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Week 3 Cheat Sheet

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Everything you need to know as kickoff approaches ...

Key game-time decisions

All players questionable unless noted

Harrison: Week 3 predictions
Can the Broncos avenge their Super Bowl loss? Will the Bills be 3-0? Elliot Harrison projects Week 3's winners and losers. READ

Jamaal Charles (ankle) RB, Kansas City Chiefs

The running back returned Friday and split carries with Knile Davis. How his high ankle sprain responds prior to kickoff will determine his status and how much work he receives. UPDATE: NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported Sunday that Charles' injury is more of a bruise than a high ankle sprain, and the back is a game-time decision.

DeSean Jackson (shoulder) WR -- ACTIVE -- Washington Redskins

Jackson followed up two missed practices with limited work Friday. Jackson wants to play in his return to Philadelphia, but coach Jay Gruden has said he won't activate the receiver if he's not healthy enough to help the team win. UPDATE: Jackson is active to play against his former team.

Vernon Davis (ankle, knee) TE -- DOUBTFUL -- San Francisco 49ers

Davis has missed practice all week. UPDATE: Rapoport reports it's doubtful Davis will play after being on crutches until Thursday.

Bernard Pierce (thigh) RB -- OUT -- Baltimore Ravens

Despite being a full participant in practice Friday, Pierce was declared inactive against the Browns. On Saturday the Ravens promoted running back Fitzgerald Toussaint from the practice squad.

Jordan Cameron (shoulder) TE -- ACTIVE; Barkevious Mingo (shoulder) LB -- ACTIVE -- Cleveland Browns

Both were limited all week after missing last week's game. UPDATE: Both Cameron and Mingo are active. 

Dez Bryant (shoulder) WR -- ACTIVE -- Dallas Cowboys

Bryant was limited on Thursday and Friday, but he will play Sunday against the Rams.

Shaun Hill (thigh) QB -- ACTIVE; Tavon Austin (knee) WR -- OUT -- St. Louis Rams

The Rams were still holding out for Hill's health instead of just giving the reins to Austin Davis. Tavon, on the other hand, was limited Friday after picking up two DNPs. UPDATE: Hill missed the inactives list, but Austin wasn't so lucky; the latter was deactivated for Week 3.

Bruce Irvin (ribs) LB, Seattle Seahawks

Irvin missed the last two practices. The Seahawks need every pass rusher they have against Peyton Manning.

Arian Foster (hamstring) RB -- OUT -- Houston Texans

Foster was listed as limited all week, but we aren't worried about his status as the team's workhorse. UPDATE: NFL Media's Kimberly Jones reported that Foster will not play against the Giants. The Texans confirmed Foster's status shortly after, adding that Alfred Blue will start in Foster's place.

Hakeem Nicks (illness) WR -- ACTIVE -- Indianapolis Colts

The Colts wideout missed Thursday and Friday's practice with an undisclosed illness but is active for Sunday's game.

Maurice Jones-Drew (hand) RB -- OUT -- Oakland Raiders

Raiders coach Dennis Allen confirmed Sunday to NFL Media's Steve Wyche that MJD will not play against the Patriots. The team confirmed the running back's status later on Sunday morning.

Keenan Allen (groin) WR -- ACTIVE -- San Diego Chargers

Allen was limited Thursday and Friday. Back-to-back participation is a positive sign for his availability in Buffalo. On Sunday he was declared active.

DeAngelo Williams (hamstring) RB; Jason Avant (hamstring) WR; Jerricho Cotchery (hamstring) WR; Carolina Panthers

What's up with the Panthers' hamstrings? Williams and Avant were both limited on Friday. Cotchery didn't practice. The Panthers have been cautious with their players early in the season.

Rolando McClain (groin) LB -- OUT -- Dallas Cowboys

The most surprising defensive player of the season thus far didn't practice all week. The Cowboys signed linebacker Keith Smith off the practice squad on Saturday -- not a good sign for McClain's availability. UPDATE: McClain was deactivated for Sunday's game.

**MNF**

Alshon Jeffery (hamstring) WR; Brandon Marshall (ankle) WR, Chicago Bears

As with last week, both are listed as questionable. Both could play again. Fantasy football fans are frustrated by this process.

Eric Decker (hamstring) WR, New York Jets

Decker returned to practice on a limited basis Saturday.

Weather Tracking*

Some thunderstorms on the radar for Week 3

Chargers at Bills -- 70 degrees / Chance of thunderstorms (83 percent)
Ravens at Browns -- 68 degrees / Chance of thunderstorms (70 percent)
Packers at Lions -- 67 degrees / Chance of thunderstorms (84 percent)
Raiders at Patriots -- 76 degrees / Chance of thunderstorms (42 percent)
Texans at Giants -- 81 degrees / Chance of rain (52 percent)
Chiefs at Dolphins -- 83 degrees / Chance of thunderstorms (59 percent)
*Forecasts courtesy of Weather Underground

Brooks: Key matchups to watch
Entering Week 3, Bucky Brooks identifies the most intriguing -- and most lopsided -- battles in games across the NFL. READ

Three matchups to watch

Broncos' new D vs. Russell Wilson and Marshawn Lynch

Plenty of people want to talk about how Peyton Manning will try to solve the riddle of the LOB. But the Broncos' offseason focus was clearly the other side of the ball. Denver wanted to get tougher. Did they? Will DeMarcus Ware, Aqib Talib and T.J. Ward make a difference against the bulldozing Lynch and magic-wand-waving Wilson? Or will "The Annihilation II: Zero Chance" take place in Seattle on Sunday afternoon?

DeSean Jackson vs. chip on shoulder vs. Eagles

Jackson is active to play Sunday -- and we know the chip on DJax's shoulder is weighing him down more than the sprain. Revenge games are always fun, but this has an added dose of bad blood. Jackson has said the circumstances that led to his release from the Eagles played a role in signing with the Redskins. The Eagles' defense hasn't exactly been rock-solid through two weeks. If Jackson gets loose a couple times in the secondary, oooooooh, how fun that will be to watch and listen to.

Sammy Watkins vs. Jason Verrett

Sunday's rookie matchup to watch. Verrett, the San Diego Chargers cornerback, has been as solid as you would want a first-round CB to be in his first two weeks -- Pro Football Focus has him rated as their fifth overall cornerback at the moment. Hopefully we get to see a lot of him on fellow rookie Sammy Watkins. The Bills rookie receiver has been EJ Manuel's best field-stretching target through two weeks. Watkins' dynamic ability has the potential to wreck havoc on the Chargers' secondary. However, if Verrett and Co. are able to slow down Watkins, they could force Manuel back into check-down mode.

Did You Know?

General Knowledge

Comebacks have been a theme around the NFL through two weeks. Teams have overcome deficits of 10-plus points to win in seven different games thus far: Atlanta, Arizona, Chicago, Green Bay, Miami and Philadelphia (twice).

The last time there were more than seven teams with comeback victories of 10-plus points through Week 2 was 1987 (eight).

San Diego Chargers (1-1) at Buffalo Bills (2-0)

Over the past five seasons, West Coast teams (SF, SD, SEA, OAK) are a combined 15-28 (.349) in games that start at 1 p.m. in the Eastern Time Zone.

Philip Rivers sits at 7-8 when playing an East Coast team on the road at 1 p.m. ET. But the quarterback is 3-1 all-time versus the Bills (69.2 completion percentage, six TDs, one INT and 105.0 passer rating).

The Bills' offensive line has been phenomenal; it did not allow a sack in Week 2. Buffalo is one of four teams with one or fewer sacks allowed this season (along with the Chargers, Bengals and Texans).

Tennessee Titans (1-1) at Cincinnati Bengals (2-0)

Tennessee is only one of three teams without a rushing touchdown this season, joining the Bears and Jaguars.

The Bengals have yet to allow a sack and have zero giveaways through two games. Cincy is the second team since 1960 to accomplish that feat, alongside the 2006 Chargers (who finished 14-2).

Baltimore Ravens (1-1) at Cleveland Browns (1-1)

The Ravens sit at 1-1. Baltimore has not been under .500 after three games in a season since 2005.

Your weekly Brian Hoyer in the no-huddle note from NFL Media research: The Browns starter has a passer rating of 118.1 running no-huddle, more than 40 points better than huddling. Hoyer's completion percentage rises from 54.7 percent to 77.8 percent in the hurry-up.

Your Factory of Sadness stat of the week: A win would put the Browns above .500 after Week 3 for the first time since 2011, when Colt McCoy was Cleveland's quarterback.

Green Bay Packers (1-1) at Detroit Lions (1-1)

In the last nine Packers-Detroit games in which Aaron Rodgers stayed healthy enough to throw at least 15 passes, the Packers are 9-0, with Rodgers tossing 19 TDs and four INTs.

After two weeks, Calvin Johnson and Golden Tate have 397 receiving yards combined, the highest total for any receiving duo in the NFL. Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb have 389 receiving yards combined, making the two the second-highest tandem.

Indianapolis Colts (0-2) at Jacksonville Jaguars (0-2)

Andrew Luck lost back-to-back games for the first time in his NFL career. The last time he lost back-to-back games was in 2009, when he was a redshirt freshman at Stanford.

The Jaguars have 89 total rushing yards through two games. Thirty individual players around the league have 89 yards rushing or better. Two running backs, DeMarco Murray (285) and Arian Foster (241), single-handedly have more than double the Jags' total.

Oakland Raiders (0-2) at New England Patriots (1-1)

Derek Carr has been sacked twice through two games. His brother, David Carr, was sacked 15 times in his first two games (en route to 76 during his rookie season, the most in NFL history).

Tom Brady has completed only one pass of 20-plus air yards through two games. Brady is 1 of 15 for a completion percentage of 6.7 percent on such passes.

Minnesota Vikings (1-1) at New Orleans Saints (0-2)

Last week, Matt Cassel did not complete a pass of 10-plus air yards, throwing three INTs on passes of that distance. Cassel is the only player to have attempted a pass of 15-plus air yards and not have a completion. He is 0 of 9 on such passes.

From 1970 through 2012, no NFL team lost each of its first two games of the season despite holding a lead with fewer than 10 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter in each of them. Last year, the Buccaneers broke that streak, losing their first two games in that manner. The Saints joined them this season.

Houston Texans (2-0) at New York Giants (0-2)

Fitzmagic! Ryan Fitzpatrick's 118.4 passer rating ranks second in the NFL, behind only Peyton Manning (126.5).

Under Tom Coughlin's reign, the Giants have averaged 4.39 yards per rush. Through two weeks, New York is currently averaging 2.7 yards per rush. Last season they averaged just 3.5 yards, third worst in the NFL.

Washington Redskins (1-1) at Philadelphia Eagles (2-0)

The Redskins' defense is allowing only 234.5 YPG this season (best in NFL): Week 1 at Houston: 321 yards allowed; Week 2 vs. Jacksonville: 148 yards allowed.

In the fourth quarter the Eagles have scored 30 points on just 28 plays, marking the best fourth quarter points-per-play rate (1.07) in the NFL. For perspective, the next closest team, the Bears, ring in at 0.77 points per play in the fourth quarter.

Dallas Cowboys (1-1) at St. Louis Rams (1-1)

DeMarco Murray's 285 rushing yards are the most in Cowboys history through the first two games of a season, and the third-highest total through two weeks by any NFL player in the last 10 seasons (behind Arian Foster's 300 yards in 2010 and C.J. Spiller's 292 yards in 2012).

Jason Garrett has never lost more than two games in a row as Cowboys head coach. Garrett has had nine two-game losing streaks (including Week 17, 2013 through Week 1, 2014). He has won the next game after each occurrence (including last week).

The Rams vaunted front has only one sack in first two games (note: Chris Long is out with an ankle injury). St. Louis finished third in NFL last season with 53 sacks (3.3-per-game average) and lead the NFL with 107 sacks since 2012.

San Francisco 49ers (1-1) at Arizona Cardinals (2-0)

Colin Kaepernick's first-quarter passer rating is 136.1, while his fourth-quarter passer rating is just 48.5.

The Cardinals are the first team since Lynn Dickey's 1982 Packers to start 2-0 after trailing in the fourth quarter of each game while not allowing a fourth-quarter point in either contest.

Kansas City Chiefs (0-2) at Miami Dolphins (1-1)

With both teams' running games banged up, the defenses could be forcing their opponents to pass often. Alex Smith's teams are 2-10 when Smith has 40-plus attempts. Ryan Tannehill's teams are worse -- 1-7 when he throws over 40 times.

Smith has been good this season given the offensive line struggles, but he has just one touchdown pass. The Chiefs are just one of three teams with one or fewer touchdown passes (Steelers one, Rams zero).

Tannehill needs one touchdown pass to surpass Don Strock (39) for sole possession of fourth place in team history.

Denver Broncos (2-0) at Seattle Seahawks (1-1)

The Seahawks' 30-21 loss at San Diego last week ended Seattle's streak of 41 straight regular-season games played without losing by more than seven points. That ties the longest streak of its kind in NFL history, alongisde the 2011-2013 Patriots and 1997-2000 Vikings.

Seattle has lost 33 games in a row when allowing 27 or more points. Denver has scored 27 or more in 19 of their last 21 regular-season games.

The Seahawks allowed three touchdown passes last week. They have not allowed three or more passing scores in consecutive games since 2010. Peyton Manning has thrown three or more touchdown passes in four straight regular season games.

Pittsburgh Steelers (1-1) at Carolina Panthers (2-0)

Ben Roethlisberger has thrown an interception in five consecutive games for the second time in his career. Big Ben has never thrown an interception in six consecutive games (through 145 regular season games).

The Panthers' defense has been dominant, compiling 7.0 sacks (tied for fourth-most) and six takeaways (tied for second-most) while allowing an opposing passer rating of 72.1 (fifth best) and just 10.5 points per game.

Chicago Bears (1-1) at New York Jets (1-1)

The Bears have yet to rush for over 100 yards this season (Chicago reached the plateau in 11 of 16 games last season). They face a Jets' defense allowing just 2.8 yards per rushing attempt.

Chris Johnson loves Monday Night Football. In his four appearances, the running back has compiled 461 rushing yards on 95 attempts with three touchdowns. His three straight MNF games with 100-plus yards per game are tied with Arian Foster for the longest active streak.

The latest Around The NFL Podcast recaps the Falcons' lopsided win over the Bucs and previews every other game in Week 3.

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