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Giants-Cowboys, Falcons-Eagles, Saints-Broncos head Week 8


The records could be as lopsided as a seesaw. The Dallas Cowboys could be winless, the New York Giants could be undefeated, and I'd still sidle up to any bar (or press-box table) and watch this showdown with great anticipation. The emotions, the history -- it's always over the top when these hated rivals lock horns.

It all boils down to must-see football.

Add in the fact the Giants are looking to avenge a surprising season-opening loss in front of the nation that had many of us clamoring to say this would be the Cowboys' year? Yup, this is a no-brainer No. 1. Sorry, Atlanta Falcons fans wishing today would be the day you'd finally crack the top spot. Sorry, Philadelphia Eagles fans wishing ... Nah, never mind. You have far greater concerns in this difficult season.

Nope. It's all Cowboys and Giants this week. Back in July, owner Jerry Jones made headlines by telling Cowboys fans he was looking forward to "beating the Giants' ass." Dallas began the season by doing it. Then it all went backward for the 'Boys, while the G-Men hit their stride.

Oh, and these teams still don't like each other. Yeah, I'll probably watch on Sunday afternoon.

Here is your Week 8 primer, with games ranked by intrigue, from 1 to 14:

    • New York at Dallas

      Sun 4:25 p.m. ET, FOX Get Tickets
    • Why this game is No. 1:

      A no-doubter. The NFC East might be the most intriguing division this year, with no weak links, no boring quarterbacks and no reason to turn away. The fact that everything is still up for grabs helps. The Giants, clearly, are the class of the division, but they are also the victims of the Cowboys' lone divisional win. For all their issues -- they have more than a few -- the 'Boys are 3-2 in the conference and 1-0 in the division. A victory here gives them the tiebreaker over New York, as well as their first win over the G-Men in Cowboys Stadium. Dallas might have to do it without running back DeMarco Murray, which would put more pressure on Tony Romo. On the other side of the ball, the Cowboys definitely will be missing star linebacker Sean Lee, who appears to be done for the season. A win would be Romo's biggest feat in some time, just for the way it would validate that things are headed in the right direction. #NYGvsDAL
    • Watch: Game Preview
    • Atlanta at Philadelphia

      Sun 1:00 p.m. ET, FOX Get Tickets
    • Why this game is No. 2:

      Drama aside, this would still be a fun one. Matt Ryan's pass-happy Falcons are facing off against one of the most annoyingly aggressive front fours in football. Throw in Atlanta's undefeated record and the immense potential in Philadelphia, and this game has plenty of promise. And then you throw in all the other things going on with the Eagles. Honestly, this is quite winnable for Philly, given that it's at home, the Eagles are coming off a bye, and they have a new defensive coordinator in Todd Bowles who will put his stamp on things. A victory could jump-start this squad. But every loss could trigger more changes for Andy Reid's team. Everything is filled with drama for Philadelphia. #ATLvsPHI
    • Watch: Game Preview
    • Washington at Pittsburgh

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

      On the surface, two mediocre teams are facing off in a cross-conference matchup that doesn't mean much. Whatever. Two of the game's most enjoyable quarterbacks to watch ... on the same field? I'm in. If I could TiVo this game, I'd watch just the portions where defenders try in vain to sack Robert Griffin III and Ben Roethlisberger, only to see the two quarterbacks keep plays alive with their feet and strength. As for the actual game, there is plenty at stake. Both teams have flashed enough to be considered possible playoff contenders, with the Pittsburgh Steelers showing just a bit more (even with their injuries). But if the visiting Washington Redskins pull it off, their storyline changes. #WASvsPIT
    • Watch: Game Preview
    • Tampa Bay at Minnesota

      Thur 8:20 p.m. ET, NFL NETWORK Get Tickets
    • Why this game is No. 5:

      One of the NFL's best running backs takes on the NFL's third-best team against the run. In today's NFL, there are plenty of high-flying aerial showdowns (like those listed above). But a true grind-fest, like Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Minnesota Vikings, is rare. The still-soaring Vikings are beyond being the NFL's surprise team. Even though Christian Ponder threw for just 58 yards with two interceptions last Sunday, the Vikes secured a home victory over the Arizona Cardinals. That's a sign of a good team, not a fluky one. It sure helped to have still-rehabbing Adrian Peterson bust out for 153 yards on the ground. But the feisty Bucs present a challenge this week, even if Minnesota's in the coveted position of being the home team in a Thursday night game. Tampa Bay has had more than its share of near-misses this year, and in a battle of two of the NFL's youngest teams, anything can happen. This is a game that, before the year, would never have seemed appetizing. Now, I'll be camped in front of my TV for it. #TBvsMIN
    • Watch: Game Preview
    • Miami at New York

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

      We're past writing off the New York Jets, even without Darrelle Revis and Santonio Holmes. With the way they've played over the past couple of weeks, they've put themselves in the mix to compete for all of their preseason goals. All they need to do this week is handle another upstart team we can't write off: the Miami Dolphins. Gone are the days when we thought the game would be too fast for rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill. Instead, these two division rivals will battle for footing in a situation where both have lots of life. Don't be surprised to see Rex Ryan go out of his way to try to confuse Miami's rookie signal-caller with his schemes, welcoming the reemergence of a Gang Green defense that was always supposed to be one of the league's finest. #MIAvsNYJ
    • Watch: Game Preview
    • New England at St. Louis

      Sun 1:00 p.m. ET, CBS Get Tickets
    • Why this game is No. 7:

      If you're going to showcase one thing to the London-based fans, why not Tom Brady and the New England Patriots? Considering they have one of the NFL's biggest support systems overseas, it's a no-brainer. Either way, this will be a treat for the British. Those watching on TV from home should get a surprisingly good game. The St. Louis Rams can really cover, thanks to Cortland Finnegan and Janoris Jenkins, and the Pats haven't thrived on the outside, even with the addition of Brandon Lloyd. In addition, St. Louis boasts an up-and-coming defensive line ready to torment Brady. A few weeks ago, this might have seemed like a romp. Yet the Patriots have shown uncharacteristic vulnerabilities on offense. The Rams have a real chance to score an upset across the pond. #NEvsSTL
    • Watch: Game Preview
    • Seattle at Detroit

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

      The Seattle Seahawks can be a devastating team, having pulled out some clutch wins, but only at home, where their three most impressive victories have come. On the road, this time visiting the Detroit Lions, you'll see a different team. That knocks this matchup down a few notches. Even with all his heroics, Russell Wilson still faces questions as Seattle's starting signal-caller. Will a fierce Detroit D-line add more fuel to the QB-controversy fire? As for the Lions, how Calvin Johnson fares against Seattle's physical defensive backs should tell us where he is as a player this year. #SEAvsDET
    • Watch: Game Preview

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