Dan Quinn returns with high-flying Falcons to face Seahawks

NEW YORK (AP) " When Dan Quinn left the Seattle Seahawks for his opportunity to be an NFL head coach in Atlanta, he wanted to create an identity unique to the Falcons.

Quinn didn't want Atlanta to be a replica of what he experienced in Seattle, even if the principles he wanted for the Falcons were similar.

"Can the team be featured in the very best way of how we wanted to utilize the players? The messaging, the identity, the toughness that we wanted to play with, having that really come to life?" Quinn posed. "It took going through some tough lessons and developing some resiliency through last year with some difficult losses. ... Those were scars that were painful as hell to go through, but on the other side of it we grew tougher, we grew stronger."

Quinn's former team will get an up-close look at what he's created in Atlanta when the Seahawks host the Falcons on Sunday in a clash of teams that look to be among the top contenders in the NFC.

It's an enticing matchup, featuring Atlanta's No. 1-ranked offense against Seattle's top-ranked defense that's had an extra week of rest and preparation. And it's a reunion for Quinn to see the defense he helped to create in Seattle during his two seasons as coordinator, and whether it can slow down Matt Ryan and the Falcons.

The Falcons went down this path a year ago, starting 6-1 before losing six straight games, finishing 8-8 and missing the playoffs, so there is still hesitation about the validity of Atlanta's start this season. But a win in Denver last week, followed by a win in Seattle would certainly quiet doubters.

Even though Dallas has a 4-1 record, there remain enough doubters about the Cowboys that their visit to Green Bay is another prove-it game. The way Dak Prescott is throwing it (155 passes without a pick) and Ezekiel Elliott is running it (league-high 546 yards), Dallas is proving you can win behind rookies.

"There are certainly a lot of areas where we have to get better," Cowboys coach Jason Garrett says, "but we're doing a good job coming off the ball, getting into blocks and finding places for runners to run. The runners are running well."

Still, the Packers hold opponents to 42.8 yards rushing per game. If the Cowboys, who have four wins in 15 games at the Packers, come close to their 155.2 yards per game on the ground, it will be impressive. And possibly decisive.

With Colin Kaepernick starting for the slumping San Francisco 49ers, he's going to attract attention in Buffalo for more than his refusal to stand during the U.S. anthem. It took a four-game slide with Blaine Gabbert showing little at quarterback for coach Chip Kelly to make the change.

Buffalo is hoping to keep streaking after going 3-0 since elevating Anthony Lynn to offensive coordinator and firing Greg Roman.

In Tom Brady's first regular-season game in Foxborough after serving his four-game "Deflategate" suspension, listen for wild cheers of support, some nasty chants about league commissioner Roger Goodell, and look for Brady to fill the air with regulation footballs. Many of those are likely to land in the hands of New England's Rob Gronkowski, Julian Edelman, Danny Amendola and a new favorite, tight end Martellus Bennett, who had three touchdown catches last week.

The visiting Cincinnati Bengals were humiliated in Dallas, and they haven't won in New England in 30 years. Brady is 5-1 against them with 12 touchdowns.

The action began on Thursday when San Diego held off Denver 21-13. Philip Rivers threw for 178 yards and a touchdown, passing Hall of Famer Dan Fouts to become San Diego's career passing leader.

Off this week are Minnesota, at 5-0 the NFL's only unbeaten team, and Tampa Bay.

This story has been automatically published from the Associated Press wire which uses US spellings

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