Philadelphia Eagles (3-2) at Atlanta Falcons (4-1)
Will Michael Vick fly in the battle of the birds? That’s the big question heading into Sunday’s game. Obviously, there’s a tremendous amount of hoopla surrounding this contest given the Vick-returns-to-Atlanta subplot; as of Wednesday, Vick was held out of Eagles practice but refused to acknowledge either way if he’d be in the lineup or not for Sunday.
If Vick can’t go, QB duties once again fall to Kevin Kolb, who looked solid in just his second start of the season last Sunday evening against the San Francisco 49ers. Kolb has taken all the reps in practice this week and his numbers against the 49ers — 253 passing yards, one touchdown a 68 completion percentage — have given Eagles coach Andy Reid faith that Kolb can go into Atlanta and give his team a solid chance at winning.
Speaking of the Falcons, they got a big boost this week with news that WR Michael Jenkins will return to the lineup. Jenkins suffered a shoulder injury in the preseason and the initial word was that he would be ready for the start of the season. But Jenkins missed the first five games and the Falcons passing game hasn’t been the same without him. Last year, he was an integral component of the passing attack and one of Matt Ryan‘s most sure-handed targets, hauling in 50 catches for 635 yards and a TD.
Kansas City Chiefs (3-1) at Houston Texans (3-2)
So, any idea what to make of the Houston Texans? Right now, only a few things are for certain: they’ve got an explosive offense (that can be inconsistent), a young, hungry defense (that can be inconsistent) and a leadership group that seems primed to get the franchise its first-ever playoff spot (but that leadership group can also be inconsistent).
See a trend developing here?
The most glaring example of Houston’s inconsistency is its record at home — over their last 11, the Texans are just 5-6 and coming off an awful 34-10 loss to New York where the Reliant Stadium fans booed them off the field.
Making things even more confusing for this weekend is the lone consistent for Houston: the ground game. The Texans are fifth in the NFL in rushing yards per contest (142.4), but that might be negated this weekend against an equally solid Chiefs rushing attack. Kansas City has the third best ground game in the NFL (148.8 per game) and its unheralded-but-impressive offensive line has been playing lights-out. The Chiefs have only allowed three sacks this year and have been blowing open huge running lanes for Thomas Jones and Jamaal Charles.