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NFL morning after: It’s the Texans and everyone else in the AFC

Baltimore Ravens v Houston Texans Getty Images

Is seven weeks into the season too early to declare home-field advantage wrapped up? Probably. But let’s be real about the state of the AFC right now: It’s the Texans and everyone else.

The Texans are so much better than the rest of the AFC that only a string of major injuries to key players (like Houston had last year) can prevent them from clinching home field for the playoffs, probably with a couple games left in the regular season. The road to the Super Bowl goes through Houston.

Entering Sunday, the Texans and Ravens were tied for the best record in the AFC at 5-1, and their meeting at Reliant Stadium looked like a possible AFC Championship preview. But on Sunday the Texans absolutely humiliated the Ravens, jumping out to a 29-3 halftime lead and coasting through the second half to win 43-13. If the Ravens are the second-best team in the AFC, then I don’t know if there’s ever been a bigger gap between the first and second-best teams in either conference in NFL history.

The Texans are such a complete team. They pass the ball well with Matt Schaub throwing to receivers Andre Johnson and Kevin Walter and tight end Owen Daniels. In Arian Foster they have one of the NFL’s best running backs. Defensive lineman J.J. Watt is my choice for Defensive Player of the Year in the NFL right now. Johnathan Joseph has been slowed by a groin injury this season, but when he’s at full speed he’s among the NFL’s best cornerbacks — and he looked like he’s getting closer to full speed when he picked off Joe Flacco and returned the interception 52 yards for a touchdown on Sunday.

All of that is half of the reason the Texans are so far ahead of the pack in the AFC. The other half is that every other team in the AFC is deeply flawed. Only the Texans, Ravens and Patriots have winning records, and it’s looking like a year when 8-8 may be enough to make the playoffs in the AFC. All those AFC teams hovering around .500 may look to some people like just the kind of parity everyone likes about the NFL, but it looks more like mediocrity to me.

The Texans’ loss to the Packers a week ago is a strong demonstration of how much better the NFC is than the AFC this season: If the Texans were in the other conference, they wouldn’t be the favorites to earn home-field advantage. But as the one and only really good team in a mediocre conference, the Texans have the clearest path to the Super Bowl of any team in the NFL.

Here are my other observations from the seventh Sunday of this NFL season:

Chris Johnson may be the most inconsistent player in NFL history. Johnson was absolutely sensational for the Titans in Sunday’s win over the Bills, carrying 18 times for 195 yards and two touchdowns, including one 83-yard run on which he looked like he could give Usain Bolt a competitive race. Johnson’s game-breaking ability is unmatched; previously in his NFL career Johnson has had touchdown runs of 91, 89 and 85 yards, and he’s the only player in NFL history with four career touchdown runs of 80 yards or longer. But for the Titans, it’s maddening that a player with the talent to run like that has so many absolutely terrible games. In the first six weeks of this season, Johnson had four different games in which he failed to gain even 25 yards. In those four games, Johnson’s total stat line is 48 carries for 69 yards and zero touchdowns. How can a player who’s good enough to gain 195 yards on 18 carries in one game be bad enough to total just 69 yards on 48 carries in four other games? It’s inexplicable.

Browns rookie defensive lineman Billy Wynn committed one of the dumbest penalties of the year. On a fourth down from the Colts’ own 22-yard line in the second quarter, the Indianapolis offense stayed on the field. Obviously, all they were going to do is try to draw the Browns’ defense offside: No NFL team ever goes for it on fourth down in that situation. Which obviously means that all the Browns had to do was not jump offside. And yet Wynn jumped offside, giving the Colts a free first down. Penalties don’t get much dumber than that.

Wynn’s penalty wasn’t even the Browns’ dumbest fourth-down decision. Browns coach Pat Shurmur made one of the bonehead calls of the year when he sent out his punter on fourth-and-1 from the Colts’ 41-yard line while trailing 17-13 with 6:38 left in the fourth quarter. That’s a situation where you have to go for it. You simply cannot give the ball away because you don’t trust your offense to gain one yard with the game on the line. The Browns, of course, ended up losing by that same 17-13 score. Shurmur is coaching for his job right now, and these are the decisions that get coaches fired.

We’re running out of superlatives for Robert Griffin III. Even in defeat, Griffin is doing amazing things as the Redskins’ quarterback. After Griffin completed 20 of 28 passes for 258 yards and two touchdowns, plus 89 yards rushing, players on the Giants’ defense declared Griffin the best quarterback they’ve faced this season. Giants defensive end Osi Umenyiora described Griffin as “flat-out unbelievable.” It’s amazing how good this guy is, at just 22 years old.

Last year we were running out of superlatives for Cam Newton. If you want to make the case that no one should get too excited about Griffin, all you have to do is point to Newton. Last year Newton was doing many of the same things Griffin was doing, making plays with his arm and his feet in an unbelievable rookie season for the Panthers. But this year Newton just doesn’t appear to be the same player. It’s not that Newton has been terrible, but in games like Sunday’s loss to the Cowboys, he just hasn’t been able to make plays when the Panthers need him. Becoming a great pro quarterback is a lot of work, and while Newton may achieve greatness eventually, he’s not there yet. Maybe a full year of film on Newton has better prepared NFL defenses to stop him, or maybe Newton let all the fame get to his head last year. But he’s not playing as well as he did in 2011.

The Jets aren’t going down without a fight. After they lost their best player, Darrelle Revis, to a season-ending knee injury and then lost their next game 34-0 to the 49ers, I thought the Jets would be one of the worst teams in the league the rest of the season. But I was wrong. The Jets are playing tough, competitive football. On Sunday in New England the Jets were (at least according to the Vegas lines) the biggest underdogs in the NFL. And yet they took the Patriots to overtime. Rex Ryan turns a lot of people off with all his bluster, but the guy is a damn good coach.

Colts coach Chuck Pagano had the biggest win of the day. Not because his team beat the Browns to improve to 3-3 and surpass last year’s win total, but because he was sent home after four weeks in the hospital while undergoing treatment for leukemia. For Pagano, that’s an important step to getting where he wants to be: Back to coaching his team.

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Colts place Trent Cole on injured reserve

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - DECEMBER 20: Kendall Langford #90, Trent Cole #58 and T.Y. McGill #67 of the Indianapolis Colts celebrate a sack against the Houston Texans at Lucas Oil Stadium on December 20, 2015 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Colts have gotten healthier in the secondary of late, but they’ve lost a linebacker for the rest of the season.

The team announced Tuesday that outside linebacker Trent Cole has been placed on injured reserve. Cole has been dealing with a back injury that forced him to miss Indy’s Week Two loss to the Broncos and was listed as questionable for last Sunday’s game, but was able to play in the victory over the Chargers.

Cole assisted on a tackle against San Diego, leaving him with three on the season, and had 32 tackles and three sacks during his first season with the Colts. Cole spent the first 10 years of his career with the Eagles before joining the Colts as a free agent last year.

The Colts are left with Robert Mathis, Erik Walden, Akeem Ayers and Curt Maggitt at outside linebacker. They could add another to fill Cole’s roster spot and they’ll need to find a player with a valid passport if they want to do it for this week’s London game against the Jaguars.

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Maybe La’el Collins isn’t having surgery after all

Dallas Cowboys compete in the Reliant Home Run Derby Getty Images

Cowboys left guard La’El Collins is definitely having surgery. Unless he isn’t.

ESPN’s Ed Werder has updated his previous report that Collins would have big toe surgery and go on injured reserve, by now saying that Collins is seeking a second opinion in hopes of avoiding surgery.

While Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said on his weekly radio spot on 105.3 The Fan that Collins was hoping to avoid surgery and that it was “a pain thing,” a source close to Collins told Werder that wasn’t the case.

“[It] has nothing to do with pain,” the source said. “The kid is tough as hell. It’s dependent on the injury.”

So there you have it. He’s having surgery or not, and it’s a matter of pain tolerance or it isn’t. Got it.

Either way, Collins will be replaced in the starting lineup by Ronald Leary, who started there for two seasons before being replaced by Collins. He wanted to be traded this offseason, but they didn’t want to give him up, presumably in case one of their starters ended up needed surgery or not needing surgery.

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Laquon Treadwell won’t play until he practices better

SEATTLE, WA - AUGUST 18:  Wide receiver Laquon Treadwell #11 of the Minnesota Vikings in action against the Seattle Seahawks at CenturyLink Field on August 18, 2016 in Seattle, Washington.  (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images) Getty Images

Through three games of the season, Vikings receiver Laquon Treadwell is one of this year’s most disappointing first-round rookies: He dressed but didn’t play in Week One, got on the field for only two snaps in Week Two, and was inactive in Week Three.

So what will it take for Treadwell to start playing?

“He has to continue to do better in practice,” Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said. “He’s working, just biding his time until he gets an opportunity like how [Stefon] Diggs was last year. I still think he’s thinking about the number of steps to take on each route and things like that, being at the right depth.”

When the Vikings took Treadwell with the 23rd overall pick in the draft, they surely thought he could make an immediate contribution to their offense. Instead, he’s a bench warmer. Zimmer seems confident that Treadwell will eventually prove on the practice field that he belongs on the field on Sundays, but that hasn’t happened yet.

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Tyler Eifert “still working through some things”

CINCINNATI, OH - JANUARY 3: Tight end Tyler Eifert #85 of the Cincinnati Bengals makes a catch while being tackled by inside linebacker Daryl Smith #51 of the Baltimore Ravens during the first quarter at Paul Brown Stadium on January 3, 2016 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Andrew Weber/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Bengals got tight end Tyler Eifert back on the practice field last week for the first time since his offseason ankle surgery, which wasn’t enough for him to play against the Broncos in Week Three but it did raise hopes that he’ll be able to play when they host the Dolphins this Thursday night.

Eifert was again listed as a limited participant in Monday’s practice, although that was just an estimation of what he would have done since the Bengals didn’t actually hold a practice. Coach Marvin Lewis deemed Eifert “close” to returning when he spoke to the media, but Thursday may be too close.

Eifert said, via Mike Garafolo of NFL Media, that he is “still working through some things” while stressing the need for “patience” and “trusting the process” that will get him back into the lineup without risking further injury that will keep him from helping the Bengals improve on their 1-2 start.

If the process dictates another week on the sideline for Eifert, he’ll have 10 days before the team heads to Dallas to face the Cowboys in Week Five.

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Jerry Jones says Dez hasn’t had MRI, may have one Tuesday

ARLINGTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 25:  Dez Bryant #88 of the Dallas Cowboys is assisted by team personel after taking a hit from the Chicago Bears at AT&T Stadium on September 25, 2016 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images) Getty Images

Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant hurt his knee early in Sunday night’s win over the Bears, but returned to the game and caught a touchdown pass from Dak Prescott before the night was out.

After the game, owner Jerry Jones said that the team felt Bryant was OK, but that they would “give it another look-see with the MRI.” That MRI apparently didn’t take place on Monday, however.

During an appearance on 105.3 The Fan Tuesday, Jones said that “to my knowledge” Bryant didn’t have the test and that he may have one on Tuesday. Jones added that he’s “assuming” Bryant will be able to play in Santa Clara against the 49ers this weekend, although that could obviously change when and if Bryant has an MRI to provide further information about the injury.

Jones also said that left guard La’El Collins has not had surgery on his injured big toe and will “see if he can work through this” without having an operation. Ronald Leary will take over for Collins in the starting lineup.

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Bashaud Breeland has “moderate” high ankle strain

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - SEPTEMBER 25:  Bashaud Breeland #26 of the Washington Redskins is carted off the field in the first quarter against the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium on September 25, 2016 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Redskins know that safety DeAngelo Hall won’t be back in the lineup this season due to the torn ACL he suffered against the Giants and they may be without one of their other starters in the secondary for a bit.

Cornerback Bashaud Breeland went for an MRI on the ankle he hurt in Sunday’s victory and coach Jay Gruden said Monday, via the Washington Post, that Breeland is dealing with a “moderate” high-ankle strain. The plan is for Breeland to be evaluated on a week-to-week basis, which suggests that he’ll likely miss Week Four’s game against the Browns.

Breeland was replaced by Dashaun Phillips against the Giants, but Phillips tweaked his hamstring during the game. That could open the door for third-round pick Kendall Fuller.

The Redskins also lost a pair of offensive linemen during the game. Gruden used “moderate” to describe center Kory Lichtensteiger’s calf strain and left guard Shawn Lauvao’s ankle sprain as well. Left tackle Trent Williams moved to guard to replace Lauvao, but Gruden said the team hasn’t decided how they’d proceed without the two players this week.

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Adam Gase tired of mistakes, ready to bench guys if need be

Miami Dolphins head coach Adam Gase shouts from the sideline during the first half of an NFL football game against the New England Patriots, Sunday, Sept. 18, 2016, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Steven Senne) AP

Dolphins coach Adam Gase is demanding accountability, and he is more than prepared to bench guys to prove his point.

The latest was right tackle Ja’Wuan James, who was pulled after allowing a strip-sack fumble near the end of regulation, which would have been costly if the Browns could hit field goals.

“I’m over discussing any of this stuff with players,” Gase said, via Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald. “We’re either going to start getting the job done, or we’re going to make changes.”

Gase didn’t promise that James would return to the starting lineup Thursday night against the Bengals, and was generally displeased with the protection being offered to quarterback Ryan Tannehill, who has been hit 19 times in 132 dropbacks.

“We just want guys to do it right,” Gase said. “Whoever wants to do it right, those are the guys that we’re going to put out there. Talent’s irrelevant at this point. . . .

”It’s hard to throw a ball with any kind of timing where they pressure and we get it picked up, but we get beat so fast that the quarterback doesn’t even have a chance.”

Gase is clearly protective of Tannehill, knowing that’s his best chance to be successful in the short term there. But if he’s not upright, he can’t do that.

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Kyle Rudolph praises Sam Bradford’s toughness

Minnesota Vikings' Sam Bradford (8) is sacked by Carolina Panthers' Lavar Edwards (93) in the first half of an NFL football game in Charlotte, N.C., Sunday, Sept. 25, 2016. (AP Photo/Mike McCarn) AP

Vikings quarterback Sam Bradford has made a great impact on his teammates, and not just because of his ability to throw a football. On Monday, tight end Kyle Rudolph became the most recent Vikings to praise Bradford’s ability to take a hit.

“I think the biggest thing that I’ve learned about Sam is just how tough he is,” Rudolph said on PFT Live. “The way that he stood in there not only yesterday but also last week taking hit after hit after hit and still making throws downfield. A couple throws come to mind against Green Bay last week to [Stephon] Diggs and you don’t really see it until you go back and watch the tape. He’s got a lot of guts and a lot of grit and he stands in there and throws the ball downfield knowing he’s gonna take a hit.”

The passing game has become more important given the knee injury suffered by running back Adrian Peterson.

“Anytime you lose a player of that magnitude it has an effect,” Rudolph said of Peterson. “We kind of went through it with Teddy [Bridgewater] a little under a month ago and you can never replace a player of that caliber. They’re just irreplaceable but it was kind of the message when Teddy went down and it’s been the message unfortunately throughout the early part of our season. Each guy on the team has to do one more thing better and get a little better each day and try to make up that ground that we’re missing when you lose a great player.”

Even without a couple of great players, the Vikings could be on the verge of becoming great.

“For us it’s about getting better each and every week,” Rudolph said. “Obviously, we think we have a ton of talent. We wouldn’t have traded a first-round pick for a quarterback at the beginning of the season if our organization didn’t believe that we can win now and believe in the talent that we have in that locker room but for us it’s about sticking to what we do. Playing complimentary football, playing smart football and winning the game in the fourth quarter.”

They’ve done it for three straight Sundays, getting better as the game unfolds. The next chance comes Monday night, against the Giants.

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Despite finishing game with glove, Matt Ryan says thumb is fine

Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (2) runs off the field after an NFL football game  against the New Orleans Saints in New Orleans, Monday, Sept. 26, 2016. The Falcons won 45-32. (AP Photo/Bill Feig) AP

Matt Ryan was able to flash a thumb’s up last night, and said any issue with his thumb during the game was not a problem moving forward.

According to Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com, Ryan appeared to hurt his left (non-throwing) thumb during last night’s win over the Saints.

After being sacked by Nick Fairley in the fourth quarter, he went to the sideline and was getting checked by athletic trainers. When he returned to the game, he was wearing a glove on his left hand.

I took a hit on it in the game, but I’m fine,” Ryan said. “Put a glove on just to make sure I’d get a good grip afterwards. But I’m fine. I feel pretty good.”

Whatever degree of issue it was, Falcons coach Dan Quinn wasn’t even aware of it after the game, so it’s reasonable to think it’s no big deal.

Ryan’s been among the most durable quarterbacks in the league, not missing a game since 2009 when a turf toe injury sidelined him.

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Michael Floyd cleared to return Sunday, had headaches Monday

ORCHARD PARK, NY - SEPTEMBER 25:   Corey Graham #20 of the Buffalo Bills breaks up a pass intended for Michael Floyd #15 of the Arizona Cardinals during the first half at New Era Field on September 25, 2016 in Orchard Park, New York.  (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images) Getty Images

Cardinals receiver Michael Floyd hit his head hard on the turf when he was tackled during Sunday’s game against the Bills, but he was checked by the medical staff on the sideline and cleared to return.

On Monday, however, Cardinals coach Bruce Arians said Floyd was reporting headaches and has now entered the concussion protocol.

That points to one of the inherent flaws in the NFL’s procedures on game days: Even if a player isn’t exhibiting any symptoms of a concussion immediately after he takes a hit to the head, it’s possible that he did suffer a concussion and will only show symptoms later.

Floyd, who is second among the Cardinals’ wide receivers with nine catches this season, will not be able to play Sunday against the Rams unless he is cleared through the league’s concussion evaluation process.

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Packers’ Jared Cook suffers high ankle sprain

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - SEPTEMBER 18: Jared Cook #89 of the Green Bay Packers is tackled by Trae Waynes #26 of the Minnesota Vikings during the fourth quarter of the game on September 18, 2016 at US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Vikings defeated the Packers 17-14. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) Getty Images

Packers tight end Jared Cook is expected to miss some time with a high ankle sprain.

Although there’s been no official word from the team and the Packers are on their bye this week, a high ankle sprain usually takes several weeks to heal, so it’s unlikely that he’d be on the field when they return in Week Five against the Giants.

Cook was seen in the Packers’ locker room on crutches and wearing a protective boot.

Through three games, Cook is fourth on the team with six catches.

While Cook is out, Richard Rodgers and Justin Perillo will get more playing time at tight end. Devon Cajuste could be called up from the practice squad if the Packers think they need a third healthy tight end on the roster.

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Gus Bradley doesn’t think offense was too conservative

JACKSONVILLE, FL - SEPTEMBER 25: Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley in the game against the Baltimore Ravens at EverBank Field on September 25, 2016 in Jacksonville, Florida.  (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) Getty Images

After the Jaguars lost 19-17 to the Ravens on Sunday, Jaguars defensive tackle Sen’Derrick Marks said he thought the team was too conservative after taking a 17-16 lead in the fourth quarter.

The Jaguars got the ball twice in Baltimore territory following Joe Flacco interceptions and saw the drives end with a Blake Bortles interception and a blocked field goal. They ran twice for no gain before the interception and ran on first down on the second drive before a completed pass and sack of Bortles led to the field goal attempt.

On Monday, Jaguars coach Gus Bradley said he had no problem with how offensive coordinator Greg Olson called the plays.

“You look at the four-minute situation, there are a lot of time management discussions,” Bradley said, via the Florida Times-Union. “They had three timeouts. We talked about that in OTAs and training camp: We’ve got to be able to run it when they know we’re going to run it. We didn’t get that done yesterday. You have to do [run it well] so they use their timeouts and we were looking to get a first down. That’s not to say you won’t throw it on third down, but we really wanted to strain our guys and [say], ‘This is a must time. You have to be able to run the ball here.'”

The Jaguars haven’t been able to run the ball when defenses don’t know they’re going to run it, so it’s no great shock that they failed to do it when the Ravens were waiting for Chris Ivory. The sack and interception make it clear that passing the ball wasn’t necessarily going to be a silver bullet for the Jaguars, but zigging when the Ravens were expecting a zag might have been a good way to go with a chance to take a commanding lead late in the game.

Losing close games leads to that kind of Monday morning quarterbacking and the Jags have done a fair amount of it under Bradley over the last three-plus years. The word from owner Shad Khan this offseason was that it was time for that to change, but the song has remained the same so far this season.

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Tuesday morning one-liners

GREEN BAY, WI - SEPTEMBER 25: Eddie Lacy #27 of the Green Bay Packers runs against the Detroit Lions
at Lambeau Field on September 25, 2016 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Bills defense was more aggressive against the Cardinals.

Dolphins coach Adam Gase said there may be lineup changes coming.

What did Patriots coach Bill Belichick see in DL John Hughes?

A look at why the Jets passed so much in the red zone.

Ravens G Alex Lewis is going through the concussion protocol.

LB Vontaze Burfict is back for the Bengals.

Browns WR Corey Coleman promises a full-speed return from his broken hand.

What will RB Le’Veon Bell’s return mean for the Steelers offense?

Texans coach Bill O’Brien said that his team has put last week’s loss behind them.

Rookie G Joe Haeg had a good showing for the Colts against the Chargers.

What’s the problem with the Jaguars running game?

The Titans hope WR Kendall Wright can get on the field this week.

QB Trevor Siemian continues to earn rave reviews from the Broncos.

RB Jamaal Charles‘ return still looms in the future for the Chiefs.

Nine rookies saw time for the Raiders in their Week Three win.

Said Chargers coach Mike McCoy of Achilles injuries suffered by his players, “We’re going to do all the research we can definitely to figure out, is there something we can do to help the players, but we do that every year.”

Said Cowboys coach Jason Garrett of QB Dak Prescott, “We haven’t just put the handcuffs on him, if you will. We let him play. He’s seen a lot of different fronts, a lot of different covers, a lot of different pressures.”

How will the Giants shuffle their running backs with Shane Vereen injured?

The Eagles will stick with RB Ryan Mathews as a starter when he’s healthy.

Coach Jay Gruden may have revived the Redskins again.

The Bears aren’t generating much pass rush.

The Lions waived LB Zaviar Gooden on Monday.

Packers RB Eddie Lacy is pleased with how the season has opened for him.

Coach Mike Zimmer says that a strong Vikings defense is the product of a team effort.

S Keanu Neal had a good night in his Falcons debut.

Panthers CB James Bradberry isn’t going to make a lot of headlines talking about Julio Jones this week.

There don’t appear to be any easy answers for the Saints defense.

Buccaneers coach Dirk Koetter is talking about the need for a winning culture.

The Cardinals are trying to get back on track this week.

How did the Rams deal with Sunday’s extended weather delay?

Five takeaways from the 49ers’ loss in Week Three.

RB Christine Michael might have done enough to start for the Seahawks even if Thomas Rawls was healthy.

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Jets kicking the tires on C.J. Spiller today

Spiller Getty Images

The Jets are pushing all kinds of buttons at the moment, including taking a look at some veteran players who could help them now.

According to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network, the Jets are working out running back C.J. Spiller today.

The former Bills first-rounder has worked out for the Packers since being released by the Saints, so it’s unclear if teams think he’s physically ready to contribute.

The Jets have only been keeping two backs active on game days, with Matt Forte and Bilal Powell setting into their complementary roles.

But between the “come-to-Jesus meeting” and claiming guys like Austin Seferian-Jenkins off waivers, it’s clear the Jets are feeling a bit of pressure already after a 1-2 start.

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Jets have a “come-to-Jesus meeting” on Monday

KANSAS CITY, MO - SEPTEMBER 25: Head coach Todd Bowles of the New York Jets oversees warm ups before the game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium on September 25, 2016 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images) Getty Images

It’s early enough in the season that we don’t quite know exactly what some teams will turn out to be come the final weeks of the year and the Jets have to hope that they wind up looking more like the team that won in Buffalo in Week Two than the one that lost in Kansas City in Week Three.

They don’t have much time to ruminate on the topic before the Seahawks are in town and then it is on to road games in Pittsburgh and Arizona with the 1-2 Jets’ margin for error slimmer after their eight-turnover disaster against the Chiefs. Of course, a margin for error won’t matter much at all if that outing turns out to be who the Jets are this season.

That wouldn’t be a good look for coach Todd Bowles, who started off this week with a speech to his team that tried to get them moving forward after a bad loss.

“Every time you lose like that, you have to have a come-to-Jesus meeting,” Bowles said in comments distributed by the team. “We talked about accountability and just understanding where we are in the season and who we are and what we need to be, pretty much. … Throughout the course of the season, there will be a bunch of turning points. It’s not going to be the last time we face adversity. There are going to be several times down the road where we face adversity. We just have to learn from our mistakes.”

Bowles didn’t delve into specifics about what the Jets might do differently moving forward, but the broad strokes are obvious enough for a team that has looked pretty good over the last two seasons when they aren’t handing the ball to the opposition.

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