Red zone picks: week 3 predictions & upsets

An'dre TriplettCorrespondent ISeptember 20, 2008

Week 3 is shaping up to be a "must win weekend" for a few teams.  The Vikings, Seahawks, Jaguars, Browns, Chargers, Dolphins, Rams, Bengals, Chiefs, Texans, and Lions are all in need of a win or this season may become one of lost hope.

I'll be taking a look at a 3 of this weekend's more interesting match-ups.

Up first will be the Rams vs. Seahawks:

Seattle and St. Louis both enter this contest 0-2.  The walking M.A.S.H unit that is the Seahawks' receiving corp is the glaring liability on the team right now.  Other things to worry about include Matt Hasselbeck's completion percentage of 45.5.  Hasselbeck's QB rating in the two losses include 53.9 at Buffalo and 42.5 against San Francisco.

For St. Louis, Marc Bulger's QB rating of 73.9 is a little alarming.  The St. Louis defense is the biggest concern.  Statistically ranking last in yards per game given up and last in passing yards per game given up while being 31st in point per game given up, the defense needs to step their level of play up.

One bright spot for the Rams should be Steven Jackson.  Jackson has had at least one rushing TD in 5 of the last 6 meetings between the two teams. 

I have the Seahawks winning at home by 10.

Next is Jacksonville vs. Indianapolis:

Jacksonville comes into this divisional game 0-2 and can't let this game pass them by as they are already down a game in the division with their week 1 loss to Tennessee.

The Jaguars need their running game to get in gear.  They come into this week's contest averaging 65.5 rushing yards per game and 3 yards per carry which ranks them 28th in the NFL.  Look for David Garrard to stretch the field this week in hopes of opening up the running game.

The Colts are coming off a less than stellar win on the road last week against the Vikings in which Adam Vinatieri kicked the game winning field goal with 3 seconds left.

The Colts are 11-3 all-time against the Jaguars.  The Colts' Reggie Wayne is averaging 133 yards per game against the Jags which should be an area of concern coming in.

One player that will be missing on Sunday will be strong safety Bob Sanders who is out with is listed as a high ankle sprain.  This will cause the Colts' blitz scheme to change.  I would expect the Colts to dial down their blitz packages as they will more than likely play it safe on defense.

I expect this will be a close one with the Colts winning at home by 13.

Finally we have the Dallas Cowboys vs. Green Bay Packers:

This is my upset special by the way.  Dallas comes into this contest with an explosive offense led by Tony Romo.  Romo has two 300 yard passing games under his belt this season.  Dallas running back Marion Barber has 20 rushing TD's on the road since 2006 which is second most only to LaDainian Tomlinson.  Dallas has yet to give up a sack this season which leads to Tony Romo's success when throwing the ball.

Dallas Nose Tackle (NT) Jay Ratliff is a player to watch this game as he had a nice game on Monday night against the Philadelphia Eagles.

Green Bay comes in 2-0 which may be surprising to some.  Fans will not forget about Brett Favre but if Aaron Rodgers keeps playing like he has then people will keep rooting for #12.  Center Jason Spitz will have his work cut out for him this week when he takes on Dallas' 3-4 defense and nose tackle Jay Ratliff.  The 3-4 can be a troubling defense for offensive lines without much experience against it.

Aaron Rodgers must continue his solid play against the Cowboys as they will put pressure of the offensive line of the Packers looking for any weak point.  The area to attack will the Cowboys' safeties.  Philadelphia was able to get behind the Cowboys' safeties last week and the Packers' receivers should be able to stretch the field and do the same. 

One area of concern for the Packers may be Charles Woodson's toe injury.  Terrell Owens, Jason Witten, Patrick Crayton and the gang are a formidable group of receivers to contend with.  I would look for Dallas to throw plenty of deep routes to keep Woodson and his toe moving all over the field.

This should be a close one, but I have the Packers winning at Lambeau by a field goal.

I'll re-cap my predictions next week after the Monday night game has been played.