Your weekend starts here: Young guns meet in Titans-Jaguars


Both Blake Bortles, the third overall pick of the 2014 NFL Draft, and this year's second overall pick Marcus Mariota will be on the field on Thursday to lead their respective teams as the Tennessee Titans visit the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Wild inconsistency has underlined each quarterback. Mariota has a pair of four-touchdown games, and Bortles threw for four scores in a loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Mariota also has two games with multiple interceptions and Bortles has three, including a three-pick day in a loss to the Houston Texans. 

Despite the Jaguars sitting at 3-6 and the Titans at 2-7, neither is out of the AFC South race with the Indianapolis Colts and Texans tied at 4-5. 

The St Louis Rams and Denver Broncos will turn to new quarterbacks on Sunday with Case Keenum taking over for the benched Nick Foles as the Rams face the Baltimore Ravens and Denver turning to Brock Osweiler as Peyton Manning battles a foot injury. But there is a third quarterback making a highly anticipated return. 

Dallas Cowboys (2-7) at Miami Dolphins (4-5), Sunday, 1 p.m. ET 

Tony Romo will play for the first time since breaking his collarbone in a Week 2 win over the Philadelphia Eagles, in which time the Cowboys have lost seven straight games. 

Romo has looked good in practice this week, and the Cowboys are hopeful he can help somehow salvage their season. He'll get his first chance against a Dolphins defence that was expected to be dominant but has instead been shaky with the addition of disappointing defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh. 

The Dolphins defence ranks 26th overall and 16th against the pass. Romo threw for 551 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions before his injury.

Cincinnati Bengals (8-1) at Arizona Cardinals (7-2), Sunday, 8:30 p.m. ET

The Bengals will be playing in their third straight primetime game after getting dealt their first loss Monday night against the Texans. Sunday's matchup pits Cincinnati's redheaded former quarterback against its current one.

Andy Dalton will try to return to his "Red Rifle" ways after looking more like a Red Ryder BB gun against the Texans. He'll have to outduel former Bengals QB Carson Palmer, who has the Cardinals atop the NFC West at 7-2.

Both are in the MVP conversation and their teams have offensive weapons on the outside and in the backfield. 

The Cardinals have the NFL's No.1 offense with running back Chris Johnson second in the NFL in rushing, wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald fifth in receiving yards and Palmer fourth in passing. Bengals receiver A.J. Green is seventh in receptions and tight end Tyler Eifert leads the NFL with nine receiving touchdowns. Both teams rank in the top 10 in rushing touchdowns.

While offense takes the headlines, defence may well decide this one, something Arizona's third-ranked unit has been doing most of the season. 

Green Bay Packers (6-3) at Minnesota Vikings (7-2), Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET

The Packers lost first place in the NFC North for the first time since November 16, 2014, with Sunday's shocking home loss to the Detroit Lions.

Green Bay have lost three straight. The Vikings, on the other hand, have found their stride on both sides of the ball.

Minnesota won its fifth straight match on Sunday with a convincing road victory in Oakland. The Vikings defence has been outstanding this season, ranking ninth overall and eighth against the pass.

That could pose problems for a Packers air attack that has been saddled with injuries to its receiving corps. Despite throwing for 21 touchdowns and only three interceptions this season, Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers has been trying to keep the offense afloat with smoke and mirrors and a pair of little-known receivers named Justin Perillo and Jeff Janis.

The Vikings passing game actually ranks last in the NFL, but it's been the resurgence of running back Adrian Peterson that is carrying the offense. Peterson leads the NFL in rushing and has had success against the Packers, who must dare Minnesota quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, with just seven passing touchdowns, to beat them. 

Washington Redskins (4-5) at Carolina Panthers (9-0), Sunday, 1 p.m. ET

Panthers quarterback Cam Newton will keep doing end zone dances until defences prevent him from scoring.

That's the unenviable task facing Washington's 30th-ranked rush defence against Carolina's third-ranked ground game led by Newton's six rushing touchdowns.

Newton is having an MVP-worthy season and has been the pulse of the Panthers offense, which lost its top receiver, Kelvin Benjamin, during training camp with a torn ACL.

Though Newton is completing a career-low 56 per cent of his passes and has thrown nine interceptions, he is also on pace for a career high in touchdowns.

Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins - labelled the franchise's long-term option by coach Jay Gruden - has thrown a touchdown pass in every game and is coming off his best game of the year with four touchdowns and 324 yards in a blowout of the New Orleans Saints.