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Fab five

1. Texans 2. Falcons

3. 49ers 4. Ravens

5. Patriots

Best bet

Redskins (2-3) over Vikings (4-1)

The Vikings have been one of the league's top surprises. But the Redskins' touted rookie quarterback, Robert Griffin III will work some fourth-quarter magic.

Broken Bills

Considering how much the Bills invested in their defense during the offseason, including a guaranteed $50 million to end Mario Williams, their performance has been one of the league's biggest disappointments.

Buffalo, struggling at 2-3, became the first team since 1950 to allow at least 550 yards in consecutive games and is the first to give up more than 300 rushing yards and 300 passing yards in the same game, last week against San Francisco.

"Coming into this (49ers) game, I wouldn't have imagined this in a million years," Bills linebacker Nick Barnett said. "The way they were running the ball on us, I've never been a part of two weeks like that ever."

Said linebacker Bryan Scott: "I'm sick of it because we're better than this. This is terrible."

Boast and post of the week

"Trust me when I say that I'll be back better than ever next year. But in the meantime, I want to thank my teammates, coaches, and you fans for all the amazing love and support. Oh, and we are still winning this year's Super Bowl."

Texans linebacker Brian Cushing, who sustained a season-ending ACL tear Monday

Times wires contributed to this report. Joe Smith can be reached at

Pink platform

There likely will be as much pink as pewter today at Raymond James Stadium as the Bucs join the NFL's efforts in supporting National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Ribbons will be painted onto the field and footballs with players donning pink cleats, gloves and towels. There will even be pink flags hanging from the pirate ship.

For Bucs linebacker Adam Hayward, the pink's purpose hits home. His mother, Pauline, died of breast cancer in August 2004.

"There's only so much you can do. Just bring the awareness. That's half the battle right there," Hayward said. "People just don't even know that a simple screening, $100 screening, can help save somebody's life. Just being able to help raise money for that and bring attention to people, it means a lot to me."

Irony of the week

In the head-scratching and stomach-turning headline of the week, Eagles QB Michael Vick owns a dog. The same Vick who served 19 months in prison for his role in a dog-fighting ring — one that included drowning, hanging and electrocuting dogs — is now charged with one's care. Vick is legally allowed to own a dog and says it is for his kids. But while there's no problem with Vick getting a second chance at life — with his family and in the NFL —'s Greg Couch writes the thought of him owning a dog is "scary … and sickening."

Comparison of the week

The Panthers' "Superman," quarterback Cam Newton, has taken a super fall. Just one year ago, Newton was one of the league's shining stars, winning the Offensive Rookie of the Year and a Pro Bowl trip.

But Newton's struggles have been magnified by Carolina's 1-4 start. And he has been criticized by teammates and media for sulking.'s Don Banks made a potentially ominous comparison, saying Newton's regression is starting to resemble Vince Young's. No one is saying Newton will turn out like Young, who went from Heisman Trophy runnerup, national champion and NFL star rookie to unemployed and reportedly broke.

But as Banks writes, "Young's once-promising career in Tennessee illustrates nothing is guaranteed. At least not for long."

Rarely do defending Super Bowl champions fly under the radar as much as the Giants have this season. • It's not like they're in a large media market, right? • But after getting overshadowed by the nonstop coverage of Tim Tebow mania and the Jets during training camp, the Giants didn't get off to a dominating start (just 3-2). • New York has nowhere to hide today as it plays in one of the season's most anticipated showdowns: at the 49ers in a rematch of last season's NFC title game. • Giants coach Tom Coughlin has done his best to keep their underdog status, saying last week, "Nobody gives us a chance to win." • But as's Alex Marvez writes, "Nor should they, quite honestly." • Besides the fact the 49ers are still bitter from the 20-17 overtime loss that kept them from the Super Bowl, they're playing as well as any team right now. San Francisco (4-1) crushed its past two opponents, the Jets and Bills, by a combined 79-3. • "The fact of the matter is they're a good team and they're playing well," Giants defensive end Justin Tuck said. "I think if I was a betting man and didn't have anything to do with this team, I would probably pick them as favorites, too."

Around the NFL 10/13/12 [Last modified: Saturday, October 13, 2012 6:07pm]
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