Atlanta-New Orleans (1 ET, Fox): Atlanta looked very good last week in taking apart Arizona, and they will need to run the ball if they want to win in New Orleans. The good news is that the Falcons have the capacity to win the battle on the inside of their offensive line and Michael Turner is a good north-south winner. If Turner can set the tone, Matt Ryan at least has a chance to make something happen. New Orleans has yet to look like last year's Super Bowl champs, but they are 2-0. The Falcons have some weakness at the safeties that can be exploited and Drew Brees is more than capable of doing it. The guess here is that Atlanta keeps it close with Turner and the running game, but Brees puts even more pressure on the Falcons to keep pace, and with Michael Jenkins out, Ryan just doesn't have the weapons to win in this spot. New Orleans, 27-17.
Dallas-Houston (1 ET Fox): What a spot for the Cowboys to be behind the eight-ball, as they go to what's going to be a rabid Reliant Stadium. And what a start to the home schedule for Houston--the first two visitors have been Indy & Dallas, the two teams mostly likely to get a hostile crowd. Dallas has to do something to establish a running game here. I know their offensive line is in transition but the component parts of that line are still pretty good, and the longer the team waits to really commit, the longer it will take to get everything established and the more games they will lose. This is as good a spot as any to start, because they have to keep Matt Schaub's offense off the field. Schaub, Andre Johnson & Co. are a huge mismatch against the Dallas secondary. The one path the Cowboys could exploit would be to get Demarcus Ware matched up one-on-one with offensive tackle Duane Brown on the left side. Ware can beat Brown, get pressure on Schaub and spare the secondary some damage. Dallas' window of opportunity in this game is narrow though, and I'll pick Houston to get off to a 3-0 start.
Indianapolis-Denver (4 ET, CBS): Denver was able to win home games early on last year against future division champs in Dallas & New England, but there's not much reason to think they can win this one. Where's the pressure on Peyton Manning going to come from? Elvis Dumervil is already out. His replacement, Robert Ayers, has injury problems. The medical problems extend to the defensive backfield, where corners Champ Bailey and Andre Goodman will both play, but be less than 100 percent. Manning will have no problem spreading the ball to Pierre Garcon, Austin Collie, Reggie Wayne and Dallas Clark, and setting up the run to Joseph Addai. Most of the country will see this game, but the betting here is that you can hold off any weekend chores to the second half of this game and be assured you won't miss much.
NY Jets-Miami (8:15 ET, NBC): The schedule-makers didn't do the Jets a lot of favors, making them open up with Baltimore, New England and Miami in rapid succession. On the road in this one, it's going to be very tough for the Jets to win. Mark Sanchez looked good last week against a soft Patriot defense. He looked bad against a good Raven defense. The Miami D is closer to Baltimore's then to New England's. Miami's corners are superior to the Jet receivers and getting people open is going to be a problem. When the Fish have the ball, the hamstring injury that's shelved Darrelle Revis opens up a little bit of chance for Chad Henne. Overall though, this is set up to be a tough defensive game. Miami's played such games against both Buffalo and Minnesota. The Jets played one against Baltimore. No reason to think this will be different. Playing at home, being healthier and being a better team to begin with gives it to Miami, 13-10.
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