Week Three of the NFL season is nearly upon us. Another full slate of games, including a possible NFC Championship matchup at Lambeau and a very intriguing interconference battle in Philly. Everyone's got an opinion, and here's mine. So here we go, enjoy.
For the second time in his very young career, Matt Ryan gets a the chance to play a terrible defense. This game might look like a replica of his Week One performance against Detroit. And after watching Darren McFadden run all over the Chiefs last week, I wouldn't be surprised if Michael "Burner" Turner challenges for a new rushing record in this one.
It's not like Atlanta has the NFL's best defense, but Larry Johnson just doesn't have much help on the Kansas City offense. It's Tyler Thigpen's first start. Maybe this is the beginning of something special for Herm Edwards' club.... or maybe it's just another embarrassing loss.
Falcons 34 Chiefs 13
Oakland bounced back last week after getting hammered by Denver in the opening week. But, as mentioned before, Larry Johnson just doesn't have much help on that KC offense. Plus, the Bills are scrappy. Their defense has been surprisingly good, and the offense "ain't been too shabby" either.
If Trent Edwards can stay healthy (something he couldn't do at Stanford) and he keeps giving the ball to Marshawn Lynch, the Bills could make a playoff push, and even give the Patriots a couple good games.
Buffalo has two impressive wins already. JaMarcus Russell and McFadden are getting better for the Raiders, but if Seattle couldn't travel across the country and beat the Bills, I doubt the silver and black can either.
Bills 27 Raiders 9
The Panthers are undefeated. The Vikings haven't won. Wow! Who could have predicted that before the season started? Not Mike Greenberg, he picked Minnesota to win the Super Bowl. Personally, I never thought they were a Super Bowl caliber team, but I definitely don't think they're that bad.
Jackson is out, Frerrotte is in, for the time being. anyway. Maybe "old Gus" can get a little life back into the Vike's offense.
I believe Jonathon Stewart will outplay DeAngelo Williams again this week, earning himself the starting job in the process. But I don't think either of them will have outstanding days.
Carolina is a good story so far, but I think Minnesota will defend the home field and get into the win column. It has to happen some time, right?
Vikings 21 Panthers 17
Matt Leinart just can’t seem to live up to his potential. And Arizona isn’t waiting. Kurt Warner is managing the offense well, and the Cards finally look like the team to beat in the NFC West.
Unfortunately, they have a history of flopping just when people start to put stock in them. And for the projected last-place team in a division, I don’t think Washington is that bad. Would it be embarrassing for the worst team in one division to beat the best team in another? Yes. Will it happen? I think there’s a good chance.
Redskins 27 Cardinals 21
Bucs at Bears
Tampa Bay is one of those quiet teams. The Bucs don’t make much noise, and aren’t fancy, but that doesn’t stop them from winning games. However, I don’t think this year’s team is as good as last year’s, and even then, they really weren’t spectacular for a division champion.
The Bears seem to have some pep in their step with Kyle Orton taking snaps. Rookie Matt Forte looks like a fine running back, and Brian Urlacher and the Chicago defense have looked strong so far.
After losing to Carolina last week, I think the Bears will play more like they did against the Colts in Week One. Look for the mild upset in this one.
Bears 20 Bucs 13
One team used to play in Houston, and the other one currently plays there. One team is playing surprisingly strong despite off field issues, while the other looked downright awful in Week One. Can you guess which team is which in this little comparison?
Houston probably would have gotten its first win last week against Baltimore. Now, they’ve had two weeks to rebound from a tough loss to Pittsburgh. But I don’t think it matters. Tennessee has a two-headed monster in the backfield now, with Chris Johnson and LenDale White. Vince Young or no Vince Young, the Titans win.
Titans 23 Texans 14
Dolphins at Patriots
Matt Cassell is still very green for New England. However, it helps that he’s getting “settled in” against some of the league’s worst defenses. I think he has his best week yet against the Dolphins, hooking up with Randy Moss and Wes Welker multiple times.
As for Miami, the staff needs to wake up and smell the Ronnie Brown. How Brown, one of the best backs in the league before his injury last year, is sitting behind pothead Ricky Williams baffles me. But Miami has more issues than just their running backs.
Patriots 34 Dolphins 14
What is going on with Carson Palmer and the Bengal’s passing attack? I can see Mr. Ocho Cinco struggling because he only thinks about football a couple days a month, but even TJ Houshmendzadeh is having a tough time getting anything going. It’s not looking pretty in Cincy.
After a shaky start last season, the Giants have come out like true Super Bowl champs this year. And, to their benefit, they’re still flying under the radar. Some project them as the third team in the NFC East.
I’ve heard a few experts talk about this being a slip-up game for Eli Manning and company, and maybe it would be if they were playing a team that had things figured out. But the Bengals don’t.
Giants 30 Bengals 16
Saints at Broncos
I was never a big Jay Cutler fan in college. But this is the NFL, and the kid looks good, real good. It seems like the running-back-by-committee is working so far for Mike Shanahan’s team, as well.
The Saints are another one of those teams that can’t seem to play as well as they should. I like the upstart Broncos in this one.
Broncos 28 Saints 17
Rams at Seahawks
Oh, the NFC West. A couple of years ago, this would have been a marquee NFC match up. Now, it’s one of the more unappealing games on the schedule.
Both teams are 0-2, the Seahawks because of their inconsistency, not to mention the injuries to Matt Hasselbeck’s receivers. Seriously, by the time you get done reading this, they’ll have probably lost another one. The Rams are just terrible. Am I the only one confused about how “The Greatest Show on Turf” became “The Worst NFL Team on Earth” so fast?
St. Louis needs a win, desperately. But then again, so does Seattle. The Seahawks will get it in this one.
Seahawks 30 Rams 13
Lions at 49ers
When I think of these two teams, the first word that comes to mind is “mistakes.” The 49ers and Lions are two of the worst teams at blowing any good opportunity that comes their way. Neither can seem to handle any hype at all, the proverbial underachievers.
This game says lots of offense to me. Not that these offenses have Cowboys-Packers type talent, but, matched against each other, JT O’Sullivan and the 49ers should have a good back-and-forth battle with John Kitna and his young, talented receiving corps.
If everything goes accordingly (which it probably won’t), I think the 49ers’ confidence-boosting win over Seattle last week will power them to victory over the sloppy Lions in this one.
49ers 27 Lions 23
Jaguars at Colts
Will this be the game where Peyton Manning, Joseph Addai, and the high-powered Indy offense finally return to form? Probably not against Jacksonville’s defense. Fortunately for the Colts, the Jags’ offense has been even more invisible through the first two games. David Garrard has struggled somewhat early, and the usually dynamic rushing combo of Fred Taylor and Maurice Jones-Drew has had no luck on the ground so far.
I like the Colts in another low-scoring affair.
Colts 17 Jaguars 12
Browns at Ravens
Hello? Where is Cleveland? Coming into the season, the 10-win Browns were one of the sexiest picks around the league. Braylon Edwards, Kellen Winslow, and a rejuvenated Jamal Lewis made Cleveland’s offense one of the most talented in AFC.
However, none of those players has lived up to expectations so far, and quarterback Derek Anderson has really struggled. And Donte Stallworth hasn’t even stepped on the field yet.
The Ravens are young on offense, but still very competitive on defense. Coming off of a bye week, they will be fresh, and ready to give their rival Browns everything they’ve got. If Anderson and company don’t get things going, Baltimore will beat them. Watch out for Willis McGahee in this one, as he’ll see his first action of the season.
For now, I’ll take Cleveland, but just barely.
Browns 17 Ravens 14
Steelers at Eagles
If the Cowboys weren’t traveling to Green Bay on Sunday, this would be the game of the week. And heck, it still might turn out to be the game of the week. Two very talented teams on the rise go at it in Philadelphia, and I expect a lot of offense. Donovan McNabb and the Eagle offense looked very strong against the Cowboys Monday night. Their signature defense? Not so great.
Big Ben Roethlisberger and fast Willie Parker have the Pittsburgh offense surging early as well. The Steelers will be around come postseason time. They’ll put up one heck of a fight in this game, but I’ll take the home team in a close one.
Eagles 31 Steelers 27
Cowboys at Packers
Aaron Rodgers can’t handle the pressure. That’s what the experts say, at least. Well, so far he has. Oh, but you want him to play a legitimate team, do you? Well, here it is. And, if I remember correctly, he played pretty well after filling in for Brett Favre in Dallas last year.
Is there a more deadly combo in the league than Tony Romo and Terrell Owens right now? I don’t think so, but I do think Rodgers and Greg Jennings will get the better of them at home this time around. This game will live up to its hype, and it won’t be the last time these two teams see each other, either.
Packers 35 Cowboys 28
Two bad breaks have the Chargers at 0-2. Now, they’ve got Brett Favre and the Jets on Monday night. With Pittsburgh/Philly and Dallas/Green Bay on the schedule, I want to know who slotted this one for Monday Night Football. L.T. is still banged up, but Philip Rivers is playing great football, and San Diego is angry.
Favre may be a legend, but his surrounding cast isn’t very good. New York will keep it interesting for a while, but San Diego will get its first win.
Chargers 27 Jets 16