The Philadelphia Eagles and San Francisco 49ers clashed in the 2022 NFC Championship Game. They are the lone undefeated teams in their conference. Meanwhile, the Miami Dolphins are the lone 3-0 team in the AFC and lead the NFL in scoring. All three face divisional foes this Sunday.
All told, there are seven divisional match-ups this week.
Thursday, Sept. 28
Detroit (2-1) at Green Bay (2-1): The Lions have taken the last three meetings between these NFC North rivals. A year ago, they swept the Packers for the first time since 2018. Quarterback Jordan Love has thrown seven TD passes, rushed for one score and committed just one turnover during the team’s solid start.
Sunday, Oct. 1
Atlanta (2-1) vs. Jacksonville (1-2) (Wembley): The Falcons failed to reach the end zone last week at Detroit. They hope to take advantage of a Jacksonville team that seems to be in disarray. The reigning AFC South champions have struggled to stop the pass and the Jaguars’ special teams have been shaky.
Miami (3-0) at Buffalo (2-1): It’s a clash between the two highest-scoring teams in the league. The Dolphins have already totaled 130 points. The Bills aren’t too far behind (91), with 75 of those points the last two weeks. Including playoffs, Miami has lost seven straight games at Buffalo dating back to 2017.
Minnesota (0-3) at Carolina (0-3): A team that made a habit of winning close games a year ago has losses of three, six, and four points during its surprising 0-3 start. Turnovers (9) have been the big story for Kevin O’Connell’s club, as has the lack of a ground game. Only the Raiders have gained fewer yards rushing.
Denver (0-3) at Chicago (0-3): The Broncos lost a one-point heartbreaker to the Raiders and then owned a 21-3 second-quarter lead at home against the Commanders. Since then, Sean Payton’s team has been outscored a combined 102-32. Can Chicago’s pass rush (1 sack) get well and harass Russell Wilson?
Baltimore (2-1) at Cleveland (2-1): John Harbaugh’s club has gotten off to fast starts, outscoring the opposition 21-0 in the first quarter. Kevin Stefanski’s team is facing a divisional opponent for the third time in four games. In two home games this season, Cleveland has surrendered just two field goals.
Pittsburgh (2-1) at Houston (1-2): Last year was the first season since 2016 that the Steelers did not lead or tie for the top spot in sacks. Pittsburgh is again leading the NFL in this category in 2023.? Led by T.J Watt (6.0), Mike Tomlin’s team has totaled 13 QB traps. Can the Texans protect rookie C.J. Stroud?
L.A. Rams (1-2) at Indianapolis (2-1): Sean McVay’s Rams have played 20 games since winning Super Bowl LVI and own a combined 6-14 record since. The surprising Colts have won two straight games after losing their previous eight contests. Can their emerging defense make life miserable for Matthew Stafford?
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Tampa Bay (2-1) at New Orleans (2-1): There will be a pair of former first overall draft choices squaring off at the Superdome as Baker Mayfield (2018) and the Buccaneers take on James Winston (2015) and the Saints. The latter takes over for injured Derek Carr. Both clubs are coming off their first loss of the season.
Washington (2-1) at Philadelphia (3-0): A year ago, the Eagles won their first eight games then stubbed their toes at home on a Monday night against the Commanders. Ron Rivera’s club comes off a 37-3 loss at home to the Bills in which quarterback Sam Howell was sacked nine times and threw four interceptions.
Cincinnati (1-2) at Tennessee (1-2): It wasn’t long ago that the Bengals and Titans were squaring off in Nashville in the 2021 AFC Divisional Playoffs. This year, both teams are off to shaky starts. Dating back to Week 12 of 2022, Mike Vrabel’s club is 1-9 in its last 10 games. Ryan Tannehill has been sacked 13 times.
Las Vegas (1-2) at L.A. Chargers (1-2): It’s been a sloppy start for the Las Vegas offense this season. quarterback Jimmy carrabello has had his ups and Downs and the bottom line is that the Raiders have been held to under 20 points in each of their first 3 contests. scoring has not been a problem for the Chargers, who have totaled at least 24 points in each of their first 3 contests but have only one victory
New England (1-2) at Dallas (2-1): Dating back to 2020, the Patriots own a combined 26-28 record (including playoffs). Take away seven wins over the Jets and Bill Belichick’s team is just 19-28 vs. the rest of the NFL. Can Dallas’ run defense rebound after being pounded by the Cardinals for 222 yards?
Arizona (1-2) at San Francisco (3-0): Jonathan Gannon got his first win as an NFL head coach last week when his team stunned the Cowboys. Including a playoff win vs. Seattle last year, the Niners have won eight straight divisional games. However, San Francisco’s Kyle Shanahan is 5-7 lifetime vs. the Cardinals.
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Kansas City (2-1) at N.Y. Jets (1-2): After being limited to a combined 37 points in their first two outings, the Chiefs exploded in a 41-10 win over the Bears last week. The Jets’ defense should challenge Patrick Mahomes. Kansas City defenders have actually allowed only three offensive TDs in as many games.
Monday, Oct. 2
Seattle (2-1) at N.Y. Giants (1-2): A pair of wild card teams from a year ago that won nine games apiece appear to be headed in opposite directions, at least early on. For the third straight week, Brian Daboll’s club faces an NFC West team. Seattle has won two straight games, scoring 37 points in each victory.