The late afternoon time slot features four compelling matchups, starting with the Houston Texans visiting Denver. Peyton Manning gets to go against a familiar foe in the Houston Texans, who he won 16 of 18 starts against while with the Colts. These aren’t your slightly older brother’s Texans, though, as the Texans defense led by J.J. Watt is right there with the San Francisco 49ers for best in the league. Manning’s arm strength and deep throws was discussed last week, and we’ll have to see if he challenges the Texans downfield, or has time to do so.
1 PM GAMES
Cincinnati at Washington: Washington is now dealing with the loss of two starting defensive players in Brian Orakpo and Adam Carriker. Griffin and the offense will have to carry the team even more now.
New York Jets at Miami: Tony Sparano back in Miami, where the Jets get a chance to stop the resurgent Reggie Bush.
St. Louis at Chicago: The Rams are down a starting left tackle. The Bears were without any to begin with.
Kansas City at New Orleans: From Ian Rapoport, only one team since 1990 has won its division after an 0-3 start (1992 Chargers). The Chiefs and Saints loser will be fighting uphill after this one.
San Francisco at Minnesota: Randy Moss returns to Minnesota again, and the 49ers could find plenty of success through the air against Minnesota. Meanwhile, Christian Ponder has a much tougher draw this week.
Tampa Bay at Dallas: Which teams will show up, the Buccaneers of the first half or second half last week, or the Cowboys from week 1 vs. week 2?
Detroit at Tennessee: Chris Johnson has amazingly looked a lot like last year. Stafford should find success against the Titans secondary, particularly with throws to Brandon Pettigrew, as the Titans have really struggled covering tight ends so far this year.
Jacksonville at Indianapolis: The Colts could match last season’s win total by the end of this game.
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Philadelphia at Arizona: The surprise matchup of 2-0 teams, as the Eagles’ offense goes against the Cardinals strong defense. Kevin Kolb gets the start against the team that traded him, but he needs to play better this week. Getting Larry Fitzgerald involved would be good.
Atlanta at San Diego: Another 2-0 matchup head to head, the Falcons will continue the transition to a passing attack as Michael Turner just gave them another reason to de-emphasize him. The Chargers have won handily in the first two games, and now should have Ryan Mathews back.
Pittsburgh at Oakland: Without Polamalu and Harrison again, the Steelers look to continue their short passing success in a new look offense. The Raiders got gashed last week on the ground, but can the Steelers do the same?
[photo via US Presswire]