NFL Week 3 Picks: Preview and Predictions for Most Intriguing Games
As the NFL season rolls on, teams are slowly but surely starting to show their true colors.
The Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks are really good. The Jacksonville Jaguars are swiftly trending toward the top draft pick. There's also a large group in the middle.
Over time, a more definitive line will be drawn between the contenders and the pretenders.
For now, there's still plenty of intriguing matchups on the schedule between teams still trying to prove exactly how potent they are going to become in 2013.
Knowing that, let's take a closer look at three of the best games on tap for Week 3. Everybody should have a better read on all six of the teams involved by the end of the weekend.
For a complete list of the week's slate, visit the league's official site.
Kansas City Chiefs (2-0) at Philadelphia Eagles (1-1)
The Thursday night matchups have been very much hit-or-miss since becoming a weekly part of the schedule, but this should be a good one. Andy Reid heads back to Philadelphia with hopes his new squad can remain a surprising member of the unbeaten club.
Kansas City is winning games exactly how it will need to all season.
The formula starts with strong defense—it currently ranks third in yards allowed—and then relies on Alex Smith limiting mistakes and Jamaal Charles making key plays.
So far, so good and the offense should improve under Reid.
As expected, the Eagles are utilizing an uptempo attack under Chip Kelly that is putting a lot of pressure on opposing defenses. The toughest part for Philadelphia has been sustaining that level for four quarters—something it hasn't done in either of its games.
Between Charles and LeSean McCoy, the game features two of the league's most explosive running backs. It wouldn't be a surprise to see a big play from one of them turn the tide in what should be a very close contest.
Prediction: Eagles 24, Chiefs 20
Houston Texans (2-0) at Baltimore Ravens (1-1)
Last season, these two teams played in Week 7 and the Texans scored an impressive 43-13 victory. It was around that point when Houston started looking like a true title contender before fading down the stretch.
It's off to another strong start and will be looking for a repeat performance.
What will be the top game of Week 3?
The most positive sign for the Texans is the emergence of DeAndre Hopkins. For years, the offense has been held back because Andre Johnson didn't have a player to take attention away from him in the passing game. Hopkins finally provides that threat to take the offense to the next level.
After getting crushed by the Denver Broncos in the opener, the Ravens bounced back nicely to take care of business against the Cleveland Browns.
It wasn't a major win, but they really needed a solid showing and got it. However, the offensive line still needs to improve to have success against top teams.
Ultimately, the Texans have come out of the gates strong for a second straight season and the Ravens are still spinning their tires a bit after their Super Bowl triumph.
Houston should be able to escape with a narrow victory.
Prediction: Texans 23, Ravens 21
Indianapolis Colts (1-1) at San Francisco 49ers (1-1)
San Francisco had quite a swing in its level of play over the first two weeks. The 49ers played extremely well to take down the Green Bay Packers, but then struggled mightily to get anything going against the rival Seattle Seahawks last week.
The lackluster showing shouldn't be a major long-term concern, but it does make this week's clash with the Colts more important.
The 49ers, and particularly Colin Kaepernick, have to rebound quickly to dash any concerns.
Indianapolis should be a good test. The Colts have a lot of good playmakers on offense and the improved rushing attack has helped take some pressure off Andrew Luck. The defense still remains a significant question mark, though.
The key for the 49ers is getting the ground game going. They are a traditionally strong running team and Indianapolis is giving up more than 130 rushing yards per game.
Look for Frank Gore to have his best game of the season so far to help score the victory.
Prediction: 49ers 27, Colts 21
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