NFL Week 3 Primer
(The AFC East Edition)
5. Panthers/Dolphins - The Carolina Panthers are coming off of a big-time statement win over the New England Patriots (in a rare match-up of teams whose "home" part of their names are neither states nor cities - Tampa Bay is the only other such team), and now they go on the road to Miami. The Dolphins are 1-1, 1-0 at home. The Fish will find that their opponents this time around are a little more used to the heat than Denver, however. This is a big-time chance for the Dolphins to step up and do something the Patriots could not. For the Panthers, this game is about avoiding an emotional hangover after a huge win last week.
4. Falcons/Bills - The Michael Vick Show's next stop is in Buffalo, where the weather is not yet inhospitable and the turf will make Vick feel somewhat at home. The Bills are coming off of a pretty ugly (oxymoron alert!) loss to the Buccaneers last week, and want to avoid a 1-2 start in this division (although it is not inconcievable that the entire division could be 1-2 after this week). The Falcons, on the other hand, don't want to lose a game their divisional rivals just won. Both teams have exceptional defenses, coupled with developing offenses. Take the under.
3. Chargers/Giants - If I told you before the season one of these teams would be 2-0 while the other is 0-2, you'd probably think it was the other way around. Yet, the Giants and Chargers have the pundits scratching their heads as it is the Giants who have gotten off to a fast start, while the Chargers remain winless. For the Chargers (as well as for every other 0-2 team playing this week) this is quite simply a must win game - you do not want to try and make the playoffs coming from an 0-3 hole, especially in the AFC, and double secret especially with two of those losses coming at home. As for the Giants, a win would put them all alone in first place in the NFC East (like I said before, Washington is idle), and this is somewhat of a statement game, as the Chargers, unlike the Giants' two previous opponents, are coming off of a playoff season. Of course, this is Eli's first trip to San Diego, the team he spurned at last year's NFL Draft, and couple that with this game being in prime time (not a coincidence), the home crowd should be into it.
2. Jaguars/Jets - Obviously, this game has huge symbolic importance, as "Jet Jaguar" was the name of the robot who helped Godzilla in "Godzilla vs. Megalon". But even beyond that, these are two teams that a lot in common. Both teams are 1-1. Both are second bananas in their own divisions, the Jets to the Patriots and the Jaguars to the Colts. Both are trying to join the ranks of the NFL's elite this season, and each should see this match-up as an important stepping stone in so doing. This is a statement game for both teams, and as such should make for very interesting TV.
1. Patriots/Steelers - With all respect to Kansas City and Denver, how is this not on Monday Night? Like the Falcons/Eagles match-up in week 1, this is a rematch of a conference title game. Two of the AFC's "Big 3" (along with the Colts), the Patriots and Steelers have a match-up this week which could have potential implications way down the line (as in, home field advantage for the playoffs) as well as the obvious immediate answers it will provide - is Willy Parker the real deal? What about Ben Roethlisberger? Was the Patriots performance last week a fluke, or did Carolina provide a blueprint for good teams to beat New England? How much are the Patriots going to miss their two coordinators? This is a game where seemingly everything favors the Steelers going in, and that is the kind of game that Bill Belicheck's Patriots have always won the last two years. Without a doubt, this is the game of the week.
Ok, I'll do the college recap tommorow night after the LSU/Tennessee game, then the NFL recap and college ball primer Tuesday morning (as the College Weekend ridiculously starts Tuesday Night). Till then, P&L...