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Amid New Orleans Saints’ futility, Drew Brees nears a record

Drew Brees stands at the brink of NFL history, although he and the New Orleans Saints don’t feel much like celebrating.

Brees, whose 0-3 team plays the Packers at Green Bay on Sunday, is one scoring pass away from tying Johnny Unitas’ record for a touchdown pass in 47 consecutive games. That mark has stood for more than half a century.

Meanwhile, the Saints have slipped deeper into the abyss, tumbling from a Super Bowl contender to the NFC’s only winless team. Rocked by the multiple suspensions from the bounty scandal, they return to the site of the 2011 opener, Lambeau Field, an epic game (won by the Packers) featuring two of the NFL’s elite quarterbacks.

“We’re far from talking about the Super Bowl right now,” Brees said after Sunday’s overtime loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. “What we need to focus on is getting one win.”

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If Brees can keep his streak going, he’ll be in position to break the record the following week against the San Diego Chargers, the franchise that let him go in favor of Philip Rivers. But if the Saints are 0-4 at that point, it likely would be one memorable moment in a season he’d rather forget.

No lead is safe

The New England Patriots play at Buffalo in an AFC East matchup that produced a couple of wild games last season. There were six games in 2011 in which a team came back to win after trailing by 20 points or more — and two of those were between the Bills and Patriots.

In Week 3, the Bills erased a 21-point deficit to beat the visiting Patriots, 34-31, snapping a 15-game losing streak against New England.

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The Patriots returned the favor in the season finale, beating the Bills, 49-21, after Buffalo built a 21-0 first-quarter lead.

Under the Mike-roscope

Philadelphia is in the thick of the NFC East race at 2-1 and plays a pivotal game at the New York Giants. All is not well with the Eagles, though, as Michael Vick has yet to turn in a solid performance. The team already has 12 turnovers, and is coming off a 27-6 stomping at Arizona.

Eagles Coach Andy Reid raised eyebrows at team headquarters Monday when he seemed to leave the door cracked to consider a quarterback change at some point.

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“Right now, we’re with Michael and that’s what we’re doing,” the coach told reporters. “We’ll evaluate it as we go.”

Pushed to clarify, Reid was more affirmative.

“Michael is our quarterback. Period,” he said.

If the situation keeps unfolding as it has, though, Reid might not be saying that much longer.

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Finding themselves

Smarting from their upset loss to the Vikings at Minnesota, the San Francisco 49ers are spending this week in eastern Ohio to prepare for Sunday’s game at the New York Jets. It was a preplanned visit to the hometown of the Yorks, who own the team, and an encore of what the 49ers did last season. The team, which is staying in Boardman, Ohio, will practice nearby at Youngstown State.

That strategy worked well for the team last season, as it followed a win over Cincinnati with a stunning, come-from-behind victory at Philadelphia.

“We felt like it was a good thing then,” Coach Jim Harbaugh said Monday. "[You] take out the air travel, somewhere in the neighborhood of eight hours of flight time in what would be a five-day period.”

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After Sunday, the 49ers are just looking to resume their comfortable cruising altitude.

The undefeateds

Three teams have 3-0 records — the Atlanta Falcons, Houston Texans and Arizona Cardinals — and two of those are playing division games. The Falcons host the Carolina Panthers, and Houston hosts the Tennessee Titans.

As for the Cardinals, they have a home game against the Miami Dolphins, who likely will be without running back Reggie Bush. He left in the first half of Sunday’s game against the Jets after taking a helmet to the knee.

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sam.farmer@latimes.com

twitter.com/LATimesfarmer


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