The NFL boasts one of the most rigorous schedules in all of professional sports, and it's not often that teams can look to a schedule and guarantee future wins. This is the week where that can happen, though, as three Super Bowl contenders should have resounding victories in Week 3.
Schedule-makers made an interesting decision when creating this season's schedule—piling three potentially lopsided games into one week isn't something that happens often. Pitting poor teams against strong teams is inevitable in an NFL campaign but, in an effort to keep the games interesting, spacing them out from week to week is usually a safer bet.
Regardless, fans have potentially three blowout games to keep tabs on this week. Fantasy owners should look to start those players on Super Bowl contenders, as big production appears to be ahead. Fans of those Super Bowl contenders should be pleased that their respective teams won't be challenged all that much against much lesser opponents.
Games like these are what make NFL predictions seem easy, but it's nearly impossible to pick against these powerhouses in Week 3.
Atlanta Falcons at Miami Dolphins, 4:05 PM EST
The Miami Dolphins have started the season 2-0, and quarterback Ryan Tannehill has surprised the NFL with his ability to control the ball and lead his offense downfield. The Atlanta Falcons, on the other hand, are 1-1 and need a win in Week 3 to stay on pace in the competitive NFC.
Entering the season, the Falcons had the fifth-best odds in the NFL to win the Super Bowl in 2014. The Dolphins ranked 18th. Despite Miami's perfect record, expect them to go down easily to Atlanta. The Falcons offense is simply too potent.
Both of Miami's wins came against teams with offenses that are nowhere near the level of Atlanta's. The Cleveland Browns offense can be described as pitiful (especially now that Trent Richardson is gone), whereas the Indianapolis Colts offense is still going through a few growing pains with Andrew Luck under center.
This week, the Dolphins will face Matt Ryan and his wide array of weapons. The Dolphins are 18th in total defense, and Ryan will exploit them through the air early and often. Expect Julio Jones, Roddy White and Tony Gonzalez to make an impact both in the middle of the field and over the top of the Miami secondary.
The Dolphins are a much-improved team in 2013, but not nearly good enough to compete with the Falcons. Atlanta will win handily, 35-14.
Jacksonville Jaguars at Seattle Seahawks, 4:25 PM EST
This game is a no-brainer.
The Seattle Seahawks were 8-0 at home last season and, after knocking off the San Francisco 49ers with ease in Week 2, should be considered the NFC favorites for the Super Bowl.
Second-year quarterback Russell Wilson has been great as both a playmaker and game-manager, and has learned to use his weapons both down the field and in the flat. Marshawn Lynch was an essential component of the team's success the last two seasons—both has a runner and receiver out of the backfield.
The Jacksonville defense will have a tough time keeping up with Lynch and Wilson, and covering Sidney Rice, Golden Tate and Doug Baldwin will not be easy. Just imagine if Percy Harvin were healthy—this team would arguably be the most dangerous team in football.
Seattle doesn't win games with just its offense, though. The unit ranks first in the NFL in total defense, and the pitiful Jaguars offense will have a tough time putting points on the board. Expect a lot of three-and-outs from the Jags.
This game is no contest and will appear as such right from the onset. The Seahawks are in a league of their own against most NFL teams, but especially against the Jaguars. Wilson won't need to push the ball down the field in this one, so expect his teammates to carry most of the load.
In the end, this will be yet another decisive Seattle victory. Seattle will move to 3-0 thanks to a 31-10 victory against Jacksonville.
Oakland Raiders at Denver Broncos, Monday, 8:40 PM EST
The schedule-makers made an interesting decision by pitting the Oakland Raiders against the Denver Broncos on Monday Night Football. Although the airtime is usually reserved for the game of the week, this contest will end up as the blowout of the week—yes, even worse than Jacksonville versus Seattle.
Peyton Manning has been out of this world in 2013. He has already tossed nine touchdowns with no interceptions through two weeks, racking up 769 yards through the air. The addition of Wes Welker and tight end Julius Thomas has worked wonders for him.
Look for Welker, Thomas, Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker to have huge games against Oakland's secondary. Even though the Raiders rank fourth in the NFL for fewest yards per game, expect Manning to carve them up through the air.
The Broncos have gotten by in 2013 without a consistent running game. The run game was pretty much non-existent on opening night against the Baltimore Ravens, whereas Knowshon Moreno had a great game last week against the New York Giants. This is the type of inconsistency the Broncos may have to endure in 2013, but Manning's passing ability should overshadow that more often than not.
Offensively, the Raiders will not be able to figure out the Denver defense. Terrelle Pryor will struggle to find open receivers and won't find holes to run through. The Denver defense allowed a ton of yards to Eli Manning in last week's game, but Pryor is far from the passer that the youngest Manning is.
Denver will move to 3-0 with a 38-7 win over the Raiders.
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