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Key divisional matchups litter the Week 9 schedule

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1 p.m. ET, CBS  |  Tickets Baltimore at Cincinnati
Matchup Jason La Canfora's storyline Did you know?
Series leader: Baltimore, 15-12.
Streaks: The Bengals have won seven of the past 10 meetings.
Playbook picks:
» Brian Baldinger: Ravens
» Sterling Sharpe: Bengals
» Joe Theismann: Ravens

» Vote: Who will win?
These two produced an epic in Week 5, with a last-second Carson Palmer drive beating the Ravens at home. Expect Baltimore to blitz him more this time around, and also establish the run game. Cedric Benson became the first back in three years to rush for over 100 yards against Baltimore in the first meeting, and he should be fresh off a bye. How will the Cincy pass rush hold up with Antwan Odom gone for the season? Can Benson keep up this pace? If the Bengals win here, they force Baltimore to chase them down the stretch. A win by the Ravens puts them even with Cincy and on Pittsburgh's heels. Ravens QB Joe Flacco has at least one touchdown pass in seven consecutive games. ... Ed Reed's six interceptions against the Bengals are his second-highest against any opponent. ... Carson Palmer is 7-3 in his career against the Ravens. ... Cincinnati's Chris Crocker has an interception in two consecutive games.


Video: Game preview




1 p.m. ET, CBS  |  TicketsMiami at New England
Matchup Jason La Canfora's storyline Did you know?
Series leader: Dolphins, 49-38, including the playoffs.
Streaks: New England has won four of the past six meetings.
Playbook picks:
» Brian Baldinger: Patriots
» Sterling Sharpe: Patriots
» Joe Theismann: Patriots

» Vote: Who will win?
If any team can muster a divisional threat to New England, it's Miami. This whole Wildcat craze got going at the Pats' expense early last season. With the Bills at the bottom and the Jets in a free-fall, this is a game that could put Miami in position to be a playoff factor. The Dolphins should have beaten the Colts and Saints already. You can't expect Ted Ginn to go bonkers in the return game, though, and Chad Henne hasn't been as sharp now that there is more recent game film of him floating around. It's hard not to like the Pats off a bye. Maybe it saps some of the offensive momentum they were mounting, though, I doubt it. Dolphins coach Tony Sparano is 7-2 against the AFC East. ... Miami's Joey Porter has a sack in four straight games against New England. ... Since 2007, Patriots WR Wes Welker leads the NFL with 269 catches. ... New England has won 24 consecutive regular-season games with Junior Seau on the roster.


Video: Game preview




1 p.m. ET, CBS  |  TicketsHouston at Indianapolis
Matchup Jason La Canfora's storyline Did you know?
Series leader: Indianapolis has owned this series, having won 13 of the 14 all-time matchups.
Streaks: See above.
Playbook picks:
» Brian Baldinger: Colts
» Sterling Sharpe: Texans
» Joe Theismann: Colts

» Vote: Who will win?
If the Texans are truly for real, this is the showcase game to prove it. Both teams are playing much improved defense lately, but with Peyton Manning and Matt Schaub on the field, the possibility of a shootout is always high. If either team can establish the run, it might tilt the game. The loss of Owen Daniels allows teams to focus more on Andre Johnson without worrying about as much underneath. If the Colts stay unbeaten here, you can just about hand them the AFC South title. Texans QB Matt Schaub has already thrown for a career-high 16 touchdowns. ... In his past three games against the Colts, Mario Williams has three sacks. ... Peyton Manning is 7-0 at home against the Texans and has 20 touchdown passes and only two interceptions in those games. ... Dwight Freeney has at least one sack in eight consecutive games.


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1 p.m. ET, FOX  |  TicketsWashington at Atlanta
Matchup Jason La Canfora's storyline Did you know?
Series leader: The Redskins have a 15-5-1 overall series edge.
Streaks: Washington has won six of the last eight meetings.
Playbook picks:
» Brian Baldinger: Falcons
» Sterling Sharpe: Falcons
» Joe Theismann: Falcons

» Vote: Who will win?
The Redskins might not win again this season. The schedule is tough and the malaise there is thick, especially with Chris Cooley gone for a while. This looks like a great opportunity for Atlanta to capitalize on the many mistakes Washington's offense is prone to. Redskins RB Clinton Portis averages 108.9 yards from scrimmage per game in his career -- the fifth-best mark of all time (min. 100 games). ... Washington's Andre Carter has a sack in three consecutive games. ... Falcons QB Matt Ryan is 10-1 in his career at home. ... Atlanta's Tony Gonzalez has scored in all three of his home games this season.


Video: Game preview




1 p.m. ET, FOX  |  TicketsArizona at Chicago
Matchup Jason La Canfora's storyline Did you know?
Series leader: Chicago, 55-26-6.
Streaks: The Bears have won five of the past six meetings.
Playbook picks:
» Brian Baldinger: Bears
» Sterling Sharpe: Bears
» Joe Theismann: Bears

» Vote: Who will win?
Neither team has been capable of putting its best foot forward with great regularity. Nor has either been balanced on offense. Kurt Warner is coming off a five-interception outing, while Jay Cutler has turned it over far too much this season. It seems like the kind of game the Cards often lose. Larry Fitzgerald hasn't quite been himself and Anquan Boldin is banged up, again. Another game where, if either team can play ball control and establish a run game, I give them the edge. The Cardinals are 3-0 on the road for the first time since 1982. ... Arizona's Tim Hightower leads all NFL running backs with 39 catches. ... When Jay Cutler has at least a 100 passer rating, his teams are 13-0. ... Johnny Knox is second among rookies with four touchdown catches.


Video: Game preview




1 p.m. ET, CBS  |  TicketsKansas City at Jacksonville
Matchup Jason La Canfora's storyline Did you know?
Series leader: Jacksonville has a 5-2 overall series advantage.
Streaks: See above.
Playbook picks:
» Brian Baldinger: Jaguars
» Sterling Sharpe: Chiefs
» Joe Theismann: Jaguars

» Vote: Who will win?
This is a must-win game for the Jags if they are to remain on the periphery of the playoff scene. The Chiefs get their first taste of taking the field without Larry Johnson around, which will become the norm by 2010. Chiefs QB Matt Cassel has a 7-3 career record on the road as a starter. ... Kansas City's Dwayne Bowe has a touchdown in two of his past three games. ... Jaguars head coach Jack Del Rio played two years with the Chiefs (1987-88). ... Maurice Jones-Drew has 50 touchdowns in 53 career games.


Video: Game preview




1 p.m. ET, FOX  |  TicketsGreen Bay at Tampa Bay
Matchup Jason La Canfora's storyline Did you know?
Series leader: Green Bay leads, 30-20-1, including the playoffs.
Streaks: The Buccaneers have won six of the past nine meetings.
Playbook picks:
» Brian Baldinger: Packers
» Sterling Sharpe: Packers
» Joe Theismann: Packers

» Vote: Who will win?
Will Tampa Bay go 0-16? Can the Packers put together a stretch of three or four solid performances to get going? You would expect the Bucs to attack Aaron Rodgers like crazy given Green Bay's protection issues and with the Bucs having nothing to lose. It would also help to give Josh Freeman some short fields in his first NFL start. Packers QB Aaron Rodgers has posted a 100-plus passer rating in five consecutive games. ... Green Bay's Charles Woodson leads the NFL with five interception returns for touchdowns since 2006. ... Tampa Bay's Ronde Barber is one of four players all time with 20-plus sacks and 20-plus interceptions.


Video: Game preview




4:05 p.m. ET, FOX  |  TicketsCarolina at New Orleans
Matchup Jason La Canfora's storyline Did you know?
Series leader: Panthers, 16-12.
Streaks: Carolina has won six of the past seven meetings.
Playbook picks:
» Brian Baldinger: Panthers
» Sterling Sharpe: Panthers
» Joe Theismann: Saints

» Vote: Who will win?
This is a trap game to me. The Panthers have been bad, QB Jake Delhomme is beat up and Carolina is coming in off a win. If the Saints let their focus slip, this is a team that knows them well and could tear off some of the long outside runs that have occasionally given New Orleans trouble. But the Saints can beat you in many ways: With long drives, quick strikes or by scoring on defense. And Delhomme is more prone to handing the ball to the wrong team than pretty much anyone in the NFL. Panthers QB Jake Delhomme, who started his career in New Orleans, is 8-2 against the Saints. ... When DeAngelo Williams rushes for 110 yards or more, the Panthers are 10-0. ... Saints RB Reggie Bush has a touchdown in three consecutive games. ... New Orleans is averaging a league-best 39 points per game.


Video: Game preview




4:05 p.m. ET, FOX  |  TicketsDetroit at Seattle
Matchup Jason La Canfora's storyline Did you know?
Series leader: Seattle, 6-4.
Streaks: The Lions have won three of the past five.
Playbook picks:
» Brian Baldinger: Seahawks
» Sterling Sharpe: Seahawks
» Joe Theismann: Seahawks

» Vote: Who will win?
Both teams are struggling to be competitive. Detroit's lone win since 2007 came at home and, even with an injury-depleted team on the field, Seattle is a tough place to play. Former Seahawks Maurice Morris and Julian Peterson, now with the Lions, face their former team for the first time. ... Matthew Stafford has two rushing touchdowns this year. ... Seattle's John Carlson has five touchdowns in his past seven home games.


Video: Game preview




4:15 p.m. ET, CBS  |  TicketsSan Diego at N.Y. Giants
Matchup Jason La Canfora's storyline Did you know?
Series leader: New York has the overall series edge, 5-4.
Streaks: San Diego has won two of three.
Playbook picks:
» Brian Baldinger: Chargers
» Sterling Sharpe: Chargers
» Joe Theismann: Chargers

» Vote: Who will win?
Okay, no divisional ramifications here, but two teams that badly need a win. The Giants' 5-0 start seems like ancient history, their secondary is pathetic at this point and the pass rush is not ferocious enough. Philip Rivers is the kind of guy who can exploit that struggling coverage, and target safety C.C. Brown in particular. The Giants badly need to get Chris Canty, Aaron Ross and Michael Boley on the field, immediately. Doubt the Chargers do much on the ground here, but this game could be won one-dimensionally given the state of New York's pass coverage. San Diego's defense is shaky as well, but you have to wonder if Eli's foot and heel are bothering him, with balls sailing high and long on him. Philip Rivers has 11 touchdowns in his past five outings against the NFC. ... Since 2002, San Diego's Antonio Gates leads NFL tight ends with 53 TD catches. ... The Giants have won five straight vs. the AFC, including Super Bowl XLII. ... When Justin Tuck records a sack, the Giants are 15-3.


Video: Game preview




4:15 p.m. ET, CBS  |  TicketsTennessee at San Francisco
Matchup Jason La Canfora's storyline Did you know?
Series leader: San Francisco has a 7-4 overall series edge.
Streaks: The Niners have won two of the past three meetings.
Playbook picks:
» Brian Baldinger: 49ers
» Sterling Sharpe: 49ers
» Joe Theismann: 49ers

» Vote: Who will win?
Vince Young was not too shabby in his ‘09 debut, eh? The formula for the Titans is pretty simple, and the lack of the vertical element in the passing game is nothing new. Defenses have to respect his scrambling ability and running the ball is by far what the team does best anyway. Tennessee is not as bad as its record. In San Fran, the change at quarterback to Alex Smith might not be enough. I'll call for Michael Crabtree to get his first NFL TD and for Vernon Davis to have a good game as well. Frank Gore vs. Chris Johnson gives us a matchup of the two best backs in the league at taking a carry 50 yards or more to the house. The Titans have won five straight against the NFC. ... Chris Johnson leads the NFL with 824 rushing yards. ... Niners RB Frank Gore has three 60-plus yard TD runs this year. ... San Francisco's Ray McDonald has a career-high three sacks this year.


Video: Game preview




8:20 p.m. ET, NBC  |  TicketsDallas at Philadelphia (watch live online)
Matchup Jason La Canfora's storyline Did you know?
Series leader: Dallas, 55-44, including the playoffs.
Streaks: The Eagles have won four of the past six meetings.
Playbook picks:
» Brian Baldinger: Eagles
» Sterling Sharpe: Cowboys
» Joe Theismann: Eagles

» Vote: Who will win?
Another Sunday night spectacle for a glamour division. The Cowboys are making a move, but haven't faced a divisional foe since losing at home to the Giants in Week 2. The Eagles share first place in the division with the Cowboys. The Giants are sliding and the Redskins are three games back. I'm not sure Dallas' secondary matches up well with speedster DeSean Jackson, and Philly is hopeful of getting Brian Westbrook back. If the Eagles generate anything close to the pass rush they mustered against Eli Manning, it could be tough for the Cowboys to overcome on the road. Cornerbacks like Asante Samuel are adept at reading eyes and jumping routes, and we'll see if Tony Romo continues protecting the ball as he has lately. Cowboys QB Tony Romo has won 12 consecutive November starts. ... DeMarcus Ware's 39 sacks since 2007 are the second-most in the NFL over that span. ... Eagles QB Donovan McNabb has won 11 of his past 16 starts against Dallas. ... Since 2005, Asante Samuel leads the NFL with 28 interceptions.


Video: Game preview




Monday, 8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN  |  TicketsPittsburgh at Denver
Matchup Jason La Canfora's storyline Did you know?
Series leader: The Broncos have a commanding 16-9-1 overall series edge, including the playoffs.
Streaks: Denver has won four of the past five.
Playbook picks:
» Brian Baldinger: Steelers
» Sterling Sharpe: Steelers
» Joe Theismann: Steelers

» Vote: Who will win?
Pittsburgh comes in off a bye after regaining its form, while Denver tries to rebound from its first loss of the season. Baltimore showed you could out-physical the Broncos' defense if need be, and I expect the Steelers to take that same approach. Broncos QB Kyle Orton has only lost twice at home in his career. Troy Polamalu should be ready after getting the extra week to nurse his ailing knee. Denver could look suddenly vulnerable, and coach Josh McDaniels is dealing with some in-season adversity for the first time. Steelers coach Mike Tomlin is 4-0 on Monday Night Football. ... Ben Roethlisberger has a touchdown in seven consecutive games. ... Broncos QB Kyle Orton has lost just two home games in his career. ... Denver's Elvis Dumervil leads the AFC with 10 sacks.


Video: Game preview




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