While Detroit, St. Louis and some other members of the NFL's 2007 bottom tier continue to struggle, the Atlanta Falcons have started off nicely.
Things could change Sunday when they go to Carolina.
The Falcons have won two of their first three games behind rookie QB Matt Ryan, free agent RB Michael Turner and veteran DE John Abraham, who leads the NFL in sacks with six. If he somehow continued at that two sacks a game pace, he'd end up with 32, almost 10 better than Michael Strahan's single-season record of 22 1/2.
It won't happen, of course, especially because Atlanta has only one other sack, meaning Abraham will be double- and triple-teamed every week. And the opposition is getting better; five of Abraham's sacks are against Detroit and Kansas City, two of the NFL's three worst teams.
``It's all about matchups,'' says Abraham, who against the Lions and Chiefs moved around to wherever he could find a favorable spot.
te Kiffin's confusing defenses and was just 13-of-33 for 158 yards with two interceptions.
The Panthers are favored by seven after losing for the first time, 20-10 at Minnesota, a game in which they had 12 penalties, six of them false starts Two were by left tackle Jordan Gross, who was beaten often by Jared Allen of the Vikings and will get Abraham a lot of the time.
Figure Abraham to get blocked better. Figure Ryan to be pressured because the Falcons' line isn't facing the Lions or Chiefs.
PANTHERS, 27-19

Baltimore (off) at Pittsburgh (Monday night)
The ``off'' is for Ben Roethlisberger's shoulder and hand injuries.
For Joe Flacco, going to Pittsburgh is similar to Ryan's trip to Charlotte.
STEELERS, 10-6

Washington (plus 11 1/2) at Dallas
This game is usually a struggle, even when Dallas is as good as it is right now.
COWBOYS, 29-24

Minnesota (plus 3) at Tennessee
Going with Gus Frerotte at QB may have salvaged the Vikings' season. Kerry Collins, another golden oldie, prevails this week.
TITANS, 19-15

Green Bay (plus 1) at Tampa Bay
The Cowboys gave Aaron Rodgers problems. The Bucs could do the same, although Brian Griese can't win throwing 67 passes again.
BUCS 17-13

Philadelphia (off) at Chicago
The ``off'' is for Brian Westbrook's sore ankle.
If the Eagles can harass Kyle Orton they way the harassed Roethlisberger ...
EAGLES 13-2

Denver (minus 9) at Kansas City
The Broncos are last in the league against the pass. But the Chiefs QB is will probably be Damon Huard, not Drew Brees or Philip Rivers, who bedeviled them the last two weeks.
BRONCOS, 27-17

Cleveland (plus 3 1/2) at Cincinnati
Ohio is 0-for-6 this season (as is Missouri), but the Bengals actually looked competitive in taking the Giants to OT last week.
BENGALS, 31-27

San Diego (minus 7) at Oakland
Norv Turner used to coach the Raiders and now coaches the Chargers. Who knows who the Raiders coach will be by Sunday.
CHARGERS, 33-19

San Francisco (plus 6) at New Orleans
The 49ers won their only road game 33-30 in Seattle.
SAINTS, 33-30.

Houston (plus 7 1/2) at Jacksonville
How long before we see Sage Rosenfels for the Texans?
JAGUARS, 21-16

Arizona (plus 3) at New York Jets
The Cardinals are 2-15 in the eastern time zone since 2003.
CARDINALS, 15-2

Buffalo (minus 8) at St. Louis
It took until the third game for the Rams to get a snap inside an opponents' 20. Marc Bulger wasn't the problem, but the NFL's worst team benched him anyway - Trent Green starts.
BILLS, 29-6

LAST WEEK: 7-9 (spread); 11-5 (straight up)
SEASON: 27-20 (spread); 31-16 (straight up)

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