It’s already Week 3 of the NFL season and we’ve had plenty of surprises. We’ve got the Kansas City Chiefs and Tampa Bay Buccaneers at 2-0, while we’ve got the Dallas Cowboys and Minnesota Vikings at 0-2. Will these trends continue? Will these teams start playing like they were expected?
Let’s take a look at my Week 3 NFL Picks and you’ll see what I think. As always, the home team is denoted in caps.
LOCK – Cincinnati Bengals 24 – CAROLINA PANTHERS 13 – This game should be an absolute home embarrassment for the Panthers. The team is just a mess, offense and defense; they’ve even made a QB change with Jimmy Claussen now the starter. This could be an early season trap game for the Bengals but I’m going to say they’re too good and the Panthers that bad, to let it happen.
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS 27 – Buffalo Bills 10 – Much like the Bengals / Panthers game, this is a case of one team being so good and another that bad. After a tough loss to the New York Jets, there is no doubt in my mind that Tom Brady and the Patriots will come out focused; looking to pick apart the Bills early and often. The Bills are another team making a QB change this week and doing that against a defense like the Patriots is never a good thing.
UPSET – KANSAS CITY CHIEFS 23 – San Francisco 49ers 17 – This game is going to be very interesting. The Chiefs have been early season overachievers at 2-0, while the 49ers have been underachievers at 0-2. The 49ers problem has been turnovers, without those they probably would have had an easy win over the New Orleans Saints last week. The Chiefs are enjoying success this season because of a new more balanced offensive scheme. I’d have to say with Kansas City being the home team that they’ll win this game even if the 49ers stay neutral in turnover differential.
NEW YORK GIANTS 24 – Tennessee Titans 20 – Both of these teams struggled mightily in Week 2. The Titans benched their struggling QB Vince Young, while the Giants defense was picked apart by Peyton Manning. In my opinion, the team that’s going to win this game is the most strong willed and I believe that’s the Giants. The Giants are notorious for playing flat games and then come out firing when their backs are against the walls. The Giants slept walk against the Indianapolis Colts, they didn’t play their style of smash mouth football, they tried to be cute early on and it cost them. Tom Coughlin should have a bruising game plan setup on both sides of the ball, which will put the Giants back in the win column.
BALTIMORE RAVENS 16 – Cleveland Browns 10 – Is there really much to say about this game? The Browns offense is atrocious while the Ravens have arguably the best defense in the league. As long as Joe Flacco can avoid mistakes and manage the game it should bee an easy win for the Ravens.
Pittsburgh Steelers 17 – TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS 13 – Like the Chiefs, the Bucs have been overachievers and I have to say this team is a big surprise to me. The defense has been very effective, while QB Josh Freeman has done a good job managing the offense. There is a catch thou, their competition. The Bucs have played the dreadful Panthers and a very week Cleveland Browns team. This week they get their first real test against the Steelers, a team that’s still missing their starting QB and will also be without their backup, Dennis Dixon. This game is going to be a defensive showdown, which means I’m going to have to go with the Steelers. They’ve been there done that and know how to win these close low scoring games.
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS 27 – Atlanta Falcons 24 – Here we go, one of the first marquis matchups of the week. Atlanta to me is a huge question mark right now; they scored 41 points in week one, while only scoring nine in week two. So I have to ask what team are they, are they a high scoring high octane offense, or a week unit looking for their identity? Now the Saints, have looked really good at times but also have looked like a team going through the motions in the early part of the year. Regardless in each of their games the Saints have done what they needed to do to win. So onto the game, both teams will be missing running backs that mean a lot to their team but both have more weapons that can offset those losses. I believe the Saints will go to 3-0 this week behind a strong outing from Drew Brees and a defense that causes a big turnover in the final minutes to save the game.
MINNESOTA VIKINGS 20 – Detroit Lions 17 – The Vikings have been an absolute mess so far in 2010, especially on the offensive side of the ball. There’s no consistency anywhere, Brett Favre and his receivers can’t get on the same page and it shows. The defense thou has been absolutely outstanding, holding the Saints and Miami Dolphins to 14 points each, a tough task for anyone. The Lions have surprised so far, they may be 0-2 but they aren’t playing like it. Even without Matthew Stafford in Week 2, they almost upset the Philadelphia Eagles. The problem was their defense couldn’t hold and I think that is the unit that will cost the Lions this game. The Vikings found success last week when they decided to go with their workhouse Adrian Peterson instead of relying on Brett Favre. That should continue this week and the Vikings should finally get in the win column.
HOUSTON TEXANS 30 – Dallas Cowboys 17 – Much like the Vikings, Dallas has been utterly disappointing in 2010, with them thou there has been no bright spot. They’ve struggled on both sides of the ball and don’t look like they’re anywhere close to coming out of their funk. The Texans have been riding high, they were a preseason favorite to make the playoffs and then came out destroying the Colts in week one, a team they’ve perennially struggled against. The Redskins did take them to overtime last week but they showed plenty of character by coming back from a big late deficit. I think the trends with both of these teams continue, with the Texans winning big. After the game, look for some strong words directed to head coach Wade Phillips from Cowboys owner Jerry Jones. So strong, that he’ll probably be on the chopping block.
Philadelphia Eagles 28 – JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS 16 – The Eagles sort of made a quarterback change this week, naming Michael Vick their starting quarterback. He did start in week two but that was because of injury, his performance earned him an extended look thou. I expect the surprised Eagles team to fly high behind him thou as he has definitely provided a spark to the offense. The Jaguars have struggled so far in 2010 and now have a banged up quarterback in David Garrard, which shouldn’t help their cause. I’m thinking this will be the first big win of the year for the Eagles, as both offense and defense put up solid performances. Get your Michael Vick Jerseys at NFLShop.com!
Washington Redskins 17 – ST. LOUIS RAMS 13 – The Rams may be a 0-2 but they’ve been improving each week, especially their QB Sam Bradford. The problem is their just still too young and green to deal with an experienced team like the Redskins. Both teams defenses will put up solid performances but Donovan McNabb should do just enough to get the ‘Skins a win.
Indianapolis Colts 31 – DENVER BRONCOS 16 – I’ll make this one short, the Broncos may have put up 31 points on the Seahawks but there is no way they’re putting that much up against the Colts defense. Even if they do, I don’t see how they’ll be able to stop Peyton Manning. I’m thinking easy rode win for the Colts.
Oakland Raiders 20 – ARIZONA CARDINALS 13 – Cardinals defense put up a huge stinker against the Falcons last week, giving up 41 points. While I don’t think they’ll give up that much to a Raiders team who benched their QB Jason Campbell, they’ll still give up more then they can score. After watching the Falcons run all over the Cardinals, I’m quite sure the Raiders are just going to keep stuffing the ball down Arizona’s throat.
San Diego Chargers 30 – SEATTLE SEAHAWKS 17 – This is pretty easy, I just don’t like Seattle, I’m sorry I don’t. Matt Hasselbeck is a solid QB and gets the job done but with how often he gets hurt I just can’t back him. This pick is just purely personal preference.
MIAMI DOLPHINS 13 – New York Jets 10 – This is the game I can’t wait to see, unfortunately I’ll be working Sunday night and miss it. First let me say, regardless of what happens with Braylon Edwards this weekend I don’t believe it will affect the outcome of the game. Both of these teams have enjoyed early season success because of their defenses. The Jets have shut down both the Ravens and Patriots, while the Dolphins have done the same to Buffalo and Minnesota. Both offenses will struggle in this game and it could come down to one big play for the winner. With that being said the trickery of the Dolphins Wildcat formation would be more likely to provide that big play then the Jets base offense.
CHICAGO BEARS 23 – Green Bay Packers 20 – While, the Jets / Dolphins is the game I most wanted to see, the Bears / Packers is without a doubt the best game of the week. It’s a battle of two undefeated, long standing divisional rivals. The Bears’ Jay Cutler has been pretty steady and actually very impressive in Mike Martz’s offense, while thee defense has made just enough stops to get the win. Packers’ Aaron Rodgers struggled some against a strong Eagles defense but annihilated a weak Bills defense, this week I expect him somewhere in between. I believe home field advantage will be the key to this game, with Da Bears pulling out a close one.