NFL 2010-2011 Week 3 Picks and Predictions
Week three of the NFL is officially here. A 17-15 record has me angry, focused and ready to make better picks this week. You can count on it. Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me. I’m still stunned that the Buccaneers went into Charlotte and beat the Panthers 20-7 last weekend. I don’t think anyone really saw that coming. This is the week where I’m going to get it going again. Week three of the 2010-2011 NFL season is the week where one should have a better idea where the teams stand. It would help if the Cowboys would get their act together because thus far, they are play like a team in dire need of new head coach. The 49ers hope their effort from Monday night can carry over to Kansas City because they are facing an improved and confident Chiefs team who won’t back down from the physical 49ers. Aaron Rodgers and Jay Cutler square off in what should be a phenomenal Monday Night Football game in Solider Field. The Raiders, Panthers, and Bills, will start new quarterbacks in hopes of resurrecting their respective squads.
Sunday Morning Games
Tennessee Titans (1-1) @ New York Giants (1-1), 10am ET
Look, I’m not a defense coordinator, but if I were game planning for the Titans, I would stack eight defenders in the box and make Vince Young beat me. I would also have a spy defender assigned to him just in case he thought about taking off for yards when the pocket collapses. I think this is what the Giants will do after watching the Steelers keep Chris Johnson and the Titans run offense in check last Sunday.
Prediction: New York Giants bounce back with a 20-12 win over the Titans in the New Meadowlands stadium.
Cincinnati Bengals (1-1) @ Carolina Panthers (0-2), 10am ET
Panthers rookie quarterback Jimmy Clausen will make his debut at home against the Bengals who are coming off a tough victory over the Ravens. It seems a little strange that John Fox would make this move after Matt Moore showed he could do the job last season, going 6-2 as the starter. However, Moore has struggled at times this season and John Fox’s job is on the line, so the Panthers are hopeful that Clausen can provide the team with a much needed spark. Good luck with that one against one of the pass defenses in the Bengals.
Prediction: Cincinnati Bengals spank the Panthers 27-6.
Pittsburgh Steelers (2-0) @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-0), 10am ET
Hooray, the Steelers have met early season expectations by going win its first two games of the season; however this isn’t the game to have a letdown. The Buccaneers are an up and coming team, but they’re not ready for this type of game yet. Expect Steelers defensive coordinator Dick Lebeau to confuse and blitz Josh Freeman all game long. The game plan for three string quarterback Charlie Batch is to manage the game and don’t force any passes. This is a potential trap game for the scrappy Steelers because they get their first crack at the much improved Ravens next Sunday.
Prediction: Pittsburgh Steelers win 9-7 over Josh Freeman and the Bucs.
Buffalo Bills (0-2) @ New England Patriots (1-1), 10am ET
The Buffalo Bills are making a quarterback change that will not improve their football team over the long haul. Ryan Fitzpatrick will get the nod at the quarterback for the winless Bills over struggling starter Trent Edwards. Buffalo’s pass defense may keep the Brady to Moss connection under wraps this weekend.
Prediction: New England Patriots win 21-7 over the Bills.
Cleveland Browns (0-2) @ Baltimore Ravens (1-1), 10am ET
It doesn’t matter if Jake Delhomme or Seneca Wallace starts for the Browns this weekend; they are not beating an angry Ravens team in Baltimore.
Prediction: Baltimore Ravens win big 34-13 over the hapless Browns.
San Francisco 49ers (0-2) @ Kansas City Chiefs (2-0), 10am ET
The Kansas City Chiefs are a surprising 2-0 due in part to part to special teams, defense and better coaching. Most prognosticators before the season started viewed the Chiefs as a young and improved team, but one that would struggle on most Sundays. Quarterback Matt Cassel maybe the weak link on the Chiefs at this point of the season. Frank Gore will be called to carry the load for the underachieving 49ers on Sunday.
Prediction: San Francisco 49ers escape the raucous Arrowhead Stadium crowd with a 17-14 win.
Dallas Cowboys (0-2) @ Houston Texans (2-0), 10am ET
I can’t see the Boys losing this game. They are way too talented as a team to fall to 0-3 on the season. The Texans are coming off two emotionally draining victories over the Colts and Redskins respectively. Texans running back Arian Foster has been quite a surprise this season with 300 yards rushing and 3 touchdowns in two games. This will be an uphill climb for the Boys, but if they can run the ball with Jones, Choice and Barber and keep the Texans’ explosive offense off the field, it will go a long way in securing their first win.
Prediction: Dallas Cowboys come from behind and salvage their season with a win 27-26 over the Texans.
Detroit Lions (0-2) @ Minnesota Vikings (0-2), 10am ET
Minnesota’s defensive line should have a field day against Detroit’s terrible offensive line.
Prediction: Minnesota wins in convincing fashion: 30-7 over the Matthew Stafford-less Lions.
Atlanta Falcons (1-1) @ New Orleans Saints (2-0), 10am ET
I hope Atlanta was paying attention to the 49ers/Saints game because the 49ers may have provided a blueprint for other teams trying to slow down the Saints and their high powered offense. First thing is to run the football so Drew Brees and company stay on the sidelines where they can’t hurt you. The Saints have given up yards on the ground to Adrian Peterson and Frank Gore because of their desire to get takeaways. The second thing the 49ers did was a smart defensive strategy of giving the Saints the yards under the coverage. Instead of forcing the ball down the field, Brees took what the defense gave him and checked down to his running backs. Atlanta will duplicate these same strategies
to give themselves a chance at the upset.
Prediction: Saints win a close one at home 31-27 over the dirtybirds.
Sunday Afternoon Games
Washington Redskins (1-1) @ St. Louis Rams (0-2), 4:05pm ET
This is a game the skins would have lost under the loose regime of Jim Zorn. The Skins will make Steven Jackson a non factor in this game. This is a potential trap game for the Skins with the next game in Philadelphia as McNabb makes his return to the love of brotherly after being traded to D.C. this past off-season.
Prediction: Redskins win 24-10 over the Rams.
Philadelphia Eagles @ Jacksonville Jaguars (1-1), 4:05pm ET
Eagles coach Andy Reid has declared Michael Vick as his starting quarterback for the rest of the season. Wow! You know Kevin Kolb has to feel like cow dung now. Kevin Kolb or Michael Vick could win this game for the Eagles in Jacksonville.
Prediction: Eagles win 24-14 over the Jaguars.
Indianapolis Colts (1-1) @ Denver Broncos (1-1), 4:15pm ET
I couldn’t imagine what is going through the Denver coaches and player’s minds as they get ready to play their first game without their fallen teammate Kenny McKinley. I expect Denver to play a competitive game on Sunday. The Broncos will need to run the football and stay out of 3rd and long to keep Peyton Manning and the high octane Indy offense off the field.
Prediction: Colts win 31-28 over the Broncos.
Oakland Raiders (1-1) @ Arizona Cardinals (1-1), 4:15pm ET
Sorry Raider fans, you are not winning in Arizona on Sunday. Not after the Cardinals had their asses handed to them by the Falcons. On a side note, Darren McFadden is starting to find his niche as the Raiders starting tail back totaling 240 yards rushing, averaging 5 yards a carry the past two games.
Prediction: Cardinals win 27-19 over the Raiders.
San Diego Chargers (1-1) @ Seattle Seahawks (1-1), 4:15pm ET
It’s already a foregone conclusion that the Chargers will win the AFC West division barring a major injury to Phillip Rivers, but if the Chargers want to have home field advantage throughout the playoffs; these are the games they have to win. Sorry Seattle fans, maybe next year.
Prediction: San Diego Super Chargers take care of the Seahawks 31-17.
Sunday Night Football on NBC
New York Jets (1-1) @ Miami Dolphins (2-0), 8:20pm ET
You know what I have noticed about the Jets ever since Rex Ryan has taken over the Jets? That his teams tend to overlook their other divisional opponents not named the New England Patriots. Miami has been very impressive on defense the last two weeks against the Bills and Vikings. If I were the Dolphins, I would emphasize the Wildcat offense because the Jets seemed to have a hard time defend it last time these two teams met in Miami. Antonio Cromartie versus Brandon Marshall will be a matchup to keep an eye on throughout the game.
Prediction: Dolphins squeak by the cocky Jets 23-20.
Monday Night Football on ESPN
Green Packers Bay (2-0) @ Chicago Bears (2-0), 8:30pm ET
First place in the NFC north is on the line Monday night as Aaron Rodgers and the Packers take on Jay Cutler and the Bears. I know what the statistics say but I don’t care. The statistics favor the Packers because the Bears have a weak secondary that will give up yards through the air. Both teams are not very proficient on the ground so this game will be a battle of the team who can protect their quarterback the best. In this case I like the Bears because the Pack will be starting a rookie at left tackle named Bryan Bulaga in place of the injured Chad Clifton. Here’s a stat that will make any die-hard Packer fan want to vomit, Lovie Smith is 6-3 in his coaching career against the Packers.
Prediction: Bears win in thrilling fashion 34-30 over the Pack.
Win-loss record: 17-15 headed into week 3