NFL Week 3 Preview and Predictions
Week 3 Headlines
Labor Future: With the CBA expiration date creeping over the horizon, the players and the owners have made moves to ensure the future of their representation. DeMaruce Smith will remain the Executive Director of the Players Association through 2021. Also, there are reports of Roger Goodell receiving an extension as well.
Bengals Fire OC: After going two weeks without scoring a touchdown, the Bengals have parted ways with Ken Zampese.
McAdoo Throws Eli Under the Bus: After another loss featuring offensive dysfunction, Ben McAdoo apparently had enough as he criticized his quarterback’s play clock management. In response, Eli simply said, “He knows I can take it”.
A Problem in LA: I’m sure you’ve seen the meme by now. The game between USC and Texas had better attendance than the Chargers and Rams games combined last week.
Fantasy Football Start Em/Sit Em
Starting Quarterbacks: Cam Newton, Derek Carr, Matthew Stafford, Philip Rivers
Sitting Quarterbacks: Jameis Winston, Russell Wilson, Tyrod Taylor, Eli Manning
Starting Running Backs: Carlos Hyde, Ty Montgomery, C.J. Anderson, Javorius Allen
Sitting Running Backs: Thomas Rawls, Mark Ingram, Joe Mixon, Rob Kelly
Starting Receivers: Keenan Allen, Doug Baldwin, Kelvin Benjamin, Jermaine Jearse
Sitting Receivers: Alshon Jeffery, DeAndre Hopkins, Sammy Watkins, Marvin Jones
Starting Tight Ends: Zach Ertz, Jason Witten, Jack Doyle, Austin Hooper
Sitting Tight Ends: Tyler Eifert, Antonio Gates, Cameron Brate, David Njoku
Starting Defenses: Patriots, Packers, Rams, Steelers
Sitting Defenses: Redskins, Panthers, Texans, Lions
Rams vs. 49ers: Yet another example of why Thursday Night games need to be eliminated. This ‘marquee’ matchup features two teams at different stages of a rebuild. The Niners will be facing the only team they managed to beat last year. The problem is the Niners are worse than they were last year and the Rams are slightly better this year. Jared Goff has shown improvement, Todd Gurley looks more like the back he was a couple of years ago, and that has led to the offense actually scoring. Now, the defense needs to find a way to stop the run. If they do that, they should be able to beat the 49ers.
Ravens vs. Jaguars: So much for Sacksonville. The Jaguars came crashing back down to earth last week as the Titans took them behind the woodshed. While the Jags defense is legit, Blake Bortles is still quarterbacking the offense. And that means there will always be a cap on their success. The Ravens are one of two teams that stand at 2-0 after beating the subpar competition. With the season-ending injury to Marshal Yanda, the Ravens will have trouble against the Jags front seven. The only problem is that Bortles guy will probably turn the ball over. The Ravens defense has created as many turnovers as points allowed. So, I’ll pick the Ravens to win the game.
Broncos vs. Bills: Denver’s combination of a balanced offense and dominant defense is bringing back memories of their last Super Bowl run. If both aspects can continue, they’ll at least make the playoffs for sure. They beat the quit into the Cowboys at home last week, and the game plan will be the same this week against the Bills. The Bills just don’t have enough offense to properly attack the Broncos defense. Also, I expect Trevor Siemian to continue his solid play. So look for a Broncos win.
Steelers vs. Bears: After one bad game, the Mitchell Trubisky countdown has started in Chicago. It’s only a matter of time now. The Bears success comes from their running back tandem of Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen. If they're ineffective, the Bears are helpless as we saw last week. Their defense is in trouble against the Steelers as well. Pittsburgh hasn’t been tested yet this season, and this week won’t be the week it happens. Pittsburgh should have no trouble winning this game.
Saints vs. Panthers: Carolina is the other 2-0 team that has beaten subpar competition. Wins over Buffalo and San Francisco isn’t much to brag about. Especially when you consider the Panthers offense hasn’t looked that great. Cam Newton has looked average at best all things considered. The best cure for an offense looking out of sorts is to face the living turnstile that is the Saints defense. If Carolina can’t light this unit up, it’s time to hit the panic button. The Saints, on the other hand, should have already hit the panic button. Their three-headed monster at running back has yielded more controversy than results and the offense has looked a little less when compared to years past. Until I see something from their defense, picking them is difficult. So I’ll pick Carolina to win.
Buccaneers vs. Vikings: Sam Bradford’s injury left Case Keenum in charge of the Vikings offense, and it didn’t go too well. Bradford’s health will be key. If he can play well, that gives the Vikings defense a chance to win the game. Against the Bucs, the Vikings can match up Xavier Rhodes with Mike Evans and force Jameis Winston elsewhere. The problem is this year, the Bucs aren’t Mike Evans or bust. They have DeSean Jackson on the other side who could be in line for a big game Tampa’s defense also isn’t too bad themselves. I look for them to put the Vikings offense to the test. In the end, I expect the Bucs to win.
Browns vs. Colts: Yikes. I guess someone has to win this game. DeShone Kizer looked like a rookie last week, and that isn’t a good thing. Not to mention, Cleveland suffered a few injuries against Baltimore. The Colts showed some fight last week against Arizona and even pressured Carson Palmer in the pocket. The Browns haven’t led in an NFL game yet, but I’ll pick them to steal a win over the Colts.
Dolphins vs. Jets: Everyone is aware of the Jets and what they’re doing. So the Dolphins should have no trouble beating them.
Texans vs. Patriots: The Saints defense helped the Patriots get their groove back. Now they face a Texans team that they have a serious advantage over. Bill Belichick typically tortures rookie quarterbacks. So expect a long day for DeShaun Watson. The Texans defense will fight for as long as they can, but they’ll eventually surrender enough points for the Patriots to win.
Falcons vs. Lions: Not only did the Falcons take a big lead last week, they actually finished the job this time. Their defense looked great right alongside their offense. Now they’ll face a Lions team that is unapologetic in their approach. The Falcons defense will be tested once again when the Lions decide to dial up the big plays on offense. But even if tested, I expect a big day from the Falcons offense. So look for Atlanta to be 3-0 come Monday morning.
Giants vs. Eagles: New York has a real problem on offense. Without proper protection, Eli Manning will continue to be ineffective. And that’s bad news for the rest of the Giants offense. No matter how good the Giants defense can play, it won’t matter if they can’t score. Now the negativity is beginning to leak into the locker room. This is perfect for the Eagles. As long as Carson Wentz doesn’t turn the ball over, all they have to do is apply pressure to Eli and they’ll win the game.
Seahawks vs. Titans: Seattle’s offense needs to be on the side of a milk carton after the last two weeks. They were stuffed by the Packers defense and even had trouble with the Niners defense. Russell Wilson hasn’t had the protection he needs to be the most effective version of himself. The lack of blocking also transfers over to the running game. So that leaves the Legion of Boom to play all-world every single week. I don’t expect much better against the Titans defense. This game will come down to who can protect the ball better. Marcus Mariota doesn’t kill his team with turnovers that often. If he can keep the ball out of the hands of Seattle defenders, I could see the Titans winning a tough grind of a game.
Chiefs vs. Chargers: The Chargers packed up everything when they moved from San Diego to Los Angeles. That includes their inability to win close games. In games decided by less than a touchdown, the Chargers are 1-10 over their last 11 tries. Now they’re two games back in the division with the Chiefs coming to town. If you thought Dolphins fans were in abundance in Carson, just wait until the Chiefs fans roll into town. Kansas City’s strategy against the Chargers will likely be the same: attack Philip Rivers. Also, expect a healthy dose of Kareem Hunt. The fight for LA hasn’t gone well for the Chargers, and I expect that to continue with another loss.
Bengals vs. Packers: Green Bay took another big loss in Atlanta last week, and their problems are more clear than ever. The offensive line is the big trouble issue for the team. It seems like the organization has taken Aaron Rodgers for granted. His immense talent oftentimes overshadows the team's deficiencies. Another problem is that the injury bug is back and has taken some of the team’s weapons. On the other side of the field, the Bengals looked more like the bungles of decades past. Their offense has been quite offensive, to say the least. They decided to cure the symptoms by making a change at offensive coordinator, but it won’t matter if Andy Dalton continues to struggle. At Lambeau Field, Rodgers usually play well regardless. So expect a big win for the Packers at home.
Raiders vs. Redskins: Oakland has looked legit thus far. Beast Mode looks well rested and motivated to bring his hometown a championship before the team splits to the desert. Derek Carr looks like he’s taking that next step as well, and the defense still looks like a wait and see thing. Washington should answer a few questions for us since we know their offense will show up for the challenge. Expect a healthy dose of running from the Redskins. Oakland’s rush defense is considered their weakness. Plus, it could help keep the Raiders offense on the sideline. But once the Raiders offense does hit the field, I expect them to connect on big plays since Washington has shown they can be had on such plays. At the end of the night, look for the Raiders to be 3-0.
Cowboys vs. Cardinals: This is the perfect bounce-back game for the Cowboys after a mile-high manhandling at the hands of the Broncos. The Cardinals aren’t a good football team and have issues all over the place. Without David Johnson, their offense is directionless. Carson Palmer looks like he’s only good for a few good throws a game. The biggest indictment on the Cards is that they limped to 16 points against a bad Colts defense. I expect the Cowboys to get back to what they do best: run the football on offense and don’t break on defense. Shouldn’t be that troublesome against this Arizona team.