NFL week three preview: Superbowl rematch set to dominate the headlines but the New Orleans Saints desperately need a win

A look ahead to week three of the NFL season

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The Independent Online

With each week in the NFL throwing in more and more surprises, Zander Swinburne previews which teams to look out for this weekend as well as who needs a win and which player is in need of good performance.

The game to watch

The last time these two teams met, the game was over before Joe Namath was even able to botch the coin toss. This week’s Super Bowl rematch between Denver and Seattle will give the Broncos their first opportunity to rectify their embarrassing 43-8 loss against the Seahawks.

Prior to their showdown in New York, both these teams were by far the best in their respective conferences and not much has changed going into this Sunday’s match-up. Denver have got off to a perfect start, seeing off the Colts and Chiefs in the first two weeks of the season.

Quarterback Peyton Manning remains in top form having thrown for more than 500 yards and six touchdowns, while his supporting cast has also done enough to maintain the same high octane offence they had last season.

 

Meanwhile Seattle will be hoping to recover from a disappointing loss to San Diego last week. The Seahawks convincingly beat Green Bay in week one and their defence remains a strong asset which could once again provide problems for Denver’s offence.

This is unlikely to be another 43-8 trouncing as both these teams remain contenders for the title once again. The hope for all football fans is that this might finally be the Super Bowl everyone was hoping for, and maybe even a preview of another finale to come.

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Marshawn Lynch will want to get the Seattle Seahawks back on the winning trail

Who needs a win?

When going through the standings there are a number of teams who are surprisingly still without a win. Indianapolis and Kansas City are both franchises who made the playoffs last year but sit on 0-2; joining them are the New Orleans Saints who have been on the wrong end of a last minute field goal the past two weeks.

This week is by no means a make or break game for the Saints as they have a roster capable of being a contender and Drew Brees is still a top five quarterback. That being said, the Saints’ position in the NFC South will be a cause for concern should they lose to Minnesota.

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Drew Brees is capable of turning around the Saints' fortunes

Already they are two games behind the Carolina Panthers who have proven to be a far more balanced team than expected, whilst also Atlanta beat the Saints in week one. The odds of New Orleans making the Super Bowl are gradually plummeting with each week’s loss; only 12% of teams that started the season 0-2 since 1990 have made an appearance in the season finale.

To make matters worse for the Saints, only three teams have ever made the playoffs after an 0-3 start. New Orleans are perhaps the best team to be winless and they still have a good shot at making the post-season, but a win this weekend is crucial if they want to stay in the playoff race.

Who needs to impress?

It’s taken only two weeks and one embarrassing loss but the calls for Blake Bortles to replace Chad Henne as the Jaguars quarterback are already getting loud. This move looks set to be an inevitability as Bortles represents the future of the franchise, while Henne almost certainly doesn’t.

Last week the Jacksonville Jaguars were handed a harsh reality check, losing to the Washington Redskins 41-10. Henne was inconsistent, inaccurate and often indecisive, failing to give his offence a chance to compete. Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley has already confirmed that Chad Henne will be the team’s starter this week against Indianapolis, yet there seem to be no guarantees past this weekend.

Understandably, the Jaguars current woes this season are not all Henne’s mistakes. He was sacked a franchise record 10 times against the Redskins and sits behind an offensive line that can't be trusted to do a better job with any other quarterback.  Despite this, as the poor performances mount, Henne will find himself with fewer supporters, and possibly out of a job before he even makes the trip to Wembley.

Who’s the dark horse?

Can a 2-0 team be an underdog? In this game, most certainly yes. The Buffalo Bills have astounded many, beating both the Chicago Bears and the Miami Dolphins to sit solely atop the AFC East. This week they face the San Diego Chargers who gained many plaudits after beating the reigning Super Bowl champions last weekend.

Although unbeaten, Buffalo will do well to keep pace with a high scoring and efficient Chargers offence spearheaded by Philip Rivers and Antonio Gates. Their ability to hold onto the football, controlling the time of possession with 42 minutes against Seattle proved decisive and if the same is to be done to Buffalo, a similar result may be expected.

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San Diego Chargers tight end Antonio Gates reaches out to grasp a one-handed touchdown

The Bills do however have the ability to cause problems and even emerge with a win. They boast a commanding running game, averaging over 150 yards on the ground each game so far this season. E.J Manuels made fewer mistakes against the Dolphins and has been uncharacteristically consistent so far this season.

Buffalo’s fan base appears rejuvenated following the promising start and the team should expect as loud a crowd as they experienced last week. This just might be the difference maker for the Bills if they are to move to 3-0.

Full week three schedule:

Thursday

Tampa Bay 14– 56 Atlanta 

Sunday

San Diego at Buffalo

Tennessee at Cincinnati

Baltimore at Cleveland

Green Bay at Detroit

Indianapolis at Jacksonville

Oakland at New England

Minnesota at New Orleans

Houston at New York Giants

Washington at Philadelphia

Dallas at St. Louis

San Francisco at Arizona

Kansas City at Miami

Denver at Seattle

Pittsburgh at Carolina

Monday

Chicago at New York Jets

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