Panthers 26, Bucs 24
Carolina bounced back from two straight losses thanks to the "get right" Bucs, who are proving to be the self-esteem boost every faltering team need. All-Pro wide receiver Steve Smith returned to the Panthers lineup after missing the first two games of the season with hamstring problems, but was a game time decision, so you probably didn't start him in your fantasy league, got screwed out of his seven catches for 112 yards and lost by three points because you had to start Dennis Northcutt instead. Dammit.
Due to a hard tackle, Tampa Bay's Chris Simms was hospitalized after the game and had to have his spleen removed. Upon hearing he would miss at least four to six weeks, the quarterback asked, "What if you take my pancreas too? What's it going to take to keep me off that team until 2008?"
Packers 31, Lions 24
Brett Favre notched his 400th career touchdown in the first quarter, joining Dan Marino as only the second quarterback in NFL history to find the end zone as many times. The milestone was cause for much celebration-at least for Marino, who had an excuse to talk about himself and his playing days. Were you aware he played for Don Shula? Because if you weren't, he'd love to casually mention it to you in passing.
Farve, on the other hand, downplayed the big four-oh...oh, saying winning was more important than records, a statement contradicted by the fact that Favre returned to a terrible Packers team following the worst season of his professional career while he's within easy striking distance of several records, but will be lucky to win three games, two of which will only be by virtue of the fact that Green Bay plays Detroit twice.
Bengals 28, Steelers 20
The last time these teams met, Ben Roethlisberger had an appendix and felt safe riding a motorcycle without a helmet, while Carson Palmer had his original ACL. Quarterback medical histories aside, this match up maintained one consistency as the road team won for the fourth straight time and for the sixth time in the last seven games. "I'm sure that's very significant," Bengals coach Marvin Lewis said, rolling his eyes. "If only we'd known that piece of trivia, we could have saved several hours of studying game film and running practice with the scout team, hit the strip club, and chalked up the W."