2010 NFL Predictions: Week 3
A look at Week 3 of the 2010 NFL season and predictions on the winners of each game.
Week 2 was a lot like Week 1. There were some surprising upsets, the Chiefs and Buccaneers managed to win again, and the Saints looked vulnerable as the defending champions even though they were able to improve to 2-0 as well. For my Week 3 Power Rankings, click here. Also, to check out Joshua Huffman’s awesome 2010 NFL Pick ‘Em Contest, click here.
Last week’s prediction record: 10-6
Record on the season: 10-6
Upset Special record: 1-0
Here are my predictions for Week 3 of the 2010 NFL season:
Atlanta Falcons (1-1) at New Orleans Saints (2-0)
The defending champion Saints have struggled on offense so far in 2010, but have been strong on defense. If Drew Brees and the Saints offense can’t muster some points against Atlanta, they won’t be as lucky as they were in Weeks 1 and 2. The Falcons, meanwhile, will be in a difficult two-game hole if they drop this game. I still have faith that the defending champs will eventually find a consistent rhythm, but the game against Atlanta won’t be a blowout.
2010 Week 3 Prediction: New Orleans Saints defeat Atlanta Falcons
San Francisco 49ers (0-2) at Kansas City Chiefs (2-0)
San Francisco looked much sharper against the Saints than against the Seahawks, but they still made too many mistakes and ended up with the loss. The Chiefs, meanwhile, have played somewhat poorly but capitalized on their opponents’ mistakes. Kansas City’s fans showed an amazing level of loyalty in Week 1, sticking around in heavy rain to see the Chiefs beat the rival Chargers, and if the crowd is energized enough by the 2-0 start, KC may just find themselves with a third win.
2010 Week 3 Prediction: Kansas City Chiefs defeat San Francisco 49ers
Cleveland Browns (0-2) at Baltimore Ravens (1-1)
The Ravens defense did all it could against the Bengals last week, but a couple of questionable penalties and an anemic offensive performance now see Baltimore sitting at 1-1 heading into Week 3. The Browns, meanwhile, have shown very little promise. The Browns offense is much worse than the offenses of the Jets and the Bengals, neither of which scored a touchdown on the Ravens defense. This is the perfect opportunity for Joe Flacco to turn around his rough start, and the Ravens should roll right on by the Browns.
2010 Week 3 Prediction: Baltimore Ravens defeat Cleveland Browns
Detroit Lions (0-2) at Minnesota Vikings (0-2)
The Lions looked like sitting ducks after losing quarterback Matt Stafford in Week 1, but managed to keep the game against the Eagles fairly close. They should be encouraged by a couple of gutsy performances to start the season, although guts alone aren’t enough to win football games. The Vikings desperately need a win if they have any hopes of making the playoffs. Brett Favre isn’t the same quarterback who led Minnesota to the NFC Championship game last season, but he should be able to muster enough offense to beat the Lions.
2010 Week 3 Prediction: Minnesota Vikings defeat Detroit Lions
Buffalo Bills (0-2) at New England Patriots (1-1)
Since 2001, the Patriots are 17-1 against the Buffalo Bills, and currently have beaten the Bills thirteen times in a row. I don’t have any evidence to suggest things are going to change this year.
2010 Week 3 Prediction: New England Patriots defeat Buffalo Bills
Tennessee Titans (1-1) at New York Giants (1-1)
Eli Manning is going to have to step up his game if the Giants want to be taken seriously. He has turned the ball over three times in both of the first two games of the season, although he does also have five touchdown passes. The Titans also need to learn how to hold onto the football, committing an atrocious seven turnovers in an ugly loss to Pittsburgh in Week 2. The Titans are going to continue to struggle if the team doesn’t show Vince Young that it has faith in his abilities and won’t bench him at the first sign of trouble.
2010 Week 3 Prediction: New York Giants defeat Tennessee Titans
Pittsburgh Steelers (2-0) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-0) **Upset Special**
The Steelers, already without suspended quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, now must deal with an injury to third string quarterback Dennis Dixon. The Steelers defense has been outstanding in the first two weeks, and they’ll have their hands full keeping Pittsburgh in this game relying on Charlie Batch and Byron Leftwich as their QB options. Tampa Bay isn’t a juggernaut (their wins have been against Cleveland and Carolina), but they have a good opportunity to go 3-0 for the first time since 2005 playing against a depleted Steelers squad.
2010 Week 3 Prediction: Tampa Bay Buccaneers defeat Pittsburgh Steelers
Cincinnati Bengals (1-1) at Carolina Panthers (0-2)
Jimmy Clausen has gotten the call to start for the Carolina Panthers after Matt Moore has struggled to find any kind of consistency to start the season. It probably won’t be enough for the Panthers to win against the Bengals, but it shows that Panthers coach John Fox has finally realized that Matt Moore is not going to be successful long-term in the NFL.
2010 Week 3 Prediction: Cincinnati Bengals defeat Carolina Panthers
Dallas Cowboys (0-2) at Houston Texans (2-0)
The battle for Texas-sized bragging rights is going to be one sided, and not in the way that many would have expected going into this season. The Cowboys have been abysmal on offense and look completely out-of-sync. The Texans have shown that they can dominate quality opponents (34-24 win over Indianapolis) and can battle back from a deficit (30-27 overtime win over Washington). The Texans have never started a season 3-0 since becoming a franchise in 2002.
2010 Week 3 Prediction: Houston Texans defeat Dallas Cowboys
Washington Redskins (1-1) at St. Louis Rams (0-2)
Donovan McNabb looked great against the Texans. McNabb’s problem has never been his skills, but rather his ability to not be hampered by nagging injuries. If McNabb is healthy, the Redskins have a shot at sneaking into the playoffs, and should definitely be able to beat the Rams. St. Louis only lost its first two games by a combined six points, but they still don’t quite have the talent to compete with the top half of the league. Bradford should continue to show promise, but he isn’t a difference maker quite yet.
2010 Week 3 Prediction: Washington Redskins defeat St. Louis Rams
Philadelphia Eagles (1-1) at Jacksonville Jaguars (1-1)
Just a day after picking Kevin Kolb as his starter, Andy Reid had a change of heart and instead is going to go with Michael Vick (for now) against Jacksonville. Vick played well in Week 2, but Philly’s biggest problem isn’t the offense, it’s the defense. Allowing 32 points to a Lions team that was missing Matt Stafford should be a pretty big warning sign, and Jacksonville showed in Week 1 that it has the capability of playing well on offense. I think the Eagles are good enough to win this game, but it will be another exhausting shootout.
2010 Week 3 Prediction: Philadelphia Eagles defeat Jacksonville Jaguars
Indianapolis Colts (1-1) at Denver Broncos (1-1)
Indianapolis’ main weakness is their defense against the run. Denver’s main weakness seems to be their rushing offense. Without the ability to exploit Indy’s main weakness, this is going to be an extremely long game for the Broncos. Peyton Manning is throwing like an MVP right now, and I’m not sure Denver has the personnel to stop him.
2010 Week 3 Prediction: Indianapolis Colts defeat Denver Broncos
Oakland Raiders (1-1) at Arizona Cardinals (1-1)
Is anyone going to watch this game? Both teams can thank a poor Rams squad for their 1-1 starts, and I guess since I have to choose one of these teams to win, I’ll pick Arizona because they have Larry Fitzgerald whereas Oakland does not.
2010 Week 3 Prediction: Arizona Cardinals defeat Oakland Raiders
San Diego Chargers (1-1) at Seattle Seahawks (1-1)
Will the real Seattle Seahawks please stand up? The ‘Hawks were excellent in Week 1’s rout of the 49ers, but they were equally awful in their Week 2 loss to the Denver Broncos. The Chargers, meanwhile, better hope that it doesn’t rain in Seattle on Sunday: They looked a lot better in sunny San Diego in Week 2 than rainy Kansas City in Week 1.
2010 Week 3 Prediction: San Diego Chargers defeat Seattle Seahawks
New York Jets (1-1) at Miami Dolphins (2-0)
Let’s not get ahead of ourselves: One good game does not make a quarterback “great.” Mark Sanchez played well against the Pats, but it was perhaps his first “good” game in the NFL. The Jets’ vaunted defense is going to be tested with the expected absence of Darelle Revis. The Dolphins have had a similar problem to the Jets: poor offense, great defense. It’ll be a close game, but I think the Jets come down off their high and are beaten by the Fins.
2010 Week 3 Prediction: Miami Dolphins defeat New York Jets
Monday Night Game: Green Bay Packers (2-0) at Chicago Bears (2-0)
Jay Cutler was able to pick apart the defenses of Detroit and Dallas, but he won’t be so lucky against Green Bay. The Packers are still adjusting to not having running back Ryan Grant, but Aaron Rodgers looked good in Week 2 against the Bills. Rodgers should have no trouble picking apart the Chicago secondary, and the Packers should roll.
2010 Week 3 Prediction: Green Bay Packers defeat Chicago Bears
All stats and standings from espn.com