NFL Week Three Predictions And Power Rankings
The surprisingly undefeated Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Kansas City Chiefs proves there are some things NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and his rules committee can't mess with.
Though these records may be temporary anomalies, it further shows why football is so fun and how the expression "on any given Sunday" still lives and breathes within a game Goodell so frantically tries to control.
Week 3 is very important to the Minnesota Vikings and Dallas Cowboys. Both reached the playoffs last year and were expected to compete for a title this season. A loss might end all aspirations for both.
Here are how things could play out this weekend :
Tennessee Titans @ New York Giants
The Giants can't seem to get their running game going. To make things worse, their defense can't seem to stop opponents from running.
Not a good formula with Chris Johnson coming into town hungry after a sub par game last week.
The Titans quarterback situation is reminiscent to 2009, while Giants quarterback Eli Manning has more weapons to work with.
Tennessee has a decent defensive secondary, so it may come down to who runs the ball best.
Titans 23 Giants 21
Cincinnati Bengals @ Carolina Panthers
The Bengals show they have enough weapons on offense to be unpredictable. Rookie tight end Jermaine Gresham might explode this week.
Bengals running backs Cedric Benson and Bernard Scott also could be big, given the woes that Carolina has been suffering in the trenches thus far.
Rookie Jimmy Clausen gets his first NFL start at quarterback for the Panthers, so expect Marvin Lewis and Mike Zimmer to have defensive packages to confuse him.
Bengals 31 Carolina 13
Pittsburgh Steelers @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers
No one saw the Bucs at 2-0. In fact, many thought they would only win two games all season. It was a nice run by a young team who may arrive ahead of schedule.
It is no mistake that Pittsburgh native Charlie Batch has earned two rings with the Steelers in his six years with the team. Though ultra-fragile, he understands his role when called upon.
The 11-year veteran will need to do better than the 25 yards he threw last week in relief for injured Dennis Dixon, who had only thrown for 18 yards himself. This may be temporary, as Brian Leftwich appears ready to go and Ben Roethlisberger is two weeks away from being the starter again.
Steelers 24 Buccaneers 10
Buffalo Bills @ New England Patriots
Patriots fans are so relaxed about this game, they are talking about Tom Brady's hair.
Patriots 34 Bills 7
Cleveland Browns @ Baltimore Ravens
Baltimore has played well defensively, but the offense has been a huge disappointment so far this season.
The offensive line really misses massive tackle Jared Gaither, who is out with a back injury.
Quarterback Joe Flacco is coming off perhaps the worst game of his young career, and will need to rely on his group of veteran receivers as they face off against a young Browns secondary.
Ravens 17 Browns 13
San Francisco 49ers @ Kansas City Chiefs
The Niners played much better the second week than the first. After getting blown out by the Seattle Seahawks, they took the defending champion New Orleans Saints to the wire before losing.
They are due for a win, but it may not be easy against the pesky Chiefs, who are surprisingly undefeated right now.
49ers 27 Chiefs 17
Dallas Cowboys @ Houston Texans
Game of the Week
Dallas is about to hit panic mode. Houston is tougher and more resilient than perhaps some expected.
The Texans needs to run the ball, but the passing game is good enough to carry them to victory.
Dallas offensive coordinator Jason Garrett needs to get back to running the ball if he wants his team to win.
A loss here will deal a lethal blow to the Cowboys 2010 aspirations, as they still have to face five teams on their schedule who made the playoffs last year.
Texans 30 Cowboys 28
Detroit Lions @ Minnesota Vikings
The good news here is that one of these teams will finally win a game this season.
The Vikings season is pretty much on the line right here.
Detroit fans have to be happy with the progress their team has shown.
Vikings 31 Lions 23
Atlanta Falcons @ New Orleans Saints
Atlanta played a lot better last week, and they know this is a very important divisional confrontation.
The Saints are looking like the best team to have a chance of repeating since the Patriots in 2003 and 2004.
Though they will miss the versatile Reggie Bush, they have enough weapons to overcome his absence.
Saints 38 Falcons 31
Washington Redskins @ St. Louis Rams
Washington is one overtime field goal away from being unbeaten with virtually no running game, an erratic offensive line, and basically two pass catchers.
They are also one holding call away from being win-less.
If they cannot improve the offense this week against the lowly Rams, it will be a long season in the tough NFC East.
Redskins 28 Rams 24
Philadelphia Eagles @ Jacksonville Jaguars
Eagles head coach Andy Reid is a bit lucky the teams schedule is the way it is.
He was forced to plug in Michael Vick at quarterback after an injury to starter Kevin Kolb on opening day.
He then gave Vick his first start since 2006 against the lowly Lions.
Now Philly faces an average Jaguars defense to build on that success.
Jacksonville will look to run the ball down the throats of the Eagles tiny defense, so it will be close if Maurice Jones-Drew runs wild.
Eagles 24 Jaguars 21
Indianapolis Colts @ Denver Broncos
The Colts go as Peyton Manning goes.
Their defense was tough against the Giants last week after being run over by the Texans the week before.
Denver is unpredictable on offense, but their defense will have a tough time stopping Indianapolis if Manning is on his game.
Broncos top cornerback Champ Bailey is hurting and will be a game-time decision.
Colts 34 Denver 24
Oakland Raiders @ Arizona Cardinals
Two teams looking for an indentity beyond mediocrity.
Oakland slithered by the Rams last week for their first win.
The Cardinals, who beat the Rams in their first game, are near the bottom on both scoring offense and defense.
The Raiders aren't much better in those categories, and are taking a big chance by benching quarterback Jason Campbell just a few months after acquiring him to be their future at the position.
Raiders 17 Cardinals 15
San Diego Chargers @ Seattle Seahawks
San Diego exploded last week after a bad start to their season.
Seattle came crashing back to Earth with a solid beating by Denver after blowing out San Francisco the week before.
Chargers 31 Seahawks 16
New York Jets @ Miami Dolphins
While the Jets last week looked like the team Rex Ryan had been spouting off about incessantly, they then get hit with the drama of top receiver Braylon Edwards arrest for DUI.
Miami might be facing them at the right time.
Though the Dolphins offense scares nobody, their defense has allowed a league best 20 points so far.
The Jets basically mirror them with a mediocre offense and good defense.
The term "defensive struggle" appears likely in this battle.
Jets 13 Dolphins 10
Green Bay Packers @ Chicago Bears
Chicago's new offensive coordinator Mike Martz has quarterback Jay Cutler playing the way the Bears envisioned when they traded away so much to attain his services.
The fact Cutler does well without much of a running game speaks highly of his abilities.
Green Bay has shown why so many picked them to win the NFC North.
This is the longest running rivalry in NFL history between two teams that have won 21 championships and inducted 47 people into the Hall of Fame between them.
Greatness is expected.
Packers 27 Bears 24