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PFT’s Week Three Picks

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Last week, I had my chance to pull even with MDS.  Thanks to a Panthers defense that was playing not to lose and a blown coverage at the goal line that guaranteed it, I had prevailed in the only disagreement of the day.

But then came the night game.  And I was one of the “ignorant idiots” who thought the 49ers could beat the Seahawks in Seattle.

The result was a push for the week, with both of us getting 12 right and four wrong.  For the year, I’m 23-9, and MDS is 24-8.

This week, all hell will break loose, Breaking Bad style.  We disagree on SIX of the games.  For all the picks from Week Three, scroll baby, scroll.

Chiefs at Eagles

MDS’s take: Can Andy Reid return to Philadelphia and get his team to 3-0? It would be a great story, but I don’t see it happening: Chip Kelly’s offense will put too many points on the board for Reid’s more conservative offense to keep up.

MDS’s pick: Eagles 31, Chiefs 27.

Florio’s take:  Week Two helped everyone make better sense of Week One.  And it appears through both games that the Chiefs doing what coach Andy Reid wants them to do, and that the Eagles are still a work in progress under Chip Kelly.  This may be Big Red’s only chance to win another game in Philly.  It’s unlikely he’ll squander it.

Florio’s pick:  Chiefs 27, Eagles 20.

Texans at Ravens

MDS’s take: The defending Super Bowl champions just haven’t looked particularly good on either side of the ball this season, and I don’t see that changing any time soon. J.J. Watt is going to make life miserable for Joe Flacco as Houston wins a low-scoring game.

MDS’s pick: Texans 17, Ravens 9.

Florio’s take:  Both teams are banged up a bit, and each has struggled.  Give the home team the edge — even though Ed Reed could end up making the difference for Houston.

Florio’s pick:  Ravens 24, Texans 21.

Packers at Bengals

MDS’s take: I like the way the Bengals’ defense is playing, but I like the way Aaron Rodgers is playing more. Expect Rodgers to have a big game as the Packers improve to 2-1.

MDS’s pick: Packers 30, Bengals 20.

Florio’s take:  Green Bay’s defense is better, and its offense at times is unstoppable.  The Packers offensive line has been holding up well enough to let 2011 NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers play like a serious contender for 2013 NFL MVP.

Florio’s pick:  Packers 31, Bengals 27.

Giants at Panthers

MDS’s take: I viewed both of these teams as playoff contenders heading into the season, but the loser will be 0-3, and it’s awfully tough for any team to dig itself out of a hole that deep. Both teams have offensive problems that need to be corrected, and I have more confidence in Tom Coughlin and his staff to figure out a way to cut down on the turnovers than I have in Ron Rivera and his staff to find a way to get Cam Newton making big plays again. So I’m leaning toward the Giants in a close one.

MDS’s pick: Giants 21, Panthers 20.

Florio’s take:  Last year in Week Three, the Giants blew out the Panthers in their own building.  And the Giants still didn’t make the playoffs.  This year, it won’t be as ugly against a Panthers team that has been playing not to lose — and that has no one to cover Victor Cruz.

Florio’s pick:  Giants 27, Panthers 17.

Rams at Cowboys

MDS’s take: I’m not really sold on either of these teams as NFC playoff contenders, although the NFC East looks so weak that the Cowboys just need to hang around .500 all season to stay in the race. I see the Cowboys getting above .500 with a close home win over the Rams.

MDS’s pick: Cowboys 21, Rams 17.

Florio’s take:  The all-time series is tied at 11-11 in the regular season, and 4-4 in the postseason.  The easy pick is the Cowboys, who held serve (finally) against the Giants in Week One to start the season.  But the right pick could be the Rams, who held off a Cardinals team that beat the Lions — and who rebounded from a deep deficit against the Falcons to make a game of it on Sunday.

Florio’s pick:  Rams 24, Cowboys 23.

Browns at Vikings

MDS’s take: I was tempted to pick the upset before the Browns traded Trent Richardson because I thought Richardson could move the ball effectively against the suspect Vikings run defense. But I just can’t pick a team to win on the road with Brian Hoyer as its starting quarterback and no running backs who have carried the ball a single time all season.

MDS’s pick: Vikings 20, Browns 13.

Florio’s take:  Brian Hoyer, Jason Campbell, Brandon Weeden, Bernie Kosar.  It doesn’t matter.  The Trent Richardson trade puts extra pressure on the passing game against a Vikings team playing the first game of its final season in the Metrodome.  Adrian Peterson will show the Browns what they hoped they were getting when they traded up with Minnesota to take Richardson.

Florio’s pick:  Vikings 27, Browns 14.

Buccaneers at Patriots

MDS’s take: The Bucs have played better than their 0-2 record suggests. The Patriots have played worse than their 2-0 record suggests. This is a close game, but in the end the Patriots will pull it out at home.

MDS’s pick: Patriots 24, Buccaneers 17.

Florio’s take:  The Pats are 2-0 and could be 0-2.  The Bucs are 0-2 and could be 2-0.  But New England is the team with the franchise quarterback and the coach with enough pelts on the wall to justify antisocial behavior.

Florio’s pick:  Patriots 20, Buccaneers 10.

Cardinals at Saints

MDS’s take: The Saints have started 2-0 without their offense really breaking out yet. Week Three will be when we see Sean Payton’s offense shine.

MDS’s pick: Saints 31, Cardinals 10.

Florio’s take:  The Cardinals are better than anyone thought they’d be.  And that will serve them very well.  But not in New Orleans against the Saints, who also are better than anyone thought they’d be.

Florio’s pick:  Saints 31, Cardinals 24.

Chargers at Titans

MDS’s take: The Titans’ defense is a lot better than it was last year, and I think Gregg Williams deserves a lot of the credit. Before he was known for Bountygate, Williams was known for devising aggressive schemes that gave opposing quarterbacks fits, and that’s what he’s doing in Tennessee this season. His defense will give Philip Rivers fits on Sunday as the Titans improve to 2-1.

MDS’s pick: Titans 20, Chargers 10.

Florio’s take:  The franchises that squared off in the first two AFL title games get together, with both so far looking like potential playoff teams.  Flip a coin, throw a dart, light a match.  What the Chargers did in Philly was more impressive than what the Titans did in Pittsburgh.

Florio’s pick:  Chargers 28, Titans 25.

Lions at Redskins

MDS’s take: I’ve gone back and forth on this one: When Washington has the ball, I could see Robert Griffin III having his best game of the season against a suspect Lions secondary, but I could also see a talented Lions line making life miserable for Griffin. When Detroit has the ball, I could see Matthew Stafford putting up huge numbers against a defense that has looked terrible this year, but I could also see the Lions struggling if Reggie Bush is at less than 100 percent. Ultimately, I think the story of the game will be that Washington still doesn’t have its defensive problems fixed.

MDS’s pick: Lions 31, Redskins 30.

Florio’s take:  The Lions have never ever ever never ever never won in D.C.  The Redskins have never ever ever never ever never won in 2013, dating back to January.  Though we don’t know whether No. 21 will be available, it’s time for Detroit to end an 0-21 road streak that dates back well before the commencement of the Curse of Bobby Layne.

Florio’s pick:  Lions 27, Redskins 20.

Falcons at Dolphins

MDS’s take: The Dolphins’ defense is good against the pass and bad against the run. Unfortunately for the Falcons, with Steven Jackson out they can’t take advantage of Miami’s biggest weakness. The Dolphins will improve to 3-0 with a low-scoring win.

MDS’s pick: Dolphins 17, Falcons 13.

Florio’s take:  Could the 13-3 Falcons plunge to 1-2?  Yes they could, thanks to an improving Dolphins team that has started the season with a pair of road wins.  Injuries aren’t helping matters for the defending NFC South champions, who’ll need to help their offensive lineman in order to ensure Matt Ryan doesn’t join the list of the limping.

Florio’s pick:  Dolphins 24, Falcons 20.

Bills at Jets

MDS’s take: It’s billed as the battle of AFC East rookie quarterbacks, but neither Buffalo’s EJ Manuel nor New York’s Geno Smith will be able to do much in a game that will be dominated by defense. I’m picking the Jets to win by a field goal.

MDS’s pick: Jets 9, Bills 6.

Florio’s take:  This battle of rookie quarterbacks will overshadow a far more intriguing subtext relating to the return of former Jets defensive coordinator Mike Pettine to face his former boss, Rex Ryan.  The road team simply has the better overall talent.  Which means that, at least for now, the servant becomes the master — and the Bills become the third-best team in the division.

Florio’s pick:  Bills 20, Jets 17.

Colts at 49ers

MDS’s take: Last year the Colts got a lot of good breaks on the way to a surprising playoff run. This year the Colts are getting all kinds of bad breaks, and they’re crashing back to earth. The 49ers will rebound from Sunday’s loss in Seattle and beat the Colts easily.

MDS’s pick: 49ers 28, Colts 10.

Florio’s take:  It’s a Stanford reunion, with Andrew Luck and Jim Harbaugh and Coby Fleener and Pep Hamiltion reminiscing about their mutual dislike of Pete Carroll and Cal.  After, of course, the 49ers take care of business against a team that saw five of its six total losses in 2012 come when playing away from home.

Florio’s pick:  49ers 35, Colts 20.

Jaguars at Seahawks

MDS’s take: In one of the most lopsided games in recent NFL history, the question isn’t so much who will win as by how much. I think it’s the Seahawks by a lot.

MDS’s pick: Seahawks 38, Jaguars 10.

Florio’s take:  The CBS affiliate in Orlando will be apologizing again.  If the Seahawks can beat one of the best teams in the league by 26 in Seattle, this one could be historic.

Florio’s pick:  Seahawks 45, Jaguars 6.

Bears at Steelers

MDS’s take: The Steelers’ offense has been dismal this season, and the Bears’ defense isn’t going to make things any easier. The Bears improve to 3-0 and the Steelers drop to 0-3.

MDS’s pick: Bears 24, Steelers 10.

Florio’s take:  The Steelers rarely are on the mat.  When it happens, they find a way to get up.  Eight years ago, they were left for dead after a loss to the Bengals, and the Steelers sparked a run that resulted in a Super Bowl win by beating the Bears at Heinz Field.  Though it’s way too early to even think about playoffs in Pittsburgh (except for the baseball team), it’s not too early to envision a proud franchise mustering enough punch to bring the 2-0 Bears back down to earth a bit.

Florio’s pick:  Steelers 20, Bears  16.

Raiders at Broncos

MDS’s take: This is going to be a more competitive game than most people think. The Raiders aren’t quite the doormats that people were expecting them to be. Still, with Tyvon Branch injured, I don’t see any way the Raiders keep Peyton Manning in check, and it’s going to be tough for Terrelle Pryor and the Raiders’ offense to keep up.

MDS’s pick: Broncos 31, Raiders 23.

Florio’s takeRyan Clady or not, the better-than-expected Raiders still aren’t good enough to hang with the Broncos in their own building.  Look for another big night from Peyton Manning, who knows his supply of prime-time opportunities is dwindling.

Florio’s pick:  Broncos 45, Raiders 20.

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Chiefs turn Ryan Fitzpatrick interception into early lead

FILE - This Saturday, Aug. 27, 2016 file photo shows New York Jets quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (14) watching his teammates play during the second half of an NFL preseason football game against the New York Giants in East Rutherford, N.J. Fitzpatrick missed the offseason in a contract dispute but has been around long enough that it shouldn’t matter much. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun, File) AP

Ryan Fitzpatrick avoided turnovers in last week’s victory over the Bills, but he couldn’t make it out of the first quarter without one this Sunday.

Chiefs cornerback Marcus Peters went up high to snag a pass intended for Jalin Marshall and gave the offense the ball at the Jets’ 32-yard-line. Alex Smith capitalized with a 12-yard touchdown pass to Travis Kelce to give Kansas City an early 7-0 lead.

The Chiefs also moved the ball fairly well on their first drive as Spencer Ware has found room to run against the Jets defense. A holding penalty on Mitch Morse and sack by Jets rookie Darron Lee killed the drive before the Chiefs could put any points on the board.

The Jets didn’t get anything going offensively on their first drive, leaving them with some work to do if they’re going to leave with a road win this weekend.

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Manti Te’o exits with Achilles injury

San Diego Chargers v Buffalo Bills Getty Images

Chargers linebacker Manti Te’o suffered an Achilles injury in the first quarter of today’s game at Indianapolis.

Te’o wasn’t touched on the play. He dropped into coverage, tried to plant his feet and change direction, and immediately crumpled to the ground. He was helped off the field and then carted to the locker room.

The Chargers announced that Te’o is out for the rest of the game with an Achilles injury, and it didn’t look like a good situation for Te’o.

Te’o is in the fourth and final year of his rookie contract as the Chargers’ 2013 second-round pick.

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Dolphins outlast Browns, win in overtime

Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill (17) looks to pass as Cleveland Browns defensive end Jamie Meder (98) attempts to block it, during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 25, 2016, in Miami Gardens, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee) AP

The Dolphins tried to give it away, but the Browns missed chances — and missed field goals, specifically — and the Dolphins eventually won in overtime, 30-24.

Jay Ajayi ran 11 yards for the winning touchdown after the teams had traded punts to start overtime.

The Browns won the overtime coin toss but elected to kick. It went to overtime because Browns kicker Cody Parkey missed a 46-yarder on the final play of regulation.

It was Parkey’s third miss of the game. The Browns just officially signed him Saturday after Patrick Murray suffered a torn ACL on Friday. The Browns had chosen to take a knee despite having a timeout with 20 seconds left at the Dolphins’ 28-yard line.

The Dolphins led by 11, 24-13, late in the third quarter before the Browns rallied. The Browns used ex-quarterback turned wide receiver Terrelle Pryor at quarterback and all over the field, really. Pryor threw for 35 yards, ran for 21 yards and a touchdown and caught eight passes for 144 yards.

Browns rookie quarterback Cody Kessler, making his first start, threw for 244 yards.

Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill threw for 319 yards but threw two interceptions, one that Briean Boddy-Calhoun returned for a touchdown in the first half. Dolphins wide receiver Jarvis Landry caught seven passes for 120 yards.

The Dolphins move to 1-2 and are at Cincinnati Thursday night. The Browns fall to 0-3 and are at the Redskins next week.

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Redskins outlast Giants on wild afternoon in Jersey

Washington Redskins cornerback Quinton Dunbar (47) intercepts a pass to New York Giants' Will Tye (45) during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 25, 2016, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens) AP

Odell Beckham looked like he had tears in his eyes on the sideline as he threw a tantrum after an Eli Manning interception in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s game against the Redskins and there will definitely be more tears in Giants country as a result of the final score as well.

Su’a Cravens intercepted Manning with 1:02 left in the game to seal a 29-27 win in a game that the Giants led 21-9 in the first half. Cravens’ pick came a few plays after Dustin Hopkins put the Redskins up in the fifth lead change of the second half.

The play ended a wild afternoon that saw the Giants look good early before imploding. Three turnovers hurt their cause as did 11 penalties for 128 yards. There may not have been any fisticuffs or overt dirtiness between Beckham and Josh Norman this time, but center Weston Richburg was ejected after two unsportsmanlike conduct penalties and defensive back Andrew Adams negated a blocked punt in the fourth quarter when he was flagged for a totally uncalled for and unnecessary shot to the head of a Redskins gunner well away from the play.

Washington took advantage of those self-inflicted wounds by avoiding turnovers of their own and making big plays in the passing game. DeSean Jackson caught a 44-yard touchdown from Kirk Cousins in the first half and Jamison Crowder ran away from the Giants on a 55-yard catch-and-run for a score in the third quarter, although the biggest play might have come from the arm of punter Tress Way. With the Redskins trailing late in the third, Way hit defensive back Quinton Dunbar for a 31-yard gain on a fake punt that set up a Hopkins field goal and kept the Giants from grabbing momentum.

Dunbar also made an athletic play to account for Manning’s first interception of the game and the Washington defense was able to get pressure on Manning on several key plays, including both interceptions.

The Norman-Beckham matchup lacked the shenanigans of last year and Beckham wound up with seven catches for 121 yards, but none resulted in the touchdowns the Giants couldn’t find after opening the game with three in the first 25 minutes of the game. Norman was penalized for a hit to Sterling Shepard’s head and was on the receiving end of Richburg’s disqualifying penalty, but the matchup between the leading players was a quieter one this time around.

The Redskins secondary also held up despite the losses of cornerback Bashaud Breeland and safety DeAngelo Hall to injuries, which adds up to a big win for the unit and a big win for the team as a whole.

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Case Keenum giveth, Case Keenum taketh away

BALTIMORE, MD - NOVEMBER 22: Quarterback Case Keenum #17 of the St. Louis Rams sits on the turf during a game against the Baltimore Ravens in the fourth quarter at M&T Bank Stadium on November 22, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Rams finally scored a touchdown.

Then, not wanting to feel greedy, they gave the other team one too.

Los Angeles quarterback Case Keenum celebrated his 44-yard touchdown to wide receiver Brian Quick by throwing a pick-six, and they’re left holding onto a 7-6 lead.

They’re up a point because Bucs kicker Roberto Aguayo missed an extra point, which will dredge up all those preseason stories about their second-round pick missing extra points after never missing from inside 40 yards in college.

The Rams hadn’t scored a touchdown all year, getting shut out in the opener and then kicking three field goals to beat the Seahawks last week.

But Keenum’s interception to Bucs linebacker Kwon Alexander was as ugly as his bomb to Quick was pretty, leaving the Rams again playing a close one.

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Tucker makes another bomb, moves Ravens to 3-0

OAKLAND, CA - SEPTEMBER 20:  Justin Tucker #9 of the Baltimore Ravens kicks a field goal in the first quarter against the Oakland Raiders at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on September 20, 2015 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Ravens are 3-0, and Justin Tucker looks like the best kicker in the league.

Tucker’s fourth field goal of the day, a 53-yarder, with 1:02 to go provided the winning margin as the Ravens rallied to beat the Jaguars, 19-17. Ravens linebacker Zachary Orr intercepted Blake Bortles to seal it.

Tucker’s game-winning kick was not only right down the middle; it looked like it would have been good from 70 yards.

The Jaguars rallied from 16-7 down to take a 17-16 lead and had the ball at the Ravens 29 following a Paul Posluszny interception with 3:27 left. But the Jags went three and out and Orr blocked a field goal, and the Ravens moved 22 yards to set up Tucker’s kick.

Bortles was intercepted three times, and Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco was picked off twice in the fourth quarter. Nothing came easy all day for anyone except Tucker. The Ravens outgained the Jags, 283-216, and won despite converting just 3-of-13 third downs.

The Jaguars are 0-3. Both of their touchdowns came on passes from Bortles to Allen Robinson, one in the second quarter and one in the third.

Bortles was 24-of-38 for 194 yards and was sacked four times. The Jags managed just 48 yards rushing.

Flacco scored the Ravens’ only touchdown on a 7-yard run.

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Bills get a needed win, throttle the Cardinals

Buffalo Bills running back LeSean McCoy (25) gets past Arizona Cardinals outside linebacker Chandler Jones (55) to score a touchdown during the first half of an NFL football game on Sunday, Sept. 25, 2016, in Orchard Park, N.Y. (AP Photo/Bill Wippert) AP

There was very little conventional about it.

But strange as it seems, the Bills finally got a win, and made the Cardinals look horrible in the process of a 33-18 win.

Arizona turned the ball over five times, with Carson Palmer throwing four interceptions and bearing little resemblance to last year’s NFC Championship Game team.

Bills running back LeSean McCoy ran for 110 yards and two touchdowns, leading the way in the first game under new offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn.

But as generous as the Cardinals were, it might not have mattered who was calling plays.

The highlight of the day for the Cardinals was kicker Chandler Catanzaro’s 60-yard field goal, but that also underscores some of the problems, as the Cards struggled to move the ball all day.

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Broncos turn it on in fourth, improve to 3-0

CINCINNATI, OH - SEPTEMBER 25:  Trevor Siemian #13 of the Denver Broncos looks to throw the ball during the first quarter of the game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium on September 25, 2016 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by John Grieshop/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Super Bowl hangover hasn’t hit the Broncos yet and it might not be coming anytime soon if the way they handled business in the fourth quarter against the Bengals is any indication.

The Bengals grabbed a 17-16 lead early in the final quarter after a 15-play drive that took up more than eight minutes ended with a Mike Nugent field goal. The Broncos offense had been quiet since halftime and it looked like the game might be turning Cincinnati’s way.

That was not the case. Trevor Siemian threw two touchdowns and safety Will Parks intercepted an Andy Dalton pass as the Broncos scored 13 straight points to leave Ohio with a 29-17 win. The second of Siemian’s touchdown passes was a 55-yarder to Demaryius Thomas, who finished the day with six catches for 100 yards. Emmanuel Sanders had nine catches for 117 yards and two touchdowns, which should bring an end to frustrations with the passing game in Denver.

Siemian finished 23-of-35 for 312 yards, giving him his first four-touchdown game and his first 300-yard game on the same day. He also avoided throwing an interception for the first time this season, although the Bengals will rue some missed opportunities for them when they review the tape of the game.

Dalton couldn’t do that and he also couldn’t avoid four sacks from the Broncos pass rushers. Shane Ray had three of them, including two on consecutive plays after Thomas lost a fumble to squash what could have become a Bengals scoring chance in the third quarter. Outside of that long scoring drive, the Bengals didn’t move the ball at all in the second half as the Broncos defense continued to be just as thorny an opponent as it was on the way to the Super Bowl last season.

They’ll be in Tampa next weekend as they try to avoid their first loss since last December 20 in Pittsburgh.

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Vikings drop Cam eight times, Panthers to 1-2

Carolina Panthers' Cam Newton (1) is sacked by Minnesota Vikings' Everson Griffen (97) in the second half of an NFL football game in Charlotte, N.C., Sunday, Sept. 25, 2016. (AP Photo/Bob Leverone) AP

The Vikings spotted the Panthers 10 points in the first 10 minutes of the game, and then Minnesota didn’t give up another point the rest of the way.

Fueled by a defense that sacked quarterback Cam Newton eight times (once for a safety), the Vikings scored 22 unanswered points to steal a victory at Carolina. The win moves the Vikings to 3-0, and drops the Panthers to 1-2.

That’s twice as many losses as the Panthers had in all of the 2015 regular season. For the Vikings, it’s the team’s first 3-0 start since 2009.

The Vikings return home next Monday night, for a game against the Giants and an opportunity to start the season at 4-0, despite a rash of major injuries to key players.

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Raiders defense stands up, gets to 2-1 by beating the Titans

Oakland Raiders wide receiver Michael Crabtree (15) loses his helmet after catching a pass as he was defended by Tennessee Titans strong safety Da'Norris Searcy, left, in the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 25, 2016, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/James Kenney) AP

The Raiders entered Week Three first in the league in total offense, and last in the league in total defense.

They didn’t do much to add to the first one, but did plenty for the second, in a 17-10 win over the Titans to improve to 2-1.

The Raiders held the Titans in check for most of the day and forced three of Marcus Mariota turnovers, a much stronger showing that they’ve turned in the first two weeks.

While they’re not likely to be among the league’s top defenses at any point this year, they did more than enough to give their offense the room it needed.

Quarterback Derek Carr threw for 249 yards and a touchdown, with Michael Crabtree catching eight passes for 102 yards.

The Titans had apparently tied the game in the final minute, but veteran wideout Andre Johnson was called for offensive pass interference, taking a score off the board and allowing the Raiders to escape with a win. He scored the game-winner late last week against the Lions, but was called for pushing off.

The Titans didn’t get the same courtesy on a contested fourth-down play that followed, allowing the Raiders to celebrate.

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Packers jump out to huge lead, then hold on over Lions

Green Bay Packers' Jordy Nelson (87) celebrates his touchdown catch with teammate Davante Adams (17) as Detroit Lions' Darius Slay (23) walks off the field during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 25, 2016, in Green Bay, Wis. (AP Photo/Mike Roemer) AP

Whatever problems the Packers’ offense might have had in the first two weeks of the season, they weren’t on display today in Green Bay.

The Packers’ offense dominated the Lions today, with Aaron Rodgers throwing touchdown passes on each of Green Bay’s first three offensive series and never trailing, winning 34-27.

The Lions did pull to within one score, thanks to a combination of Packers coach Mike McCarthy going ultra-conservative and the Packers’ defense becoming unable to cover Lions receiver Marvin Jones. McCarthy barely had Rodgers pass at all in the second half, and Jones got open so often that he ended the game with 205 yards and two touchdowns.

Rodgers finished the game 15-for-24 for 205 yards, with four touchdowns and no interceptions. Eddie Lacy, who was called upon to take over in the second half, gained 103 yards on 17 carries.

The win improves the Packers to 2-1, still a game behind the Vikings in the NFC North. The Lions fall to 1-2 and look like they’ve got a very uphill climb to try to reach the playoffs.

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Weston Richburg first to be ejected for two unsportsmanlike fouls

The NFL put in a rule this season calling for a player to be ejected if he receives two unsportsmanlike conduct penalties in the same game and many felt that the way things got out of hand between Josh Norman and Odell Beckham last season had a lot to do with the change.

Beckham and Norman have avoided that kind of messiness during this Sunday’s game between the Redskins and Giants, but one of Beckham’s teammates has become the first victim of the new rule. Center Weston Richburg has been ejected in the fourth quarter after a second unsportsmanlike penalty.

Richburg was penalized for hitting Norman at the end of a solid catch and run by Beckham and a couple of plays after Norman was penalized for unnecessary roughness for hitting Sterling Shepard high when Shepard was a defenseless player. Richburg’s penalty cost his team 15 yards and killed momentum that had them in the red zone on a drive that ended with no points when Eli Manning was picked by Quinton Dunbar. Dunbar made a great one-handed catch, continuing an eventful day for the defensive back.

FOX cameras caught an upset Beckham stalking the sideline, getting hit in the head by a kicking net after kicking it and (it seemed on TV) tearing up before Manning went to calm him down, something that didn’t happen in last year’s game and something the Giants need so Beckham remains in the game as they try to come back from 26-24 down in the final 12 minutes.

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Redskins jump back into lead after fake punt

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - SEPTEMBER 25:  Head coach of the Washington Redskins Jay Gruden looks on against the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium on September 25, 2016 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) Getty Images

It’s been a sloppy affair at times in the Meadowlands this Sunday, but it’s also been a fun game to watch as the Redskins and Giants have exchanged the lead three times since the start of the third quarter.

It’s the Redskins in front 26-24 at the start of the fourth quarter after a 25-yard field goal by Dustin Hopkins.

The score was set up by an audacious play call by Jay Gruden. Facing a fourth-and-12 near midfield after an Olivier Vernon sack, Gruden opted to try a fake punt with Tress Way throwing a pass to cornerback Quinton Dunbar down the left sideline. It was completed for a 31-yard gain, giving the Redskins renewed life that they used to move back in front.

Injuries have mounted on both sides over the course of the afternoon. The Redskins are missing cornerback Bashaud Breeland, safety DeAngelo Hall, guard Shawn Lauvao and center Kory Lichtensteiger while the Giants have been playing without cornerbacks Eli Apple and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and defensive tackle Damon Harrison. Vernon also missed the last couple of plays before the Hopkins field goal and was getting his wrist, which landed him on the injury report, checked out.

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Vikings take lead, somehow

Minnesota Vikings' Sam Bradford (8) is congratulated by Jeremiah Sirles (78) after touchdown pass against the Carolina Panthers in the second half of an NFL football game in Charlotte, N.C., Sunday, Sept. 25, 2016. (AP Photo/Bob Leverone) AP

The Minnesota offense has emerged from its slumber, and the Panthers could end up paying for it.

A 10-play, 79-yard drive to start the second half, coupled with a two-point conversion, gave the Vikings a 16-10 lead.

The effort. capped by a 15-yard touchdown pass from Sam Bradford to Kyle Rudolph, more than doubled the entire offensive output for the first half, when the Vikings gained only 35 yards.

Then, after the teams traded punts, Vikigns cornerback Terence Newman intercepted Panthers quarterback Cam Newton, who has been harassed all day by the Minnesota front four. The Vikings parlayed the short field (43 yards) into a field goal, and a 19-10 lead.

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Jags close gap on another Allen Robinson touchdown

Michael Thomas, Allen Robinson AP

Allen Robinson caught his second touchdown pass of the game and the Jaguars trail the Ravens, 16-14, at the start of the fourth quarter.

Robinson’s third quarter touchdown was initially ruled incomplete but overturned on a replay challenge. Robinson’s touchdown catches from Blake Bortles have covered 11 yards and 3 yards.

Justin Tucker has three field goals and Joe Flacco has a touchdown run for the Ravens.

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