A look at every game on the schedule, along with a consensus pick of Athlon’s editors.
Chargers (4-1) at Jets (3-3)
On the surface, New York’s split stats are telling — the Jets are 3–0 at home, 0–3 on the road. But this will be the first team with a winning record that Rex Ryan’s club has hosted. Their previous three wins have come against the Cowboys, Jaguars and Dolphins — teams with a combined 3–13 record. Meanwhile, their road losses were against the Raiders, Ravens and Patriots — teams with a combined 13–4 mark.
Jets by 1
Texans (3-3) at Titans (3-2)
Tennessee has the worst running game in the NFL, averaging a sinister 66.6 yards per game. Nearly everyone blames this lack of success on Chris Johnson, who has run for a measly 250 yards (3.0 ypc) and only one TD since inking a four-year, $53.5 million deal following a prolonged preseason holdout. There’s reason for hope, however; CJ2K has 622 rush yards (5.9 ypc) and four total TDs in six career games against AFC South rival Houston.
Titans by 1
Redskins (3-2) at Panthers (1-5)
The quarterback situation in Washington is so bad, the fans are actually chanting “We want John Beck.” Presumably, any passer is better than Rex Grossman on an off day. Carolina has no such problems, as Cam Newton is the face of the franchise and the motor that powers the NFL’s fifth-ranked passing attack (297.3 ypg).
Panthers by 3
Bears (3-3) vs. Buccaneers (4-2)
The NFL hits London, England, for the fifth straight season. Tampa Bay’s “home” game will be at historic Wembley Stadium, which seats 86,000 for American football games.
Bears by 1
Seahawks (2-3) at Browns (2-3)
Seattle coach and Twitter titan Pete Carroll (@PeteCarroll) has been jokingly recruiting NBA superstar LeBron James (@KingJames) to play football. The 6'8", 250-pounder won’t play. But if LBJ did, his debut would be in Cleveland.
Browns by 3
Falcons (3-3) at Lions (5-1)
Detroit must regroup following its first loss of the season and the strange postgame scene that followed. Atlanta is 0–2 vs. the NFC North this year, losing by a combined score of 55–26.
Lions by 6
Broncos (1-4) at Dolphins (0-5)
Since Dan Marino retired after the ’99 season, Miami has started 16 different quarterbacks — Moore, Thigpen, Henne, Pennington, Beck, Green, Lemon, Culpepper, Harrington, Frerotte, Rosenfels, Feeley, Griese, Lucas, Huard and Fiedler. Since John Elway retired following the ’98 campaign, Denver has started 11 different passers — Tebow, Orton, Simms, Cutler, Jackson, Kanell, Plummer, Beuerlein, Frerotte, Miller and Griese. Both teams just want Luck.
Broncos by 3
Steelers (4-2) at Cardinals (1-4)
Mike Tomlin and Ken Whisenhunt square off for the first time since Pittsburgh beat Arizona, 27–23, in Super Bowl XLIII. Unfortunately for Cards fans, Kevin Kolb is no Kurt Warner.
Steelers by 8
Chiefs (2-3) at Raiders (4-2)
Following Jason Campbell’s season-ending broken collarbone, Oakland made the bold move to trade for quarterback Carson Palmer, who had been quasi-retired as a result of his refusal to play for Cincinnati. Rather than roll the dice with Kyle Boller and Terrelle Pryor, the Raiders ponied up and paid the steep price to secure the 31-year-old two-time Pro Bowler.
Raiders by 8
Packers (6-0) at Vikings (1-5)
Aaron Rodgers has a 3–3 record vs. Minnesota — going 2–0 against Brett Favre last season, 0–2 in Favre’s first season in purple and 1–1 against the Vikes as a first-year starter in ’08.
Packers by 13
Rams (0-5) at Cowboys (2-3)
It’s a multi-sport St. Louis at Dallas weekend, as the Cardinals are also on the road to take on the Rangers in Game 4 of the World Series in prime time on Sunday night.
Cowboys by 8
Colts (0-6) at Saints (4-2)
What would normally be a Peyton Manning homecoming love fest on Sunday Night Football is now likely a Big Easy victory for the Saints.
Saints by 15
Ravens (4-1) at Jaguars (1-5)
Ray Lewis leads the NFL’s top-ranked scoring defense (14.2 ppg) on the road to take on the second-worst scoring offense (12.0 ppg).
Ravens by 9