Week 3 of the NFL season is here and the season so far has produced a few surprises and some familiar names at the top. Yes it is early but with each passing week we’ll find out who are the contenders and who are also-rans. So with that being said, here are my picks for week 3.
New England at Buffalo.
Two teams with contrasting stories even though they are both 2-0. The Patriots were expected to be a force and they have lived up to the hype. Tom Brady has lit up opposing defences, scoring at will and piling up the yards. The Bills are one of the early surprises this season. Harvard grad Ryan Fitzpatrick has been a great Cinderella story while Fred Jackson has given the running game a much-needed boost. This is a litmus test for the Bills and while they are a great story, they’re not ready for prime time. New England wins.
Jacksonville at Carolina
The expansion cousins of 1995 renew acquaintances in Charlotte. The Jags are 1-1 but are coming off a poor performance against the Jets. The Panthers have yet to win a game, but have found a franchise quarterback in first overall pick Cam Newton. The Auburn grad has already thrown for 854 yards and 3 TDs in his first two games. Newton needs more help but the Jags are reeling and really should be winless. Carolina wins its first game this season.
Miami at Cleveland.
The Dolphins come into this game with an 0-2 record and many in South Florida have written off the Fins this season. Some are suggesting that Miami should tank the season and go after prized QB Andrew Luck in the draft. The Browns are 1-1 and I’m not sure what to make of them yet. I do like Colt McCoy and Peyton Hillis though and I think that’ll be enough for Cleveland to get the win on Sunday.
San Francisco at Cincinnati.
A rematch of Super Bowls XVI and XXIII. Both teams are 1-1 but feel they should be 2-0. The 49ers blew an early 14 point lead in a heartbreaking loss to Dallas. The Bengals lost a close game at Denver with a chance to win it at the end but failing to do so. The difference for me is at quarterback. I’m not sold on Alex Smith leading the 49ers to the top and while Andy Dalton is only a rookie, I feel he is better equipped to lead the Bengals to a victory. In a squeaker Cincinnati wins.
Houston at New Orleans.
A very good matchup at the Superdome. The Texans are 2-0 and are looking like the early favourites in the AFC South. The Saints are 1-1 but the offence is as explosive as ever thanks to quarterback Drew Brees. The Saints defence stepped up last week vs. Chicago as they sacked Jay Cutler 6 times. If the Saints can put that type of pressure on Matt Schaub, Houston could be in big trouble. I like the Saints to win.
Denver at Tennessee.
A matchup of 1-1 teams in Music City. The Broncos won a close one against Cincinnati which put a reprieve on the quarterback controversy in the Mile High City. Still another Bronco loss and the fans will be calling for Tim Tebow to replace Kyle Orton at quarterback. The Titans impressively beat Baltimore last week. Matt Hasselbeck has looked sharp in his first two games as a Titan and is looking to continue the trend. The running game has struggled as Chris Johnson is not in game shape yet however I think the Titans are simply the better team here. Tennessee wins.
New York Giants at Philadelphia.
The “Dream Team” finally has their home opener as the injury riddled Giants make the trek to the City of Brotherly Love. While both teams are 1-1 the Eagles were disappointed with their game in Atlanta last week and are looking to make amends. Michael Vick suffered a concussion last week and his status is uncertain for this week. The defence has issues though and must correct them or this season could be a nightmare. The Giants defeated the Rams last week but lost receiver Domenik Hixon for the season with a torn ACL. Steve Smith plays against his former team for the first time and he would love to send a message to the Giants. Gut feeling is that Vick plays and the Eagles win big.
Detroit at Minnesota.
Two teams headed in opposite directions. The Lions are one of the early season success stories winning their first two games and looking impressive in the process. Matthew Stafford has been very sharp early on finding chemistry with Calvin Johnson and Nate Burleson in the passing game. The Vikings have looked ordinary in going 0-2 so far. Donovan McNabb has looked old and slow while having zero chemistry with his receivers. However history favours the Vikings. Minnesota has won 13 in a row at home against Detroit dating back to 1997. The Lions have many demons to overcome and winning inside the Metrodome is one of them. Detroit wins a close one ending their 13 game skid in the Twin Cities.
New York Jets at Oakland.
Good matchup inside the Black Hole. The Jets are 2-0 and the defence is leading the way. Rex Ryan’s crew shut down the Jaguars last week and are looking to do the same against an improving Oakland side. The Raiders are coming off a crushing loss to Buffalo and want to make a good showing in front of their rabid and insane fans. Even though the Jets are 2-0 I don’t think they aren’t as good as they think they are. I’m picking the Raiders in a minor upset.
Kansas City at San Diego.
Plain and simple. The Chiefs are simply horrid. Being outscored 89-10 in their first two games while losing their best player, running back Jamaal Charles for the season is giving me reason to believe the Chiefs are in the Andrew Luck sweepstakes. The Chargers have been average in their first two games but they’re better than KC. San Diego wins.
Baltimore at St Louis.
The Ravens are an angry bunch right now after losing to Tennessee last week. The Ravens defence looked vulnerable and prone to the passing attack and must shore up that part of the game. The Rams have a bright future but are 0-2 right now and with running back Steven Jackson’s calf injury making his status unknown, I’m picking the Ravens to win in the Show Me State on Sunday.
Green Bay at Chicago.
The oldest rivalry in the NFL resumes at Soldier Field on Sunday. It’s also a rematch of last season’s NFC Championship game which the Packers won 21-14. It was also notable for Bears fans ripping quarterback Jay Cutler for quitting on the team. So many storylines not enough time. The Bears offensive line struggled last week against the Saints and if the Packers can exploit that aspect, it could be another nightmare for Cutler. The Packers are playing like World Champions and will continue the roll. Green Bay wins.
Arizona at Seattle.
An NFC West battle between 2 teams with uncertain futures. The Cardinals are 1-1 but have been atrocious on pass defence. The Cards are still waiting for rookie corner Patrick Peterson to show his talent. Seattle have been awful in every aspect losing their first two games by a combined score of 57-17 and look like they will be in the Andrew Luck lottery. Even though Seattle has a great home environment I’m picking Arizona to win.
Atlanta at Tampa Bay.
Really like this game. Both teams are 1-1 and showed tremendous heart and character last week. The Bucs came from behind to defeat Minnesota while the Falcons rallied at home to defeat Philadelphia. I like both Josh Freeman and Matt Ryan at quarterback. I just feel Atlanta is a little bit ahead of Tampa right now. Not very confident but I’m picking Atlanta in a close one.
Pittsburgh at Indianapolis.
A Sunday nighter that NBC wishes they could flex to another game. The Steelers bounced back after a horrible week one to dominate a weak Seattle team. The big concern in the Steel city is the health of QB Ben Roethlisberger who left last week’s game with an ankle injury. Big Ben returned to practice in midweek and is ready to go. The Colts wish they had Peyton Manning ready to go but he’s still on the sidelines so Kerry Collins will get another go. Collins is reminding Colts fans of Jack Trudeau more than Manning which spells trouble in Indy. Pittsburgh wins.
Washington at Dallas.
The Cowboys home opener on a Monday night against the hated Redskins. What more could you ask for? How about the soap opera that is Tony Romo. Will he play or won’t he play? And if he plays will it be the good Tony Romo or the bad Tony Romo? First off Romo is expected to play despite a punctured lung. How he’ll play is another story. He can be brilliant which he was last week against San Francisco or he could be awful like he was in the fourth quarter against the New York Jets. The Redskins are a surprising 2-0 and Rex Grossman has found new life in DC. That being said I’m waiting for the inevitable Grossman collapse and it could very well happen in Jerry world. I’m not sold on the Cowboys but I think they will eke out a win on Monday night.
Last week 13-3. This week most likely not as good.