How do the Dolphins respond after the Jonathan Martin situation? This is a dark cloud hanging over the team as they ready to play the Buccaneers on Monday night. Can they get past it? Will it impact what they do? Or will getting on the field put it behind them for 60 minutes? The loss of Richie Incognito and Martin will be felt from a football standpoint, even if they weren't playing great. They were starting for a reason.
What can we expect from Packers QB Seneca Wallace? It's impossible to replace Aaron Rodgers and expect close to the same results. But the Packers can only hope that Wallace can make a few plays with his arm down the field and get outside the pocket to put pressure on a defense. He struggled after taking over Monday night.
How do the Bengals handle the loss of Geno Atkins? Anytime you lose an All-Pro player like Atkins, it's a tough blow. But the Bengals drafted Brandon Thompson and Devon Still in 2012 with the idea they would be a factor. Now is their time.
Can Baltimore get the running game going? It's hard to believe this team is averaging 2.8 per rush. That is terrible. The Ravens need to get push in the middle and the tight ends have to block better. The new scheme has given the line problems. Not facing Atkins will help.
How do the Broncos and Texans respond without their head coaches? The good thing for both teams is that their interim coaches are former head coach, Wade Philips with the Texans and Jack Del Rio with the Broncos. The Broncos also have Coach Peyton Manning to help. I don't think there will be much trouble for either team adjusting.
Robert Mathis vs. Jake Long: Long had a rough go of it last season when he faced the Colts with the Dolphins, but he was hurting then and has played better this season for the Rams. Mathis leads the NFL in sacks with 11½, but was held without one last week against Houston. This should be fun.
Panthers defensive line vs. 49ers offensive line: The Niners' line is made up of brutish tough guys. The Panthers are a young, rising group that can get after the quarterback. The battles within the battle will be great theater. The 49ers' tackles vs. those Panthers ends should be good stuff.
49ers QB Colin Kaepernick vs. Panthers QB Cam Newton: No, they won't be on the field at the same time, but this is a matchup that matters. Why? Newton was the forgotten quarterback last year when Kaepernick (and others) burst onto the scene. Now of the two, Newton is playing the better quarterback. Who wins their first matchup?
The return of Bills QB EJ Manuel: He has missed four games with a knee injury, but returns to face the Steelers. Will he show rust from his time away? Or can he get it going in a big way against a defense that has struggled?
Saints defensive coordinator Rob Ryan vs. the Cowboys: The Cowboys made a change and let Ryan go, and he ended up in New Orleans with the Saints. Now he gets a chance to face his former team and Tony Romo. You know Ryan would love to get back at Jerry Jones. That's his way.