NFL Late Games Preview: Players to Watch

WR Santana Moss (J.Jacobsohn/Getty Images)

Scout.com Senior NFL Analyst Ed Thompson takes a look at the players who are on a roll -- and a few who can't seem to get rolling -- as eight teams prepare to clash in the Week 4 late games.

Redskins (2-1) at Cowboys (3-0)

Santana Moss His 19 receptions and three touchdown catches are tops on the team, and his receptions total currently has him tied for fourth-best in the league. Moss has rolled up 276 receiving yards over the past three games.

Jason CampbellThe Redskins quarterback has completed 65.6 percent of his passes, thrown four touchdown passes and no interceptions. His 100.1 passer rating is much better than his career 80.2 mark. Campbell has looked more poised and comfortable the past two week. He'll need to maintain that demeanor at Dallas to lead his team to a win.

Clinton Portis He's scored three rushing touchdowns, but is averaging 3.8 yards per carry. He'll need a stronger performance than that against Dallas to help open up the passing game for Jason Campbell.

Shaun Suisham The Redskins kicker has been inconsistent, missing three of his seven field goal attempts this season. His 52.7-percent success rate is far below his record last year, when he converted 82.9 percent of his chances.

Rocky McIntosh The linebacker has forced a pair of fumbles and is currently second on the squad with 22 tackles this season. He also has a quarterback hit and half of a sack.

Tony Romo The Cowboys quarterback has thrown five touchdown passes, but has been picked-off three times, once in each contest. That's part of the danger you take on when you're tied for completing the most 20-plus yard passes (13) in the league.  The Packers sacked him three times last week during Dallas' win at Green Bay, but prior to that he hadn't suffered a sack. Romo enters this matchup with a passer rating of 103.2 , completing 67.4 percent of his passes. His 892 passing yards are third-best in the NFL.

Marion BarberAveraging 4.6 yards per carry, Barber has four rushing touchdowns, putting him in a tie for second-best in the league in that category. When the Cowboys running back runs with the ball, he gets a first down for his team on 35.5 percent of his attempts. He's also caught ten passes for 87 yards and another score. 

Jason Witten Clearly the favorite target of Tony Romo, Witten leads all tight ends in the NFL with 20 catches and is third overall in the NFL in that category. He's averaging 13.7 yards per catch.

Terrell Owens:  Still a big-strike threat, Owens is averaging 19.3 yards per catch and has scored three times.

DeMarcus Ware:  The outside linebacker has tallied three sacks, one in each contest so far this season. He also has four quarterback hits and a forced fumble. Ware's 13 tackles puts him in a tie for third place on the team in that category.

Bills (3-0) at Rams (0-3)

Marshawn Lynch: The second-year running back has scored four rushing touchdowns, but is averaging just 3.6 yards per carry. He has eight catches for 57 yards during the first three games.


DT Marcus Stroud
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Marcus Stroud The former Jaguar has knocked down four pass attempts from his defensive tackle spot on the Bills line. He also leads the team with two sacks and has been credited with 13 tackles and a quarterback hit.

Lee Evans: With a team-best 244 receiving yards, Evans is averaging 20.3 yards per catch. He has four catches for 20-plus yards, putting him in a tie for sixth-best in the NFL.

Leodis McKelvin The rookie cornerback is averaging 25.7 yards on kickoff returns.

Steven Jackson: The Rams running back is averaging just 3.2 yards per carry on 50 attempts, and he hasn't found the end zone yet. But he's been active in the passing game, catching a team-best 15 balls for 133 yards.

Josh Brown He's made all five field goal attempts through the first three weeks, including a pair of 50-plus yard opportunities.

James Hall The 6-foot-2, 280-pound defensive end leads the Rams with 20 tackles heading into Week 4.

Trent Green:  After missing 19 games over the past two seasons due to concussions, Trent Green will take the reigns at starting quarterback against Buffalo. Last year, he started five games for the Dolphins, throwing five touchdown passes and seven interceptions before landing on the injured reserve list with another concussion-related problem. Marc Bulger was sacked 11 times during the first three games, so keep an eye on how Green fares in that area against Buffalo.

Chargers (1-2) at Raiders (1-2)

Philip Rivers: The Chargers quarterback is fifth in the league in completion percentage (67.1) and fourth in passing yards (844). Particularly impressive is his nine touchdown passes against just two interceptions after three weeks of action. Rivers is also moving the chains well, getting a first down for his team with 42.4 percent of his passes, second-best in the league.


CB Antonio Cromartie
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

Antonio Cromartie: San Diego's amazing cornerback has defensed six passes and notched two interceptions. He's also made 17 tackles, including 15 solo efforts.

Chris Chambers Four of his six catches this season have been for touchdowns, and he's averaging 25.7 yards per catch.

LaDainian Tomlinson: One of the most feared runners in football has averaged just 3.3 yards per carry this year, and he has yet to break a run longer than 14 yards.

Darren McFaddenAveraging 5.7 yards per carry, the Oakland rookie will have to step up this week after a spotty performance last week where he averaged just 3 yards per attempt and tallied just 42 yards on the ground. With Justin Fargas sidelined again, the Raiders need McFadden to roll if they're going to keep pace with San Diego.

Jon AlstonHe's made five of the team's 16 solo tackles on special teams this season. 

JaMarcus Russell With two consecutive game performances where he didn't even complete 50 percent of his passes, JaMarcus Russell clearly isn't in a rhythm with the pro game yet. He's been careful not to throw any interceptions, and he's only been sacked four times, but at some point he's going to have to be more aggressive and accurate as a passer if he's not going to be another Raiders quarterback bust.

Johnnie Lee Higgins: Out of return specialists with at least ten opportunities, Higgins is currently second in the league, averaging a nifty 29.7 yards per kickoff return. The wide receiver is also handling punt returns, averaging 7.7 yards per chance. 

Sunday Night Game

Eagles (2-1) at Bears (1-2)

DeSean Jackson: The rookie has become Donovan McNabb's favorite target, evidenced by his team-best 17 catches for an average gain of 15.6 yards. Jackson is handling punt return duties for the Eagles as well and is averaging 10 yards per chance with just three fair catches.


QB Donovan McNabb
Chris Gardner/Getty Images

Donovan McNabb:  The Eagles quarterback threw his first interception of the season last weekend, but has five touchdown passes heading into Week 4 action. He's completed at least 63 percent of his throws in all three of his games this year, and has a 102.8 passer rating. McNabb's 838 passing yards are good enough for fifth place in the NFL rankings.

David Akers: Philadelphia's kicker has converted all six of his field goal opportunities. Five of those kicks have been from a distance of less than 40 yards.

Brian Dawkins: The veteran safety is off to another impressive start, forcing a pair of fumbles, recovering one fumble, defensing two passes, making 14 tackles and even getting to the quarterback once for a sack.

Matt ForteThe rookie running back is tied for the team lead in receptions (13) with WR Brandon Lloyd and has scored once following a catch. He's rushed for 304 yards—fourth-best in the NFL—averaging 4.2 yard per carry, and has scored one rushing touchdown.

Kyle Orton:  Although he's completed 67.2 percent of his passes, Orton has thrown as many interceptions as he has touchdowns -- two of each. He's been sacked six times and enters Sunday night's game with his longest completion covering just 32 yards.

Danieal Manning: Although both he and Devin Hester have each had six opportunities to handle kickoff return duties, it's Manning who has the best average, covering 27 yards versus Hester's 20 yards. Manning's longest return this season was 46 yards, while Hester hasn't broken one longer than 28 yards.

Alex Brown: Not only does he lead the team in sacks (2), he's also the leader in quarterback hits with four. Brown's made just six tackles, but he's also defensed three passes from his defensive end spot.

A member of the Pro Football Writers of America, Ed Thompson's player interviews and NFL features are published across the Scout.com network and at FOXSports.com. You can contact him by email through this link.

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