NFL Week 3 Predictions
21 September 2017 Sports
By: Brandon Lewis
Last week, there were some easy picks like the Tampa Bay Buccaneers destroying the Chicago Bears, and the New England Patriots ripping apart the New Orleans Saints. On the other hand, there were some games that surprised a lot of folks, like the Denver Broncos dismantling the Dallas Cowboys, holding star running back Ezekiel Elliott to only eight-yards-rushing. Both Los Angeles teams lost this past weekend as well. There are some good and bad games on the docket for this week, but overall, the competition is pretty intriguing.
Los Angeles Rams @ San Francisco 49ers (Thursday Night Football)
The Rams have lost three straight games to the Niners by a combined score of 69-37, but those games were coached by coaches who are either on a different staff or out of the NFL completely. The Rams finally have a offensive minded coach in former Washington Redskins offensive coordinator Sean McVay, who is already showing that he is going to develop #1 overall pick Jared Goff into a solid quarterback. Goff has the running game behind him, too, with a stud in Todd Gurley and a receiving corps that is getting better. Cooper Kupp has clearly become Goff’s preferred target, as the rookie has gotten quite a few targets in both of the first two games. The defense of the Rams is still good and will blow through the poor offensive line of the Niners. Running back Carlos Hyde has been run frequently in the first two games, showing new head coach Kyle Shanahan is over his playing-calling-debacle in the Super Bowl. With that said, the Rams are on the rise, and the Niners are a bad team. I think the Rams get their first victory in Levi Stadium while wearing those sweet color rush uniforms in prime time.
Baltimore Ravens @ Jacksonville Jaguars (London)
The NFL’s first game of the year in London features two AFC teams battling for respect. The Ravens are 2-0, but it could be said they have had a easy schedule, torching the 0-2 Cincinnati Bengals and 0-2 Cleveland Browns respectively. However, their defense leads the league in forced turnovers with nine, and that is legit this early in the season. Their defense is no joke, but neither is Jacksonville’s. They have a lot of young pieces like Myles Jack, Jalen Ramsey, A.J. Bouye, and Malik Jackson. The Jaguars are a well rounded team, filled with young talent on both sides of the ball, including rookie running back Lenard Fournette, but their downfall will be quarterback Blake Bortles. The guy just cannot stop turning the ball over, and the Ravens defense will have a field day hitting him and forcing him to make mistakes. I think in the Ravens’ London debut, they come out on top in a low-scoring affair.
Atlanta Falcons @ Detroit Lions
A battle of two great quarterbacks takes center stage inside Ford Field. The third pick in the 2008 NFL Draft, Matt Ryan, goes head to head with the first pick in the 2009 NFL Draft, Matthew Stafford. Both men have thrown for at least 4,000 yards four times in their careers. Both have decent defenses with a good front seven. This should be an all out shootout. Both teams are used to playing in domes, with the Falcons opening up their new stadium last week, adding to the similarities between these two teams. The Lions will win this game, as this year, Atlanta will have a Super Bowl hangover. However, you will not lose if you have Lions and/or Falcons players on your fantasy teams. Stack as many as you can for this match up.
Cleveland Browns @ Indianapolis Colts
The worst game of the week will take place in the home of NASCAR – Indianapolis. It is two teams looking to avoid a 0-3 start. Cleveland, led by a rookie QB who suffers from migraines, takes on a Colts team who is injured all over the place and has a quarterback who is still inexperienced. The Browns have a better defense, and that is the only reason I am picking them. This will be a slop fest. I’m predicting a touchdown will not even be scored, with the final score 9-3 Browns.
New York Giants @ Philadelphia Eagles
As an Eagles fan, I may be a little bit more biased here than I would be towards other games, but the Giants did look completely awful Monday night. Their performance seemingly proving the theory that they are not as good as they were last year. On the other hand, Carson Wentz and the flying birds looked good in a losing effort against the Chiefs, but just showing up was going to guarantee a better showing than last year. On paper the Eagles win almost every positional match up with the Giants except for the secondary, but since this is a divisional game it will be close. This is a game both teams need to win badly, the Giants to avoid an 0-3 start, and the Eagles to send a message to the rest of the league that they are for real. I am picking my birds, but this is a game that they could easily lose, just because they are the Philadelphia Eagles, and they do like to let their fans down by losing games they should win.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Minnesota Vikings
The Bucs should have a easy time with the Vikings despite being the visiting team. I am not high on the Vikings this year, the defense is not as good as it once was, and the quarterback situation is a mess. Sam Bradford is dealing with a knee injury, and if he can not go again, that means Case Keenum will be tasked with leading the Vikings. In the end it will all be up to Dalvin Cook, the electrifying rookie, to lead the Vikings to a win. However, I just don’t see the offense keeping up with the Bucs on the score board. The Bucs have weapons all over the board, making them very hard to stop.
Pittsburgh Steelers @ Chicago Bears
The Bears showed last week that the only reason they were close against the Falcons in week 1 was due to Atlanta’s post Super Bowl hangover as they we’re run off of the field by the Bucs. Now they face a Pittsburgh team that has better weapons than Tampa Bay, and a secondary that is just a tiny bit better. It’s going to be a long day for Chicago as Pittsburgh takes advantage of their easy schedule by going 3-0 by winning three easy games.
Miami Dolphins @ New York Jets
Both of these teams have played better than I thought they would early on in the season, the Dolphins defeating the Chargers and the Jets putting up a fight in games against the Bills and Raiders. However, just like the Browns last year however, the Jets are really bad and will not be able to finish games. I think we see more of the same this week for the Jets as they fall here to the Dolphins in a close one.
New Orleans Saints @ Carolina Panthers
The Saints defense is bad, so bad that I could throw for 400 yards against it. The Panthers offense struggled last week in a game that finished with a 9-6 score. Luckily for them they will get that Saints defense that allowed Tom Brady to throw for 447 yards. This game will get ugly as the Saints always struggle away from their nice comfortable dome. I think Carolina blows out their divisional rival in a big way, 42-7
Denver Broncos @ Buffalo Bills
Two really good defenses will go head to head, up in Orchard Park this weekend when the Broncos visit the Bills. The Broncos led by All Pro Von Miller and the No Fly Zone will take on a running attack led by Lesean McCoy and Tyrod Taylor. I mentioned already what the Broncos did to Zeke last week, but they were at home. Denver typically struggles on the road especially with a young quarterback in Trevor Siemian. I think the Bills win at home in a surprisingly lopsided game, they are my upset of the week even at home.
Houston Texans @ New England Patriots
In a rematch of a week three contest last from last year, the Patriots will take on the Texans in Foxborough. I do not understand why this game is not the Thursday Night Football game like it was last season. This should be more entertaining than the Rams and Niners game. In a game that features two great defenses, a rookie QB, the G.O.A.T., what is not to like? The Patriots won last years game with Jacoby Brissett at the helm winning 16-3, and they will repeat that outcome defeating Houston 31-17.
Seattle Seahawks @ Tennessee Titans
The late games kick off in Nashville where the NFL’s worst offense takes center stage. The Seahawks can thank their #1 ranked defense for their 1-1 record. Their offensive line has struggled to protect Russell Wilson so far, leading to an ineffective passing attack. With that being said, the Legion of Boom will completely shut down the Titans offense, allowing Seattle to just sqeek out a win on the road, sending Tennessee to 0-2 at home this season.
Kansas City Chiefs @ Los Angeles Chargers
The NFL’s best team heads to LA to take on a divisional rival they have owned in recent years. The Chiefs have won the last 6 meetings against the Chargers, and their defense should have no problem covering all the Chargers key weapons. While the Chargers defense can not do the same to speedy Tyreke Hill and quick as lightning Kareem Hunt, who should have monster games. The Chiefs have the Chargers number and unsurprisingly I don’t think this time will be any different. Yes, it’s in the division, but the Chiefs are just way better.
Cincinnati Bengals @ Green Bay Packers
Tony Romo makes his debut on the national stage with Jim Nantz on CBS this week, in a matchup between the Bengals and the Packers. The two will be watching as future Hall of Famer Aaron Rodgers lights up the Cincinnati Bengals, who recently fired their offensive coordinator. The Packers defense is not great by any means, the Falcons exposed them just last week, but the Bengals offensive line should allow for the Packers pass rush to make Andy Dalton’s day miserable. For Bengals fans sake, I hope Bill Lazor gets A.J. Green and Jon Ross involved, or this will be a long game to sit through. I personally think the orange stripes get clawed in Lambeau in another prime time blowout.
Oakland Raiders @ Washington Redskins (Sunday Night Football)
This game should be a good one on Sunday Night, as the very good Raiders travel coast to coast from Oakland to D.C. to take on Kirk Cousins and the Redskins. The Raiders are not typically a team that struggles with long travel, and that’s bad news for Washington since the Raiders are the better team. The Redskins run defense is average, but Marshawn Lynch is not an average back. If you don’t believe me, ask the 2011 Saints! The Raiders will pressure Kirk all night, forcing him into mistakes and help the silver an black leave the nation’s capital 3-0.
Dallas Cowboys @ Arizona Cardinals (Monday Night Football)
Monday Night Football will travel to the desert this week where the young and talented Dallas Cowboys offense led by Dak Prescott take on the aging, yet still great Cardinal defense. The Cardinals are coming off a game where they barely beat the Colts in overtime, while Dallas is heading into this game after they got whooped by the Broncos 42-17. Both teams will have a chip on their shoulder and unlike last week’s Monday Night Football game, this one will come down to the wire. I have Arizona in this one I think playing in that stadium in the heat will be tough for the Cowboys, and with all this Zeke nonsense, I believe the Cowboys are heading down a path as a team they do not want to take.