Divisional games are back, baby! And three of them highlight the schedule in Week 3. Here are our five favorite matchups…
(Team rankings are based on our latest power rankings.)
1. No. 7 Texans at No. 3 Saints (Sunday, 1:00 ET on CBS)
Houston’s revamped and (allegedly) new-and-improved defense has exceeded expectations against the Colts and Dolphins, but it’s a whole new ballgame at the Superdome. Really excited to see what Wade Phillips’ boys can do against a lights-out Saints offense.
2. No. 10 Falcons at No. 12 Buccaneers (Sunday, 4:15 ET on Fox)
Atlanta swept the season series in 2010, but only won their two matchups by a total of 10 points. Both teams are supposed to be even better this year, so this is a crucial early test for the two of ‘em. Wouldn’t be surprising to see these teams meet in January.
3. No. 1 Packers at No. 15 Bears (Sunday, 4:15 ET on Fox)
They played three one-score games last year, including a seven-point Green Bay victory in the NFC championship. On paper, it’s a bad matchup for the Bears, whose terrible offensive line is also banged up against an aggressive defense, but Chicago always plays Green Bay tough.
4. No. 2 Patriots at No. 13 Bills (Sunday, 1:00 ET on CBS)
The Patriots have the league’s top-rated offense but the Bills lead the league in points scored and have registered eight touchdowns in 10 trips to the red zone. But New England has done it against better competition, and the Pats beat the Bills 34-3 at Ralph Wilson Stadium last December.
5. No. 6 Jets at No. 18 Raiders (Sunday, 4:05 ET on CBS)
There’s something about this game that intrigues me, but I can’t quite put my finger on what it is. Can the Raiders beat a decent team outside of their own division? What will Darren McFadden do against a top-of-the-line run defense? In the only other trip they’ve made to the west coast in the Rex Ryan era, the Jets beat the Raiders 38-0 in 2009.