Last season, the AFC South had the best record in football and, like the NFC East, qualified three teams for the playoffs. Neither division had a team with a losing record.
But the NFC East has not lost a game outside the division this season. Its teams boast a 10-2 record. The AFC South is only 5-6 this season as Houston, Jacksonville and Indianapolis have struggled.
The Cowboys, Eagles and Giants might be the three best teams in football right now. Take your pick. And the Redskins have beaten New Orleans and Arizona the past two weeks.
1. Dallas, 3-0 -- The Cowboys are 32-12-2 at home against the Redskins.
2. Philadelphia, 2-1 -- The Eagles have allowed only 45.7 rushing yards per game and 2.4 yards per carry the first three weeks.
3. NY Giants, 3-0 -- The Giants are off to their best start since 2000.
4. Pittsburgh, 2-1 -- Ben Roethlisberger was sacked eight times by the Eagles last Sunday, putting him on pace for a team-record 64 this season.
5. Tennessee, 3-0 -- The Titans try to go 4-0 for the first time in team history.
6. Denver, 3-0 -- The Broncos’ 72 first-half points are more than 20 teams have scored overall.
7. San Diego, 1-2 -- The Chargers’ 110 points ranks second in franchise history through three games, behind only the 114 scored by the 1981 team.
8. Indianapolis, 1-2 -- The Colts, who are without safety Bob Sanders, are giving up 199.3 rushing yards per game.
9. New England, 2-1 -- The Patriots haven’t visited San Francisco in a regular-season game since 1995, and are 0-3 lifetime there. San Francisco and Washington (0-2) are the only cities in which the Patriots have never won.
10. Green Bay, 2-1 -- The Packers have won 19 of their past 23 games.
11. Buffalo, 3-0 -- Trent Edwards is 8-4 as an NFL starter.
12. Washington, 2-1 -- The Redskins have won only once in the past 11 trips to Texas Stadium.
13. Arizona, 2-1 -- The Redskins stopped the Cardinals’ streak of scoring 20 or more points at 10 games. It was the longest active streak in the NFL.
14. New Orleans, 1-2 -- Drew Brees is 3-0 vs. San Francisco, completed 65.8 percent of his passes for 858 yards with seven touchdowns, one interception and a 103.9 rating.
15. Tampa Bay, 2-1 -- Since hiring Monte Kiffin as defensive coordinator in 1996, the Bucs have finished 11th, third, second, third, ninth, sixth, first, fifth, fifth, first, 17th and second in yards allowed.
16. Jacksonville, 1-2 -- Fred Taylor averages 84.5 yards per game in his past four games against Houston.
17. Carolina, 2-1 -- Jake Delhomme has completed 61.9 percent of his passes against Atlanta for 962 yards, eight touchdowns, three interceptions and a 92.7 passer rating.
18. Baltimore, 2-0 -- The Ravens have averaged 37:02 in time of possession to 22:58 for opponents.
19. Seattle, 1-2 -- Julius Jones has averaged 144 rushing yards in four games at Qwest Field.
20. Minnesota, 1-2 -- The Vikings have won four in a row against the Titans/Oilers.
21. Chicago, 1-2 -- Kyle Orton has won eight of his past nine starts at home and is 9-2 overall at Soldier Field.
22. San Francisco, 2-1 -- J.T. O’Sullivan ranks second in the NFC with a 104.6 passer rating. He has thrown three touchdowns and one interception.
23. NY Jets, 1-2 -- Chansi Stuckey aims to become the first Jets’ receiver since Keyshawn Johnson in 1998 to record a touchdown reception in each of the first four games.
24. Atlanta, 2-1 -- Michael Turner has rushed for 366 yards in his first three games with Atlanta.
25. Miami, 1-2 -- Joey Porter is tied second in the NFL with four sacks.
26. Oakland, 1-2 -- The Raiders have lost nine in a row to the Chargers.
27. Houston, 0-2 -- The Texans are 7-5 all time vs. the Jags.
28. Cleveland, 0-3 -- The Browns have been 0-3 only four other times since 1950.
29. Cincinnati, 0-3 -- The Bengals, having won six of the past seven, lead the series with the Browns 35-34.
30. Detroit, 0-3 -- The Lions were 8-50 on the road under Matt Millen, who was fired as team president this week.
31. Kansas City, 0-3 -- The Chiefs have lost 12 games in a row.
32. St. Louis, 0-3 -- Only Cleveland (26 points) has scored fewer points than the Rams’ 29, which is the reason they benched Marc Bulger.
Terrell Owens has only 10 catches this season, but he torched the Redskins at Texas Stadium last Nov. 18. The Redskins, playing their first full game without safety Sean Taylor, watched as T.O. lit them up for eight catches, 173 yards and a team-record four touchdowns. Shawn Springs played that game and has played in several others against T.O.
Owens had 17 catches for 202 yards and two touchdowns in four games when T.O. was with the 49ers and Springs the Seahawks. In a 2006 meeting against Springs, Owens had seven catches for 76 yards and a touchdown.
So bet on T.O. and the Cowboys at Texas Stadium, where Washington has won only once in its past 11 tries.
COWBOYS 28, Redskins 14
Charean’s season record: 2-1
Green Bay (+1 1/2) over TAMPA BAY -- Since hiring Jon Gruden as coach in 2002, the Bucs are 6-4 in September home games. The Packers might wear down in the heat, but they are the better team. They own a 12-5 road record under coach Mike McCarthy, including 9-2 in their last 11 games.
Packers 20, BUCS 17
Charean’s season record: 0-2
SAN DIEGO (-7) over Oakland -- Lane Kiffin still has a job. For now. Everyone knows he’s gone, even Kiffin. Raiders linebacker Thomas Howard has referred to the speculation about Kiffin’s future as “drama,” and it has been nothing if not a soap opera.
Kiffin said speculation about his future is taking a toll on his family: “My wife’s pregnant with our third child, and it’s due in January, so she has a lot of concerns. I feel unfortunate for that. You know how this thing is. All of a sudden she’s got realtors coming by the house asking if we’re putting the house up. So it’s tough, especially on a pregnant woman that doesn’t know where she’s going to be when her child’s delivered. If there was any regret, that’s what it would be.”
It’s tough on everyone in Oakland, including the players.
Chargers coach Norv Turner, a former Raiders head coach, must be chuckling.
CHARGERS 27, Raiders 10
Charean’s season record straight up: 2-0
Charean’s season record against spread: 1-0-1
-- Home team in caps.
The Panthers, who play Atlanta’s Michael Turner this week, have held San Diego’s LaDainian Tomlinson (97 yards) and Minnesota’s Adrian Peterson (77 yards) under 100 yards rushing. Tomlinson and Peterson weren’t 100 percent, but Turner knows he has his work cut out for him.
“Carolina has always been known for having a pretty tough defense,” Turner told Atlanta reporters. “They got those big guys up front. It’s a really big defensive line.”