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NFL: Week 3 Predictions 2011-2012
A Look Back at Week 2
The picture on who the best in the league is and it is beginning to get much clearer now that another week has passed. The Chiefs continue to fade even faster now seeing how they will be without stars Jamaal Charles and Eric Berry for the year, and the Colts continue to struggle to do anything with Peyton Manning likely to miss the year. The biggest surprise may just be the Bills, Lions and Redskins all being 2-0. Has it helped their causes that they have for the most part played teams that could go under .500 on the year? Undoubtedly, but still. The Lions out of the three look to be the most impressive, due to Matthew Stafford (knock on wood) staying healthy. Cam Newton has been one of the most impressive players in the first two games of the season, (and of his career) as he has racked up 854 yards in the air on a 62.7% completion percentage. He'd certainly trade those yards for wins however.
Tom Brady has also been on a record pace with passing yards as he is currently on pace to break Dan Marino's record for passing yards in a season, but it isn't likely that he will stay on that pace. The games of the week came from the NFC as the Cowboys under the heroics of Tony Romo made a valiant comeback against the San Francisco 49ers to win the game on the road. Michael Vick's homecoming to Atlanta was vastly entertaining and also revealed a great deal about both teams. Philadelphia has a terrific pass rush, if not the best, combined with a duo shut down corners but struggle with covering tight ends due to the deficiencies of the linebackers. The Eagles can be a nightmare for teams considering there quick strike offense combined with the pass rush and corners that they have. The Falcons are a good team while they are also a better team at home but ultimately will struggle against better teams like Philadelphia, Green Bay and New Orleans.
Now on to the part that you are here for, the predictions!
Houston Texans at New Orleans Saints
My Pick: Saints
The Texans are a team on the rise considering how there defense is finally coming around, but due to the secondary the Saints will be victorious in the end of this one. Drew Brees will have constant pressure in his face but the offensive line will be to keep him upright long enough to throw the ball down field. Arian Foster is doubtful to play this weekend in New Orleans, which hurts their chances of winning this game as they are a much better team with Foster in the backfield. It'll be a close game due to the high powered offenses and aggressive defenses that both teams possess but due to the Saints having the benefit of playing this game at home where they are a tough team to face.
New York Giants at Philadelphia Eagles
My Pick: Eagles
Michael Vick's status is still up in the air on whether or not he will be able to play due to the concussion in suffered against Atlanta last week but it seems likely that he will be able to go. Even if Vick isn't able to go, the Eagles feel very comfortable with backup quarterback Mike Kafka who in a high pressure situation against Atlanta, played fairly well. The Eagles have to feel good about their chances for this game as they will be facing the Giants with a depleted wide receiver unit as Hixon and Manningham both may not play this week. The Eagles can load the box to stop the run, and in the past Jacobs and Bradshaw have not done well against Philadelphia. This game is also the home opener for the Eagles, and not to mention they have defeated the Giants six times in a row now.
Jacksonville Jaguars at Carolina Panthers
My Pick: Panthers
The Jaguars will continue to put points up on the board seeing how they are having an issue passing the ball but Maurice Jones-Drew should have a big game. The Panthers now have lost two big players on there defense, Thomas Davis and Jon Beason. Both players are big time linebackers and have a knack for stopping the run. However, the Panthers have what the Jaguars are lacking, a quarterback. The Panthers and Cam Newton should be able to get through this game but likely will be a close game. The Panthers have the benefit of being at home but playing a team across conferences usually proves difficult.
New England Patriots at Buffalo Bills
My Pick: Patriots
The Bills have done very well in their past two games and will likely put up more of a fight then some will expect against the Patriots but Tom Brady is to much. It also doesn't help that Tom Brady is on pace to break Dan Marino's record of passing yards in a season. The Patriots have to much on offense, while the Bills don't have enough on either side of the ball. Fitzpatrick is proving to be a stable starting quarterback in the league, but they are just running into a team that is superior to them, and on fire.
Miami Dolphins at Cleveland Browns
My Pick: Browns
Cleveland has played well, and consistent in their first two games of the season. The same can't be said about the Dolphins. The Dolphins have potential to be a good team but they can never seem to put it together and become more than a 8-8 team. Neither new running backs Daniel Thomas or Reggie Bush have been able to consistently run the ball for the team and the forces more pressure on Henne. The Browns has played admirably in the first two games and should continue to in this game as they pull out the win in Cleveland.
San Francisco 49ers at Cincinnati Bengals
My Pick: 49ers
The Niners had quite the meltdown last week as the Cowboys came into town and look to rebound against the Bengals. They should be able to seeing how aggressive their defense is and how young the Bengals are on offense. Patrick Willis and the other linebackers should be able to keep the one veteran player on the Bengals offensive player Cedric Benson in check as well. The Niners offense can hit a lull, and when they do they tend to fall quickly and if that happens the Bengals could easily capitalize on it even despite their youth.
Denver Broncos at Tennessee Titans
My Pick: Titans
The Titans benefit from playing this game in their hometown, and having the superior offense. The Broncos still have problems stopping the run as the can't seem to generate any kind of push up the middle from their defensive tackles or middle linebacker. Putting this into consideration Chris Johnson could have his breakout game here but it seems more likely that he is out of playing shape. If that is the case, the Titans have a very capable backup in Javon Ringer. Ringer has played well in the past two games and should continue playing well against the Broncos soft run defense.
Detroit Lions at Minnesota Vikings
My Pick: Lions
The Lions have been one of the most impressive teams in the first two games of the season, while the Vikings have been one of the least impressive teams. The Lions have played well on offense and don't look to slow down as long as quarterback Matt Stafford stays healthy. The Lions defense has been solid, but can be had. The Vikings cannot seem to get into a groove on offense and it has shown. It doesn't help how they have suffered through some terrible offensive line play. On defense the Vikings still have a tendency to give up the big play as their defense continues to age. The Lions for this game are simply to fast, and to powerful for the Vikings.
Baltimore Ravens at St. Louis Rams
My Pick: Ravens
The Ravens dropped an egg in Tennessee after putting everything in their Week 1 game. It happens to teams, and when it does they have a tendency to come back strong against the next team they play. The Rams would have a better chance if star Steven Jackson was not injured, but Bradford will be under constant pressure from the Ravens defense. If he has enough time the Ravens secondary can be had, as the Titans showed with Kenny Britt and Nate Washington having over 100 yards each. The Rams also don't have the benefit of having a wide receiver like Britt or Washington though. The Ravens have a weakness at corner and the safety position opposite Ed Reed, that have a tendency to give up the big play. They had the same weakness last season but now with Dawan Landry and Josh Wilson gone it has gotten worse. The Ravens front seven is just as effective though, and should be able to create enough pressure to throw off Sam Bradford's timing with his receivers down field.
New York Jets at Oakland Raiders
My Pick: Jets
The New York Jets have been impressive in their first two games. They made a courageous comeback in Week 1 against the Cowboys when nothing seemed to be going well for them and then last week they dominated the Jaguars. Mark Sanchez has done well in the first two games as he has a 63 completion percentage with four touchdowns to his three interceptions. While the biggest surprise may just be that the Jets have struggled to get running backs Shonn Greene and LaDainian Tomlinson going on the ground as that so often over the past two seasons has been their bread and butter on offense. The Raiders have also been impressive in their past two games even despite all the key pieces they lost in the off-season. Still for this game, the Jets are simply a superior team and their defense should make Jason Campbell turn the ball over a couple times.
Kansas City Chiefs at San Diego Chargers
My Pick: Chargers
The Chiefs were one of the surprise teams last season, but it is highly unlikely now that they will return to that level of success this season. The Chiefs have now lost two impact players on offense in Jamaal Charles and Tony Moeaki, and also adding insult to injury standout safety Eric Berry is also on the injured reserved. The Chiefs are at the bottom of the divison and considering their injuries alongside their injuries, it looks as if that will not change. The Chargers have played decent in their first two games as they have struggled slightly on both sides of the ball at times. The Chargers have a good deal of weapons on offense that will be to much to handle for the Chiefs, and Vincent Jackson is a matchup problem for the Chiefs.
Arizona Cardinals at Seattle Seahawks
My Pick: Cardinals
Playing in Seattle also proves difficult for opposing teams, but the Tarvaris Jackson experiment at starting quarterback has not been working very well for them. In just two games the Seahawks have scored 17 points, and they have given up 57. The Cardinals under Kevin Kolb have played much better. Kolb has been able to move the ball pretty well, and he has a quite the chemistry already with star receiver Larry Fitzgerald. Last week Fitzgerald went for 133 yards against the Redskins. While the the Seahawks have struggled to stop people, the Cardinals have had the same issue. The Cardinals gave up over 400 yards to rookie quarterback Cam Newton in Week 1, and then 293 yards to Rex Grossman. The Cardinals have the more efficient offense and have gotten better quarterback play as of late so expect them to win.
Atlanta Falcons at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
My Pick: Buccaneers
The Falcons, if it were not for Vick's late game injury, could have been in dire straits sitting at the bottom of the division with a 0-2 record. The Falcons are not as good of a team when they are on the road away from their dome in Atlanta. The Buccaneers have a very young team, but they are disciplined and good at home. The Falcons also will still be without defensive tackle Jordan Babineaux so expect the Buccaneers to be able to run the ball effectively against the Falcons defense. The Buccaneers on defense have to generate pressure on Matt Ryan with their front four, as the Bears and Eagles have. When Ryan has constant pressure he has a tendency to force throws to his receivers.
Green Bay Packers at Chicago Bears
My Pick: Packers
The Packers defense has been somewhat of a question mark in the past two games, but they certainly can get after the quarterback. That has to be a concern for the Bears, as Cutler has been sacked the most out of all quarterbacks in the past two games. The Bears still have the benefit of playing at home as all opposing teams struggle at Solider Field. Aaron Rodgers has also struggled against the Bears tough defense, but the Packers still can put up points, which is something the Bears has struggled with. The Bears rely heavily on Matt Forte and Jay Cutler as they can't seem to get much from their wide receivers or tight ends down field, and that smells trouble for the Bears against the Packers. The Packers will likely throw a good amount of exotic blitzes at the Bears as they don't have to worry to much about Cutler throwing down field.
Pittsburgh Steelers at Indianapolis Colts
My Pick: Steelers
The Colts are still without Peyton Manning, thus this game is a loss. Kerry Collins has struggled in his first two games with the Colts and the offense has struggled to get into a rhythm as a result. The Steelers despite the egg they dropped in Week 1 has looked good on offense. The only issue has been the play of the offensive line as Ben Roethlisberger has taken to many hits, and big hits at that. The Steelers biggest strength is their defense and the pressure it generates on opposing quarterbacks. That has to be a concern for the Colts offense.
Washington Redskins at Dallas Cowboys
My Pick: Redskins
The Cowboys made a great comeback last week as Tony Romo had a broken rib and a collapsed lung. The lung is healed up, but the Redskins and their aggressive front seven will bring pressure and look to ding up that rib. In order for the Skins to win, they need to generate pressure without sending a defensive back as Romo will look down field to hurt them on the blitz. It hurts the Cowboys chances greatly that Miles Austin and Jason Witten are out for this Monday night NFC East rival showdown.