NFL Week 3 Preview
Week 3 of the 2010-11 NFL season kicks into high gear with a full Sunday lineup. There are eight 2-0 teams; the Dolphins, Steelers, Texans, Chiefs, Bears, Packers, Buccaneers and Saints; and eight 0-2 teams; the Bills, Browns, Cowboys, Vikings, Lions, Panthers, 49ers, and Rams. It will be interesting to see who moves to 3-0 by Monday night.
Here I look at all of the week’s matchups that may prove decisive in early divisional positioning battles.
Let’s take a look at each Week 3 match up followed by some free NFL predictions.
SUN, SEP 26 TIME (ET)
San Francisco at Kansas City 1:00 PM FOX – Picked to win the NFC West, San Francisco has dropped its first two of the season and will now have their hands full trying to contain Chiefs’ running back Jamaal Charles, as the AFC leading Chiefs secondary dismantles the San Francisco passing attack.
Detroit at Minnesota 1:00 PM FOX – Detroit’s heralded WR Calvin Johnson has been more like a kitten with just one TD reception, while RB Jahvid Best who is off to a great start , has scored five touchdowns and grabbed 14 passes through the first two weeks. Minnesota seems to have its own problems, as Brett Favre has just a single TD through two games. The Vikes’ defense will have to contain Best of they want to win this one.
Buffalo at New England 1:00 PM CBS – New England will get a chance to get back on the rails after losing to the Jets, 28-14 on Sunday, when they face a Bills team that is positioning itself to be the one of the worst in the league. The Pat’s secondary that was dissected by the Jet’s Mark Sanchez should get a reprieve against Buffalo’s Ryan Fitzpatrick.
Atlanta at New Orleans 1:00 PM FOX – The Falcons looked good in Week 2 blowing out the Arizona Cardinals 41-7, but they are likely to find themselves struggling to rack up that point total against a Saints defense that finally proved in San Francisco, that New Orleans can win games even without having the ball. Saints at home in a close one.
Tennessee at NY Giants 1:00 PM CBS – The Titans last trip to the Big Apple ended in a 24-17 loss to the Jets. I‘m sure that Tennessee will want to reverse that trend when they visit the new Meadowlands co-tenants, but they will have to clear up some uncertainties at QB once again as Vince Young was pulled in favor of Kerry Collins in last Week’s contest. The G-Men should come away winners as long as Eli Manning hits his targets consistently
Cleveland at Baltimore 1:00 PM CBS – After dominating the Jets, the Ravens looked dazed in their loss to Cincinnati, especially QB Joe Flacco who threw four INTs. They will now get the chance to turn the tide against the pitiful Browns whose offense is in dire straits. If Baltimore can get their running game in order, the defense can propel them to a win.
Dallas at Houston 1:00 PM FOX – The battle for Texas rages, and it looks like the Texans are winning, as Dallas is off to a 0-2 for the first time since 2001. Houston has looked good offensively, especially after a 497-yard performance from Matt Schaub, but what about their defense? If the Cowboys want to keep from falling to 0-3, they will need to pound the ground. Texans beat their older sibling in this one.
Pittsburgh at Tampa Bay 1:00 PM CBS – Two big surprises here as both the Bucs and the Steelers are 2-0—the latter without Roethlisberger. Tampa Bay is riding high on the surprise performance of QB Josh Freeman who is proving himself with big league play. Pittsburgh’s QB situation is deteriorating daily, but the defense has kept them in games, and will likely send the Steelers to 3-0.
Cincinnati at Carolina 1:00 PM CBS – The Panthers have been awful under Matt Moore. Exit Moore; enter Jimmy Clausen who will be baptized by fire as he faces the Bengals, a team that just edged out the Ravens, showing they have the steam to claim the AFC North crown this season. Their offense has been sputtering, but it should be good enough to grab a win in Carolina.
Philadelphia at Jacksonville 4:05 PM FOX - It’s official, Michael Vick will get the start on Sunday after coming off the bench to lead the Eagles offense admirably in his two chances so far this season. After beating the Broncos, the Jags were routed in San Diego. Initially I would have gone with Jacksonville, but with Vick running the Eagles offense, I’m going with Philly.
Washington at St. Louis 4:05 PM FOX – The Rams shouldn’t lose focus after losing two close games to start the season. Rookie QB Sam Bradford has performed well and is showing his potential to be the franchise player that St. Louis so desperately needs. The Redskins won just a single game on the road in 2009, but already look better under Mike Shanahan and could be 2-0 if not for a late collapse against Houston. A more experience Donavan McNabb should be able to lead the ‘Skins to victory in this one.
Indianapolis at Denver 4:15 PM CBS – The Colts got back on track in Week 2 behind a solid running attack that piled up 38 points against the Giants. Denver improved to 1-1 after whipping the Seahawks, but is still somewhat of an enigmatic team. The Colts should have no problem getting the win, especially if Manning doesn’t have to face Pro Bowl DB Champ Bailey.
Oakland at Arizona 4:15 PM CBS – Here’s a couple of teams whose QB situation is more confusing than a Rubik’s Cube. Oakland pulled Jason Campbell and opted for Bruce Gradkowski, whose second half effort boosted the Raiders to a victory over the Rams. While Derek Anderson, who has struggled for the Cardinals, has been scheduled for knee surgery later this week, giving way to Max Hall. Who? Gotta go with the Raiders here.
San Diego at Seattle 4:15 PM CBS – The Bolts rebounded after losing to the Chiefs by blasting the Jags at home. It would appear that QB Phillip Rivers is back as well as the San Diego defense that forced four Jacksonville turnovers. Seattle knocked off division favorite San Francisco, but fell to Denver a week later. Qwest Field is a tough place to play, so if San Diego can keep their cool, they have the arsenal to pull off the win.
NY Jets at Miami 8:20 PM NBC – Mark Sanchez rebounded from an awful showing against the Ravens in the Jets season opener, passing for three TDs to beat the Pats last week. The Dolphins are 2-0 after impressive win over the Vikings, and the Wildcat offense is once again proving effective. The Jets will be looking to avenge a pair of losses suffered just two weeks apart last season, but I am afraid it will have to wait until the Fins visit the new Meadowlands in Week 14.
MON, SEP 27 TIME (ET)
Green Bay at Chicago 8:30 PM – This Monday Night treat has a long and storied history between these two bitter rivals. Green Bay won both meetings back in 2009, including a preseason bout that saw quarterback Jay Cutler throw a career-worst four interceptions in a single game. But Cutler has turned the corner throwing five TDs and just a single INT in the first two weeks. On the other side, the Packers’ Aaron Rodgers is likely to be the best QB in the NFL. When pitted against an aging Chicago Bears defense, I just don’t see how Green Bay can lose.
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Matt Martz is a freelance writer located in Central California. Blessed is the gambler who expects nothing, for ye shall not be disappointed.