The most hyped game of the week, the year and maybe the decade will be played Sunday night when the Bucs go to New England for the first game Tom Brady has played against the Patriots since he left last year.
Unfortunately, the game may not live up to the hype. The Pats are a touchdown underdog at home with a rookie, Mac Jones, at quarterback. And Bill Belichick has a losing overall record in the eight previous years he has been a head coach without Brady and made the playoffs just once.
Now a look at the rest of the weekend, including the real best game:
—The best game will feature a pair of unbeaten teams – the Cardinals at the Rams. Kyler Murray is 0-4 against the Rams, while the Rams will go with Matthew Stafford at quarterback. This is a late game on Fox, but Fox doesn’t have the doubleheader game so it won’t get a wide audience.
—The winner of the Rams-Cardinals game will go to 4-0 and three other 3-0 teams will be trying to go to 4-0. The Panthers play the 2-1 Cowboys and it will be no surprise if they suffer their first loss. The Raiders also have a tough task against the Chargers while Denver hosts Baltimore. If Panthers, Raiders and Broncos all lose, the Rams-Cardinals winner will be the only unbeaten team.
—The Jaguars became the first team to drop to 0-4 Thursday night even though they had a 14-0 lead and had the ball on the Bengals one in the final minute of the first half. Trevor Lawrence tried to run it in from the shotgun and was stopped inches short. The Bengals rallied to win 24-21 in the second half. The two New York teams – Giants and Jets – figure to fall to 0-4 against the Saints and Titans. The Lions and Colts play the Bears and Colts in division games.
—The struggling Steelers, who won their first 11 last year before collapsing now appear to be in rebuilding mode. Ben Roethlisberger is showing his age and doesn’t have a good line in front of them. They have a tough game against the Packers. Even Steeler fans understand they are rebuilding. There were 11,000 no-shows for the Cincinnati game. Mike Tomlin has never had a losing season in Pittsburgh. This could be the first.
—The 1-2 Seahawks are another struggling team and face a tough task against the 49ers, who suffered their first loss against the Packers last week because they were guilty of poor clock management. They let Aaron Rodgers have the ball with 37 seconds left.
—The Chiefs, off to a surprising 1-2 start, figure to get back on track against the Eagles, who had a mismatch against the Cowboys Monday night.
—The Bills figure to go to 3-1 when they face the Texans and rookie quarterback Miles Davis. Rookie quarterbacks are 1-11 this year.