Week 3 record: 5-11
Overall record: 27-21
Miami Dolphins (1-2) @ Cincinnati Bengals (1-2)
Game Pick: Bengals – Game already played, pick was as follows:
Indianapolis Colts (1-2) @ Jacksonville Jaguars (0-3) – Game being played in London
Game Pick: Jaguars – A loss to the Chargers at home last Sunday would have been devastating for the Colts, and if it wasn’t for a 63 yard bomb from QB Andrew Luck to WR T.Y. Hilton with just over a minute remaining in the game, Indianapolis would have dropped to 0-3. The Jaguars defense kept them in their game against the Ravens all afternoon, but unfortunately the offense was not up to snuff as Baltimore edged Jacksonville 19-17. QB Blake Bortles was guilty of three interceptions, which played a big role in the offense struggling. Simply put, the Jaguars have to have this game if they want to have any semblance of a respectable season. Bortles needs to get back to the form he showed last season, and the Colts defense might be just what the doctor ordered. The Colts defense is still not in the best shape, and they could be a little complacent and too relaxed after winning their first game of the year last week. There will be a lot of points put up and finally a Jacksonville win in the Jaguars annual London home game. Head coach Gus Bradley is safe for at least one more week.
Carolina Panthers (1-2) @ Atlanta Falcons (2-1)
Game Pick: Panthers – The Panthers jumped out to an early 10-0 lead against the Vikings last weekend, but unfortunately for Carolina, that was all the offense they could muster as they dropped a disappointing 22-10 loss to Minnesota. The Panthers offensive line failed to protect QB Cam Newton, who was sacked eight times. Newton also threw three interceptions. Meanwhile, the Falcons got nearly 300 total yards and four touchdowns from RB’s Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman in a 45-32 romp over the Saints in New Orleans on Monday night. Luckily for the Panthers this week, they will face a Falcons defense that struggles to rush the passer. That should allow Newton much more time to make plays with his arm and his legs. The Panthers defense hasn’t been in tip-top shape in the early going this season, but this is definitely the best defense the Falcons will faced thus far and will be a big test for Atlanta’s top ranked offense. Look for Carolina to get back on track and beat their NFC South rivals on the road this week.
Oakland Raiders (2-1) @ Baltimore Ravens (3-0)
Game Pick: Raiders – It wasn’t necessarily pretty, but the Raiders defense finally showed up and held the Titans to just 10 points in a 17-10 victory over Tennessee. They had to survive a late scare in the fourth quarter thanks to a questionable offensive pass interference call in the end zone against the Titans, but the Raiders will take it, especially on the road. Speaking of taking it, the Ravens beat the Jaguars 19-17 thanks to four Justin Tucker field goals, include the game winning 54 yard kick with just over a minute to go in the game. This is an interesting match-up, one that will likely be decided by less than a touchdown. Sure the Ravens are undefeated, but they haven’t had the toughest schedule and haven’t won any of their three games by more than six points. The Raiders will present a much tougher challenge for a Ravens team that could be without their starting left tackle and guard. Perhaps this is the game DE Khalil Mack gets rolling. This game is more or less a toss-up, but take the Raiders. The Ravens are due to be on the wrong side of a close game.
Detroit Lions (1-2) @ Chicago Bears (0-3)
Game Pick: Lions – It got ugly quickly for the Lions in Green Bay last weekend, as they fell behind the Packers 31-10 in the first half. Thanks to QB Matthew Stafford, Detroit mounted a bit of a comeback, but still ended up falling 34-27. Stafford threw for 385 yards and three touchdowns, while WR Marvin Jones exploded for 205 yards and two touchdowns on six catches. The story was similar for the Bears in Dallas on Sunday night. They fell behind 24-3 to the Cowboys and while they came on a bit in the second half, it really wasn’t close as they lost 31-17. This looks like a good spot for the Lions to get back into the win column against a beat up Bears team that just looks completely lost. Chicago should be able to put up some points against a suspect Lions defense but the combination of Stafford and Jones will be too much for the Bears trainwreck of a defense to handle. Detroit should be able to get a few more stops on defense than Chicago, and that should be enough to give the Lions a win on the road in a shoot out.
Tennessee Titans (1-2) @ Houston Texans (2-1)
Game Pick: Texans – The Titans ground game and defense kept them in the game against the Raiders last week, but it wasn’t enough in a 17-10 loss at home. Tennessee has yet to allow more than 25 points in a game this season, yet only sit at 1-2 on the season. Things looked great for the Texans going into New England last Thursday night as they took on a Patriots team that was down to their rookie third string quarterback. That proved to be far from the case though as the Texans were thoroughly embarrassed 27-0 in a game that wasn’t even close. The Texans have had 10 days to lick their wounds and hear about how bad they played against the Patriots and should come out with their hair on fire in this one. They will be without star DE J.J. Watt for this game and the rest of the season, which is even more incentive for them this week to prove they can still win without him. All of that is bad news for a Titans team that aside from RB DeMarco Murray, has been a complete mess offensively. This may also be the game that the dam bursts for the Titans defense against a Texans offense that has a lot of weapons. Take Houston in a rout.
Buffalo Bills (1-2) @ New England Patriots (3-0)
Game Pick: Patriots – Just when it looked like it was time to bury the Bills, they showed up in a big way at home last weekend against the Cardinals, thrashing Arizona 33-18 in a game that Buffalo controlled from start to finish. RB LeSean McCoy rushed for 110 yards and two touchdowns and the Bills defense picked off four passes all in the fourth quarter. The Patriots meanwhile continued to do what they do best, and that’s just finding ways to win even when it looks like the cards are completely stacked against them. They whitewashed the Texans 27-0 last Thursday night, thanks to some brilliant coaching and game planning from Bill Belichick. QB Jimmy Garoppolo looks like he will be ready to play this week after missing the game against Houston with a shoulder injury, but let’s be real here. It doesn’t matter who’s quarterback in New England as long as Belichick is the coach. Buffalo always seems to get up for games against the Patriots, but they are due for a bit of a let down after their big win last week. Not many people thought it could happen, but it seems very likely that the Patriots are going to be 4-0 without QB Tom Brady. That should scare the rest of the league.
Seattle Seahawks (2-1) @ New York Jets (1-2)
Game Pick: Jets – A home date with the 49ers was just what the Seahawks needed to get their struggling offense in gear as they walloped San Francisco 37-18. At one point Seattle was up 37-3 in the fourth quarter. RB Christine Michael ran for 106 yards and two touchdowns, helping pace the Seahawk offense. It was a game to forget for QB Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Jets as they fell 24-3 to the Chiefs on the road. Despite throwing a mind boggling six interceptions, the Jets still were in this game until one of Fitzpatrick’s six picks was returned for a touchdown late in the fourth quarter. It’s a long trip east for Seattle and the Jets surely won’t be as turnover prone as they were last week, even though they are going up against a stout Seahawks defense. What the difference in this game will be is the fact QB Russell Wilson is playing on a sprained left ankle and sprained right knee, making him less dangerous outside the pocket. When you also consider what a mismatch the Jets defensive line has against the Seahawks offensive line, this could end up being a long day for Wilson, who is far from 100%. The Jets win in a mild upset.
Cleveland Browns (0-3) @ Washington Redskins (1-2)
Game Pick: Redskins – Not many people gave the Browns a shot to win with unproven rookie QB Cody Kessler at the helm, but he held up surprisingly well. If not for three missed field goals by new kicker Cody Parkey, including one miss at the end of the fourth quarter, Cleveland would beaten the Dolphins. Instead, they lost 30-24 in overtime. WR/QB Terrelle Pryor was a beast for the Browns, accounting for 200 yards of total offense. The Redskins went back and forth with the Giants after falling behind early, but ultimately a Dustin Hopkins field goal with just under two minutes left ended up being the difference in a 29-27 win over New York. It was heartbreak for the Browns last week, and it’s tough to say what they’ll have left in the tank against the Redskins. Washington hasn’t looked too good in the early going, but showed a lot of moxie coming back to beat the Giants. QB Kirk Cousins has too many weapons at his disposal for the Browns inexperienced defense to handle, but they shouldn’t take Cleveland too lightly. The Browns might hang around for a bit, but the Redskins should ultimately prevail.
Denver Broncos (3-0) @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-2)
Game Pick: Broncos – It turns out playing on the road wasn’t too much of a challenge for Broncos QB Trevor Siemian, as he shredded the Bengals secondary in a 29-17 win for Denver. Siemian passed for 312 yards and four touchdowns in the game, including a pair of 40+ yard scores. On paper, it looked like a great spot for the Buccaneers to get back on track against the Rams last week. However, as has often been the case at home, Tampa Bay was too sloppy and inconsistent in a 37-32 loss to Los Angeles, despite 405 yards and three touchdowns passing from Jameis Winston. If the Buccaneers play like they did last week against Denver, they likely are going to lose by more than the five points that the Rams beat them by. No matter how well Tampa may play this week though, it’s going to be hard for them to knock off a Broncos squad that is firing on all cylinders. It’s hard to win back-to-back games on the road but the Buccaneers have never really had much of a home field advantage. Denver is playing exceeding well on both sides of the ball and move to 4-0 with another win.
Los Angeles Rams (2-1) @ Arizona Cardinals (1-2)
Game Pick: Cardinals – It was a prime letdown spot for the Rams after an emotionally charged win in week two against the Seahawks, but coach Jeff Fisher had his squad ready on the road in Tampa Bay as they upended the Buccaneers 37-32. Meanwhile, the Cardinals were as flat as could be in Buffalo against the Bills, getting lambasted 33-18. The Arizona offense was out of sync all afternoon, and struggled to get anything going against an aggressive Bills defense. This is shaping up as a pretty big swing game in the NFC West. A win for the Rams would put them at 3-1, and in first place at the quarter mark of the season. A Cardinals loss would drop them to an unthinkable 1-3. What Arizona team is going to show up? The one that steamrolled the Buccaneers in week two, or the underachieving one that lost to New England and Buffalo? Los Angeles always seems to be up for divisional games, and likely will give the Cardinals fits in this one. However, the Cardinals just have too much talent to fall to 1-3 and being at home, they should be able to pull out a win. But it definitely won’t be easy.
New Orleans Saints (0-3) @ San Diego Chargers (1-2)
Game Pick: Chargers – The Chargers dropped a tough one on the road to the Colts last week 26-22. Despite not playing particularly well, they were ahead late but as often the case for San Diego, they weren’t able to ice the game and seal the deal. They had the ball late, but a fumble by rookie TE Hunter Henry ended any chance of a comeback. The defense continued to be a major problem for the Saints, as they gave up nearly 500 yards of total offense in a 45-32 loss at home to the Falcons, and now sit at 0-3. Despite being down WR Keenan Allen and RB Danny Woodhead, the Chargers still have a potent offense and led by QB Phillip Rivers, they should be able to light up the scoreboard against New Orleans. QB Drew Brees returns to San Diego for the first time since leaving the Chargers eight years ago, and while he will likely show up and put up some numbers like he always seems to do, the Saints defense will have to make a few stops for them to have a chance to win. Thus far this season, they haven’t been able to do that very often and the Saints high octane offense is often sluggish on the road. All those factors should lead to a high scoring San Diego victory.
Dallas Cowboys (2-1) @ San Francisco 49ers (1-2)
Game Pick: Cowboys – QB Dak Prescott threw his first career touchdown pass in a 31-17 Cowboys victory over the Bears last Sunday night. The Cowboys didn’t face much resistance from a downtrodden Bears team that only really showed up in garbage time. Rookie RB Ezekiel Elliott exploded for 140 yards on the ground on 30 carries as well. As many expected, the 49ers went to Seattle and got obliterated by an angry Seahawks squad 37-18. Sure the 49ers beat the Rams 28-0 in week one but it seems like that was ages ago. San Francisco does tend to play better at home, and while that might make this game close for a while, the 49ers simply don’t have enough talent on either side of the ball to win this game. The Cowboys will likely be without star WR Dez Bryant for this one, which will make things a little more challenging for Prescott and company. If the Cowboys get up early, they likely turn to Elliott to salt this one away. The Cowboys are far from a flawless team, but even without Bryant, they should be able to knock off the 49ers on the road.
Kansas City Chiefs (2-1) @ Pittsburgh Steelers (2-1)
Game Pick: Steelers – Thanks to a defense that forced a whopping eight turnovers, including six interceptions, the Chiefs handled the Jets 24-3 at home last weekend. The Chiefs offense was stuck in neutral most of the afternoon against a stout Jets defense, but when you force eight turnovers, usually you find a way to win. It was a forgettable game for the Steelers on the road against the in-state rival Eagles last Sunday as they were absolutely destroyed 37-3 in a score that accurately reflected how awful the Pittsburgh played. It was one of the worst games the Steelers played in quite sometime. Despite how bad they looked last week, the Steelers appear to be set up perfectly for a bounce back game. They should be a lot sharper at home and will welcome back RB LeVeon Bell to the fold after he sat out the first three games of the season due to suspension. The Kansas City defense is still a little banged up and being banged up against an offense that all of the sudden becomes more explosive with the return of Bell is not good for the Chiefs. Expect the Chiefs to put up a good challenge early on, but the Steelers will pull away late in a high scoring Pittsburgh victory.
New York Giants (2-1) @ Minnesota Vikings (3-0)
Game Pick: Vikings – Things were looking good early for the Giants, but the Giants of last season reared their ugly heads as they blew a sizable lead to the division rival Redskins, falling 29-27 at home in a big swing game that could have put the Giants at 3-0 and the Redskins at 0-3. It was a familiar formula for the Vikings in Carolina who relied on sound defense and special teams to keep them close and give the offense time to find their footing in a 22-10 victory over the Panthers. This game has the makings of a low scoring defensive struggle. The Giants revamped front seven has played very well in the early going and will likely give the Vikings subpar offensive line fits. But don’t forget about that Vikings defense led by DE Everson Griffen, that is playing at an extremely high level as well. The New York offensive line isn’t anything to write home about either and QB Eli Manning might be running for his life early and often. In what is essentially a coin flip type of game, the home team seems like the right side here as Minnesota moves to 4-0.