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NFL Week 3 Preview — The Seahawks Need to Avoid an 0-3 Start

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Panic is starting to set in for the nine NFL teams who haven’t won yet in 2015. Here’s what you need to know heading into Week 3:

Thursday, September 24

Redskins vs. Giants Shouldn’t Be on in Primetime
Eli Manning
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Washington at N.Y. Giants | MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, N.J.; 8:30 p.m. (ET) on CBS/NFL Network

Every year, it seems the NFL’s national television schedule includes a Redskins-Giants contest. Why? These franchises are terrible right now, and have been since Eli Manning and Robert Griffin III pulled off their respective magic acts in 2011 and 2012. Does anyone outside of the Washington (1–1) and New York (0–2) fanbases want to see Kirk Cousins against the shabby Giants defense? Are Odell Beckham Jr.’s amazing snares of Eli’s errant scuds enough to make you watch this game? Someone sure thinks so. The only real storyline is which will be more frequent: shots of a sulking RG3 on the sideline or questions about Tom Coughlin’s job security?

Sunday, September 27

Dallas Could Be Ordinary Without Dez Bryant & Tony Romo
Tony Romo and Dez Bryant
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Atlanta at Dallas | AT&T Stadium, Arlington, Texas; 1 p.m. (ET) on Fox

Dallas quarterback Tony Romo followed wide receiver Dez Bryant to the injured list during the Cowboys 20-7 pummeling of the Eagles last week. Dallas (2–0) still has Super Bowl aspirations, but they have to get through at least six more weeks, likely more, without their two most important offensive players. Reserve QB Brandon Weeden has enough NFL experience to make the time without Bryant and Romo less scary, but he’s not exactly Roger Staubach, and newly acquired Matt Cassell isn’t ready yet. The Cowboys biggest concern this week: shutting down Julio Jones and the potent passing attack of Atlanta (2–0).

Johnny Manziel Can’t Win in Cleveland
Johnny Manziel
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Oakland at Cleveland | FirstEnergy Stadium, Cleveland; 1 p.m. (ET) on CBS

Delivering overbearing swagger and underwhelming performance thus far in his NFL career, Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel does make it tough to like him. But even the most devout Johnny Football hater will have to admit that he just got a raw deal: Cleveland (1–1) handed its starting QB job back to dismal Josh McCown — he of the 17–32 career QB record— after McCown cleared the NFL’s concussion protocols.

Manziel was spectacular at times but not consistent in a win against the Titans last Sunday. Still, winning isn’t something the mind-boggling list of Cleveland QBs has done much. Maybe the Browns are trying to tell Johnny something?

Oakland (1–1) doesn’t care. The Raiders are riding a bit of momentum after upsetting the Ravens last week. Quarterback Derek Carr is in no danger of losing his job, but he’d better prepare for the solid Cleveland secondary that shut down Marcus Mariota last week.

The Bears or Seahawks Will Be 0–3
Seattle Seahawks
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Chicago at Seattle | CenturyLink Field, Seattle; 4:25 p.m. (ET) on CBS

The Seahawks expected to be great; the Bears expected to be better than this. Both teams were wrong, and one will likely find itself at 0–3 after Sunday afternoon’s contest in the Pacific Northwest. Seattle (0–2) certainly could have won either of their first two games, but they need to win this one: 0–3 teams have made the playoffs just 2 percent of the time.

Russell Wilson should be able to work the Chicago defense both on foot and through the air. With quarterback Jay Cutler out with a hamstring injury, the Bears (0–2) will start backup Jimmy Clausen against the Legion of Boom, including former holdout Kam Chancellor. Oof. Is it too early to start thinking draft picks in the Windy City?

The Lions Are a Mess
Detroit Lions
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Denver at Detroit | Ford Field, Detroit; 8:30 p.m. on NBC

Many pundits thought Detroit (0–2) could still be a playoff contender in 2015, but the Lions have looked awful so far. The Ndamukong Suh–less defense hasn’t been able to stop opponents on the ground or in the air, and the offensive line hasn’t given Matthew Stafford time to do much besides run for his life. He remains questionable for this Sunday night against an aggressive Broncos pass rush.

Denver (2–0) should cruise to its third win without needing much from Peyton Manning, whose play was decidedly uneven in last week’s win over Kansas City. Questions will likely continue to swirl around Manning, unless he puts up one of those 500-yard games. Is this the week he answers the doubters?

Monday, September 28

This Super Bowl I Rematch Could Be a Super Bowl 50 Preview
Packers Chiefs MNF
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Kansas City at Green Bay | Lambeau Field, Green Bay; 8:30 p.m. (ET) on ESPN

As the NFL prepares to hold its 50th Super Bowl, there is likely to be a season-long parade of nostalgia for the league’s ultimate showcase. The two franchises who got it all started in 1967 meet on Monday night at Lambeau Field. Don’t be surprised if they both make it to Santa Clara in February, too.

Green Bay (2–0) is an easier pick, even with Aaron Rodgers throwing to a depleted receiving corps and an inconsistent defense. Kansas City (1–1) isn’t even favored to win its own division, but a loaded defense and a sometimes dangerous offense led by Alex Smith could sneak up on teams, including the Packers this week. After a physical and emotional win over Seattle, Green Bay could be primed for a classic letdown game.

Other Games

Sunday, September 27

Indianapolis at Tennessee | Nissan Stadium, Nashville; 1 p.m. (ET) on CBS-TV

Jacksonville at New England | Gillette Stadium, Foxboro, Mass.; 1 p.m. (ET) on CBS

Cincinnati at Baltimore | M&T Bank Stadium, Baltimore; 1 p.m. (ET) on CBS

New Orleans at Carolina | Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, N.C.; 1 p.m. (ET) on FOX

Philadelphia at N.Y. Jets | MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, N.J.; 1 p.m. (ET) on FOX

Tampa Bay at Houston | NRG Stadium, Houston; 1 p.m. (ET) on FOX

San Diego at Minnesota | TCF Bank Stadium, Minneapolis; 1 p.m. (ET) on CBS

Pittsburgh at St. Louis | Edward Jones Dome, St. Louis; 1 p.m. (ET) on CBS

San Francisco at Arizona | U. of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, Ariz.; 4:05 p.m. (ET) on FOX

Buffalo at Miami | Sun Life Stadium, Miami; 4:25 p.m. on CBS

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