Heading into Week 4 of the NFL regular season several former Tar Heels will take the field in marquee match-ups throughout the league. Sunday Night Football on NBC as well as Monday Night Football on ESPN will both include former UNC greats on prime-time.
New England Patriots(1-2) @ Buffalo Bills(2-1) 1:00 ET CBS
Back-up Strong Safety Da’Norris Searcy will be the only Heel suiting up in this match-up at home for the Buffalo Bills. Searcy is coming off of a $21,000 fine he received a week ago for his Week 2 illegal hit on Kansas City TE Kevin Boss. On the season Searcy has 8 total tackles(6 solo, 2 assists).
San Francisco 49ers(2-1) @ New York Jets(2-1) 1:00 ET FOX
Rookie defensive end Quinton Coples comes into this game against the 49ers still looking for his first career NFL sack. The former UNC standout continues to split time at his position and has only 4 tackles on the season thus far. Look for Coples to have his coming out party as soon as the Jets defense returns to an elite level.
Seattle Seahawks(2-1) @ St. Louis Rams(1-2) 1:00 ET FOX
Rams defensive end Robert Quinn will be the lonesome Heel on the field in this match-up of divisional opponents. Quinn is currently tied with teammate Chris Long for the most sacks on the team with 2. Quinn also has 6 solo tackles on the season.
Carolina Panthers(1-2) @ Atlanta Falcons(3-0) 1:00 ET FOX
Right Guard Garrett Reynolds and the Falcons offense come into this game averaging over 340 yards of total offense and 31 points a game. The former Tar Heel Reynolds and his O-line teammates have protected QB Matt Ryan enough for him to produce the leagues best passer rating at 114. This could be another big game on offense against a defense ranked in the bottom half of the NFL.
San Diego Chargers(2-1) @ Kansas City Chiefs(1-2) 1:00 ET CBS
Two former UNC Tar Heels will lineup opposite of one another when Chiefs RB Shaun Draughn and Chargers DT Cam Thomas take the field in this game. The Chiefs have utilized Draughn to the tune of 168 total yards and a TD so far in the season and I expect him to continue getting touches with Peyton Hillis doubtful for week 4. On the other side of the ball for the Chargers, Cam Thomas is part of the 9th ranked defense in total yards allowed per game and has just one tackle heading into Week 4.
Tennessee Titans(1-2) @ Houston Texans(3-0) 1:00 ET CBS
Titans rookie linebacker Zach Brown comes into this match-up against Houston with 17 total tackles(10 solo, 7 assists), 1 sack, and 1 forced fumble. Overall, in the two games Brown has started he has looked the part but can;t do everything on a defense currently ranked 31st in the NFL allowing over 460 total yards a game to opposing offenses. Texan back-up QB T.J. Yates is also a former Heel but will be waiting on the bench for his opportunity in the event of an injury or mop-up-time.
Cincinnati Bengals(2-1) @ Jacksonville Jaguars(1-2) 4:05 ET CBS
Former Tar Heel WR Brandon Tate is a consistent deep-threat for QB Andy Daulton and the Bengals offense averaging 18.5 yards a reception. Tate has only 4 receptions on the season but has 74 yards and a Touchdown and has also returned 8 kicks for 181 yards. Another former Heel, TE Richard Quinn was also a Bengal to start the season but was cut over the weekend to make room for a CB from the practice squad.
Washington Redskins(1-2) @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers(1-2) 4:25 ET FOX
Redskins DE and former Heel Kentwan Balmer is still on Injured Reserve/Not with Team. On the other side in this match-up, Buccaneers kicker Connor Barth comes into this game with a perfect 6 for 6 mark on his Field Goals including a long of 52-yards as well as 6 of 6 on extra points. Look for the game to potentially come down to a kick from the former Tar Heel standout.
New Orleans Saints(0-3) @ Green Bay Packers(1-2) 4:25 ET FOX
Longtime NFL veteran Jeff Saturday and the Packers offensive line will hope to protect QB Aaron Rodgers a lot better than week 3 after they allowed 8 sacks. This is the former Tar Heels first season as a Packer so it may take a little time for Saturday to get acclimated completely with Rodgers and after the Seattle game it can only get better. Another Tar Heel in TE Ryan Taylor will also suit up in this game for the Packers but at fourth string he is still looking for his first reception of the year.
New York Giants(2-1) @ Philadelphia Eagles(2-1) 8:20 ET NBC
The 3rd ranked offense in the NFL when it comes to total yards per game will be without their number one receiver Hakeem Nicks who has 14 receptions for 237 yards and a touchdown on the season.. Nicks, a former Tar Heel star, is doubtful for this divisional game against Philly with a foot injury he suffered in week 2. Fellow Tar Heel alum and current Giant teammate Marvin Austin is still trying to find his place on a talented rotation of defensive lineman. Austin is still looking for his first sack and tackle of the season as one of two back-up defensive tackles.
Chicago Bears(2-1) @ Dallas Cowboys(2-1) Monday 8:30 ET ESPN
Safety Gerald Sensabaugh is probable in this Monday Night game after missing week 3 with a Calf injury. Sensabaugh saw limited time in practice during the week but will be needed desperately in the back end of a secondary now missing their other starting safety Barry Church who is out for the season. Linebacker Bruce Carter is another Tar Heel on this Cowboys defense currently ranked number one overall in total yards allowed per game at only 250. Carter comes in with 20 total tackles(12 solo, 8 assists) and one pass defended from the middle linebacker position. The Chicago Bears defense has arguably one of the greatest Tar Heels to play football in DE Julius Peppers. Peppers did not practice this past week but don’t expect him to sit out this prime-time Monday Night battle in Cowboy Stadium. He currently has 2.5 sacks and 8 total tackles(7 solo, 1 assist) on the season.