Suspended bosses get to watch Brees

Associated Press Published: October 4, 2012
Advertisement
;

Among the spiciest matchups will be the Eagles' speed with running back LeSean McCoy and receivers DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin — not to mention quarterback Michael Vick — against a defense that has looked slow thus far.

Green Bay (2-2) at Indianapolis (1-2)

Offensive coordinator Bruce Arians steps in as interim coach for Indy while Chuck Pagano battles leukemia. That adds to the challenges the Colts are facing as they come off a bye week.

"Obviously, we know what's going on and there's no doubt everyone still has that in the back of our heads," defensive end Cory Redding said. "But this team has to move on. We have to go out there and do our job."

Doing it against the revitalized Packers' offense will be extra difficult. Most of the matchups favor Green Bay, with the most intriguing perhaps being Packers center Jeff Saturday against the Colts' interior defensive line. Saturday left Indy as a free agent this year after 13 seasons.

Baltimore (3-1) at Kansas City (1-3)

Kansas City has allowed 136 points overall and 77 in two home losses, hardly the right approach against a Baltimore team that has become dangerous offensively. Even worse, the Chiefs have the NFL's most giveaways, 15, a bad sign against the Ravens' ball-hawkers.

"You look across that defensive board and they've got a lot of great veteran leadership with Ed Reed, Haloti Ngata and then also obviously Ray Lewis," Chiefs quarterback Matt Cassel said. "But those guys have been playing together for a long time and they're a very instinctive, very experienced group."

After a busy opening four weeks, the Ravens finally are rested, having last played on Sept. 27.

Cleveland (0-4) at New York Giants (2-2)

The Giants recognize that they messed up late at Philly last Sunday night, costing them sole possession of the NFC East lead. With a brutal upcoming schedule, a victory against the winless Browns, ranked last in the AP Pro32, is a must.

Yet, the Giants have struggled in recent years against mediocre (or worse) opponents.

"I don't know if it's our preparation, I don't know if it's the mindset that we go in there with," receiver Victor Cruz said. "Hopefully, we'll gear up this week and be prepared for this team, no matter what their record is. They're still a good football team, and we have to prepare ourselves to win a football game."

Cleveland has lost 10 straight dating back to last season. It has shown sparks on offense with rookie RB Trent Richardson and QB Brandon Weeden, and has some playmakers on defense, particularly linebacker D'Qwell Jackson. Top cornerback Joe Haden has one more week on his suspension.

Buffalo (2-2) at San Francisco (3-1)

Early in the third quarter last week, the Bills led New England 21-7 and were envisioning a solo spot atop the AFC East. Then the Patriots stopped fooling around and soon were headed to a 52-28 romp.

The Niners aren't likely to score that many points, but their fierce, opportunistic defense almost certainly won't yield anything close to four touchdowns.

This could be an entertaining matchup on the ground with Buffalo's Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller trying to outdo San Francisco's Frank Gore and Kendall Hunter. It also could turn into a mismatch if Patrick Willis, Justin Smith and the rest of the 49ers' defense shuts down the Bills' running attack and forces Ryan Fitzpatrick to throw under duress. Fitzpatrick's 12 TD passes top the league, but he's also thrown seven interceptions.

Miami (1-3) at Cincinnati (3-1)

With two division matches after this, Cincinnati needs to pay attention against a Dolphins squad that lost its last two games in overtime, blowing leads in both. Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton has been sensational late in games and has the best fourth-quarter passing rating in the NFL, 151.7.

The Dolphins have won six of their last seven visits to Cincinnati and have the NFL's leading receiver in yards in Brian Hartline. But getting time to find him will be problematic for rookie QB Ryan Tannehill: The Bengals lead the NFL with 17 sacks.

"Our defensive linemen are very tall guys," safety Chris Crocker said. "Just them getting their arms up, getting around him — it's uncomfortable. As long as they continue to get the pressure like they're getting, then we'll make a lot of plays."

Seattle (2-2) at Carolina (1-3)

Reverse the site of this game and the Seahawks are a strong favorite. Instead, they make one of the longest road trips possible in the NFL, 2,800 miles, to face an angry group of Panthers.

Carolina had Atlanta pinned at its 1-yard line in the final moments last Sunday and still managed to blow the game. For developing teams, such defeats can be devastating.

"We are a young football team, but at some point you've got to get past that, because at some point you run out of time," coach Ron Rivera said. "We don't want to run out of time."

Chicago (3-1) at Jacksonville (1-3)

The addition of WR Brandon Marshall has energized Chicago's offense and even made Jay Cutler less sullen. But it's the defense that is making the Bears formidable with a league-high 14 takeaways, including 11 interceptions. They've run back three picks for touchdowns.

That paints a distressing picture for the Jaguars, whose 62 points are the fewest of any team to have played four games.

Tennessee (1-3) at Minnesota (3-1)

One of the league's biggest flops through a quarter of the schedule visits one of the most pleasant surprises.

Tennessee is without starting QB Jake Locker (shoulder), so Matt Hasselbeck gets the call. He'll need Chris Johnson to resemble the running back he was last week with 141 yards, not the impostor of the previous three games.

Minnesota has been getting strong contributions from its veteran leaders, particularly Adrian Peterson and Percy Harvin on offense, Chad Greenway and Antoine Winfield on defense, and Harvin on special teams. The kick returners have been superb.

___

Online: http://pro32.ap.org/poll and http://twitter.com/AP_NFL

| |

Advertisement


Trending Now



AROUND THE WEB

  1. 1
    Dave Chappelle Reveals Shockingly Buff New Look
  2. 2
    Peaches Geldof Funeral to Be Held on Easter Monday
  3. 3
    Mayor Who Fired Lesbian Police Chief Caught On Tape In Homophobic Tirade
  4. 4
    NBA commissioner wants to raise age limit to 20
  5. 5
    Dream guitars I wouldn't mind calling my own (34 Photos)
+ show more