NFL Week 3: Cowboys-Redskins, Patriots-Bills Among Best Games

FOXBORO MA - SEPTEMBER 26: Coach Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots (R) shakes hands with coach Chan Gailey of the Buffalo Bills after the game at Gillette Stadium on September 26 2010 in Foxboro Massachusetts. The Patriots won 38-30. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

A heaping helping of division rivalries highlight week three in the NFL. Which games should not be missed?

The NFL Red Zone channel is TEARING US APART! Okay, that might be a little alarmist, but many football purists chortle at the notion of distilling an entire day's worth of football into only its most essential plays and players. On the other hand, this triumph of the Ritalin era promises to save us all from the NFL's arcane blackout rules or having to suffer through an NFC West game because of the regional implications of a national television deal.

Week 3 is brimming with good games, mostly consisting of divisional grudge matches, starting at 1 p.m. on Sunday and lasting through 11:30 p.m. Monday. There might not be a better time for those crotchety fans longing for the days of leather helmets to share the gift of good football games with the fantasy football mercenary still living in mom's basement. The only irony is a Sunday matinee schedule so loaded with premier matchups, the Red Zone channel might be the most effective means for taking in all the action. 

New England Patriots at Buffalo Bills, 1 p.m. CBS

This might be the generational unifying event America's been looking for since Up With People and Richard Nixon. For the young folks, two high-scoring teams that embody the new world of pass-first football face off to claim the top spot in the AFC East. The olds will love Chan Gailey with his half moon glasses. New England is favored by nine points, but the Bills almost surprised the Patriots early in the season last year, and have a knack for fourth quarter comebacks.

Even Patriots fans at Pats Pulpit are nervous about this game.

The Bills are going to beat the Patriots eventually, and it could very well happen this weekend. 

New York Giants at Philadelphia Eagles, 1 p.m. FOX

Acting skills aside, the Giants are a veteran team that should be able to rise to the occasion as they get their first shot at paying back the Eagles for a week 16 loss that helped sink their playoff chances and put Tom Coughlin on the hot seat. Eli Manning looked terrible against the Rams on Monday, but made the throws he had to make. Acting skills aside, the Giants have a legitimate shot in this game by leaning on their running back tandem of Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs. Running backs for the traditionalists, and a running back committee for the Pepsi generation. 

Philly fans are continuing the verbal skirmishes being carried out by the players. From Bleeding Green Nation:

My guess is that Antrel Rolle has a different definition for what "one on one" means than the rest of the world does.

Houston Texans at New Orleans Saints, 1 p.m. CBS

Who needs Arian Foster...besides your fantasy football team? Gary Kubiak has his team firing on all cylinders, and they are the favorites to win the AFC South. Without Peyton Manning, winning the AFC South is a bit like winning the NFC West; someone wins it by default. The Saints really have nothing to prove, other than to remind everyone why Drew Brees and his team are perennial Super Bowl contenders. Houston can score points, but the real spotlight will be on new defensive coordinator Wade Phillips. Upstarts versus incumbents, what's not to like?

Battle Red Blog lays out the plan:

You won't stop a Drew Brees, but you can knock him around, disrupt New Orleans' timing, and take away the time for a deep vertical route to develop (and that will be a major point on Sunday).

Green Bay Packers at Chicago Bears, 4:15 p.m. FOX

NBC ended up with a bust for their prime time game, with the highly bankable Peyton Manning out for, um, some time. Speaking of injuries, Jay Cutler has been sacked 11 times this season...all two weeks of it.  There's fallout around Mike Martz. Despite those problems, the Bears rose to the occasion against the eventual Super Bowl champs last season and can do it again. You or the person you play this week in fantasy football probably have enough riding on a number of the players in this game. And grandpa can relate to two NFL teams who started life when Warren G. Harding was President. 

Windy City Gridiron notes the challenge:

We've also heard that no team should bother to show up and face them [the Packers], they win games by walking out of the locker room, and I'm pretty sure one of them actually solved global warming around Green Bay just by sneezing, isn't it glorious.

Washington Redskins at Dallas Cowboys, 8:30 p.m., ESPN

As we slouch toward the reality show takeover of basic capable, ESPN deliver the perfect game. These two teams have some intensity to them now. Dallas pulled off a dramatic overtime win last week, broken rib and all. Washington kicked off the season with a big win over a division rival, and had a comeback win of their own last week. Plus, Jerry Jones! Add to that a bitter rivalry, and it has all the ingredients for a nasty game with drama both high and low...something for everyone. 

Hogs Haven jumps into the war of words:

I really don't know whether to buy this "punctured lung" non-sense. Brandon Banks was in the hospital for over a week with one and any Doctor will tell you it's impossible to play through that.

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