Week 3 NFL Predictions

http://blog.pennlive.com/patriotnewssports/2010/12/michael_vicks_status_for_sunda.htmlAfter predicting Andy Reid’s Chiefs to move on to 3-0 with a 27-24 win I can say I am satisfied with my prediction after they recorded a 26-16 win. Alex Smith defied my assumption that both he and Michael Vick would throw their first picks of the season but Vick made up for that by throwing two. The running back battle between Jamaal Charles and LeSean McCoy was great to watch with both putting up more than respectable numbers.

Now that the Chiefs have moved on to 3-0 how will the other unbeaten teams fair in week 3?

The New England Patriots host the winless Buccaneers while their AFC East rivals the Miami Dolphins host the talented Atlanta Falcons hoping to also go 3-0 in a match that will surely be used a benchmark for the Dolphins.

The 2-0 Texans go on the road to M&T bank stadium to take on the Ravens and the New Orleans Saints will look to also continue their good start to the 2013 season when they take on the Cardinals whilst the Seattle Seahawks welcome the Jaguars to CenturyLink Field as Russell Wilson looks to help the team make in 10 straight home wins.

The final two unbeaten teams are the Chicago Bears and the Denver Broncos. The Bears are on a high after a last grasp victory in week 2 against the Vikings and will be looking to get a win on the road. As for Denver well they host fellow AFC West rivals the Raiders as Peyton Manning and co look to wrap up another easy looking victory. With those six games on show as well as nine others let us take a look at the rest of my predictions for week 3:

Houston Texans (2-0) vs Baltimore Ravens (1-1)

Andre Johnson is expected to play on Sunday for the Texans and after rookie wideout DeAndre Hopkins stepped up to help Houston overcome the Titans in overtime the two could well become a formidable force. Quarterback Matt Schaub is performing well with 6 touchdowns in two games whilst averaging 322 yards per game; add that to a running game which includes a potential breakout star in the form of Ben Tate to go with superstar back Arian Foster and this Texans offense is suddenly starting to show potential signs of becoming devastating for opponents plus we know what their defence can do to!

They will show their talents against this new look Ravens defense which kept their team in it last week against the Browns as the team edged out their divisional rivals 14-6. Joe Flacco and the offense need to step up accordingly and haven’t done so yet. Now that the nerves of their opening home game as Super Bowl champions has passed by they may perform better than last week but it is hard to look past the Texans.

Score: Texans 27-17 Ravens

New York Giants (0-2) vs Carolina Panthers (0-2)

Both of these NFC teams have looked equally unimpressive in the first two weeks of the season but the good news is that one of them will get their first W of the season this Sunday when they go head to head. Carolina have only lost by a combined total of 6 points so in a sense they have been unlucky after suffering narrow defeats to Seattle and Buffalo respectively.

The Giants have brought back running back Brandon Jacobs who will help in goal line situations and put points up which is what they need after failing to keep up with the Broncos last week; Jacobs had one touchdown from 7 carries last week. Despite throwing five touchdowns in their first two games Giants quarterback Eli Manning has an awful seven interceptions to his name already and with that has thrown the most interceptions in the league since 2004.

The Panthers do have a chance but they are probably beating themselves up after the one point loss to the Bills last week whereas Big Blue know how to bounce back and even from 0-2 as that was a record they came back from to win the Super Bowl in 2007 and with the NFC East being so competitive they will be eager to get back to winning ways on Sunday.

Score: Panthers 16-24 Giants

Detroit Lions (1-1) vs Washington Redskins (0-2)

Despite two disappointing defeats the Redskins have showed fight and will be looking to record their first win of the season when they welcome the Lions on Sunday. I get the impression many people are favouring a Washington win just because this young Lions team is so unpredictable and you don’t know who will turn up.

Reggie Bush is optimistic of playing for Detroit but regardless of that I’m going with a Lions win. I think after losing a nail biter to Arizona this team has to bounce back in style and I’ll bank on them to do so. Many people have split opinions on this Detroit team as they are reaching the stage of needing to either put up or shut up. We know they have the talent and that will shine threw on Sunday with Stafford throwing a couple of touchdowns to Megatron along with Suh doing something outrageous plus when you take in to consideration RGIII is having a Cam Newton type sophomore season it is starting to look like 2013 may be dismal for Washington.

Score: Lions 31-20 Redskins

San Diego Chargers (1-1) vs Tennessee Titans (1-1)

This encounter will be interesting with both teams looking to go above .500 with a victory on Sunday. The Titans stunned the Steelers when they knocked them off in week one but narrowly lost in an overtime thriller vs the Texans last week.

San Diego blew a lead in week 1 vs the Texans but bounced back last week with Nick Novak kicking the game winning field-goal against the Eagles. Chargers quarterback Phillip Rivers has been something of revelation with the 10th year man throwing 7 touchdowns to just one interception in his first two. His 419 yards last week was part of a fantastic display as he connected with receiver Eddie Royal for all three touchdowns; Royal leads the NFL with 5 touchdown receptions.

With both teams performing respectably well so far this year it is close to call but I feel that San Diego’s week two win may be the catalyst for further good performances which gets them the win on Sunday.

Score: Chargers 27-14 Titans

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-2) vs New England Patriots (2-0)

The New England Patriots may not have found a more desirable opponent than the Bucs considering the turmoil going on in Tampa after it was reported superstar cornerback Darelle Revis had a falling out with head coach Greg Schiano as well as quarterback Josh Freeman reportedly requesting a trade. Despite reports of the air being cleared between Revis and Schiano this is a tough road game for Tampa Bay.

To be honest though the Buccaneers will feel that there isn’t a better time to take on the Patriots considering their offensive woes. New England got by a tough divisional match on Thursday Night Football in week 2 against the Jets and despite the criticism of their rookie receivers Tom Brady is helping them develop while the defense has come up big especially in the win over the Jets; tied for 6th in points per game only giving up 15.5.

Belichick’s defense has 3 interceptions in two games along with the team recovering 3 of its 4 forced fumbles. The likes of Chandler Jones and Aqib Talib have been standout performer but we know that the Patriots’ success always comes down to working as a collective. Tom Brady will look for an improved running game on Sunday to help the Patriots’ attack. Expect Aaron Dobson to have a big game but Brady will probably look to Julian Edelman to produce while Rob Gronkowski and Danny Amendola recover from injuries. While it may be another hard fought victory I have the Patriots to take the spoils on Sunday and move to 3-0.

Score: Buccaneers 17-24 Patriots

Arizona Cardinals (1-1) vs New Orleans Saints (2-0)

Both of these teams seem rejuvenated in 2013 with Sean Payton and Bruce Arians both showing of their coaching skills for their respective franchises. The Saints overcame a tough trip to Tampa in week 2 by grinding out the win 16-14 while the Cardinals left it late to knock off of the Lions in that week 2 match.

Both teams have improved on the sides of the ball that let them down for the duration of the 2012 season. For Arizona it was their offense but Carlson Palmer has helped restore some stability in their passing game and also managed to get Larry Fitzgerald going again. As for New Orleans well we know that their offense has major weapons which can cause anyone trouble but thankfully their defense has stepped up as well so far in 2013 thanks to Rob Ryan’s influence; they rank tied for 6th in points given up per game with just 15.5 and have recovered 2 of their 3 forced fumbles.

Arizona’s defence may keep them in it but the danger of facing Drew Brees is that if he gets going only certain teams can make it a shoot-out and with the Saints at the Superdome it appears likely that Payton’s side make it three wins in a row.

Score: Cardinals 14-24 Saints

Green Bay Packers (1-1) vs Cincinnati Bengals (1-1)

Both the Packers and Bengals bounced back from narrow week one defeat by winning their week two game against the Redskins and Steelers respectively. The main factor for this game will be if Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton can hang in there with Aaron Rodgers in a shootout. The Bengals put in a convincing performance when they beat their AFC North rivals the Steelers on Monday Night Football so will be confident of holding their own when they host Green Bay on Sunday.

We know that both of these teams have plenty of offensive firepower and you can expect a high-scoring game on Sunday. With both teams keen to throw the ball it shouldn’t disappoint in what promises to be a mouth-watering encounter. Aaron Rodgers is second in the league for passing yards but has played a game less than league leader Michael Vick and despite that is only 19 yards behind him.

Rodgers is on for another monster season as Green Bay’s offense is already red shot with the quarterback currently on 7 touchdown passes to just one pick after two games. The Packers defense has improved and to be honest generally speaking head coach Mike McCarthy probably doesn’t get enough credit for the teams performances. Personally I feel although that this road game is a potential banana skin for the Packers they will find a way to get the win in a close fought encounter.

Score: Packers 31-28 Bengals

St. Louis Rams (1-1) vs Dallas Cowboys (1-1)

The Rams look like a much better team already just from their two performances so far this season. They gave the Falcons a scare last week and rookie Tavon Austin showed off his dynamic skill-set which has probably put the entire league on watch in particularly their week 3 opponents the Dallas Cowboys.

The Cowboys know that this game won’ be easy but being at home should stand them in good stead as they look to bounce back from a one point loss to the Chiefs last week. Tony Romo & co will want to take advantage of the fact that the Giants and Redskins are in a bit of a rut at the moment and that the Eagles are inconsistent.

Dallas could take the early initiative in the NFC East if they start to get some wins together but I think that their success unlike other teams stems down to their offense. DeMarco Murray makes the Cowboys tick when he get the run game going and he will put up impressive numbers on Sunday helping Dallas get the win.

Score: Rams 17-26 Cowboys

Atlanta Falcons (1-1) vs Miami Dolphins (2-0)

As predicted by myself the Miami Dolphins overcame a tough test last week when they knocked off the Colts 24-20 at Lucas Oil Stadium. Despite being branded by many to underachieve after their big spending during the offseason the Dolphins have impressed in the first two weeks of the season with sophomore quarterback Ryan Tannehill leading the way with two good displays.

Mike Wallace has also played well and the wideout will cause the Falcons secondary problems while Miami’s defence has also taken a step forward from last year. As mentioned in the intro to these predictions this match is a benchmark for Miami to see where they are right now considering they are coming up against one of the best regular season teams in the league.

The Falcons are a team stacked full of talent but in a sense are staring adversity in the face now that NFC South rivals the Saints have re-established themselves early on this year. A defeat for Atlanta could prove costly come the end of the year and I think you can expect to see an upset this Sunday at Sun Life Stadium

Score: Falcons 24-27 Dolphins

Buffalo Bills (1-1) vs New York Jets (1-1)

With both of these teams narrowly losing out to the New England Patriot the Bills and Jets stand at 1-1 after two weeks of the 2013 season. Both will feel that they need to win considering there other two divisional rivals are 2-0 and will not want to be the one team to slip below .500.

The match sees rookie quarterback’s EJ Manuel and Geno Smith go head to head and considering both have already had a taste of a rivalry matchup you can expect all guns to be blazing when they go head to head on Sunday.

EJ Manuel has been more impressive throwing 3 touchdowns to 1 interception whereas Smith has 1 touchdown to 4 interceptions although to be fair to Smith he lacks a running game and is in dire need of some help in the Jets’ offense. This game will come down to which defense outperforms the other as both are talented and will make the most of any mistakes the opposing offense makes.

Score: Bills 19-16 Jets

Jacksonville Jaguars (0-2) vs Seattle Seahawks (2-0)

You would bet your life savings on Seattle beating the Jags tomorrow when you considering how talented the Seahawks are and how talentless their AFC South opposition is. That is not being disrespectful to Jacksonville but the fact of the matter is that the franchise seems to be lacking an identity and no real direction despite being taken over by the wealthy Shahid Khan in 2012

The Jags face mission impossible when they walk in to CenturyLink Field tomorrow as they bid to become the first team to put a blemish on Russell Wilson’s unbeaten home streak which now stands at 9-0 after Seattle easily dispatched of arch rivals the 49ers last weekend 29-3.

The chances of that happening are oh so slim and you can expect this to be a blowout with Pete Carroll’s high flying Seahawks remaining undefeated leaving Jacksonville still winless. Expect Seattle’s defence to have a field day against this lacklustre offense of the Jags.

Score: Jaguars 6-34 Seahawks

Cleveland Browns (0-2) vs Minnesota Vikings (0-2)

After trading away franchise running back Trent Richardson to the Colts it appears that the Cleveland Browns have given up on the 2013 season and will look to start fresh from next year’s draft now that they are stacked with picks.

That is good news for another running back who goes by the name of Adrian Peterson as last year’s league MVP looks to help the Viking get their first win on the board. Unfortunately for anyone watching this game on Sunday both team’s lack any real passing game but I believe this could be the week the Vikings put up big numbers as they look to reassert themselves.

Whether that is on the ground alone or we see a passing threat from the Vikings remains to be seen. Matching up against this Browns defence won’t be easy when you consider they gave the Ravens a massive headache last week but you can expect Minnesota to please their fans with a win.

Score: Browns 13-26 Vikings

Indianapolis Colts (1-1) vs San Francisco 49ers (1-1)

The acquisition of Trent Richardson was a blockbuster trade by the Colts as they look to take advantage of a weakened AFC conference by hoping to make a run come playoff time. It would be hard to bet against Indianapolis making it back to the postseason but they do have a tough schedule and after a narrow defeat to Miami last week they now face the Niners in week 3 as well as Seattle in week 5.

The Colts vs 49ers game has given me much food for thought especially after the Niners were humiliated by Seattle last weekend. It was probably Colin Kaepernick’s worst performance as a starter and now it will be intriguing to see how he bounces back when the Niners welcome the Colts on Sunday evening.

Richardson will be a force for the Colts and will have affected the San Francisco’s planning of their opposition’s offense but the 49ers D is more than capable of dealing with problems. I think the Colts will put up a fight and it will be very enjoyable watching Andrew Luck battle against Colin Kaepernick but I am going to go with the Niners to bounce back and win with Kaepernick throwing at least two touchdowns and getting one on the ground two.

Expect Luck to put up great numbers like he always does. My bold prediction is that the Colts fall to 1-2 with defeat tomorrow but bounce back in week 4 to beat the Jaguars and then go on to beat the Seahawks when they visit Lucas Oil stadium in week 5. By then Trent Richardson will have settled in and we will see what this new look Colts offense can do now they have a ground game to complement the talents of quarterback Andrew Luck.

Score: Colts 24-30 49ers

Chicago Bears (2-0) vs Pittsburgh Steelers (0-2)

The Chicago Bears and Pittsburgh Steelers have endured different fortunes at the start of the season with the Bears undefeated after two games while Pittsburgh remains winless after defeats to Tennessee and Cincinnati.

The Bears roll in to Heinz Field for Sunday Night Football on the back of a memorable victory over the Vikings last week when Jay Cutler hit Martellus Bennett down field with 11 seconds to go to win the game. Many people will feel that Marc Trestman’s Bears will walk out with the win on Sunday night but Pittsburgh are not to be underestimated despite their lack of threats in the passing game and a poor running game.

Thankfully for the Steelers they have a defense that can unsettle Chicago and their home fans will create a tough atmosphere for the visitors. Of course the Bears have one of the most talented defenses in the league but I just get the impression that complacency may creep in for the visitors and that the Steelers could manage to pull off the win; if they do you can expect it to be because Ben Roethlisberger came up big. The beauty of the NFL is that week by week there are shocks and the Steelers are capable of pulling one of come game-time tomorrow.

Score: Bears 17-19 Steelers

Oakland Raiders (1-1) vs Denver Broncos (2-0)

The Denver Broncos welcome division rivals the Oakland Raiders as they look to steamroll through another opponent after two fantastic wins so far this season. Week 1 saw Denver tear the Ravens apart 49-27 and last week they knocked off the Giants 41-23 with another convincing victory.

Peyton Manning is stacked with a load of talented receivers from Wes Welker to Eric Decker and Demaryius Thomas. Tight end Julius Thomas has been a revelation for Denver and his two stellar performances have made him a valuable part of this offense. Peyton Manning has thrown 9 touchdowns to zero interceptions so far and leads the league with a passer rating of 131.0. When you take in to consideration that Knowshon Moreno is getting it done on the ground too as well as the fact that Denver’s defence is one of the best in the AFC and has Von Miller to return to the fold you have to say the Broncos are looking like a force to be reckoned with.

All of that doesn’t bode well for Oakland but the Raiders appear to have a good QB in Terrelle Pryor who is developing and making plays. The Raiders will almost certainly struggle to keep up with the Broncos but it makes for an interesting Monday night divisional rival matchup.

Score: Raiders 17-37 Broncos

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