Week 3 of the NFL Preseason Signals Shifts Of Power In The NFL

It’s Week 3 of the NFL preseason and the schedule features one stadium opening and five national TV games.

On Friday night, August 27, the Kansas City Chiefs will host the Philadelphia Eagles at New Arrowhead Stadium.

Completed in three years, the stadium renovations will allow the Chiefs to preserve the great tradition of the franchise while also providing their fans with one of the best gameday experiences in the NFL.

“Our vision for the New Arrowhead was ‘new body, same soul,’” says Chiefs chairman CLARK HUNT. “We wanted to give our fans all of the amenities of a brand-new, first-class venue while preserving the iconic elements of the stadium. I am delighted to say that we exceeded my loftiest expectations, and we are extremely proud to show our fans the results.”

Among the amenities New Arrowhead has to offer are wider concourses, an increased number of restroom facilities and a variety of new concession and merchandise options, all of which were designed so fans miss as little action as possible. The venue also features state-of-the-art video and sound systems so fans can experience the game like never before. As fans approach the stadium plaza gates, they will be greeted by large LED video display boards. Once inside the seating bowl, fans will be drawn to the new football-shaped video screens and ribbon boards, which will provide instant replays, statistics and other information.

“For our family, Arrowhead is also a special place because of what it meant to my father, LAMAR,” says Clark Hunt. “This stadium was born out of his vision for the sport of pro football in Mid-America and his passion for the Chiefs. And, by his own account, it was his favorite place on Earth.”

The national TV slate for Week 3 of the preseason kicks off at Lambeau Field when the Green Bay Packers host the AFC champion Indianapolis Colts (Thursday, ESPN, 8:00 PM ET) in a matchup between two 2009 playoff teams.

Two of the game’s elite quarterbacks will take the field – Indianapolis’ PEYTON MANNING and Green Bay’s AARON RODGERS. Last season, Manning won his fourth AP NFL Most Valuable Player award, passing for 4,500 yards, 33 touchdowns and a 99.9 passer rating to lead the Colts to a league-best 14-2 record. Rodgers, who was selected to the Pro Bowl, passed for 4,434 yards with 30 TDs and a 103.2 rating and guided the Packers to the postseason.

“Of all the times that I can remember over the past 30 years, this might be the most skilled group of quarterbacks that I’ve seen at one time,” says NFL Network analyst MATT MILLEN about the quality of the QB position across the league. “It doesn’t all come down to the quarterback, but this is a quarterback-driven league.”

Rodgers has been particularly sharp so far this preseason, completing 20 of 24 passes (83.3 percent) for 275 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions for a 154.0 passer rating.

“Aaron has been excellent,” says Packers head coach MIKE MC CARTHY. “He has been sharp and he’s doing all of the little things that are necessary to continue to spread the ball around and keep our offense in good looks. He’s doing an excellent job.”

WINNING IS A HABIT: The past 16 Super Bowl winners have a combined preseason record of 42-24 (.636) in their Super Bowl winning seasons.

The other four national TV games in Week 3 of the NFL preseason:

•SAN DIEGO at NEW ORLEANS (Friday, CBS, 8:00 PM ET): Another contest between two 2009 playoff teams as the AFC West champion Chargers visit the Super Bowl champion Saints.

For Super Bowl XLIV MVP DREW BREES, it will be another opportunity to face his former team (2001-05). The Chargers boast a Pro Bowl quarterback of their own in PHILIP RIVERS, who led the AFC with a 104.4 passer rating last year.

Last week, the Saints defeated the Houston Texans 38-20 playing at home in the Superdome for the first time since the NFC Championship Game.

“It was good to get a win,” says New Orleans head coach SEAN PAYTON. “There are still a lot of things we’ve got to work on, but fortunately, we’ve still got a lot of time left.”

The Chargers have been pleased this preseason with the play of rookie running back RYAN MATHEWS, who was the 12th overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft out of Fresno State.

“Ryan is our lead guy and he’s been impressive,” says San Diego head coach NORV TURNER. “He was good last week and he was better this week.”

•CLEVELAND at DETROIT (Saturday, NFLN, 5:00 PM ET): Two up-and-coming young teams will take the field in Detroit on Saturday.

The Lions defeated the Broncos 25-20 last week in Denver. Rookie running back JAHVID BEST led the offense, rushing for 49 yards on eight carries (6.1 avg.) and adding two receptions for 10 yards.

“It’s going great,” says Detroit quarterback MATTHEW STAFFORD of the team’s chemistry. “Hopefully we just keep building on this. It’s still preseason and hopefully we can get better.”

Led by new quarterback JAKE DELHOMME, the Browns are looking forward to the 2010 season. Among Delhomme’s most versatile weapons is JOSHUA CRIBBS, who has been making strides at the wide receiver position. Cribbs, already one of the most dangerous returners in the league, amassed 2,510 all-purpose yards last season, the fifth-most in a single season in NFL history.

“Any time he touches the ball, regardless of what distance he gets it at, he’s a vertical threat,” says Browns head coach ERIC MANGINI about Cribbs. “Once the ball is in Josh’s hands in space, it goes from a catch to a kick return.”

•DALLAS at HOUSTON (Saturday, CBS, 8:00 PM ET): It will be a Lone Star State showdown on Saturday night at Houston’s Reliant Stadium.
“We’re going up against an excellent team,” says Texans head coach GARY KUBIAK about this week’s contest against the Cowboys.

Both teams feature an All-Star quarterback-wide receiver combination.

Dallas quarterback TONY ROMO passed for an NFC-best 4,483 yards last year and wide receiver MILES AUSTIN hauled in a career-high 81 catches for 1,320 yards and 11 touchdowns.

For Houston, Pro Bowl MVP quarterback MATT SCHAUB led the league with 4,770 yards and wide receiver ANDRE JOHNSON had 101 catches for an NFL-high 1,569 yards.

•PITTSBURGH at DENVER (Sunday, FOX, 8:00 PM ET): The week concludes with a Sunday night game featuring two AFC rivals.

“We are going to go out and get a lot of work, game play and see what we really have,” says Steelers wide receiver MIKE WALLACE about this game. Last week, Wallace had a 68-yard touchdown reception in Pittsburgh’s 24-17 win at the New York Giants.

The Broncos got a fine receiving performance of their own last week as JABAR GAFFNEY recorded six catches for 98 yards.

“He’s underrated in his playmaking skills,” says Denver quarterback KYLE ORTON about Gaffney. “He made a lot of really nice catches in tight coverage. He’s certainly one of our most dependable