Return to form: Week 3 sees return of NFL heavy hitters

09/27/15 by Matthew S. Vandriak

Week 3 of the NFL will welcome back some star players who have missed the first two games of the season. But one undefeated team will be down yet another star player. So who's in and who's out? Let's take a look at this week's top NFL matchups.
Atlanta at Dallas
One of these teams will taste defeat for the first time in 2K15. The good news for Dallas is they've won their first two games. The bad news is they've lost a star offensive player in each of those wins. Dez Bryant was lost for 8 to 10 weeks in Week 1, now Tony Romo will miss at least 7 weeks due to a broken collarbone. In Romo's place will be Brandon Weeden, who will be making his 2nd start in a Cowboys uniform. Weeden came in strong off the bench last week, completing all 7 of his passes and throwing a touchdown as well. But he's 5 and 16 in his career as a starting QB in the NFL and has lost his past 8 starts. The even worse news for Weeden and the Cowboys is they may be down another weapon on offense, as TE Jason Witten is nursing knee and ankle injuries and may not be able to play. Both of Atlanta's wins have been over NFC East teams, as they've defeated both Philadelphia and the New York Giants. The Falcons offense will feel the effects of injury as well with rookie RB Tevin Coleman out for this week due to injured ribs. But Atlanta will have Julio Jones, who has caught 22 passes for 276 yards through the first two weeks of the season, and Matt Ryan, who is 3rd in the NFL with 661 yards passing. The Cowboys have won their only home game this season, while the Falcons won their lone road game.

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Pittsburgh at St. Louis
These 1 and 1 teams are both expecting the debuts of their expected starting running backs. Rams rookie Todd Gurley is expected to play for the first time this season after missing the first two weeks of the season due to injury. LeVeon Bell will return after sitting out the Steelers first 2 games due to suspension. Bell's return doesn't bode well for the Rams defense, which is allowing an average of 153 yards per game. Bell was the NFL's second leading rusher in 2014. St. Louis has been good against the pass, but will face the tandem of Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown, who have been practically unstoppable so far. Brown leads the NFL with 328 yards receiving, while Roethlisberger is second in the league with 771 yards passing. As a team, the Steelers lead the NFL averaging 469 yards per game. The bad news for Pittsburgh is they will be without LB Ryan Shazier, who is 2nd in the NFL with 22 tackles. The Rams have won their only home game this season, while the Steelers are 0 and 1 on the road.
San Francisco at Arizona
After opening the season with an impressive win over Minnesota, the 49ers were brought back down to earth last week when they were blown out by Pittsburgh. The Cardinals are 2 and 0 for the second straight season behind the tandem of Carson Palmer and Larry Fitzgerald. Palmer has passed for 492 yards and 7 TD's so far this season, while Fitzgerald is coming off of an 8 catch, 112 yard performance against Chicago last week, where he also caught 3 touchdown passes. Arizona will also get a boost on the offensive line with the returns of guard Mike Iupati and tackle Bobby Massie. San Francisco will lean on QB Colin Kaepernick, who passed for 335 yards and 2 TD's in last week's loss. The 49ers will be hoping to see the Carlos Hyde of the opening week of the season, when he led all rushers with 168 yards. Hyde was held to 43 yards on the ground against Pittsburgh last week. San Francisco has won 10 of the past 12 meetings between these teams, but the Cardinals won last years matchup in Arizona.
Kansas City at Green Bay
The Packers will be looking for their 3rd straight win this season and 11th consecutive win at Lambeau Field, while the Chiefs will be trying to bounce back from a tough loss. Green Bay is hoping starting RB Eddie Lacy and WR Davante Adams will be healthy, as both were injured last week and were limited in practice this week. But the Packers will have Aaron Rodgers, who has passed for 438 yards and 5 TD's without throwing an interception yet this season. Green Bay's defense, which is giving up an average of 154 yards rushing per game, will have their hands full with the Chiefs Jamaal Charles, who rushed for 125 yards last week but fumbled twice. Kansas City turned the ball over 5 times total as Denver came back from 7 points down in the 4th quarter by scoring 2 touchdowns in :09 seconds. Kansas City has won 6 of the past 7 meetings between these teams, including the last time they met in 2011.

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