Patriots (1-0) at Bills (1-0)
Rex Ryan said he hates the New England Patriots. He probably should because his winning percentage against the Patriots wouldn’t keep him employed long as a head coach if that were his overall record. Ryan is only 4-9 against New England while Patriots coach Bill Belichick is 26-5 against the Buffalo Bills.
Of course, the rivalry has a new spin these days with Ryan moving from the New York Jets to the Buffalo Bills, and Ryan might have more to work with in Buffalo than he did with the Jets.
It’s an intriguing early afternoon matchup featuring two quarterbacks with different styles. Tom Brady is the classic pocket passer who had a 143.8 passer rating last week. Tyrod Taylor might be as green as they get when it comes to staring experience, but he also proved effective with his mobility and throwing the ball, registering a 123.8 rating.
This game also goes as a shout-out to the shorter receivers, with Julian Edelman leading the Patriots last week with 97 yards and Percy Harvin leading the Bills with 79 yards. Edelman is averaging 101.2 yards per game over his last six (we doubt the touchdown Gronk machine is jealous).
Cowboys (1-0) at Eagles (0-1)
Tony Romo came up with a clutch come-from-behind drive last week to boost the Cowboys over another NFC East rival, the New York Giants, and he has won four out of his last five against the Eagles and has a 100.9 rating in those five games. The last time the two teams met, Romo threw for 365 yards and three touchdowns and Dez Bryant had six catches for 114 yards and all three of those touchdowns. But, yeah, no Dez will be make a difference.
Meanwhile, Sam Bradford is hoping for his first win as an Eagle. He had 336 yards in his first start for them, but he threw one touchdown and two interceptions.
While most games are hyped for their quarterbacks, this one could see as much talk about running back DeMarco Murray, who led the NFL in rushing yards last year with the Cowboys but now wears green. He had a touchdown receiving and rushing last week, but had only 9 yards on eight carries. His replacement in Dallas, Joseph Randle, had 107 scrimmage yards last week (65 rushing, 42 receiving).
Seahawks (0-1) at Packers (1-0)
Sunday night: It’s a rematch of last season’s NFC Championship Game, and certainly the Fail Mary of 2012 with replacement refs will surface during the broadcast. But recent history is more important and, while the Seahawks beat the Packers in the conference championship in January, there are questions on both teams.
The Seahawks needed one yard to win the Super Bowl but threw an interception instead of running it. Last week, facing fourth-and-1 against the St. Louis Rams, they handed it off to Marshawn Lynch, who was unable to get the necessary yard, allowing St. Louis to run out the clock. Then Lynch’s mother, Delisa, took to Facebook to call for the firing of offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell and said the situation in the Super Bowl was different because that offensive line was “better than (Sunday), no blocking.” Oh, you’ve got to love family members getting involved in defending their kin.
Here’s the important stuff, however. In two games against the Packers last year, Lynch averaged 133.5 yards rushing. Was that just a better offensive line?
The Packers, on the other hand, pulled out a win in Chicago last week, turning to recently signed James Jones for a couple touchdowns after losing No. 1 receiver Jordy Nelson for the season. Will Aaron Rodgers be able to find similar success against a Seahawks defense still missing holdout safety Kam Chancellor?
Get your Sunday night Skittles ready if the afternoon games didn’t fill you up.