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What to watch for: Tips for Week 3 games

  • By Gregg Rosenthal and Marc Sessler
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New York Giants at Carolina Panthers


Eli Manning fried the Cowboys for 450 yards before throwing for another 362 against the Broncos in Week 2. He now faces an injury-riddled Panthers secondary that ranks 22nd in the league. We love Carolina's front seven, but this isn't a good matchup.

Further reading:
Cruz: Game is 'must-win' for Giants
Rivera, Panthers down in the dumps
Further viewing:
Are Giants panicking at 0-2?
Terrell Thomas on 'Open Locker Room'

Arizona Cardinals at New Orleans Saints

How about a little love for Saints defensive coordinator Rob Ryan?

After New Orleans allowed more yardage than any team in NFL history last season, the Saints are giving up a workmanlike 320 yards per game, 11th best in the league.

Further reading:
Fantasy Start 'em, Sit 'em: Should you play Brees?
Elliot Harrison picks all of Week 3's games
Further viewing:
Patrick Peterson on 'Sound FX'
Saints are title contenders once again

Houston Texans at Baltimore Ravens


Houston's long search for a No. 2 receiver is over. DeAndre Hopkins hauled in seven catches for 117 yards and a touchdown in Sunday's win over Tennessee. After the game, "Nuk" said he can be better than Andre Johnson. That should sound crazier than it does.

Further reading:
Reed focused on Texans playoffs, not facing Ravens
WR Johnson likely to play
Further viewing:
Burgeoning AFC rivals to meet again
J.J. Watt on 'Sound FX'

Green Bay Packers at Cincinnati Bengals

Cincinnati's nasty pass rush has just two sacks on the season.

Then there's Aaron Rodgers, who gets rid of the ball as quickly as any passer in the NFL. Against the Redskins last week, 33 of his 46 dropbacks saw Aa-Rod unleash the ball inside 2.5 seconds.

Further reading:
Time to give Aaron Rodgers his due
Elliot Harrison picks all of Week 3's games
Further viewing:
Rookie RB Bernard will challenge Packers
Marvin Lewis talks Benagls with T.J. Houshmandzadeh

St. Louis Rams at Dallas Cowboys


Rams cornerbacks Cortland Finnegan and Janoris Jenkins missed tackles and struggled last week against Atlanta's pass-catchers. Dez Bryant could be in for a big day.

Further reading:
Fisher cautious about Rams using no-huddle
Injury update: Bryant 'slow and deliberate'
Further viewing:
Both teams look to rebound from tough Week 2 losses
Fantasy waiver wire: Rams QB Bradford available

Cleveland Browns at Minnesota Vikings

Cleveland's only hope is a talented front seven tasked with keeping Adrian Peterson at bay.

Cleveland's shell of an offense will counter with veteran Willis McGahee and Bobby Rainey, who has zero career carries and has never started.

Further reading:
Why Browns' trade of Richardson makes sense
Hoyer to start at QB for Cleveland
Further viewing:
Browns braintrust explains blockbuster deal
Ponder, Peterson look to get untracked at home

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at New England Patriots


Don't sleep on Tampa's defense. Linebackers Lavonte David and Mason Foster are bright spots for a team swimming in drama. In the secondary, Darrelle Revis won't allow Julian Edelman to play the hero again on Sunday.

Further reading:
Schiano, Revis clear the air
Freeman on the way out in Tampa?
Further viewing:
McGinest on Brady's body language
Bucs' Goldson defends style of play

Buffalo Bills at New York Jets

EJ Manuel is playing well for a rookie, but he got away with a lot of mistakes last week against Carolina.

He might continue to get away with them if the Bills' defense keeps up its pace. It is easily one of the most improved units in the league.

Further reading:
EJ Manuel coming into his own
Geno Smith: I'm the guy for the job
Further viewing:
Battle of N.Y. teams pits rookie QBs
Bills coach Doug Marrone on 'Sound FX'

San Diego Chargers at Tennessee Titans


Chargers right tackle D.J. Fluker, the team's first-round draft pick, suffered a concussion in practice this week. San Diego's offensive line has been vastly improved this year and tougher than a year ago, but it could struggle to hold against Tennessee's nasty no-name front.

Further reading:
Philip Rivers turns back the clock
Britt: Titans wrong to bench me
Further viewing:
Which AFC also-ran from 2012 has improved most?
Fantasy sleepers for Week 3

Detroit Lions at Washington Redskins

Matthew Stafford is getting the ball out of his hand faster this year. He's only been sacked once and has mostly avoided the mental mistakes that have often plagued him.

This is a tasty matchup against one of the league's worst defensive backfields.

Further reading:
Shanahan dismisses talk of Cousins
Lions' Suh shrugs off 'gnats'
Further viewing:
Lions look to rebound vs. desperate 'Skins
Griffin: I should be running more

Atlanta Falcons at Miami Dolphins


Miami's defense has terrific depth. Brent Grimes is playing at a Pro Bowl level at cornerback. He and Reshad Jones are one of the most fun cornerback-safety duos in the league. The team is also getting great contributions from defensive linemen Randy Starks and Jared Odrick. The Dolphins rotate waves of dangerous defenders.

Further reading:
Fantasy Start 'em, Sit 'em for Week 3
Picks for all Week 3 games
Further viewing:
Dolphins will be tested vs. NFC South champs
Incognito: 'Tannehill has won this team over'

Jacksonville Jaguars at Seattle Seahawks

Seattle's free-agent acquisitions are off to a good start.

Defensive end Michael Bennett fits right in with Pete Carroll's scheme, and Cliff Avril had a nice first game against San Francisco. The Seahawks have a chance for a shutout against the hapless Jaguars.

Further reading:
MJD indicates he'll play
How did Seahawks fare in Week 3 Power Rankings?
Further viewing:
Bradley returns to Seattle as a head coach
Seahawks' offense yet to click in 2013

Indianapolis Colts at San Francisco 49ers


The Colts' offensive line improved its pass protection performance in Week 2 against the Dolphins, but crumbled late in the game when Miami creatively blitzed it into submission. Look for the 49ers to test Indy's protection, especially when new Colts pickup Trent Richardson is in the game.

Further reading:
Battista: Colts going all-in for Super Bowl
Elliot Harrison picks all of Week 3's games
Further viewing:
Luck returns to Bay Area to face Harbaugh
Cleveland, Indianapolis react to big trade

Chicago Bears at Pittsburgh Steelers

Jay Cutler is improvising less, and it's working.

Devin Hester is not on offense, and suddenly is a huge factor again on special teams. Everything new coach Marc Trestman does is turning into gold.

Further reading:
Bennett: Trestman like 'first Willy Wonka'
Steelers' Brown wants the ball more
Further viewing:
Watch Jay Cutler's game-winning drive in Week 2
What's the cure for Steelers' struggles?

Oakland Raiders at Denver Broncos


The Raiders are 1-8 on "Monday Night Football" since 2003. To pull off the biggest upset of this season, they'll have to maintain their early success running the football. Denver's defensive tackles have proven surprisingly stout the first two weeks.

Further reading:
How Terrelle Pryor can revive Al Davis' luster
Broncos lose LT Ryan Clady for season
Further viewing:
Charles Woodson on getting to Manning
Can AFC West send three teams to playoffs?

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