CAR (1-2) @ CHI (1-2)
Preview: Carolina got its first win last week against the Jaguars in the Monsoon not most exciting game to watch with the rain coming down and both teams unable to throw the ball properly with players slipping, falling down all over the field, while the Bears lost to its rival the Packers with Finely dominating the Bears secondary after they lost both starting Safeties for the game and unsure whether they will return against the Panthers.
Who to Watch:
Mike Martz: Has been criticized so far this season, rightly so after the amount of the hits Cutler has taken so far this season and may not finish the season because of the O-Line not being able to hold and protect Cutler. Martz has not called many run plays with the a RB like Forte who can pick up huge yards needs to be implemented more into the offense to release pressure off Cutler and make defenses think about the run game more than pass offense.
Greg Olson: Cutler’s favorite target returns to Solider field, after he was traded by the Bears after he was not used enough in the Martz offense and he became unhappy. Cam Newton has been throwing a lot to Steve Smith the Bears will expect that, watch out for Olson to be more involved and prove a point to the Bears for trading him.
Prediction: Expect this game to much closer than most people think, Panther defense has been impressive so far this season causing problems against the Superbowl champions among the O-Line with the Bears O-Line struggling expect them to put pressure on the Bears and force Cutler into mistakes, for the Bears they must get their run game going if they want to win while the defense will try and confuse Newton in the secondary forcing him into mistakes. Final Score 20-23 Bears.
MIN (0-3) @ KC (0-3)
Preview: Battle of suck for luck, both teams have started this season badly with the Chiefs losing players from both sides of the ball and haven’t really recovered from that, while the Vikings should or could be 3-0 after leading 3 games going into the half but can’t seem to score any points going into the 2nd half they decide to move away from star player Peterson to run the ball and kill time off the clock allowing less amount of time for opponents to be on the field. Positive news for the Chiefs it looks like Bowe has finally showed up to play after having a good 2nd half against the Chargers also McNabb was much better in the pocket last week against the Lions but has slowed in the 2nd quarter. My main question is does either team want to win this game?
Who to watch:
Dwayne Bowe: After two poor games, we saw the old Dwayne Bowe in the 2nd half against the Chargers making some spectacular catches and getting a TD, expect Cassel to target him more after Breaston, Baldwin have not done much since there arrivals in Kansas with the loss of Charles and running the ball by committee, also with Calvin Johnson going up and catching ball expect something similar.
Adrian Peterson: Frustrated by the lack of carries in the 2nd half of the game against the lions and his dad coming out saying his son his frustrated by the lack of carried going into the 2nd half of game. Odd move by the OC especially taking the lead against all three opponents and you would think they would want to kill time off the clock with two of them opponents being the Chargers and Lions who like to score a lot of points
Brian Robison: After an impressive performance against the Lions with 3 tackles and 2 Sacks expect him to be more involved in the game plan taking pressure of Jared Allen who teams like to double team they may think twice singling up on Robison after last weeks performance.
Prediction: Both teams have not looked impressive so far this season, Vikings have had more impressive start to the season in first quarter of games but seem to fall asleep in the 2nd quarter of games. Kansas needs a fast start to this game to take pressure off their defense who have struggled so far. I expect to see more of Peterson in this game with the DE of Vikings to create pressure on Chiefs O-Line. Final Score 23-10 Vikings.
PIT (2-1) @HOU (2-1)
Preview: Steelers coming off an unconvincing win over the Colts who nearly beat with backup Curtis Painter after Kerry Collins was knocked out during the game most surprising thing from the game was the Colts were able to run the ball against the Steelers while the O-Line couldn’t hold up Freeney and Mathis who got after Roethlisberger. Texans coming into the game on a loss after losing to the Saints 33-40 but really should have come away with a win scoring 4 FG and 3 TD after their defense really got after in the first half.
Who to watch:
Mike Wallace: Has been impressive in the first 3 games having 21 receptions, 377 yards averaging 18 yards with 2 TD to his name and has become Steelers deep threat during the game and has breakaway speed that Steelers have been lacking in the last few seasons. He going against a Texans secondary who have been shaky and cost them many games but they have improved this season but it will be a trust test for this secondary.
Ben Tate: Joseph Addai had success running against the Steelers with Foster out injured with his status unknown for Sunday expect Texans try and run the ball against the Steelers to slow down their defense to avoid the likes of Harrison, Timmons coming off the edge, Tate has some success this season with 66 Carries, 301 yards and averaging 4.6 yards a carry with one TD.
Steelers O-line: Looked awful against the front four of the Colts, with Dynamic Duo of Freeney and Mathis exploiting the injury prone O-Line with the new 3-4 defense of the Texans looking pretty good so far getting pressure on the QB expect Mario Williams to go after their LT Jonathon Scott who turned a ankle on Sunday night expect Williams to matchup against whoever is on that side.
Prediction: Tough game to predict with both teams coming into this game with injuries mainly with the Steelers O-Line getting banged up, losing players on a weekly basis amongst the O-Line but seem to keep finding players to step in. The Texans need to finish off in the red zone and put teams away after getting 4 FG instead of touchdowns against the saints which cost them the game after their defense created turnovers. Final Score 24-21 Steelers.
DEN (1-2) @ GB (3-0)
Preview: Packers have started off this season fast with a 3-0 start, Rodgers has been impressive so far this season picking up where he left off in the playoffs, and they have beaten two of its nearest championship rivals which include the Bears and Saints, while the Broncos are in a rebuilding process but haven’t look impressive so far this season with the number of injuries so far this season has not helped including having Tebow playing at the WR position. Major Concern for the packers has been the pass defense which they are currently ranked at no.31 only the Patriots much worse than the packers which is a major issue after last season finishing in the Top 5 in defense. Many expected the Broncos to make the switch to Tebow but they decided to stick with Orton has managed games well but has not been able to wow the fans especially after they are chatting “we want Tebow” after 3 quarters of football in the opening game of the season.
Who to Watch:
Jermichael Finley: Injured after 5 games last season after started off so impressively with over 300 yards after 4 games during last season stated this season will be the year of the takeover, against the Bears he was impressive getting 3 TD he was a matchup nightmare for the Bears secondary even worse when losing both starting safeties, if Champ Bailey unable to go expect Finely to matchup against the backup CB so far this season he has 15 receptions for 206 yards, averaging 13.7 yards per catch with 3 TDs.
Von Miller: After an elite College career at Texan A&M where he recorded over 27.5 sacks and 39.5 tackles for loss during his last two seasons in Texas he entered the draft as the best OLB, where went 2nd overall to the Broncos so far he has not disappointed creating havoc recording 12 tackles with 2 tackles and 2 force fumbles already over the 3 games so far this season. The Packers must be vary where he lines up he may go against Newhouse if Bulaga is not good to go on Sunday.
Alex Green: Made himself a name in Hawaii with number of huge runs with Grant unlikely to go in this game because of a bruised lung expect Green to get a lot of carries after Starks poor performance against the Bears, we could see the Packers go with 3 RB committee if Green is able to run the ball successfully.
Prediction: Packers must not get complacent against the Broncos expecting a easy victory but I do expect the Packers to win comfortably especially because how well offensively they are playing with the number of weapons they have, could pass it in all directions with the likes of Finley, Jennings, Drivers catching the ball but defensively they must do better after being ranked 31st overall against the pass. Denver must protect the ball and capitalize on opportunities they create on defense not go into the red zone getting touchdowns not FG because the Packers can score at anytime. Final Score 33-13 Packers.
NYJ (2-1) @ BAL (2-1)
Preview: Rex Ryan returns to his old stomping ground in Baltimore after he was interviewed for the job but never got the call he left after once season to join the New York Jets, met last season in the 2010 opener with the ravens coming out on top. Jets will be fired up for this matchup as this could potentially be the AFC Title game. Jets coming off a poor performance against the Raiders with the McFadden running up the gut all game long with the Jets well known for stopping the run, while the Ravens coming off a emphatic win over the Rams with rookie Torrey Smith having 3 TD in the first half and having over 100 yards.
Torrey Smith: Had an explosive debut against the St.Louis Rams, having 5 receptions for 152 yards including 3 TD, surprised many fans and media alike after Lee Evans was injured he got to show the NFL fans what he is capable of and why he was selected in the 2nd round in the NFL Draft by the Ravens. This week he goes against the best CB in the NFL Darrell Revis who usually matched up against the best wide-outs in the NFL and usually keeps them quite for the whole game, it will be interesting to see if Smith can use his speed.
Ray Rice: Will the Jets able to stop Ray Rice running the ball and pounding it for four quarters? after last week dismissal performance by the run defense of the Jets after giving up 171 yards and 2 TD to McFadden, who kept pounding the ball and O-Line creating big holes for him, if they aren’t able to stop Rice I expect him to get over 100 rushing yards and relieve pressure off Flacco.
Prediction: This game will come down to who can run the ball better to take pressure off their QB with both Sanchez and Flacco looking shaky at times, making mental mistakes at critical times during games. Jets must stop Ray Rice to have success, in most games when teams have able to stop Rice the pressure cranks up on Flacco to throw the ball down the field and give up INTs. Ravens must confuse Sanchez on defense and get the likes of Ngata, Suggs to go after that O-Line with center Nick Mangold missing expects them to exert pressure up the middle to force mistakes by the rookie Colin Baxter to make. Final score 17-14 Baltimore.
(2-1) Washington Redskins @ St Louis Rams (0-3)
At the Edward Jones Dome on Sunday afternoon, the Washington Redskins look to take their win total to three, face the St Louis Rams who look to come away from their early season slump and win their first game of the season. After a disappointing week for both, both will want to bounce back, with the Rams especially pushing in their third home game of the season, having lost the first two rather convincingly.
The Redskins have looked good so far this season, and only came unstuck last week when
- Steven Jackson vs. time: Last week, Jackson carried 4 times, averaging 5.5 yards per carry, but didn’t look himself, and wasn’t 100% fit. Without a full fit Steven Jackson, the Rams offense is poor at best Promising young QB Sam Bradford is suffering the ‘sophomore slump’, ad with young receivers who contrive to drop more balls than they catch, Josh McDaniels needs on strap the Rams wagon on to Jackson, otherwise it could be a long season.
- Rex Grossman vs. Rams secondary: Grossman has outplayed himself his year, proving plenty of his doubters wrong, and continues to turn heads with hi impressive performances, with another one expected this week. At corner back, the Rams miss Ron Bartell, who is out and out their best player in the position. At S, Quintin Mikell is talented, but Justin King and Bradley Fletcher are weak. Veteran Al Harris will line up against Santana Moss, and will have to relive his glory days in Green Bay if he is to succeed in stopping the ‘Skins no. 1 receiver.
If St Louis wins this game, it really would be a turn up for the books. They are weak on both sides of the ball, debilitated by injury, and lacking impetus. The Redskins are a better team than some give them credit for, and should really be looking to garner victory in the Gateway to West. Pick: Washington by 7.
(3-0) Detroit Lions @ Dallas Cowboys (2-1)
When the Detroit Lions travel to Arlington, TX on Sunday to face the Cowboys, they have the chance to go 4-0 for the first time in 31 years, but face their toughest opposition yet in a strong Dallas team, who may just have the defense to stop the Lions attacking force.
Detroit has been incredibly impressive so far this season, climbing up all power rankings and expectations, particularly shining on offense. Led by third year QB Matthew Stafford and elite WR Calvin Johnson, the Scott Linehan-coordinated offense gels well, combining a fluid running game with reliable targets in the air. However Dallas have looked strong this season, and may have matched the Lions’ record if not for a heart-breaking week one defeat to the New York Jets, a game they led by 17 points at the beginning of the fourth quarter.
- Jeff Backus vs. DeMarcus Ware: 11 year veteran Backus is a reliable and solid option at LT, yet the Rob Ryan led Dallas D is incredibly strong in the 3-4 set, and will bring pressure round the blind side all day long. DeMarcus Ware the premiere edge rusher in the league will give Backus a tough assignment, making this a hotly anticipated matchup.
- Felix Jones vs. Detroit front seven: Just in case you missed it, the Detroit front seven is unbelievably good. Possibly the most intimidating defensive line in all of football, Corey Williams and Ndamukong Suh line up shoulder to shoulder as a great partnership on the interior rush. Around the edge, veteran DE Kyle Vanden bosh creates a handful for any OT, and after the offseason acquisition of Steven Tulloch at MLB, the Dallas offense could stutter all game long, especially RB Jones, who hasn’t performed to expectations this season, and will rely on the Dallas offensive line to provide some protection. C Phil Costa has stood out as a player out of his depth this season, and will need to perform to a higher standard sooner rather than later.
This will undoubtedly be one of the games of the weekend, pitting two of the better NFC teams against each other. For the victor, it will be a great yard stick for their season’s ambitions, whilst for the losing team, it will be a stark reality. With nearly everyone in football losing their minds with excitement over the Lions, it could be that Dallas excel as underdogs at home. The game could really go either way, and will be exciting throughout. Pick: Dallas by 3.
New Orleans Saints (2-1) @ Jacksonville Jaguars (1-2)
The battle of the haves and the have nots in this one as the Saints travel to Jacksonville to face off against the lowly Jaguars. Blaine Gabbert started off his NFL career on the road in Carolina and was average in his debut, he figures to struggle here as he goes up against former Jags defensive co-ordinator Greg Williams and his complex New Orleans defense. Williams likes to bring the heat with the blitz against anyone so he will be particularly vicous against the rookie signal caller.
Who to watch:
Roman Harper: The chief beneficiary of Williams blitzing scheme is Roman Harper who has recorded 2.5 sacks and forced 1 fumble already this season. He is likely to record one more in this game and keep the pressure on the rookie Gabbert. The Jaguars line, whilst a solid unit, should struggle against the Saints who blitz on over 50% of their defensive snaps. Harper is weak in coverage so he is often utilized as a blitzing defensive back.
Mark Ingram: The rookie running back scored his first touchdown in the NFL last week and this should be the game where he puts up big yardage. The Jaguars defence is ranked fifth against the run but they haven’t been matched up against an offensive line as stout as the Saints. Guards Jahri Evans and Carl Nicks are amongst the best in the business and they should be able to make big holes for Ingram to run through.
Prediction: This is a huge mismatch here as the Saints are simply better in all areas than the Jaguars. The Saints have a plethora of weapons for quarterback Drew Brees to utilize and the Jaguars secondary is a weakness of the team. The offensive firepower of the Saints will be too much for the young Jags defence and this one really shouldn’t even be close. Saints 34 – 10 Jaguars
Buffalo Bills (3-0) @ CIncinatti Bengals (1-2)
Two teams that were predicted to struggle by many at the start of the season and they could of not gone on more different paths. The Bills are one of the hottest teams in the league fresh off their first win against the Patriots since 2003. The Bengals on the otherhand had their first real stinker of the season against the San Francisco 49ers, rookie quarterback Andy Dalton had the first poor game of his young career as he threw two interceptions.
Who to watch:
Fred Jackson vs Ray Malaluga: Jackson is playing like one of the best running backs in the NFL right now and it will be up to the impressive Malaluga to slow him down in this one. Jackson is the cog that keeps the Bills offense ticking as he is impressive in all facets of the game, if he can continue his impressive start to the season then the Bills should be able to win comfortably. If anyone can stop Jackson though the Bengals linebacking core led by Malaluga are the unit to do it. They are a touch physical group that shut down Frank Gore last week and have a chance to do the same to Jackson this week.
Andy Dalton: Dalton is coming off the worst performance of his pro career and how he bounces back could be an indicator of if he will succeed at the NFL level. In his first two games Dalton showed poise and a level of confidence you wouldn’t expect from a rookie, these were both against poor defensive teams though. When he finally faced a team with a good defence he struggled, the Bills D has been just average this season, though they have been good at forcing turnovers, Dalton has a strong chance to bounce back in this one and thus the Bengals could keep this closer than people may think.
Prediction: The Bills have started off the season unbeaten and this looks set to continue in Cincy. The Bengals are not nearly as bad as people think and their defence is a quality unit so this game figures to be relatively close. In the end though the Bills just have too much firepower on offense as their deep group of receivers will be too much for the Bengals to handle. Bills 31 – Bengals 24
Miami Dolphins (0-3) @ San Diego Chargers (2-1)
If ever a team and a coach needed a win it is the Miami Dolphins and Tony Sparano. The beleaguered coach had to deal with his owner courting another coach in the offseason and has now watched his team flounder in the first three games off the season. The Chargers have not been impressive in their first three games despite playing against bottom feeders Minnesota and Kansas City. They have been mistake prone and this cost them in their one loss against the Patriots.
Who to watch:
Chad Henne: Henne has been surprisingly got a better passer rating than the quarterback opposite him in this game, Philip Rivers. This surprising stat points to Henne having played well this season, this is partially true as he has been able to lead the Dolphins very successfully until he reaches the redzone where he has been nothing short of abysmal. If Henne can be just a little bit better with his redzone play then the Dolphins offense could hang some points on the Chargers.
San Diego Chargers vs mental errors: The Chargers are one of the most talented teams in the NFL but they are perennially undone by their own silly mistakes. Freakish things often happen to the Chargers and that is the mark of a team that is often undisciplined and unprepared. Their special teams woes were well chronicled last season and the unit has not looked much better this year. The interception to Patriots nose tackle Vince Wilfork is an example of an undisciplined play by the Chargers as screen passes like the one they were trying to execute should never result in a turnover.
Prediction: The Chargers are favoured by a touchdown in this one by Vegas and most experts are predicting a win for them, I disagree however as I am predicting a Dolphins victory. As I said Henne has been impressive when not in the redzone and I foresee him improving in that area against the Chargers. The Dolphins road record is much better than their home form as they feel much better playing outside the confines of Sunlife Stadium. Reggie Bush returns home in this one and I see him taking one to the endzone. Dolphins 27 – Chargers 24
Atlanta Falcons (1-2) @ Seattle Seahawks (1-2)
Two teams with the same record but vastly different talent levels meet in this showdown in Seattle. The Falcons have struggled mightily in their opening three games, only eking out a win in week 2 due to a sensational comeback from a ten point deficit. The Seahawks have also struggled mightily in their start to the season which has included a shutout at the hands of Pittsburgh. The Seahawks did however record a win last week in their home opener against the Cardinals. The game is at Qwest Field so the fabled twelfth man will come into play and disrupt the Falcons struggling offense.
Who to watch:
Atlanta Falcons offensive line: This is a group that has received much criticism this season and with good reason. They have put quarterback Matt Ryan in terrible positions all season and haven’t opened up holes for running back Michael Turner to run through, this will likely be the last chance for all 5 starters to play together as Coach Mike Smith has promised changes if improvements are not made.
Sidney Rice: Rice made his Seahawks debut with an impressive 100 yard receiving game and looks like he will be able to match that success against the Falcons. Atlanta has struggled defending the pass all season and with a big receiver like Rice playing against them they may struggle to keep him under control in this matchup. If they are to do this then high priced cornerback Dunta Robinson will have to go one on one with Rice as the Falcons best corner (Brent Grimes) is too small to matchup with Rice.
Prediction: This will be a closely fought matchup but I can’t see the Falcons falling to 1-3 against Seattle, their skill position players are too good and their defence is underrated. The Seahawks have struggled to get much of anything going on offense due to the ineptitude of quarterback Tarvaris Jackson and this may continue in this game. The Falcons though should pull away in the fourth quarter and record their second win of the season. Falcons 28 – 10 Seattle.
Indianapolis Colts (0-3) @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-1)
Who’d have thought 2 months ago that the Colts would be rolling into Tampa with Curtis Painter as their starting quarterback. This is the situation the Manning-less Colts find themselves in and with Painter at the helm they figure to have no chance at toppling the Bucs. The Bucs are riding high after their victory over the Falcons and they should be able to handle the Colts quite easily at home.
Who to watch:
Buccaneers defensive line: The game against Atlanta marked the ascension of this unit to a good line, this could be their coming out party. The Colts offensive line has struggled this season much like the rest of their team and Tampa’s impressive young front four could dominate the line of scrimmage all night. Rookie Adrian Clayborn had his first NFL sack against the Falcons and second year man Brian Price got great penetration up the middle. These boys could make this a long night for the Colts.
Curtis Painter: Painter has quite frankly looked abysmal in the regular season and preseason action he has had as a Colt so things don’t bold well for Indy with him as the starter. There is a glimmer of hope though, Matt Cassell looked dreadful as a Patriot backup but when Tom Brady was injured for the year he stepped in and was a solid starter. If Painter is half of what Cassell was then the Colts will be happy. To be a success Painter must limit his mistakes and get the ball to his talented group of targets.
Prediction: This one should be an absolute mauling. The Colts are starting a quarterback they have zero confidence in and are up against a team who are gaining in confidence by the day. This won’t even be close as Curtis Painter is not an NFL calibre quarterback and the Colts must be missing Peyton Manning more and more every snap they see his replacements take. Bucs 34- Colts 6