1 Will earliest bye affect Seahawks later?
Part of the NFL’s constant attempt at parity is giving the previous season’s Super Bowl teams the earliest byes this fall. It helps banged-up Seahawks starters such as Kam Chancellor and Russell Okung right now, but a week off here means Seattle will play the final 13 regular-season games without a break. It might not show up in the short term, but come December, the nicks could multiply — and pain tolerance and perseverance could become the Seahawks’ most important attributes.
2 Will 49ers implode or finally impress?
First it was new, zillion-dollar Blue Jeans Stadium having a 25-cent playing surface. Then it was legal troubles for standout defenders Aldon Smith and Ray McDonald and a 1-2 start. Now there’s talk Jim Harbaugh might get an offer to coach his alma mater, Michigan. This as the 3-0 Eagles fly into Santa Clara. Must-win games in September are rare for a team that reached a conference title game months ago. But this is one.
3 Speaking of McDonald, why is he still playing?
Apparently there are varying shades of gray to domestic-violence arrests. Or maybe that’s just the Bay Area fog shrouding the 49ers from what the rest of the disgusted world has watched happen in the NFL on this issue in the past month. Nothing yet from the San Jose Police Department about the Aug. 31 arrest of McDonald at his home. No word on whether the district attorney will file charges. And McDonald plays on.
4 Is a team in London an inevitability?
The Dolphins-Raiders game at Wembley Stadium on Sunday is the first of three showcases the NFL is putting on in England this season. All three games there are sold out. The NFL has been holding games in London since 2007, and this season will be the first time it has played three times there. With the adding-a-team-to-Los
Angeles movement gaining momentum again, the league would ideally have a partner city for expansion to keep the number of teams even.
5 How many points will Saints score?
Drew Brees is completing a league-best 71 percent of his throws and is on pace for 4,600 passing yards this season. Dallas’ defense allowed 24 points, 71 percent completions and 327 yards passing last week to a Rams team that started a third-string quarterback, Austin Davis. He was a volunteer assistant coach at a high school last fall. Brees definitely was not.