After this week, we will be a quarter way through the season. While teams begin their bye weeks, there is still plenty of hard-hitting action to watch. Will your team come out on top this week?
Chicago pulled off an upset against divisional rival Green Bay on Monday Night Football. Both teams entered 2-0, and Chicago left 3-0, their best start since 2007, when they made it to the Super Bowl. The Packers began the fourth quarter up 17-7, but they gave up 13 points in the fourth, including the game winning field goal by Robbie Gould with four seconds left. Green Bay was flagged for a team-record 18 penalties after coach Mike McCarthy emphasized reducing the number of infractions committed. Aaron Rodgers threw for 316 yards, a touchdown, and an interception. He also ran for a score. Jay Cutler threw for 221 yards. a touchdown, and a pick. Packer’s linebacker Clay Matthews was held without a sack after recording three in each of the first two games. Chicago’s Devin Hester proved he can still return kicks with a 62-yard punt return for a touchdown.
News & Notes
Earlier this week, former Bills’ quarterback Trent Edwards signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Starter David Garrard hasn’t played particularly well so far this season. This may be a warning about his future.
The NFL and Rodger Goodell are still investigating an incident between Green Bay safety Nick Collins and fans following the Monday night game against Chicago. Collins, who threw his mouthpiece into the stands, claims he was taunted and spit on by fans.
Six players were fined for their actions in last week’s game between the Giants and Titans. Ahmad Bradshaw was fined $2,500 for a chop block. Linemen David Diehl and Kareem McKenzie were charged $5,000 for unnecessary roughness, and Adam Koets was hit with another $5,000 bill for a facemask penalty. Titan’s corner Cortland Finnegan and defensive lineman Jason Babin were both fined $5,000. Finnegan threw receiver Steve Smith down by his helmet, and Babin was charged for a late hit.
For a list of other players fined this week, check out nfl.com.
Veteran safety Michael Lewis has asked for his release from the 49ers. He missed practice on Friday for personal reasons, according to Coach Mike Singletary. According to reports, Lewis has lost trust in the San Francisco organization.
Andre Johnson of the Texans is currently a game-time decision according to Coach Gary Kubiak. Johnson, who claims he will play against Oakland, re-aggravated his ankle injury in last week’s loss to Dallas.
Buffalo linebacker Paul Posluszny is expected to return after missing the last two weeks with a sprained knee.
The Colts have many stars listed as questionable for this week. Running backs Donald Brown and Joseph Addai both sat out of practice Friday. Pierre Garcon has missed practice all week, while Austin Collie was on the field yesterday.
Giants’ defensive end Mathias Kiwanuka will not play against the Bears. He practiced all week, but was examined by doctors when he complained about neck pain. It was discovered that Kiwanuka has a bulging disc in his neck, and his long term status is unknown.
Knowshon Moreno will not play against Tennessee. Moreno is still recovering from an injured hamstring. Correll Buckhalter and Laurence Maroney will split the carries again this week.
New York Corner Darrelle Revis will miss another game with an injured hamstring. He returned to practice this week, but Coach Rex Ryan said he will sit out until he is back to 100%. The Jets play in Buffalo this Sunday.
Running back Ray Rice is listed as questionable for this Sunday’s game against division rival Pittsburgh, but he is expected to play. Rice bruised his knee against Cleveland last week.
The St. Louis Rams have two game-time decisions for this week’s contest against Seattle. Steven Jackson is still nursing a groin injury, while safety Oshiomogho Atogwe has a bruised thigh. Both were limited in Friday’s practice.
Game of the Week: Washington at Philadelphia
My Week 4 Game of the Week brings the most productive Eagle back to Lincoln Financial Field, but in a Washington jersey. That’s right, Donovan McNabb is back to face his old team. The Eagles are at their usual spot on top of the NFC East at 2-1, while the Redskins are tied with Dallas and New York at 1-2. Philadelphia looks to get their first win at home, and Washington wants to win their first game on the road. McNabb also renews his old rivalry with Michael Vick.
The Eagles started the season with question marks surrounding the quarterback position, and they grew when Kevin Kolb suffered a concussion. However, Vick’s success has been highlighted on every sports broadcast across the country. He looks like the athlete that played in Atlanta a few years ago, but with one big difference, he isn’t leading the team in rushing yards. Yes, he is in a close second place with 170 yards on the ground, but Vick has been beating teams with his arm, not his legs. Last week against Jacksonville, he threw for 291 yards and three touchdowns. Never with the Falcons did Vick throw for 750 yards in his first three games of the season. Eagles’ running back LeSean McCoy is averaging over six yards per carry. Receivers DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin are also off to a hot start. Jackson leads the Eagles with 318 receiving yards and Maclin leads the team with four touchdown catches. Defensively, Pro Bowl end Trent Cole leads the team with 18 total tackles and added three sacks. Rookie free safety Nate Allen has two interceptions.
Unfortunately for new coach Mike Shanahan, the Redskins are off to a poor start. The offense is 19th in the league in points scored, and the defense is last in yards allowed. Individually, McNabb has played well. He has thrown for 833 yards in the first three weeks of the season. He doesn’t scramble like he used to, but McNabb has shown a few glimpses of his old self, running for 42 yards on three carries. The running game, lead by Clinton Portis, has been lack luster. Shanahan is known for making great running backs with his zone running scheme, and Portis was one of them in 2002 and ’03. This season, he has only 140 yards with a 3.7 yard per carry average. The defense looked promising against Dallas in Week 1, only allowing seven points to their division rival. In Weeks 2 and 3, the Texans and the Rams each scored 30 points on the ‘Skins. Albert Haynesworth has recorded a mere two tackles in his limited playing time.
Key Matchup: DeSean Jackson vs. DeAngelo Hall
Jackson has been a big play threat for Philadelphia since being drafted in 2008. Last season, Jackson averaged over 18 yards per catch, first among receivers with over 1,000 yards. So far in 2010, he has 318 yards on only 13 catches. That’s 24.5 yards per catch. He has been Vick’s favorite target, especially on deep patterns. Jackson had a 53-yard reception in Week 2, and a 61-yard touchdown catch in Week 3. Jackson hopes he and Vick can remain on the same page for Sunday’s divisional showdown.
Hall is the best corner on Washington’s roster. He has the speed to keep up with Jackson, but as a whole, the Redskins’ defense has been carved up by opposing quarterbacks. Against Dallas in Week 1, Tony Romo threw for 282 yards, and Miles Austin had 146 yards receiving. In Week 2 against Houston, Matt Schaub threw for 497 yards, and his top target, Andre Johnson, hauled in 158 of those yards. If the Redskins think they have a chance against the Eagles, Hall better stick to Jackson like glue, and force Vick to look toward his other options.
Washington has dropped two straight since their big win against Dallas. The Eagles have won two straight since losing to Green Bay in their season opener. Vick’s arm has torn apart a few defenses so far, and by the way the Redskins have been playing, don’t expect this game to be any different. The Eagles’ offense has a good chance of dropping another 30 points on Washington. McNabb hopes for cheers from his old crowd in Philly. While I wish him the best of luck, he may struggle against his old team. The fact that Washington hasn’t been able to run the ball won’t help him at all. The Eagles take another step toward winning their first NFC East title without McNabb by handing him another loss.
Best of the Rest (Home team in italics):
New York Jets over Buffalo
Cincinnati over Cleveland
Pittsburgh over Baltimore
Tennessee over Denver
Green Bay over Detroit
Atlanta over San Francisco
New Orleans over Carolina
St. Louis over Seattle
Indianapolis over Jacksonville
Houston over Oakland
Philadelphia over Washington
San Diego over Arizona
Chicago over New York Giants
New England over Miami
Last week’s results: 8-8
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