Two games down. Fourteen more to go.

Seven teams are off to strong starts at 2-0: Arizona, Buffalo, Carolina, Cincinnati, Denver, Houston and Philadelphia. It’s beat if they stay on upset alert.

“It feels good to be 2-0,” says Bills running back Fred Jackson. “We’re excited about being 2-0 but we just have to keep coming to work. It’s a great start but it’s just a start. We know we have to keep coming to work and that there will be more tests throughout the season. But as long as guys keep making plays, we like our chances.”

The chances of making the playoffs after a 2-0 start are good but far from a sure thing. Since 1990, when the current playoff format was adopted, 124 of the 196 teams (63.3 percent) to start 2-0 have qualified for the postseason.

However, with 14 games remaining, there’s plenty of time to turn things around. Since realignment in 2002, nearly 60 percent of the playoff teams (59.7 percent, 86 of 144) started the season at either 1-1 or 0-2. That includes five of the eight division champions from last year: Carolina (NFC South), Cincinnati (AFC North), Green Bay (NFC North), Indianapolis (AFC South) and Philadelphia (NFC East).

“It’s hard to win every week in this league,” says Chicago quarterback Jay Cutler, who threw four touchdown passes as the 1-1 Bears overcame a 17-point deficit to win at San Francisco. “But we really can’t dwell on this win. There’s a lot of football left, so we just have to keep building on this and get better and better each week.”

Da Bears are one of three teams to win a game this season after trailing by at least 17 points (Philadelphia in Week 1, Green Bay in Week 2). That’s the unpredictability of the NFL. And, since 1990, at least four clubs have made the playoffs each season that were not in the postseason the previous year. Will that streak continue in 2014?

WELCOME TO THE SUNNY (BUT CRAZY) NFC South: Since realignment in 2002, no NFC South team has won division titles in consecutive seasons and the team that finished last in the divison has gone on to win it the next season.

The division winners in the NFC South since 2002:

SEASON; DIVISION WINNER (RECORD AFTER WEEK 3, FINAL RECORD)
2013; Carolina (1-2, 12-4)
2012; Atlanta (3-0, 13-3)
2011; New Orleans (2-1, 13-3)
2010; Atlanta (2-1, 13-3)
2009; New Orleans (3-0, 13-3)
2008; Carolina (2-1, 12-4)
2007; Tampa Bay (2-1, 9-7)
2006; New Orleans (3-0, 10-6)
2005; Tampa Bay (3-0, 11-5)
2004; Atlanta (3-0, 11-5)
2003; Carolina (2-0, 11-5)*
2002; Tampa Bay (2-1, 12-4)
*Bye week in Week 3

700 CLUB: Last week, Green Bay earned their first win of the season with a 31-24 victory over the New York Jets.

With a win on Sunday at Detroit, the Packers will become the second team in NFL history with 700 regular season victories. The Packers (699-538-37) would join Chicago (731-535-42) as the only teams to accomplish the feat.
SUPER REMATCH: The defending Super Bowl champion Seattle (1-1) will host reigning AFC-champion DENVER (2-0) in a rematch of Super Bowl XLVIII. The matchup marks only the sixth Super Bowl rematch to occur during the following regular season and the first since 1997.

The teams to play in a Super Bowl and play each other in the following regular season:

DATE-SUPER BOWL (RESULT) (WINNING TEAM, OPPONENT; DATE FOLLOWING REGULAR SEASON RESULT – WINNING TEAM)
01/11/70 IV (Kansas City 23, Minnesota 7; 09/20/70 – Minnesota 27, Kansas City 10)
01/09/77 XI (Oakland 32, Minnesota 14; 12/11/77 – Oakland 35, Minnesota 13)
01/21/79 XIII (Pittsburgh 35, Dallas 31; 10/28/79  – Pittsurgh 14, Dallas 3)
01/31/93 XXVII (Dallas 52, Buffalo 17; 09/12/93  -Buffalo 13, Dallas 10)
01/26/97 XXXI (Green Bay 35, New England 21; 10/27/97 – Green Bay 28, New England 10)
02/02/2014 XLVIII (Seattle 43, Denver 8, 09/21/14 – ???)

STREAKING MANNING: Dating back to last season, Denver quarterback Peyton Manning has thrown at least three touchdown passes with no interceptions in four consecutive regular-season games, tied with Tom Brady (2007) for the most consecutive such games in NFL history.

Manning (47) holds the record for the most games with at least three touchdown passes and no interceptions in NFL history.

The players with the most games with at least three touchdown passes and zero interceptions:

PLAYER-TEAM (MOST GAMES WITH 3+ TD PASSES & 0 INTS)
Peyton Manning-Indianapolis, Denver (47)*
Tom Brady-New England (38)*
Brett Favre-Green Bay, Minnesota (36)
Drew Brees-New Orleans, San Diego (32)*
Aaron Rodgers-Green Bay (23)*
*Active

With three touchdowns this weekend, Manning will also become only the second quarterback all-time to reach 500 career

TIGHT CONNECTION: They catch balls, they block. They are a QB’s second target. Last week, San Diego quarterback Philip Rivers connected with tight end Antonio Gates for three touchdowns, extending their NFL record for the most touchdowns by a quarterback-tight end duo (65).

New Orleans tight end Jimmy Graham caught two touchdown passes from quarterback Drew Brees last week, tying Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski (43) for the fourth-most such touchdowns in NFL history.

With a touchdown connection this weekend, Brees-Graham and/or Brady-Gronkowski can tie Peyton Manning and Dallas Clark (44) for the third-most such touchdowns all-time.

The most touchdown connections between a quarterback-tight end in NFL history:

QUARTERBACK/TIGHT END, TEAM (TD CONNECTIONS)
Philip Rivers/Antonio Gates, San Diego (63)*
Drew Bledsoe/Ben Coates, New England (45)
Peyton Manning/Dallas Clark, Indianapolis (44)
Tom Brady/Rob Gronkowski, New England (43)*
Drew Brees/Jimmy Graham, New Orleans (43)*
Sonny Jurgensen/Jerry Smith, Washington (43)
Dan Fouts/Kellen Winslow, San Diego (41)
John Elway/Shannon Sharpe, Denver (41)
*Active

AWESOME ANTONIO: Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown has caught at least five passes and recorded at least 50 receiving yards in 18 consecutive games.

With at least five catches and 50 receiving yards against Carolina on Sunday Night Football, Brown will tie Lavernaues Coles (19) for the most consecutive such games in NFL history. Brown’s streak dates back to Kickoff Weekend last season.

The players with the most consecutive games with 5+ receptions and 50+ receiving yards:

PLAYER-TEAM(S), YEARS (CONSECUTIVE GAMES WITH 5+ REC & 50+ REC YARDS)
Laveranues Coles-New York Jets, Washington, 9/29/2002-10/12/03 (19)
Antonio Brown-Pittsburgh, 9/8/2013-present (18)*
Keyshawn Johnson-Tampa Bay, 12/18/2000-12/16/01 (15)
Herman Moore-Detroit, 11/17/1996-11/2/97 (15)
Herman Moore-Detroit, 10/22/1995-9/29/96 (15)
*Active

Week three got underway in the Big Peach as Atlanta took Tampa Bay to the woodshed and came away with a 56-14 win Thursday night and ends in the Jersey Meadowlands as Da Bears travel to upstate New Jersey to take on the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! Monday night on ESPN.

For the week, we went .500 at 8-8. Not good but it’s a lot better than even we hoped. For the season, 18-14. Here’s a look at some of the key showdowns in Week 3.

San Diego (1-1) at Buffalo (2-0), 1 p.m. (CBS and DirecTV 705, Ralph Wilson Stadium) A pair of AFC rivals coming off huge wins last week meet in upstate New York as San Diego travels eastward to take on the resurging Buffalo Bills.

The Chargers evened their record at 1-1 with a 30-21 win over the defending Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks last week. Quarterback Philip Rivers threw three touchdown passes to tight end Antonio Gates to lead San Diego to victory. Gates, who now has 90 career touchdown catches, moved into 11th place on the NFL’s all-time list and is second amongst tight ends.

Both Seattle and San Diego rushed for over 100 yards in the contest (Seattle 108, San Diego 101) and Rivers and Wilson combined for five TD passes. Seattle was 3 of 8 on third down tries (0 of 1 on fourth) and kept the ball for 17:45, while San Diego went 10 of 17, while holding the ball for 42:15.

“Philip trusted me to make the plays,” says Gates about Rivers. “I can’t say enough about him and my teammates. They continued trusting me to make those plays. My main focus is just to try and help us win football games every Sunday.”

The Bills are 2-0 after last week’s 29-10 win over Miami. Buffalo’s C.J. Spiller returned a kickoff 102 yards for a touchdown and became the first player in more than 40 years to record a 100+ yard kickoff-return touchdown and a 45+ yard run in the same game (Bob Greshman, September 23, 1973). Rookie wide receiver Sammy Watkins, Buffalo’s first-round pick, had eight catches for 117 yards and a touchdown, his first career 100-yard game.

“We’re off to a great start,” says Spiller about the team’s 2-0 record. “Any time you can win in this league, it’s always great. But now the focus is on the Chargers.” The Bills led 6-3 at the half and then proceeded to outscore Miami in the final 30 minutes of play 20-10 for the win. Miami was held to 80 yards on the ground and Dolphins QB Ryan Tannehill was sacked four times in the contest in upstate New York. The Dolphins on third down tries were 5 of 16 (1 of 4 on fourth down), while the Bills did a little better, going 5 of 15. Time of possession ironically favored Miami, as the Dolphins kept the ball for 31:17 to Buffalo’s 28:43.

Including games played when the Chargers were in Los Angeles, San Diego leads the series 21-10-2, while outscoring the Bills 792-555. The two teams have not faced each other since 2011, when San Diego took a 37-12 win at Qualcomm, while Buffalo’s last win in the series came in 2008 in upstate New York by a 23-14 decision. Buffalo’s favored by 1 1/2 points and the over/under’s 44. It might be closer than the 1 1/2. The 44 makes some sense. San Diego got as far as the quarterfinal round in the AFC Playoffs, while the Bills are trying to get back to the post-season party for the first time since the Clinton administration. San Diego plays tough but Bills shuffle off with the win and covers the 1.

Washington (1-1) at Philadelphia (2-0), 1 pm (FOX and DirecTV 713, Lincoln Financial Field) They meet for the 158th time. A pair of NFC East rivals square off in the City of Brotherly Love as the Redskins and Eagles square off at the Linc.

Washington erased a 7-0 first quarter deficit against Jacksonville at FedEx Field and despite losing Robert Griffin III to an ankle injury, the Redskins managed to come away with the 41-10 win. Washington held the Jaguars to 25 yards rushing and sacked Jacksonville QB Chad Henne 10 times in the win. Meanwhile, Griffin’s replace Kirk Cousins threw for 250 yards and a pair of TDs in the victory. Washington went 6 of 14 (1 of 2 on fourth down) on third down tries and kept the ball for 39:01, while the Jaguars were 3 of 13 (0 of 1 on fourth), keeping the ball for only 20:59.

Meanwhile, Philadelphia trailed the Colts 17-6 at the half in Indianapolis on Monday night before getting off the deck and outscoring the Colts 24-10 to come away with the 34-27 win. Philadelphia took the game in the final seconds on a 36-yard field goal by K Cody Parker as time ran out. In the Monday night affair in the Hoosier State, both teams did manage to rush for over 100 yards in the game (Philly had 127, Indy had 169) and Nick Foles and Ryan Luck combined for four TDs without an interception or sack. Neither team did well on third down tries last Monday night (Philly was 5 of 12, while Indy was 4 of 12 and 1 of 1 on fourth down) and time of possession favored the Colts, who kept the ball for 36:15 to Philadelphia’s 23:45.

The Redskins may lead the series 80-72-5 but the Eagles have outscored their NFC East rivals 3,255-3,078 and swept the series between the two teams last year after Washington swept in 2012. In the first meeting in Landover in week one, Philadelphia led 26-7 at the half and then held Washington off, taking a 33-27 win. Washington was held to 74 yards on the ground, while LeShaun McCoy ran for 184 of the Eagles’ 263 yards. The Eagles defense also caused problems for Griffin, as he was sacked three times in the game (Eagles QB Michael Vick was also sacked three times as well) and threw a pair of interceptions.

Neither club did anything to write home about on third down tries in the season opener. Philadelphia, inspite of their six-point win, was 7 of 15 (1 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 32:39, while the ‘Skins were 2 of 10 (1 of 2 on fourth) and held on to the ball for only 27:21.

The Eagles completed the sweep in week 11 in the City of Brotherly Love as Nick Foles took over for Vick and beat Washington 24-16. Once again, Philadelphia gave Griffin fits, sacking him three more times to seal the win. Both teams again managed to rush for over 100 yards (Washington-191, Philadelphia-126) and once again, both teams struggled on third down tries (Washington was 8 of 17 and 0 of 1 on fourth down, Philadelphia went 4 of 13, 1 of 2 on fourth down). In a twist of irony, the clock favored Washington, who held on to the ball for 33:42 to Philly’s 26:18.

In the first meeting in Landover on a Monday night, Washington was favored by 3 1/2 with a 52 over/under. Both teams covered the 52 by combining for 60 points and Philadelphia covered the spread with their 6 point win. In the second contest in week 11, Philadelphia won by eight, covering the 3 1/2-point spread but both teams missed the 53 over/under, combining for only 30. This time around, the Eagles are favored by 6 1/2 and the over/under’s 51. Not sure about the 51. The 6 1/2? Sounds interesting, considering that these are two NFC East rivals with wins under their belts from last Sunday. Washington knocks Philadelphia out of the ranks of the undefeated and comes out of the City of Brotherly Love with the win.

Tennessee (1-1) at Cincinnati (2-0), 1 p.m. (CBS and DirecTV 706, Paul Brown Stadium) After a fast start, the Cincinnati Bengals continue at home to face a Titans team that comes off a defeat to Dallas at home in the Music City last week. Tennessee trailed the Cowboys 16-0 at the half and then played Dallas even in the final 30 minutes of play but still lost 24-10. The Titans in the loss at home were held to 82 rushing yards and turned the ball over twice (2 Jake Locker interceptions), while going 2 of 10 on third down tries and 0 of 1 on fourth downs. Dallas’ DeMarco Murray ran for 167 of their 220 yards and Tony Romo played turnover-free football with no interceptions. The Cowboys were 9 of 16 on third down conversions and kept the ball for 41:11 to Tennessee’s 18:49.

The Bengals also entered the win column last week at home against Atlanta, taking the Falcons 24-10. Despite missing three Matt Nugent FG’s in the first half, Cincinnati took a 10-3 lead with them into halftime and then outscored the Falcons 14-7 in the second half. The Bengals held Atlanta to 97 yards rushing and intercepted Matt Ryan three times in the 14-point win. Neither clud did well on third down tries in the contest, with Atlanta going 3 of 12 (1 of 2 on fourth down) and the Bengals going 6 of 14. Time was on the side of Cincinnati, who kept the ball for 32:59, while Atlanta possessed it for 27:01

Including contests when the Titans played their home games in Houston as the Oilers, the Titans lead the series 39-32-1. The two squads have not lined up against each others since 2011, when the Bengals took a 24-17 win in the Music City. Tennessee’s last win in the series came in 2008 in Cincy by a final of 24-7. Cincinnati’s a 6 1/2-point favorite and the over/under’s 43 1/2. Tennessee’s good but they’re not that good. Cincy’s a little better and proved that to Atlanta last Sunday. Bengals may not cover the 6 1/2 but they do win at home.

Dallas (1-1) at St. Louis (1-1), 1 p.m. (FOX and DirecTV 714, Edward Jones Dome) Dallas takes to the great indoors when they square off against St. Louis in the Gateway City. Dallas evened their record with a 24-10 win over Tennessee in Nashville. Dallas held Tennessee to 82 yards rushing and Cowboys RB DeMarco Murray ran amok, rushing for 167 yards on 29 carries and a TD and Tony Romo played turnover-free football, throwing for 176 yards and a TD. The Cowboys were pretty decent on third down tries against the Titans last week, going 9 of 16, while Tennessee was a dismal 2 of 10 (0 of 1 on fourth down) and played keep-away with the football, holding it for 41:11 to Tennessee’s 18:49.

St. Louis held off Tampa Bay in the Sunshine State, taking a 19-17 win. The Rams led 10-3 at the half and were then outscored by Tampa Bay 10-9 in the second half and were outrushed 157-119 (Bucs RB Bobby Rainey ran for 144 yards of his own). With regard to third down conversions, the Rams were 5 of 11 and Tampa Bay was at 50 percent, going 4 of 8. The clock was the ally of the Rams, who kept the ball for 32:05 to Tampa Bay’s 27:55.

Including contests when the Rams were in Los Angeles, Dallas leads the series 12-11 and have outscored St. Louis/Los Angeles  514-498. Dallas and St. Louis met last year in Arlington in week three and the Cowboys held St. Louis in check, taking a 31-7 win. In that contest in the Lone Star State, Dallas led 17-0 at the break and outscored St. Louis 14-7 in the final 30 minutes of play. Murray was the rushing star in that contest, carrying the ball 26 times for 175 yards and a TD as Dallas held St. Louis to 35 yards and sacked QB Sam Bradford six times. Neither club did anything to write home about on third down tries as Dallas was 5 of 11, while St. Louis was 1 of 13 and 3 of 6 on fourth down conversions but the clock did favor Dallas, who kept the ball for 33:28, while St. Louis possessed it for a mere 26:32.

Dallas was favored by 4 in the week three contest and the over/under was 44. While neither team covered the over/under, scoring only 38 points, Dallas did cover the spread. Sunday in St. Louis, the Cowboys are favored by 1 with a 44 over/under. Which Romo will show up, the one that turned the ball over against St. Francisco or the Romo that played like he’s capible of playing? We think it’s the latter. Cowboys cover the 1 and win on the road.

Houston (2-0) at New York Giants (0-2), 1 p.m. (CBS and DirecTV 710, MetLife Stadium) 2-0 Houston travels to the Meadowlands to face an 0-2 Giants team that is struggling to find its swagger and identity. The Texans made short work of Oakland on the Left Coast last Sunday, taking a 30-14 win back to the Lone Star State with them. Houston led 27-0 after 45 minutes of play before the Raiders scored their points uncontested. RB Adrian Foster ran for 138 of Houston’s 188 yards in the contest (Oakland rushed for 101 yards) and the Texans defense forced four turnovers on Sunday. Houston was 9 of 15 on third down tries, while the Raiders were a dismal 2 of 9 but were 2 of 2 on fourth down. Time was on the side of the Texans, who kept the ball for 38:36, while Oakland had it for 21:24.

The Giants actually led Arizona 14-10 going into the fourth quarter in the Meadowlands before the Desert Angry Birds erupted for 15 points in the final quarter to fall 25-14. New York was held to 81 yards rushing and went 6 of 12 on third down tries (0 of 1 on fourth down) and held the ball for 32:29, while Arizona was 5 of 13, keeping the ball for only 27:31.

New York leads the series 2-1, have outscored the Texans 62-36 and have won the last two contests, including a 34-10 win in Houston in 2010. Houston’s lone win in the series was in their first meeting, a 16-14 win in Houston in 2002.

Houston’s favored by 2 1/2 and the over/under is 42. Houston’s been playing some decent football, given that it’s only two games. The G-men have struggled of late and another loss at home might have Giants fans upset if they aren’t already. New York makes it close but Houston covers the 2 1/2 and wins in the Meadowlands.

Baltimore (1-1) at Cleveland (1-1), 1 p.m. (CBS and DirecTV 707, FirstEnergy Stadium) The old Cleveland team meets the new Cleveland team Sunday along the shores of Lake Erie. Don’t expect any warm greetings by Browns fans who are still angry that the team they grew up with is now the Baltimore Ravens.

The Ravens kicked off Week 2 with a commanding 26-6 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers on Thursday night. Baltimore forced three turnovers and had a +3 turnover differential on the night. Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco threw two touchdown passes to pace the offense. The Ravens held Pittsburgh to 99 yards rushing and sacked Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger twice in the Thursday night win, despite not having RB Ray Rice on the sidelines.

“I feel like when you get one turnover, they come in bunches,” Baltimore safety Matt Elam told the Baltimore Sun. “That’s a great momentum shifter. If we can continue to do that, we’ll be a great team.” Flacco is 25-13 (.658) all-time vs. AFC North and in 12 career games vs. Cleveland, he has 11-1 record (.917) with 2,498 pass yards & 15 TDs vs. 6 interceptions for 91.5 rating, while passing for 2 TDs with 109.3 rating last week. Baltimore in their win over Pittsburgh in Charm City was 5 of 12 on third down tries (1 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 35:08, while the Steelers were 6 of 12, holding the ball for 24:52.

Browns quarterback Brian Hoyer directed an 85-yard drive to set up Billy Cundiff’s game-winning field goal with three seconds remaining as Cleveland defeated the New Orleans Saints 26-24. Hoyer completed eight of 11 passes for 78 yards on the final drive, moving the Browns from their own four-yard line to the New Orleans 11.

“I couldn’t be more proud,” says Cleveland head coach Mike Pettine about his team. “There were a lot of times during that game we could have just let it slip away. But we battled back. This game is about making plays.”

Baltimore holds a 22-8 lead in the series and the Ravens have outscored Cleveland 682-424. The two teams split last year’s contests and each team won at home. In the first meeting in Charm City in week 2, Baltimore trailed Cleveland 6-0 at the half before the Ravens came out and scored 14 unchallenged points in the second half to win 14-6. Neither club broke the 100-yard rushing barrier (Baltimore-99, Cleveland-65) but the Ravens defense did manage to give Browns QB Brad Weeden five times. The Ravens were 50 percent on third down tries (8 of 16) and held the ball for 30:35, while Cleveland went 4 of 15 on third down, 0 of 2 on fourth and possessed the pigskin for 29:25.

Cleveland returned the favor along the shores of Lake Erie in week nine, coming out on top 24-18. Again, as was the case in the first meeting, neither club breached the 100 yard plateau (Cleveland with 73, Baltimore with 55) and this time, Flacco was sacked five times, throwing two TDs and an interception in the game. Neither team did anything to call home about on third or fourth down in the rematch in the Buckeye State (Baltimore was 7 of 16, 1-1; Cleveland was 4 of 15, 2-2) and the clock was the ally of Cleveland, who kept the pigskin for 30:50, while Baltimore held it for 29:10.

In the first meeting in Charm City, the Ravens, coming off their Super Bowl win, were favored by 6 1/2 with a 43 1/2 over/under. While Baltimore did win by eight, covering the spread, neither club achieved the over/under, scoring only 20 points. The Ravens were also favored in the week nine rematch along the shores of Lake Erie as a 2 1/2-point favorite with a  41 1/2 over/under. Both teams did manage to cover the over/under with 42 ponits, while Cleveland covered the spread with their 6-point win. The oddsmakers in Vegas like the Ravens this week as a 2 1/2-point favorite and the over/under is 41 1/2. Both teams are pretty decent but there can be only one winner. Baltimore goes back home to Charm City with the win and covers the 2 1/2.

Green Bay (1-1) at Detroit (1-1), 1 p.m. (FOX and DirecTV 711, Ford Field) It’s an NFC North (or as ESPN’s Chris Berman says “the NFC Norris) battle as a pair of 1-1 teams meet in the Motor City.

The Pack evened their record at home against the Jets at Lambeau Field last Sunday afternoon. Green Bay overcame a 20-16 deficit at the half against GangGreen and rallied to take a 31-24 decision. Jordy Nelson caught a 80-yard TD pass from Aaron Rodgers late in the third quarter to give Green Bay the lead for keeps. The Packers then held off a late J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS JETS! rally that would have sent the contest to overtime before they were stopped short. Although they were held to 80 rushing yards, Rodgers did manage to out-throw Geno Smith and Michael Vick 346-176 in the contest. The Pack went 50 percent on third down tries at 7 of 14 and kept the ball for 29:34, while the Jets dominated the time of possession battle, keeping the pigskin for 30:26 (New York was 8 of 17 on third down and 2 of 3 on fourth down).

Detroit trailed Carolina 6-0 at the half in Charlotte last Sunday but saw the wheels come off their bus as they would lose 24-7. The Lions did manage to hold Carolina to 62 yards on the ground and sack Cam Newton four times but it would eventually be four turnovers that did them in. The Lions were 6 of 15 on third down (1 of 2 on fourth; Carolina was 3 of 12) and kept the ball for 30:41 to the Panthers’ 29:19.

These two have been at each other since 1930 and Green Bay leads the series 94-66-7, which includes contests played when the Lions played first in Portsmouth, then Tiger Stadium and then the Silverdome, while the Packers played the majority of their home contests in Milwaukee’s County Stadium. The Pack have outscored the Lions 3,541-3,034 and the two teams split last season’s contests, with each team winning in their home ballparks.

In week five in the land of cheese and bratwurts, the Packers held Detroit to 64 yards and sacked Matthew Stafford five times to take a 22-9 win. Aaron Rodgers out-threw Stafford 274-262 in the contest with a TD and no interceptions. RB Eddie Lacy just missed rushing for 100 yards (99), as the home team ran for 180. Green Bay was 7 of 16 on third down tries, while Detroit went 7 of 15 (0 for 1 on fourth) and held the ball for 32:19, while Detroit kept it for 27:41.

Detroit got revenge in the second meeting on Thanksgiving Day in the Motor City in week 15, coming away with the 40-10 win. The Lions led 17-10 at the half before scoring 23 unanswered points in the final 30 minutes of play. Green Bay was held to 24 yards rushing, Matt Flynn (subbing for Rodgers) was sacked seven times in the contest and RB Reggie Bush ran amok on Green Bay, running for 117 yards (Detroit tallied 241 on the ground) and despite throwing a pair of picks, Stafford (330 passing yards) threw three TDs for the win. The Lions on Turkey Day were 9 of 12 on third down tries (Green Bay was 2 of 10) and kept the ball for 40:26, while the Pack kept it for a dismal 19:34.

The Packers were favored by 6 1/2 with a 52 over/under in week five. Green Bay covered the 6 1/2 with the win at home but both teams only musted 31 points, missing the over/under. In the second meeting in the Motor City on Thanksgiving Day, the oddsmakers liked the Lions, who were favored by 6 with a 50 over/under. Both teams matched the over/under exactly and Detroit covered the 6 with their 30-point win. The oddsmakers like the Lions again at home but by a point and the over/under is at 52. Sorry, Lions fans. Your heart’s about to get broken like a teenage boy at prom-time. Packers cover the 1 and take the win in the Motor City.

Indianapolis (0-2) at Jacksonville (0-2), 1 p.m. (CBS and DirecTV 708, EverBank Field) A pair of winless AFC South rivals meet on Florida’s east coast Sunday afternoon as the Colts and Jaguars square off in Jacksonville.

The Colts are coming off a last-second loss to the Eagles Monday night in Indy, blowing a 27-20 lead and allowed their guests to score the last 10 points of the contest unchallenged. Indy did manage to outrush the Eagles 169-127 and Andrew Luck threw for three TDs in the contest but the Colts’ defense failed them as K Cody Parker nailed a 38-yard field goal as time expired. Indy for the evening went 4 of 12 on third down and 1 of 2 on fourth, keeping the ball for 36:15, while the Eagles were 5 of 12 and held the ball for 23:45.

Jacksonville is also looking for their first win of the 2014 campaign after their 41-10 loss to Washington in Landover. The Jaguars trailed 21-7 at the half before Washington, without RGIII under center, opened the floodgates, outscoring Jacksonville 20-3 in the final 30 minutes of play. For the Jaguars, they were held to 25 yards rushing and QB Chad Henne was sacked 10 times in the contest and went 3 of 13 on third down tries (0 of 1 on fourth down), while Washington was 6 of 14 and 1 of 2 on third and fourth downs, respectively. Time was on the side of the ‘Skins, who held the ball for 39:01, while Jacksonville had it for 20:59.

Indy has won three of the last four contests with Jacksonville, leading the series 18-8 and have outscored the Jaguars 647-505. The Colts swept the season series with Jacksonville, taking wins in the Hoosier State and the Sunshine State. In the first meeting in week four in Jacksonville, the Colts took a 20-3 with them to the break and then proceeded to shut out the Jaguars 17-0 for the 37-3 win. Indy held Jacksonville to 40 yards on the ground and picked off QB Blaine Gabbert three times as well as sacking him four. The Colts were 6 of 13 on third down tries (Jacksonville was 2 of 11, 0 of 1 on fourth down) and held the ball for 36:38 to Jacksonville’s 23:22.

In the second meeting in the Hoosier State, Indy made it a clean sweep over Jacksonville in the great indoors in week 17, putting Jaguar fans out of their misery by taking a 30-10 win. In the season finale for both clubs, neither team rushed for over 100 yards (Jacksonville-42, Indianapolis-80) and the Colts did a little better on third down tries at home, going 8 of 16 (1 of 1 on fourth), keeping the ball for 33:40, while Jacksonville kept it for 26:20 and went 3 of 14 on third down (3 of 5 on fourth down).

In the week four contest in the Sunshine State, Indy was favored by 8 with a 42 1/2 over/under. Although they missed the over/under with both teams scoring 40, the Colts covered the spread with their 34-point win. Game two of the series in Indianapolis in week 17 also had the Colts as the favorite and Vegas made them a 11 1/2-point favorite with a 45 1/2 over/under. Indy missed the over/under by 5 1/2 (40) but covered the spread with little effort in their 20-point win.

Think the oddsmakers like Indy? No. This time around, the boys and girls in Vegas like the Jaguars at 6 1/2 and the over/under is 46 1/2. These two teams are not bad teams, they’ve just played that way, to paraphrase Jessica Rabbit. If you’re a fan of euther team, by all means watch. If not, then there’s always that “Gilmore Girls” marathon on WE (we think Loreli and Luke do make a great couple!). Indy climbs out of the winless column in the Sunshine State and goes back home again to Indiana with the win.

Oakland (0-2) at New England (1-1), 1 p.m. (CBS and DirecTV 709, Gillette Stadium) A pair of old AFC foes with a history going back to the founding of the AFL meet in Foxoboro as the New England Patriots host Oakland. Both teams enter coming in different directions.

For Oakland, it was too little, too late in their contest with Houston last Sunday on the Left Coast. The Silver and Black trailed 30-0 going into the final 15 minutes of play before ending the Texans’ bid for a shutout in the 30-14 loss. The Raiders did manage to rush for over 100 yards (101) but they turned the ball over four times in the contest. Oakland on third down was a dismal and weak 2 of 9 (2 of 2 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 21:24, while Houston was 9 of 15, holding the pigskin for 38:36.

Meanwhile, New Englad got back to the business of winning last Sunday in the Twin Cities, taking the Vikings to the woodshed and coming away with a 30-7 win. The Vikings, without RB Adrian Peterson, were held to 54 yards on the ground and scored their only points in the first quarter. New England led 24-7 at the half and never looked back, as Steven Ridley ran for 101 of New England’s 150 yards in the game. Tom Brady was almost flawless in the win, throwing for 149 yards and a TD with no interceptions, while the Pats’ defense sacked Vikings signal called Matt Cassell six times and picked him off four times. New England was 5 of 14 on third down tries (0 of 1 on fourth) and kept the ball for 31:34, while the Purple Gang was 4 of 11 (0 of 1 on fourth down) and held the ball for 28:26.

New England leads the series 15-14-1 (which includes contests when the Patriots played their home games at Fenway Park and the Raiders were in Los Angeles) and the Raiders have outscored New England 751-684. However, New England has won the last three meetings with the Silver and Black, with their last win coming in 2011 in Oakland by a final of 31-19. The Raiders’ last win over the Pats? 27-20 in 2002 in Oakland.

New England’s favored by 14 1/2 and the over/under’s 47. This might be one of the better games to watch if you’re a Patriots fan. The Raiders have made thing interesting in 2014 but they’re still a long way away from prominence. New England might not cover the 14 1/2 but they do take the win in Foxboro.

Minnesota (1-1) at New Orleans (0-2), 1 p.m. (FOX and DirecTV 712, Mercedes-Benz Superdome) Minnesota travels to the Big Easy to take on the Saints in the Superdome.

Minnesota struggled in their 30-7 loss to New England in the Twin Cities last Sunday. The Vikings were held to 54 yards rushing and turned the ball over four times and QB Matt Cassell was sacked six times in the loss. Minnesota was 4 of 11 on third down tries (0 of 1 on fourth) and kept the ball for 28:26, while the Pats were 5 of 14 (0 for 1 on fourth) and kept the ball for 31:34.

The Saints will play their first game at home after losses in Atlanta and Cleveland. New Orleans led 24-23 late along the shores of Lake Erie last week before Billy Cundiff nailed a 29-yard field goal with three ticks left to play. Although New Orleans did outrush Cleveland 174-122 and Drew Brees did throw a pair of TDs, he was also sacked twice and threw an interception in the loss. The Saints did reasonably well on third down tries, going 7 of 13 and held the ball for 31:50, while the Browns kept it for 28:10 and went 7 of 16 on third down and 2 of 2 on fourth.

Minnesota leads the series with the Saints 18-9 and have outscored New Orleans 694-492. The Saints have won the last two regular season meetings, including a 42-20 win in the Big Easy in 2011. Minnesota’s last win over New Orleans came in 2008 in the Superdome by a 30-27 count. The Saints are favored by 9 1/2 and the over/under is at 50 1/2. We don’t see New Orleans losing three in a row. Break out the gumbo and Beignets. Saints rule the roost in the Big Easy and take the win.

San Francisco (1-1) at Arizona (2-0), 4:05 p.m. (FOX and DirecTV 715, University of Phoenix Stadium) A pair of NFC West foes looking to knock Seattle off the top of the NFL mountain meet in the desert Sunday afternoon.

The 49ers will look to bounce back after a 28-20 loss to the Chicago Bears. San Francisco has won the past four games in the series and quarterback Colin Kaepernick is 3-0 as a starter versus Arizona with a 106.4 passer rating. San Francisco allowed Da Bears to score 21 unanswered points to fall to Chicago in their first regular season game at Levi’s Field by a final of 28-20. Despite holding Chicago to 46 yards on the ground, it was turnovers that did the 49ers in, with Kaepernick tossing three picks and fumbling once. San Francisco was 7 of 13 on third down tries (1 of 2 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 33:51, while Chicago was 3 of 9, keeping the pigskin for 26:09

“This is the NFL and you’re going to lose games,” says San Francisco safety Eric Reid. “But we’ve just got to get back out there this week and play again. We’re looking ahead to our next game.”

Arizona is 2-0 and in first place in the NFC West after another fourth-quarter come-from-behind victory. The Cardinals outscored the New York Giants 15-0 in the fourth quarter – highlighted by Ten Ginn, Jr.’s 71-yard punt-return touchdown – for a 25-14 win. Arizona, which outscored San Diego 12-0 in the fourth quarter of the Cardinals’ 18-17 Week 1 victory, is the first team since 1982 (Green Bay) to start 2-0 after trailing entering the fourth quarter in both games and not allowing a single fourth-quarter point. The Desert Angry Birds held the Giants to 81 yards on the ground and kept the ball for 27:31, while the Giants held it for 32:29.

“We now understand how to win ballgames,” Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson told the Arizona Republic. “We know how to finish out the fourth quarter. That’s what it’s all about. This was a great team win.”

Including contests when the Desert Angry Birds were in Chicago and then St. Louis before heading to the desert, the 49ers lead the series 28-17, have outscored Arizona 1,084-877 and have won the last four contests with the Cardinals, including sweeping the series last season. Arizona’s last win in the series came in 2011, when the two teams spilt the two games with each winning in their home parks.

In the first meeting in week six at Candlestick, the 49ers led 22-14 at the break before coming away with a 32-20 victory. Frank Gore rushed for 101 of San Francisco’s 149 yards and Kaepernick threw for a pair of TDs in the win, while the 49er defense sacked Carson Palmer and picked him off twice. Neither club did well on third down tries, as the 49ers were 4 of 14 (1 of 1 on fourth down) and held the ball for 34:19, while Arizona was 5 of 13 (0 of 1 on fourth), possessing the ball for 25:41.

San Francisco completed the sweep in the desert in week 17, knocking Arizona out of the playoffs with a 23-20 win in the final seconds on a 40-yard field goal by Pat Dawson as the clock ran out. Both teams rushed for 83 yards on the day and both Palmer and Kaepernick threw for a pair of TDs. Again, third down conversions were an issue for both teams, as Arizona was 4 of 15 (3 of 4 on fourth down) and San Francisco was 3 of 13 (0 of 1 on fourth). The irony? The Cardinals won the time of possession battle, holding the ball for 32:20 to San Francisco’s 27:40.

San Francisco in the week six contest at Candlestick was favored by 10 and the over/under for that contest was 41 1/2. Both teams combined for 52 points, breaking the over/under and the 49ers’ 12-point win covered the over/under. Arizona was the favorite in the season finale in the desert as a 1-point favorite with a 42 over/under. Again, both clubs managed to beat the over/under by scoring 43 points and San Francisco’s winning by 3 covered the spread. The 49ers are 3 point favorites in the desert and the over/under is 42 1/2. 3 points isn’t a lot. 42 1/2? Sounds reasonable. The Desert Angry Birds aren’t afraid to defend their nest and they’ll do just that. Arizona covers the 3 and wins at home.

Denver (2-0) at Seattle (1-1), 4:25 p.m. (CBS and DirecTV 717, CenturyLink Field) They meet again and this time, it’s not in the Meadowlands. Instead, it’s the land of grunge, salmon and Starbucks.

Peyton’s back.

And he wants revenge.

For only the sixth time, the regular season will feature a rematch of the previous Super Bowl. The Broncos, who improved to 2-0 with a 24-17 win over Kansas City, will look to avenge last year’s 43-8 loss in Super Bowl XLVIII.

“This is what we’ve been waiting for,” says Denver wide receiver Andre Caldwell.

Manning threw three touchdown passes last week against their AFC West rivals Kansas City and has six touchdowns and no interceptions so far this season. Denver led Kansas City 21-10 at the half and then held the Chiefs off to come out on top 24-17. The Broncos were 3 of 8 on third down (1 of 1 on fourth) and kept the ball from Kansas City for 23:46, while the Chiefs clung to it for 36:14 and went 11 of 16 on third down and 0 of 1 on fourth.

Meanwhile, Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson has four touchdowns without an interception in 2014 and had two TDs and no turnovers in the Super Bowl victory and the Seahawks look to bounce back from their loss in San Diego last Sunday. In the contest against the Bolts at Quallcom, Seattle trailed 20-14 at the break and tried to keep things close before San Diego would outscore Seattle 10-7 in the second half for the win. Seattle did outrush San Diego 108-101 in the game Sunday but struggled on third down, going 3 of 8 (0 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 17:45 to San Diego’s 42:15. The winning Chargers went 10 of 17 on third down tries to seal the win and put an end to the Seahawks’s five-game win streak, which included the playoffs and the first game of the 2014 docket.

“This is going to be a challenging game facing Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos,” says Wilson, whose team has won 18 of its past 19 home games, including the playoffs. “They’re a very good football team.”

The Broncos lead series 34-18 and have outscored Seattle 1,222-1,011. Denver’s last regular season win over Seattle came in 2010, when the Broncos won in the Mile High City 31-14, while Seattle’s last win in the series also came in Denver in 2006, a 23-20 final.

It’s rare that two teams that played in the Super Bowl the season before meet in the regular season. They also met in the 2014 preseaon as well. It’s only happened six times. Six times. This time, the NFL got lucky and fans in Denver and Seattle have been clammoring for a rematch since Seattle thumped Denver in last year’s Super Bowl in the Meadowlands. Just this story line alone makes this one “Drill Worthy” (For those of you that know what The Drill is, you are excused. Everyone else, pay attention. We don’t want any rookie mistakes here, k?)

After you go to the 9:30 mass on Sunday (the 4:30 vigil mass on Saturday counts as a mass attended, people! Don’t make us send the nuns after you!), head to your favorite store (a trip to Wal Mart, Target, K-Mart or Costco counts) and get the vittles and the beverages (soda, beer, wine, coffee, et al… if you live in a state that allows the purchase of the items in question) and invite the co-workers, the neighbors (including that really cute kindergarden teacher that knows what to do with a cover-2 defense) and your cousin Connie (remember her? She’s the one that’s been married twice that’s 56 and dates a 41-year old ex-Marine, who’s now a football coach at the high school in your town. She’s also the one that ate an entire Oreo cheesecake, two bags of Cool Ranch Doritos, two bacon cheeseburgers with blue cheese and chugged two 2-liter Cokes at your Super Bowl party last year and didn’t gain a pound. You look at her and say to yourself, “what the hell?”

Denver’s got a chip on this shoulder, while Seattle wants the football world to know that their winning the Super Bowl was not a mistake. Seattle’s favored by 5 and the over/under’s 48 1/2. The five’s a bit low. Both teams can put up points. In the end, dust settles. Seattle has a bigger chip on their shoulder after their loss to San Diego down I-5 last Sunday and knocks Denver out of the ranks of the unbeaten, taking the win, although they won’t cover the 5.

Kansas City (0-2) at Miami (1-1), 4:25 p.m. (CBS and DirecTV 716, Sun Life Stadium)

Pittsburgh (1-1) at Carolina (2-0), 8:30 p.m. (NBC, Bank of America Stadium) Ben. Cam. Two of the NFL’s elite QBs meet in the Tar Heel State on Sunday night as the Steelers travel to Charlotte to take on the Carolina Panthers.

The Steelers aim to rebound from a Week 2 defeat at Baltimore. Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is 2-0 in his career against the Panthers and needs 313 passing yards to reach 35,000 for his career.

“It’s a marathon, not a sprint,” says Steelers cornerback Ikie Taylor about the team’s 1-1 record and the long NFL season. “We do have to get better overall. As a group, we have to look back and correct the mistakes.”  The Steelers were held to 99 yards on the ground against the Ravens and turned the ball over three times. Offensively, the Steelers did have a bright spot, going 6 of 12 on third down (Baltimore was 5 of 12 and 1 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 24:52 to Baltimore’s 35:08.

Carolina, which has won eight consecutive regular-season games at home, extended that streak with a 24-7 win over the Detroit Lions in Week 2. Linebackers Thomas Davis with 12 tackles and Luke Kuechly with 11 led the way for the defense, which has allowed only 21 points this season (10.5 per game). In the Panthers’ win over Detroit last Sunday, neither team broke the 100-yard barrier (Carolina had 62, Detroit 70) and Newton was sacked four times. Carolina’s defense did manage to force three Detroit turnovers, while the offense struggled on third down tries, going 3 of 12 (Detroit was 6 of 15 and 1 of 2 on fourth down). The clock favored Detroit, who held the ball for 30:41 to Carolina’s 29:19.

Pittsburgh leads the series 4-1, has outscored Carolina 138-58 and has won the last four meetings with the Panthers, including a 27-3 win in the Steel City in 2010. Carolina’s lone win in the series was their first meeting in 1996, taking a 18-14 win in Charlotte. Carolina’s favored by 3 with the over/under at 41 1/2. Carolina will make it interesting but Pittsburgh comes out of the Tar Heel State with the win and covers the 3.

Chicago (1-1) at New York Jets (1-1), 8:30 p.m. Monday (ESPN, MetLife Stadium) A pair of 1-1 teams closes out week 3 in the Meadowlands as Da Bears travel to upstate New Jersey to take the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! on Monday night.

In Week 2, both the Bears and Jets were involved in dramatic comebacks. Chicago erased a 17-0 deficit to defeat the San Francisco 49ers 28-20 to ruin the housewarming for the 49ers in their new ballpark. New York, however, watched the Green Bay Packers come back from a 21-3 hole as the Jets dropped a 31-24 decision at Lambeau Field.

“The defense did a great job of giving us short fields and keeping it close enough so that we could get back in it,” says Bears quarterback Jay Cutler, who threw four touchdown passes in the comeback win, including three to wide receiver Brandon Marshall. Although Da Bears were held to 46 yards rushing, Chicago did manage to take advantage of four San Francisco turnovers in the Sunday night affair on the West Coast. Chicago was 3 of 9 on third down tries (San Francisco was 7 of 13 and 1 of 2 on fourth down), while keeping the ball for 26:09 to San Francisco’s 33:51.

“We did a lot of good things but it’s all about winning,” says Jets quarterback Geno Smith, who has two passing touchdowns and one rushing TD in 2014. “We’ve got to get better and we’ve got areas to improve on. I trust my teammates and coaches and know that we’re going to prepare hard this week to go out and win on Monday night.” Although the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! held Green Bay to 80 yards on the ground and sack Aaron Rodgers four times, New York let a 21-16 halftime lead slip from their grasp as the Packers would outscore them 15-3 in the second half. GangGreen did manage to rush for 146 yards but struggled on third down tries, going 8 of 17 (2 of three on fourth down) and won the time of possession battle, keeping the ball for 30:26 to Green Bay’s 29:34.

Da Bears lead da series 7-3, have outscored GangGreen 194-149 and have won the last three meetings, including a 38-34 win in the Windy City in 2010, while New York’s last win over Chicago came in the Meadowlands in 2000 by a 17-10 final. GangGreen is favored by 2 with the over/under coming in at 46. As far as MNF goes, the Jets are 20-27 and won their only primetime contest last year, while Chicago is 27-35 but won their two contests under the lights last year. It could be one of those contests that’s really interesting or a contest that will make you change the channel and watch “2 Broke Girls.” Jets will make a game of it but Da Bears cover the one and win on the road.

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