Week 8’s Top Match-Ups!


Welcome to Musket Fire’s weekly breakdown of the top games.  Hope you enjoy week 8’s top match-ups for the NFL.

5 – Tampa Bay (5-2) at Dallas (4-3)

Talk about two teams heading in the opposite direction.  The Dallas Cowboys are in reverse since losing two games in a row and star quarterback Tony Romo a few weeks back.  The Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Jeff Garcia are hoping to welcome wide receiver Joey Galloway back this week.  Galloway and Antonio Bryant vs the Cowboys weak secondary should make for a huge passing day for the Bucs.  Ageless wonder Brad Johnson leads the Cowboys at home, in search of a much needed win.  Another Dallas loss makes them just another .500 clud and dampens their playoff chances.  Marion Barber and Jason Witten need to step their games up this week, the offensive line needs to protect and give Johnson time to hit his deep threats in Terrell Owens and newly acquired Roy Williams.  But then again it’s easier said than done especially doing it vs the Bucs defense which has been one of the best units in the league this year.  Expect RB Earnest Graham to have a field day running all over the Cowboys defense, and a very long day for “America’s Team” on their way to another loss.  Tampa Bay  27-17

4 – Arizona (4-2) at Carolina (5-2)

Amazing isn’t it, the Arizona Cardinals and the Carolina Panthers both contenders early in in the very weak NFC.  Both teams are playing well on both sides of the ball.  The Panthers are coming off a rout of the New Orleans Saints and the Cardinals are well rested after last week’s bye.  We have a potential for a huge aerial showdown with quarterbacks Jake Delhomme and Kurt Warner matching up.  Receivers galore with Steve Smith, Muhsin Muhammad, Larry Fitzgerald and hopefully a healed Anquan Boldin on the field.  Toss in the running backs with Edgerrin James, Tim Hightower for “Zona” and potentially the rookie of the year in Jonathan Stewart, and DeAngelo Williams now showing signs of life.  You could very easily see both offenses scoring in the low to mid 40’s easily. The winner comes down to who’s defense can make a stop, unfortunately for the Cardinals the games on the East coast.  Advantage moves to Carolina since West coast teams are struggling this year vs East coast teams in early games.  Sorry Arizona you’ll continue the trend this week.  Carolina 47-38  

3 – San Diego (3-4) at New Orleans Saints (3-4) in London

The NFL returns to England and Wembley Stadium this time with the San Diego Chargers and the New Orleans Saints.  The London crowd expect a very wet soggy afternoon of football according to weather reports.  A game that might have the passing side of it removed, and be more of a run happy offense for both teams.  That doesn’t sit well for the Chargers as star running back LaDainian Tomlinson is still hampered by the toe injury, might mean we see a lot of more of the speedy Darren Sproles.  The Saints are already without star Reggie Bush for another month following his injury in the Carolina game last week.  No Bush, an agitated Jeremy Shockey, and Marques Colston not fully recovered from his hand injury might make for a long day in England for the Saints.  RB’s Deuce McAllister and Pierre Thomas will need to move the ball offensively along with Drew Brees.  Brees will need to rely on the short passing game with the expected inclement weather.  Philip Rivers will have to utilize tight end Antonio Gates more this week over the middle vs a weak Saints secondary.  Also Rivers has the chance to expose the secondary with the help of Vincent Jackson and rising star Malcom Floyd with deep bombs for easy scores.  In the end the crowd will be saying “Cheerio” and thanks for the show they saw with these two teams.  San Diego 30-24

2 – N.Y. Giants (5-1) at Pittsburgh (5-1)

I have to say I’m intrigued with this contest in two ways.  First we have both teams the New York Giants and the Pittsburgh Steelers both at 5-1 on the season.  And secondly I personally don’t like either team, so it’s hard for me to pick a winner.  But I do know it should be a good game on the field. Both offenses led by Ben Roethlisberger and Eli Manning have weapons galore to utilize.  Big Ben has Hines Ward, Heath Miller and Nate Washington.  Manning has Plaxico Burress, Steve Smith, Brandon Jacobs and I’d mention tight end Kevin Boss by for some reason the Giants never fully involve Boss in the passing game.  Steelers young star receiver Santonio Holmes’s most recent run in with the law, for possession of marijuana has him deactivated for Sunday’s game with the Giants.  The loss of Holmes might be enough for the Giants to have an edge in this contest.  Another Steeler not playing this week is running back Willie Parker still nursing his injured knee.  That means Mewelde Moore will once again get the start, that’s great news for him as he scored three touchdowns in their victory over the Cincinnati Bengals last week.  Both defense’s will have a good week as this game should be a low scoring contest.  With it coming down to the kickers to decide this game, I have to give the edge to the Steelers and their kicker Jeff ReedPittsburgh 20-17

1 – Indianapolis (3-3) at Tennessee (6-0)

The NFL’s only undefeated team faces the Indianapolis Colts at home on Monday Night Football this week.  The defense led Tennessee Titans look to shut down the offensive juggernaut known as Peyton Manning and the Colts.  Manning and the Colts have struggled all year offensively, but we all know in this game any team can turn it on when needed.  With the Colts you can never count them out in a game, no matter what the score or what time is left.  Don’t believe me just ask the Houston Texans that question.  I really can’t believe I’m saying this but I don’t see any way the Colts lose this game, and trust me I love rooting against the Colts.  But the Titans have trouble moving the ball in the air, Kerry Collins will give you 150-200 yards in the air but the majority of the time no scores.  The key for Tennessee is to control the ground game with the dual of LenDale White and rookie sensation Chris Johnson.  If White and Johnson can move the ball vs a weak defensive line and banged up secondary you can toss Indy right out of the play-offs with another loss.  Look for Manning to connect with Marvin Harrison who’s been on fire lately and Reggie Wayne and Dallas Clark to step up their roles in the offense.  All Indy needs is for their defense to play decent and not stop the Titans run game, just slow them down and allow Manning the opportunity to do what he does best.  Win big games, and do it late in the contest.  Indianapolis 24-17