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Senior NFL Columnist

Ten things that intrigue me about NFL Week 3

Will Peyton Manning survive without LT Ryan Clady? (USATSI)

How will the 49ers bounce back? -- When you take a beatdown the way they did against Seattle, getting mauled on both lines, it's important to show that was more of an aberration than the norm. The Colts are no pushovers, so this game will be a good test. If the 49ers struggle, that will be a bit of a red flag going forward.

How much will Trent Richardson play for the Colts? -- I would imagine that he's been cramming like crazy to learn the playbook, but it's the passing game that will be the biggest challenge. If the Colts have him in the lineup, my guess is he will be in there to run it. That's the easy part. Blitz pickups and route running are the hard things to do.

Do the Patriots get the passing game cranked up? -- Like I highlighted in After Further Review here this week: It's only a matter of time. The timing issues are holding the Patriots back. When Tom Brady and his young receivers get that down, watch out. Is it this week against the Bucs and Darrelle Revis?

Will the Jaguars cross the 50? -- OK, I am kidding about that one. But will they score an offensive point? The Seahawks have been dominant on defense and the Jaguars have been anemic on offense. The only issue is how focused will Seattle be.

Can the Dolphins show they are for real? -- If Miami, which has won two road games to open the season, can come home and beat a good Atlanta team, it will show they are indeed a legitimate playoff contender.

The Packers pass offense against the talented Bengals defense and all those pass rushers -- To beat Aaron Rodgers and the Packers, you have to hit him. A lot. The Bengals have the ability to pressure Rodgers. That will be the key to this game. If the Bengals do, they go to 2-1. If the Packers handle that front, the Packers will go to 2-1.

EJ Manuel vs. Geno Smith -- This is the battle of two rookie starting quarterbacks. They have each done some good things, but there has been a lot of bad too. Whichever one of them limits the mistakes will be the one to win this game. I also want to see both go down the field more.

Can the Super Bowl Champs get it going against the Texans? -- The Texans blew out the Ravens last season, which some saw as a message about the best team in the conference. As we found out, that wasn't the case. Baltimore went on to win it all, while Houston went out in the second round. Neither of these two teams has been great so far, so it will be interesting to see if one of them can get it cranked up.

Will the Steelers let Ben Roethlisberger go? -- The Steelers have looked horrible on offense so far, and a big reason why is the design. Offensive coordinator Todd Haley has done a horrible job with his quarterback. He's too restrictive. It's time to let him go against the Bears. If not, the Steelers could be in for a long, long season.

Will the Broncos offense be any different with star left tackle Ryan Clady on the bench? -- The obvious answer is yes. Chris Clark takes over as the starter, and he isn't close to being in the same class. He will also be working against Lamarr Houston, who is off to a fast start for the Raiders. But this is about Peyton Manning. He's one of the best, if not the best, at making his line look better with his work in the pocket.

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