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Can NFC-least turn it around?
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Things could start getting sorted out in the NFC Least, uh, East, this Sunday as all four teams in the league’s most disappointing group play nondivisional games.
Sure, it’s only four weeks into the schedule, but it’s stunning that this usually powerful division has been so mediocre. The Cowboys are the biggest flop so far at 1-2, a half-game behind the Redskins, Giants and Eagles.
Washington has the early edge thanks to wins over Philadelphia and Dallas. The Giants haven’t even played a divisional game, and they won’t until Oct. 25.
Outside the NFC East, New York has a win over weak Carolina and a 10-sack demolition of Chicago, but looked awful in losses to Indianapolis and Tennessee. Those same Bears romped at Dallas, and the Packers handled the Eagles in Philly. The Redskins blew a big lead against Houston and also fell to St. Louis — which might not be so embarrassing now that the Rams are tied atop the NFC West, which also is a train wreck.
Dallas hosts Tennessee on Sunday, while Washington is home for Green Bay, Philadelphia is at San Francisco, and the Giants are at Houston.
“It’s a little bit of a fresh start,” Cowboys tight end Jason Witten said of coming off a Week 4 bye. “That doesn’t neglect what we’ve done in the past. I think we have to look at that with a critical eye, and we did. I think this team is moving forward.”
The Cowboys don’t have to move too far forward to grab the division lead.
“Ultimately, it’s what we do from now on,” coach Wade Phillips said. “We’ve won one in a row. We’re going for two, that’s where we’re going.”
Elsewhere Sunday, it’s Kansas City at Indianapolis, New Orleans at Arizona, St. Louis at Detroit, San Diego at Oakland, Chicago at Carolina, Denver at Baltimore, Atlanta at Cleveland, Tampa Bay at Cincinnati, and Jacksonville at Buffalo.
Monday night has a compelling matchup, with Minnesota at the New York Jets. The story line is further heightened by an NFL investigation involving Brett Favre. The star quarterback is alleged to have sent racy messages and photos to a former game hostess while he was the Jets in 2008.
Off this week are Miami (2-2), New England (3-1), Seattle (2-2) and Pittsburgh (3-1).

AFC West
Kansas City (3-0)
at Indianapolis (2-2)

It’s barely surprising there’s an undefeated team in this matchup. It’s shocking that the Chiefs are spotless, the league’s only club without a loss. Kansas City’s doing it with a strong running game led by Jamaal Charles and Thomas Jones, and a vastly improved run defense.
Beating the Colts would stamp the Chiefs as legitimate, even if Indy is battered on both sides of the ball, particularly in the secondary. Peyton Manning is off to one of the best starts of his illustrious career with 11 TD passes and one interception, and leads the league in passer rating. But the Colts are a .500 team even though they have the top three receivers in the conference.
“But we’re going to need all the tips we can get to conquer this one,” Chiefs LB Derrick Johnson said. “Peyton’s the best quarterback in the league.”

San Diego (2-2) at Oakland (1-3)

The Chargers could tie the longest active winning string against one team with a 14th consecutive victory over the Raiders. San Diego won its two home games handily, lost two close ones on the road. The Chargers often begin the season on a roller coaster, then surge. Other than the 2-2 record, the numbers look great: top-ranked overall on offense and defense. But that’s measured in yards, which can be misleading.
Other than a blowout loss in their opener at Tennessee, the Raiders have done well, a Sebastian Janikowski missed field goal short of being a .500 team.
“But we’re going to need all the tips we can get to conquer this one,” Chiefs LB Derrick Johnson said. “Peyton’s the best quarterback in the league.”

Denver (2-2) at Baltimore (3-1)
The Broncos made an impressive comeback at Tennessee and now get an even tougher road test. Kyle Orton has been brilliant at times as the league’s busiest passer, and he’ll need to keep his arm warm against the Ravens, the NFL’s stingiest team against the pass. Don’t expect much from Denver’s running game, statistically the worst of the 32 teams.
A last-minute rally at Pittsburgh lifted the Ravens into a tie with the Steelers atop the AFC North. This is their first of three home games in the next four matches.