There are plenty of intriguing storylines as we head into the third week of the football season.
We’ve seen a few teams surprise us with hot starts and a few others bury themselves by dropping their opening pair of games.
As Sunday inches closer we will soon find out the answers to all our week three questions. Can the Vikings and Cowboys earn their first victories of the season? Can the Steelers continue to win without Big Ben? Which undefeated teams will fall and which ones will stay unbeaten?
Here are 10 wild predictions for week three.
The Dolphins play a brand of football that seems to be working for them. They run a balanced offense and play smash mouth defense.
The addition of linebacker Karlos Dansby is giving the defense a new attitude and an aggressive approach. In week two against the Vikings, the Dolphins defense forced four turnovers and scored a touchdown. In two games, the Dolphins have surrendered just twenty points.
Sunday, they play a Jets team who plays a very similar style of defense. The game should be a low scoring affair. The difference might be that Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis is out. This will leave Antonio Cromartie to try and contend with Brandon Marshall. Marshall has often got the best of Cromartie when they were matched against each other in prior meetings.
Miami will be rocking for the Dolphins home opener and the team will deliver its first 3-0 start since the 2002 season.
The Cowboys have been widely criticized and it seems as if the pre-season hype might be getting to them. The ‘Boys enter Sunday’s game in desperate need of a win. They will play an undefeated Texans team who sits atop the AFC South.
The Texans star wide receiver Andre Johnson has a gimpy ankle and the team is coming off of an emotional win over the Redskins in overtime.
The Cowboys are the more experienced team and understand how big of a game this is. Tony Romo, Miles Austin and the troops will get it together. The Cowboys beat the Texans and head into the bye week on an emotional high.
What is the one thing worse than facing Tom Brady and the Patriots? Facing Tom Brady and the Patriots after they lose.
Last week, the Patriots suffered a two touchdown loss to the Jets. No doubt the loss to a division rival left a sour taste in their mouth. This most likely spells doom for the Patriots week 3 foe, the Buffalo Bills.
Buffalo has looked abysmal through the first eight quarters of the season. Going into Foxboro doesn’t figure to make life any easier. Ryan Fitzpatrick will start at quarterback for the Bills in place of Trent Edwards.
New England will be fired up and if they get an early lead don’t look for coach Belichick to call the dogs off. The Patriots have shown in the past, they have no problem crushing the throat of a defeated opponent. Look for them to make an example out of Buffalo.
It’s funny how things work out. At the beginning of the season, it looked as if Michael Vick’s career was all but over. He was named the backup long before the pre-season ended and found himself the subject of another off the field controversy.
Vick took his place on the sideline in week one but soon found himself thrust into the lineup. Starting quarterback Kevin Kolb went down with a concussion, Vick relieved him and nearly led the team to victory. He followed that up with a great performance in week two and earned his first victory as the Eagles starting quarterback.
On Tuesday, Eagles coach Andy Reid decided to stick with Vick as his starter. He won’t be disappointed. Michael Vick appears to be a changed man off the field and it seems to be helping his approach on the field. Vick has always been extremely talented and now it looks as though he’s put in the time and effort to refine his skills.
The Eagles will move to 2-1 led by Michael Vick.
The Steelers managed to hold Chris Johnson to 34 yards on 16 carries. The game against Pittsburgh was the first time in twelve outings Johnson failed to register at least 100 yards.
Johnson should return to top form this week against the New York Giants. Indianapolis was able to run for over 160 yards on the Giants last Sunday, and Johnson should find similar success.
The 2,000 yard goal that Johnson set for himself might be a bit high but Johnson is still capable of running wild all over the NFL. He will begin a new 100 yard streak and have his biggest game of the year against the Giants.
This game has very little to do with Charlie Batch and a lot to do with the Steelers defense. So far the Steelers have held the high powered offenses of Atlanta and Tennessee to a combined twenty points and one touchdown. The defense is led by linebackers LaMarr Woodley, James Harrison and safety Troy Polamalu, all of whom are punishing opposing offenses.
As good as the defense has been, the offense has been dreadful to this point. They have only scored one touchdown but haven’t had to do much more. Batch is a veteran quarterback who won’t be required to make any big plays and only needs to avoid turning the ball over.
Pittsburgh’s defense is so good it might not matter whose playing quarterback. “Hines threw for 400-plus yards in the Peach Bowl one year. We've got options,” said Coach Mike Tomlin.
Pittsburgh will stay undefeated in Tampa Bay.
All Peyton Manning has done is throw for nearly 700 yards and six touchdowns in two games. With so many weapons to spread the ball to, defenses are left to pick their poison when lining up against the Colts.
Sunday, the Denver Broncos will try and slow Manning and the Colts down. Unfortunately for the Broncos they might be without the services of both of their starting cornerbacks. Champ Bailey has a hurt ankle and Andre Goodman is suffering from an ailing thigh. Trying to chase down Reggie Wayne and his fellow receivers is a strenuous task when healthy but is nearly impossible when injured.
Last year, Manning threw for three touchdown passes in a 28-16 victory over the Broncos.
With Denver likely playing without one or both of their top corners, Peyton should throw a minimum four touchdown passes.
Every year teams come from out of nowhere and surprise the world by overachieving. The Kansas City Chiefs are one of those pleasant surprises this season. They opened the season with a home victory over division favorites the San Diego Chargers. Last weekend, they beat a lowly Cleveland Browns team 16-14.
The Chiefs are getting contributions from every unit on their team. In week one, it was solid defense and great special teams plays. In week two, it was an interception returned for a touchdown by cornerback Brandon Flowers.
Kansas City returns home Sunday and plays host to the San Francisco 49ers. The 49ers offense had a hard time playing through the crowd noise in Seattle in week one. The new Arrowhead stadium will be equally boisterous and the 49ers offense will again struggle. Their defense should keep the game close but Kansas City will pull away late.
No coach’s seat was hotter than Lovie Smith’s entering the season. How did Lovie handle the pressure? He has his Bears sitting tied for 1st place in the NFC North after two straight victories.
Quarterback Jay Cutler leads the NFL in passer Rtg (121.2) and has five touchdowns to only one interception. The biggest surprise for the Bears thus far has to be the play of third year running back Matt Forte. Forte leads the team in rushing yards, receptions and touchdowns.
Chicago’s defense is looking to reestablish themselves as one of the NFL’s best, led by linebacker Brian Urlacher and newly acquired defensive end Julius Peppers.
The Bears look to continue their winning ways on Monday night when they face arch rival the Green Bay Packers. The Packers and quarterback Aaron Rodgers have garnered much of the media attention but the Chicago Bears might be the best team in the division.
Jay Cutler is used to being looked over; he was often overlooked as a leader of the Denver Broncos. Chargers quarterback Phillip Rivers received much of the praise for his team’s performance and Cutler was often forgotten.
Cutler has been criticized in the past for being contentious with his teammates and even the fans. A win on Monday night should momentarily silence his critics and establish Cutler as one of the game’s top signal callers.
2010 has not been kind to either the Minnesota Vikings or the Detroit Lions. The Lions have lost a pair or close games to the Eagles and Bears. The Lions have played two competitive games but have not been able to seal the deal and earn a victory.
The Vikings are also winless and have dropped two close games to the Saints and Dolphins. Originally thought to be one of the favorites to win the NFC, the Vikings are searching for answers and their first win. The Vikings have not had a problem running the ball but Favre’s timing has been a bit off and the passing game has struggled. Favre had four turnovers last week and with Percy Harvin possibly out with an injured hip, the offense will again fail to produce.
Detroit is due for a breakthrough and this should be it. Jahvid Best has been amazing through two games and Calvin Johnson is one of the best receiver’s in the game. Look for the Lions to put another nail in the Vikings coffin. They will pull off the upset in Minnesota.