The New York Jets' path to a Super Bowl championship, now with the credibility of a monster under a child's bed, was blasted into space last week by the Pittsburgh Steelers. Most teams, though, are chained to the same .500 mark as the Jets, so hope still flutters around us in vapors. There are a number of teams to consider that stand firmly in the way of a playoff berth, of course - too many to cover here. In the NFL's 3rd week, here's a sampling of some compelling matchups:
Atlanta Falcons at San Diego Chargers - Here are two teams awaiting the approval to return to earth. Both are 2-0, but the Falcons played at such an emotional high on Monday against Peyton Manning and Denver, you wonder if they can sustain it on the road. Philip Rivers is Matt Ryan's equal so far this year, so the improbable Bolts will probably be 3-0 at day's end.
New England Patriots at Baltimore Ravens - This is the game of the week and one of the best, perhaps, this year. Meeting in the playoffs on multiple occasions can stimulate a rivalry, and it sure has with these two squads. The Pats have to be stinging still from allowing a game to slip from them last week, while the Ravens are chop-licking watching the tape of Cardinal defensive linemen chasing Tom Brady around. Never pick against the Patriots. It's a mantra for as long as Bill Belichik and Tom Brady are together. Can you see the Pats at 1-2? Against odds that argue with it this week, the Pats prevail by a touchdown.
Houston Texans at Denver Broncos - Finally, the Texans play a team with some credentials. They'll spend most of this regular season NOT doing that, so this week is special. Logic indicates Peyton Manning will need some weeks to round back into form, if he ever completely does, but the Bronco defense is very good and should hold Arian Foster in check. The Texans' defense, however, is even better. Houston by a couple at a mile high.
Glenn Vallach has been a football fan for most of his lifetime, but never played organized pigskin unless you consider the thousands of youth hours running slant routes on city streets. Don Maynard was his idol, an adulation he took seriously, complete with a number 13 stitched to his sweatshirt. He remains a New York Jet fan through so much disappointment and embarrassment over the years. Coach Rex Ryan has rekindled a dormant fire, but sometimes he feels as if he doesn't understand the likely end result of all his efforts. It has been 42 years, after all.
· Yahoo! Sports New England Patriots page
· Yahoo! Sports Baltimore Ravens page
· Yahoo! Sports Denver Broncos page
· Yahoo! Sports Arian Foster page
· Sean Brennan, New York Daily News, Inside the Matchups