Week 3 Predictions for the 2014 NFL Season
After what was a weird last couple of days, it is good that football games are back again (some might think otherwise). Good luck to your team for this week.
Note: I picked Atlanta to win Thursday's game. Didn't think they'd score 56 though.
Chargers @ Bills: Bills Mafia is alive and well. Both EJ Manuel and Philip Rivers came through in their respective games last week. The Chargers red-zone defense has not been great, however. But, they will be able to make a few plays to hold Buffalo to field goals. The Bills will advance to 3-0 in the end because of the crowd and their slightly better defense forcing some punts.
Cowboys @ Rams: Surprisingly, St. Louis only has one sack this season. The number will go up eventually, but it will be tough against Dallas who has the better offensive line (best one they had in probably 10 years). Much like last week, Dallas will continue to run the ball and feed DeMarco Murray, who has run for 428 yards in two games against the Rams. However, Murray has to stop with the fumbling.
Redskins @ Eagles: Over the course of 2 games, Philadelphia hasn't really been impressive. Their first half slumps are a concern, or it could be that is what gets them ready for the second half. Regardless, the Eagles should be 1-1 (it's the bitterness in me talking). I was surprised Washington recorded 10 sacks to Jacksonville's three (should have been the other way around). Their pass rush will get to Nick Foles and Kirk Cousins will take advantage of the Eagles continued first half struggles.
Texans @ Giants: The Giants can very well win this game. They have showed steady improvement each game and could be sitting pretty if not for a special teams mishap last week against Arizona. They haven't forced any turnovers so far and I think they will get one or two. Only, Houston will win this game because their defense will set the tone and control the game.
Vikings @ Saints: Minnesota failed to get a turnover last week. They also didn't do well in putting pressure on Brady. New Orleans hasn't done much either on defense. For Minnesota to win, they need to establish the run game with Matt Asiata, force turnovers, while also not turning the ball over themselves. I think Matt Cassel will have a better game but Drew Brees and the Saints have their backs against the wall; it will be too much for the Vikings.
Titans @ Bengals: Don't really know how Tennessee can win this game while only scoring 10 points last week and will be facing a better defense in Cincinnati. Jason McCourty will most likely be out for the Titans which will make it easier for Andy Dalton. When he does drop back and pass, it will remain to be seen if the Titans can get some sort of pressure. To neutralize it, expect the Bengals to feature Giovani Bernard and Jeremy Hill in the run game and in the passing game in those safety valve routes.
Ravens @ Browns: This game will be a defensive battle. Cleveland is coming off a surprising win against New Orleans while Baltimore has only allowed one touchdown so far in two games. The team that allows some big plays will lose the game. Joe Flacco will connect with his receivers for those big plays.
Packers @ Lions: One thing is for certain: this game will feature plenty of points. The Lions defense (only allowing 57.5 rushing yards per game) will cause Green Bay to throw the ball more. Green Bay on the other hand is allowing 176.5 rushing yards per game. Because of this, Detroit will have a balanced attack of run and pass so not a lot will be placed on Matthew Stafford to do too much.
Colts @ Jaguars: Indianapolis can't afford falling even further in the division. The Jaguars are averaging 44.5 yards on the ground per game while giving up 168 rush yards per game. The lack of a running threat for the Jaguars will be costly as they will have to pass the ball more with an offensive line that has given up the most sacks over the course of two games. Defensively, the Colts will have their best game.
Raiders @ Patriots: Will Oakland's offensive line be able to give Derek Carr enough time in the pocket? New England looked alive last week defensively so it will be something to watch for this game. Much like last week, New England will run the ball more against the Raiders (giving up 200 yards per game on the ground) which will set up the passing game. Derek Carr will make some plays with his legs but it won't be enough. It will be a tight game early, but New England will start scoring.
49ers @ Cardinals: Against a pretty bad defense in Chicago, Colin Kaepernick pretty much allowed them to come back with those interceptions. Against a better defense in Arizona, San Francisco won't let it happen again. Their run defense is good, after what would have likely been a weakness after the Dockett injury. It's the other way around for their pass defense: allowing 249 yards through the air. Kaepernick will bounce back for this game.
Broncos @ Seahawks: A Super Bowl rematch that has one group looking to make a statement while the other is looking to back up their February dominance. This game will be much closer; some are thinking that or only hoping it will. Seattle will be back home coming off last week's loss and it is already given that they will be ready. You can go either way for this game. Denver will win because of their defensive pressure (Ware and Miller on the outside) on Russell Wilson and the Broncos' offensive line giving Peyton enough time to throw the ball. All that was lacking from February's game.
Chiefs @ Dolphins: Last weeks defeat will give Kansas City an extra boost heading into this game. They were pretty close in pulling it off and looked pretty good. Miami on the other hand looked bad in their game last week. Chiefs running back Knile Davis will be the x-factor in this game. Chiefs will be more desperate in getting this win than Miami.
Steelers @ Panthers: Cam Newton struggled a bit early on against the Lions but managed to get into a rhythm. I think it safe to say he will have a better game on Sunday night. Steelers' backs Le'Veon Bell and LeGarrette Blount will have a tough time running against the Panthers. There's not much to say about Carolina's defense. It is known how good they are. Much like Baltimore, the Panthers will control this game and not let Ben Roethlisberger escape the pocket.
Bears @ Jets: Speedy recovery to Bears' corner Charles Tillman. Hope that wasn't his last game; a mere shove on Michael Crabtree I guess was just enough to re-injure his tricep. Looking forward though, rookie Kyle Fuller (filled Tillman's spot) came up big with those two interceptions on Sunday night. I think he will make an impact on this game as well. Alshon Jeffery didn't look himself the last game so hopefully he is better for this one. New York has to hope that they don't experience a similar meltdown like they did in the second half. It will be a close game.