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NFL week 3 preview

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All games Hawaii time tomorrow unless otherwise stated. TV games subject to change. Capsules by the Associated Press.


Dallas at Houston

Time: 7 a.m. (KHON)
Line: Texans by 3

What an opportunity for the Texans to move from the lower rungs of football in the Lone Star State to near the top. Not only would they own pro ball in Texas by beating the Cowboys, but they’d stamp themselves a legitimate candidate for their first playoff berth.


Tennessee at New York Giants

Time: 7 a.m. (KGMB)
Line: Giants by 3

Vince Young gets benched and there’s barely a peep out of him. Instead, it’s the normally reserved Giants who have public tumult. RB Brandon Jacobs, upset about being a second-stringer, showed some of his frustration by unintentionally flinging his helmet into the Indianapolis crowd last Sunday night.


Detroit at Minnesota

Time: 7 a.m.
Line: Vikings by 11 1/2

Brett Favre has looked his age. His teammates, other than Adrian Peterson, have looked old, too. Maybe it’s time to ride Peterson against a weak defense and let the 40-year-old Favre be a passenger. Minnesota can’t afford to fall into a three-game hole in the division. The Lions have been just good enough to lose close games.


Indianapolis at Denver

Time: 10:15 a.m. (KGMB)
Line: Colts by 5 1/2

This is a terrible matchup for the Broncos, who have a hobbled secondary. Indy QB Peyton Manning must be frothing in anticipation. So might be DEs Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis, who had two sacks apiece against the Giants and know the Broncos’ pass protection has been shaky.


Buffalo at New England

Time: 7 a.m.
Line: Patriots by 14

The Bills simply don’t beat the Patriots. The Patriots’ mastery over the Bills is at 13 straight games. This is an especially bad week to be meeting New England, which was manhandled by the Jets in the second half last Sunday. Plus, Buffalo’s awful offense might not be equipped to victimize the Patriots’ struggling D.


Cincinnati at Carolina

Time: 7 a.m.
Line: Bengals by 3

Few places have a bigger mess than Carolina, where coach John Fox is in the last season of his contract, he’s switched from Matt Moore to rookie Jimmy Clausen at quarterback, and his vaunted two-pronged running game of DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart ranks just 16th and has no TDs.


Washington at St. Louis

Time: 10:05 a.m.
Line: Redskins by 3 1/2

After losing two close games, the Rams should feel frisky enough to test the Redskins. St. Louis faces the NFL’s lowest-ranked defense, which is allowing nearly 390 yards through the air per week. And could Redskins QB Donovan McNabb be looking ahead to next weekend’s road game — in Philadelphia?


Oakland at Arizona

Time: 10:15 a.m.
Line: Cardinals by 4 1/2

Nowhere is the quarterback flux in the NFL more prevalent than with these teams. Two weeks into the season, newcomer Jason Campbell has been benched for Bruce Gradkowski. In Arizona, Cardinals fans spoiled by the success of the last two years are combing the desert looking for Kurt Warner.


Cleveland at Baltimore

Time: 7 a.m.
Line: Ravens by 11

The Ravens rank second in total defense, not a good omen for the Browns, whose 20 points scored are third lowest in the NFL. Baltimore’s offense can’t find its rhythm, particularly QB Joe Flacco, who comes off a wretched four-interception performance, and RB Ray Rice, who has gained only 179 yards overall.


San Francisco at Kansas City

Time: 7 a.m.
Line: 49ers by 2 1/2

The Niners probably should have beaten the defending champion Saints last Monday. Turnovers negated a pretty good effort by the defense. Now the 49ers get opportunistic Kansas City, which has been surprisingly staunch on run defense and, as expected, strong while running the ball with Jamaal Charles and Thomas Jones.


Philadelphia at Jacksonville

Time: 10:05 a.m.
Line: Eagles by 3

So the QB job is Michael Vick’s — for now. He certainly earned it, and the Jaguars are vulnerable in all aspects of defense. WRs DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin are off to good starts for Philly, but the Eagles already have surrendered 12 sacks. If Jacksonville doesn’t shore up its secondary, this could be another ugly week.


New York Jets at Miami

Time: 2:20 p.m. (KHNL)
Line: Dolphins by 2 1/2

Another bad-blood matchup for the Jets. First it was the Ravens, then the Patriots. While we’re not hearing words of hatred toward Rex Ryan’s bunch from the Dolphins, the Miami-New York rivalry has been as intense as any in the league. Miami will need to get more from its passing game, because the Jets excel against the run.


Atlanta at New Orleans

Time: 7 a.m.
Line: Saints by 4

Michael Turner is ailing (groin), but Jason Snelling stepped in against the Cardinals with 129 yards rushing, 57 yards receiving and three TDs. Atlanta’s improved defense, which ranks 10th against the pass and has allowed only 22 points, needs to be just as stingy against Drew Brees and his prolific receivers.


Pittsburgh at Tampa Bay

Time: 7 a.m.
Line: Steelers by 3

For those who wondered if the Steelers could go 2-2 before Ben Roethlisberger returns from suspension, well, they are 2-0 using third-stringer Dennis Dixon and fourth-stringer Charlie Batch at quarterback. They bring back Byron Leftwich, who would have opened the season as the starter before damaging his left knee.


San Diego at Seattle

Time: 10:15 a.m.
Line: Chargers by 5 1/2

Each of these teams has won in routs at home, lost in pedestrian (or worse) showings on the road.

That should favor Seattle, but the Seahawks are vulnerable through the air. Chargers QB Philip Rivers has been rolling, with 15 straight games in which he’s thrown a touchdown pass.


Green Bay at Chicago

Time: 2:30 p.m. Monday (ESPN)
Line: Packers by 3

Green Bay has looked as good as any team thus far, even with a weakened running attack. Chicago’s win in Dallas has everyone excited in the Windy City.

The winner takes a stranglehold on the NFC North after Minnesota’s early struggles.


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