1. An AFC East showdown at NYJ?
The Patriots are 3-2 because Tom Brady is on pace to throw for 5,446 yards, 35 touchdowns and three interceptions. But they’re in a three-way logjam with the Jets and Bills atop the AFC East because their defense is allowing opposing QBs to complete 66.5 percent of their passes with a 109.2 passer rating. Josh McCown and his Jets are heavy underdogs at home against New England, but they are rolling with three straight wins.
2. Yo, Adrian! Can you lend a hand?
Now that he’s been traded to a team that actually wants him, Adrian Peterson might have a chance to prove he has something left. Last in the league in rushing and averaging just 2.6 yards per carry, the Cardinals traded a conditional late-round pick for the former Viking and Saint. Sporting his new No. 23, Peterson will make his Cardinals debut against the visiting Buccaneers. He’s definitely fresh with only 81 yards on 27 carries.
3. Battle of division leaders … in JAX?
It’s mid-October and the Rams are traveling to Jacksonville for a matchup of division leaders. The Jaguars lead the AFC South outright, while the Rams are tied with Seattle in the NFC West. A week after Jared Goff was contained (48.9 passer rating) at home against Seattle, he’s on the road against a Jaguars defense that leads the NFL in defensive passer rating (56.8). A win makes Jacksonville 4-2 for the first time since 2007.
4. Keeping an eye on Mitchell, Bears
The Bears are 1-4, but it’s worth watching to see if rookie No. 2 overall pick Mitch Trubisky has what it takes to become the (very) rare franchise QB in Chicago. In last week’s debut, he started 5-for-6 but finished 7-for-19 with a game-killing interception against the Vikings. He hits the road Sunday at Baltimore. QBs are completing 53.7 percent of their passes with a 66.1 passer rating against the Ravens.
5. Getting a read on Lions, Saints
Two of the harder teams to get a read on are the Lions and Saints. They meet in New Orleans, where the Saints are coming off a bye. The Lions were playing some good defense until last week, when Cam Newton torched them for 355 yards and three touchdowns. The Saints, meanwhile, started out playing typically awful defense. But they’ve given up 12 points in the past two games, including a shutout of Miami.