NFL Picks Week 3: Slumping Squads Primed to Avoid Consecutive Losses

Andrew Gould@AndrewGould4Featured ColumnistSeptember 16, 2013

SEATTLE, WA - SEPTEMBER 15:  Colin Kaepernick #7 of the San Francisco 49ers looks on as Richard Sherman #25 and D'Anthony Smith #94 of the Seattle Seahawks celebrate a saftey during their game at Qwest Field on September 15, 2013 in Seattle, Washington.  (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)
Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

Once is a fluke, twice is a trend. Three NFL squads will avoid a trend-setting second loss in two sequential weeks.

After igniting the 2013 season with a victory, these three squads each fell to 1-1 after dropping its following bout. Don't expect them to dwell too long on defeat.

From losing close to losing big to potentially losing a key member of the offense, each team needs to bounce back this weekend to avoid suffering another loss. The cards are aligned perfectly for them to thrive in critical triumphs.

Expect better results this Sunday.


Detroit Lions (at Washington Redskins)

Beating the Arizona Cardinals seems like something a revived playoff contender should do.

Squandering a 21-16 victory doesn't bode well for Detroit, who allowed a game-winning touchdown run to Rashard Mendenhall right around the two-minute warning. Perhaps the Lions aren't ready for the big time yet, but they can take solace in knowing their upcoming opponents look much worse.

After serving as guinea pigs for Chip Kelly during his NFL coaching debut, Washington surrendered 480 passing yards and four touchdowns to Aaron Rodgers.

That Rodgers fellow is pretty good at throwing footballs, but what's the excuse for getting torched for 132 rushing yards against James Starks? Green Bay had not seen a halfback exceed 100 rushing yards in a regular season game since Oct. 10, 2010, when Brandon Jackson achieved the feat guessed it: Washington.

Offense is never Detroit's problem, so expect Matthew Stafford's crew to torpedo the flimsy defense all afternoon. Even if Reggie Bush—who according to ESPN's Michael Rothstein will get an MRI on his injured left knee—can't suit up, Joique Bell is a suitable replacement. Certainly better than James Starks.

Points will fly down, but Robert Griffin III won't be able to keep up with the prolific pace.

Prediction: Lions 34, Redskins 27


Dallas Cowboys (vs. St. Louis Rams)

While the Dallas Cowboys lost against the Kansas City Chiefs, the defeat hardly came in typical apocalyptic fashion.

Football fans are always carefully watching for a Tony Romo fourth-quarter interception that costs them the game, but that wasn't the case. Fumbles, on the other hand, are another story.

The turnovers that won them Week 1 cost them this match. Dallas lost two key fumbles to give Kansas City the slight edge in a stalemate that featured a five-yard difference between the two squads.

Romo has completed 72.5 percent of his passes, but the Cowboys are struggling to find the end zone. Look for them to break that dry spell against a Rams squad that disappointed last Sunday in Atlanta, allowing 374 passing yards to Matt Ryan.

Steven Jackson leaving early saved St. Louis's defense from suffering a true spanking. A healthy DeMarco Murray should balance out the offense in a victory for Dallas.

Prediction: Cowboys 24, Rams 20


San Francisco 49ers (vs. Indianapolis Colts)

Yikes, talk about a quick fall.

The 49ers quickly transitioned from skipping on top of the world to getting pummeled by a division rival. Despite making the Super Bowl and beating Green Bay, they still can't solve the Seattle Seahawks at CenturyLink Field.

One week removed from a passing clinic against the Packers, Colin Kaepernick complemented his ugly 127 passing yards with an equally atrocious three interceptions. After every analyst with a microphone talked up Anquan Boldin higher than Zeus, Richard Sherman helped limit the new 49er wideout to one catch.

We know not to base all of our thinking on one week, but which game was the fluke? Did they perform over their heads against Green Bay or just have a rough day in Seattle?

For now, let's give San Francisco the benefit of the doubt. Seattle is a legitimate contender while the Colts lost to the Miami Dolphins after barely beating the Oakland Raiders.

The 49ers will bounce back just fine, returning to their roots of running and playing hard-nosed defense to fluster Andrew Luck and the Colts.

Prediction: 49ers 20, Colts 10