Predicting week 3
Wow, week three already? Right, well seeing as its Thursday I’d better start taking a stab at this weeks results. As ever, don’t put too much sway in my opinion, a few stats and the eye-test is all I have to go on.
RAMS @ 49ers: 17-7
Im glad this is the first game of the week, in no way do I think it may be a walk over by a brilliant defensive unit against a team with no touchdown and an under performing QB… I wanted to give this game the other way as a friend of mine (and pod cast contributor) G-Lo is attending with his wife in tow (its their 5th anniversary-lucky Kirsty), but I cant see Hoyer doing enough to regularly drive the ball down the field. The 9ers D has been better than I anticipated had could put some pressure on Goff but can it take away Gurley too? Sorry Gary, Rams win.
RAVENS @ JAGS (LONDON GAME): 20-10
The Ravens D has as many turnovers as points allowed and Blake Bortles has thrown the ball to the opposition with alarming regularity over his career so far. The Jags will lean on Fournette but as soon as they fall behind (which seems likely) then its Bortles v a very mean D-unit. Only one winner there. The Jags defense may keep it close for a while, but in this match-up Flacco does look Elite.
BROWNS @ COLTS: 17-21
It wont be pretty, but it may be entertaining as two 0-2 teams try to notch up a win. Jacob Brissett is the more polished QB of the two despite only 3 starts to Kizers 2, and he has home advantage and a better set of offensive players to hurl the ball too. For the Browns to win the running game needs to be impactful, Crowell can carry this team to a win here if given enough opportunities. Im taking the Colts based on Pagano being a better Coach than Jackson, he should be able to fire his team up enough to secure a home victory.
GIANTS @ EAGLES: 13-24
For me this one isn’t close. The Eagles are an ascending team (soaring?) whilst the Giants are in freefall. Eli copped the flak last week and he must shoulder some blame but the coaching has been suspect and the lack of a running game hangs over the Giants like a sword of Damocles. Eli will be sacked multiple times (8 on the season already) and Wentz should be kept the clear of the two has he throws his team to the win.
DOLPHINS @ JETS: 27-10
The Jets will be in the game for a while, McCown is doing ok with a meagre offense and Jermaine Kearse is a threat, but eventually the Dolphins D will drag them both down and put Cutler in decent field position. The wide receivers for the ‘fins should have it quite easy against the Jets Corners and Safeties who gave up big points last week against the Raiders arial threat. The cruise to 0-16 continues.
BRONCOS @ BILLS: 21-9
Tough one for the Bills as they face the Broncos who are riding high after dismantling the Cowboys last week. Tyrod Taylor was a Zay Jones drop away from rescuing the Bills last week, and the D is good enough to keep the game competitive. However, if Trever Seimian continues to produce decent numbers and the “No fly zone” of the Broncos backfield operates as they have done then there is no late route to victory available this week.
SAINTS @ PANTHERS: 27-24
The Saints cant defend, the Panthers cant attack. This is a tricky one to call. Brees and co don’t want to fall to 0-3 as that’s pretty much season over, so they’ll air the ball out and try to get production from Kamara and Peterson alongside the WRs. Cam and the Carolina crew will be without the injured Greg Olsen so look for Funchess to gain more targets. This feels like an upset to me. If McCaffrey gets rolling then the Panthers will quickly make me look stupid (not hard).
STEELERS @ BEARS: 21-10
The Steelers don’t always play well away to struggling teams so expect this to be tight for a while. However, LeVeon Bell is due a big show and Mike Glennon cant help but hand the ball away, so these two facts combined mean some easy point-scoring chances for the Steelers. Cue the Trubisky chants growing ever louder. Theres always Mark Sanchez…
FALCONS @ LIONS: 21-24
The Lions defense isn’t getting enough credit for playing at a top level to start the season. In week one the Falcons struggled against the Bears who may be better defensively than last weeks opponents the Packers. If the Lions can keep Ryan, Jones, Freeman etc within striking distance then Staffords hot streak should be enough to edge the win at home against a defensive unit lacking their best pass rusher (Beasley). Golloday and Tate should have time to stretch the field and Marvin Jones is strong enogh to force mis-matches in the Falcons backfield.
BUCCS @ VIKINGS: 17-20
IF BRADFORD PLAYS! Without him then I’d happily reverse the result and knock 6 points from the Vikes scoreline. This ones up in the air until we have the Bradford confirmation. For the Buccs to overcome the Vikes D they’d need to see more completions from Winston than they got last week (18) and involve DeSean Jackson over the top.
TEXANS @ PATRIOTS: 16-21
New England were pushed in the first half of the playoffs last season by a team that can dismantle any bodies offense on their day. DeShaun Watson is a capable runner facing a D-line that isn’t great at stopping anyone right now. These two factors should keep the game tight and worth watching but you’ve got to think that Brady will still be throwing bombs and as long as he can stay upright half the time it’ll be enough to beat the Texans. Amendola and Gronk have both practiced this week too.
SEAHAWKS @ TITANS: 10-17
This could be a showcase win for the Titans come off a blowout of the Jags last week. Putting up a W on the ‘hawks would really kick their campaign into gear. Derrick Henry looks to have surpassed DeMarco Murray in the RB role for now, I’d expect Murray to push hard to reclaim his throne this week. The Seahawks might as well play without an O-line for all the good its done so far, Wilson will be scrambling again and facing a decent backfield match-up he may find completions hard to come by.
BENGALS @ PACKERS: 13-24 Sure Fire Selection
The Bengals stink. There. Oh, you want more? Ok, the Bengals will show more on offense mainly because Green Bay cant defend, but it wont be enough to outplay Rodgers and the assault from Packers attack. Ty Montgomery is in line for a big game here as the Bengals concentrate on defending the wideouts. 0-3 means Marvin Lewis could be the first coach out the door.
CHIEFS @ CHARGERS: 20-17
2 defeats by a 3-point margin so far and it could be 3 in 3 after this weekend. I so don’t want to see the Chargers languishing behind the rest of their division but the Chiefs are the strongest all round unit in the NFL right now and the Changers can’t hold a lead when they get one. I’d expect Rivers to have to throw and the Chiefs will probably pick up an INT or 2 along the way. Sorry Chargers, 0-3 is calling.
RAIDERS @ REDSKINS: 21-24 Upset Selection
Surprise of the week? If Cousins and Terrell Pryor have finally worked their partnership out I think they can beat this Raider defense all day long. For this to work the Redskins run game needs to be top notch again and force the Raiders to defend the box, allowing Cousins time to get the ball out. Carr hasn’t really been under duress yet this year so the ‘skins will want to make the pocket an uncomfortable place to be. This one easily goes the other way, its just a hunch pick.
COWBOYS @ CARDINALS: 31-27
The fun game of the week between two teams with issues. Cowboys defensively are leaking and the offense was crushed last week by Denver. Cardinals have a QB on the brink of fall apart and a run game that is being rebuilt around a player let go in the offseason. Both will want to stamp their mark on the game to show the league that they’re a force. Expect Zeke to shrug off the criticism from last week and plough through for 100yards+. Expect CJ2K to carry the load for Arizona and pound the D-Line, which should allow Fitzgerald the chance to get one on one in the backfield…if Palmer can reach him.