This Week in the NFL _lowres

Associated Press photo by Ross D. Franklin San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh yells to the officials during the second half of last Sunday's game against the Cardinals.

Game of the Week: 49ers face Eagles looking to snap skid

Is there something bad brewing in San Francisco?

The 49ers are supposed to be competing with the Seattle Seahawks for the top seed in the NFC West but instead currently sit in third place at 1-2 and lost last week to the Arizona Cardinals, who were without starting quarterback Carson Palmer.

Even more troubling, the 49ers appear to be folding when the pressure ramps up. They’ve been outscored 52-3 in the second half of games. Good teams do not typically fold in such situations. They rise to the occasion.

That could be a sign of discord. There have been reports throughout the summer and now into the season that tension has arisen between coach Jim Harbaugh and different factions of the team.

Is he beginning to lose his locker room? The answer to that question is not known, and such talk can be silenced this week if San Francisco bounces back.

The big issue there is that their opponent this week is the Philadelphia Eagles, who are 3-0 and look like one of the better teams in the league. If the 49ers drop this contest, they’ll be 1-3 and their season could potentially be over with 75 percent of the schedule still remaining.

If that happens, if there is something ugly boiling beneath in the locker room, it could soon bubble to the surface.

Underhill’s Top Five Teams This Week

1. Seattle (2-1)

Big win over the Broncos puts the Seahawks back on top. Still a quality team.

2. Broncos (2-1)

Tough loss to the Seahawks, but it looked a lot better than the Super Bowl.

3. BENGALS (3-0)

Are we underrating this team? Offensive line has been flawless. Defense is forcing turnovers with ease.

4. Eagles (3-0)

Lose style points for coming behind in their first three games, but good teams overcome adversity.

5. Cardinals (3-0)

Might not be as good as their record, but they’re winning and deserve acclaim for the time being.

This Week’s Games

GREEN BAY (1-2) at CHICAGO (2-1)

WHEN: Noon Sunday

Line: Packers by 2

Briefly: Game marks 189th meeting in NFL’s oldest rivalry. ... Packers beat Bears in playoffs-or-bust finale last year at Soldier Field. Aaron Rodgers, in return from broken collarbone, hit wide open Randall Cobb for 48-yard TD on fourth-and-8 with 38 seconds left for NFC North title. Bears were in all-out blitz. S Chris Conte missed coverage assignment.

NICK’S PICK: Packers 30, Bears 27


WHEN: Noon Sunday

Line: Colts by 71/2

Briefly: Titans have lost two straight overall and five straight to Colts. ... Tennessee is 10-20 against AFC South teams since 2009. ... Leon Washington needs one more kickoff return for TD to break Josh Cribbs’ NFL record (eight). He also needs 60 yards on kickoff returns to join Darren Sproles as only active players with 7,000 return yards. ... RB Shonn Greene is averaging 4.8 yards per carry this season.

NICK’S PICK: Colts 31, Titans 24

DETROIT (2-1) at NEW YORK JETS (1-2)

WHEN: Noon Sunday

Line: Lions by 2

Briefly: Matchup of top two overall defenses in NFL, based on yardage allowed. ... Lions have not allowed opposing rusher to gain more than 80 yards through first three games. ... WR Calvin Johnson needs one game of 200 or more yards receiving to break tie with Hall of Famer Lance Alworth for most in NFL history with six. Johnson has at least one 200-yard game in each of past three seasons, and he’s going up against Jets defense that allowed Packers’ Jordy Nelson 209 yards receiving in Week 2.

NICK’S PICK: Lions 27, Jets 24

BUFFALO (2-1) at HOUSTON (2-1)

WHEN: Noon Sunday

Line: Texans by 3

Briefly: Bills DE Mario Williams was drafted by Houston first overall in 2006 and spent first six seasons with Texans. He holds Houston’s career sack record with 53. ... With 28 rushing touchdowns, RB Fred Jackson needs one more to tie Wray Carlton for fourth in franchise history. ... Rookie WR Sammy Watkins, chosen fourth overall, has 13 receptions for 167 yards and a touchdown. His seven receptions on third down are tied for most in AFC.

NICK’S PICK: Texans 21, Bills 17


WHEN: Noon Sunday

Line: Dolphins by 31/2

Briefly: Dolphins won 10 of past 11 regular-season meetings. ... Raiders’ 10 losses to Miami are most vs. any non-division teams since moving back to Oakland in 1995. ... Raiders giving up home game to play in London. ... Dolphins playing in London for second time having lost 13-10 to Giants in first regular-season game there in 2007. ... Miami RB Lamar Miller coming off career-high 108 yards rushing last week.

NICK’S PICK: Raiders 20, Dolphins 16


WHEN: Noon Sunday

Line: Ravens by 3

Briefly: Ravens WR Steve Smith faces team he spent 13 seasons with before being cut in March. ... Panthers TE Ed Dickson played with Ravens from 2010-13. ... Carolina WR Jerricho Cotchery scored a TD vs. Ravens for Pittsburgh last season and had career-high 165 yards against Baltimore for Jets in 2007. ... Panthers rookie WR Kelvin Benjamin had first 100-yard game last week ... Carolina QB Cam Newton has won five of past seven vs. AFC. ... Carolina TE Greg Olsen leads team with 19 catches. This will be his 114th consecutive game, a streak that began in 2007. ... DeAngelo Williams expected to start at RB for Carolina with Jonathan Stewart doubtful (knee).

NICK’S PICK: Panthers 24, Ravens 21


WHEN: Noon Sunday

Line: Steelers by 71/2

Briefly: Buccaneers have never won in Pittsburgh (0-3). ... Steelers’ average margin of victory in nine meetings is 11.5 points. ... Pittsburgh looking for first 3-1 start since 2010, when it won AFC title and advanced to Super Bowl. ... Buccaneers are 0-3 for third time in past six years. ... Tampa Bay’s 42-point loss to Atlanta last week was third-worst defeat in franchise history. ... Buccaneers are averaging 15.0 points per game, 29th in league.

NICK’S PICK: Steelers 28, Buccaneers 20


WHEN: 3:05 p.m. Sunday

Line: Chargers by 13

Briefly: Jaguars rookie QB Blake Bortles, third pick overall in May draft, will make first career start. ... Bortles threw for 223 yards, two touchdowns in second half of 44-17 loss to Colts. ... Jags are NFL’s worst team statistically, getting outscored 119-44. ... Jacksonville’s lost 21 of past 35 games by double digits, including four in a row dating to last year’s finale. ... Chargers signed OLB Cordarro Law, RB Shaun Draughn, LB Kevin Reddick to bolster roster after losing RB Danny Woodhead (broken leg) for season and ILB Manti Te’o (fractured foot) indefinitely. ... Chargers TE Antonio Gates needs one TD catch to move into NFL’s top 10. He’s 11th with 90 scoring catches. Isaac Bruce is 10th with 91.

NICK’S PICK: Chargers 30, Jaguars 20

ATLANTA (2-1) at MINNESOTA (1-2)

WHEN: 3:25 p.m. Sunday

Line: Falcons by 3

Briefly: Falcons have won three of past four at Minnesota, starting with OT victory at Metrodome in NFC championship game on Jan. 17, 1999. Only loss was 2007 opener, RB Adrian Peterson’s NFL debut. ... Falcons OL coach Mike Tice was Vikings head coach from 2002-05. ... Teddy Bridgewater (21 years, 322 days) will become second-youngest QB to start game for Vikings, trailing only Fran Tarkenton (21 years, 226 days) in franchise’s inaugural season, 1961.

NICK’S PICK: Falcons 28, Vikings 20


WHEN: 3:25 p.m. Sunday

Line: 49ers by 5

Briefly: Eagles won five of past six meetings. Loss came in 2011 in coach Jim Harbaugh’s first season in San Francisco. ... Harbaugh split two meetings in college at Stanford vs. Eagles coach Chip Kelly, who was at Oregon. ... Eagles first team in NFL history to start 3-0 after trailing by at least 10 points in every game. ... Philadelphia leads NFL with 116 plays of at least 20 yards since Kelly became coach last season. ... Nick Foles looks to become first Eagles QB with four straight 300-yard passing games. ... Philadelphia has takeaway in 16 straight games, including playoffs. ... Eagles rookie WR Jordan Matthews is cousin of Niners Hall of Famer Jerry Rice. ... 49ers look to avoid first three-game losing streak in four seasons with Harbaugh. ... San Francisco S Antoine Bethea is set to start 100th consecutive game, longest active streak by any DB.

NICK’S PICK: Eagles 27, 49ers 24


WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Monday

Line: Patriots by 3

Briefly: Chiefs are 4-1 against Patriots at Arrowhead Stadium, previous meeting there in 2005. ... New England has won all three meetings on Monday night. ... Patriots QB Tom Brady needs 219 yards passing to become sixth in NFL history with 50,000 yards. ... Brady has 42 TD passes on Monday Night Football, tied with Steve Young for third-most in NFL history.

NICK’S PICK: Patriots 24, Chiefs 20