NFL Picks Week 3: Home Teams That Will Save Season with Win
Home teams such as the Carolina Panthers, Minnesota Vikings and Washington Redskins are all 0-2 to start the season, but each will save their respective campaigns with a win in Week 3.
All of these teams are in a must-win situation, as the history for 0-3 teams making the playoffs isn't good, according to Art Stapleton of NorthJersey.com:
Fortunately for Carolina, Minnesota and Washington, each team has a favorable matchup this week that should help break the losing trend.
Let's take a look at each of these team's games and why the home team will emerge victorious.
Week 3 Schedule courtesy of NFL.com
Carolina Panthers (vs. New York Giants)
The Panthers have found a way to lose their first two games of the season, and that puts them in dire straits coming into this game against an 0-2 team like the Giants, who are equally as desperate.
Luckily for the Panthers' lackluster defense, the Giants are a mistake-prone team that often turns the ball over and gives its opponents extra possessions. The G-Men may be No. 1 in the passing game, but quarterback Eli Manning's seven interceptions make it inevitable he'll throw one, and the Panthers must take advantage of that.
Who ya got?
New York's defense is predicated on the pass rush, as it doesn't sport a good secondary by any stretch. In fact, not only has this unit lost the services of safety Stevie Brown for this season, but now the G-Men will be without cornerback Cory Webster in this one, who is dealing with a hip injury, per ESPN.com.
That should make things even easier through the air for the Panthers, and even if the Giants do get consistent penetration, quarterback Cam Newton can avoid the rush and make plays with his legs. To keep the Giants defense honest, the Panthers are No. 6 in the NFL on the ground.
With both teams playing almost equally bad, it comes down to who can take care of the ball better and it's clear the Panthers are doing a better job than the Giants are in that department.
Final Score: Panthers 27, Giants 24
Minnesota Vikings (vs. Cleveland Browns)
Cleveland's offense will be in even more trouble than usual after trading away its best piece, running back Trent Richardson, during the week. In his place, veteran back Willis McGahee will get the nod, but it isn't clear how much the 31-year-old has left after not playing the first two games of the season.
Adding to their woes, the Browns will be going with a new quarterback in Brian Hoyer, as Brandon Weeden is out (per ESPN.com).
Hoyer has played in all of 15 games through his first four seasons in the league. Minnesota's defense, which has been dreadful against both the pass and run, is salivating at the prospect of playing against an older back and an inexperienced quarterback with few weapons to throw to.
Who ya got?
The Browns are ranked No. 4 against the run this season, so that's a promising thing to point to coming into this game. As a result of a less than credible pass attack in Minnesota, the Browns can stack the box in anticipation of running back Adrian Peterson getting the ball.
But as was evidenced by his sensational 2012-13 season, stopping Peterson is far from a certainty no matter how much you focus on him. Against a tough defense in the Chicago Bears last week, Peterson was able to muster up 100 yards.
It may not be pretty on offense for the Vikings in this game, but the Browns will be hard-pressed to get anything going offensively as Minnesota stuffs the run and finally gets some sacks against a horrid Browns offensive line that is tied for a league-leading 11 sacks allowed.
Final Score: Vikings 20, Browns 3
Washington Redskins (vs. Detroit Lions)
The biggest problem for the Redskins so far has been their defense. Washington is No. 23 against the pass and No. 32 against the run this season. However, thankfully for the Redskins, they may be able to win without much of a defensive effort this week.
The Lions are a solid team offensively with a good passing attack led by quarterback Matthew Stafford that ranks No. 7 in the NFL and a two-headed rushing attack headed by Reggie Bush and Joique Bell. Although it must be noted that Bush comes into this game listed as questionable with knee problems, according to ESPN.com.
Who ya got?
Detroit's defense isn't as talented, however. Granted, its pass defense is ranked No. 15 in the NFL, but Detroit hasn't faced a truly tough passing attack yet with the likes of the Vikings and Arizona Cardinals being their first two opponents.
That makes what they've done in the first two weeks a bit misleading, and while they do have a talented defensive line, defensive tackle Nick Fairley is questionable and may not be at 100 percent if he plays, per ESPN.com.
The Redskins have done a great job moving the ball through the air this season with a No. 8 ranking. Expect this offense to explode in this game with Robert Griffin III finally finding his stride and running back Alfred Morris building on a stellar Week 2 showing that will leave these sophomores meeting their lofty expectations.
Washington can't stop a nosebleed, but Detroit's defense hasn't seen an offense with the talent of Washington's and that will lead to a major exposure of a huge weakness for the Lions.
Final Score: Washington 34, Detroit 30
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