Week 3 of the 2013 NFL regular season has begun, as the Kansas City Chiefs defeated the Philadelphia Eagles 26-16 on Thursday Night Football. Starting at 1:00 p.m. ET on Sunday, Sept. 22, the rest of the league will take center stage during the final week before the bye weeks begin.
The question is: How can you watch the games you're hoping to see?
Houston Texans at Baltimore Ravens
Date: Sunday, Sept. 22
Time: 1:00 p.m. ET
Few 1:00 p.m. games will help shape the postseason picture as drastically as the clash between the Houston Texans and Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium. Houston is 2-0, Baltimore is 1-1 and each team has dreams of winning its respective divisions.
In the end, this game could go a long way toward determining which team rivals the Denver Broncos as the top team in the AFC.
The Texans enter this game on the heels of two gutsy victories, going on a 24-0 run to win 31-28 at the San Diego Chargers and using DeAndre Hopkins' heroics to win 30-24 in overtime against the Tennessee Titans. During that time, Matt Shaub re-emerged as a star, and Ben Tate and Arian Foster combined for 284 rushing yards.
The offense will have a hurdle to overcome against the Ravens, however, as All-Pro tackle Duane Brown will be out due to injury.
Losing Brown for a game against the pass-rushing trio of Elvis Dumervil, Haloti Ngata and Terrell Suggs is devastating.
The Ravens have faced their fair share of struggles, starting 1-1 with a 49-27 loss at the Denver Broncos and a 14-6 win over the Cleveland Browns. While the defense may have shown dramatic improvements from Week 1 to Week 2, Baltimore is struggling to run the football.
It won't get any easier in Week 2, as superstar running back Ray Rice is sidelined due to a hip injury.
Two All-Pro players are out, and each would've played significant roles in the outcome of this high-profile game.
Even without Brown and Rice, both the Texans and Ravens are teams that would greatly benefit from earning a win. The Ravens are tied with Cincinnati for the AFC North lead, while the Texans are in a division in which two teams have started 1-1.
If any 1:00 p.m. ET game is a must-see, it's this one.
Indianapolis Colts at San Francisco 49ers
Date: Sunday, Sept. 22
Time: 4:25 p.m. ET
The Indianapolis Colts and San Francisco 49ers both started the season at 1-0 but fell to 1-1 with disappointing Week 2 losses. The Colts fell at home, the 49ers were demolished on the road and both teams are in need of a rebound win.
Regardless of why we're seeing this game, the NFL community should be happy that it's happening.
The Colts began the season with a 21-17 win over the Oakland Raiders but fell 24-20 to the Miami Dolphins during Week 2. The Colts offensive line hasn't done Luck any favors during those two outings, rarely laying the proper blocks on pass-rushers.
That spells trouble against the 49ers' dominant pass rush.
San Francisco has been your proverbial "tale of two games," defeating the Green Bay Packers 34-28 and losing 29-3 to the Seattle Seahawks. Colin Kaepernick has been the source of that, throwing for 412 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions in Week 1, and 127 yards, no touchdowns and three interceptions during Week 2.
He'll need to bounce back here.
Luck was the No. 1 overall draft choice in 2012, and he has rationally earned praise as the NFL's next superstar quarterback. Kaepernick, meanwhile, broke out during that same season and joined the former Stanford star in the group of the rising elite.
Sit back and enjoy this one.
Chicago Bears at Pittsburgh Steelers
Date: Sunday, Sept. 22
Time: 8:30 p.m. ET
The Chicago Bears will meet the Pittsburgh Steelers in a game between two defensive-minded teams headed in different directions. The Bears are 2-0, the Steelers and 0-2 and as Chicago seems to be improving, Pittsburgh has few signs of hope.
Still, the late game on Sunday promises to be an entertaining one.
The Bears have earned a 24-21 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals and a 31-30 win over the Minnesota Vikings. Both of those squads made the playoffs in 2012 and, in both instances, Jay Cutler took control late.
Quietly, Cutler has become the best fourth-quarter quarterback in the NFL.
As the saying goes, numbers never lie.
The Steelers have been offensively putrid, losing 16-9 to the Tennessee Titans and 20-10 to the Cincinnati Bengals. Through two games, the Steelers have run for a grand total of 75 yards.
To make matters worse, Pittsburgh's defense has been smothering but still only has one sack and zero forced turnovers.
The key in this game will be offense, as Cutler has been a monster in the fourth quarter and Brandon Marshall has 15 receptions for 217 yards and two touchdowns through two games. Throw in Matt Forte tallying 252 yards of total offense, and you have a potent attack that Pittsburgh's offense will be forced to compete with.
It's an uphill battle for the Steelers, who look to avoid a rare 0-3 start.
Oakland Raiders at Denver Broncos
Date: Monday, Sept. 23
Time: 8:30 p.m. ET
The Oakland Raiders have started 1-1 and have reason for confidence, as Terrelle Pryor and Darren McFadden can lead this team into the future. The Denver Broncos are 2-0 and earned back-to-back blowouts of the past two Super Bowl champions.
Come Monday Night Football, we could see Denver put on an offensive clinic. If they do, they'll need to do it without Ryan Clady.
As you can see, losing Peyton Manning's blindside protector is a serious blow.
With all of this being established, the Broncos are 2-0 with a a 49-27 win over the Baltimore Ravens and a 41-23 victory against the New York Giants. Manning has thrown for 769 yards, nine touchdowns and no interceptions through two games, and four separate receivers have at least 10 receptions.
If that's not enough, Knowshon Moreno is picking up where he left off in 2012 and continuing to finally break out.
The Raiders lost 21-17 to the Indianapolis Colts and won 19-9 against the Jacksonville Jaguars to reach 1-1. Pryor has led the way, passing for 343 yards and rushing for 162, with McFadden bouncing back from a weak Week 1 with a 129-yard rushing performance against the Jags.
The Broncos are heavily favored, but this is a game that could be surprisingly competitive.
The last time these two teams met, the Broncos won an ugly 26-13 game on Dec. 6, 2012 behind 167 total yards and a rushing touchdown from Moreno. Oakland managed an interception and three sacks, and could experience similar success in Denver's first game without Clady.
There's no logic in betting against the Broncos, but anything is possible on Monday Night Football.