Pregame Notes and Quotes: Late Games

Wide receivers Greg Jennings and Reggie Wayne will be key figures in the Packers-Colts clash. Will the Browns be the first team to intercept Redskins QB Jason Campbell this season? Learn more as Ed Thompson takes a look at some of the top storylines for the late NFL games and the Monday night game.

Indianapolis (3-2) at Green Bay (3-3), 4:15 p.m.

Packers wide receiver Greg Jennings has caught at least four passes in every game this season, has three 100-yard-plus games and has caught four touchdown passes over the last three weeks. Meanwhile, Colts wide receiver Reggie Wayne has pulled in a touchdown pass in four of the team's five games this year and has made at least five catches in all but one.  Both players are sure to see plenty of opportunities to add to their stats when Aaron Rodgers and Peyton Manning lead their respective offenses during Sunday's matchup.

The last time these two teams met was back in 2004 when Manning threw the ball on the first 22 plays of the game and connected on five touchdown passes in a 45-31 shootout in Indianapolis.

"They [the Packers] are an aggressive defense with a lot of bump-and-run coverage and man-to-man-type coverage. They really challenge you. They're sound and well-coached with an excellent defensive coordinator. Bob Sanders does a good job coaching them. They're in the right place and it makes you have to execute your offense and run your plays. You don't see anybody running wide open because of a busted coverage, which is a credit to them. They are well-coached and play their techniques right. We have to do the same thing. We have to be sharp in our execution in order to move the ball." -- Colts QB Peyton Manning

New York Jets (3-2) at Oakland (1-4), 4:15 p.m.

Raiders RB Darren McFadden
Rick Stewart/Getty Images

The Raiders will have to lean heavily on their rushing attack to keep Jets quarterback Brett Favre on the sidelines as much as possible in this matchup. Struggling quarterback JaMarcus Russell, who has failed to complete at least 50 percent of his throws in three of his six starts, looked like a player who should have been holding Drew Brees' clipboard last week rather than competing against him during a 34-3 loss. This weekend won't be any better with Brett Favre leading the opposing offense unless running backs Darren McFadden and Justin Fargas are able to take some pressure off of Oakland's passing game. Favre has a perfect 4-0 record against the Raiders, completing 61.7 percent of his throws for 1,188 yards with 11 touchdowns and four interceptions. 

Fargas has averaged 103.4 rushing yards during his past five home game appearances. He missed two games with a groin injury before returning to the lineup last weekend. McFadden, the team's first-round draft pick this year, is averaging 5.1 yards per carry on 59 attempts while hobbled by a toe injury for the past few weeks. But he's looked sharp in practices this week and appears to be back to full-speed.

"If you look at when he (Brett Favre) has had time to do his thing, he is unbelievable. And even when you do pressure him, he will kind of work around and just throw it up, and he has made some unbelievable plays under duress." -- Raiders head coach Tom Cable

Cleveland (2-3) at Washington (4-2), 4:15 p.m.

Keep an eye on how well the Browns handle the Redskins rushing attack, especially running back Clinton Portis. In games where Portis has rushed for at least 100 yards, his team has won 75 percent of the time (30 out of 40). The Browns defense is currently ranked 25th against the run, allowing an average of 137 yards per game. 

Redskins quarterback Jason Campbell hasn't thrown an interception yet this season, but if he wants to extend that streak through Week 7 he'll have to be vigilant as to the whereabouts of Cleveland cornerback Eric Wright. The Browns' second-round pick in 2007 was named AFC Defensive Player of the Week for his three solo tackles, two passes defensed and one interception returned 94 yards for a touchdown during Cleveland's 35-14 win over the Giants. Wright is currently tied for fourth in the league in the league with three interceptions and the Browns defense has snared eight interceptions over the last three games.

"Anytime you are in position to make a play it's your job to make it." -- Browns CB Eric Wright

Detroit (0-5) at Houston (1-4), 4:15 p.m.

Lions head coach Rod Marinelli
Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

Can the Lions make it any tougher for head coach Rod Marinelli to win his first game of the season? Despite QB Jon Kitna's insistence that he would be able to play again this season, the team placed him on injured reserve. And they traded one of their top receivers, Roy Williams, to Dallas for a trio of draft picks. For the team's future, those were the right moves to make—in addition to the recent firing of team president Matt Millen. While it will make it more difficult for this year's team to stay motivated as the Lions give Dan Orlovsky and Drew Stanton an opportunity to show whether or not they can be the Lions' quarterback of the future,  one thing is for certain; Marinelli is publicly demanding the best from his players and has been benching those who aren't approaching the game in his way and with the level of passion that he expects. He's clearly committed to turning the team's woes around and took a step in the right direction with a hard-fought game against Minnesota last weekend. 

Texans WR Andre Johnson had a career-high 178 receiving yards last week in the Texans' exciting 29-28 win over the Dolphins. Johnson will be striving to extend his two-game streak of 100-yard receiving games in this contest. He's averaged 116.1 receiving yards in Houston's last seven home games.

"Roy's a heck of a player, no ifs ands or buts. You don't take a guy like that out of your lineup—but I thought we had some depth there. If there was a silver lining to that thing, it's that we had some depth at that position, some good players, guys that caught a lot of passes out there. So I thought—we thought—that would help us and for the future of this organization, it's an awesome trade." -- Lions head coach Rod Marinelli

Seattle (1-4) at Tampa Bay (4-2), 8:30 p.m.

The Seahawks stumble into Tampa Bay without their starting quarterback, Matt Hasselbeck, who continues to be bothered by knee pain that is reportedly originating from a bulging disc in his back. So Seneca Wallace makes his fifth career start after throwing just six passes this season to date. He'll need help from running back Julius Jones to keep the Tampa Bay defense from forcing the Seahawks into becoming a one-dimensional offense. Jones has averaged 93 yards rushing per game and scored twice during Seattle's last four games. 

Jeff Garcia makes his second consecutive start after watching Brian Griese run the Tampa Bay offense for four weeks. He completed 75 percent of his throws and completed a pass for a touchdown last week during a 27-3 thumping of the Panthers. Running back Earnest Graham is averaging 86 yards per game and has scored a total of six touchdowns during the Buccaneers' last six home games. When Tampa Bay has given Graham 20-plus rushing attempts in a game, the team is 5-0.

"It's important--very important--for the players and coaches and everybody in the building to stay positive and fight through this." -- Seahawks QB Matt Hasselbeck

Denver (4-2) at New England (3-2), Monday Night Football

It's no secret that the 2008 Patriots haven't been scaring many teams this season, but that doesn't mean that they've totally lost the respect of their opponents, including the Denver Broncos who visit Foxborough on Monday night. While plenty of people point to backup quarterback Matt Cassel as a key figure in the team's struggles, a quick look at the stats shows that the Patriots' problems run deeper than that. Their defense is tied for 24th in the league in sacks per pass attempt, they're 25th in rushing yards allowed per play, and 26th in passing yards allowed per play. Only five teams in the league have forced less turnovers than the Patriots defenses' six this season.

Those numbers are bad news for the Patriots considering the fact that Denver is currently ranked fourth in total offense with 399.7 yards per game and sixth in points scored per game (27.7). But whether or not the offense will be working at full strength is still up in the air. Tight end Tony Scheffler, wide receiver Brandon Stokley and running back Selvin Young were all listed as questionable on Friday's injury report.

"They have had some struggles in this first quarter of the season, but you can't take away from what they have done. They know how to win, they know how to win big games and it's going to be a tough test for us this week." -- Broncos QB Jay Cutler

A member of the Pro Football Writers of America, Ed Thompson's player interviews and NFL features are published across the network and at You can contact him by email through this link.

Scout NFL Network Top Stories