks in Seattle, 33-30, in OT in Week Two. . . . Matt Hasselbeck (back) will miss his third straight start for Seattle. It will be Seneca Wallace again. . . . Niners QB J.T. O'Sullivan passed for a career-high 321 yards in the first meeting with the Seahawks.

Outlook: Remember when it was unthinkable to make the Niners an underdog at home? Niners, 35-28.

Bye: Broncos, Bears, Packers, Vikings.


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