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Week 2 in the NFL

The Nickel Package

Times staff writer Sam Farmer breaks down five areas worth watching in today's NFL matchups

September 17, 2006|Sam Farmer

5 PRESSURE COOKERS

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Michael Strahan

Giants, DE

* Led the league last season with most "pressures" -- combined quarterback knockdowns, 30, and hurries, 22.

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John Abraham

Falcons, DE

* Had a league-high 29.5 quarterback hurries for the Jets last season.

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Osi Umenyiora

Giants, DE

* If he keeps this up, he'll be a household name, albeit a frequently misspelled one.

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Willie McGinest

Browns, LB

* Former Patriots fixture ranked fourth in NFL pressures last season with 42.

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Jared Allen

Chiefs, DE

* If Kansas City is in line for a defensive revival, it all starts with this 6-foot-5, 270-pound mauler.

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5 POISED FOR A BREAKDOWN

* QB Kerry Collins, Titans -- Besides losing his last four starts against San Diego, he's 7-27 in his last 34 overall.

* WR Terrell Owens, Cowboys -- It's hard to doubt T.O. But he has averaged only 35.2 yards receiving vs. Redskins.

* RB Reuben Droughns, Browns -- His 27-yard Week 1 performance was the 11th straight sub-100-yard game.

* RB Kevin Jones, Lions -- In two games vs. Chicago, he has averaged 2.5 yards a carry with 58 yards total.

* QB Aaron Brooks, Raiders -- Sacked seven times in the opener, he faces a Baltimore defense in the groove.

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5 POISED FOR A BREAKOUT

* QB Peyton Manning, Colts -- He was ho-hum last week but has a rating of 116.0 against Houston over his career.

* RB Tiki Barber, Giants -- He has five consecutive 100-yards-plus rushing games against Philadelphia.

* DE Simeon Rice, Buccaneers -- In his last eight games against Atlanta, he has 8 1/2 sacks.

* RB Shaun Alexander, Seahawks -- He averaged 155.7 yards rushing with nine touchdowns in his last three games vs. Arizona.

* QB Brad Johnson, Vikings -- In seven games vs. the Panthers in his career, he has 12 touchdown passes with only three interceptions.

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5 NOTEWORTHY STATISTICS

* In his last three starts against the Giants, Philadelphia quarterback Donovan McNabb has completed 73.1% of his passes, for 888 yards, seven touchdowns and no interceptions.

* Oakland receiver Randy Moss hasn't had a touchdown reception in four consecutive road games.

* Arizona kicker Neil Rackers has made six of seven field-goal attempts of 50-plus yards against Seattle.

* St. Louis receiver Torry Holt has caught 10 passes in three consecutive games against the 49ers. He is the only player since 1970 to have at least 10 receptions in three straight games against a single opponent.

* San Diego tight end Antonio Gates has 16 touchdown catches in his last 13 home games.

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Source: Stats LLC

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5 LOCKS

* Baltimore over Oakland -- Judging by Monday's performance, the Raiders are the league's bottom dwellers.

* Cincinnati over Cleveland -- Bengals' defense looked a lot better in Week 1 than it did in 2005.

* Chicago over Detroit -- The Lions are 5-35 on the road since 2001, and winning in Chicago isn't easy.

* Indianapolis over Houston -- The Colts won ugly at New York; they should roll against Texans.

* San Diego over Tennessee -- Chargers have lost last three home openers. They'll turn that around here.

* Last week: 4-1.

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