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ACC In The NFL - Sept. 25

Wednesday, September 25, 2013 12:16am
By: Brian Geisinger

This week's Sunday night game features a big-time matchup: New England at Atlanta. The Patriots' defensive coordinator, Matt Patricia, spoke very highly of Falcons' quarterback Matt Ryan (Boston College): "He really uses the audible system if he has to along with just the whole tempo of the offense in general. The guy is just a really good, phenomenal quarterback."

The New York Giants have been, well, just awful so far in 2013. Despite the 0-3 start, which included a 38-0 whipping from the Carolina Panthers on Sunday, defensive end Mathias Kiwanuka (Boston College) say that Giants haven't run out of time yet.

The Buffalo Bills (The Unofficial Team of the ACC!) have a rookie starting for the at quarterback - EJ Manuel (Florida State) - and defenses are adjusting accordingly, which means less running lanes for stud running back C.J. Spiller (Clemson).

Houston Texans' wideout Andre Johnson (Miami) was unable to finish another game this Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens, when he left the game with a shin injury. His X-rays have come back negative, but this could mean more time and touches for rookie flanker DeAndre Hopkins (Clemson).

It's been a rough season so far in the Steel City, but Pittsburgh linebacker Lawrence Timmons (Florida State) is still playing very well.

While filling in for the injured All-Pro Champ Bailey, DB Tony Carter (Florida State) has done a fantastic job, and leads the NFL with eight passes broken up. Carter, however, injured his right ankle in Monday's game against the Oakland Raiders.

Demaryius Thomas (Georgia Tech) and the Denver Broncos' offense have been clicking on all cylinders in 2013; the former Yellow Jacket had 10 receptions against the Raiders on Monday.

Man, these Georgia Tech wideouts are no joke, huh? Second-year New York Jets receiver Stephen Hill (Georgia Tech) broke out on Sunday, finally: three receptions, 108 yards and a touchdown.

Someone is enjoying being QB Joe Flacco's No. 1 target. Baltimore wide receiver Torrey Smith (Maryland) is on pace for (alert: small sample size extrapolation) 85 receptions and 1,434 yards.

Cornerback Sam Shields (Miami) did an excellent job covering the Bengals' Pro Bowl wide receiver A.J. Green, but despite his yeoman's effort, the Packers lost 34-30.

On Tobacco Road, we're used to seeing Giovani Bernard (North Carolina) make big plays. Now, however, the nation - especially fans of the Cincinnati Bengals - are getting to enjoy his talents.

Russell Wilson (N.C. State) and the Seattle Seahawks continued their league-wide onslaught on Sunday against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Wilson tossed four touchdown passes against the hapless Jags, before exiting the game. And, as always: #AllRussellWilsonEverything

Chicago Bears wide receiver Brandon Marshall - one of the top perimeter pass-catching threats in the league - says Harrison Smith (Notre Dame) is the hardest hitting safety in the NFL.

Philadelphia Eagles running back LeSean McCoy (Pittsburgh), who has been an absolute monster so far in 2013 (seriously, my fantasy team thanks you, Shady), returned to practice yesterday for the first time after hurting his ankle last Thursday against the Chiefs.

The last few seasons, the Patriots have won with offense. This season, however, their defense, which features defensive end Chandler Jones (Syracuse), has propelled them to a 3-0 record.

Tight end Heath Miller (Virginia) returned to the field on Sunday night for the Steelers. He's coming off knee surgery, and he had three catches for 35 yards.

The Cowboys and Chargers square off on Sunday; here's a breakdown of San Diego's top wideout, Eddie Royal (Virginia Tech), who's played great ball through the first three games of 2013.

St. Louis Rams wide receiver Chris Givens (Wake Forest) has a lot of potential, but he and quarterback Sam Bradford just couldn't get on the same page last Sunday against Dallas.