By Jason Bryden
Elm Senior Writer
New England (1-2) at Buffalo (2-1)
A pivotal game in the AFC East takes place on Sunday as the Patriots travel west on I-90 to suburban Buffalo to play the Bills in Orchard Park. Buffalo currently sits one game ahead of New England in the standings.
New England could not hold a 13-0 lead and fell in Baltimore to the Ravens on Sunday night 31-30. The Patriots let a 30-21 fourth quarter lead in the last 4:01 slip away and fell on the final play of the game on a 27-yard field goal. A loss this week would give New England its first three-game losing streak since Week 17 in 2000 through Week 2 in 2001.
Buffalo won its second straight game with a 24-14 victory in Cleveland this past Sunday. The Bills jumped out to a 14-0 lead in the first quarter en route to the victory. The Bills are 5-1 in their last six September games. A win by Buffalo on Sunday would give the Bills consecutive home wins over the Patriots for the first time since 1998 and 1999.
The Patriots lead the all-time series 62-41-1 and have won 16 of the past 17 meetings. The two sides split last year winning each at home.
San Francisco (2-1) at New York Jets (2-1)
An interconference matchup this weekend at MetLife Stadium as the 49ers travel to New Jersey to play the Jets. This is just one of three games this weekend where both teams have a winning record.
The 49ers stumbled in Minnesota last week, losing 24-13 to the Vikings after winning their first two games. The San Francisco defense which had bottled up Pro Bowl quarterbacks Aaron Rodgers (Green Bay) and Matthew Stafford (Detroit) were powerless to stop quarterback Christian Ponder as they allowed him to throw for two scores and run for one. The 49ers will look to get back on track this week.
The Jets downed their AFC East rival Miami Dolphins, 23-20, in overtime on Sunday down in South Florida, but the win came at a price as all-pro cornerback Darrelle Revis was lost for the season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament in the knee. The Jets will need to overcome this injury if they hope to make the playoffs for the third time in four years this season.
The 49ers lead the all-time series 9-2 and won the last meeting in 2008 by a 24-14 margin.
Minnesota (2-1) at Detroit (1-2)
If you had said that Minnesota would have a better record than Detroit coming into this game, few would have believed you, but that is the case as the 2-1 Vikings visit the 1-2 Lions this Sunday at Ford Field in the Motor City.
Minnesota stunned San Francisco this past Sunday, 24-13, at the Metrodome, jumping out to a 14-0 lead and never trailed in the game. Quarterback Christian Ponder tossed for two scores and ran for one. The Vikings defense forced three San Francisco turnovers. The Vikings will seek to snap a three-game losing streak in the series, including the past two at Ford Field.
Detroit used two touchdowns in the last 18 seconds of the fourth quarter to rally from a 41-27 deficit and force overtime at 41-41 at Tennessee, but the Lions fell in overtime 44-41 to the Titans. Detroit had a mix-up on its fourth down snap and backup quarterback Shaun Hill was stuffed on 4th and 1 and the Lions fell to 1-2 on the season.
Minnesota leads the all-time series 66-33-2, but Detroit won both games last year for the first time since 1997.
New York Giants (2-1) at Philadelphia (2-1)
One of the most bitter rivalries in the NFL takes place on the national stage on Sunday night as the New York Giants head down the New Jersey Turnpike and across the Walt Whitman Bridge to play the Philadelphia Eagles in an NFC East showdown.
New York took care of the Carolina Panthers, 36-7, last Thursday in Charlotte. The Giants got 113 yards on the ground from reserve running back Andre Brown and quarterback Eli Manning was 27-for-35 for 288 yards in the win for a touchdown. On defense, Big Blue forced five Carolina turnovers. The Giants are seeking their second straight win at Lincoln Financial Field.
The Eagles traveled west to Glendale, Arizona and were thumped 27-6 by the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday in suburban Phoenix. Philadelphia trailed 24-0 and could only muster two field goals by kicker Alex Henery. The Eagles committed three more turnovers on Sunday and now have 12 on the year. This week running back LaSean McCoy spiced up the rivalry by calling Giants defensive end Osi Umenyiora “a ballerina.” Not the first time there has been major trash talk between these two teams.
The Giants lead the all-time series 83-75-2 and are 5-4 all-time in the regular season at The Linc. The Eagles won the one playoff meeting at The Linc in January 2007.
Chicago (2-1) at Dallas (2-1)
Two of the NFL’s most popular franchises meet on Monday night in the Metroplex at the Bears play the Cowboys at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas. These two teams have been mirror images of each other, wins in Week 1, losses in Week 2 and wins in Week 3.
The Bears come off of a 23-6 win over the St. Louis Rams on Sunday in Chicago. The defense gave up just 160 yards of offense, forced six sacks and two turnovers while scoring a defensive touchdown on an interception return of 45 yards by safety Major Wright. The offense while better than in Week 2 at Green Bay had just 274 yards of total offense, but was without their versatile running back Matt Forte, who hopes to go this week. Is this the week quarterback Jay Cutler has a big game and helps get the Bears offense on track? Keeping an eye on Dallas linebacker DeMarcus Ware would sure help that.
The Cowboys scored a 16-10 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this past Sunday in Arlington in the home opener. After falling down 7-0, the Cowboys scored 16 straight points to take command of the ballgame. Dallas held the Buccaneers offense to 166 total yards and created three turnovers in the win. The Cowboys’ offense which has been quiet for the last two weeks is capable of going off at anytime. Is this the week they do it? Dallas will need to keep Chicago defensive end Julius Peppers away from its quarterback, Tony Romo.
Dallas leads the regular season series 11-9 and has won both playoff encounters in 1977 and 1991. The Bears did win the prior meeting though in 2010, 27-20, at Cowboys Stadium. It was Chicago’s first win in the Metroplex since 1986.