Well, what do you know? I bested all the Bleacher Report experts in Week 2. I guess we know where you should be going for your pigskin prognostication from now on.
Week 3 features some real desperation games, from the Pittsburgh Steelers and the New York Giants trying to get their first wins of this young season to the Jacksonville Jaguars just trying to cover the monster spread against the Seattle Seahawks.
Let's have at it, shall we?
The predicted winner is in italics.
Last Week's Record: 14-2
I want to take Andy Reid and the Chiefs here. And I think this will be a close game that will come down to the last two or three possessions. But I see Chip Kelly's offense being able to put up plenty of points against what is admittedly a very good Chiefs defense. Dontari Poe will blow some plays up all by himself but not enough to keep the Eagles from notching more than 30 points for the third straight week.
The Ravens got things back on track against the lowly Cleveland Browns last week, but the offense continued to struggle. Who knows what will happen with Ray Rice, but that isn't the real concern for a team that is desperate to find a rhythm to its passing game. This will be a close game, but the Texans offense is diverse enough to move the ball against the Ravens, and Matt Schaub—yes, Matt Schaub—will make one more play than Joe Flacco.
Carolina head coach Ron Rivera's seat is already warm after only two weeks into the season. The Giants are desperate for a win after eight quarters of sub-standard football. The Panthers' defensive front seven will be a problem for a Giants offense that wants to get the running game going. If Eli Manning has enough time, he can exploit the Panthers secondary. But I don't think he'll have the time. Cam Newton does just enough on offense to get the Panthers their first win of the season and to send the backpages in New York City into overdrive as the Giants drop to 0-3.
I'm not even sure it matters if Reggie Bush is able to play or not. The Lions offense should be able to sleepwalk through this game and score four touchdowns. Washington's secondary is downright terrible, and the Lions will be able to take advantage. Of course, everyone will be watching Robert Griffin III. If the Redskins offense is able to get off to a faster start than it has the past two weeks, this could be a fun game to watch. But I see another slow start on offense for Washington as it is forced to play catch-up in the second half in another futile comeback attempt.
Why do I get the feeling I'm going to be eating crow about the Titans, especially their defense, all season long? They are crazy athletic up front and much more active and explosive than I ever thought they would be. That said, I don't think they have enough on the offensive side of the ball to keep up with what looks to be a surprisingly good offense for the Chargers. Jake Locker vs. Philip Rivers? I'll take Rivers every time.
Rob Ryan's defense has been surprisingly stout over the first two weeks of the season. He is using a good mix of coverages and fronts to get offenses guessing, and his personnel are playing above their heads. The Saints offense needs to get the running game to be more consistent so they can work the play action down the field against the Cardinals. Carson Palmer and Bruce Arians vs. Drew Brees and Sean Payton? I have to go with the Saints at home.
Now that Tom Brady has had time to calm down, maybe he'll be a bit more forgiving of his young receivers when they make mistakes. Or maybe not. I don't expect Rob Gronkowski to play in this one. I do expect the Patriots to continue to eschew the running game in favor of pushing the ball downfield, perhaps to their detriment on occasion. The Buccaneers and their embattled quarterback will make this a game, but the better team wins this one. That team is the Patriots.
The Packers found a running game against Washington, but don't expect that to continue against the Bengals. Geno Atkins and the Bengals defensive line will absolutely dominate the Packers' ground game. Fortunately for the Packers, they have Aaron Rodgers and a deep, talented receiving corps that should have a distinct advantage against the Bengals secondary. Andy Dalton will look for A.J. Green early and often, and Cincinnati will put up yards and points. But the Packers will outscore the Bengals in a shootout.
You know it. I know it. Both teams in this game know it: The Cowboys have to get the running game going. Look for DeMarco Murray to get the ball many more times than the paltry 12 carries he got against the Chiefs last week. The Rams fell behind way too early against the Falcons and have to play ball-control offense to stay in this one. While Rams defensive end Robert Quinn will have a good day against the Cowboys offensive line, Dallas gets the win on Murray's legs.
Adrian Peterson has been relatively bottled up so far in 2013. That all ends this week. Yes, the Browns have a pretty good defense. The problem is, they'll be on the field way too much in this game. Brian Hoyer and company are not coming into Minnesota and lighting it up offensively. I see a lot of three-and-outs and lots of chances for Christian Ponder to turn around and hand the ball to Peterson, which he will do. Repeatedly.
Don't look now, but the Dolphins are a pretty good football team. That defense is scary good, and the offense is only going to get better. Running back Lamar Miller has to learn to run through arm tackles at the second level. If and when that happens, you'll see the running game explode for Miami. The Falcons have lots to get excited about on offense and lots to be concerned about on defense. I just see the Dolphins' strengths matching up very well with the Falcons.
Rookie quarterbacks face off in this early AFC East showdown of 1-1 teams. EJ Manuel and Geno Smith have played a bit better than I thought they would heading into the season, especially Manuel. Both teams have talent on the defensive side of the ball. The Bills have much more offensive firepower. Their offense is the difference in this game.
Colts fans are rightfully excited about the addition of running back Trent Richardson. The word is that the Colts plan on throwing him right into the fire. That's good. But the Colts' issues along the offensive line, coupled with the 49ers' superior personnel nearly across the board, give me the feeling this is a 49ers' blowout waiting to happen.
Marc Trestman's Bears have had to engineer a couple of come-from-behind wins to get themselves to 2-0. They won't have that problem this week as they face the reeling Steelers. There's been lots of talk about the lack of a running game, but Pittsburgh won't be right on offense until it gets Heath Miller back in the lineup. Until then, expect more of the tough-to-watch play we've seen the first few weeks against the Bears.
This is absolutely crazy, but I think Oakland has a chance in this game. Yes, a very small one but a chance. The defense is better than you think, and Terrelle Pryor has given them hope on offense...oh, who am I kidding? This game will be close heading into halftime, and then Peyton Manning will throw for 10 touchdowns or something in the second half. That's an exaggeration. A slight one. He'll only throw eight.