NFL Picks Week 3: Predictions for Sunday's Biggest Games
Two weeks have come and gone in the NFL season, and Week 3 has its fair share of big games to watch for throughout Sunday.
Week 3 got off on the right foot as Andy Reid came back to Lincoln Financial Field and took down the Philadelphia Eagles, as his Kansas City Chiefs improved to 3-0. Their defense looked great, as they shut down the high-powered Eagles offense by forcing five turnovers.
With one of the bigger games already out of the way, let's look at the biggest games to watch for on Sunday, followed by a prediction as to which teams will come out on top.
New York Giants (0-2) at Carolina Panthers (0-2)
Heading into the season, there were few people who thought these two teams would be coming into this Sunday with zero combined wins. According to Adam Schefter, no team that's started three has gone to the playoffs in 15 years.
No team has made the playoffs after an 0-3 start in 15 years, since the Buffalo Bills did it in 1998.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) September 20, 2013
Eli Manning and the Giants' offense have struggled holding onto the ball so far this season. The younger Manning has thrown seven interceptions, the most in the league, while the team as a whole has 10 turnovers.
Which team will start 0-3?
For the Panthers, they've come off two tough losses to start the year. They led the Seattle Seahawks until the fourth quarter of their Week 1 game, then lost against the Buffalo Bills, thanks to a two-minute drill led by EJ Manuel that ended in a touchdown with just two seconds left on the clock.
This is going to be a game where the Panthers offense is going to need to put up points. The Giants have allowed 77 points up to this point, and while some of those points have come from defensive scores, the defense still has a lot of holes right now.
I think Cam Newton steps up big in this game and gives Panthers fans some hope, while Tom Coughlin starts to be put on the hot seat with an 0-3 start to the 2013 season.
Prediction: Panthers 28, Giants 24
Houston Texans (2-0) at Baltimore Ravens (1-1)
Heading into the season, this was, arguably, one of the most exciting games to watch for all season in the AFC. While some of the spark may be gone, this is still going to be a really exciting game.
Matt Schaub has looked really good so far for the Texans, which has been a bit surprising. He's started the year with 644 yards, six touchdowns and three interceptions.
A lot of Schaub's success has had to do with the arrival of DeAndre Hopkins. He has been big playing opposite Andre Johnson, putting up 183 yards and having a game-winning touchdown in overtime on 12 receptions.
The ground game has been efficient as well. Ben Tate and Arian Foster have combined for 284 yards while averaging about 5.2 yards per carry.
The Ravens have had a rocky start to the season for a team that won the Super Bowl just seven months ago. The defense got torn apart by Peyton Manning in the season opener, then came back and allowed just six points against the Cleveland Browns.
Things aren't looking so good for the offense heading into Sunday. According to Rotoworld's Evan Silva, John Clayton reported that it's unlikely Ray Rice is going to play against Houston.
ESPN's John Clayton on #Ravens RB Ray Rice (hip): "Barring some kind of miracle, I think Rice is gonna be out against Houston."— Evan Silva (@evansilva) September 20, 2013
The good news is that Bernard Pierce is a solid backup, but at the same time, losing Rice is a big blow to the confidence of the offense. Marlon Brown has been one bright spot, however, providing a nice red-zone threat for Joe Flacco through two games.
The Texans offense is shaping up nicely, and while the Ravens defense is talented, they're still trying to jell as a unit with so many new faces. This isn't going to be a pretty game for Ravens fans, especially if Rice is out.
Prediction: Texans 34, Ravens 17
Chicago Bears (2-0) at Pittsburgh Steelers (0-2)
Two good teams that missed the playoffs in 2012 seem to be heading in different directions through two games this year.
Marc Trestman was a bit of an unconventional pick as the Bears' head coach, but it seems to be the right choice so far. Jay Cutler has looked much more comfortable on offense, with a passer rating of 95.6 and being sacked just once, compared to being sacked nine times through two games last season.
Both of the Bears games have been decided in the last few minutes, but a win is a win, and Chicago has two of them. Martellus Bennett came up with a huge touchdown grab in Week 2 against the Minnesota Vikings with 10 seconds left to put the Bears up, 31-30.
The Steelers are already falling apart and struggling to stay healthy, and it's only Week 3. Maurkice Pouncey, the team's starting center, is out for the year, while the running backs keep dropping like flies.
Speaking of the running backs, the ground game has been awful. They've ran for 75 yards in two games, averaging just 2.4 yards per catch. Only two running backs have had 10 carries or more, and they're Felix Jones and LaRod Stephens-Howling.
The defense has held up for the most part, averaging 18 points allowed per game, but the offense is struggling big time. The Steelers are 31st in the league with just 472 yards of offense.
The Bears are looking like an NFC contender already through two games with their offense stepping up so far, while the Steelers are looking old. This is the game where the Steelers need to prove something, but I don't think they can get it done.
Prediction: Bears 27, Steelers 13
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