NFL Week 3 Picks: Teams Guaranteed to Struggle

Andrew GouldFeatured ColumnistSeptember 17, 2013

JACKSONVILLE, FL - SEPTEMBER 08:   Blaine Gabbert #11 of the Jacksonville Jaguars is sacked by  Dontari Poe #92 of the Kansas City Chiefs during the game at EverBank Field on September 8, 2013 in Jacksonville, Florida.  (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

The NFL is going to want to consider instituting a mercy rule after a couple of massacres take place this weekend.

We've all heard the promise of any given Sunday before. Football, packaged with the shortest sample size of any major team sport, thrives on parity and the thrill of the unknown. That's great and all, but sometimes you just know. 

The Tennessee Titans took the Houston Texans to overtime last week, so the sentiment has not yet vanished. Had that been an upset, however, it would have looked like small potatoes to these two games slated for Week 3.

When two Super Bowl contenders face off against two No. 1-pick candidates, the results get ugly.


Jacksonville Jaguars (at Seattle Seahawks)

Oh boy. Well this is not going to be good for Jacksonville.

What do you get when you take the league's worst team and send them into the toughest road environment against the NFL's premier team?

Probably a blowout that will make Jaguars fans fondly remember the time they only lost 28-2 to the Kansas City Chiefs.

Jacksonville did what few teams are capable of accomplishing: The Jaguars made the Oakland Raiders look good. Maurice Jones-Drew was held to 27 rushing yards while Darren McFadden stayed healthy long enough to contribute 157 of his own.

Still yet to sniff the end zone, the Jaguars rank last in virtually every offensive category. Chad Henne represents an upgrade from Blaine Gabbert, but his 6.3 yards per attempt aren't fueling the squad to triumph.

Seattle, on the other hand, just obliterated the San Francisco 49ers, who looked like the NFL's team to beat a week ago after Colin Kaepernick dismantled the Green Bay Packers. The defense has yielded 10 points and 226 passing yards combined through two contests.

The top defense will square off against the bottom offense. Scoring a touchdown alone would be a huge moral victory for Jacksonville.

Prediction: Seahawks 23, Jaguars 0


Oakland Raiders (at Denver Broncos)

When I think prime time, I think the Oakland Raiders.

Maybe the NFL thinks Rich Gannon is still on the team because these Raiders haven't deserved the grand stage during the last decade.

While they beat the Jaguars a week after playing the Indianapolis Colts close, they face completely uncharted waters in the red-hot Denver Broncos.

Through two games, Denver has scored 90 points, with early MVP front-runner Peyton Manning accumulating 769 passing yards and nine touchdowns with a 67.1 completion percentage. Oakland allowed Andrew Luck to complete his first 10 passes during the season opener, so it's terrifying to fathom what Luck's predecessor will do to the defense.

Denver's greatest weakness, a passing defense that has allowed 688 yards through two games, will avoid exposure further exposure against a quarterback with little passing ability. Terrelle Pryor has shown scrambling skills and solid short-yard passing accuracy, but he's totaled just 343 yards so far.

The Raiders actually lead the league in rushing, but the Broncos boast the best rushing defense with just 81 yards surrendered on the ground. When Denver jumps to an early lead, Pryor will be forced to unsuccessfully air it out, and he's unlikely to possess the garbage-time acumen of Eli Manning and Joe Flacco.

Catching a few big breaks early is the only chance Oakland has at keeping this game from becoming a blowout of unconscionable proportions.

Prediction: Broncos 44, Raiders 13