Week 3 Matchup Predictions
Giants @ Panthers: The Giants are basically a miracle comeback away from being 0-2 at home this year, and now they head to Carolina without Hakeem Nicks, Ahmad Bradshaw, David Diehl, or Domenik Hixon. The Giants tend to play well when the odds are against them, but Cam Newton is going to have his way with the Giants' depleted secondary and pull it out at home.
Panthers win 30-24.
Rams @ Bears: The Bears may have looked miserable last week playing the Packers at Lambeau, but unless your name is the 49ers, you'd probably look pretty bad playing at Lambeau too. The Bears may be without Matt Forte, but Michael Bush is hardly a downgrade as a replacement. The Rams got an impressive win against RG3 and the Redskins last week, and I think they've got a shot at a decent season, but the Bears are too much for them to handle right now.
Bears win 30-21.
Bills @ Browns: This one is about as confusing as can be. The Bills got slaughtered by the Jets in Week 1, then handed the Chiefs their head in Week 2. The Browns were offensively inept and picked off Michael Vick four times in Week 1, then ripped the Bengals defense but were ripped by Andy Dalton in Week 2. So far, these two teams are each a prototypical model of inconsistency. My heart says to go with Fitzpatrick getting picked off a few times and Trent Richardson becoming more of a beast by the week, and as the great DHT says, listen to your heart (did anyone else have no idea who sang that song? I had to look it up).
Browns get their first win 20-17.
Buccaneers @ Cowboys: The Cowboys completely bombed against the Seahawks last week, and it was in large part due to early miscues. An opening kickoff fumble and early blocked punt had Seattle's 12th man roaring, and the Cowboys were in a deep hole right out of the gate. The Cowboys are coming home this week, and will see a monumental difference with the crowd now on their side. They'll take on a surprising Bucs team who almost topped the Super Bowl champs last week, but I don't see Romo keeping them in the game with three early interceptions like Eli did.
Cowboys win 34-24.
Lions @ Titans: The Titans really can't do much of anything on offense. Their best player - Chris Johnson - can't find any way to make plays due to a shoddy offensive line, and Jake Locker is still working out his young quarterback kinks. The Lions struggled mightily against the 49ers defense last week, but it's tough to judge a team's offense based on what they do against the 49ers. Stafford and Megatron may connect for more yards than the entire Titans offense can muster up, so I've got to go with Detroit.
Lions win 38-17.
Jaguars @ Colts: Blaine Gabbert came back down to Gabbert World and was more Gabbert-like on Sunday, completing 7 of 19 passes for 53 yards. Andrew Luck, on the other hand, has lived up to the hype so far, going 20-31 for 224 yards and two touchdowns on Sunday, including a game-winning drive. I've simply got to go with the super-hyped quarterback at home over the padless practice prodigy.
Colts win 24-17.
Jets @ Dolphins: Despite his surprisingly solid performance against the Raiders last week, Ryan Tannehill will have headaches due to Rex Ryan's well disguised blitzes and coverages. Darrelle Revis won't allow for Brian Hartline to tear the Jets apart, the way he ripped the Raiders' plethora of inept cornerbacks. Reggie Bush, on the other hand, still has a shot to control this game on the ground (did you see what CJ Spiller did to the Jets?). This will be a very close game, and though I've never been a fan of him, I'm going to give the edge to Mark Sanchez against the league's 31st ranked pass defense.
Jets win 21-20.
49ers @ Vikings: I'll be frank about this: I wouldn't bet on the 49ers going undefeated, but I can't see myself picking against them in any individual matchup the entire year. That being said, there's no possible way I could expect Christian Ponder to lead his team to victory over the league's best defense.
49ers win 28-9.
Chiefs @ Saints: There's no possible way the Saints could lose another consecutive game, nevertheless, a home game, right? With a sense of urgency in New Orleans, I expect these guys, many of which are former Super Bowl champions, to step up and get a win against an inferior team in the Super Dome.
Saints win 38-20.
Bengals @ Redskins: The Bengals got picked apart by Joe Flacco and the Ravens in Week 1, then only beat the Browns by a touchdown in Week 2. The Redskins are coming home for the first time and the crowd will be absolutely roaring for RG3's first appearance in Washington. Rookie Brandon Weeden just threw for 322 yards against the Bengals - you have to figure RG3 will top that. Despite the crippling defensive injuries the Redskins suffered in Week 2, I've got RG3 beating his second 2011 playoff team of the season.
Redskins win 34-27.
Eagles @ Cardinals: The Eagles always seem to play to the level of their opponents. They beat the Browns by only one, which was wildly unimpressive, then beat the Ravens by one, which was extremely impressive. The Cardinals have surprised me so far this year. I thought their win against the Seahawks was impressive, and despite the fact that they only beat the Patriots due to a shanked field goal, they outplayed the reigning AFC champs for the whole game. However, the Eagles suffered an embarrassing loss to this team last year, and they're coming off of a confidence building win against a popular Super Bowl favorite.
Eagles win 27-23.
Falcons @ Chargers: We all knew that the Falcons offense was good, but they showed us just how good their defense could be on Monday night against Peyton Manning and the Broncos. The Chargers are 2-0 for the first time in years, but have two very pedestrian wins against the Raiders and Titans. If the Falcons can confuse Peyton Manning, they can confuse Philip Rivers. The return of Ryan Mathews for San Diego won't make enough of a difference behind their poor offensive line, and they'll be forced to wing the ball anyway due to Matt Ryan and company.
Falcons win 31-21.
Texans @ Broncos: It's tough to get a read on Denver's run defense. They've had two straight games holding teams to low rushing totals, but both teams have struggled running the ball so far this season. So much of beating the Texans is in keeping Arian Foster and Ben Tate in check, but I'm unsure whether or not the Broncos can do it. I'll say that they don't let the two-headed monster completely destroy them, and Peyton's no-huddle works to perfection once again at home, where it's easier to hear the audibles and get on the same page.
Broncos win 27-21.
Patriots @ Ravens: We all remember what happened the last time these two teams met - Billy Cundiff shanked the Ravens wide left of their Super Bowl aspirations. The Patriots are without one of their offensive focal points in Aaron Hernandez. The Ravens will be home in front of a crowd that wants nothing more than vengeance for the metaphorical death of their 2011 football club. Ray Lewis and his boys will get extra pumped up for this one, and Tom Brady will feel like that Cardinals defense from a week ago was composed of a bunch of high school kids.
Ravens win 24-20.
Packers @ Seahawks: The Seahawks at home is just a whole different animal. That 12th man is legit - you could see it affect the Cowboys last week. However, the Packers' defense looks exceptional early on this season, and they should find ways to give rookie quarterback Russell Wilson some problems. They also have a guy named Aaron Rodgers on their side, and he's pretty good. I think home field advantage works well in favor of the Seahawks, and I'll be rooting for them to pull this one out, but I've got to go with the Packers - it'll be close though.
Packers win 23-17.