Two classic matchups headline the top five games of Week 8…
(Team rankings are based on our latest power rankings.)
1. No. 2 Patriots at No. 5 Steelers (Sunday, 4:15 ET on CBS)
At least one of these two teams has played in eight of the last 10 AFC championship games and they’ve won five of the last 10 Super Bowls between them. Essentially, it’s a battle between the two most successful NFL teams of the 21st century. To boot, they’re the top two seeds in the AFC right now. Healthier New England probably has an edge with two weeks to prepare, but the game’s in Pittsburgh. The Pats have the best passing offense in the NFL, but the Steelers have the best pass defense in the league. Simply one of the best matchups of the 2011 season.
2. No. 17 Cowboys at No. 19 Eagles (Sunday, 8:20 ET on NBC)
The winner probably becomes the favorite in the NFC East (pardon me for not buying into the Giants at this point). The Eagles are coming off a bye at home, a situation in which they’ve won 12 straight games, but the Cowboys beat the Eagles in Philadelphia to close out the 2010 regular season. It’ll also be fun to see what red-hot DeMarco Murray can do in his prime-time debut against Philly’s terrible run defense.
3. No. 22 Redskins at No. 11 Bills (Sunday, 4:05 ET on Fox)
Can the Bills finally win a regular-season game at Rogers Centre in Toronto? Buffalo is 0-for-3 in three Bills Toronto Series regular-season games thus far, but the Bills are a six-point favorite for this matchup with a Redskins team ravaged by injuries and feeling the wrath of back-to-back losses after a hot start. But it won’t be easy — Buffalo might be forced to start guard Andy Levitre at left tackle against a Washington team that is tied for the league lead with 21 sacks.
4. No. 10 Lions at No. 27 Broncos (Sunday, 4:05 ET on FOX)
Tim Tebow makes his debut at home against a Lions team that has fallen back to earth. Denver can join the playoff race with a win, while the Lions need a win to remain in the NFC North picture. With the Detroit offense banged up and the Broncos riding some serious momentum after that comeback in Miami, a Denver upset wouldn’t surprise me.
5. No. 7 Chargers at No. 21 Chiefs (Monday, 8:30 on ESPN)
A few weeks ago, this looked like another game ESPN was going to curse over. The Worldwide Leader has already had to deal with the Dolphins, Colts and Rams on Monday night, and the Chiefs were looking just as bad three weeks into the season. But despite some huge injuries, the Chiefs have turned it around with three straight wins to join the AFC playoff race. If they can beat the Chargers at home — as they did last year — the Chiefs would, amazingly, move into a three-way tie with San Diego and Oakland atop the AFC West (and they’d own tiebreakers over both).