After the early round of games, we've got two more games to tide us over until the Texans welcome the Patriots on Sunday Night Football. The Oakland Raiders have traveled east to Denver to take on the Broncos, while the Cowboys have traveled north to Lambeau to play the Packers.
Before Peyton Manning's demise, this game would have easily been pegged as a Broncos victory, because Manning versus Charles Woodson should have led to Manning's domination. But Manning has not been himself this season and won't even be under center this game. Instead Brock Osweiler will aim for four victories in a row, further giving credence to questions of whether Manning should be allowed to start once he's recovered from his foot injury. Derek Carr, for now, is looking like the best quarterback from the 2014 NFL Draft. Make no mistake, the Raiders aren't winning, but Carr definitely looks better than Blake Bortles, Teddy Bridgewater, and Johnny Manziel right now.
Meanwhile, in America's Dairy Land, the Packers look to regain control over the NFC North during a season in which they've looked vulnerable to teams they usually roll over. Aaron Rodgers is still the best quarterback in the game today, but his offense is missing Jordy Nelson desperately, and Randall Cobb can't do it all by himself. Tony Romo is out for the season, regardless of what Skeletor says; even if the Cowboys do make the playoffs, Romo would be better served letting his collarbone heal. Matt Cassel is not going to replace Romo, but he's not as awful as Brandon Weeden proved to be. Under Cassel's leadership, the Cowboys managed to finally win a game without Romo. On paper, this looks like a win for the Packers, but they've been letting teams hang around, so this could prove to be a toss-up.
This is your late afternoon games open thread. The Countdown to Kickoff for Texans-Patriots will launch at 3:30 p.m. CST, with Inactives posting about 90 minutes before kickoff, and the first quarter open thread at 7:15 p.m.
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