Last Week: 13-3
Well, last week was fairly easy to find the winners. We'll try to keep that head of steam going with this week's games.
This week, seven teams come in undefeated and seven teams come in winless. There are some pretty close games to pick and, equally, some important divisional matchups that could put their early influence on division races down the road. There are also plenty of superstars ailing, including some headline quarterbacks such as Michael Vick and Tony Romo.
Let's dive in and pick some winners for Week 3's action.
This early starter gives us the week's only matchup of undefeated teams. The Patriots are in familiar territory, while the Bills are in uncharted waters. The Bills will try to build off of their impressive start by taking out the king of the AFC East.
It will be a big story if the Buffalo Bills can get over the hump and defeat the New England Patriots this week. The Bills actually come into this game with the league's top-scoring offense, while the Patriots have the third scoring offense. Points should be all over the board here.
In the end, though, you have to go with experience here. The Bills have played Bill Belichick's teams tough over the years and this should be closer than most expect, but the Patriots are still the team to beat in the AFC East, if the not entire AFC.
New England Patriots over Buffalo Bills, 34-27
The 49ers hit the road for the first time as the Bengals will be welcomed home for the first time this year. There is some excitement brewing in Cincinnati with rookie quarterback Andy Dalton and rookie wide receiver A.J. Green, who have struck up an explosive connection early.
San Francisco, on the other hand, is still feeling the effects of blowing a 10-point lead and losing to the Dallas Cowboys in overtime last week. They haven't looked so bad defensively, and I think that will play a big part in this one against a young offense.
The running games will play the difference here as both the 49ers and Bengals put a lot of stock in their running backs. I think Frank Gore, who has gotten a lot of touches to this point with no production, will find it easier going this week. Cedric Benson will find it a little tougher against San Francisco, who bottled up both Seattle and Dallas' running efforts.
The Bengals will hang around late here, but Alex Smith and company will find a way to win a close one on the road to make up for last week.
San Francisco 49ers over Cincinnati Bengals, 23-20
The Miami Dolphins and the Cleveland Browns have not won many games lately. The Dolphins come into this one 0-2 after losing to two of the better teams in the AFC, Houston and New England.
Now they hit the road to play in Cleveland. The good news is they won six of eight on the road a season ago, so it's nothing new trying to win on the road for these guys. The Browns got their first win of the season against the Manning-less Indianapolis Colts, who don't look ready to beat anyone at this juncture.
I think Miami, despite the points they have given up, will actually come in looking like the better team. This will be a test for the Dolphins. If they don't win this one, they'll be in the AFC East cellar the rest of the year.
I like Miami to establish their passing game they showed against the Patriots in Week 1 to outscore the Browns here.
Miami Dolphins over Cleveland Browns, 27-17
Even though this is a matchup of two 1-1 teams, I see a team that beat the Cincinnati Bengals and a team that beat the hot Baltimore Ravens. So I definitely see Tennessee as the better team here.
Chris Johnson has not found his feet yet this season, but the Denver Broncos and their No. 28 ranked rush defense provide a perfect opportunity to get on track for him. The Broncos have played gutsy football with both games being decided by three points or less so far.
If Titans quarterback Matt Hasselbeck and receiver Kenny Britt can keep up their hot start, this on may be decided by a few more than three.
Knowshon Moreno is still questionable with his injuries, and if the workload is all on Willis McGahee, don't expect another 100-yard performance.
Tennessee Titans over Denver Broncos, 27-17
This game is very different coming in than it has been in many years. The Vikings haven't lost to the Lions in Minnesota in what seems like forever (since 1997). This year produces a different story.
The Lions come in as one of the most raved about teams in the league, and Minnesota is just two weeks past a game that saw new starting quarterback Donovan McNabb throw for just 39 yards.
The Lions are the better team coming in, but expect the Vikings to feel differently, especially running back Adrian Peterson, who has relentlessly torched them for big games.
Even that may change. The Lions now boast the league's most feared front four defensively and have put together their best linebacker corps in years. I expect the better team to prevail here; the Lions with Matthew Stafford healthy just look that much better.
Detroit Lions over Minnesota Vikings, 27-24
Two high-flying offenses meet in the Superdome on Sunday. The Saints will look to keep up their offensive onslaught they have come out with this season, despite key targets Lance Moore and Marques Colston being banged up early.
The Houston Texans come in at 2-0 and have a lot to prove. They dismantled their division rival Indianapolis Colts, albeit it was without Peyton Manning. They still are trying to prove they are among the league's elite. This will serve as a great proving ground for that.
It appears they may be without Arian Foster again, who hasn't practiced yet this week as he's still feeling the effects of his injured hamstring. Ben Tate has been a serviceable backup, however, with over 200 yards rushing so far this season.
Look for Drew Brees to take care of the ball a bit better than his counterpart, Matt Schaub, and protect his home field, leaving both teams at 2-1.
New Orleans Saints over Houston Texans, 34-30
In the highly-competitive NFC East, two of its top teams face off in Philadelphia. The Giants, even though they are coming off a win, have not looked very good so far this season. Now they face their toughest game yet against a Philadelphia Eagles team that blew a 10-point fourth quarter lead and lost to the Atlanta Falcons last week without Michael Vick down the stretch.
Michael Vick has been cleared to play after suffering a concussion last week. It will remain to be seen how he will fare after some big hits, which are sure to be delivered by the Giants' defense. The Giants did take out a handful of starting quarterbacks last season, and if they see Vick leave the field early, it could change this game's outcome tremendously.
In a game where both teams know how important it is, I expect the team that's been running better up to this point to win; that is, if they keep their most important cog on the field.
Philadelphia Eagles over New York Giants, 31-26
This is an interesting matchup of the two expansion teams that opened their NFL franchises together in 1995. Now they both start anew in another way. Both teams will be fielding rookie quarterbacks they took in the first round of this year's NFL draft, Cam Newton and Blaine Gabbert.
Cam Newton has put on a show so far this year and doesn't look to be slowing down just yet. They have played the Arizona Cardinals and Green Bay Packers very closely in a pair of losses. They even had a 13-0 lead over the Packers early.
I think there's a lot more optimism in Carolina coming into this one. Blaine Gabbert will get his first start of his short NFL career, giving Newton and the Panthers the edge in his third start. Of course, who's to say Gabbert won't come out blazing like Newton has?
Carolina gets its first win of the year after playing tough for the first two.
Carolina Panthers over Jacksonville Jaguars, 23-20
In the first game on the four o'clock slate, we have what should be a close game. The Raiders have played both their games very tough, win or lose. They were able to open up an impressive deep-passing game against the Bills last week, and they welcome back Darrius Heyward-Bey this week.
They may also get a boost with tight end Kevin Boss, who is also probable for the game. These newly available targets will help immensely after last week's loss, where 10 of their 23 completions were to running backs.
It will be a similar look for them this week, with their speedy receivers trying to take on Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie. The healthy additions to the offense will be a boost, but the Jets were quietly dominant last week in the shadows of the Tom Brady show in nearby New England.
Too much defense for an offense that hasn't been healthy enough to gel for this type of game.
New York Jets over Oakland Raiders, 24-16
This start to the schedule for the Rams has been absolutely brutal as they have gone from the Eagles, to the Giants and now on to the Ravens. They have a talented team that was favored to win the NFC West but have started out 0-3.
The disappointing thing for Rams fans is that after the Ravens were beat by the Titans a week ago, they will be on their toes this week. Think the performance they gave against the Steelers. After that embarrassing loss when everyone was so high on Baltimore, I see no chance that St. Louis can sneak up on Baltimore this week.
The main storyline here is the Rams are good, but they can't stop the run very well, and they will face Ray Rice and Ricky Williams. And just the fact that the Rams don't have the veteran presence that Baltimore does (maybe no one in the league does) doesn't improve their chances.
Rams keep up early in this one, but the turnovers pile up and so does the Ravens' side of the scoreboard.
Baltimore Ravens over St. Louis Rams, 31-20
The Kansas City Chiefs have looked as bad as any team in recent memory in their first two outings. Now they must go on without arguably their best player, and definitely their most explosive, in Jamaal Charles. And worse yet, they play their best opponent this week.
You can't expect much out of the this Chiefs football team right now. Do not expect the Chargers to show them any pity, either. The Chiefs kept the Chargers out of the playoffs last year by winning the AFC West, and I don't see the Chargers forgetting about it so soon.
Already having been outscored 89-10 this season, the Chiefs will continue reeling in this road game. I expect a lot of Phillip Rivers and company early, then a healthy dose of Ryan Mathews and Mike Tolbert to end the game. Kansas City is not even in a position to win these type of games, keeping it competitive has to be first on their agenda.
San Diego Chargers over Kansas City Chiefs, 38-13
Now this is a game to get excited about. A rematch of the NFC Championship game from a year ago.
The big story will be Jay Cutler's shot at redemption after handing the reins over to Caleb Hanie on the biggest stage of his career. In his defense, the knee injury he suffered was worse than initially expected, but don't expect the fans to be so forgiving.
The side note in this one is we don't really know who the Bears are. They dominated the Falcons, but were equally outplayed by the Saints a week ago. They have given up 11 sacks to the mediocre pass rushes of both teams. Now they face one of the league's premier teams at getting after the quarterback.
The Packers haven't shown a great ability to stop their opponents so far. In the end, I think it will be too much Cutler on his back and too much Aaron Rodgers being Aaron Rodgers.
Green Bay Packers over Chicago Bears, 31-23
The Cardinals, by and large, have looked better than the Seahawks so far this year. You never know in the NFC West, though.
Coming off a tough loss to the Redskins a week ago, the Cardinals have a quarterback that gives them a fighting chance in each game that they lacked a year ago. The Seahawks' offense, on the other hand, has been pretty much absent.
The Seahawks haven't played in the riot-like atmosphere of CenturyLink Field in Seattle, where they have that "12th man" advantage. That could play a major role in this game, especially with a sub-par running game in Arizona.
The crowd may affect Kevin Kolb enough to make it difficult for the Cardinals to score. Still, the ineptitude shown by Tavaris Jackson at quarterback for Seattle makes you wonder how they will score.
Arizona Cardinals over Seattle Seahawks, 21-20
This matchup will be a big one for each team's playoff hopes. The NFC South had three teams at 10-6 or better a year ago, leaving the Tampa Bay Buccaneers out of the playoff mix.
Tampa Bay is high on a lot of lists this year with their young offensive core. At the same time, the Falcons are also 1-1, but have been altogether disappointing to start the year. They were hammered by the Bears and squeaked by the Eagles once Michael Vick hit the sidelines with a concussion.
Still, Michael Turner has looked really good, starting the year averaging seven yards per carry. A healthy dose of Turner and an amped-up Atlanta team that saw their season flash before their eyes last Sunday night should be the trick.
The Falcons have beat the Buccaneers five straight times, including twice at Raymond James Stadium. This would be a huge step for the Bucs to pull it out on Sunday, but I like the history of Matt Ryan beating them here.
Atlanta Falcons over Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 27-23
This season, the Colts without Peyton Manning remind me of the Chiefs. They have been a little more competitive, but it's hard to look at them with much optimism. I picked them to beat the Browns last week, and they almost went four quarters without getting into the end zone.
They will face a much better defense this week and a defense that is still fired up from their showing in Baltimore Week 1. The Colts will be hit hard early and often in this one, and I think Kerry Collins will be internally questioning his comeback to the NFL.
Mike Wallace has come out hot this year and Big Ben Roethlisberger, much like the defense, is still trying to prove himself after five turnovers against the Ravens. The Steelers will be sharp against an inferior team a lot like they were in a shutout victory over Seattle in Week 2.
Pittsburgh Steelers over Indianapolis Colts, 34-9
Rex Grossman is feeling pretty good right now after his offseason prediction that the Redskins would win the NFC East. Washington comes into this game atop the division, boasting a 2-0 start. They face a Dallas Cowboys ball club that has more injured players than healthy ones.
Tony Romo's cracked rib and punctured lung situation is still in flux. My two cents are he will play. Why risk further injury coming back last week against the 49ers for one win? He knows this game is important and has has seven days of rest. The problem may be who he's throwing to. Miles Austin is out and Dez Bryant is still questionable. That would leave Kevin Ogletree and Jesse Holley as the starting receivers, with a whopping 17 career receptions between them.
Yes, Jason Witten is all-world, but it won't be hard for the Redskins to key in on one guy. The Redskins come in playing some balanced football, with good passing, good running and good hard-nosed defense. The Cowboys' defense may be the story. They are coming in with the No. 3 defense in the NFL and a league-leading 10 sacks.
No doubt about it, they will be shouldering the load.
This NFC East rivalry will come down to grit and Tony Romo doing his best John Wayne impersonation. I think this will be a truly special performance by Tony Romo amid intense pain in his ribs.
Dallas Cowboys over Washington Redskins, 20-16