Seattle at San Francisco
On Thursday on Twitter I picked the 49ers to win the game.
Tennessee at Buffalo
Matt Hasselbeck wasn’t slated to be the starter this year, but because Jake Locker got injured early in the season, the former BC Eagle was called upon. And he’s done fairly well. His throwing yardage has increased each game. He’s also 18th in the league in completion percentage, ahead of guys like Drew Brees, Mike Vick, Jay Cutler and Ryan Fitzpatrick.
The Bills run the ball well, but they don’t stop the run much, as they are last in the league in rushing yards allowed per game. This could be a big week for Chris Johnson to step up.
Washington at New York Giants
It’s not surprising that the Giants beat the 49ers last weekend. The shocking aspect of that game was how badly they beat them.
The Giants played smart football against a team many consider to be among the best—if not the best—in the NFL. They committed only two penalties and did not turn the ball over.
In his past two games, Ahmad Bradshaw has come alive, rushing for 316 yards and two touchdowns. The Redskins are eighth in the league in rushing yards allowed per game but 32nd in the league in passing yards allowed per game. With Eli Manning under center, the Redskins defense should be disrupted enough to give up some good openings for Bradshaw here as well.
RG3 will be going up against the most difficult defense he's faced to date with a very aggressive defensive front line from the Giants led by Jason Pierre-Paul, who had two sacks last weekend.
New York Giants win.
New Orleans at Tampa Bay
The Saints finally got in the win column two weeks ago, and it might be the right time to march on. Jonathan Vilma returns to the lineup this weekend. The Buccaneers are also 31st in the league in passing yards allowed per game, which should make Drew Brees salivate.
Will Tampa Bay be able to keep pace with the Saints? Josh Freeman is completing only 55.2 percent of his passes, ranked 30th in the league.
New Orleans wins.
Dallas at Carolina
In three of their five games this season, the Panthers have failed to score more than two touchdowns.
Despite their losses, the Cowboys have scored at least 14 points in four of their five games. The defense is also pretty tough. They rank second in the league in passing yards allowed per game and 13th in the league in rushing yards allowed per game.
With Carolina’s inconsistent and struggling offense, Dallas should be able to contain them enough to not have to do too much on offense.
Baltimore at Houston
Houston suffered its first defeat last weekend, and the Ravens usually own the Texans. That being said, Baltimore’s defense is in bad shape. Team leader Ray Lewis was placed on the IR with a torn triceps. Cornerback Ladarius Webb joined Lewis on the IR, and DT Haloti Ngata and CB Jimmy Smith also left the game and are both questionable.
Going into Houston—one of the top offenses in the league—with so many injured key defensive players will be a tall task.
Cleveland at Indianapolis
The Browns won their first game of the season last week while the Colts took a beating in New Jersey, thanks to the Jets.
The Colts are 2-1 at home, however, with the Browns obviously 0-3 on the road.
This is a matchup of rookie quarterbacks, but Andrew Luck should come out on top here. He’s led the Colts to be ninth in the league in passing yards per game. The Browns, however, are 30th in the league in passing yards allowed per game.
Green Bay at St. Louis
The Packers had a huge win last week against the then-undefeated Texans, and Aaron Rodgers threw for six touchdowns against a top-10 passing defense.
The Rams are undefeated at home, but Washington, Seattle and Arizona don’t pack the same punch that Green Bay does. The Rams are also 0-2 against the NFC North.
People were waiting for Rodgers to play to his 2011 MVP form, and he did just that last week. He should be able to continue that trend this weekend.
Green Bay wins.
Arizona at Minnesota
Arizona has lost two in a row now and is having QB issues. Kevin Kolb, who originally won the starting quarterback job because John Skelton was injured, is now hurt. Skelton is back in, and last week, he went 2-10 for 45 yards and an interception. And that was against Buffalo’s No. 20-ranked pass defense.
Minnesota’s defense is much better than Buffalo’s, coming in at No. 11 in passing yards allowed per game and No. 10 in rushing yards allowed per game.
New York Jets at New England
Shonn Greene had a huge game last week, having rushed for 161 yards and scored three touchdowns. That was against the Colts and their 29th-ranked rush defense.
The Patriots will be a much stiffer test. They rank fifth in the league in rushing yards allowed per game. In six games, they have only allowed one 100-yard rusher, and that was Ray Rice, who just squeaked in at 101 yards.
Greene will most likely come back down to Earth in Massachusetts.
New England wins.
Jacksonville at Oakland
The Raiders haven’t been winning games, but they did play the undefeated Falcons pretty closely last week.
Carson Palmer threw for 353 yards against the 12th-ranked pass defense of the Falcons. His numbers aren’t bad for the entire season, either.
Jacksonville is last in the league in points scored per game.
Pittsburgh at Cincinnati
Statistically the Steelers are the better team, but the Bengals are the team with more wins.
The odds are stacked against the Steelers, as they haven’t won on the road yet this season, and their top two running backs are out.
But Big Ben is playing extremely well this season. He currently has his highest completion percentage and quarterback rating since 2009. He’s healthy. He’s rushing for 5.7 yards per carry, his highest average since 2007. He’s also thrown only two interceptions this season.
The Steelers have an extra few days to rest because they played last Thursday night, and that should help their case.
Detroit at Chicago
The Bears are No. 1 in the league in points allowed per game. The Lions are 24th.
The Bears are second in the league in points scored per game. The Lions are 11th, 4.6 points behind the Bears.
The Bears are 2-0 at home. The Lions are 1-2 on the road.
The Bears had a bye week last week, which allowed them to focus two week’s worth of preparation on the Lions.
As the sole NFC North leaders, the Bears are in a good position for a huge victory here.
Bye Week: Atlanta, Denver, Kansas City, Philadelphia, Miami, San Diego
This Week: 1-0
Last Week: 5-8
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