NFL Predictions Week 3: Picks for Every Game
NFL Week 3 picks and predictions are sure to be popular with fans across the remainder of the week.
After a solid, if unspectacular, Week 2 of predictions in which I picked 11 of 16 games correctly, we're onto Week 3.
Teams are still struggling to find their identity. A number of clubs still fall into an ambiguous category of "contender or pretender," and could continue that way for weeks.
That aside, let's take a look at who has the best chance of picking up a W in Week 3.
On to the predictions.
Week 3's Monday night game features one of the league's most storied rivalries.
Both teams have high-powered offenses (will never understand why Mike Martz is so undervalued as an offensive coordinator) led by two of the strongest-armed QBs in the league.
I'm of the ilk that Aaron Rodgers is the NFL's best QB in the NFL these days. His decision making, accuracy, arm strength, and mobility make him truly special. Against an aging Chicago Bears defense, he should be able to find holes a-plenty in the secondary.
Jay Cutler will get his too, but Packers should move to 3-0.
Final Prediction: 28-24, Packers.
Mark Sanchez surprised nearly every in week 2, throwing for 3 touchdowns and completing 23 passes, without an interception.
Of course, any good will from Sunday's win was dashed when Braylon Edwards arrested for a DUI early Tuesday morning.
The Dolphins are 2-0 after an unimpressive win over the Bills and a fairly impressive win over the Vikings. Though the Vike's offense isn't what it was last year, this Dolphins defense is for real. They should cause Mark Sanchez fits.
Final Prediction: 20-14, Dolphins.
The Chargers overcame a difficult Monday night opening loss against the Chiefs and blasted the Jaguars at home. Phillip Rivers and the offense found their rhythm, while the defense forced what seemed like countless turnovers.
The Seahawks struggled against the Broncos on the road, but proved themselves to be worthy opponents when playing at home.
No matter the state of the Seahawks roster, any team coming into Qwest field will struggle. Rivers showed that he can lose composure while playing in front of hostile crowds (as he did in week 1 against the Chiefs), so it'll be paramount for the Chargers success that he keeps his cool.
Final Prediction: 27-13, Chargers.
This game features two more teams with uncertain QB situations.
Journeyman Bruce Gradkowski provided a second half spark after Jason Campbell was benched and led the Raiders to a victory over the Rams.
Derek Anderson has been largely ineffective in his two starts for the Cardinals. He's also banged up, and we may be seeing the Max Hall era begin sooner rather than later.
This game is a real tossup. Who will get competent QB play? Who will avoid turnovers? On a hunch, I'll say the Raiders.
Final Prediction: 13-10, Raiders.
The Colts proved on Sunday night that they can win without relying on the passing game. The New York Giants dared the Colts to run the ball, and so they did, piling up 38 points and a blowout victory.
The Broncos are one of those enigma teams at 1-1. They fell to a mediocre Jaguars team, yet blew out a Seahawks team that whooped the 49ers.
Who are they? What's their identity? Is Champ Bailey out?
Unfortunately for Broncos fans, none of the team's identity questions will be answered against the Colts. Peyton Manning's offense is too good and the Colts will roll at Mile High.
Final Prediction: 28-10, Colts.
Kevin Kolb or Michael Vick? Vick has led the Eagles offense admirably in his two chances so far this season, but Andy Reid has invested his future in Kevin Kolb. So, who should start?
The question for now is moot as Andy Reid has made it clear that Kolb is the Eagles starter. That doesn't mean if he struggles in the first half against the Jags he's immune from getting the quick hook.
The Jags are coming off an embarrassing loss at the hands of the San Diego Chargers (they always play horrendously on the West Coast), though with the current state of their fanbase, coming home is not always an advantage.
Final Prediction: 21-14, Eagles.
The Rams have shown some spunk in 2010, losing two close games to start the season. Granted, the Cardinals and Raiders are far from the best the NFL has to offer, but the offense is showing more signs of life than it has in years.
Sam Bradford is showing every bit the potential that Rams brass hoped for when they selected him number one overall. Their next big hole to fill will be to find a number one WR, as the Danny Amendolas and Mark Claytons of the world aren't enough to sustain a successful offense over an entire season.
The Redskins have looked rejuvenated under Mike Shanahan, and if not for a late collapse against the Houston Texans, would be 2-0.
Though the Rams are improved, so too are the Redskins, and Donovan McNabb and his offense should roll.
Final Prediction: 31-14, 'Skins.
The Dallas Cowboys are 0-2 for the first time since 2001. Could they possibly fall to 0-3, putting them in a hole that could prove to be too difficult to climb out of?
That all depends on just how good the Houston Texans really are. No one doubts their offense after a 497 yard performance from Matt Schaub and the week 1 performance from Arian Foster.
But what about their defense?
If the Cowboys are serious about getting their first win of the season (I'll assume they are), they'll need to pound their three-headed rushing attack between the tackles all afternoon, control the clock, and avoid turnovers. If they can do those things, which I think they will, they should pick up their first win of the season.
Final Prediction: 24-21, Cowboys.
Joe Flacco looked lost during the Ravens week 2 loss to the Bengals, throwing four interceptions and displaying wild inaccuracy.
Part of the problem may have to do with Ray Rice and the Ravens' running game, which has yet to hit its stride.
The Browns offense is in even worse shape, relying on perennial backup Seneca Wallace in week 2 against the Chiefs. Though it's still unclear if Delhomme will be back in time for this weekend, the safe bet is that Wallace will be handed the reigns again.
The Ravens defense, though aged and with holes in the secondary, should have their with the Browns offense, and propel the team to victory.
Final Prediction: 23-6, Ravens.
The Jimmy Clausen era will kick off this weekend as the 0-2 Panthers will take on the 1-1 Cincinnati Bengals.
The Panthers struggled mightily on offense under Matt Moore, and John Fox, likely in his final year with the team, has little to lose. Give the rookie the keys and see what happens.
The Bengals are hoping to contend for an AFC North crown this season and their spirits are up after squeaking out an ugly win against the Baltimore Ravens.
Their offense still has many kinks to work out (will we ever see the Carson Palmer of yesteryear again?), but they shouldn't have too much trouble with the lowly Panthers this weekend.
Final Prediction: 24-7, Bengals.
Is there any more surprising of a 2-0 team than the Tampa Bay Bucs?
Josh Freeman has looked every bit the physical freak he was hyped to be coming out of Kansas State, and Mike Williams has already proved himself as a legitimate big play threat.
The Steelers, amazingly 2-0, have the most dire QB situation in the league (and that's saying something.) They've brought back Byron Leftwich after Charlie Batch threw for 17, yes 17, yards against the Titans on Sunday.
No matter how stagnant the Steelers offense may be, there is no doubting the ferocity of their defense. The Steel Curtain should win the day, and send the Steelers to 3-0.
Final Prediction: 13-10, Steelers.
There are subplots a-plenty in this week 3 matchup.
For the Giants, Brandon Jacobs name has been repeatedly brought up in trade rumors, though nothing as materialized yet. His helmet throwing incident may have been more damning than this lack of fortitude when hitting the hole.
The Titans, per usual, have some uncertainty at the QB position. After a dreadful performance by Vince Young, Jeff Fisher inserted Kerry Collins into the lineup, who nearly rallied the Titans to a late victory.
On Monday, Fisher proclaimed that he wouldn't pull Young for the rest of the season. Another performance like that from VY, and Fisher will have a hard time sticking to his word.
Final Prediction: 20-17, Giants.
Both teams impressed in week 2, though in very different ways.
On a windy night at Candlestick point, against one of the NFL's staunchest defenses, the Saints proved that they can win without a dominating performance from Drew Brees. Defensive Coordinator Gregg Williams disguises his zone blitzes as well as anyone in the NFL, making the Saints a formidable foe when you have the ball.
The Falcons had an easier path to a win in week 2, blowing out the hapless Arizona Cardinals, 41-7. They'll be hard pressed to score that many points against the Saints (or get that kind of performance from Jason Snelling, who scored 3 TDs), but this should be a close game.
If the Falcons were at home during week 3, this might be an upset special. As it is, the Saints will have just enough to pick up the win.
Final Prediction: 31-21, Saints.
The Vikings and Lions are two teams seemingly headed in different directions. The Vikings are 0-2, battling injuries and age as they look for their first win.
The Lions are also 0-2, though they've fought valiantly in both their losses, and have a young nucleus of skill players that is among the NFL's best.
For whichever team that this game, making the playoffs may be an impossible goal. I can't see any way in which Brett Favre goes out like that.
At home, in front of some of the NFL's best fans, Favre and his crew will have to dig deep, but they should get it done against the upstart Lions.
Final Prediction: 24-13, Vikings.
The 49ers are coming off one of the more heartbreaking losses in the franchise's recent history, 25-22 to the New Orleans Saints on Monday night.
Though there are no "moral victories" in the NFL, the 49ers must be feeling better about themselves after taking the defending Super Bowl champs to the brink.
There are a couple must-win games for teams in week 3 (ahem, Dallas), and the 49ers are one of those teams stuck in a must-win situation. They'll be playing in a raucous and hostile environment at Arrowhead, something that doesn't bode well for the easily shaken Alex Smith.
But with so much at stake, the 49ers will pull up their britches and get it done ugly.
Final Prediction: 17-10, 49ers.