Week 3 NFL Picks: Slipping Teams That Will Start Season 0-3

Andrew GouldFeatured ColumnistSeptember 22, 2013

CINCINNATI, OH - SEPTEMBER 16:  Ben Roethlisberger #7 of the Pittsburgh Steelers runs with the ball while defended by Michael Johnson #93 of the Cincinnati Bengals during the game at Paul Brown Stadium on September 16, 2013 in Cincinnati, Ohio.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

No NFL team wants to start the season 0-3.

It's still early, but football teams have fewer games in their season compared to other major sports. An 0-3 record sets them back, forcing them to heat up fast in order to keep the season alive.

After starting the season 0-2, these squads face a rougher predicament than Jesse Pinkman. (Not caught up on Breaking Bad yet? I'll wait.) Another defeat puts them in grave danger.

Nobody wants to admit it, but sending these teams to Belize may be our only course of action. These clubs need to turn the season around quickly to avoid another devastating loss.


Jacksonville Jaguars (at Seattle Seahawks)

Let's get the obvious choice out of the way.

The NFL's worst goes up against arguably the league's best, and the results will likely resemble a beating more befitting a college football game between a championship contender and an unranked Division II school.

Yet to have reached the end zone, Jacksonville ranks last in points scored and total yards amassed. Chad Henne has proven to be better than Blaine Gabbert, but he averaged just 6.34 yards per attempt with a 39.4 QBR.

Yet to have allowed an opponent to visit the end zone, Seattle rates first in points and total yards allowed. The rushing defense held Frank Gore to 16 yards while Richard Sherman limited Anquan Boldin to seven yards a week after he lit up the Green Bay Packers for 208.

The Jaguars need a miracle to avoid another loss this weekend.

Prediction: Seahawks 23, Jaguars 0


Tampa Bay Buccaneers (at New England Patriots)

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - SEPTEMBER 8:  Josh Freeman #5 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers hands off against the New York Jets during their game at MetLife Stadium on September 8, 2013 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

The Jaguars are the student that always slacks off and falls asleep during class. But the Buccaneers? They actually have potential. They're supposed to amount to something.

Signing Darrelle Revis and bringing back a healthy Carl Nicks made Tampa Bay an interesting NFC sleeper, and a Week 1 matchup against the New York Jets set the stage perfectly for an impressive debut.

One unnecessary shove later and it was halfway to a concerning 0-2 start.

All the blame, however, can't go to Lavonte David, as the fluttering offense could have put the game away quarters ago. That's been the story for the disappointing Buccaneers, who can't get their passing game going.

Josh Freeman ranks 33rd among signal-callers with a 45.3 completion percentage, making him the only starting quarterback worse than Gabbert at something. 

New England is going through its own offensive identity crisis, but a slumping Tom Brady is still more than enough to defeat a meddling Freeman.

Prediction: Patriots 23, Buccaneers 13


Pittsburgh Steelers (vs. Chicago Bears)

Maybe Mike Tomlin lights a fire under the Steelers, who remember they're the Steelers and offset the past two weeks of dismal offensive performances.

Revered for featuring bruising backs such as Jerome Bettis, the Steelers have registered 75 rushing yards through eight quarters, bad enough for last in the AFC.

When you combined an injured cast of running backs with an inexperienced offensive line, you're going to have a bad time.

But they play in Pittsburgh, and they're tough and darn it don't you dare say the Steelers aren't tough, so they will try desperately to appease the archetype and establish a rushing game.

Pittsburgh will try to run, only to generate disastrous results. Ben Roethlisberger will try to utilize a receiving corps without a true No. 1, but they have shown no ability to make a big play.

Meanwhile, the Bears are hungry to break out from under the Green Bay Packers' shadow and prove they belong as a legitimate NFC contender. Look for them to use the Sunday Night Football platform to do just that en route to their third victory.

Prediction: Bears 17, Steelers 9