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Giants-Eagles, Saints-Packers highlight Week 4 showdowns

When in doubt, you can't go wrong with a fierce, nasty NFC East feud. Where New York Giants pass rusher Osi Umenyiora is forced to defend himself against being called "a ballerina" by Philadelphia Eagles running back LeSean McCoy, who makes no apologies for loudly tormenting the player who once called him "Lady Gaga."

You think there won't be fireworks in Sunday night's Giants-Eagles showdown? Oh, there will be. There always are.

But the two teams' unique situations make this bout all the more enticing. The G-Men are hitting their stride after a slow start, coming off a dominant win at Carolina despite being plagued by injuries. And the Eagles, well, they spent most of this week parsing the words of coach Andy Reid, who left the door ajar on quarterback Michael Vick's future as his starter. If the Giants beat Vick around, this could get very interesting.

Safe to say, we'll be watching this one.

Here is your Week 4 primer, with games ranked in order of intrigue, from 1 to 15:

    • New York at Philadelphia

      Sun 8:20 p.m. ET, NBC Get Tickets
    • Why this game is No. 1:

      All that stuff I said above? That applies right here. Mostly, it'll just be great to see worlds collide and find out how good these teams are. The G-Men have offered a mixed message, losing to the Dallas Cowboys at home and falling far behind the Tampa Bay Buccaneers before stealing a win with a huge fourth quarter. But they did come back and destroy the Panthers. We'll know more Sunday night, but the Eagles need to tell us something, too. Are they the dominant team they have looked like at times, or will turnovers doom them?
    • What to watch:

      If you like aggressive, no-holds-barred defensive lines, this is your type of game. The Giants can always get after the passer, and that doesn't bode well for Vick. Few quarterbacks have been banged around like he has this season, and it'll be a challenge for him to hang on to the ball against that penetrating attack. If the Eagles can protect him, though, life will be good. On the other side, Philadelphia might be the only team that can devastate an offensive line like the G-Men can. How well the quarterbacks stay poised might determine this high-powered showdown. #NYGvsPHI
    • Watch: Game Preview
    • New Orleans at Green Bay

      Sun 4:25 p.m. ET, FOX Get Tickets
    • Why this game is No. 2:

      OK, I get it. The combined record of these two teams is 1-5, which should pin this down to the bottom of the list. Right? Riiiiiiiiiiiiight. The Saints are still must-watch, if only for those who want to learn what the heck is going on with the NFL's most confounding team. Can New Orleans really go from Super Bowl champion to playoff participant to bargain basement in three years? Or can this defense learn to tackle in a week? The Packers, meanwhile, have been in the spotlight after Monday night's refereeing fiasco. Still, they have no choice but to quickly turn the page. At least they get to be home sweet home.
    • What to watch:

      It will take a serious coaching effort from Mike McCarthy to get the Packers to put the trip to Seattle behind them in time for Sunday's game. As McCarthy said, "It's an educational opportunity for us as a coaching staff." He's right. The only answer is to not leave things up to the officials. To do that, Green Bay must fix the issues that plagued its offensive line in the first half on Monday night. The Saints have no head coach to lean on; Sean Payton's absence has proved to be a bigger issue than anyone anticipated. They're trying to continue to fight, but a loss to the Packers -- and the 0-4 mark that would result -- could make their season a fait accompli. #NOvsGB
    • Watch: Game Preview
    • Chicago at Dallas

      Mon 8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN Get Tickets
    • Why this game is No. 3:

      Two of the NFL's biggest enigmas compete on the big stage Monday night. How can anyone know what to expect from either one? The Bears won ugly last week, moving on from Jay Cutler's Shovegate (or something); the biggest development in Week 3 was that they actually protected Cutler. That has to continue, but injuries at running back have made offensive balance an issue. The Cowboys survived last week, winning a slugfest that tested their mettle. This one has a playoff feel, just in terms of the turns it can take.
    • What to watch:

      When Dallas' defense battles Chicago's offense, the spotlight will shine on two important matchups. Pass-rusher extraordinaire DeMarcus Ware, now healthy and coming off a two-sack game, will try to humiliate Bears left tackle J'Marcus Webb. That might not be pretty, even if Webb is improving. And for Chicago, playmaking receiver Brandon Marshall will attack a Cowboys secondary that was re-tooled in the offseason for exactly this kind of game. Brandon Carr and rookie Morris Claiborne await. #CHIvsDAL
    • Watch: Game Preview
    • San Francisco at New York

      Sun 1:00 p.m. ET, FOX Get Tickets
    • Why this game is No. 4:

      I don't actually think this will be a great game. The 49ers will be fiery after their wake-up-call loss in Minnesota. It might be what they needed; don't be surprised if San Francisco physically reasserts itself against the Jets. It might not be close. But this is still one of the most interesting games, because I want one question answered: What will Gang Green do without Darrelle Revis? The NFL's best cover corner tore his ACL last week, and the Jets will have to somehow play defense without him. But how?
    • What to watch:

      To allow quarterback Mark Sanchez to find a groove, the Jets need to run the ball, if not with Shonn Greene, then with someone else. The problem is, the 49ers stop the run, allowing just 3.3 yards per rush. That doesn't bode well for Sanchez and the play-action game. More interesting, though, is what the heck Rex Ryan will do. One of the NFL's foremost defensive gurus just lost one of the best players in the game. He doesn't have another Revis to slot in there. (That is a reality for 31 other teams on a weekly basis.) How will Ryan scheme his way out of this one? #SFvsNYJ
    • Watch: Game Preview
    • New England at Buffalo

      Sun 1:00 p.m. ET, CBS Get Tickets
    • Why this game is No. 5:

      The last time the Patriots visited upstate New York, they left with a humbling defeat -- their first loss to Buffalo since 2003. Tom Brady threw four interceptions and might have been angrier about that result than he's been about any other regular-season game in memory. Fast-forward a year, and the Pats are (gasp) in third place in the AFC East. How mad will Brady be this year if New England falls to 1-3? We might find out. Buffalo has survived injury scares with its top two running backs; Fred Jackson could return this week. Plus, the atmosphere should be insane.
    • What to watch:

      Mario Williams, the top free agent on the market during the offseason, was lured to Buffalo for games like this. Nothing is more important than affecting Brady, and Williams will have his chance. The Patriots will try to get their offense going after some rare stagnation, as it appears offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels is still trying to find his happy place. If they can block the Bills' front, it could be a good day. As for the Buffalo offense, the possible return of Jackson would serve as a game-changer. He's one of the opposing players who is most respected by Pats coach Bill Belichick. #NEvsBUF
    • Watch: Game Preview
    • Tennessee at Houston

      Sun 1:00 p.m. ET, CBS Get Tickets
    • Why this game is No. 6:

      The Titans looked like they were on their way to being one of the league's biggest disappointments, both before last week's game against the Lions and then again at the end of regulation. Tennessee did end up winning in overtime, setting off some offensive fireworks in the process. Maybe there is hope after all, as second-year quarterback Jake Locker is beginning to show more consistency. Sunday's test looms large. With little fanfare, when we weren't even looking, the Texans became one of the NFL's best teams.
    • What to watch:

      The game should be shaping up as a duel between two of the NFL's most productive running backs. But it isn't. Arian Foster is still leading the multi-faceted Houston offense with 98 yards per game, and he'll give Tennessee some problems. Titans running back Chris Johnson, meanwhile, doesn't have 98 yards for the season. The first running back to find consistent real estate will create big plays for his offense. The Texans, though, have a weapon against all things offense. J.J. Watt -- can we just call him J.J. Swat on first reference? -- is coming into his own in Year 2, and a shaky Titans offensive line will have its hands full. #TENvsHOU
    • Watch: Game Preview
    • Washington at Tampa Bay

      Sun 4:25 p.m. ET, FOX Get Tickets
    • Why this game is No. 7:

      One of the NFL's fastest defenses will try to catch Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III. The Buccaneers are built like one of those college defenses coach Greg Schiano used to see on Saturdays, and catching them to block 'em is challenging. But this is speed on speed. Griffin, a former track star, might prove to be the one thing the Bucs can't slow down. As active a front as they have, he might be running a lot. In addition, both teams are badly in need of a win; someone's going to fall to 1-3.
    • What to watch:

      The surprise player of the year is Redskins back Alfred Morris, now 10th in the NFL with 87.7 yards per game. Needing to give RG3 some relief, the 'Skins have turned to pounding the rock with Morris, getting stellar results. But no team stops the run as handily as the Bucs. Their D-line is slick and their linebackers are playmakers. This defense has the speed to contain RG3 and the physicality to pound Morris. Washington has high hopes this year, but a visit to Tampa might put a serious damper on things. #WASvsTB
    • Watch: Game Preview
    • Cleveland at Baltimore

      Thur 8:20 p.m. ET, NFL NETWORK Get Tickets
    • Why this game is No. 8:

      It's not just because it's a battle between two of the NFL's hardest-hitting teams (though that's the kind of criteria I'm buying). It's that circumstances make me think this has upset potential. Baltimore is coming off an emotional roller coaster of a game that included officiating issues throughout and receiver Torrey Smith somehow summoning the composure to play (and excel) following the death of his brother. It took a lot for the Ravens to win a tight (and hotly debated) "Sunday Night Football" contest, one that seemed like it happened only yesterday. Will John Harbaugh's team be ready for the Browns?
    • What to watch:

      As old as the Ravens defense is getting, you still have to block 'em. And they still have two mammoth defensive tackles, as well as Ray Lewis in the middle. Not great news for budding star Trent Richardson, who doesn't seem to mind a challenge. If the former Alabama back can get going, he'll test the Ravens' defense in a way it hasn't been tested yet. The Browns don't have the weapons to find their way into a shootout, but if scores don't come easy early, it could get interesting late. #CLEvsBAL
    • Watch: Game Preview
    • Minnesota at Detroit

      Sun 1:00 p.m. ET, FOX Get Tickets
    • Why this game is No. 10:

      That slow rebuilding project the Vikings were on track for ran into the fast-forward button when they beat the 49ers last week. They were supposed to grow together over time, but it seems they've done it already. This week will be a little more difficult, with Minnesota going on the road. Will one of the NFL's most accurate quarterbacks, Christian Ponder, continue his star turn against a secondary that has allowed opposing signal-callers to complete 67 percent of their passes? Looks like a good matchup for the second-year starter.
    • What to watch:

      The big issue heading into the game is the health of Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford. Will he play with an injured leg? If not, this one is even more wide open. Assuming you like offense -- and who doesn't? -- the Vikings and Lions will oblige. Oh, and you might want to keep watching this one to the end. Craaaaazy things happen when the Lions play. #MINvsDET
    • Watch: Game Preview
    • Carolina at Atlanta

      Sun 1:00 p.m. ET, FOX Get Tickets
    • Why this game is No. 11:

      Any chance to watch Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan continue torching the league should be seized upon. And the fact that the Panthers haven't tackled in a few games has to make Ryan's guys salivate. A real chance to go 4-0 and take a (gulp) three-game lead in the NFC South for Atlanta. It's everything they hoped for after an offseason of offensive soul-searching.
    • What to watch:

      The Cam Newton honeymoon has ended in Carolina. The star quarterback is being scrutinized like never before, both for his play and his attitude. And that Superman-style touchdown celebration he put on with his team down several scores against the Giants wasn't a great move. Can he respond? Against the high-flying Falcons, the scrutiny will continue. #CARvsATL
    • Watch: Game Preview
    • Oakland at Denver

      Sun 4:05 p.m. ET, CBS Get Tickets
    • Why this game is No. 13:

      Two of the AFC West's sub-.500 teams. Amazing, but true. The euphoria of opening week is gone for the Broncos, and questions about Peyton Manning's arm persist. Can Manning find his way? Sure, Denver is at home, but after last week's win over the Steelers, the Raiders have some life. Life's name is Darren McFadden, whom Denver must contain. A very tricky game for the Broncos.
    • What to watch:

      The Raiders need to win games like this, especially early, if they are going to compete in the division. At some point, maybe by midseason, Manning will learn how to compete with diminished arm strength, and he'll turn into Chad Pennington in his prime. (Which is a compliment, by the way.) It hasn't happened yet. The Raiders had better jump on Denver when they can. A big game in a divisional race that is only heating up. #OAKvsDEN
    • Watch: Game Preview
    • Miami at Arizona

      Sun 4:05 p.m. ET, CBS Get Tickets
    • Why this game is No. 14:

      Of course, we all knew the Cardinals would be 3-0 going into ... Nah, never mind. No we didn't. The way that defense is playing, Arizona is going to be in every game, with a real chance to win. Inherently, this is a massive test for Dolphins rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill. He might want to avoid budding star cornerback Patrick Peterson.
    • What to watch:

      An underrated storyline for the Cardinals involves quarterback John Skelton. The starter when the season began, his injury paved the way for Kevin Kolb's undefeated run. Now, Skelton is able to play ... but will he? As Arizona makes its case for being a real contender, all eyes are STILL on the quarterbacks. #MIAvsAZ
    • Watch: Game Preview
    • Seattle at St. Louis

      Sun 1:00 p.m. ET, FOX Get Tickets
    • Why this game is No. 15:

      In the spotlight all week, thanks to referees entangling themselves in the outcome, Seattle goes back to what former Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselbeck once called the NFL's Witness Protection Program. We'll check the score when it's over. But if the Seahawks keep playing defense like they have been, destroying opposing offensive lines, we'll be forced to watch. Won't we?
    • What to watch:

      It's time we started to learn the names of the guys flying around on the Seahawks' defense. Start with end Chris Clemons, who had four sacks Monday night. As for the Rams, they need to find some offensive rhythm for Sam Bradford and the gimpy Steven Jackson. Won't be easy this week. #SEAvsSTL
    • Watch: Game Preview

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