There are intriguing matchups all over the Week 3 docket. The Lions and Vikings might be playing for their seasons. The Falcons are looking to show everyone they are a legit threat to win the NFC South crown as they face the defending champion Saints in New Orleans. The unbeaten Steelers and Buccaneers square off in Tampa (say what?).
Are the Texans for real? Houston leaned on familiar faces (Matt Schaub, Andre Johnson and Mario Williams) to beat Washington in overtime last week. The concern here is that the defense has to play better if Houston wants to avoid hovering around .500 again. Really, the Texans, as a whole, didn't look great against the Redskins. Coach Gary Kubiak said as much in his Monday press conference.
"Looking at the film, golly, it was not one of our better football games," Kubiak said. "But to still find a way to win, playing in a tough situation like that... that was impressive."
It might have been an impressive victory from a comeback standpoint, but Houston's secondary struggled mightily, and running back Arian Foster was mediocre (3.6 yards per rush). You have to give Kubiak credit, though, for using the word "golly."
Back to Schaub and Johnson. Schaub's 497 yards passing and Johnson's 12 catches were big-time numbers, but they're not going to repeat that against Dallas.
A. Schaub won't have the time.
B. Kubiak will stick with Foster.
C. The Texans should lean on their tight ends and backs as much as Johnson in the passing game.
Ryan's run at redemption
Ryan can win this game by taking vertical shots off play action, while having enough judgment not to force the ball on third down. The Saints love to gamble on defense, so forcing throws is never a good idea. Think back to all the big plays they made off interceptions last season.
Turnaround in Tampa
Take a wild guess which team hasn't allowed any points in the second half so far. Would you believe it's the Buccaneers?
Ronde Barber has been clutch, especially considering he's a 35-year old cornerback. This dude was making plays back when it was cool to listen to Creed. The 14-year vet has two interceptions already, both coming at critical times.
Off the cuff ...
» Miles Austin's 2009 campaign apparently was no fluke -- he leads the league with 288 receiving yards and is tied for tops with 20 catches.
» Minnesota's wideout tandem of Greg Lewis and Greg Camarillo remind me of when CBS replaced Bo and Luke on The Dukes of Hazzard with their cousins Coy and Vance. Man, that show really went downhill after that. Sidney Rice and the ghost of Bernard Berrian can't get back soon enough.
» Earlier this week, I wrote about the Colts' defense and its ability to limit the big play. A lot of you out there chimed in about the Jets' defense being better overall. I agree. My point was that the Colts were best at limiting the quick strike and making teams work methodically down the field. It was a big reason they ended up in the Super Bowl. Enjoyed some of the comments.
Elliot Harrison is the research analyst for NFL RedZone on NFL Network.