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Separation Sunday

Teams have chance to take early control of divisions

Posted: Thursday September 21, 2006 10:33AM; Updated: Thursday September 21, 2006 11:09AM
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Week 3 Matchups
Chicago (2-0) at Minnesota (2-0)
No surprise the Bears are fifth in the NFL defensively after two weeks. The surprise is they're seventh in total offense. The most impressive number: 128.7. That's Rex Grossman's quarterback rating.
Chicago 31, Minnesota 17
New York (1-1) at Buffalo (1-1)
Spoke to Dick Jauron this week, and he was talking about what a good job Chad Pennington was doing. "He's just so steady," Jauron said. It appears most of the free world, including me, was wrong to write off the guy, because he looks totally in command of that offense. This week he'll have to overcome a resurgent Bills D, led by end Ryan Denney.
Buffalo 13, New York Jets 10
Cincinnati (2-0) at Pittsburgh (1-1)
Carson Palmer, 265 passing yards; Ben Roethlisberger, 160. And what emerges from this game more than anything else is that the Bengals can really play defense.
Cincinnati 21, Pittsburgh 13
Green Bay (0-2) at Detroit (0-2)
Rod Marinelli's doghouse is going to get pretty crowded if the Lions don't win this one. Mike Williams is the most famous bowzer now. Here's a clue to your slide down the depth chart, Mike: You've got to practice hard all the time to play for Marinelli and offensive coordinator Mike Martz.
Detroit 28, Green Bay 24
Jacksonville (2-0) at Indianapolis (2-0)
Physical Steelers match takes a toll on the Jags, traveling for the first time this year to the toughest place they have to play. They're a step slow trying to catch Joseph Addai.
Indianapolis 20, Jacksonville 9
Carolina (0-2) at Tampa Bay (0-2)
Yes, Chris Simms has played terribly. Maybe worse. But Simeon Rice has been MIA. If he doesn't torment Jake Delhomme, this is going to be a long and boo-filled game down at the Pirate Ship.
Carolina 27, Tampa Bay 10
Washington (0-2) at Houston (0-2)
A week too late, Clinton Portis gives the Redskins a 118-yard rushing game. But it's not enough to stop David Carr. Has anyone noticed how well this guy is playing?
Houston 24, Washington 13
Tennessee (0-2) at Miami (0-2)
I don't see a way out of the tunnel for Tennessee anytime soon, not with the second of three oppressive defenses (San Diego, Miami, Dallas) on tap. If I'm Jeff Fisher, I resist the calls for Vince Young until he's good and ready, because you don't want him to be scarred from the beatings he'd take by playing now.
Miami 24, Tennessee 3
Baltimore (2-0) at Cleveland (0-2)
What network genius made this a late game? Is there a less compelling game on this weekend's slate? Not that I see. Another Sunday, another notch in the Ravens' defensive belt.
Baltimore 16, Cleveland 6
Donovan McNabb's excellence was lost in the fog of an embarrassing loss last Sunday, but he could well be on his way to his best year ever. He's a 64-percent passer so far, with 664 passing yards, second only to Peyton Manning. That continues in this game.
Philadelphia 36, San Francisco 14
St. Louis (1-1) at Arizona (1-1)
Get ready for an onslaught of "There's nothing wrong with Edgerrin James" quotes coming out of Phoenix this week. There isn't. A running back is only as good as his line is, and Arizona's is as mediocre this year as it was last year. James will continue to languish with tepid numbers (137 yards after two games, 3.1 yards per rush) until his blocking gets better.
Arizona 30, St. Louis 20
New York (1-1) at Seattle (2-0)
Road sweet road. Nothing bothers Eli Manning, not even the loudest stadium in sports. For this to come true, however, it's time for Michael Strahan and Osi Umenyiora to do what they get paid the big bucks to do -- sack the quarterback.
New York Giants 27, Seattle 24
Denver (1-1) at New England (2-0)
In Brady we trust. A piece of advice for you fantasy players: Pick up Doug Gabriel, and pick him up now. I get a feeling Brady and Gabriel are about to become an item.
New England 17, Denver 13
Atlanta (2-0) at New Orleans (2-0)
As much as I'd love to make a fairy-tale pick here, I can't. The Saints are neither a great run-stuffing team nor a quick team on the defensive edges, and the Falcons have surpassed 250 rushing yards two straight games. How amazing is this: Warrick Dunn, the NFL rushing leader, is averaging 5.3 yards per carry ... and that's three whole yards behind his quarterback, Mike Vick, who's averaging 8.3.
Atlanta 27, New Orleans 21