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Monday NFL preview: Dolphins, Eagles among teams in trouble

NFL Nation reporters look ahead to what Monday has in store for each team.

AFC EAST

Buffalo Bills: Same stuff, different week: Rex Ryan will face similar questions Monday to those he fielded two weeks ago after the Bills committed 14 penalties in a loss to the Patriots. The Bills were flagged 17 times against the Giants in Sunday's loss, and while Rex Ryan resisted the idea that the Bills are an undisciplined team, it's a legitimate question. The Bills lead the NFL in penalties, and it's costing them games. -- Mike Rodak

Miami Dolphins: The Dolphins return from their trip to London with many more questions than answers following Sunday's loss to the Jets. The biggest topic is the shaky job status of coach Joe Philbin entering the team's bye week. -- James Walker

New England Patriots: Patriots players return to work after having the past four days off as part of their bye week. Tight end Rob Gronkowski had said football was still going to be on his mind, as he would be watching the Cowboys-Saints game. The Patriots visit the Cowboys on Sunday and are 11-4 after the bye under Bill Belichick. -- Mike Reiss

New York Jets: After an eight-hour flight back from London, the Jets are off Monday -- a treatment day for several banged-up players. They practice Tuesday and will have five straight days off for the bye week. -- Rich Cimini

AFC NORTH

Baltimore Ravens: Joe Flacco looks to remain perfect at home against the Browns on Sunday, although it's going to be a challenge without No. 1 receiver Steve Smith (back). At M&T Bank Stadium, Flacco is 7-0 against the Browns with a 95.2 passer rating. He has averaged 249.1 yards per game against Cleveland with 10 touchdowns and four interceptions. -- Jamison Hensley

Cincinnati Bengals: At 4-0, the Bengals are off to their best start in a decade. Quarterback Andy Dalton remains a big reason why. When the Bengals go through film review Monday, their captain likely will be hearing his share of compliments. He already got a couple from coach Marvin Lewis following Sunday's win over the Chiefs. Said Lewis: "He executed and ran the offense well. The runs he got us in and out of were great." In addition to Dalton's 321-yard passing performance, the Bengals had four rushing scores. -- Coley Harvey

Cleveland Browns: The Browns stagger back to Cleveland following a tremendously painful loss to San Diego. The Browns' biggest issue this week: Figure out what is wrong with the defense, which had another poor game, giving up 358 yards passing and three TDs to Philip Rivers. -- Pat McManamon

Pittsburgh Steelers: The Steelers reconvene Monday for the start of San Diego game prep, which means a full week of trust development between Michael Vick and Antonio Brown. The Steelers know much of their offensive success while Ben Roethlisberger is out hinges on those two hitting it off. Vick didn't want to force throws to Brown last week against Baltimore, but after a frustrated Brown had 42 yards last week, Vick might have to trust more. -- Jeremy Fowler

AFC SOUTH

Houston Texans: The Texans have allowed 74 first-half points this season, the second most in the league. They've scored only 19 first-half points, the fewest in the league through four games. Now they have three days to make corrections before facing the Colts on Thursday. -- Tania Ganguli

Indianapolis Colts: It's uncertain if quarterback Andrew Luck (shoulder) will practice Monday, but he'll be at the facility working out with the goal of playing in Thursday's game against the Texans. Sunday was the first time since 2009, when he was at Stanford, that Luck had missed a game due to injury. -- Mike Wells

Jacksonville Jaguars: Coach Gus Bradley is going to face some tough questions on Monday about how the Jaguars managed only 13 points and lost to a Colts team without Andrew Luck. They had a chance to steal a victory and take over first place in the division and blew it. -- Mike DiRocco

Tennessee Titans: The Titans return Monday from four days off and begin a more thorough look at the Bills, who come to Nashville on Sunday. The Titans enter the week 1-2 overall. -- Paul Kuharsky

AFC WEST

Denver Broncos: It will bear watching through the week, but wide receiver Demaryius Thomas left Sunday's win over the Vikings after he took a hit from Vikings safety Harrison Smith in the third quarter. Thomas did return to the game and had a 15-yard reception in fourth quarter, but he took a pounding Sunday and it could well impact his practice schedule this week. -- Jeff Legwold

Kansas City Chiefs: Finding a third cornerback to go with starters Sean Smith and Marcus Peters is essential. The Chiefs tried their third different nickel back in three games, but Ron Parker wasn't much better than either Marcus Cooper or Jamell Fleming. Opposing quarterbacks have taken to working on that third corner, often with success. -- Adam Teicher

Oakland Raiders: The Raiders' maddening trouble covering tight ends bit them again in Week 3. Chicago tight end Martellus Bennett had 11 catches for 83 yards and a touchdown. Get ready for this: Oakland has allowed the tight end to catch 32 catches for 388 yards and six touchdowns in four games. Wonder if Peyton Manning -- the Raiders host Denver on Sunday -- has taken notice of that? -- Bill Williamson

San Diego Chargers: It wasn't pretty, but San Diego got a scrappy 30-27 win at home over the Browns to get to 2-2 on the season. Now the Chargers have an extra day to prepare for a Monday Night Football matchup against the Steelers at home. "We just wanted to get a win," running back Danny Woodhead said. "Any time you get a win in this league, [which] is so tough to do, it doesn't matter who it is and it doesn't matter who you are playing. As long as you win the game, it is definitely a good thing." -- Eric D. Williams

NFC EAST

Dallas Cowboys: The Cowboys will welcome back defensive end Greg Hardy and linebacker Rolando McClain from their four-game suspensions. McClain has been able to work out and take part in meetings at the team's facility, but Hardy has not. Both should be available for this week's game against the New England Patriots. Hardy will be a big boost for the pass rush, while McClain will help the overall scheme if Sean Lee is unable to play because of a concussion suffered Sunday in the loss to New Orleans. -- Todd Archer

New York Giants: The Giants are 2-2, having won two straight after losing their first two games in crushing fourth-quarter fashion. Their mentality is that they gave those first two games away and should have won them. So they don't see themselves as an underdog clawing to stay in the race. "In our mind, we're 4-0," wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. said. "So the mentality is to keep it going. 5-0, 6-0 and on and on." The Giants next play the woeful 49ers at home in the Sunday night game. -- Dan Graziano

Philadelphia Eagles: If the Eagles are going to recover from their 1-3 start, they at least have some recent experience to fall back on. In Chip Kelly's first season, the Eagles lost three of four to start the season. They went 7-1 in the second half and won the NFC East with a 10-6 record. That was with a different core of players, of course. Kelly will begin trying to get his handpicked team turned around this week. -- Phil Sheridan

Washington Redskins: The Redskins won to reach 2-2, but they will have another injury issue to worry about this week: tight end Jordan Reed. He left Sunday's game and was evaluated for a concussion. Coach Jay Gruden will update his status during his news conference on Monday, but it's clear the Redskins can't afford to lose Reed. He's a consistent threat in the pass game with 24 catches. -- John Keim

NFC NORTH

Chicago Bears: The Bears' 22-20 victory over Oakland came at a cost. Starting center Will Montgomery suffered a broken fibula, which is likely to end his year. The Bears need to know if third-round pick Hroniss Grasu has developed enough to fill the void. Grasu, a healthy inactive the opening four weeks, appeared overmatched at times in the preseason. In better news, Chicago may have dodged a bullet at safety if veteran Antrel Rolle only sustained a high ankle sprain. But injuries continue to mount on both sides of the ball. After Rolle left the game, the Bears went with the safety combo of rookies Adrian Amos and Harold Jones-Quartey. -- Jeff Dickerson

Detroit Lions: As the Lions try to avoid going 0-4, a player to watch will be receiver Golden Tate. This is a homecoming game for him, facing the team that drafted him out of Notre Dame and the one he won a Super Bowl with before heading to Detroit. While Calvin Johnson vs. Richard Sherman will be the marquee matchup, a big game by Tate using underneath and quick routes would be the key for Detroit if it wants to pull the upset. -- Michael Rothstein

Green Bay Packers: The Packers are going to be the toast of the NFL after Sunday's win at San Francisco kept them undefeated (4-0) and for a change, their day-after-the-game routine won't be filled with medical treatments. Perhaps the best news to come out of the game was that they sustained no sigificant injuries and actually could get back a couple of injured players, receiver Davante Adams and tackle Bryan Bulaga. -- Rob Demovsky

Minnesota Vikings: The Vikings will spend the next two days together as a team before players disperse for the bye week, and fixing their protection issues figures to be the top order of business. The Vikings gave up seven sacks on Sunday, including two on the final drive, and they'll prepare for another formidable pass-rushing test on Oct. 18 when Kansas City comes to town. -- Ben Goessling

NFC SOUTH

Atlanta Falcons: Although Devonta Freeman looked phenomenal in scoring three rushing touchdowns for the second consecutive week, the Falcons running back gave the offensive line all the credit for opening gaping holes for him to run through. Freeman has seven touchdowns in his past three games. Fantasy owners would be wise to start him against Washington at home next week. -- Vaughn McClure

Carolina Panthers: The Panthers will begin their bye week on Monday hoping to get back middle linebacker Luke Kuechly (concussion) and wide receiver Jerricho Cotchery (ankle) for an Oct. 18 game at Seattle. They'll begin getting new defensive ends Jared Allen and Ryan Delaire more acclimated to the defensive scheme, although Delaire looked pretty good with two sacks and two quarterback hurries after three days of practice. But most of all they'll begin getting bodies rested in preparation for a tough four-game stretch that begins with the Seahawks. -- David Newton

New Orleans Saints: After the overtime win over the Cowboys, the Saints avoided falling into an 0-4 hole, which is especially important because of the hot starts from NFC South leaders Carolina and Atlanta. Can Drew Brees, who threw his 400th career touchdown pass in the victory, and New Orleans get back to .500 soon? The Saints have Philadelphia on the road and Atlanta at home -- on a Thursday night -- on deck. -- ESPN.com staff

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: The Bucs have multiple problems to address after their 37-23 loss to the Panthers on Sunday. First, Tampa Bay could look elsewhere after kicker Kyle Brindza missed two field goals and an extra point. Then there's quarterback Jameis Winston, who threw four interceptions. Coach Lovie Smith continues to preach the need for patience, but the Bucs must deliver better results in all phases in a hurry to save this season. -- Andrew Astleford

NFC WEST

Arizona Cardinals: Arizona will spend Monday watching the tape of what happened against the Rams, especially in the red zone, where they were 1-for-5 in a 24-22 loss. The Cardinals will also begin looking at whether running back Andre Ellington will be able to return Sunday in Detroit. -- Josh Weinfuss

St. Louis Rams: Hello, Todd Gurley, hello, Rams offense. After sputtering through most of the first three and a half games, the Rams got a jolt from Gurley and receiver Tavon Austin in Sunday's win against Arizona. With Austin doing his damage on the outside, things opened for Gurley to get the Rams' previously anemic run game going with 106 fourth-quarter rushing yards. The Rams looked like the offense they hope to be in the second half. Now they must find some consistency in order to become a serious contender. -- Nick Wagoner

San Francisco 49ers: While the 49ers' defense took a step forward in a 17-3 loss to the Packers, the Niners' offense looked particularly inept. The 1-3 start is their worst since they began the 2010 season 0-5. -- Paul Gutierrez

Seattle Seahawks: There hasn't been a lot of buzz surrounding Russell Wilson early in the season, but the Seahawks quarterback is completing 70.3 percent of his passes and has been intercepted only twice in 101 attempts. Due mostly to protection issues, he has had trouble pushing the ball downfield, but that could change Monday night against a Lions defense that has allowed 12 pass plays of 20-plus yards in three games. -- Sheil Kapadia