Nagler's Never Right: Week 3 Predictions
Last week: 10-6
The Giants can throw the ball, and will, against this Panthers secondary. The Panthers can run the ball, and will, against this Giants defensive front. The difference will be Cam Newton and his ability to keep plays alive outside the pocket, giving his receivers all the time they need to get open against an extremely porous Giants secondary.
Greg Schiano's team showed some promising signs through the first two weeks of this young NFL season, but one thing it can't seem to do is rush the passing without blitzing. Tony Romo will make the Bucs pay for having to send five or more guys, and Miles Austin will have a big game.
Andrew Luck looked composed and in command last week against an admittedly porous Vikings defense. That should continue this week against division for Jacksonville, whose own young quarterback was made to look foolish against the Texans. Expect a low-scoring affair.
Brandon Weeden, Trent Richardson and the rest of the Browns offense showed signs of life against the Bengals, signs that should carry over into their showdown with the Bills. Ryan Fitzpatrick looked much improved against the Chiefs, but the Browns defense, especially at home, will make him look closer to the guy we saw against the Jets in Week 1.
Jets at Dolphins
Though this is one of roughly four games the Dolphins actually have a chance of winning this year, Rex Ryan and company will get after Ryan Tannehill and take away Reggie Bush. Meanwhile, Mark Sanchez will do just enough to make up for his putrid performance the last time the Jets traveled to South Beach.
Chiefs at Saints
Two desperate 0-2 teams that many felt would contend for their division crowns face off in the Superdome. Drew Brees and the Saints offense need to cut out the turnovers and the penalties. The Chiefs played far too conservatively against the Bills, not that it matters much. Brees and company get their first win.
Bengals at Redskins
RGIII showed he's human after all in St. Louis, though he still looked great getting his team into the end zone. On defense, the Redskins will miss Orakpo and Carriker against a very balanced Bengals offense that is able to take advantage when defenses commit to pressure. Look for another big day from A.J. Green.
The headlines in Chicago all week have been about Jay Cutler's attitude, but he has some right to be upset after his offensive line completely collapsed against the Packers. Things don't look to be much better against an underrated Rams defensive line. Sam Bradford will need to carry the Rams with Stephen Jackson probably missing the game due to hamstring issues. Expect a defensive battle.
49ers at Vikings
The government should intervene and declare this game illegal. The Niners are coming to Minnesota, and they will lay waste to all that stand in their way, much as Minnesota's namesake did so many centuries ago. Alex Smith has shown to be in complete command of Jim Harbaugh's offense, and Justin Smith and company are way, way too much for Christian Ponder and the Vikings.
The Lions have to find a way to get the rest of their offense outside Calvin Johnson on track. Stafford-to-Johnson can only work for so long, The Titans, meanwhile, have looked pretty pathetic on both sides of the ball. Chris Johnson has been paid and, apparently, left the building. But the Titans can move the ball against a pretty pathetic Lions secondary. The Lions win a shootout.
The Falcons' high-flying act heads out West for a showdown with a new-look Chargers defense that can actually get after the quarterback. Melvin Ingram and his teammates could make Matt Ryan's life miserable. For the Chargers, Philip Rivers seems to lose receiving options and just discover new ones week to week and year to year. The Chargers in what should be a great game.
The Eagles are winning in spite of their quarterback. The Cardinals are winning without a quarterback. The team without a quarterback—but with perhaps the toughest secondary in the league—comes out on top after getting Vick to do what he does best—namely, turn the ball over.
The Raiders are in a for a long season as well as a long afternoon against a Steelers team that will make Darren McFadden a non-factor and Carson Palmer a mess. Mike Wallace, Antonio Brown and Heath Miller will all have big days against a team that is at least a year away from competing.
Texans at Broncos
Matt Schaub and the Texans get their first real test after opening against clearly inferior teams in the Dolphins and Jaguars. Peyton Manning can exploit the Texans secondary if he can get time to throw. A combination of the running game and three-step drops will get the better of J.J. Watt and friends.
Two teams smarting from brutal last-minute losses look to rebound in this rematch of the AFC Championship. The Ravens reverted back to their maddening form on offense. Cam Cameron simply has to remember he has Ray Rice when his team's passing game is getting clobbered. The Patriots will be without Aaron Hernandez, which mean Ed Reed will be free to take one of Tom Brady's passes to the house.
Packers at Seahawks
The Packers defense looks to be on the upswing, but the offense still has some big question marks, namely: What is wrong with Aaron Rodgers? Nothing, actually, except that he's faced two good defenses that know how to defend him.
The Seahawks fall into this category. How will the Seahawks protect Russell Wilson? They'll run the ball, keep the formations tight and stay out of third and long. The Seahawks pull an upset.
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