There really isn’t a Week 3 game I have any detailed thoughts on, so I’m just going to share brief feelings on each game.
WAS at NYG – Big swing game in the NFC East with the chance for the Giants to practically bury Washington at 0-3. The attention will be on Josh Norman and Odell Beckham Jr. Their matchup last year really highlights some of the problems with judging cornerback play. I don’t think Norman won the matchup. Beckham dropped a TD bomb to start the game and still caught the game-tying score over Norman late. If Beckham’s hands didn’t fail him, he absolutely won that matchup. I don’t think Eli will fear going that way again, but I just wonder if Norman will even bother to cover the slot or Beckham’s side of the field with any real frequency this week. It’s such a waste of money to bring in a corner who has to stick on one side, and it’s just not smart football at all. I like the Giants here with their 3-WR attack.
MIN at CAR – How fitting was it that the highlight game of Sam Bradford’s career was still just a 17-14 win? As my boss put it this week, it’s not like that was some vintage Joe Montana or Brett Favre kind of game where they were raining touchdowns. Minnesota’s defense scored two in Week 1. This offense needs to score more points, and while I’m not too concerned about Adrian Peterson being out, I think this is a tough matchup in Carolina when you basically go 1-deep at WR (Stefon Diggs).
DEN at CIN – Interesting matchup. I think Trevor Siemian should struggle in his first road test, and first real test against a talented secondary. Might be asking a lot for Andy Dalton to stay turnover free against this defense, but as long as he doesn’t make too many mistakes, I like the Bengals at home. They played well in Denver last year with AJ McCarron at QB.
CLE at MIA – 3 weeks, 3 QBs, that’s so Cleveland. Actually, that’s very unusual for any team, but still funny that Cody Kessler is going to start a game before Jared Goff. Good chance for Ryan Tannehill to look good in back-to-back weeks.
BAL at JAX – Jags need a good performance at home, or else the heat to fire Gus Bradley is going to amp up. At least it should. People seem to not care much about the Jaguars, but his tenure has been a huge disappointment as the team doesn’t seem to be improving.
ARI at BUF – Curious if the travel and early start time against a team that had 10-day rest and absolutely needs a win will hurt Arizona here. Again, a Carson Palmer turnover parade is the best way for the Bills to get this one, but it’s going to be a tough game with Sammy Watkins likely out.
OAK at TEN – Since 2012, the Raiders are 4-16 in early road starts. Want to see if Marcus Mariota can carve up a defense that is allowing over 50 yards per drive thru two games. That’s stunningly bad for a team that went on a bit of a shopping spree, and this has not been the year of Khalil Mack at all so far.
DET at GB – Would be most unusual to see Detroit win at GB two years in a row. Does Aaron Rodgers break his slump here? Great opportunity given the way Detroit’s defense has been playing, but I think the Lions can put up another good fight. They remember the sting of the Hail Mary defeat.
SF at SEA – Shocker: the 49es aren’t hot garbage so far. That game in Carolina was a lot better than the final score indicates. While I still think the team is headed for a lot of losses, they’re going to be more competitive than last year’s mess that overachieved by winning 5 games. Meanwhile, Seattle really needs to get healthy. Sometimes, resting an injured starter is better than trying to play him over a healthy backup.
LARM at TB – Jeff Fisher is 8-1 vs. Tampa Bay in his career, so I guess this will be the beginning of a 7-game losing streak to get back to 8-8. But man, two perplexing weeks by the Bucs. Never know what you’re going to get.
SD at IND – We’ll see if Philip Rivers still has some voodoo to work against the Colts, but I think they’ll play better at home and find a way to get that first win behind a vintage Luck performance.
PIT at PHI – I brought out all the member berries on their last meeting in Philadelphia in 2008. Hopefully the Steelers will remember to block this time, but the Eagles have knocked out two starting QBs already. I think Ben and Brown bounce back in a big way, and I still don’t get why Alshon Jeffery wasn’t a bigger part of the gameplan against this PHI secondary on Monday night. Steelers should make that correction, but it’s going to be a good game. I think the hype for Carson Wentz is absolutely ridiculous. Best rookie QB? Just look at the guy on the other team, not to mention what Russell Wilson, Andrew Luck, Cam Newton, Matt Ryan, etc. have done since 2008. I am concerned with the lack of pressure and takeaways for the Steelers defense, but they’re still keeping points down, and that’s frankly all this team needs from the D. Timely plays.
NYJ at KC – Can’t get a good read on this one, because the Chiefs are having a weird start to the season without some of their best players. Think being at home will help, but the defense is going to have to force Ryan Fitzpatrick into some mistakes.
CHI at DAL – Blah, who even thought back in April this would have been a good game? I know it’s influenced by the big markets, and they couldn’t have predicted Dak Prescott vs. Brian Hoyer, but we damn near need flex scheduling to start in Week 3 now. The Bears, arguably the most bland and aimless team in the NFL right now, getting two prime-time games in one week is a f’n joke.
ATL at NO – I was surprised to see that Drew Brees has been held to a single TD pass in each of his last four games against Atlanta. You always expect high scoring close game from these two, but it hasn’t always been like that in recent years. As much as I would like to watch this one in peace, I think I’ll be flipping over to the debate on Monday night for the real fireworks and entertainment.
2016 Week 3 Predictions
I really didn’t care that the Patriots were starting a third-string rookie QB, I still trusted them at home. The 27-0 final was a bit surprising though.
Winners in bold
- Redskins at Giants
- Vikings at Panthers
- Broncos at Bengals
- Browns at Dolphins
- Ravens at Jaguars
- Cardinals at Bills
- Raiders at Titans
- Lions at Packers
- 49ers at Seahawks
- Rams at Buccaneers
- Chargers at Colts
- Steelers at Eagles
- Jets at Chiefs
- Bears at Cowboys
- Falcons at Saints
Damn, that’s some strong home love, and you know how that usually turns out.
- Week 1: 7-9
- Week 2: 10-6
- Season: 17-15