Three-and-out: NFL’s best matchups of Week 3

The NFL has numerous games that could create some separation in division races, like the Bengals and Ravens, as well as some good interconference matchups, like the Eagles at Jets and Chiefs at Packers. Here are the stats and players to know.

Bengals (2-0) at Ravens (0-2)

The Bengals have won four of the last five matchups and have a chance to put the Ravens in a deep hole at 3-0 and maintain a lead in the AFC North, going to 3-0 with a win.

It’s the regular season, so Andy Dalton is looking strong for the Bengals, completing 41 of 60 passes for 483 yards, five touchdowns (three of those to TE Tyler Eifert), no interceptions and a 120.3 passer rating. Dalton has the highest winning percentage (.640) of any Bengals QB with at least 20 starts. Joe Flacco, meanwhile, has thrown more interceptions (three) than touchdowns (two) and has only a 75.7 rating, but he is 13-1 in home games in September.

The Bengals also have the edge in the offensive backfield with Giovani Bernard averaging 6.6 yards per carry and boasting 186 yards already. Justin Forsett, meanwhile, is averaging only 3.8 yards per carry and has 111 yards combined in two games for the Ravens.

One difference in their records is the turnovers. The Bengals are plus-three while the Ravens are minus-2.

Eagles (0-2) at Jets (2-0)

The East Coast gets another early afternoon meeting of two passionate fan bases in green. Looking at the records, it seems like an easy pick for the New York Jets, but Eagles lead the series 9-0. However, the matchups between these two teams have never featured Chip Kelly and Todd Bowles as coaches.

Kelly will need to get a running game going and it might come without the big-buck free-agent running back DeMarco Murray, who has yet to find running room in Kelly’s offense and is dealing with a hamstring injury. Darren Sproles is the lowly leading rusher for the Eagles with 46 yards on six carries. Chris Ivory, meanwhile, has 148 yards in two games for the Jets.

Both teams feature dangerous receivers, with Jordan Matthews second in the NFC with 16 catches after two weeks, good for 182 yards and a touchdown. Brandon Marshall is the old veteran producer for the Jets, but he’s in his first season there after being shipped from Chicago. Marshall has 163 yards and two touchdowns on 13 catches.

Kelly’s fast-paced offense has been getting off the field quickly, last in the NFL in time of possession and is averaging 312 yards per game. The Jets might only be average in yardage allowed in the NFL, but they lead the league with a plus-eight turnover ratio, including interceptions from four different players.

Sam Bradford is the bigger name among the two quarterbacks, but Jets QB Ryan Fitzpatrick threw for 244 yards and touchdowns last week against Indianapolis and has taken hold of the starting opportunity offered to him when Geno Smith’s jaw was broken by a former teammate.

Chiefs (1-1) at Packers (2-0) Monday night

The Chiefs lead the series, but the Packers come in as one of the favorites to win the Super Bowl and have momentum on their side. While the Chiefs lost to the Broncos a full week ago on Thursday Night Football, the Packers beats the defending NFC Champion Seahawks, giving the Chiefs more rest and prep time.

From the game manager in Alex Smith to the magician of quarterbacks in Aaron Rodgers, these teams have vastly contrasting styles. Rodgers looks for the explosive plays with his receivers, finding James Jones for three touchdowns in two weeks and Randall Cobb for 154 yards and a touchdown in that same span. The Chiefs became infamous for going all of last season without a wide receiver catching a touchdown, but they have a dangerous receiving threat in tight end Travis Kelce, who already has 164 yards and two touchdowns.

The matchup to watch in the passing game will be Chiefs rookie cornerback Marcus Peters, who has two interception returns for touchdowns in as many weeks. How much will Rodgers target him?

 


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