NFL Week 3 Preview and Picks

By September 24, 2016 All Sports, NFL, NFL News No Comments
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Week 2 record: 11-5

Overall record: 22-10

Houston Texans (1-1) @ New England Patriots (2-0)

Game Pick: Texans – Game already played, pick was as follows: 

Bill Belichick, as per usual, will devise a game plan to keep things close, but it won’t be enough. Take the to win by a field goal.

Arizona Cardinals (1-1) @ Buffalo Bills (0-2)

Game Pick: Cardinals – After sleeping walking through an opening week loss to the Patriots, the Cardinals got back on track in a big way against the Buccaneers last weekend, throttling them 40-7. QB Carson Palmer passed for three TD’s and the Cardinals defense picked off Bucs QB Jameis Winston four times. The Bills got their offense on track against the Jets last Thursday night, but unfortunately the defense couldn’t hold up as they lost a 37-31 shootout. Things are deteriorating quickly in Buffalo, as evidenced by the panic/scapegoat firing of offensive coordinator Greg Roman earlier in the week. WR Sammy Watkins may not play this week, but even if he does, Cardinals Pro Bowl CB Patrick Peterson would likely erase him anyways. It’s a long trip east and an early start for Arizona, but they are by far and away the better team in this game and shouldn’t have too much difficulty winning against a sinking Bills team.

Minnesota Vikings (2-0) @ Carolina Panthers (2-0)

Game Pick: Panthers – The Vikings opened their new stadium in style, edging the Packers 17-14 on the strength of QB Sam Bradford’s 286 yard, two touchdown performance. 182 of those passing yards went to WR Stefon Diggs, who caught nine passes and a touchdown. The only negative was the loss of RB Adrian Peterson to a knee injury, which is going to keep him out indefinitely. Thanks to a sloppy fourth quarter, the Panthers allowed the 49ers to make things interesting, but they ultimately prevailed 46-27 over San Francisco. QB Cam Newton threw for 353 yards and four touchdowns. This game features two of the top teams in the NFC, who will both be without their starting running backs for this game. The key to who wins this game might be in the trenches, as Minnesota and Carolina both have so-so offensive lines and will be going up above average front sevens. The Panthers get the edge at home, but it will be close.

Denver Broncos (2-0) @ Cincinnati Bengals (1-1)

Game Pick: Bengals – It was a style of game that the Broncos and their fans are getting used to seeing. Denver rushed for over 100 yards and added two defensive touchdowns (a pick-six by CB Aqib Talib and a fumble return by OLB Shane Ray) in a 34-20 victory over Indianapolis. In a rain soaked Pittsburgh, the Bengals just couldn’t find their footing in a 24-16 loss to the Steelers. Pittsburgh forced the Bengals to become one dimensional, holding the Cincinnati rushing attack to a mere 46 yards. As a result, QB Andy Dalton attempted a whopping 54 passes in the game. Don’t expect a lot of points in this game, as both of these teams are similarly constructed. The Bengals have a strong track record at home, and Broncos QB Trevor Siemian will be starting his first career road game in a tough environment. As per usual, the Denver defense will stand tall and give the Broncos a shot to win. But the team with the more experienced quarterback wins in a tight, three point game.

Detroit Lions (1-1) @ Green Bay Packers (1-1)

Game Pick: Packers – The Lions were up 15-3 going into the fourth quarter against the Titans, but allowed two touchdowns in the fourth quarter and ended up losing a tough one 16-15 to Tennessee. Detroit had numerous chances to extend their lead, but a mind boggling 17 penalties helped sabotaged potential scoring drives. The Packers offense still looks stuck in neutral, as they were edged 17-14 by the Vikings. Minnesota’s defense is no doubt a challenge for any team, but something with QB Aaron Rodgers and the Packers just doesn’t look right. Perhaps all Green Bay needs is a return to Lambeau Field to get on track. The Packers have one of the best home field advantages in the league, and the Lions typically struggle in Green Bay as well. Look for the Packers to get RB Eddie Lacy involved more, which should hopefully open up things for Rodgers and the passing game. Both teams are dinged up on the defensive side of the ball, so don’t be surprised to see a high scoring NFC North affair, that will ultimately go in Green Bay’s favor.

Baltimore Ravens (2-0) @ Jacksonville Jaguars (0-2)

Game Pick: Jaguar– It’s not often a blocked PAT ends up being the difference in the game, but it played a big role in the Ravens 25-20 win over Cleveland last weekend. Baltimore fell behind 20-0 to the Browns in the first quarter, but after rookie CB Tavon Young returned the blocked PAT for two points, the Ravens found their groove and slipped by the Browns. It wasn’t pretty for the Jaguars in San Diego as they were embarrassed 38-14 to the Chargers to fall to 0-2. They were down 35-0 at one point and plain and simple, just got outplayed in every facet of the game. This is an important game for the Jaguars and head coach Gus Bradley, as another loss will put him on the hot seat. The Ravens may be 2-0, but their wins have come over arguably the two worst teams in the league in Buffalo and Cleveland, and they haven’t exactly won both games in convincing fashion. This seems like a good spot for the Jaguars to get on track, as they are in desperation mode against a Ravens team that may be slightly overrated. Jacksonville gets in the win column and keeps Bradley safe for another week.

Cleveland Browns (0-2) @ Miami Dolphins (0-2)

Game Pick: Dolphin– Just when you think things couldn’t get any worse for the Browns, they did last week against the Ravens, as they blew a 20-0 first quarter lead, ultimately falling 25-20 to Baltimore. To make matters worse, QB Josh McCown injured his shoulder and though he was able to finish the game, clearly wasn’t the same and it was announced this week he is out for the foreseeable future with a fractured collarbone. The Dolphins fell behind early against the Patriots, but were able to get back in the game when the Patriots lost QB Jimmy Garoppolo to injury. Unfortunately they still came up short and dropped to 0-2. This is probably the perfect spot for the Dolphins to be in. They get to play their home opener against a Browns team that will be starting rookie QB Cody Kessler, who is not ready to be a starting quarterback at this stage in his career. If Miami can’t find a way to win this game, it could be a long, long year in South Florida.

Washington Redskins (0-2) @ New York Giants (2-0)

Game Pick: Giants  It was a typical back-and-forth NFC East game between the Redskins and Cowboys, but in the end, Washington came up on the short end of the stick, losing 27-23 to Dallas. QB Kirk Cousins threw for 364 yards, but those numbers are somewhat deceptive as he struggled with his decision making for most of the game. Meanwhile in New York, it wasn’t the style of game most expected, but the Giants moved to 2-0 with a 16-13 win over the Saints. The offense struggled a times, but now armed with a good defense, the Giants don’t have to rely on their offense to win all the time. While the Giants seem like the right side here, it really wouldn’t come as any surprise if Washington found a way to win this one. That’s just the way the NFC East games tend to go. And it’s not like the Giants have dominated in their first two wins of the year. Expect a see-saw type of game that really could go either way and it will be the Giants stout defense that likely ends up being the difference for them coming out on top again.

Oakland Raiders (1-1) @ Tennessee Titans (1-1)

Game Pick: Raider–  The Raiders were involved in another high scoring affair last weekend, but were on the losing end this time, falling 35-28 at home to the Falcons. For a team that many expected to be a force defensively, that has been far from the case in the early going as through two games, Oakland has given up over 1000 yards of total offense. The Titans where oh so close to falling to 0-2, but QB Marcus Mariota hit WR Andre Johnson in the back of the endzone late in the fourth quarter to give Tennessee a 16-15 win on the road over the Lions. This is a hard game to get a read on. The Raiders have too much talent on defense to struggle like they have, and this could be a game that gets them going. And if the defense does get in sync with QB Derek Carr and the Raiders high powered offense, this game could get out of hand. However, this is a long trip for Oakland and the Titans aren’t just going to roll over and give this one away. The Raiders win, but it could be a close one.

San Francisco 49ers (1-1) @ Seattle Seahawks (1-1)

Game Pick: Seahawk– Despite the ugly look of losing 46-27 to Carolina, the 49ers actually put up a pretty decent fight on the road as the Panthers only really pulled away late in the fourth quarter. It’s not much consolation, but for a team that isn’t expected to win many games this year, it was a respectable showing against one of the best teams in the NFC. The Seahawks offense struggles continued last week in Los Angeles, losing an ugly affair to the Rams 9-3. Through two games, Seattle has only managed to put up a putrid 15 points. The main culprit is an offensive line that has been as bad as many people expected it to be going into the season. It’s difficult to envision the Seahawks losing at home against the 49ers. They are quite simply more talented across the board and despite the struggles of their offensive line, it should be a relatively easy victory. QB Russell Wilson won’t let this team fall to 1-2 with a division loss at home.

Los Angeles Rams (1-1) @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-1)

Game Pick: Buccaneer– It’s not often a team goes two straight weeks without scoring a touchdown, especially to open the season, but that’s exactly what the Rams have done. Despite having that happen, they are 1-1 after a 9-3 win over the Seahawks, thanks to a stellar showing from their defense. The Buccaneers were riding high after a opening week win against Atlanta but were quickly brought back to earth as they were manhandled 40-7 on the road against the Cardinals last weekend. It was a bad spot for Tampa Bay, but that is still no excuse to lose that badly. Are the Buccaneers the team that looked confident in week one against the Falcons or the one that got beat down last week against Arizona? The answer probably lies somewhere in the middle. The Rams are probably due for a bit of a letdown after an emotional divisional win against the Seahawks that saw regular season football return to Los Angeles, and don’t have the offensive weapons to exploit the Buccaneers questionable secondary. This game might stay close for a while, but Tampa Bay will pull away late and win their home opener.

San Diego Chargers (1-1) @ Indianapolis Colts (0-2)

Game Pick: Chargers – The Chargers jumped out to another early lead against the Jaguars last week, but this time they kept their foot on the gas pedal and were able to finish the job, winning in convincing fashion, 38-14. They lost another key offensive weapon in the process though, losing RB Danny Woodhead for the season to a torn ACL, a week after losing WR Keenan Allen to the same injury. It was close for a while, but the Colts came up just a little short in Denver, dropping to 0-2 with a 34-20 loss to the Broncos. Two defensive touchdowns for Denver was ultimately the difference in the game. It’s hard to see the Colts dropping to 0-3, but it’s not inconceivable that it could happen. Despite being down Allen, Woodhead, and also TE Antonio Gates, the Chargers still have an explosive offense that will give the Colts subpar defense lots of problems. RB Melvin Gordon especially could be in for another big day against an Indianapolis run defense that can’t stop anyone right now. The Chargers have a few holes on their defense as well, but their cornerbacks match up well with the Colts receivers, who will be without WR Donte Moncrief for this game. The Bolts win a shootout in Indianapolis.

New York Jets (1-1) @ Kansas City Chiefs (1-1)

Game Pick: Broncos – QB Ryan Fitzpatrick threw for 374 yards and RB Matt Forte ran for 100 yards and three touchdowns as the Jets outlasted the Bills last Thursday night 37-31. The scoreboard doesn’t really do the Jets justice as aside from two long touchdown passes, they held Buffalo in check for most of the night. The Chiefs meanwhile just couldn’t get things going against a tough Houston defense, failing to score a touchdown in a 19-12 loss to the Texans. This is one of the more difficult games to project this week. The Jets are well rested and confident and have as good, if a not better defense than the Houston defense the Chiefs faced and struggled against last weekend. Kansas City is never an easy place to play though, and despite missing a few bodies, have an imposing defense as well. Even if the Jets are without WR Brandon Marshall though, who is questionable after injuring his knee last week, they still appear to be a little more explosive offensively than the Chiefs. It will be close, but the Jets win in a mild upset on the road.

Pittsburgh Steelers (2-0) @ Philadelphia Eagles (2-0)

Game Pick: Steelers – It was a typical tight battle against the Bengals, but the Steelers put the clamps on the Cincinnati defense, holding them without a touchdown until late in the fourth quarter in a 24-16 win. Despite throwing a couple of interceptions, QB Ben Roethlisberger still found a way to get it done, throwing touchdown passes to TE’s Jesse James, Xavier Grimble and RB DeAngelo Williams. The Eagles moved to 2-0 after a convincing 29-14 win over the Bears last Sunday night. Rookie QB Carson Wentz limited his mistakes and the Philadelphia defense swarmed the Chicago offense all night and eventually knocked QB Jay Cutler out of the game. In the battle of the Keystone State, Wentz and the Eagles will get a much tougher test against the Steelers, who have looked very tough through the first two weeks of the season. Philadelphia’s front seven will need to show up in a big way for the Eagles to have a chance in this one. They are banged up in the secondary and will get torched by the Steelers if they can’t get pressure on Roethlisberger. In the end, the Steelers will likely be just too much for Wentz and the Eagles to handle.

Chicago Bears (0-2) @ Dallas Cowboys (1-1)

Game Pick: Cowboys – It was close through the first half, but it got ugly in the second half as the Bears fell to the Eagles on Monday night. The team was absolutely decimated by injuries, losing multiple players on defense and more importantly, QB Jay Cutler who injured his thumb and was replaced by back up Brian Hoyer. It wasn’t easy for the Cowboys, but thanks to a fourth quarter touchdown run by former Redskins RB Alfred Morris, the Cowboys came out on top 27-23 over Washington. The Bears will be without OLB Lamarr Houston (torn ACL), ILB Danny Trevathan (thumb surgery) and DT Eddie Goldman (high-ankle sprain) on defense, and could potentially have more starters miss the game too. Cutler is also likely out this week as well. Simply put, the Bears are just way too beat up to beat the Cowboys on the road. Dallas isn’t a world beater by any stretch, but shouldn’t have any problem dispatching the wounded Bears on Sunday night. Rookie QB Dak Prescott has held own and should throw his first NFL touchdown pass this week.

Atlanta Falcons (1-1) @ New Orleans Saints (0-2)

Game Pick: Saint– Led by QB Matt Ryan and his 396 yards passing, the Falcons came out on top on the road against the Raiders 35-28. Ryan spread the ball around, completing passes to nine different receivers. The Saints meanwhile lost another heartbreaker on Sunday, falling 16-13 to the Giants thanks to a last second field goal by Josh Brown. Their defense held up relatively well all things considered, but QB Drew Brees and the offense just couldn’t get things going. Expect this game to have a lot of fireworks offensively, as is often the case when the Saints play at home. Ryan at the Falcons will put up their fair share of points too, but it’s not going to be enough to take out New Orleans, who need to win this game to avoid falling to 0-3. At home, in prime time on Monday night should be enough for Brees and company to be fired up and come away with a big victory at the Superdome.