2016 NFL Predictions Week Three
Surprising games and finishes in the second week of the regular season. Arizona stepped up and Jacksonville was a let down. Some key Conference and Division games early on for teams. Let's see what week three has in store:
Texans @ Patriots: The big question entering this game is the offensive performance led by rookie quarterback Jacoby Brissett. The 2016 3rd round draft pick has shown some mobility and strength to extend plays while at NC State. How will he perform in 2nd and 3rd and long situations? The Patriots focus this season has been running the ball. They're tied for first with the most rushing attempts in the league with 69 attempts (Houston and Carolina are the other teams). Against this Texans defense, it will be perfect time to focus on the run game.
Cardinals @ Bills: The Bills scored 31 points in their week 2 loss and fire their offensive coordinator the next day? Talk about confusion. On the other side, Arizona has some offensive weapons that will be tough for Buffalo to defend. A similar outcome will take place in Buffalo from when the Jets played there last Thursday.
Raiders @ Titans: The Raiders defense have been gashed already giving up 1035 total yards. With them having giving up 4.5 rushing yards per attempt, the Titans will look to exploit that offensively. How will Tennessee defend the Amari Cooper-Michael Crabtree duo?
Redskins @ Giants: What is the over/under of when Colt McCoy will get to start for Washington? I am sure the prop is out there somewhere but don't tell Kirk Cousins. Don't worry about your contract or the locker room noise and follow Aaron Rodgers' advice: R-E-L-A-X. I think he will have a better performance. In short, the Giants defense looks pretty legit.
Browns @ Dolphins: Seems to be the week of rookie quarterbacks getting a start. Cody Kessler will be getting the start because of injuries to Robert Griffin III and Josh McCown. Tough break for rookie Corey Coleman (broken hand) who was starting to make an impact for this offense. The Dolphins need to stop sleep walking on offense and get some points early on the board.
Ravens @ Jaguars: Not much of an effort by Jacksonville in the second week after a close loss in the season opener. The running game needs to keep up with the effectiveness of the passing game, Blake Bortles needs to protect the ball more and the defense needs to generate turnovers of their own. The defense will show some improvement in a close game but won't find an answer for receiver Mike Wallace.
Lions @ Packers: The season is not over so Green Bay should not worry. Eventually the Rodgers-Nelson connection will click and the passing game will hum again. What must be really disappointing if you are Detroit are the three consecutive touchdowns only to be called back due to penalties. The loss of running back Ameer Abdullah and defensive end Ezekiel Ansah will be a problem for the Lions.
Broncos @ Bengals:With DeMarcus Ware out for nearly a month, it will be something to see how 2015 first round pick Shane Ray does in his stead. Will he be starting full time or will he continue to be rotated? The Bengals need to find success running the ball. This time last year they were averaging 151 rushing yards per game.
Vikings @ Panthers: A big performance by Vikings quarterback Sam Bradford under the lights at the new stadium and against a division rival. With Adrian Peterson most likely to miss some time with a torn meniscus, the Vikings still needs to find some success running the ball. So far they averaged a league low 47.5 rushing yards/game. Minnesota's defense played well last week getting pressure and a key interception and they will have to continue with it and get better recovering fumbles and causing turnovers. The key would be how Vikings defend two 6'5 receivers for the Panthers with the added though of how to not let Cam Newton run for big yards. A tough test for Minnesota.
Rams @ Buccaneers: How will Jameis Wintson respond after turning over the ball five times in a week two loss? After a big win in their home opener, the Los Angeles Rams look to duplicate the same success and force those turnovers. With Tampa Bay allowing the sixth most passing yards, look for the Rams to have more emphasis passing the ball. Hopefully that would help out Todd Gurley find success running the ball.
49ers @ Seahawks: Not a large sample size but Seattle has given up the fewest total yards and points in the league. The main concern is the offense. They haven't been able to score points. Is it the same slow start as last year or is it something more? The offensive line is still an issue and they have certainly missed Marshawn Lynch's big plays in the run game. Seattle will have to start strong in this divisional match-up against San Francisco.
Jets @ Chiefs: With roughly nine days to prepare, the Jets head to Kansas City to face a Chiefs team who are coming off a close loss to Houston. After the offensive explosion we saw the Jets pull off last Thursday, what will the Chiefs do to counter it? Whether it is pass or run and with the weapons New York, the Chiefs will have a tough time on defense.
Chargers @ Colts: Is it Andrew Luck's fault? Offensive line? Whoever you put the blame on, Indianapolis weren't doing themselves any favors with the roster that was presented. Injuries has had an effect as well but something doesn't look right when the opponent's best pass rusher isn't double-teamed. With Danny Woodhead out for the year, who will San Diego look to receiving the ball out of the back field? Press the panic button, the Colts need urgency.
Steelers @ Eagles: Strong defensive performance by Philadelphia and quite a display of toughness by Carson Wentz. He'll need to work on throwing the ball away when going up against this Steelers defense who are fresh off a divisional win. For the battle of Pennsylvania, both teams will have a difficult time to run the ball. Pittsburgh comes out on top to keep up with Baltimore thanks to a better game from receiver Antonio Brown.
Bears @ Cowboys: Chicago took a bit of a beating up front against the Eagles on Monday night resulting in three sacks and 64 total rush yards. The Cowboys aren't exactly that talented up front but I expect the defense to be aggressive with another good performance by the secondary. Ezekiel Elliott I expect will do a better job protecting the ball. It will take time but he will continue to improve. Have patience.
Falcons @ Saints: A better defensive effort by New Orleans despite the loss to the Giants. The Saints, offensively, need to get better on third down conversions. Sunday will mark the 10 year anniversary of the Saints home opener win over Atlanta after Hurricane Katrina. Monday night will be an emotional night.