How To Beat The Hosts: Predictions For Week Three

Stephen BandsContributor ISeptember 26, 2009

10 Dec 2000:  Ray Lewis #52 of the Baltimore Ravens celebrates as teammate Rob Burnett #90 sacks Ryan Leaf #16 of the San Diego Chargers at PSINet Stadium in Baltimore, Maryland. DIGITAL IMAGE Mandatory Credit: Doug Pensinger/ALLSPORT

Last week was not as good as Week One. The Bengals played an amazing defensive game and crushed the Pack on their home turf.  Pittsburgh lost to the Bears (of all teams) after showing they still have no run game and then missing two field goals that could have tied and /or won the game.

All in all, we went 11-5 last week, if you followed my predictions, which isn’t bad, but I think we can do better.  This week had a few hard decisions, the Titans at the Jets for one, along with the Pats hosting the Falcons, and Pittsburgh visiting a surprising Cincinnati.

Also, the Lions have a chance to get their first win in almost two years when they host the Washington Redskins, who have played poorly so far. Let’s hope for the best, and see how it all turns out as we try to beat the odds, and the hosts.


Sunday, September 27, 2009, 1:00 PM EST


Kansas City Chiefs at Philadelphia Eagles

Philadelphia looked slightly worse than mediocre without Donovan McNabb behind the wheel. Andy Reid says Kolb will start again if McNabb can’t play. That’s probably a lie, but Philly’s made bad decisions before. Still, their defense should be able to take out Matt Cassel fairly easily.

He did poorly last week against a feeble Oakland team and now has to face one of the better defenses in the NFC.  McNabb will probably start for the Eagles, but even if he doesn’t, Jeff Garcia, or Michael Vick should do fine against a terrible Kansas City defense (trust me, Kolb won’t last much longer with those guys as his backups).

Winner: Philadelphia


Cleveland Browns at Baltimore Ravens

I would say this would be a laugher, but I saw what happened to my “laugher” last week (Pittsburgh, who was supposed to crush, lost pitifully to the Bears). That and the Ravens have this wonderful knack of making easy games nail-biters.  Ranked #1 on ESPN’s NFL Power Rankings, the Ravens are looking to make good on their standing by pounding the Browns.

Under Mangini, the Browns are worse than ever, perhaps the worst team in the whole league, and that’s saying something when the Raiders, the Lions, the Rams, and the Redskins are in the same league as them.  Baltimore continues to have an impressive offense and a defense that can always suck the hope out of any team (except for their secondary, which needs real work).

Look for Joe Flacco to have another pass-happy day against the sad, slow Cleveland D, and maybe, just maybe, if you wish and pray hard enough, Ed Reed will rise from the mist and FINALLY get an interception.

Winner: Baltimore


New York Giants at Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Giants are probably the best team in the league right now, with the great Eli Manning quarterbacking, spectacular running game, and near-flawless play by wide receivers.  Tampa Bay is still wishing they hadn’t fired John Gruden and Jeff Garcia, as they look terrible.

I fully expect the G-Men’s triple-run attack to run over the Bucs pathetic excuse for a defense, and Osi Umenyiora and Justin Tuck (if he plays) should have great games sacking Byron Leftwich (that’s right, the Bucs gave up Garcia for a guy who got booed out of Jacksonville).

Winner: New York Giants


Atlanta Falcons at New England Patriots

Don’t believe all the anti-Pats hype you hear.  Those are just band-waggoners screaming as they fall off.  The gross incompetence and errors that were the Pats losing to the loud-mouth Jets is not something Bill Belichick is likely to let repeat.

Yes, the Falcons look awesome, but it’s about time someone took those commentators who say, “Matt Ryan is the greatest quarterback who ever lived” off their high horses. At the same time, the Falcons barely won both of their first two games. They almost lost to the Panthers.

Jake Delhomme only had one interception against the Falcons defense, ONE. Brady doesn’t make the same mistakes twice, and neither does Bill, and he probably made his players cry after last week’s game. They’re out for blood now.

Winner: New England


Tennessee Titans at New York Jets

I’m still not buying into the shiny, new, improved Jets yet. What I am buying into is the terrible Titans. Losing to Pittsburgh in overtime is acceptable, but you lost to the Texans when Chris Johnson had a career day. The Jets made Tom Brady and Randy Moss look silly and they completely took away New England’s running game.

Chris Johnson is fast, but is he powerful enough the charge through a Rex Ryan defense? The answer, most likely, is no. And as much as I hate USC and anyone who comes from there, Sanchez (clench teeth) looked good last week. If the Jets play their whole game this week as they did in the second half against the Pats, this should be a nice, fat W.

Winner: New York Jets


Green Bay Packers at St. Louis Rams

Green Bay, let me count the ways you disappointed me last week. Innumerable. You lost to the Bengals. Why should you ever deserve to win again? Alas, I cannot resist picking Aaron Rodgers and Ryan Grant against a very sad St. Louis defense. And Atari Bigby, A.J. Hawk, and Al Harris should have fun harassing Marc Bulger for as long as he’s on the field.

Winner: Green Bay


San Francisco 49ers at Minnesota Vikings

I really have little to back up my decision here. The 49ers are leading the NFC West, Frank Gore ran for over 200 yards last week, and Mike Singletary has that team running like a well-oiled machine. But something keeps me from picking them. Favre, Favre does it every time. Favre and Adrian Peterson are probably the best QB-RB combination in the whole NFL. It’s most likely that their magic in the Great North won’t last, but they’re at home, and it’s only Week Three.

Winner: Minnesota


Jacksonville Jaguars at Houston Texans

Jacksonville is making a great case to be named “Biggest Disappointment” of the 2009 season.  The Texans actually beat the Titans, giving them the “Most Surprising” award for Week Two (not really, that goes to Chicago for beating the Steelers). As long as Houston can keep Matt Schaub and Andre Johnson healthy, they can keep that offense going. The Texans’ defense could use a little (okay, a lot) of work, but we are talking about the Jaguars here, so there’s no threat this week.

Winner: Houston


Washington Redskins at Detroit Lions

It had to happen sometime. Someone has to lose to the Lions, and after not scoring one touchdown against the Rams in Week Two, my vote is for the Redskins. They will lose in the most belittling upset since the 2007 Ravens became the only team to lose to the 2007 Dolphins (that 1 in the W column they had…that was the Ravens). Washington needs to retool its offense, get its defense in gear, and get RID of Jason Campbell.  He’s the JaMarcus Russell of the East.  Let’s face it, the Redskins are pathetic, and the Lions need a confidence booster.  So long, Jim Zorn.

Upset Winner: Detroit


Sunday, September 27, 2009, 4:05 PM EST


Chicago Bears at Seattle Seahawks

Congratulations Bears, you upset the reigning Super Bowl Champion Steelers. You delivered me the worst upset of the week and made me look foolish for predicting your performance to be laughable. Though I still cannot stand Jay Cutler, he can easily defeat the Seahawks this Sunday, if he plays his cards right. Throw nice, short, accurate passes up the middle, no forcing long, outside plays, and Jay should do just fine.

The Seahawks are missing Matt Hasselbeck. Now, I never thought he was that great, but he is the leader of the Seahawks offense, and without him they will flounder, just as they did last week against the 49ers.

Winner: Chicago


New Orleans Saints at Buffalo Bills

The Saints (and particularly Drew Brees) are looking more awesome every game. Their defense still needs some work, but the high-wire act that is the New Orleans offense never ceases to amaze. They beat what was predicted to be an unbeatable Philadelphia defense last week, and look to do the same again this week in Buffalo.

Though Trent Edwards seems to have found his groove, he won’t be able to get enough done to outscore Drew Brees and Company, even if T.O. doesn’t drop any gimme-passes.

Winner: New Orleans


Sunday, September 27, 2009, 4:15 PM EST


Miami Dolphins at San Diego Chargers

Miami, statistically, appeared awesome against the Colts on Monday Night Football. However, though they controlled the game for 45 minutes, they still lost. The Wildcat, though it has served them well in the past, is a dead gimmick. If they got rid of that and just let Chad Pennington throw the ball (like they paid him to do), they might actually win a ball game.

San Diego has the same kind of over-the-top passing game as Indy, so if the Fins can’t keep them off the field as long as they did the Colts, expect a third straight loss.

Winner: San Diego


Denver Broncos at Oakland Raiders

Denver, supposedly rife with inner-turmoil, is 2-0. The Raiders have JaMarcus Russell as their quarterback.  Need I say more? Kyle Orton is good, JaMarcus Russell is bad.  Denver kicked the Browns’ butts last week, and they should be able to do the same to the Raiders (considering they’re about the same quality), providing they don’t sustain any major injuries today or tomorrow morning.

Winner: Denver


Pittsburgh Steelers at Cincinnati Bengals

Hopefully, the surprise loss to the Bears won’t keep Pittsburgh from defeating their first AFC North opponent on the road. They looked mediocre-at-best against Chicago’s Urlacher-less defense and couldn’t make critical plays when it got down to crunch time.

The Bengals defense looked amazing against the Green Bay Packers last week, sacking Aaron Rodgers God knows how many times. Against the Pittsburgh O-line, the Bengals should have another big day, but don’t expect Pittsburgh’s mistakes from Week Two to go uncorrected. The Steelers are still big and physical, and I fully expect them to make a resurgence against the Cincinnati Bengals, whose offense still needs a lot of work.

Winner: Pittsburgh


Sunday, September 27, 2009, 8:20 PM EST


Indianapolis Colts at Arizona Cardinals

The Colts looked pretty bad against the Miami Dolphins on Monday night, but they only played for near 15 minutes. Imagine what their offense could have done with 20 or even 30 minutes of playing time. The Colts defensive problem is that they can’t stop the run, and though the Cardinals say they have two great backs, I haven’t seen them do much these past two weeks.

They won’t be much of a factor against Indy either, because, well, they are never used. And don’t expect the Cardinals defense to keep Peyton and his weapons from moving down the field.  I expect this to be an all-out passing battle, with a slight edge to Peyton, the Field General.

Winner: Indianapolis


Monday, September 28, 2009, 8:30 PM EST


Carolina Panthers at Dallas Cowboys

Dallas need to work on their passing game. That and they desperately need a win at home to get Jerry Jones’ ego to re-inflate. They couldn’t be stopped on the ground against the G-Men’s big D-line last week, and the Panthers can’t stop anyone from doing anything, so Dallas should hold the edge and finally get a win in the big, bright, shiny, new stadium.

Winner: Dallas


Hopefully, this week will be better than last, although that Jets/Titans game still has me worried. It should be a good week, or at least an exciting one, around the NFL. I’ll try my best to write these a little earlier next week, as many people need guidance in the ways of football. But until then, we can only watch in excitement and anticipation, waiting to see if our team will reign supreme, if we go 16-0, if we can beat the hosts.


Stephen Bands has no idea why this article is so late.  He has literally nothing to do except watch football, read, apply for jobs and graduate schools, and write these helpful articles.  You’d think he’d get it in gear…