Here’s one way to guarantee the Jaguars aren’t blacked out locally: Tim Tebow.
The backup QB comes to his hometown with the Broncos, and they didn’t work on special plays for the former Florida star all summer not to use him. Thousands of fans bought tickets for this matchup, so the crowd makeup could be as intriguing as the on-field action.
Carolina at New York Giants
The Panthers tend to play well in the Meadowlands, winning three of their four visits, including a 41-9 romp last December. That was in the old home for the Giants, and this is their first real game in the new, $1.6 billion building the Giants co-own with the Jets. Panthers coach John Fox is in the final year of his contract, so a victory here would be a nice early boost for his future in Carolina.
New York fell apart late last season and has issues at linebacker and, possibly, on the offensive line. Given time, Eli Manning has a nice collection of targets, led by Pro Bowler Steve Smith, whose numbers in 2009 easily surpassed Carolina’s former Pro Bowler named Steve Smith.
San Francisco at Seattle
It’s Pete Carroll’s official return to the NFL after a decade of brilliance and championships at Southern Cal. His Seahawks might lose half as many games this year as the 19 Carroll dropped with the Trojans. The rebuilding effort in Seattle is mammoth, and the team has shuttled players in and out all summer.
The Niners are being pegged as the NFC West favorite behind a solid running game with Frank Gore, an expected improvement in passing with Michael Crabtree in the lineup all season, and a staunch defense led by All-Pro linebacker Patrick Willis, a favorite for defensive player of the year honors.
San Diego at Kansas City (Monday night)
Who is missing from the Chargers is as noteworthy as who is on hand for the overwhelming AFC West favorites. Gone to other teams are Tomlinson, Cromartie and Jamal Williams. Holding out are star receiver Vincent Jackson and starting left tackle Marcus McNeill. But still around are QB Philip Rivers, TE Antonio Gates, LBs Shawne Merriman and Shaun Phillips, probably enough to handle KC.
The Chiefs could be the busiest running team around with 1,000-yard rushers Thomas Jones and Jamaal Charles in the backfield. Look for KC to try to pound San Diego in the second game of Monday night’s doubleheader.
Miami at Buffalo
A terse three-sentence statement announced Bill Parcells’ move into a consultant’s role this week. If the Tuna could have gotten away with no mention of the shift at all, he would have.
His team is fortunate to get balmy Buffalo in September instead of frigid western New York late in the season. WR Brandon Marshall should provide Miami with a door chewnfield threat it has lacked for years, but the Bills do have one strength: their secondary.
Arizona at St. LouisView Entire Story
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