Been too locked in on the Broncos the past month to pay attention to the rest of the NFL? The Denver bye week is a perfect time to catch up on the resurgent, Jared Goff-led Rams, the wildly up-and-down Patriots, the slow-out-of-gates Chargers and Giants and the cast of offensive rookies around the league turning heads. Oh, and will the Chiefs, the last remaining unbeaten in the league, be knocked off their perch? (Games on Sunday unless otherwise noted.)
Game of the Week: Packers (3-1) at Cowboys (2-2), The hallmark of Dallas’ success last season was its bruising run game. This year, that component of the offense can be described as uneven at best. To keep up in the NFC East, the Cowboys need to get Ezekiel Elliott rolling.
Patriots (2-2) at Buccaneers (2-1), 6:25 p.m, Tom Brady, at 40 years old, leads the NFL with 1,399 passing yards. But New England’s defense has statistically been the worst in the league by a wide margin. That could be trouble vs. Jameis Winston, Mike Evans and Co.
Jets (2-2) at Browns (0-4), The Jets have ridden their defense to a surprising two-game winning streak. Cleveland coach Hue Jackson said he remains confident in rookie QB DeShone Kizer despite a winless debut month.
Panthers (3-1) at Lions (3-1), Carolina WR Devin Funchess has had a breakout start to the season with 17 catches for 216 yards and two touchdowns. Marvin Jones is the big-play threat for the Lions, averaging 16.3 yards per catch with two scores.
49ers (0-4) at Colts (1-3), San Francisco’s last three losses have come by a combined eight points. The Colts were tied at Seattle, 18-18, in the third quarter before falling apart and giving up 28 unanswered points.
Titans (2-2) at Dolphins (1-2), Renting QB Jay Cutler hasn’t worked out for Miami, which has gone consecutive games without scoring a touchdown. Tennessee is hopeful QB Marcus Mariota (hamstring) will be healthy and ready to help the Titans bounce back from a lopsided loss to Houston.
Chargers (0-4) at Giants (0-4), Neither team thought it would be still searching for its first win in the second week of October, but the team that falls short Sunday can turn the page firmly to next season.
Cardinals (2-2) at Eagles (3-1), Philadelphia is off to a hot start behind a rushing attack (143 yards per game) that is tied for third in the league and a rushing defense (70.8) that ranks second. The Cardinals are last in rushing at 57 yards per game.
Jaguars (2-2) at Steelers (3-1), Rookie Leonard Fournette has played a big role in Jacksonville’s No. 2 rushing offense (148.8) yards per game. Pittsburgh’s Le’Veon Bell broke out with 186 total yards and two TDs in a win over the Ravens last week.
Seahawks (2-2) at Rams (3-1), First-year coach Sean McVay has the Rams in position to take a firm lead in the NFC West race. QB Jared Goff has made big strides. Is he ready for the Seattle defense?
Ravens (2-2) at Raiders (2-2), Oakland’s offense was already sputtering. Now the Raiders will be without QB Derek Carr (back) for at least two weeks. The Ravens are last in passing offense at 143 yards per game.
Chiefs (4-0) at Texans (2-2), Yes, Kansas City has the NFL’s top rushing offense behind rookie sensation Kareem Hunt. But Alex Smith’s continued growth has been a major part of the Chiefs’ unbeaten start. Rookie QB Deshaun Watson has given the Texans life.
Vikings (2-2) at Bears (1-3), 6:30 p.m, Chicago rookie QB Mitchell Trubisky will make his NFL debut on national television against a division rival. The Vikings, meanwhile, have to find a way to deal with the absence of promising rookie RB Dalvin Cook (torn ACL).