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Eric Walden's NFL Four Downs: Getting defensive about bad offense
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

First down

Seattle at Houston, 11 a.m., Ch. 13 • For all the offensive talent present here — well, hello there, Arian Foster, Marshawn Lynch, Andre Johnson and Russell Wilson — these teams have been a teensy bit off on that side of the ball. Fortunately, these teams boast enough star power on the other side — J.J. Watt, Richard Sherman, nice to see you — that it doesn't feel like heresy to root for a defensive game.

Second down

Pittsburgh vs. Minnesota, at London, 11 a.m., Ch. 2 • Roger Goodell reportedly has aspirations of eventually putting a team in London full-time — a plan that has been met with no small amount of dubiousness and cynicism. Fortunately for the critics, this game is sure to set the process back a few decades. Both teams 0-3? Check. Largely devoid of star power? Also check. Jolly good show, Roger, old chap!

Third down

Philadelphia at Denver, 2:25 p.m., Ch. 13 • I wonder if the realization that forcing an already-suspect defense to play 40 minutes every week because the offense never has ball for longer than a minute and a half at a time will force Chip Kelly to make some concessions. Then again, considering his team is unlikely to stop Peyton Manning & Co., no matter what, he may as well try to keep up.

Fourth down

New England at Atlanta, 6:30 p.m., Ch. 5 • For years, we were told the Pats could plug in anyone next to Tom Brady and be fine. That he is 24th in passer rating and 26th in completion percentage is perhaps an indication that getting stingy and losing five-time Pro Bowler Wes Welker was, in retrospect, a bad decision. Speaking of things that are not as good as they used to be, has Atlanta figured out it's not 2012 anymore?

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