Three things to watch for this week

• In what could be a preview of a first-round playoff matchup, the Lynx travel to Phoenix on Thursday for a game against the Mercury. The Lynx are 2-0 against Phoenix this season, with both wins coming at Target Center.

• The Gophers narrowly escaped with a victory in their opener against South Dakota State. The difficulty level increases this week with a trip to Fresno State, but this is yet another game Minnesota needs to win to have the kind of season it wants to have.

• The Vikings' season starts for real on Sunday at home against Atlanta. Don't punt away your opportunity to watch, or you'll be kicking yourself. But no, seriously, don't worry about special teams. Nothing to see here.