Week 3 started out with one of the most entertaining games of this young NFL season. The Rams improved to 2-1 and have people asking if they’re for real. Not just yet in my opinion, but I am surprised that the offense has been able to move the ball well and their defense is pretty strong as suspected.
As for the 49ers, well good effort! They actually had a chance to beat their division rival after scoring a touchdown with 2:17 left in the game. Needing a two-point conversion to tie, in typical Niners fashion, they failed the attempt. However, they did convert the onside kick down by two with plenty of time on the clock to gain a few yards and try for a game-winning field goal. Back to the typical Niners, they make a mess of their football gift from heaven and lose on an Aaron Donald sack on 4th down. Like I said, the game was entertaining! Not to mention Todd Gurley is making me look smarter among my fantasy football brethren.
How about the rest of the Week 3 schedule! We have a few good games to look forward to as teams begin to take shape and show who they really are. My top 5 teams right now in no particular order are the Chiefs, Raiders, Broncos, Steelers and the defending NFC champion Atlanta Falcons. Let’s see how they’ll fair among their opponents this weekend.
Ravens vs Jaguars: The first London game of the NFL season will be hosted by Jacksonville. The London of the East. The Jags play in England just about every year so you could say they actually do have the home field advantage. I think the Jaguars are more like their Week 2 loss to the Titans than their opener against Houston which they won. I picked the Ravens to make the playoffs. My opinion is this game could be played at the Vatican and the Jags still wouldn’t have a prayer. Ravens 26 – Jaguars 15
Broncos vs Bills: Trap game alert! Teams from the West don’t have a very good track record flying East to play a 1:00 game. The early start could help Buffalo take advantage during the first half. The question is can they hold on long enough to keep Denver down? The Bills have a solid defense but next to no offense. The Broncos have both and their talent will win out in the end in a much closer contest than most expect. Broncos 20 – Bills 17
Saints vs Panthers: The jury is still out on Carolina after squeaking past Buffalo at home last week. I believe they’ll improve offensively and they’ll have to against Drew Brees and the Saints. True, New Orleans offense doesn’t strike fear in the hearts of their opponents anymore, but Brees still has the ability and intellect to make big plays. The Panthers aren’t making many plays at all. They’re 2 -0 because of their defense. If the Panthers can’t find success on offense this Sunday when the Saints will march back home with their first victory. Saints 23 – Panthers 20
Steelers vs Bears: This is usually one of those games the Steelers lose and you walk away scratching your head as to what just happened. Pittsburgh is better than Chicago by a landslide and the Bears looked absolutely horrific against Tampa Bay in Week 2. There’s no logic to explain why I’m picking the Bears to win this game Sunday. It’s simply a gut feeling and remembering the Steelers recent past in having problems against lesser opponents. Here’s your #1 upset in Week 3. Bears 19 – Steelers 17
Falcons vs Lions: Possible game of the week here between two 2-0 teams who look playoff bound. The Lions look for real with a newly found running game and a defense that has talent at all three levels. Give head coach Jim Caldwell some credit for turning this franchise back into an NFC North contender. We know Atlanta is certainly a contender and impressed everyone last Sunday night beating the Packers down on national television. The difference in this game will be Atlanta’s offense. They just have too much talent that the Lions can’t match. Falcons 28 – Lions 17
Browns vs Colts: Not much excitement here with a couple of 0-2 teams. The Colts haven’t had any Luck this season losing to the Cardinals last week blowing it in regulation and newly acquired QB Jacoby Brissett throwing a pick on the first play of overtime leading to a Cardinals game-winning field goal. The Browns have played halfway decent but it’s the same old Browns. Quarterback issues, critical mistakes, and a losing mentality have plagued this team since the turn of the millennium. I’ll take better talent over home-field advantage any day! In this case, Indy has both! Colts 24 – Browns 20
Bucs vs Vikings: If Sam Bradford were playing in this game I’d take the Vikes! I don’t believe I’ve ever written or said that before! But it’s true. The Bucs looked great in their home opener against the Cubs, I mean Bears. Well, they played like cubs. Tampa Bay has big-time players on both sides of the ball and this could be the game where Jameis Winston throws for 400 yards. Bucs 24 – Vikings 13
Texans vs Patriots: I’m not loving the Pats at the moment. Their defense is weak up front and the offense is playing 3rd string guys at wide receiver. All hail Tom Brady! The Texans have their QB of the future with DeShaun Watson and a great defense to back him up during the growing pains. Pain. That’s what Houston will be feeling throughout and after this game as I believe New England needs to make a statement and will. Look for the tables to turn as Bill Belichick goes through his book of schemes to make the rookie QB’s first start at Foxboro a nightmare. Expect Watson to look like a rookie when the Pats dial up some crazy defensive formations to confuse the young star. Patriots 35 – Texans 14
Dolphins vs Jets: The Jets aren’t going to lose every game this season. Even bad teams play well against division opponents. I think the J-E-T-S can steal a win from Jay Cutler if the defense is up for it. We know Cutler can be reckless and as he continues to try and develop a rapport with his teammates, defenses can exploit him early in the season. Maybe Todd Bowles and his defensive mind can turn this homestand into a ground and pound defensive game and call a few blitzes to force some turnovers. Jets 16 – Dolphins 13
Giants vs Eagles: The Giants have shrunk into midgets on the football field. I think Eagles can carry midgets with their claws through the air. I said one major thing for each of these teams before the 2017 kickoff. The Giants won’t be able to win without repairing their offensive line and develop some type of running game. I felt the Eagles would take a step forward into the playoffs this year because of their new weapons, the maturity of Carson Wentz and Jim Schwartz calling the defense for a second season. They could be 2 -0 but the Chiefs pulled away in the 4th quarter last week in Kansas City beating Andy Reid’s former team by a touchdown. The Giants will need to play desperate but smart football or coach McAdoo will be out of a job. Eagles 31 – Giants 17
Seahawks vs Titans: Seattle travels from the West Coast across the country to Tennessee but they have the luxury of playing in the 4:00 slot. Still not an easy task since the Titans look like a legit contender to win the AFC South. They can play in all three phases of the game and the Hawks are struggling offensively. Even in Week 1 against the defensively challenged Packers where they lost easily and last week they had a near miss against San Francisco where it took Seattle til the 4th quarter to finally score the game-winning touchdown. The Niners have a good defense so one may think it was one of those tough hard-nosed games but then the Rams put up 41 points on the 49ers on Thursday. The Titans will make enough plays to beat the Seahawks as Russell Wilson and that offense search for their identity. Titans 23 – Seahawks 20
Bengals vs Packers: Cincinnati hasn’t scored a touchdown in 8 quarters on their home field. Maybe a trip away from Ohio will help the offense get jump-started as the boo birds will be watching the game on TV. Feed A.J. Green and get Joe Mixon more involved to open up the rest of the offense. We know the Packers don’t have much trouble scoring and with the best quarterback in the league under center, the Bengals will need to rush four players 80% of the time and get pressure on Rodgers. The Bengals have one of the best DL in the game in Geno Atkins. He’ll need a big game to create the upset at Lambeau. I’m tempted to go for the underdog here as the Bengals are in desperation mode including the future of longtime head coach Marvin Lewis. But until I see something that resembles an offense in Cincy, I’ll take the Pack at home. Packers 24 – Bengals 17
Chiefs vs Chargers: It doesn’t seem to matter where the Chiefs play their games because they’re as good on the road as at home. Even though they have one of the best home field crowds in the league. The Chargers are way too inconsistent and the offense is off to a slow start. Veteran Phillip Rivers is the leader of this team and he needs to get his guys on the same page. With offensive line issues and problems in the secondary, the L.A. Chargers are very vulnerable team. K.C. is almost a unanimous #1 in the power rankings and the only thing holding them back right now is the absence of All-Pro safety Eric Berry. Let’s see what defensive coordinator Bob Sutton can do with Berry out of the lineup. Chiefs 23 – Chargers 16
Raiders vs Redskins: Washington got a big win against the Los Angeles Rams on the road last weekend. It did come at a cost as Robert Kelly, Josh Norman and Jordan Reed are all dealing with injuries leaving their Week 3 status unknown. These are three important players on the Redskins squad that they need to play and play on a high level. As for the Raiders, I mean what can you say. A nice road win in week 1 in Tennessee and a blowout at home over the Jets. The Raiders turnaround has been remarkable as they’ve drafted very well over the past 3-4 seasons, developing their players and a team whom others fear going into their match ups. The Black Hole is back! Raiders 33 Redskins 24
Please feel free to leave your picks or focus on a game and give me your thoughts.