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NFL matchups offer payback opportunity for some

The NFL is a passing league, but sometimes it’s also a league for the passed over, providing opportunities for players who feel overlooked, undervalued, ignored.

In some of the bigger Week 3 games, those castoffs can exact some revenge.

Arizona quarterback Kevin Kolb faces Philadelphia, the team that traded him in favor of Michael Vick.

San Francisco’s Randy Moss goes back to Minnesota, where his career began — a Vikings team that now employs fired 49ers coach Mike Singletary.

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And Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson, a former University of Wisconsin star, plays the Green Bay Packers. It’s not as if the Packers were in the market for a quarterback, so they’re not to blame for Wilson slipping into the third round, but the Packers did bid farewell to his backup in Seattle, Matt Flynn.

So there are a lot of common bonds this week, a lot of friendly reunions, and ample opportunity for some told-ya-so paybacks.

Two and whoa!

In a battle of undefeated teams, Arizona plays host to Philadelphia. The Eagles have beaten Cleveland and Baltimore by one point each. The Cardinals beat Seattle by four, and, in a stunner Sunday, won at New England by two.

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Narrow victories, but victories nonetheless.

Now, the Cardinals have a chance for their first 3-0 start since 1974. Somehow, they have glided under the radar despite winning nine of their last 11 games.

Kolb is starting because of an injury to John Skelton. Vick has made the necessary plays in crunch time, but he has also had six passes picked off — one more than the interception total of San Francisco’s Alex Smith for the entire 2011 season.

Buffalo stampede

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Bills running back Fred Jackson is sidelined because of a leg injury, and C.J. Spiller has more than picked up the slack. After the weekend, he led the NFL with 292 yards in 29 carries.

The Bills play at Cleveland on Sunday, and that’s coincidental because Spiller is the first player with at least 25 carries since Browns great Jim Brown in 1963 to average more than 10 yards per carry through the first two games of the season.

We meet again

The Patriots play at Baltimore in a rematch of last season’s AFC championship game, which the Patriots won, 23-20.

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Both teams are smarting after close losses Sunday, with the Ravens failing to take advantage of four Philadelphia turnovers, and the Patriots losing on a 42-yard field-goal attempt that sailed far wide.

At a loss

Kansas City plays at New Orleans, and neither team has a W. The Chiefs are reeling after lopsided losses to Atlanta and Buffalo, and the Saints have clearly lost their swagger after falling to Washington and Carolina.

Have the Saints gone from an elite team to just another club in the crowd? No, worse. They’re the only NFC team with a 0 in the win column.

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sam.farmer@latimes.com


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