NFL Week 3 Picks: Winless Teams that Will Break Through with a Victory
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An 0-2 start does not necessarily require panic in the NFL. An 0-3 start, on the other hand, does.
There are seven NFL teams facing down an 0-3 start this weekend. The Vikings, Rams, Seahawks, Panthers, Dolphins, Colts and Chiefs all need a victory in Week 3.
Which of those teams will get off the schneid and pick up a victory this weekend, and who will be left pressing the panic button?
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Cam Newton has been impressive in his first two NFL games. Last year's Heisman Trophy winner has passed for 854 yards and completed passes at a 62.7 percent clip. Newton has an obvious chemistry with All-Pro wideout Steve Smith. The quarterback has the mercurial Smith enjoying football once again.
The Panthers running game, however, has stalled. DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart have taken a back seat to Newton. The duo was supposed to take the pressure off the No. 1 overall pick, but they have been shut down.
The Panthers have lost each of their first two games by only a touchdown. Last week, they struck fear into the Packers.
This week, Carolina faces Jacksonville. The Panthers lost their first two games largely due to their porous secondary. Luckily, the Jaguars offense, with the exception of Maurice Jones-Drew, is toothless. Luke McCown, who is merely keeping Blaine Gabbert's seat warm, will not be able to match Cam Newton.
Ron Rivera and Cam Newton will pick up their first career NFL victories.
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To be fair to Chad Henne, the Dolphins opened the season with two tough games. In the Patriots and Texans, the Dolphins were given the unenviable task of taking on playoff contenders in each of their first two games.
The Dolphins have not played terribly thus far. Their offense is averaging close to 400 yards per game. Henne's accuracy has been subpar at times. His 53.2 completion percentage needs work, but he has kept his team in the game.
Reggie Bush has been a far bigger disappointment. Counting rushes and receptions, Bush has touched the ball 27 times and picked up only 115 yards. The Dolphins need to get more out of him.
The Patriots and Texans lit up the Dolphins defense. Their opponent this weekend, the Browns, have not lit up the scoreboard in 2011. Colt McCoy has shown signs of maturation into a legitimate NFL quarterback, but Madden coverboy Peyton Hillis has struggled to get on track.
Colt McCoy is not ready to carry an NFL offense. To win on Sunday, Miami's defense needs to shut down Peyton Hillis. If they are able to do that, the Dolphins will get their first victory of 2011.
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With Adrian Peterson, the Minnesota Vikings have a chance to win on any given Sunday. Peterson, however, needs help from the rest of his offense.
Donovan McNabb is still learning the offense in Minnesota. In Week 1, McNabb threw for only 39 yards. He looked better in Week 2, throwing for 228 yards. He clearly does not have a full grasp of the offense.
Minnesota's coaching staff needs to find ways to get the ball into Percy Harvin's hands more often. He is a dynamic player. Getting Harvin the ball on short passing routes would take pressure off McNabb.
The Vikings face the 2-0 Detroit Lions at home on Sunday. This Vikings must win this game if they want to have any chance of contending in the NFC North. The Lions are much improved. The Vikings will need to bring their "A" game to beat the Lions.
Adrian Peterson always brings his "A" game. The Vikings need Donovan McNabb to do just enough to make the passing game a threat. He did that last weekend and the Vikings nearly won. With another week learning the Vikings offensive system, McNabb and Peterson will be able to pull out a victory over the upstart Lions.