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Classic NFC North rivalry headlines Week 3 schedule

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This is not a particularly sexy week. I'm not gonna lie. There are going to be some down times when you're talking 17 weeks and this is one of them. Not too many blue ribbon matchups, but more than enough to fill up our Sunday and Monday.

  • The storyline:

    Are the Monsters of the Midway really back, or will they be exposed by Green Bay? Either way, two undefeated NFC North rivals meet Monday night.
  • Why you should watch:

    Bears quarterback Jay Cutler has been reborn under Mike Martz's tutelage, while Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers might be the best in the biz right now.
  • Did you know?

    Rodgers has 22 touchdowns and only four interceptions in 12 divisional games. ... Green Bay's Charles Woodson has five interceptions in five career games at Chicago. ... Bears TE Greg Olsen has scored a TD in two consecutive Monday Night Football games. ... Chicago's Matt Forte leads all NFL running backs this season with three receiving touchdowns.
  • The storyline:

    The Battle of Texas pits an undefeated upstart against an overrated winless outfit. A loss here and calls for Dallas head coach Wade Phillips' job, among others, will escalate.
  • Why you should watch:

    Matt Schaub is coming off a 497-yard passing game against a Washington team that beat Dallas. If the Cowboys do implode, the aftershocks will be epic.
  • Did you know?

    Cowboys QB Tony Romo has posted a 100-plus passer rating in four consecutive games against the AFC. ... Dallas' Jason Witten is one of only nine tight ends in NFL history with 6,000 career receiving yards. ... The Texans have won four straight against NFC opponents. ... Houston has never started 3-0.
  • The storyline:

    If anyone is going to challenge the Saints in the NFC South, it is the Falcons. Working against Atlanta is that it is not so good on the road.
  • Why you should watch:

    New Orleans plays on a short week after traveling back from California. It could help level the playing field.
  • Did you know?

    Falcons RB Michael Turner has a rushing touchdown in three straight games against the Saints. ... Atlanta's Tony Gonzalez has at least five receptions in five consecutive games vs. New Orleans. ... Since Drew Brees joined the Saints in 2006, they are 7-1 against the Falcons. ... New Orleans' Marques Colston has scored a touchdown in each of his last two outings vs. Atlanta.
  • The storyline:

    How many people predicted this would be a battle of the unbeatens before the season began?
  • Why you should watch:

    The Steelers are making a bid to go 4-0 without Ben Roethlisberger and could use their third quarterback in three games without him. The Buccaneers are finding ways to win, but they haven't seen a defense like this one.
  • Did you know?

    The Steelers are 9-0 when James Harrison has two-plus sacks in a game. ... Hines Ward needs two TDs to move into second place on the franchise's all-time list. ... The Bucs are 13-0 when Cadillac Williams has at least 22 carries. ... Tampa Bay's Kellen Winslow leads the NFL this year with eight third-down receptions.
  • The storyline:

    Brett Favre of 2010 looks nothing like the 2009 version and the Vikings are desperate not to fall to 0-3.
  • Why you should watch:

    Could Minnesota's season spiral to the point where Tarvaris Jackson and the future makes more sense than Brett Favre and the present? The Lions have suffered two tough losses, but are finding ways to make it interesting late.
  • Did you know?

    Lions RB Jahvid Best is the only rookie in NFL history to have 75-plus rushing yards, 150-plus receiving yards and three tocudowns in one game (he did it last week vs. the Eagles). ... Detroit WR Calvin Johnson has 10 receiving touchdowns in his past 12 games against divisional opponents. ... Vikings RB Adrian Peterson has rushed for 557 yards in his last five games against the Lions. ... Minnesota's Visanthe Shiancoe leads all NFC tight ends with 162 receiving yards this year.
  • The storyline:

    Mark Sanchez took a major leap last week, but can it continue against what's been a good defensive team? Can Miami get in the end zone against a tough Jets defense?
  • Why you should watch:

    Revis Island is likely to be quarantined to the sidelines this week, so Dolphins WR Brandon Marshall vs. Jets DB Antonio Cromartie will be a big matchup. The Dolphins need to get the Wildcat going.
  • Did you know?

    The Jets have won three straight road games. ... New York LB Jason Taylor will face the Dolphins for the first time. He spent 12 seasons in Miami. ... The Dolphins are 31-12-1 all-time in home openers, the second-best mark in the NFL. ... Miami's Cameron Wake has a sack in each of the season's first two weeks.
  • The storyline:

    Vince Young gets shot at redemption after being yanked from the loss to Pittsburgh, in which the Titans had seven turnovers (three of which were Young's). The entire Giants team gets a shot at redemption after being rolled by Colts.
  • Why you should watch:

    Chris Johnson will be hungry after having his 100-yard game streak snapped. Giants RB Brandon Jacobs might shotput his helmet into the stands again.
  • Did you know?

    Tennessee has won nine consecutive games against NFC opponents. ... Titans RB Chris Johnson averages 98.7 rushing yards per game on the road in his career. ... New York's Hakeem Nicks leads the NFL with four receiving touchdowns. ... Giants WR Steve Smith has a first-down catch in 35 consecutive games.
  • The storyline:

    Could the Chiefs knock off a second preseason division favorite in just their second game at the revamped Arrowhead? The 49ers need to get going, and fast.
  • Why you should watch:

    In this September of the quarterback controversy, high-priced Kansas City signal-caller Matt Cassel could be playing his way into one, too. Not that the Chiefs have strong options behind him.
  • Did you know?

    The 49ers are 8-0 when Alex Smith starts and has a passer rating of at least 96. ... San Francisco TE Vernon Davis has five touchdowns in his last four games against AFC opponents. ... The Chiefs have not won consecutive home games since 2006-07. ... Kansas City DT Glenn Dorsey has four career fumble recoveries.
  • The storyline:

    Rookie quarterback Jimmy Clausen makes his first NFL start after falling to the Panthers in the third round of the draft. He'll have to do it against one of the best defenses, and secondaries, in the NFL.
  • Why you should watch:

    The Bengals picked off Ravens QB Joe Flacco four times last week. This could well be the week that Batman and Robin get it going against a reeling opponent.
  • Did you know?

    Cincinnati's Marvin Lewis is 17-10-1 against NFC opponents in his head coaching career. ... Bengals K Mike Nugent made a career-high five field goals last week. ... Carolina RB Jonathan Stewart has rushed for 100 yards in three of his past four home games. ... Panthers WR Steve Smith has a touchdown catch in six consecutive games.
  • The storyline:

    The end of the Eric Mangini era seems to grow closer by the week, and now the Browns finally meet a top-flight opponent in Baltimore's home opener.
  • Why you should watch:

    The Ravens have yet to allow a touchdown this season. And unless Cleveland's Josh Cribbs breaks one on special teams, Baltimore very well might bring that streak into Week 4.
  • Did you know?

    Twenty six of Browns WR Mohamed Massaquoi's 37 receptions have gone for first downs. ... Cleveland RB Peyton Hillis has scored a touchdown in two consecutive games. ... Ravens QB Joe Flacco is 4-0 against the Browns in his career. ... Baltimore LB Terrell Suggs has more sacks vs. Cleveland (11) than he does against any other opponent.
  • The storyline:

    There is massive blowout potential here and we know the Patriots aren't above that.
  • Why you should watch:

    After scoring only 17 points in two games, Bills coach Chan Gailey decided give Ryan Fitzpatrick a shot under center, but will he make it through the game?
  • Did you know?

    Bills WR Lee Evans has 13 100-yard receiving games in his career. ... Buffalo is 14-3 when Terrence McGee has an interception. ... The Patriots have beaten the Bills 13 consecutive times. ... New England QB Tom Brady has won 21 consecutive home games.
  • The storyline:

    The Eagles have turned to Michael Vick again this week as the starting quarterback. Will he duplicate last week's sensational performance?
  • Why you should watch:

    The Jaguars have allowed an AFC-high 55 points, so Vick might go off again on Sunday. David Garrard is coming off a four-pick game.
  • Did you know?

    The Eagles are 48-2 under Andy Reid when they score 30 or more points. ... Philadelphia's Juqua Parker has a sack in four consecutive games. ... The Jaguars are 12-2 at home against NFC opponents under coach Jack Del Rio. ... Jacksonville's Mike Sims-Walker had a career-best 10 receptions last week.
  • The storyline:

    Broncos QB Kyle Orton is quietly having a great start to the season, but Peyton Manning could be primed to shred Denver's secondary.
  • Why you should watch:

    This is a pretty bleak slate of 4 p.m. games. Trust me, this is by far the best of the bunch.
  • Did you know?

    Manning is 7-2 in his career against the Broncos (including the playoffs). ... Colts WR Reggie Wayne has four TD catches in his last three games vs. Denver. ... Orton is 20-5 as a starter at home. ... Broncos S Brian Dawkins is making his 201st career start.
  • The storyline:

    Does this seem like an abnormally easy start to the season for a 13-win team? Yeah, I thought so, too.
  • Why you should watch:

    The Seahawks already pulled one upset at home, but this is probably asking too much. Especially since the Chargers already blew a game at Kansas City.
  • Did you know?

    The Chargers have won five in a row against NFC opponents. ... San Diego is 11-1 when Antonio Gates has two or more receiving touchdowns in a game. ... Since 2005, Seahawks QB Matt Hasselbeck is 28-10 at home. ... Seattle RB Justin Forsett has a 5.5 yard per carry average in his career.
  • The storyline:

    The Redskins finally play on the road and get a team that has lost 27 of its last 28 games.
  • Why you should watch:

    If Washington's inept run game is ever going to do anything, now's the time. Rams rookie QB Sam Bradford is going to be just fine.
  • Did you know?

    Redskins RB Clinton Portis has four touchdowns in his past three games against the Rams. ... Washington LB Brian Orakpo has 7.5 sacks in eight career road games. ... Rams RB Steven Jackson has 482 yards from scrimmage in his last three games vs. the Redskins. ... St. Louis' Oshiomogho Atogwe has the fourth-most interceptions in the NFL since 2006 (18).
  • The storyline:

    The Raiders will likely go back to Jason Campbell as a starter, but Bruce "The Gamer" Gradkowski is great off the bench. Cardinals QB Max Hall is inching closer to starting, too, after Derek Anderson struggled in Week 2.
  • Why you should watch:

    One of these teams is going to be 2-1 and feeling okay despite its flaws (unless, of course, they tie).
  • Did you know?

    The Raiders are 3-0 all-time on the road against the Cardinals. ... Oakland's Kamerion Wimbley had a sack in each of the first two weeks. ... Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald leads the NFL with 475 receptions since 2005. ... Arizona's Steve Breaston has 31 catches in his last five September outings.
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