Make sure the remote control is close by this weekend as there are a handful of pivotal, must-see NFL matchups on the Week 3 slate.
A can't-miss AFC East showdown in Miami is followed by a clash of surprising undefeated teams in the Arizona desert. Finally, the afternoon action concludes with a superb matchup of AFC Super Bowl favorites at Mile High.
In order to make sure you don't miss a minute of the hard-hitting, fast-paced action this Sunday, we'll showcase the day's most pivotal matchups right here.
New York Jets vs. Miami Dolphins, 1 p.m. ET, CBS
The New York Jets and Miami Dolphins are both tied atop the AFC East with the New England Patriots and Buffalo Bills. All four teams are 1-1 and the Bills play the 0-2 Cleveland Browns this weekend. If either the Jets or the Dolphins hope to keep pace in the division, they need a win in Miami in Week 3.
The two rivals split the season series year ago, with each team winning on its home turf. Their first meeting in 2012 will be decided by whether the Jets can slow the Dolphins rushing attack. Miami's Reggie Bush is the NFL's second-leading rusher through two weeks and is averaging six yards per carry coming into Week 3.
On the other hand, the Jets' run defense has been porous this September, allowing roughly 131 yards on the ground per game. New York was run over by C.J. Spiller in Week 1 against Buffalo, giving up over seven yards per carry to the third-year back. On Sunday afternoon, Bush will lead Miami to a 2-1 record unless the Jets' run stoppers tighten up the running lanes. That'll be a challenge though, so I like the Fins to win at home.
Philadelphia Eagles vs. Arizona Cardinals, 4:05 p.m. ET, FOX
Who would have thought the Arizona Cardinals would be 2-0 coming into Week 3? And who would have thought the Philadelphia Eagles would be 2-0 after turning the ball over nine times in two games? Most likely no one, and that's why Sunday's battle of undefeated squads in the desert is so pivotal. One of these unlikely hot starters is going to be 3-0 after this weekend.
Based on Michael Vick's carelessness with the football, I expect the Cardinals to pull it out at home. The Eagles can't continue to keep overcoming their plethora of mistakes. Arizona's defense proved last weekend against the New England Patriots that its for real, and capable of leading the Cardinals to the playoffs this winter. Look for them to make Vick and the Eagles offense pay for each and every mistake.
Arizona has won the last two matchups between these two teams, including the 2008 NFC Championship Game. The Cardinals are playing well on the most important side of the ball and avoiding critical errors, unlike Philadelphia. If I had to bet on the better team then I would take Philly, but to win in Week 3? I like Arizona.
Houston Texans vs. Denver Broncos, 4:25 p.m. ET, CBS
Peyton Manning taking on arguably the AFC's best team this fall? Sign me up. The undefeated Houston Texans will travel to the Rocky Mountains to face off against the Denver Broncos in Week 3. Denver is coming off a six-point loss to the Atlanta Falcons on Monday Night Football, a game in which Manning tossed three first quarter picks. Fans should watch to see how he bounces back on Sunday.
Houston and Denver have not met since 2010, when the Broncos won a hard-fought 24-23 contest at home. The quarterback for Denver then? Tim Tebow. This time around the Broncos will have to attempt to avoid starting 1-2 with the veteran Manning under center. However, I don't like Denver's chances after what I saw last week.
No. 18 saw plenty of the Houston Texans' defense when he was in the AFC South as a member of the Colts. But this year's Texans' D is much different and far better. Houston is allowing less than 200 yards per game this season and has not allowed more than 10 points in a game. I can only see the Texans advancing to 3-0 with a narrow road win this weekend.
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