It’s a little late, but here’s my Week 3 Preview for the NFL. Without further ado – here we go!
Houston Texans @ New Orleans Saints: I’m a big fan of the changes that Wade Phillips has made on the defense. I have stated before that the AFC South goes through Houston. Matt Schaub is playing mediocre football so far, and if he and Andre Johnson can turn it on, I think this team might be able to contend for an AFC Championship. That doesn’t even take into account that Ben Tate is running the football very well and Arian Foster will be coming back soon. If they can figure out how to use those two together, this team is dangerous. That being said, Drew Brees has gotten off to an uncharacteristically fast start and he’s playing really well. I think the difference here will be the running games though, and I don’t think Mark Ingram is ready to take that step.
Pick : Texans
New York Giants @ Philadelphia Eagles: This game isn’t even hard to predict. The Giants have been decimated by injuries and I can’t foresee them overcoming them. Especially since Michael Vick is playing and seems to be at full strength. The only thing that could turn this game against Philly would be if the Giants defensive line can penetrate and get to Vick early – but the Eagles O-Line has really stepped up amid criticism that they couldn’t protect Vick.
Jacksonville Jaguars @ Carolina Panthers: I don’t know if you’ve heard about Cam Newton and the historic rate that he’s putting up passing numbers or not, but he’s pretty good. Jacksonville doesn’t exactly inspire a ton of confidence in pass defense and I think Newton will easily put up at least 300 yards on this defense. Blaine Gabbert will likely be making his first start, and while the Panthers defense isn’t that good, it’s good enough.
New England Patriots @ Buffalo Bills: If you would have told me in the preseason that the Bills and Patriots would both be 2-0 when they played each other in Week 3, I would have had a hard time believing it. Well, I would have had a hard time believing that the Bills would be 2-0. Ryan Fitzpatrick and the undrafted wonder Fred Jackson have made this team dual threat. I like the Bills to contend for a playoff spot, but Tom Brady has been absolutely phenomenal, and the Bills defense might not be able to hang.
Miami Dolphins @ Cleveland Browns: The Dolphins have lost to two good teams (Patriots and Texans). The Browns haven’t been great. Peyton Hillis seems to be weighed down by the Madden Curse (or an injury) and Colt McCoy is still a year or so away from breaking through. So, to make a long post longer – this game will probably be ugly. Chad Henne needs a win if he doesn’t want to get run out of town and McCoy could use one for his confidence…and McCoy will get it.
San Francisco 49ers @ Cincinnati Bengals: The 49ers should be 2-0, but they let one slip away against Dallas. The Bengals should be too. I’ve said before that I think Alex Smith will finally prove himself to be a legitimate QB, and I think he’s doing that. I think Andy Dalton has proved that being a winner in college translates well to the NFL. This is a big game for both teams. For the 49ers, because they need to get at least eight wins to guarantee an NFC West crown. For the Bengals, because the confidence would go a long way to getting them back on track.
Denver Broncos @ Tennessee Titans: Does Matt Hasselbeck still have something left in the tank? Or was Baltimore just hungover from their big win in Pittsburgh? I think it was a combination of the two. The Broncos are a pretty dysfunctional franchise right now, and while they’re trying to fix it, they haven’t yet. Tennessee will probably come out on top, unless Kyle Orton goes off…and he won’t.
Detroit Lions @ Minnesota Vikings: Matt Stafford hasn’t been sacked yet this season, and as I’ve said before, him staying healthy makes this a team that can contend for the NFC North. If they can keep him upright (they can), they’ll be good. Minnesota hasn’t unleashed Donovan McNabb and let him prove that he can still play QB. I don’t see that changing anytime soon, and Adrian Peterson can’t win by himself.
Baltimore Ravens @ St. Louis Rams: The Rams are a surprising 0-2 and a visit from the angry Ravens is not the medicine this team needs. The Ravens will be back to focusing after a tough loss and should give Sam Bradford and Steven Jackson (if he plays) a lot of trouble.
New York Jets @ Oakland Raiders: Darren McFadden and Jason Campbell aren’t having bad statistical years to this point in the season. That sentence would mean a lot more if it were Week 9, but it’s not. It’s Week 3, and the supporting cast is, at best, mediocre. The Jets, on the other hand, look to have Mark Sanchez playing QB for the first time in his career, Dustin Keller is playing great football at TE. If Shonne Green can get the running game off the ground, watch out. Oh, and their defense is pretty good too. Revis Island, you might have heard of it. A football game? Yes. A close one? Nope.
Kansas City Chiefs @ San Diego Chargers: A few key stats that only I may be interested in:
Kansas City is averaging 110.5 passing yards per game (32nd in the league).
Kansas City is averaging 129.5 rushing yards per game…oh wait. Jamaal Charles just went on the IR, so that should change.
Kansas City is allowing 387.5 yards per game…against Buffalo and Detroit.
San Diego is averaging 351 passing yards per game.
San Diego is allowing 219.0 passing yards per game (including that monster they gave up to Brady).
Kansas City doesn’t stand a chance. This season is going to be a long one.
Arizona Cardinals @ Seattle Seahawks: Kevin Kolb has played relatively good football in his bid to prove he could be a starting QB. What’s that? The NFC West is terrible? Oh right. Never mind…moving on.
Atlanta Falcons @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Atlanta is coming off an electric win against the Eagles in which Matt Ryan may have finally kicked the monkey out of the house it built on his back. (If the Falcons turn into the team a lot of us thought they were gonna be and start to destroy their opponents, the final scoring drive of that game will be remembered as Ryan’s “I TOLD YOU I COULD DO IT!” moment.). The Buccaneers are coming off a win against a mediocre Vikings team that they barely squeaked out. Josh Freeman doesn’t appear to have lost anything. I can’t say the same for the rest of the team, especially LeGarrette Blount, who have seemingly folded under raised expectations. Luckily for the Bucs, after losing this game, they have several winnable games coming up.
Green Bay Packers @ Chicago Bears: Who are the Chicago Bears? They’re 27th in the league in rushing offense per game and 17th in passing.
Who are the Green Bay Packers? They are dead last in the league in pass defense, allowing a staggering 400 yards per game.
This is going to be a shootout between Jay Cutler and Aaron Rodgers. And it should finally prove my point – the Lions will win the North because they are the only team playing good on both sides of the ball.
Pittsburgh Steelers @ Indianapolis Colts: I can’t even go into this. I miss Peyton Manning. I miss the dominance of the Colts. Most of all, I miss a team that legitimately scares Patriot fans into submission. I can’t go on…what? I have one more game? Okay. I’ll go on.
Washington Redskins @ Dallas Cowboys: The Dallas Cowboys should be 0-2. They gave away their game against the Jets in Week 1 and somehow squeaked out a win in overtime against the 49ers last week. The Redskins are terri…oh, I’m sorry…this just in. The Redskins are 2-0. They’ve beaten the Giants and Cardinals. They’re 11th in total offensive yards gained and 11th in total yards allowed on defense. No…seriously. They are. Rex Grossman (if I had an editor, he would have to double check this next sentence several times) is playing inspired football and this grizzly group of veterans looks like they could actually string together a few wins. Starting here