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