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NFL: Sundays Other Games
Buccaneers (0-2) at Patriots (2-0): Tampa Bay can't close out games and has lost twice on last-second field goals. New England can't seem to find the magic on offense but has won two close games. Tom Brady is squarely in charge when the Patriots have the ball but is surrounded by mediocrity in the skills positions. Josh Freeman has been the center of turmoil for the Bucs, struggling despite being surrounded by talent. New England has made key plays at key moments. Tampa Bay has not, and that might be the difference.
Packers (1-1) at Bengals (1-1): Both teams are coming off strong performances after opening losses. The Packers' offense has been in sync from the start, but the defense has been spotty and must contend with Cincinnati's versatile attack. Rookie Giovani Bernard has added flash to the running game, which already had the power of BenJarvus Green-Ellis. Green Bay got a boost from John Starks after Eddie Lacy went out with a concussion against Washington. Starks ran for a career-best 132 yards, but the Bengals are stingy against the run.
Texans (2-0) at Ravens (1-1): The Texans have been living dangerously, needing late rallies in their two wins. Then again, that's a sign of a resilient team. "The word for this week ... consistency," Coach Gary Kubiak said. "That's part of the NFL battle. We've got to get more consistent at what we're doing." Baltimore had to pull out everything to beat Cleveland last weekend and did so without star RB Ray Rice, who went out with a left hip flexor and is questionable for this game.
Cardinals (1-1) at Saints (2-0): This game could have plenty of scoring, but WR Larry Fitzgerald's hamstring problem is worrisome for Arizona, and he missed a key portion of last week's victory against Detroit. New Orleans has its own top receiver in Marques Colston, who has been battling a foot injury. His 58 TD catches trail only Fitzgerald's 59 since 2006.
Browns (0-2) at Vikings (0-2): Minnesota fans are looking for a breakout game from 2012 MVP Adrian Peterson, who is third in the league in rushing (193 yards) but not close to his 2,000-yard pace of last season. He might not have it against the Browns, who rank fourth against the run and sixth in overall defense. Their problem is a weak offense that is down to journeyman Brian Hoyer starting at QB for injured Brandon Weeden, and they just traded RB Trent Richardson to Indianapolis.
Lions (1-1) at Redskins (0-2): The Redskins will struggle until Robert Griffin III gets back to playing the way he did in 2012, when he was the top offensive rookie and a dynamic playmaker and all-around threat. Just as alarming is a defense that has been a sieve, allowing Philadelphia and Green Bay to pull away to big leads that Griffin couldn't overcome.
Detroit remains among the NFLs most schizophrenic teams and must find a way to transfer its solid work at home to road games.
Chargers (1-1) at Titans (1-1): After the Chargers blew a big lead at home to Houston then had to travel cross country to Philadelphia, they seemed doomed to another loss. But they beat the Eagles 33-30, and journeyman WR Eddie Royal was unstoppable. It won't be so easy against the Titans, whose defense was terrible in 2012 but is much more competitive now under Gregg Williams, back from his bounty suspension. San Diego has won nine straight in this series.
Rams (1-1) at Cowboys (1-1): After getting six takeaways in their opening win against the Giants, the Cowboys handed last weekend's game to Kansas City through sloppiness dropped passes, penalties and bad time management. Dallas is struggling to run the ball, and its pass defense is leaky. Those issues play right into the Rams' hands: St. Louis ranks fourth in passing and sixth in stopping the run.
Bills (1-1) at Jets (1-1): There's actually a worthwhile reason to watch this one: the two rookie QBs. EJ Manuel, the only quarterback drafted in the first round in April, led the Bills on a last-ditch drive and a win against Carolina, and his poise has been admirable. Even though New York's Geno Smith has been intercepted four times, he showed moxie in the rain at Foxborough in a Thursday night loss. He also has far less help around him than Manuel.
Falcons (1-1) at Dolphins (2-0): The team the Falcons will field isnt the one they expected to have, with LB Sean Weatherspoon, DE Kroy Biermann and FB Bradie Ewing on injured reserve (Weatherspoon can return in Week 11) and RB Steven Jackson out for this game with a thigh injury. Miami has been best at pressuring quarterbacks, and Atlantas ground game might not be much of a threat without Jackson. The Dolphins have nine sacks, but also have allowed nine on Ryan Tannehill.
Colts (1-1) at 49ers (1-1): Andrew Luck will go against his coach at Stanford, Jim Harbaugh and should expect lots of pressure against his suspect offensive line (Luck has been sacked seven times). San Francisco comes off one of its sloppiest efforts at Seattle five turnovers and no touchdowns for just the third time since 1979. Also, 49ers TE Vernon Davis will go against younger brother CB Vontae Davism but Vernon is nursing a hamstring injury.
Jaguars (0-2) at Seahawks (2-0): The Jaguars are banged-up, and even when healthy, they aren't much trouble for anyone. They stayed on the West Coast after a loss at Oakland and practiced at San Jose State. Seattle could have a defense to rival some of the best of the last 30 years, including the 1985 Bears and 2000 Ravens. What the Seahawks did in dominating a solid 49ers offense was mesmerizing, and the Seahawks still are missing key players such as DE Chris Clemons, CB Brandon Browner and LB Bruce Irvin.
Bears (2-0) at Steelers (0-2): Things haven't been this dire for the Steelers since they were 0-3 in 1986. They can't run the ball only the Giants are worse and rarely give QB Ben Roethlisberger time to survey the field. They need someone to make a big play and provide the spark thats missing, and usually thats safety Troy Polamalu. The Bears, winners of two close games at home, can stamp themselves as contenders with a win.