Digest of NFL stories for weekend use, moving for Nov. 2-3. For questions, please call (212) 621-1630. For repeats, call the service desk at (800) 838-4616.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
NEW ORLEANS — Drew Brees doesn't do a whole lot to attract attention to himself. If anything, the father of three in his mid-30s is a poster boy for wholesome family values. When he is seen on nationally aired TV commercials, it is usually having a picnic with his family in New Orleans' Audubon Park or applying mentholated ointment to the chest of one of his young boys.
Over the past several seasons, Brees has even made passing for around 5,000 yards and 40 touchdowns look routine. And as he prepares for his next game in the nation's biggest media market, he's on pace to do it again.
By Brett Martel. UPCOMING: 750 words and photos by 8 p.m. Thursday moving in advance for Nov. 2 release.
GAME OF THE WEEK
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — Halfway through the season, Andy Reid has the unbeaten Kansas City Chiefs (8-0) on a roll. Things don't look too bad in Buffalo, either, where another first-year head coach — albeit with far less experience — Doug Marrone has the Bills (3-5) showing signs of being competitive.
The two meet Sunday in a showdown the Chiefs would be well-advised not to overlook before entering their bye week. Banged-up as the Bills have been, they've shown resilience, particularly at home, where they're 2-2, with the two losses decided by a combined 5 points.
By John Wawrow. UPCOMING: 800 words and photos by 8 p.m. Thursday moving in advance for Nov. 2 release. SENT.
FBN--ON FOOTBALL-WEAK ENCORES
The idea in all sports is to build off a playoff season. That message has been lost on the Falcons, Texans, Vikings and Redskins, also-rans all. Even the Super Bowl champion Ravens are under .500.
By Pro Football Writer Barry Wilner. UPCOMING: 800 words and photos by 1 p.m. Friday moving in advance for Nov. 2 release. SENT.
FBN--NFL THIS WEEK
They came into the league together 37 years ago as expansion teams. One of them — the team that actually owns a Super Bowl title, the Buccaneers — looks like a new-to-the-NFL franchise. The other, the Seahawks, looks like a championship favorite.
On Sunday, the winless Buccaneers make the long journey to Seattle, where the Seahawks are practically unbeatable. A tall order for anyone, especially a team in disarray.
By Pro Football Writer Barry Wilner. UPCOMING: 1,600 words and photos by 1 p.m. Friday moving in advance for Nov. 2 release.
DENVER — For Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos, the first half of the season has been about both quantity and quality. Project No. 1 for the offense was to speed up things and run the no-huddle. By every measure, the project is working well. Over the first eight games, the Broncos' offense has run 593 plays compared to 536 over the first half of 2012. Manning and Co. have started 107 drives compared to 92 last season. And, most importantly, Denver's offense — not counting scores by the special teams and defense — has produced 319 points compared to 212 over the first eight games of last year.
By National Writer Eddie Pells. UPCOMING: 800 words and photos by 8 p.m. Thursday moving in advance for Nov. 2 release. SENT.
SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Colin Kaepernick is the new breed of 49ers quarterback, a far cry from clean-cut Hall of Famers Joe Montana and Steve Young. While the tattooed, beanie-wearing, large headphone-sporting Kaepernick looks nothing like the team's two greats under center, he already has that winning swagger, and a few other things: a strong arm and fast legs.
Kaepernick fully intends to follow in their footsteps and, he hopes, leave his mark and legacy on this proud franchise. As he nears the one-year mark from when he took over the starting job from 2005 No. 1 overall pick Alex Smith, Kaepernick has the NFC champion Niners (6-2) on quite a roll again: a five-game winning streak heading into the bye week.
By Janie McCauley. UPCOMING: 800 words and photos by 8 p.m. Thursday moving in advance for Nov. 2 release. SENT.
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Down 24-14 at halftime against the Chicago Bears two games ago, Giants defensive coordinator Perry Fewell was approached by a couple of key players. After five straight one-sided losses they wanted changes. Nothing big. Just a few tweaks to simplify things.
In the 10 quarters since Fewell agreed to changes, the Giants (2-6) have given up three points on defense and gotten their first two wins of the season. It's made the bye week tolerable.
By Tom Canavan. UPCOMING: 800 words and photos by 10 p.m. Thursday moving in advance for Nov. 2 release. SENT.
TEMPE, Ariz. —- Bruce Arians spent two decades in the NFL preparing to be a head coach. Fate pushed him into the job at Indianapolis — temporarily. Now in charge in Arizona, he has his team at 4-4 in its bye week and the job seems to fit him like a well-worn glove.
By Bob Baum. UPCOMING: 750 words and photos by 9 p.m. Thursday moving in advance for Nov. 2 release. SENT.
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Losing every game by double digits and chasing NFL records for futility, the Jacksonville Jaguars have significant problems and plenty of blame to go around for them. No one knows if or when things will turn around, but there is a clear point where it all started to unravel.
By Mark Long. UPCOMING: 750 words, photos by 8 p.m. Thursday moving in advance for Nov. 2 release. SENT.
DETROIT — The Detroit Lions, already with more wins than they had last season, have set themselves up to make a run toward the playoffs after their bye, thanks in large part to Calvin Johnson's talent, Matthew Stafford's moxie and Reggie Bush's versatility.
By Larry Lage. UPCOMING: 750 words, photos by 8 p.m. Thursday moving in advance for Nov. 2 release. SENT.
FBN--NFL NOTES. UPCOMING: 1,000 words, photos by 1 p.m. Friday moving in advance for Nov. 2 release.