Giants-Eagles (1 ET, Fox)
This is the kickoff to what has to be the biggest day in the history of Philadelphia sports, and surely the bloodiest, by the time you have this game and then the World Series right next door to each other. The Giants' poor showing in New Orleans two weeks ago could be overlooked, but the non-performance--especially by Eli Manning--last Sunday night against Arizona is more problematic. Without a real big play threat on the outside, Manning can't keep making mistakes. New York needs to be efficient with the football. The Eagles have offensive problems of their own, having been unable to mount a consistent attack on Monday against the 'Skins, and relied mostly on a couple big plays and our geneorisity. This is a very even matchup between two teams that are operating at playoff level, but not Super Bowl level. I still like New York to win the division, but homefield tips this one Philly's way.
Vikings-Packers (4:15 ET, Fox)
Brett Favre looked great in his first showdown with his old team on October 5. But this one's tougher. Not only is this is a series where the home team has a huge edge, even by NFL standards, but the emotion and distractions will be there much stronger for Brett this time around. On the flip side, there was more pressure on Favre and the Vikes to defend their homefield in that first game. Now the pressure is squarely on the shoulders of Green Bay and Aaron Rodgers. They are only one game back in the loss column right now, so this is a huge game even minus the homecoming story. Pass protection remains an issue in Packerland, even with easy wins over Detroit and Cleveland the last two weeks--they gave up five sacks to the Lions, a Redskin-esque display of pass blocking. What's going to happen now that Jared Allen is in the house? The betting here is that the Viking defense plays well, but is let down by their quarterback, too anxious to make big plays and instead making mistakes. The Packers win a close one (FYI--lest this prediction be taken as anti-Favre, I've always sided with the QB in this drama and am strongly pulling for him on Sunday. But the man is human).
Falcons-Saints (MNF, 8:30 ET, ESPN)
Great game from the NFC South, although it would be better if it were in Atlanta. I like the Falcons and think they're on their way to the playoffs again. But asking them to win on the road against Drew Brees is a little much. I look for Gregg Williams' defense to create enough problems to force Matt Ryan into turnovers and Brees to put up more than enough points to keep New Orleans unbeaten.