Texans-Colts rematch highlights exciting Week 8 slate

This isn't the deepest pool of games ever, but hey, when you have teams like the Ravens, Falcons and Giants on a bye, and the schedule is a game lighter than last week, that can happen. We do have two more monster prime time games and some of the more intriguing 4 p.m. starts than in many weeks past.

The storyline:

Could the Texans sweep the AFC South heavyweights and finally make a real playoff run? Can Peyton Manning truly take any five guys off the street and put up a 100 passer rating? * #### Why you should watch:

The Colts are likely to be without three more key offensive cogs in Dallas Clark, Austin Collie and Joseph Addai, while the Texans are pretty healthy off a bye and finally suspension-free. * #### Did you know?

Texans running back Derrick Ward has scored a touchdown in three consecutive games. ... Houston's Mario Williams has a sack in his last three outings aagainst Indianapolis. ... The Colts are 6-0 at home on Monday Night Football since 2000. ... Indianapolis' Dwight Freeney has 13.5 career sacks against Houston, his highest vs. any opponent. *

The storyline:

The winners of the past two Super Bowls get together, with the Saints trying to shrug off a post-championship hangover. * #### Why you should watch:

No way can Drew Brees throw four picks again. Ben Roethlisger faces his first real hostile environment since his suspension. We won't get another replay-fueled wacky ending like the Steelers benefitted from last week, will we? * #### Did you know?

The Steelers have won four consecutive road games. ... Pittsburgh's Lawrence Timmons leads the team with 60 tackles. ... Drew Brees is one of only two Saints to throw for 20,000 yards with the franchise (the other is Archie Manning). ... New Orleans' Marques Colston has a TD catch in three consecutive games. *

The storyline:

Some guy named Randy Moss played for the Patriots for three seasons and caught like 50 TD passes and then got traded a few weeks back to unite with Brett Favre. And he returns on Halloween in Massachussets. Oh, and Favre's Iron Man streak could be over. Otherwise, just your average out-of-conference football game. * #### Why you should watch:

Is there any reason not to? Brady vs. Favre (maybe). Favre vs. the cold (maybe). Moss vs. Pats Nation (definitely). With the Yanks out of the postseason, Patriots fans' full ire can be trained at Moss. * #### Did you know?

Favre has a 94.9 career passer rating against the Patriots (seven games). ... Minnesota's Adrian Peterson has scored five touchdowns in his past five games. ... The Patriots have won 15 consecutive home games against the NFC. ... New England's Aaron Hernandez ranks second among NFL rookies with 355 receiving yards. *

The storyline:

Two of the game's more high-profile young quarterbacks meet with the Jets confident coming out of the bye. * #### Why you should watch:

Darrelle Revis' hammy is nice and rested. LaDainian Tomlinson is nice and rested. Rex Ryan had two weeks to game plan for Green Bay's vaunted passing attack. * #### Did you know?

Aaron Rodgers leads all NFL quarterbacks with three rushing touchdowns. ... Green Bay's Clay Matthews has sacks in five career games against the AFC. ... The Jets have won three in a row over the Packers. ... Tomlinson has the most games with two-plus touchdowns in NFL history (38). *

The storyline:

The Titans have a chance to give a beautiful gift to the people of Kansas City and deliver a near-death blow to the Chargers. They could drop San Diego to 1-4 in the conference and usher in Cowboys-esque scrutiny on the Chargers. * #### Why you should watch:

San Diego is likely to find some new special teams implosion (they are nothing if not creative with their approach). Vince Young will likely be back for Titans, with Kenny Britt dominating. I wonder if the Chargers regret that roster-exempt suspension for Vincent Jackson? * #### Did you know?

Titans running back Chris Johnson has rushed for over 100 yards in eight consecutive road games. ... These two teams are tied for the league lead with 25 sacks. ... Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers is 3-0 all-time against the Titans. ... San Diego's Antonio Gates leads all tight ends with eight touchdowns. *

The storyline:

Matthew Stafford returns for the Lions, who quietly have one of the NFL's top offenses to face the league's worst defense. Redskins lost to Lions last year, ending Detroit's record losing streak. * #### Why you should watch:

DeAngelo Hall could give up four TDs to Calvin Johnson or pick off four passes. Donovan McNabb has been struggling to find his form, yet the Redskins find ways to win. * #### Did you know?

McNabb has a higher passer rating against the Lions than any other NFL opponent (137.9). ... London Fletcher leads Washington with 68 tackles. ... Lions running back Jahvid Best leads all NFL rookies with 534 yards from scrimmage. ... Detroit is the only team in the NFL with two tight ends that have at least 20 receptions (Brandon Pettigrew and Tony Scheffler). *

The storyline:

The Seahawks are unbeaten since trading for Marshawn Lynch, while the Raiders are riding a finally-healthy Darren McFadden. The Seahawks could start pulling away in the NFC West. * #### Why you should watch:

The Raiders are capable of scoring 60 or giving up 60 any given Sunday. Inconsistent Oakland has no right to be too high, even coming off that drubbing of Denver, but you have to wonder if they do much well two weeks in a row. * #### Did you know?

Seahawks safety Earl Thomas leads all rookies with four interceptions. ... Seattle's Leon Washington leads the NFL with a 35.1 kickoff return average. ... The Raiders are 17-9 all-time against the Seahawks at home. ... Oakland set a new franchise record with 59 points last week. *

The storyline:

The Dolphins have yet to lose on the road and the Cincy fans will need little provocation to turn on their floundering Bengals. The Dolphins are still miffed over the strange replay decision that cost them last week. * #### Why you should watch:

Carson Palmer badly needs to start a game strong. Brandon Marshall will be salivating after watching how Roddy White burned the Bengals in the game film. Miami seems to play in an "Alcoa Fantastic Finish" type game every week. * #### Did you know?

The Dolphins are unbeaten on the road this season (3-0). ... Miami's Davone Bess has a TD catch in three straight games. ... The Bengals are 9-1 when Cedric Benson has 100-plus rushing yards. ... Chad Ochocinco is Cincinati's franchise record holder in touchdown receptions (64). *

The storyline:

Somehow the Cards are 3-3 despite a league-worst minus-62 scoring ratio. These are two teams with plenty of holes, yet they find ways to win. * #### Why you should watch:

Only two teams in the NFC have more wins than the Bucs. Marinate on that for a few minutes. They'd be a wild card team at the "mid-term" playoffs, if such a thing existed. * #### Did you know?

Bucs wideout Mike Williams leads all NFL rookie receivers with 365 receiving yards. ... Tampa Bay's Ronde Barber is one of only two playes in NFL history with 25-plus sacks and 30-plus interceptions. ... Cardinals running back Tim Hightower is averaging a career-high 5.7 yards per carry. ... Arizona's Larry Fitzgerald leads the NFL with 36 touchdown receptions since 2008. *

The storyline:

The Chiefs have been unbeatable at home and can begin making a realistic playoff push by taking care of business here. Oh, and will the Bills win a game? * #### Why you should watch:

Kansas City's young defense is coming into its own from a playmaking standpoint. The Bills might not win, but they have put a scare into teams like Baltimore, New England and Miami. * #### Did you know?

Bills wide receiver Steve Johnson has a touchdown catch in four consecutive games. ... Buffalo's Roscoe Parrish had a career-high eight receptions last week. ... Chiefs quarterback Matt Cassel has a 106 passer rating at home this season. ... Kansas City's Chris Chambers has seven career touchdown catches against Buffalo. *

The storyline:

We subject the good people of London to a meeting between two of the more hapless teams in the NFL this season, and particularly of late. The short week and a long trip make a coaching change impossible. * #### Why you should watch:

Did I mention they're playing this game in London? Wembley Stadium is quite the venue. * #### Did you know?

Broncos wide receiver Brandon Lloyd leads the NFL with 14 20-plus yard catches. ... Denver's Laurence Maroney already has one rushing touchdown at London (in 2009). ... The 49ers played in the first international regular-season game in NFL history at Mexico City in 2005. ... San Francisco's Vernon Davis has a touchdown in four consecutive games. *

The storyline:

The Panthers finally won a game last week, but doing it away from home is something else. Sam Bradford has been very stable in the comfort of his dome. * #### Why you should watch:

Steven Jackson is having another excellent season and the Rams defense has been stingy giving up points. Should be a nice bounce-back scenario for them. * #### Did you know?

Panthers wide receiver Steve Smtih is one of six players since 2005 with 6,000-plus receiving yards. ... Carolina's Matt Moore has won seven of his 11 career starts. ... Rams running back Steven Jackson is the franchise's all-time leader in rushing yards. ... St. Louis has won three consecutive home games. *

The storyline:

The Jags' porous defense should be just what the erratic Cowboys need to feel good about themselves for another week. But a week ago, with Gerrard David Garrard nursing a concussion, who would have thought the Jags would have the healthier QB situation? * #### Why you should watch:

Well, a Jags win would certainly take the Wade Phillips firing watch to stratospheric levels, and provide for a memorable soundbyte from Jerry Jones, but as a meaningful football contest this is a tough sell. * #### Did you know?

All four games between the Jaguars and Cowboys have been decided by seven points or fewer. ... Jacksonville's Marcedes Lewis is second among all NFL tight ends with five touchdown receptions. ... Cowboys linebacker DeMarcus Ware has a touchdown in five consecutive games. ... Dallas' Dez Bryant is tied for the rookie lead with five touchdowns. *

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