NFL Week 3 Questions: The 26 Most Important Things To Consider

Ryan CookFeatured ColumnistSeptember 21, 2010

NFL Week 3 Questions: The 26 Most Important Things To Consider

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    If you thought that Week 1 of the NFL regular season was a little boring, it's accurate to say that Week 2's exciting action certainly made up for any dull moments that were experienced by fans early on in the season.

    With the second week of play now one and done, another bundle of exciting headlines and controversies now sweep over the league, and leave each and every one of us with something to talk about around the water cooler for the rest of the week.

    In regards to what we have seen so far in the NFL, the best word to describe the league's state right now would be, entertaining.

    To think that two weeks into the year Brett Favre would look awful, Jay Cutler would look great, and that the Cowboys would be 0-2 was almost imaginable during the offseason.

    Yet, here we are facing quite a shake up in proceedings.

    So with all of this swirling in our minds, what should we all focus on in Week 3?

    To be perfectly honest, this list only scratches the surface.  However, here's a look at the Top 25 Most Important Things to Consider, along with what we can all expect from this week in terms of performances, tribulations and overall excitement.

26. Will Vince Young Finally Perform to Expectations Against the Giants?

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    The Tennessee Titans are very well known for slipping under the radar in the NFL, so it does come as somewhat of a surprise to hear that Vince Young has notably struggled so far this season.

    For those that have been caught up in other headlines the past two weeks, Vince Young's efforts have been far from impressive as the starting quarterback in Tennessee.

    Not only has his 66 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions this past week against Pittsburgh proven to be extremely disappointing, it was also one of the main reasons the Titans lost to the Steelers in Week 2.

    To think back to the start of the season, I was one of the many believers that Vince Young would have a standout year.  Unfortunately though, Vince Young is making all of his believers look bad, especially since his career seemed to finally be looking positive the second time around.

    Will Vince Young turn his misfortune around in Week 3 against the New York Giants?

    Funnily enough, Vince Young is quite favorable right now to have a big game.

    For you see, it's simple.  The Giants are lacking confidence on defense, and with no big playmakers to watch out for, Vince Young should feel quite comfortable in the pocket even though he isn't in front of his hometown fans.

    Vince Young needs to get back on track, and so do the Titans.  I was never a standout in math, but it seems to be that when Vince Young plays well, so do the Titans.  Expect this situation to turn around slightly in New York.

25. Is Garrett Hartley Now the Best Kicker in the NFL?

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    It's rare to see a debate flare up over who the best kicker in the NFL is.  However, since Garrett Hartley's game-winning field goal over the San Francisco 49ers just hours ago, fans are beginning to realize the talent that this man possesses in New Orleans.

    When it comes to great kickers, obvious names emerge.  The trusty old timers such as Robbie Gould, David Akers, Adam Vinatieri, Jason Elam and numerous others have plagued the league recently in terms of greatness, but now it appears that Hartley is emerging as a standout.

    Statistically speaking, Hartley may not be the most solid of kickers around.  Already this year he has missed 2 field goals of his 5 attempts, and even though both of these moments occurred against the Minnesota Vikings, missed field goals can be team killers from time to time.

    However, what makes Hartley great is the fact that he nails them when the pressure is on.  Everybody remembers his postseason heroics last year in the NFC Championship Game that pushed the Saints to their future Super Bowl victory, and now that he has slotted one to defeat the 49ers, it makes him all the more reliable.

    To answer the question above, Garrett Hartley may not be the best kicker in the NFL.  When it comes to reliability though, you can bet your house on him, something that Sean Payton would surely hold close to him.

    Perhaps by seasons end this answer will be totally different, for now though, Hartley is still rising to the top.

24. How Will Byron Leftwich Perform in the Starting Role?

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    When Big Ben is away, the Steelers will play, or it so it would seem.

    As if the Pittsburgh Steelers haven't suffered enough lately, the team recently found out that they will lose temporary starting quarterback Dennis Dixon for up to six weeks, due to a knee injury he suffered against the Tennessee Titans this week.

    In terms of concerning news, this definitely takes the cake in Pittsburgh right now.  Fortunately for the Steelers though, the team re-signed once-cut quarterback Byron Leftwich, just in time to start in Week 3 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

    However, as great and as lucky as this all sounds, there are still some signs of concern for the Steelers.  Firstly, Pittsburgh has lost a reliable quarterback that they could depend on while Ben Roethlisberger is away.  And secondly, the Steelers must now retrain Leftwich for the starting role in a very short space of time

    So what can we expect from the former Jacksonville Jaguar starting quarterback?

    While we're on the topic of it, I guess the Steelers can count their blessings that Leftwich at least has some form of experience when it comes to playing a full regular season game.

    But at the same time though, don't expect wonders from Leftwich, considering that he too can be hot and cold at the best of times.

    Perhaps the best bit of news that has come from this whole situation is that the Steelers only have two more weeks to go before Ben Roethlisberger returns.  The second piece of good news to come is also due to the fact that the Steelers only have to play the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, even though the Bucs are at a surprising 2-0.

    Week 3 will test the Steeler offense, and it's a shame that Dennis Dixon will miss most of the season.  Still, the Steelers will be like a child counting down the days until Christmas, and if they can get just get through this rough period under Byron Leftwich, Ben Roethlisberger is waiting on the other side.

23. Wade Phillips: Is He on a Hot Seat Just Yet In Dallas?

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    Aside from Brett Favre's failure to show up in all ways possible this season, Wade Phillips' Dallas Cowboys have been the second most disappointing thing in the NFL right now.

    If you'd told me three weeks ago that the Cowboys would be 0-2 at this point in the season, I, like most people probably would have laughed at you.  However, here we are two weeks in, and the Cowboys have lost to the likes of the Washington Redskins and Chicago Bears, in rather unexciting fashion.

    But away from what we already know, one question that hasn't been asked all that often involves Wade Phillips, as it appears that the hot seat is now beginning to heat up very quickly beneath him.

    In terms of controversy, Phillips is no stranger to this style of dilemma.  Up until the Cowboys playoff berth last season, Phillips often found himself in this position at times in 2009, yet still somehow came out the other side looking stronger.

    This time around though, things are a little different.  Not only do the Cowboys need to start winning to save their season, they were once also one of the few Super Bowl favorites, even though things look a little different now.

    As for the hot seat, Phillips is definitely on it.  Recovering from an 0-2 hole is definitely doable, yet at the same time that record is inexcusable for a team that has so much talent.

    The Cowboys play the Texans this weekend in a good old Texas rivalry.  Dallas can easily slip to 0-3, and all of a sudden tension will begin to mount.  Phillips needs to get his team in order and prepared for a high-flying Texans offense.

22. Will Brandon Jacob’s Controversy Affect the Giants?

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    Ever since Brandon Jacobs has slipped from the starting role in New York, things have looked a little testy between head coach Tom Coughlin and the former No. 1 running back.

    Following the Giants' very disappointing loss to the Indianapolis Colts that saw Jacobs throw his helmet into the stands, tension has begun to mount in New York, as it appears that No. 27 may be looking for a new home very shortly.

    In all reality, it seems that Jacobs is on his way out of New York.  The relationship between the team is dying along with Jacobs' carries, and whether or not it happens this season, it appears that Jacobs will be out of The Big Apple sooner rather than later.

    But outside of what may happen in terms of signings, Brandon Jacobs is now acting as a minor distraction for the Giants, especially when it comes to on field play.

    First and foremost, the Giants are a young offense.  Ahman Bradshaw is the firm starter, and even though Brandon Jacobs is rarely used these days, he still acted as a small backup plan if New York needed a power rusher.

    So with this all in mind, it is only reasonable to assume that the Giants may be affected by Jacobs' latest issue this weekend against the Tennessee Titans.

    In past years we've seen teams become rattled following a tough loss and an even tougher week in the press, and Big Blue are heading that way.  More importantly, New York faces a tough team in Tennessee, that is also looking to boost its confidence in the coming weeks.

21. Can Mark Sanchez Build from His Impressive Week 2 Form?

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    Following Mark Sanchez's dismal Week 1 display against the Baltimore Ravens, he proceeded to step his game up a little against the New England Patriots this past weekend in New York.

    At the end of the game, the Jets had a rather comfortable win.  But what was more important was the fact that Sanchez finally posted some meaningful stats, as he accumulated 294 yards and three touchdown passes.

    To see this type of play from Sanchez made just about every team realize how great the Jets offense truly is.  New York may not have the standout players like other teams do, but when LaDainian Tomlinson and other talented guys start to gain confidence, Rex Ryan's men will really strive.

    Heading into Week 3 the New York Jets are set to play the Miami Dolphins down in South Florida.  Things haven't come easy for the Jets this opening month, and yet again another tough game appears on their schedule.

    But more importantly, is Mark Sanchez ready to follow up his Week 2 dominance?

    If all things go the Jets' way, this scenario should unfold.  Yet at the same time, let's remember that the Dolphins defense has been strong lately, and Miami have been successful in holding off Minnesota and Buffalo this season.

    It doesn't take much for Mark Sanchez to have a big day, considering the talent the Jets have.  Hopefully he now has the confidence, and can lead the Jets to another big-time win.

20. What Can We Expect from Jimmy Clausen in His First Week As Starter?

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    Carolina Panthers head coach John Fox made the seemingly inevitable decision Monday to announce that Matt Moore had indeed been demoted from the starting role, and that rookie quarterback Jimmy Clausen will step in for an indefinite amount of time.

    The reason for John Fox's move comes on the back of Moore's flat start as starting quarterback, as turnovers have been a constant, and no real progress has been made at all so far this season under center.

    From the very beginning of the season, this move seemed like it was in the cards.  Moore was one of many questionable quarterbacks that had competition behind him, but unfortunately has been one of the few to suffer the consequences.

    But while it seems all bad for Matt Moore right now, things may get a little better for him, especially if Clausen collapses early under pressure.

    The biggest concern for the Panthers right now is trust.  There seems to be no certainty at the starting role, and as a result losses have been flowing freely under Fox and his coaching staff.

    And just how well will Clausen perform?

    If we are to base a judgement off of his college days, he should perform reasonably well.  However, the NFL is a different place, even though he does have the accuracy to excel in the future.

    Carolina have no easy task this week as they take on the Cincinnati Bengals at home.  Marvin Lewis has his team riled up right now, and following a win over the Baltimore Ravens, Carson Palmer will be the last site the Panthers will want to see.

    Still, Panther fans are keeping the faith, and perhaps Clausen will deliver.  We'll wait and see.

19. Is Jahvid Best As Good a Receiver As He Is Rusher?

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    We all knew that Jahvid Best was a man of talent heading into the season, but for the potential Rookie of the Year Candidate to mix and match his running and receiving abilities in the opening two weeks, has certainly been a thing of beauty.

    In Week 1 of the regular season against the Chicago Bears, he looked dismal in comparison to all the hype surrounding him.  However, in Week 2 Jahvid Best came out from the blocks in an explosive manner, and caught for 154 yards and one touchdown against the Philadelphia Eagles.

    To answer the question, I think we all know that he is as good a receiver as he is rusher, it's just taken a little while to become noticeable.

    In the coming weeks Jahvid Best will act as a key player for the Lions, and seeing as though Detroit takes on Minnesota in a clash between two NFC North rivals, he will need to bring his rushing shoes if he is to escape Jared Allen.

18. Are the Rams Ready to Jump That Final Hurdle And Win Against the Redskins?

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    For all of St. Louis' troubles heading into the year, Sam Bradford and Steve Spagnuolo's young offense has looked considerably decent in the opening two weeks against both the Arizona Cardinals and Oakland Raiders.

    But as far as wins have come, St. Louis is still facing an 0-2 hole after two weeks of play, even though the team has been successful in rallying against opponents so far this season.

    Now, for those that don't consider the Rams' accomplishments any big deal, I suggest you think again.

    First, it's important to remember that St. Louis are still a struggling team, and no matter how much talent they may be gaining each and every year, they are always going to have a tough time gaining wins.

    Secondly, the Rams have actually looked decent lately, if you look past Sam Bradford's high attempt rate.

    So can the Rams finally jump that last hurdle, and put a win on the board for all of their loyal fans?

    The way things are going, you have to like their chances.  They nearly scraped in against the Cardinals a week ago, and the 14-16 loss against Oakland certainly wasn't anything short of impressive.

    Tough times and tough tests are to come for this team, and they are of course yet to face any decent opponents.  Give credit where credit is due though, the Rams are at least putting up a fight, and maybe that will all pay off against the Redskins this week at home in St. Louis.

17. How Will the Loss of Kenny McKinley Affect the Broncos?

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    It was tough for the Broncos to celebrate a win over the Seattle Seahawks this weekend, as devastating news broke earlier today that college stand out Kenny McKinley had indeed taken his own life.

    The bigger story to come from this news was the fact that this is the second player in two years that the Broncos have lost, and it appears that the Broncos now have to endure another upsetting weekend similar to 2009.

    While the entire league is still in shock, it is important for the Broncos to try and keep their sights on the Indianapolis Colts this weekend, which is shaping up to be a blockbuster game.

    Of course, this is easier said than done, but in recent history we have seen teams use the untimely death of a teammate to act as motivation to win, and dedicate the victory to their fallen player.

    Whether or not the Broncos can be successful in doing so will be a tough job.  The Colts are now back and ready to take off even the toughest of AFC opponents following a big time win over the New York Giants on Sunday Night Football this week.

    Even if the Broncos do lose though, that won't take away from how sad this story is.  Let's hope that the Broncos stick together as a team and try and make it a win.

16. Can the Real Ryan Matthews Stand Up in Week 3?

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    Amidst all of the chaos surrounding the Chargers, promising rookie running back Ryan Matthews was set for a very big season as the starter in San Diego, but has unfortunately failed to hit the ground running so far this season.

    With two weeks under his belt, Ryan Matthews has posted only 101 yards and 0 touchdowns in his first two games.  Not only is this a concern for a back of his speed and agility, it is also a bit of a worry considering that the Kansas City Chiefs and Jacksonville Jaguars both have rather weak defenses at this point in time.

    I guess the main problem for Ryan Matthews is simple, he is still a rookie.  He's been tossed in the deep end by Norv Turner, and made to fend for himself in a team that strives on explosiveness and big time plays.

    But while this does seem a little overwhelming, most of us thought this type of offense would suit Ryan Matthews, especially when you take a look at his college days.

    Perhaps the real Ryan Matthews will stand up sooner rather than later, but it is evident that the Chargers really do need him.  With LaDainian Tomlinson now gone, the Chargers have lost their speedy running back, and if Matthews doesn't perform, it all lays on Mike Tolbert's shoulders.

    To add insult to the situation, Matthews has now sprained his right ankle.  The injury appears minor, but of course these type of small issues can escalate.

    San Diego takes on the Seahawks in a game that you would expect the Chargers to take advantage of.  One-hundred percent or not, Ryan Matthews needs to step up to the plate and knock our socks off, or else he will go down as a draft bust in no time.

15. Will the Packers Wobbly Offensive Line Withhold Julius Peppers?

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    Sure the Minnesota Vikings vs. Green Bay Packers is a much more exciting rivalry, but when it comes to history and hard hitting tackles, the Chicago Bears vs. Green Bay Packers game always lives up to expectations.

    Last season saw the Packers win both affairs in convincing fashions.  In Week 1 Green Bay scored a last minute touchdown to take the victory, and in Chicago, Green Bay stormed home led by Aaron Rodgers and Ryan Grant.

    Yet somehow, this season, there is a different feeling heading into Monday night, as it seems to major forces will collide.

    No, I'm not talking about the two teams themselves, I'm talking about Clay Matthews and Julius Peppers, who are proving to be forces for each team so far this season.

    As great as Clay Matthews has been considering that he is racked up six sacks already, it seems that he is obviously going to give the Bears some trouble.

    But what about Julius Peppers?  Can he weak havoc on a wobbly offensive line and bring Aaron Rodgers to the turf?

    To be quite honest, I wouldn't expect anything different.  Julius Peppers strives off of weaknesses, and the Packers are often questionable when big name players are staring across from them.  To give an example, Jared Allen notably gave Green Bay trouble last year, and we all know that Julius Peppers has just as much ability as the star Vikings tackle.

    For the Packers to be successful, they must keep an eye on the big guy.  If they let him blitz and run right around lineman, Aaron Rodgers will suffer, and it could even cost Green Bay the game.

    Expect head coach Mike McCarthy to be aware of Peppers, but it all comes down to what unfolds on the field.  Peppers smells weaknesses, and the Packers can still be wobbly at any given time.

14. Is the Bengals Offense Finally on the Same Page?

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    The Cincinnati Bengals that we all expected to show up arrived against Baltimore this week, as Carson Palmer led his team to their first victory in 2010 on route to a 15-10 win.

    What was more promising though than the win, was the fact that Bengals offense was starting to click, even though most of their players didn't have standout days by any stretch of the imagination.

    The first bit of good news came from the hands of Carson Palmer, as he threw for 167 yards.  Following that, wide receivers Terrell Owens and Chad Ochocinco seemed to be on the same page, as they combined for little over 100 yards.

    For the most part, this is the Bengal offense we had been expecting.  Marvin Lewis wants to share the ball around, and instead of having one big-game player, it seems that the Bengals play better as a team, rather than a statistically-driven machine.

    Of course, this is only one week of football, and perhaps it isn't the smartest idea to get our hopes up just yet.  But still, the Bengals beat a great-looking Ravens defense that was fresh off a big time win over the New York Jets.

    To ice the cake, the Bengals take on the struggling Carolina Panthers this week in an away game.  If everybody stays on the same page, it should be a 2-1 record for the boys in orange and black, and more importantly, team chemistry will skyrocket as a result.

13. Were the Bills Smart in Benching Trent Edwards As Starter?

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    I only recently stated in my 2010 Season Rankings: The Most Overrated and Underrated Player on All 32 Teams, article that Trent Edwards was one of the few underrated players on the Bills roster.

    However, on the back of that statement, it seems that head coach Chan Gailey has gone ahead and benched Trent Edwards for Week 3's matchup against the New England Patriots, and has instead placed Ryan Fitzpatrick in the starting role.

    In all honesty, this is a very questionable move.  Although Fitzpatrick does have experience as the starter in Buffalo, Trent Edwards does has some talent, and has posted decent stats considering the mammoth task that awaits him during each and every season.

    The bigger story that may come from all of this though is that it may bite Chan Gailey in the rear end.  The New England Patriots aren't the team that you want a new starter to be facing, so perhaps leaving Trent Edwards in for at least one more game would have been a little more intelligent.

    At the end of the day it appears Gailey has had enough of Edwards' concerns, and instead wants to try something new.

    It's questionable to say the least, but like everything the Bills touch these days, it's a big work in progress.

12. The Buccaneers Are 2-0, but Can They Win Against Pittsburgh?

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    Somehow, someway, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have managed to post a 2-0 record so far this season.

    OK, so the Bucs haven't exactly faced a number of tough opponents yet, but still, 2-0 for a team that has a few issues is pretty decent, right?  Exactly.

    But although it is all party time in Florida right now considering that the Bucs and Dolphins are both 2-0, a big time test awaits second year starting quarterback Josh Freeman, as his team takes on the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 3.

    The first impression that we get from this game, is that it could actually be an underrated blockbuster.  Here we have a 2-0 team taking on the Steelers minus Ben Roethlisberger, featuring Byron Leftwich as the starter.

    Not only that, the Buccaneers are also at home, which is a huge advantage especially when Raymond James Stadium really gets rocking against a big time team like Pittsburgh.

    For those upset junkies out there, you'd surely love this game.  Tampa Bay is quite capable of taking home this win, and don't be surprised to see them do just that.

    The Steelers are a very tough team to beat, and let's not forget that they knocked off the Atlanta Falcons just last week.

    However, confidence is running a little dry right now in Steeler Nation, and Tampa Bay must take advantage of the quarterback situation. 

    Can the Bucs really go to 3-0?

    It would be a storyline like no other, but it is of course no cakewalk just yet.

11. Is Randy Moss Officially Burnt Out In New England?

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    I really do pity whoever decides to write a biography on Randy Moss, as coming up with a suitable title would be as hard as winning the lottery on any given Sunday.

    Ah, Randy Moss, what we do without you? 

    Not only has he been controversial, this is the second time he has been featured on this list, as each week seems to stem into the next in terms of his overall performance and outcome on the field.

    Following New England's loss to the Jets on Sunday, many Patriot fans were outraged at Moss.  His chemistry was down, and even though Tom Brady had a rather off day, his 38 yards and one touchdown was nowhere near what No. 81 would have been able to produce last season.

    So I ask you all this, is Randy Moss just a little old now?

    I asked a Patriots fan this question, and he agreed.  However, if appears that when we do write Moss off, he comes back the next week with a big game and big numbers.

    Unfortunately for the Patriots, this whole contract scenario with Moss has really hurt them.  It's acted as a distraction, and even though it's only early days in the season, they have been short a receiver in the past two weeks.

    The lucky side of the story now is that the Patriots take on the Bills this week.  So even if Moss has another off game, the Patriots should still post a win.

    I have a feeling this situation is going to draw on a lot longer, and maybe Moss is just too long in the tooth to perform.  Whatever your opinion be, something is not right in Moss' world at the present time.

10. Will Week 3 Be the Last Time We See Derek Anderson As Starter?

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    From Derek Anderson's point of view, I guess he thought this question would have gone away for now, following his impressive 458-yard and one-touchdown effort so far this season.

    Unluckily though, Derek Anderson still faces criticism, and it is now coming from just about every angle after other teams have demoted their starting quarterbacks heading into Week 3.

    The problem that faces Anderson is simple, does he have the talent to hold the starting role?

    Looking at his stats it would appear that he does, even though he did have two picks against the Falcons, however there may come a time that he makes his last mistake, and the Cardinals bench him for a week or two to get his head back in the game.

    Away from what may happen though, the good news to come from all of this is that Ken Whisenhunt and his coaching staff have stated that they respect Anderson, and more or less have complete faith in his ability this season.

    Time is the ultimate factor for Anderson, and it will tell us one way or another if he is worthy.  It looks for now though that he will be starting for quite some time, so let's all put this issue to bed just for a little while.

    Arizona takes on Oakland this week in a game that it should stand a chance at winning.  It's important  Anderson has another big day against a weaker side, just to pad his stats a little.  If he does that, he should have the starting role for many weeks to come.

9. Can Clay Matthews Continue His Path of Destruction Against the Bears?

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    From Julius Peppers to Clay Matthews—we now take a look at by far the most impressive linebacker this season.

    When looking at Matthews' stats, his six total sacks tell the whole story.  He has not only been dominant, he has simply rushed quarterbacks and won portions of the game for the Packers on the defensive side of the ball.

    Now, as impressive as this all is, the Packers do have a test against the Bears on Monday Night Football.  Not only is Jay Cutler looking good, the Bears offensive line can withstand pressure when the going gets tough.

    But will Matthews be able to penetrate through the Bears line?

    Looking at how his season has unfolded, the obvious answer is yes.  The big man is great on the blitz, and with Dom Capers making the calls, he should be able to utilize Matthews nicely.

    One other factor to keep in mind when watching this game is Matthews' hands.  If a ball is swatted or deflected, Clay Matthews is the type of linebacker that can make an easy pick, given his size and speed to the ball.

    Jay Cutler must watch his back like Aaron Rodgers must watch his with Julius Peppers looming.  For once, this game may be a defensive battle, purely due to the dominance on defense both teams have portrayed this season.

8. Are the San Francisco 49ers All Hype and No Delivery?

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    Big things were expected from the San Francisco 49ers this season, but an 0-2 start sees those expectations fall flat on their face, similar to how the 49ers season has unfolded so far.

    To be fair to San Francisco, it was really in the game on Monday against the New Orleans Saints.  Alex Smith's 275-yard and one-touchdown effort was noticed by all, along with Frank Gore's 112-yard and one-touchdown display.

    But aside from what could have been, nothing can erase the 49ers record right now.  Not only were they flat against the Seattle Seahawks a weak ago, they struggled to finish the job against the Saints, even though Garrett Hartley seemed unstoppable.

    I guess it is a little unfair to label the 49ers all fizzle just yet, but it really is disappointing.  Here was a team that was primed for a great year, and even though that may still happen, this not is the start Mike Singletary would have wanted.

    Things finally get a little easier in Week 3 for San Francisco as it takes on Kansas City.  Still, we thought that the Seahawks game was easy enough for the 49ers, and look how that turned out.

    If by some stroke of bad luck the 49ers lose to the Chiefs, it's fair enough to label them as all hype.  For now though, they are clear of that name after today's close and impressive performance.  Yet they are walking a very fine line.

7. Who Will Win the Showdown in the South?

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    It's one of the more unrecognized rivalries in football, but the double occasion of the Atlanta Falcons vs. the New Orleans Saints is always a delight to watch.

    Last season, this game wasn't quite as meaningful.  The Saints were in firm control of the division when these two met the second time, and it just seemed as though the game wasn't as exciting as it usually is.

    Fortunately though, this season is a different story, and following the Saints' close encounter with San Francisco this past week, the 49ers exposed some weaknesses in the Saints defense.

    If you are going to pick a team for this game, a bold pick would be the Atlanta Falcons.  Fresh off a win over the Cardinals in blowout fashion, Matt Ryan and his offense are showing signs of old, which could tide them over against New Orleans.

    But if you stick with your gut and go with the Saints, the home field advantage is a bonus for the Super Bowl champions, as the Superdome simply rattles any visiting team.

    And who will win the showdown?

    Personel-wise the Falcons have the goods, but recently the Saints have had their number.  This is a game that will be a blockbuster, so make sure you check it out.

6. Is the Old Brett Favre Officially Dead In Minnesota?

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    It seems that Brett Favre now may be questioning his decision to return to football, as the Minnesota Vikings are not only 0-2, but Favre himself has thrown a total of four interceptions this season.

    To be quite frank, no one expected this.  Anyone who has watched Favre before knows not to base his future on preseason football, and instead expect him to just be great in the regular season, as his arm never seems to let him down.

    But is the old Brett Favre finally dead and buried?

    I hate to say it, but it's really starting to look that way.  The Vikings have struggled without Sidney Rice and the receivers haven't been helping Favre out the best they can.

    Aside from that, the fact that Favre has only one touchdown pass in two games tells the whole story, and Brad Childress has some serious work to do ahead of the Vikings clash with the Detroit Lions this Sunday.

    I know I've always been one to state that it isn't wise to write Favre off, so I'll stand by that.  But you just get the feeling that if he struggles again this week, it may be time to take old yellar round back and put the final bullet in the beloved legend.

5. Was the Colts Week 1 Loss To The Texans for the Better?

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    A week ago panic had struck Indianapolis, as their beloved Colts had lost to the Houston Texans, in what was one of the upsets of the week.

    What went on to unfold after that loss though was an all out assault of the New York Giants on Sunday Night Football, as Peyton Manning well and truly won the Manning Bowl, leaving Dad Archie Manning with some consoling and congratulating to do.

    But while we're on the topic, an interesting thought entered my mind.  Was the Colts Week 1 loss for the better?

    Look at it this way, the Colts had a case of the Super Bowl hangover.  They lost to the Saints, and were looking to rebuild toward another trophy this season, only to be shocked early by Gary Kubiak and his men.

    However, perhaps that is the shock that the Colts needed, and more importantly the scare of possibly becoming a non postseason team has straightened them up a little.

    This is of course just a theory, yet it is one that could prove to be true.  Indianapolis takes on Denver in Week 3 at Mile High Stadium. 

    Peyton Manning has been mighty impressive, and so have the Colts defensive players.  A slap in the face and a good ole' kick start may have been just what they needed to get back on the path and aiming for another Lombardi Trophy.

4. Fueling the Fire: What Does Houston’s Win in Overtime Mean For Week 3?

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    The most impressive team in the AFC South right now is the Houston Texans, considering that the team sits 2-0 after two big time wins over the Indianapolis Colts and Washington Redskins.

    In a thrilling game this past Sunday, the Texans had the Redskins covered well in overtime.  Houston did lose the toss, but Gary Kubiak's defense stood up to the test, and totally shut down the impressive Donovan McNabb-run offense.

    What unfolded after that was nothing short of great.  A few genius runs by Arian Foster and great completions by Matt Schaub, the Texans had a suitable game-winning field goal that silenced FedEx Field.

    In relation to the question, it doesn't take a genius to realize that Houston's overtime win means a great deal of confidence for the Texans.  They've started the season well, lived up to expectations, and have more importantly won over the division for the time being.

    Dallas makes a visit to Houston in Week 3 to take on the Texans.  Keep in mind if Houston gets this win, it is a serious contender, even if the Cowboys are 0-2 right now. 

    The Texas rivalry isn't as big as others, yet it will be a heavily offensively-oriented game.  You can't help but like the Texans' chances right now, as Schaub and Andre Johnson have been simply brilliant so far this year.

3. How Does Darrelle Revis’ Hamstring Injury Affect the Jets?

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    Speculation surrounding Darrelle Revis' fitness during his new contract signing was huge at the time, and now it appears that missing the entire offseason's worth of practice hasn't helped Revis at all early on in the season.

    When Darrelle Revis was said to have a hamstring injury, panic hit New York.  I guess when a star player is listed as questionable, it is always big news, and Darrelle Revis' absence certainly would be felt in the Jets locker room.

    Luckily though, Darrelle Revis isn't ruling himself out of next week's game against the Miami Dolphins, much to the delight of Jets fans.

    Still, if Revis is set to miss this game, it would no doubt be a huge loss.  With Brandon Marshall on the opposite side of the field, allowing him the type of space with Revis missing would surely affect the Jets' chances, not to mention the fact that the game is being played in Miami.

    If the stars align and all things go to plan, Revis shouldn't miss this game.  Keep in mind it is only a hamstring strain, and not a tear, so that is somewhat good news.

    This is the kind of injury that can really affect a player for more than a month's time if he is to hit the ground the wrong way, so just don't expect Revis to be making big time risk plays is he arrives in Miami next week.

2. Is Andy Reid Right in Starting Kevin Kolb Against Jacksonville?

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    The news of Kevin Kolb being announced as the starting quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles this weekend against the Jacksonville Jaguars only recently broke, but already it has created quite an uproar amongst NFL fans.

    For the most part the situation is simple here.

    Kolb has barely played at all in the regular season following his concussion at the hands of Clay Matthews, and as a result no one has been able to truly judge No. 4 so far in 2010.

    However, unfortunately the problem doesn't stop there for the Eagles.  Instead of simply placing Kolb back in the starting role, they have now overshadowed Michael Vick once again, and although his talents have been appreciated by Andy Reid, it seems that Vick's efforts weren't enough to totally win everyone over.

    I guess what it all comes down to here is Kolb's performance.  If he shows up in Jacksonville all guns blazing and exceeds expectations, great, Andy Reid no longer has to worry for the moment. 

    But if Kolb stumbles and ultimately collapses, then the situation becomes all that more tough, even though Reid believes that there is no dilemma at the starting quarterback position.

    In due time we will all find out if this move was wise at all, and for the time being we'll just have to wait and see.  Still, Michael Vick has made a very promising case, and even though it has only been just two games, he has at least sparked the Eagles offense.

    Kolb is capable of this, but he must establish the flame early.  This is definitely a game every NFL fan must watch this week.

1. Who Will Break the Winless Drought First? The Vikings or Cowboys?

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    The biggest question that will plague the NFL this week is between the Vikings and Cowboys, in regards to who will break their winless 0-2 drought first.

    When it comes to surprises, this one has by far been the biggest.  Aside from Brett Favre's issues, the fact that the Vikings have struggled so much, and that the Cowboys have looked so flat, has really made fans realize how topsy turvey this season will be.

    What has been more interesting to watch though, is how these talented players have tried to change their misfortune, even though the Cowboys have been criticized for not changing anything ahead of their clash with the Houston Texans next week.

    If there is a real answer to this question, the Vikings have the best shot to end the drought.  Brad Childress' men take on the 0-2 Detroit Lions, in an NFC North winless battle that not even the most optimistic of fans could dream of.

    Therefore, expect Minnesota to really push Detroit hard.  The Vikings will want Favre to really get going, and expect the Vikings to work their receivers hard ahead of this game.

    As for the Cowboys, they take on the Houston Texans on the road, perhaps the hottest team in all of football right now.

    Minnesota at home should mean a win, and Dallas away is still a question.  The Vikings are firm favorites to end their 0-2 saga in Week 3.