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Scott Pianowski

Friday Fallout: Holmes out, Jackson a coin flip, Deuce in limbo

Scott Pianowski
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Friday is the biggest newsday of the week, and there's plenty to talk about as we get ready for Week 8. To the desk:

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The "Suspensions with the Stars" count hit three for this week as the Pittsburgh Steelers slapped a one-game holiday on Santonio Holmes. Police found marijuana in Holmes's car Thursday during a traffic stop, and the team made the deactivation call Friday. Nate Washington steps into the lineup for Holmes and isn't a bad desperation shot against the Giants. You know the drill with Hines Ward; he'll see more attention with Holmes out, but probably more targets as well. You were starting Ward, anyway.

Steven Jackson (quad) was limited Friday and Jim Haslett says he'll be a game-time decision for Sunday's match at New England. Antonio Pittman and Travis Minor are the backs behind Jackson on the depth chart, with Pittman the expected starter if Jackson gets scratched. As slow as the Patriots linebackers have looked this year, I'll be surprised if Antonio Pittman cuts them up. Alas, in the NFL, anything is possible.

Deuce McAllister is reportedly facing a violation of the league's steroid policy, but it doesn't seem likely to keep him out this week. We'll keep close tabs on this up to kickoff. In the meantime, Brad Evans wants to remind you that Pierre Thomas can play.

Clinton Portis (hip) did everything at practice Friday and although he's listed as questionable, he should go, and be used liberally, at Detroit. Check back on Sunday morning, but it looks like a green light for the seven-week MVP.

LaDainian Tomlinson (toe) had a full day Friday and is listed as probable for the London showcase with the Saints. Tomlinson clearly isn't 100 percent, but he's going to go and how can you not use him?

As Dr. Behrens told you earlier today, Willie Parker (knee) is unlikely to go against the Giants. Mewelde Moore's nifty moves will get a good test against the New York front seven.

Brian Westbrook (ribs) had another full day Friday and looks ready to rock against the Falcons. Stay away from Reggie Brown (groin), however, who's very questionable and not as important with Westbrook and Kevin Curtis back.

Jerricho Cotchery (shoulder, questionable) is going to be a game-time decision; at least it's an easy start with the Chiefs. Laveranues Coles (post-concussion, thigh) is listed as probable and seems more of a safer play. No matter who's on the outside, I'm looking for Thomas Jones to have a monster day against that horrid Kansas City front seven.

The Patriots are calling Sammy Morris (knee) and LaMont Jordan (calf) doubtful for Week 8, but it would be a stunner if either guy suited up. Get ready for the Kevin Faulk and BenJarvus Green-Ellis show. The New England backs struggled in pass blocking last week, which probably helps Faulk's case for time against St. Louis (even as some of the missed assignments Monday night came from him). At the end of the day, I'm expecting double-digit touches from both guys, but New England's game plan is predictably unpredictable, as you know.

Plaxico Burress (neck, shoulder) is back on the practice field and is listed as probable for Sunday's grudge match against the Steelers. Use him.

T.J. Houshmandzadeh (ankle) was active Friday and should be a go against the Texans.

Chris Chambers (ankle) was limited again on Friday, which makes Malcom Floyd a live consideration for Week 8. Don't worry about Craig Davis (groin), he's not going to play.

Warrick Dunn has a sore back and ankle and his status won't be determined until Sunday. Either way, this sets up well for Earnest Graham, up against a Dallas defense that's in disarray right now.

Anquan Boldin is likely to play this week, the East Valley Tribune reports, but don't be surprised if the snap count is monitored; I'm not calling Boldin an automatic play yet. Arizona is also looking at a tricky matchup against a surging Carolina pass defense.

Jeremy Shockey (groin) has been limited the last two days but the Saints are nonetheless calling him probable. I'd look for another option here.

Willis McGahee (knee) had a full day Friday and should go against Oakland. He's probable. The Ravens have some nicked up receiver, however; Derrick Mason was limited Friday for undisclosed reasons, and Mark Clayton (thigh) missed the entire session.

Muhsin Muhammad has a sore knee but is expected to play through it against Arizona. He practiced Friday.

Darren McFadden (toe) had a limited day Friday but should go this week. He'll look even more limited on Sunday when he tries to get past the Ravens run defense.

Seneca Wallace is set to start again for Seattle, with Matt Hasselbeck (back) not available. Deion Branch (heel) is another Week 8 scratch.

Joey Galloway (foot) remains very questionable, and I can't see how it's worth the risk here.

Steve Heiden (pectoral) had a full day Friday and will step in for Kellen Winslow (suspension) this week. Not the worst one-week rental in the world.

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