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First Down

Texans at Cowboys, 11 a.m., Ch. 2 • You know that old cliché about the best solution sometimes being the simplest one? Clearly these two teams are subscribing to that philosophy — and to great success, as evidenced by their 3-1 records. In Dallas, an over-reliance upon talented-but-erratic Tony Romo led to a stunning hypothesis: "What if we draft some non-crap linemen and actually utilize that really good running back we have?" And voilà — DeMarco Murray leads the NFL in rushing by about eleventy-million yards. In Houston, the revelation was something like, "Hey, we traded our quarterback and then we didn't draft a new one. Maybe we should have a quarterback?" Enter Ryan Fitzpatrick — a man with a career TD-Int ratio of 111-98 and unremarkable stints in St. Louis, Cincinnati, Buffalo and Tennessee. But no matter — he is a quarterback. Problem solved. See? Simple.

Second Down

Cardinals at Broncos, 2 p.m., Ch. 13 • If I'd told you before the season that, going into Week 5, either Arizona or Denver would be one of only two undefeated teams remaining in the league, you'd have picked Denver. Don't lie — it's unbecoming. Also, don't try to jump on the Cards' bandwagon and claim you've been there all along. No, you didn't used to own an Aeneas Williams jersey. No, you didn't develop a grudging respect for them when Kurt Warner came along. And no, your "interest" in them has never gone any deeper than checking Larry Fitzgerald's stats because he was on your fantasy team. You still want to play the Cards fan? OK, fine — but when you realize your new favorite team's quarterbacks are Carson Palmer and Drew Stanton, they're all gonna laugh at you. Carrie White, Adam Sandler … all of them.

Third Down

Chiefs at 49ers, 2:25 p.m., Ch. 2 • Remember when San Francisco had a quarterback who'd achieved some success with the team, only to be deemed expendable when some prototypical young gun with a strong arm and the ability to impact the game as a viable running threat came along? So oldwhat'shisface gets shipped off to Kansas City, while the Niners get a Super Bowl trip out with Mr. Newguy. Which all sounds fine and well, except for the subsequent lingering, unshakeable feeling that maybe the powers-that-be made a mistake in getting rid of the vet — a feeling that all the bells and whistles the newbie has just never will be quite the same as the calm, quiet, steady presence the old guy brought to the table. And it certainly doesn't hurt that the old guy proved he had plenty left in the tank by leading the Chiefs to a playoff berth. Anyway … don't know why Joe Montana just popped in my head. There must be some kind of modern parallel.

Fourth Down

Bengals at Patriots, 6:20 p.m., Ch. 5 • I don't have any special affinity for the Bengals, aside from an admiration for the crazy talent of A.J. Green. Still, it's not hard to concede their 3-0 start is impressive, even if it is being led soulless ginger Andy Dalton. But whereas ginger kids might cause Eric Cartman to exclaim "Sick! Gross! Yuck!," it's Tom Brady, Bill Belichick and Patriots who have that effect on me. It's not rational, I know — they've never done anything that affects me personally. But I don't care. You don't have anything you hate irrationally? Really? That's what I thought. So if I have to choose between the ginger kid (or the daywalker, or whatever he is) and player/team I hate, loathe, abhor, despise … well, let's bring on that 4-0 record.

Twitter: @esotericwalden