As the NFL owners try to fix their national anthem mess, the action continues on the field, and on paper, there are a bunch of terrific matchups this Sunday.
Here is a preview of the games:
Buffalo Bills (2-1) at Atlanta Falcons (3-0)
The Bills will be without starting left tackle Cordy Glenn, but the Falcons’ best pass rusher, defensive end Vic Beasley, will miss the game, so perhaps that even things out.
This is a terrific match-up, that features Falcons star QB Matt Ryan against a Bills defense allowing the least amount of points (12.3 per game).
The Bills also haven’t allowed a TD pass, but that should change this week against Ryan, and the the Falcons should win this game.
Carolina Panthers (2-1) at New England Patriots (2-1)
The Panthers will be without starting cornerback Daryl Worley, which is far from ideal when you face the Patriots high-powered passing attack.
The Panthers’ red zone offense hasn’t been great this season, which could be a problem against the Patriots, who you aren’t going to beat settling for field goals.
The Patriots should win this game.
Cincinnati Bengals (0-3) at Cleveland Browns (0-3)
The battle of Ohio is a battle of winless teams.
The Browns will be without their two most talented defensive players – Jamie Collins and Myles Garrett.
The Browns’ pass defense isn’t great, so the Bengals, led by superstar wide receiver A.J. Green, should prevail.
Detroit Lions (2-1) at Minnesota Vikings (2-1)
Vikings QB Sam Bradford will miss his third straight game due to a knee injury, but maybe that’s not a big deal this week, considering how well his replacement, Case Keenum, played against the Lions last year. Starting for the Los Angeles Rams, he completed 27 of 32 passes for 321 yards and three touchdowns in leading his former team to a win. Last week, Keenum threw for 369 yards and three touchdowns in leading the Vikings to a win over Tampa Bay.
This game is a toss-up.
Jacksonville Jaguars (2-1) at New York Jets (1-2)
The New Yorkers hope their opponent has some “jet” lag.
The Jaguars played in London last Sunday, and this week travel to New Jersey to play the Jets. The Jaguars are much-improved this year with blowout wins over Baltimore and Houston.
The Jets are coming off an impressive win over Miami.
This game could go either way
Los Angeles Rams (2-1) at Dallas Cowboys (2-1)
The Rams are a surprise team at 2-1 led by the NFL’s youngest coach, 31-year-old Sean McVay. The Rams are averaging 35.7 point a game and Cowboys are banged up in the secondary.
Also, Los Angeles last played a Thursday night game, and had 10 days to prepare for this game, so both teams should have great game plans on both sides of the ball.
Don’t be shocked if the road team pulls an upset.
New Orleans Saints (1-2) at Miami Dolphins (1-1)
This game will be played in London, so players thinking of kneeling, perhaps should heed the advice of former Michigan Senator Arthur Vandenberg, who famously said, “We must stop partisan politics at the water’s edge.”
The Saints might be without both starting offensive tackles due to injuries.
This game could go either way.
New York Giants (0-3) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-1)
One of the big 2017 NFL surprises are the Giants being winless. They were considered a Super Bowl contender by many.
This could be the week they get their first win.
Tampa Bay will be without their two best linebackers – Lavonte Davis and Kwon Alexander, along with talented safety T.J. Ward.
Look for the Giants to pull the upset.
Oakland Raiders (2-1) at Denver Broncos (2-1)
The Raiders might be without their best receiver, Michael Crabtree, who has a chest injury.
Perhaps, sans their top target, the Raiders will try to win on the ground. However, that could be hard against the NFL’s #1 run defense.
This game could go either way.
Philadelphia Eagles (2-1) at Los Angeles Chargers (0-3)
The Eagles travel to Los Angeles ravaged by injuries on defense. They will be without their best defensive lineman, Fletcher Cox, along with three defensive backs.
The Chargers are winless, but have been close in every game.
Considering all the Eagles’ defensive injuries, Los Angeles should get their first “W” of the year.
Pittsburgh Steelers (2-1) at Baltimore Ravens (2-1)
The Ravens are coming off a major embarrassment in London, getting blown out by a very average Jacksonville team. Baltimore already has 16 players on injured reserve, so perhaps the injuries are catching up to them.
The Steelers are also coming off an embarrassing loss to the lowly Chicago Bears. So both coaches will have their charges fired up after getting humiliated last week.
This should be a hard-hitting battle between these bitter rivals and it’s too close to call.
San Francisco 49ers (0-3) at Arizona Cardinals (1-2)
The Arizona Cardinals offensive line is a mess with injuries aplenty. For instance, starting left guard Mike Iupati is out with a tricep injury, and last week they lost his replacement, Alex Boone, to a similar malady. So they are down to their third string left guard, and will also likely be without starting left tackle D.J. Humphries due to a knee injury. Humphries backup John Wetzel is also ailing.
Normally, this game would be an easy pick, but with the Cardinals’ offensive line mess, this game could go either way.
Tennessee Titans (2-1) at Houston Texans (1-2)
The Texans will be without starting cornerback Kevin Johnson, and his backup, Marcus Burley, is iffy.
Not to mention, Houston is still without starting left tackle Duane Brown who is holding out.
Expect the Titans’ brilliant defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau to blitz rookie QB Deshaun Watson early and often, making his life miserable, and leading to a Tennessee win.
Indianapolis Colts (1-2) at Seattle Seahawks (1-2)
The Colts gets back star cornerback Vontae Davis this week from groin injury that sidelined him the first three games.
The Seahawks are averaging just 16 points a game with their offensive line dragging them down. However, the Seahawks defense is still good, and they are facing a backup QB (Jacoby Brissett) playing in a loud road stadium, so Seattle should prevail.