Carolina Panthers at Atlanta Falcons
Losing isn’t something that Cam Newton is very familiar with, just like most highly-touted, franchise-saving players when they first come out of college. But if he’s given the stubborn Newton haters anything to grasp it’s that damn towel on his head as he sulks during losses.
Indianapolis Colts at Cincinnati Bengals
Colts wide receiver Austin Collie said that two years after being drafted he’s still learning Indy’s offense, so we can maybe forgive Curtis Painter for the odd miscue as he continues to go through the same process after being a backup quarterback who rarely sees the field.
San Francisco 49ers at Detroit Lions
49ers cornerback Carlos Rogers has a new nickname for Calvin Johnson. It may not be as sexy as Megatron, but calling him the “ultimate migraine” seems quite appropriate after he became the first receiver in NFL history with nine touchdowns in the first five games of a season.
St. Louis Rams at Green Bay Packers
Sam Bradford is fighting through a familiar storyline with his wide receivers this season due to both injuries and ineffectiveness.
Buffalo Bills at New York Giants
If Kyle Williams’ foot injury keeps him on the sideline Torell Troup will slide in at nose tackle and get his third career start.
Jacksonville Jaguars at Pittsburgh Steelers
Three rookie quarterbacks have started games this year, a strategy that’s now become common with the fate of coaches often tied to a first-round golden arm. But it wasn’t too long ago that one year of being an understudy was still a mandatory rite of passage for a rookie quarterback, even if a franchise was direly in need of hope.
That mold was broken by Ben Roethlisberger, and today he’ll face the only 2011 rookie QB who hasn’t experienced some degree of immediate success.
Philadelphia Eagles at Washington Redskins
The Redskins plan to slow down the Eagles with tall grass.
Houston Texans at Baltimore Ravens
Arian Foster will be attempting to do more than just excel against a strong Ravens run defense today. He’ll be looking to run over his mentor.
Cleveland Browns at Oakland Raiders
The running joke during a bye week for a routinely terrible team is that Team X can’t lose this week. It’s the kind of self-depreciating humor that allows total strangers to find a common bond through their sorrow, and often it’s the saddest kind of friendship.
When those bad jokes fade you’re left with a fan base that greets mediocrity with indifference.
Dallas Cowboys at New England Patriots
When Logan Mankins was nine years old he dressed up as Jerry Rice for Halloween, and he won’t be offended if there isn’t a single Logan Mankins costume walking around in a few weeks.
New Orleans Saints at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
With LeGarrette Blount out Tampa Bay’s offensive focus will shift to Josh Freeman’s arm, which is a part of the young quarterback’s body that he’s been relying on far too much.
Minnesota Vikings at Chicago Bears
Julius Peppers is doubtful, and so is an easy win for the Bears during the first of what could be two awful prime-time games this week. Bear Goggles On outlines an unpleasant equation for Bears fans that has Adrian Peterson running over what’s recently been a poor Chicago run defense, which will open holes for Donovan McNabb to finally and mercifully get some semblance of a passing game going against inexperienced safeties Mike Wright and Chris Conte.