Week 3 NFL Predictions: Quarterbacks Bound to Have Big Games on Sunday

Tyler Brooke@TylerDBrookeSenior Analyst IISeptember 21, 2013

GREEN BAY, WI - SEPTEMBER 15:  Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers throws against the the Washington Redskins at Lambeau Field on September 15, 2013 in Green Bay, Wisconsin.  (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

Week 3 is the week of the mismatches, and there are a number of quarterbacks that are going to put up big numbers this Sunday.

We didn't get to see big games from either quarterback on Thursday night.  Alex Smith had 273 yards and zero touchdowns, while Michael Vick had 300 total yards, one touchdown and a few turnovers.

That's not going to be the case on Sunday.  Let's look at the guys who will light up the scoreboards this week.


Matt SchaubHouston Texans

Sep 15, 2013; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Texans quarterback Matt Schaub (8) celebrates throwing the winning touchdown during overtime against the Tennessee Titans at Reliant Stadium. The Texans won 30-24. Mandatory Credit: Thomas Campbell-USA TODAY Sports
Thomas Campbell-USA TODAY Sports

Surprised to see Schaub on the list?  You shouldn't be.

Through the first two games of the season, Schaub has done very well.  He's already put up 644 yards and six touchdowns with three interceptions and a passer rating of 92.8.  Through two games in 2012, he had just one touchdown and 461 yards.  

What's been the difference?  DeAndre Hopkins.

Directly, Hopkins has been big.  He's had 183 yards and a touchdown on 12 receptions already this year.  Indirectly, he's been even bigger, taking a lot of pressure off Andre Johnson and the running game.

Giving Schaub another option to throw to has been huge.  The running game has been producing as well, opening the field up on play-action passes.

Now, the Texans will be going up against the Baltimore Ravens, who struggled mightily against the pass when playing the Denver Broncos.  Their opponents' passer rating is at 120.0, the second-highest in the NFL next to Washington, which is at 135.4.

The Ravens are going up against a quarterback not named Brandon Weeden, so this should be a big game for Schaub and his receivers.


Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints

TAMPA, FL - SEPTEMBER 15:  Quarterback Drew Brees #9 of the New Orleans Saints directs play against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers September 15, 2013 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

It hasn't been the fastest start for Brees, but he's going to make up for that with a huge game against the Arizona Cardinals.

That's not to say that he hasn't played well in the first two games; his numbers just haven't been at the insanely high level we're used to seeing from him.  He has 679 yards and three touchdowns, but he also has three interceptions.

The Cardinals have struggled so far against the pass against two average passing teams.  They've given up 572 yards in the air, but also four touchdowns and just one interception after playing Matthew Stafford and Sam Bradford.

Brees will have to give Jimmy Graham more than his share of looks this week, as the Cardinals have struggled defending tight ends so far.  Jared Cook went off for 141 yards and two touchdowns against the Cards, while Brandon Pettigrew, who isn't a super productive tight end, still had three catches for 32 yards.

From what we know about the Saints, Graham is going to have a big day.

This means good things for Brees.  When Graham has big days, Brees has even bigger ones.  Back in 2012 against the Panthers in Week 17, Graham had 115 yards and a touchdown, while Brees went off for 396 yards and four TDs with just one interception.

Expect big things from both of these players in Week 3.


Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers

GREEN BAY, WI - SEPTEMBER 15:  Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers confers with head coach Mike McCarthy duirng a timeout against the Washington Redskins at Lambeau Field on September 15, 2013 in Green Bay, Wisconsin.  (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Ge
Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

There's a reason Rodgers is the best quarterback in the NFL, and that's because he puts up big games on a consistent basis.

Last week was no exception, as Rodgers went off for 480 yards and four touchdowns.  He already has 813 yards on the season.  At this rate, he's on pace for 6,504 yards, 56 touchdowns and eight interceptions on the year.

While that's not going to happen, it just goes to show you how good Rodgers is.  It also certainly helps that he has weapons like Randall Cobb, Jordy Nelson, James Jones and Jermichael Finley to throw to.

According to Pro Football Focus, the Bengals have a pass coverage grade of -4.1, putting them in the middle of the pack at 16th in the NFL.  That grade has come against Jay Cutler and Ben Roethlisberger, with Big Ben and the Steelers looking like a pretty bad offense to start the season.

As an average pass defense, the Bengals are going to struggle stopping Rodgers and his plethora of weapons this week, just like almost any defense the Packers QB goes against.