The Once-Over: Week Three

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With attention spans dwindling, we forego full game-by-game previews to give you the essentials you need to know about every contest this glorious NFL weekend. Click here to go back in time

The 1's

Kansas City at Atlanta: It's a game featuring a team with a rookie quarterback taking on a team with no quarterback. Falcons signal-caller Matt Ryan had a dreadful week two, missing on his first nine passes, while the Chiefs are still playing musical chairs with Damon Huard and Tyler Thigpen. Larry Johnsonisn't impressed by any of it.

Oakland at Buffalo: The Buffalo Bills haven't started a season 3-0 since 1992, and that's exactly what they'll do if they can defeat an Oakland team that has spent this week worrying about who its coach will be, as opposed to the task at hand in Buffalo. If the Bills get that 3-0 start, there's a strong chance Raiders' Head Coach Lane Kiffin will be searching for a new job on Monday morning. Seeing as how they're likely without Justin Fargas, Darren McFadden is fighting some turf toe and Javon Walker can't make it through practice, there's a good chance that happens.

Tampa Bay at Chicago:
Brian Griese makes his second start for Tampa Bay, and does so against a former employer in Chicago. Devin Hester's status is uncertain, which naturally is bad news for the Bears, who blew a double-digit lead at Carolina in week two.

Houston at Tennessee: Houston's former team takes on Houston's current team, and Kerry Collins starts his second-consecutive game in place of the injured/confused Vince Young. The Titans are coming off a 24-7 dismantling of Cincinnati, while Houston had its game against Baltimore postponed because of Hurricane Ike. The Tennessee ground game, led by rookie Chris Johnson, should have a tough go against a strong Houston defensive line, which could cause some problems for Collins as well.

Carolina at Minnesota: The Panthers are 2-0 after a pair of come-from-behind wins against the Chargers and Bears in weeks one and two. The most impressive thing is they've done so without Steve Smith, who will return from his team issued two-game suspension for rearranging a teammates face. They'll travel to Minnesota who will be starting 37-year old head-banger Gus Frerotte. The Tarvaris Jackson experiment has proven to be a weekly meltdown for the Vikings, and their week two loss -- where Minnesota settled for field goals instead of touchdowns on seemingly every first half possession -- was apparently the final straw for Head Coach Brad Childress. It's still a little early to be throwing around the "must win" tag, but it would be difficult to see the Vikings coming back from an 0-3 start, so they better beat Carolina at the dome. Could be tough if Adrian Petersoncan't play.

Miami at New England: Dolphins linebacker Joey Porter pretty much guaranteed a win this week, and then proceeded to ramble on and on about how Matt Cassel can't carry Tom Brady's cleats. Never a smart idea. The last player dumb enough to predict a win heading into New England was Steelers' safety Anthony Smith, and he not only wrote a check his teammates couldn't sign, he had perhaps the worst game of his career, making him look like an even bigger stooge. Matt Cassel may not be Tom Brady, but the Dolphins are still the Dolphins and Sunday's game should make that very clear.

Cincinnati at New York Giants: The Bengals are a mess. They were embarrassed at home by the Titans and have scored only one offensive touchdown in two games. Carson Palmer is the lowest rated passer in the NFL and Chad Ocho Cinco is pointing the finger at his offensive line. Meanwhile, Head Coach Marvin Lewis is talking about lug nuts. Basically, everything is normal in the world of Cincinnati football. The Giants are 2-0 after crushing a hapless St. Louis team on the road, while Justin Tuck is probably having dreams about the havoc he will surely cause in the Bengals' backfield.

Arizona at Washington: Don't look now, but the Arizona Cardinals are 2-0 and in first place in the NFC West. When you consider their two wins to end the 2007 season, the Cardinals are riding a four-game winning streak. Seriously, break up the Cardinals. Kurt Warner is playing like it's 1999 with some help from his freakish receiving duo of Anquan Boldin and Larry Fitzgerald, even though Boldin keeps trying to escape. Washington picked up the first win of the Jim Zorn era with its come-from-behind win against New Orleans, while Chris Cooley was foolish enough to post a picture of a, uh, "friend" reading his playbook.

The 4's

Detroit at San Francisco: We all had a pretty good idea that Mike Martz was crazy, but then he went ahead and confirmed it by suggesting J.T. O'Sullivan could be the best quarterback he's ever coached. Meanwhile, Lions beat writer Tom Kowalski seems to believe Martz will use Sunday's game as his very own "one finger salute" to some former players in Detroit. Shouldn't be too difficult, seeing as how the Lions have found new ways to suck this year by falling behind 21-0 in every game. Oh, and Fire Millen.

St. Louis at Seattle: The Rams haven't been able to stop anybody this year, giving up 79 points while only scoring 16. That's a bad combination. Seattle is getting close to pulling people out of the stands to line up at receiver. With starters Deion Branch and Bobby Engram still out, and just about everyone else on the roster joining them, Seattle has resorted to trading for Keary Colbert and bringing back Koren Robinson. Loser takes over last place in the NFC West and should face some sort of relegation for doing so.

New Orleans at Denver: For one weekend Ed Hochuli was more popular in Denver than John Elway. The Broncos are 2-0 and Jay Cutler is beginning to look like the steal of the 2006 first round. Think Arizona and Tennessee would like to have a mulligan on their picks that year? Bad news for the Saints, seeing as how they enter the game with the No. 28 ranked pass defense in the NFL.

Pittsburgh at Philadelphia: The rivalry that really isn't a rivalry. You'll hear people talk about how bragging rights in the keystone state are on the line, but the reality is these two cities are so far apart they might as well not even be in the same state. Just another random, inter-conference NFL game featuring a high-scoring Eagles offense against a rock-solid Steelers defense that has only allowed 20 points in two games. Still, it might be the best game on the Sunday afternoon lineup.

Jacksonville at Indianapolis: Raise your hand if you thought Jacksonville would be 0-2 and the Colts would only be 1-1 when this game kicks off. Peyton Manning finally shook off the rust in the second half against Minnesota and brought the Colts back from a 15-0 deficit, thanks in large part to Tarvaris Jackson not being able to get the ball in the end zone for Minnesota. The Colts still can't stop the run, which should be good news for Maurice Jones-Drew and Fred Taylor, assuming they have anybody to block for them. David Garrard has already matched his 2007 total for interceptions.

Cleveland at Baltimore: New Browns Vs. Old Browns. The (new) Browns have stumbled out of the gate at 0-2 and will face a hostile environment in Baltimore. Joe Flacco should have a favorable matchup in his second NFL start for the Ravens, throwing against a secondary that doesn't have anybody healthy.

Sunday Night's Faith Hill Game

Dallas at Green Bay: John Madden makes his first trip to Lambeau Field minus Brett Favre. Aaron Rodgers has silenced his critics through the first two games and has Green Bay at 2-0, while Dallas comes in after a thrilling Monday Night win over Philadelphia. Pretty much the game of the week and perhaps an early season NFC playoff preview.

Monday Night

New York Jets at San Diego: The Chargers have managed to lose in two very different, yet equally ridiculous ways this year. They were burned on the last play of the game in week one, and then fell victim to Ed Hochuli in week two on the incomplete pass that wasn't. Brett Favre makes his Monday Night debut with the Jets, and Tony Kornheiser is already penning his poem of love to begin the evening. Unfortunately, Favre looked like 2006 Favre in the Jets' 19-10 loss in week two. The Chargers had a slow start to the 2007 and were able to rebound, offering some hope they'll be able to do so again. A week three win against the Jets would be a good place to start.

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