NFL: Bold Predictions for Biggest Games in Week 3
This contest is one of a handful of the biggest games of the week, and I have strong opinions about what's going to happen in all of them.
My goal here isn't to incite your rage by slinging around unreasonable, ridiculous predictions; rather, I simply want to take a hard look at what may happen in these upcoming matchups.
Here are my bold predictions for the biggest games in Week 3.
Jets at Dolphins
Bold Prediction: Reggie Bush Carries the Dolphins to victory with another monster game.
The New York Jets don't have an elite defense right now, despite what New Yorkers would have you believe. There are two big problems right now, and it all starts up front.
Sure, Darrelle Revis is finally good to go again after suffering a concussion, but he isn't going to help them with either of these two glaring issues.
Bush has had two good games, earning 241 yards on 40 carries with two touchdowns and catching nine passes for 71 yards. He didn't come close to breaking 100 yards against the Houston Texans in Week 1, but it had little to do with the Texans defense. The Dolphins were playing catchup in that game, and Bush only carried the ball 14 times for 69 yards.
Given the struggles the Jets are having on offense, and given the fact that the Dolphins are solid on defense, Bush will have plenty of chances to tote the rock on Sunday. He's going to go off for a ton of yards and at least one touchdown—much like what we saw from him against the Oakland Raiders in Week 2—and the Dolphins will win the game.
Chiefs at Saints
Bold Prediction: Peyton Hillis rushes for two touchdowns and the Chiefs win at New Orleans.
The New Orleans Saints are going to start out the 2012 season with three losses.
The bottom line for this team right now is that they can't stop anyone's offense.
Steve Spagnuolo's defensive philosophy is based on four men getting pressure on opposing quarterbacks, but the Saints don't have a strong pass-rush up front. Additionally, Spagnuolo's defense is getting pounded by opposing rushing attacks, and it is the worst team in the NFL against the run.
Furthermore, I'm expecting the Chiefs to finally start playing to their potential on defense this week (just a hunch), and I expect them to get pressure on Drew Brees and force him into a couple key turnovers.
The Saints are woeful without their leader right now, and it's about to get even worse.
Eagles at Cardinals
Bold Prediction: Kevin Kolb plays better than Michael Vick and the Cardinals win the game.
Let me define what I mean by "plays better" before I go any further: Kolb will take care of the football, and Vick won't (for the third-straight game).
The Cardinals wreaked havoc on the New England Patriots offensive line in Week 2, sacking Tom Brady four times, hitting him six times and forcing him into one interception—his first of the year.
Vick has looked like a college quarterback since last year, making poor decisions on a regular basis—including a penchant for getting destroyed by defenders before finally attempting to throw the ball away.
The front seven of the Cardinals 3-4 defense are playing like a well-oiled machine right now, and this unit is going to bring the pain to Vick all game long.
Kolb has actually looked semi-competent since being thrust back into the starting role when John Skelton's ankle injury forced him out, and I expect him to continue taking care of the football. With the defense playing lights out like it is, that's all Ken Whisenhunt needs his quarterback to do.
The Cards will end up being the team to exit this game with a perfect record, and the questions about Vick will be more persistent than ever after his third-straight poor outing.
Falcons at Chargers
Bold Prediction: Matt Ryan passes for over 350 yards and the Falcons crush the Chargers.
The Atlanta Falcons are loaded on the offensive side of the ball.
Matt Ryan is coming into his own as one of the premier quarterbacks in the NFL, and Roddy White and Julio Jones make for one of the most dynamic duos at the wide receiver position in the league. Tony Gonzalez is still just as studly as ever, and Michael Turner is still a terrific running back.
The San Diego Chargers have a much-improved defense this year compared to last year—especially up front—but Antoine Cason and Quentin Jammer aren't capable of shutting down Jones and White. Eric Weddle and Atari Bigby will be tasked with a ton of deep coverage against them to keep them from going over the top.
Furthermore, neither Takeo Spikes or Donald Butler have the kind of speed needed to keep up with Gonzalez.
Carson Palmer lit up the Chargers in Week 1, throwing for almost 300 yards, despite the fact that he didn't have any great options on the perimeter to throw to.
Ryan is going to shred this secondary, proving that although the Chargers are better on defense, they are still subject to getting beaten by a competent offense.
Texans at Broncos
Bold Prediction: Willis McGahee rushes for over 100 yards and the Broncos win at home.
The Denver Broncos and Peyton Manning learned a tough lesson on Monday Night Football against the Atlanta Falcons: Manning doesn't have as much arm strength as he once did, and his passing windows in zones have gotten smaller as a result.
The Houston Texans have an even faster, younger defense than that of the Falcons, and you can bet the players are ready to pounce on any floaters Manning may toss their way.
The Broncos know this, of course, but they also know that the Texans haven't been good at stuffing the run so far this season, too, contrary to popular belief. The Texans defense has allowed opposing running backs to average 4.4 yards per carry so far this year.
McGahee has averaged 4.7 yards per carry so far this year, and he rushed for 122 yards and two touchdowns against the Falcons on the road. He'll be asked to do the same again this week, and he's going to have success again, this time against the Texans.
Furthermore, the Broncos will have success rushing Matt Schaub—much like they did against Ben Roethlisberger in Week 1 when they sacked him five times. He will force a couple of throws for interceptions, and the Broncos will win.
Patriots at Ravens
Bold Prediction: Joe Flacco will pass for over 300 yards and three touchdowns and the Ravens will win.
Flacco is going to be happy to be back home again after a rough outing in Philadelphia in Week 2. He torched the New England Patriots secondary the last time these two teams met, and though the front seven for the Pats is much improved, they are pretty much the same on the back end.
Flacco has a few dangerous targets to throw to—unlike the Arizona Cardinals and Tennessee Titans—and he will find them with regularity on Sunday night.
Tom Brady is struggling these days because his offensive line resembles Swiss cheese. The Ravens will put pressure on him all game long, and I expect Ed Reed to end up taking one of Brady's passes to the house for six.
The Ravens will win this highly-anticipated rematch of last year's AFC championship game, and Flacco will play better than Brady.
Packers at Seahawks
Bold Prediction: Clay Matthews keeps rolling, and Aaron Rodgers and his offense finally come out of their three-game slump to destroy the Seahawks.
Aaron Rodgers hasn't gotten into his groove yet this year. He and his receivers have struggled to connect, whether it be due to simple drops or due to the fact that they aren't on the same page. It hasn't been pretty.
His offensive line has been outmatched and outplayed, and the Green Bay Packers offense has simply looked average.
Call it a hunch, but to the dismay and disappointment of the 12th man, I expect it all to turn around in dramatic fashion this week for Rodgers and his offense against the Seattle Seahawks at CenturyLink Field.
And it won't be because the Seahawks are no good on defense. They are.
On the other side of the ball, Clay Matthews looks unstoppable, and he's going to demolish Russell Okung and the work-in-progress offensive line of the Seahawks.
The Packers have taken a back seat to the San Francisco 49ers atop the NFC these past two weeks, but this team isn't ready to relinquish their spot without a fight.
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