NFL TV Schedule Week 8: Breaking Down Sunday's Biggest Games

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NFL TV Schedule Week 8: Breaking Down Sunday's Biggest Games
Al Bello/Getty Images

Win-loss records are sometimes a poor indicator of how big a game can be. In Sunday's Week 8 NFL action, that couldn't be truer. Many prominent teams teeter on the brink of season-defining games. One division in particular dominates the key afternoon matchups, with a quarterback showdown for the ages to cap things off.

Here is a closer look at the TV schedule and a breakdown of the most important games that you won't want to miss.

 

Atlanta Falcons (6-0) at Philadelphia Eagles (3-3)

Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Where: Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia, PA

When: Sunday, Oct. 28 at 1 p.m. ET

Watch: FOX

Radio: Atlanta Falcons Radio Network, Philadelphia Eagles Radio Network

Live Stream: NFL Audio Pass

There will definitely be an element of surprise brought to the table by the Eagles. After head coach Andy Reid fired embattled defensive coordinator Juan Castillo, the Falcons and QB Matt Ryan won't know exactly what to expect from new Philly defensive coordinator Todd Bowles.

However, as reported by Brad Wilson of the Express-Times, Bowles was modest and honest with the media in addressing the question of what he would do to turn things around for the talented Eagles unit:

I certainly didn’t invent the game and I’m not going to reinvent the game. As a coordinator, you always try to (innovate) but you have to make sure it's within the scheme of what we do, as opposed to just going out and grab-bagging things and coming in and doing something that we're not comfortable doing.

Two typical marks of a championship team are the ability to run the ball and stop the run. There are certainly exceptions to this rule, but the 2012 Atlanta Falcons rank 28th in rushing yards per game and give up the fifth-most yards on the ground per contest.

That's bad news facing the likes of stud running back LeSean McCoy and the always dynamic Michael Vick, who must continue to stride toward curbing his turnover habit.

This will be a statement game at home by an Eagles team that hasn't quite found its identity and simply can't afford a three-game slide in order to keep pace in the NFC East. The Falcons don't have any answer for McCoy, which should lead to big plays down the field for explosive Eagle receivers DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin.

It is well documented how good Reid's teams play after a bye week. This will be no exception, as the Eagles will play their best game of the season, while the Falcons play their worst.

Final score: Eagles 38, Falcons 17

 

 

Washington Redskins (3-4) at Pittsburgh Steelers (3-3)

Andy Lyons/Getty Images
Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger should have a huge day against the Redskins' secondary.

Where: Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, PA

When: Sunday, Oct. 28 at 1 p.m. ET

Watch: FOX

Radio: Washington Redskins Radio Network, Pittsburgh Steelers Radio Network

Live Stream: NFL Audio Pass

One of today's best clutch quarterbacks, Ben Roethlisberger, will face a rookie signal-caller Robert Griffin III, who has already displayed some flair for the late-game dramatics.

With all the recent injuries to the Baltimore Ravens—along with their blowout loss to Houston last week—the AFC North is suddenly up for grabs for the Steelers. Speaking of up for grabs, Roethlisberger can pretty much heave anything in the general vicinity of Mike Wallace or Antonio Brown, because the Redskins have the worst secondary in football.

RGIII is in the exact situation he was in college: If his team could play a lick of defense, he might be undefeated. With the help of fellow rookie Alfred Morris, Griffin and the Redskins have already morphed into the league's top rushing attack, scoring 28.7 points per game.

The likely return of Maurkice Pouncey at center (via ESPN) for the Steelers will bring stability to their offensive line, which was actually dominant without him last Sunday night in an impressive victory in Cincinnati.

Even without Troy Polamalu, defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau managed to shut down Bengals receiver A.J. Green and held Andy Dalton to just 105 yards passing on 28 attempts.

Griffin is much more of a dynamic athlete, the likes of which no defensive coordinator has been able to stop. But if there were ever a week for it to happen, it would be in the hostile environment of Heinz Field against a Pittsburgh team just beginning to hit its stride.

Final score: Steelers 24, Redskins 20

 

New York Giants (5-2) at Dallas Cowboys (3-3)

Alex Trautwig/Getty Images

Where: Dallas Cowboys Stadium, Arlington, TX

When: Sunday, Oct. 28 at 4:25 p.m. ET

Watch: FOX

Radio: New York Giants Radio Network, Dallas Cowboys Radio Network

Live Stream: NFL Audio Pass

Incredibly, all four NFC East teams figure into the equation of the biggest games on Sunday. The Giants are looking to avenge their loss to the Cowboys at home to open the season, while Dallas is inexplicably floundering once again in 2012.

Now that the G-Men have established a running game with primarily Ahmad Bradshaw and some combination of Andre Brown and David Wilson, they may have the best offense in the entire league.

There is too much talent in the Giants receiving corps for the Cowboys to match up with, and Eli Manning has become the best in fourth quarter.

This game will be close, though, because of the familiarity factor and the problem the Cowboys offense presents. Dallas QB Tony Romo's mobility has translated into only nine sacks all season, which helps to minimize the effect of the typically terrific New York pass rush.

The players who need to step up for Big D are Felix Jones and Phillip Tanner, who combined for just 74 yards on 28 carries last week in a narrow victory at Carolina. Romo needs more support than that in the absence of DeMarco Murray. Against the 23rd-ranked rush defense of the Giants, that certainly seems within the realm of possibility.

This hotly contested game is probably going to come down to the final possession, and it's pretty easy to figure out which quarterback to trust in that situation.

Final score: Giants 27, Cowboys 24

 

New Orleans Saints (2-4) at Denver Broncos (3-3)

Jeff Gross/Getty Images
The elder Manning brother has yet another huge primetime game.

Where: Sports Authority Field at Mile High, Denver, CO

When: Sunday, Oct. 28 at 8:30 p.m. ET

Watch: NBC

Radio: New Orleans Saints Radio Network, Denver Broncos Radio Network

Live Stream: NFL Audio Pass

Peyton Manning vs. Drew Brees. That's about all that needs to be said about this one.

It's a dream matchup for the legendary Broncos QB coming off of a bye week and a mind-blowing comeback on Monday Night Football in Week 6.

But Brees has been able to put points on the board in 2012 no matter the game situation, opponent, state of his running game—and in spite of his horrific defense. The Saints have won two games in a row despite their obvious shortcomings under defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo.

The return of interim coach Joe Vitt—who specializes in coaching linebackers—will provide at least another voice in Spagnuolo's ear as New Orleans tries to solve the riddle as to why it can't stop anyone.

Lance Moore flourished in his return to the lineup for the Saints in Week 7 with an 11-catch performance at Tampa Bay, which now looks like a much more significant win after the Bucs' shellacking of the Vikings this Thursday.

Manning will prove to be too much, though, as the Broncos have a chance to get some more separation between themselves and the San Diego Chargers in the AFC West.

Final score: Broncos 41, Saints 31

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