Another week, another slate of good NFL action. Last week was a good week for NFL action, but this week could be better! Without further ado, here are my picks for Week 3.
San Francisco vs. Kansas City
The 49ers are in a must-win situation this week. I expect them to come out fighting and clawing and ready to prove a point. In order for them to win, QB Alex Smith must continue to utilize his weapons and RB Frank Gore must get at least 20 carries. The 49er offense also must not shhot itself in the foot this week like they did against the Saints(4 turnovers). For the Chiefs,QB Matt Cassel must start playing to expectations for them to maintain the success that they have had early. The 49ers must account for RB/WR Dexter McCluster as well. In the end, the 49ers defense is too good and Cassel will have to wait to next week to get back on track.
Prediction: San Francisco by 4
Detroit @ Minnesota
Detroit is coming off a tough loss to the Eagles where RB Jahvid Best had some bringing up Barry Sanders after his performance. This week, I don't think Barry Sanders will be spoken as the Vikings have the Williams boys up front to stop the run. This will put the game in the hands of QB Shaun Hill, which is exactly what DE Jarrett Allen of the Vkings wants to see. Brett Farve and the offense should get on track this week against one of the worst defenses in the NFL. I look to see a heavy dose of RB Adrian Peterson and timely passing by Farve in this one.
Prediction: Vikings by 10
Buffalo vs. New England
Buffalo never showed up last week to play as they got steam-rolled by the Packers. This week, they turn to Ryan Fitzpatrick to lead their offense. Different quarterback, but the same results this week. The New England defense will jump all over the Bills, giving Tom Brady more chances to gash an inept defense. It could get ugly for Buffalo in New England.
Prediction: New Englad by 14
Atlanta vs. New Orleans
This game will be one of the best matchups of week 3. The up-and-coming Falcons will pit their running game against the opportunistic Saints defense. I look for the Saints to see a heavy dose of Michael Turner, or if he doesn't play Jason Snelling. The more time the Falcons offense is on the field, the less time Drew Brees has to sift through the Atlanta defense. Atlanta's doesn't make many mistakes on offense, so turnovers woll be at a premium and the Atlanta defense has played very well so far. Drew Brees will play well, but he simply will not have as much time on the field as the Falcons to make plays.
Prediction: Atlanta by 3
Tennessee vs, New York Giants
The Titans and Giants come in after disappointing performances last week. The Giants' secondary hasn't lived up to expectations this year and that leads directly to the production of the defensive line. The Giants must get production out of their front four for them to be a good defense. I'm sure Keith Bullock has given them a good scouting report for the Giants this week as he plays his former team for the 1st time. If the Titans can sustain blocks and block the rush, the Titans and the VY/CJ show could be on full display. The Titans defense face their biggest test to date as the Giants come in with 3 playmakers at reciver in Steve Smith, Mario Manningham and Hakeem Nicks. For the Giants to be successful, they must run the football so that they can set up the pass, but I do not think they will get it done versus a hungry and aggressive Titan defense. Titans get back on track this week.
Prediction: Tennessee by 7
Pittsburgh vs. Tampa Bay
This game matches a pair of teams that are exceeding expectations so far. The Pittsburgh defense is carrying the Steelers right now. Its tough for me to see Josh Freeman and the Buccaneer offense getting anything done. They must attempt to run the ball to at least keep the safeties off the line of scrimmage. The Steelers are running the ball with Rashard Mendenhall. He has been the one spark to an otheriwse dull offense. This week, expect an ugly ballgame here. Lots of running the ball and a lot of defense. I think the Steelers do both better this game.
Prediction: Pittsburgh by 4
Cincinnati vs. Carolina
The Bengals come off an ugly win against the Ravens last week. This week shouldn't be as tough. The Panther defense plays hard, but they just don't have the players to match up with them. RB Cedric Benson should see a bigger role in this game than the previous two. QB Jimmy Clausen is making his first start for the Panthers. This could be a long day for Clausen.
Prediction: Cincinnati by 10
Cleveland vs. Baltimore
The Browns take their anemic offense on the road. Last week, QB Seneca Wallace stepped in for QB Jake Delhomme and continued to bore us. And this week shouldn't be any different. LB Ray Lewis is still playing at a high level and the Ravens defense is looking as good as it has ever looked. This game also should be a good game for QB Joe Flacco to start and get some momentum going as he hasn't performed up to the level needed for this team to reach its potential. The Browns should make him look good. Another long game for the Browns.
Prediction: Baltimore by 10
Dallas vs. Houston
The Battle of Texas fearures two teams going in opposite direction. The Texans have looked like a machine on offense. If it isn't WR Andre Johnsonn then it WR Kevin Walters. If it isn't those two, then its TE Owen Daniels and then you still have Arian Foster running the ball in the backfield as well. Dallas will have to be physical against the run with NT Jay Ratliff and force the Texans to get in pass mode so LB DeMarcus Ware can pursue the quaterback. The Cowboys have to find an identity this game. I think the running game and the three-headed monster of RB Marion Barber, RB Felix Jones and RB Tashard Choice will be key in this game. The Cowboys must run the football to make Tony Romo and the passing game be more effective. Its now or never for the Cowboys and 0-3 isn't an option.
Prediction: Dallas by 7
Washington vs. St. Louis
This should be a somewhat interesting game. The Redskins come into St. Louis to face a team that scratches and claws on defense and offense. The Redskins must shake off the disappointment of last week in order to win this game. Donovan McNabb should continue his mastery of defenses, but he will beed help from RB Clinton Portis and RB Keiland Williams must provide support. Sam Bradford must continue to grow and show effort, but the defense he is facing could limit his growth and accuracy as a quarterback. LB London Fletcher leads a veteran and saavy group that will scheme and disguise things just for Bradford. Bradford will be good, but McNabb will be better.
Prediction: Washington by 7
Philadelphia vs. Jacksonville
This game pits a shredded Jaguar defense against arguably the most dangerous quarterback in the game , QB Michael Vick. Vick returned to his old form when he used his wheels and arm to will the Eagles offense. This week, the Jaguars do not have the DBs to keep up with WR DeSean Jackson and WR Jeremy Maclin.if the Jaguars offense shows up like last week, they are gonna wish they had mailed it in this week. QB David Garrard and RB Maurice Jones-Drew must carry this offense in order for them to be succesful.
Prediction: Philadelphia by 5
Indianapolis vs. Denver
Peyton heads to the Mile High City for a showdown. Only thing is, Champ Bailey may not play. This may spell doom for the Broncos defense. Also, the LBs for the Broncos better be ready for a good dose of Joseph Addai and Donald Brown. QB Kyle Orton has started to feel his groove and use what is around him. Orton's line will have a huge test trying to block DE Dwight Freeney and DE Robert Mathis. These two disruptors will lead a resurgent Colts defense and the embarrassment of the first week will cause the Colts to come out and play with fire.
Prediction: Indianapolis by 10
Oakland vs. Arizona
The Raiders are possibly the most uneventful team in football besides the team their playing, the Arizona Cardinals. New QB Bruce Gradkowski must spread the wealth for the Raiders offense for them to win. RB Darren McFadden will be the most key of all the guys that Gradkowski gets involved. Hopefully, SS Adrian Wilson has been doing his homework and will come out fired up on defense because of the disappointing game versus the Falcons. Derek Andersen must begin to settle in so that he can use WR Larry Fitzgerald. This should be the game because the Raiders defense os atrocious.
Prediction: Arizona by 4
San Diego vs. Seattle
San Diego is looking better after the 1st week loss. TE Antonio Gates has taken over as the number one person that QB Phillip Rivers looks for and the running game has become more solid this year. The Merriman/ Phillips linebacker combination hasn't been nearly as productive this year. I believe that the pressure of this game and the 12th man in Seattle will not rattle this savvy team led by veterans. Are the Seahawks the team we saw upset the 49ers or the team that showed up in Denver. I think they are the latter.
Prediction: San Diego by 7
New York Jets vs. Miami Dolphins
The Jets relieved some pressure by going out and beating the Jets last week and they now go to Miami. These teams do not like each other very much and no love has been lost. The Jets got going on offense last week and QB Mark Sanchez looked like the guy all the Jets' brass thought he could be. He will need to be that guy once again this week because the Dolphins are playing well defensively. RB LaDanlian Tomlinson may make the difference this week if the Jets can block everyone. Chad Henne should have a tough challenge this game as well. If his running game is active and doing well, then Henne should have time to complete passes to WR Brandon Marshall, provided he can get free of DB Antonio Cromartie. The Jets did get a big win last week, but winning a big game on the road is a totally different beast altogether.
Prediction: Dolphins by 4
Green Bay vs. Chicago
The Pack head to Soldier Field where the Bears await their arrival. QB jay Cutler has been carrying the offense this year so far, but he will need help in the form of the running game and RB Matt Forte. He has been a force in the passing game, but if he isn't a force in the running game, then Cutler will be running for his life from LB Clay Matthews. The Pack defense will cause Cutler problems all night. On the other side of the ball, QB Aaron Rogers should have a field day if and only if his line holds up. If the line cannot keep the likes of DE Julius Peppers and DT Tommie Harris out of the backfield, then Rogers will havea long day picking himself up off the ground. The game comes down to who will get the better support and the better protection. Advantage: Packers.
Prediction: Green Bay by 7