All the games that really matter; three sentences worth of description.
49ers @ Chiefs (1:00 PM, Sunday)
Mike Singletary is exactly the kind of coach the 49ers need to turn talented underachievers into a high functioning team built on maximizing the talents of individuals plagued by a variety of discipline issues. Still, if he can’t get his staff, which is unfortunately all the wrong kinds of “old school,” to start rolling with the new in its game planning, this highly talented team is going to walk into a hostile stadium and lose to a team that, though significantly strapped for talent, is finding ways to win. This team’s talent will either crush its opponents, or its coaches, and this week will be a major factor in determining which is going to be the result.
Lions @ Vikings (1:00 PM, Sunday)
First, they ran into officials that they couldn’t rely on to do their jobs. Next, they ran into a player they couldn’t possibly imagine playing the way he’s playing. This week, however, the Lions either prove their raw, angry physicality is evolving into a cohesive plan of attack, or they’re a pleasant sideshow that loses well.
Buccaneers @ Steelers (1:00 PM, Sunday)
One team’s swagger comes from a history intertwined with that of the league itself, the presence of Noll and Cowher looming large over the sidelines. The other has the kind of swagger the only comes from not having been around long enough to know any better. Steal a third win from the kings of the old guard, Tampa, and the fever dream gets to last longer than anyone could have imagined.
Jets @ Dolphins (8:20 PM, Sunday)
You’re either a real villain or a schoolyard bully in this league. The bullies fade when you hit them back, while the villains just attack harder, more furiously than before. The Jets are 1-1, and this game gets to be the rubber match on the identity crisis.
Packers @ Bears (8:30 PM, Monday)
Up until now, the Packers have been able to run away from opponents. Against a Bears team whose offense is proving to be just as powerful and versatile, they could have trouble, and you can’t run from trouble. Ain’t no place that far.