Week 3 Record: 6-10
Correct: Ravens, Dolphins, Packers, Raiders, Seahawks, Cowboys
Incorrect: Patriots, Vikings, Bills, Rams, Eagles, Colts, Redskins, Broncos, Chiefs, Saints
Yikes. At least this is a new week.
Dolphins 19, Bengals 24
Cincinnati was embarrassed in their home-opener last Sunday by Trevor Siemian and the Denver Broncos, 29-17. The Bengals have allowed an AFC-worst nine passing touchdowns in three games, but have a chance to even their record in (what feels like) a must-win game on Thursday night against the Dolphins. Miami is also 1-2, but had to rely on three Cody Parkey missed field goals to beat the Browns, 30-24, in over time this week. Jeremy Hill finally got the running game going for Cincinnati in the loss to Denver, running for 97 yards and a pair of touchdowns. The Bengals are desperate for a win with Dallas and New England coming up in weeks five and six, respectively, and they get it on Thursday night against Miami. It would be Cincinnati’s first victory over the Dolphins since 2007.
Colts 31, Jaguars 24
The first game of the NFL season to be played in London will go to the Indianapolis Colts, who avoided an 0-3 start with a comeback win at home over the San Diego Chargers in week two. Jacksonville’s inability to run the football with TJ Yeldon and Chris Ivory is really concerning to me, even though the Colts’ defensive is nothing to write home about. Jacksonville ranks 20th against the run and 7th against the pass, but will face Andrew Luck on Sunday morning, who has thrown for over 330 yards in two of three games this season.
Titans 14, Texans 20
Tennessee’s defense has been stellar this season. In three games, the Titans have allowed 42 points on defense, including a second-half shutout of the Raiders in last week’s 17-10 loss in Nashville. The Texans were embarrassed on Thursday night against a New England club led by a third-string quarterback, getting shutout, 27-0. I think the Texans get it right when they return home where they won back-to-back games to start the season.
Panthers 23, Falcons 21
A tough game to pick after Carolina was dismantled by the Minnesota Vikings last Sunday. Atlanta was the only team to defeat the Panthers in the regular season in 2015, and sit atop the NFC South with a 2-1 record after a 45-point outing in New Orleans on Monday night. I just can’t fathom Carolina starting a season 1-3 after winning 15 games the year before. Carolina has lost two games to arguably the two best defenses in their respective conference — Denver (AFC), Minnesota (NFC) — and Cam Newton and company draws a favorable matchup with the Falcons defense that is yielding 30.3 points per game through three weeks.
Raiders 24, Ravens 20
The Baltimore Ravens are doing what they couldn’t do last year: finish a game. Last season, nine of Baltimore’s 12 losses were decided by one possession. In their 3-0 start so far in 2016, Baltimore has flipped that script, winning all three games by six points or less. My problem with Baltimore is that they could very well by 0-3. It’s great for them that they’ve come away with close victories, but that trio of wins came Buffalo, Cleveland, and Jacksonville, who have combined for a 1-8 record so far this season. Oakland’s offense stuttered in the win over the Titans, but Derek Carr still has a multitude of reliable weapons around him and I think he and the Raiders move to 3-1 with a win over Baltimore.
Broncos 24, Buccaneers 10
Trevor Siemian threw four touchdown passes in the Broncos win over Cincinnati last week. Now, Denver heads to Tampa to take on a Buccaneers defense that is the worst in the NFL in scoring (37.3 points per game) after losing to the Rams, 37-32. The Broncos defense remains the best in the NFL despite losing a few players in the off season, and they will be hunting down Jameis Winston and the Bucs on Sunday.
Cowboys 27, 49ers 13
Dak Prescott is 2-1 as a starter and he has not committed a single turnover in three games. This a dream matchup for running back Ezekiel Elliot. Last week, the Niners defense allowed Christine Michael to run for 106 yards and two scores in a 37-18 loss to Seattle. Prescott and the Cowboys keep pace in the NFC East with a road win over San Francisco.
Bills 16, Patiots 26
I don’t care who plays quarterback for the Patriots, I’m done picking against them. They’ve made me look foolish in their wins over Arizona and Houston and I will not underestimate Bill Belichick ever again. The Bills shocked the NFL with a decisive win over Arizona last week, but the Patriots, led by LeGarrette Blount, have a more stable ground attack. I see Blount mimicking Matt Forte’s big day against Buffalo in week two and leading the Patriots to a 4-0 start before Tom Brady returns in week five.
Lions 28, Bears 20
Let’s just face it — the Chicago Bears are not a good football team. At 0-3, they are doomed for a double-digit loss season and no. 4 comes on Sunday at Soldier Field against division-rival Detroit. With Jay Cutler gone, Brian Hoyer is a valid backup, but you won’t get too much from him. Detroit’s defense has given up the most passing touchdowns in the NFL, so I think Hoyer can have a good day with Alshon Jeffery and Kevin White, but Matthew Stafford and the Lions offense will once again have a big week.
Seahawks 16, Jets 19
This was one of the toughest games to pick. On one hand, the Jets got killed in Arrowhead last week by the Chiefs, 24-3. Ryan Fitzpatrick posted a 116.5 passer rating in the Jets win in Buffalo in week two, but followed that up with a six-interception performance in the loss to Kansas City. On the other hand, the Seahawks offense — that scored one touchdown in their first two games — finally got going in a win over San Francisco. Russell Wilson’s health remains a question, and the Jets’ defensive line will get after Seattle’s sub-par front five.
Browns 13, Redskins 24
Will Josh Norman be covering Terrelle Pryor? Pryor racked up 144 receiving yards against Miami, but the Browns still fell to 0-3. Cleveland is still led by a rookie quarterback in Cody Kessler, and they’ve now lost 12 of their last 13 road games. Washington is coming off a huge divisional road win against the Giants, and Kirk Cousins will look to scorch Cleveland’s 24th-ranked secondary.
Rams 14, Cardinals 21
I don’t know what to think with the Cardinals anymore after looking atrocious in Buffalo last weekend. Now they go back to Phoenix, where they posted a 40-7 win last time out. Carson Palmer recovered from a week one loss to New England and he will do the same when the Rams come to town this Sunday. I forecast Case Keenum struggling against the Arizona secondary, too.
Saints 27, Chargers 24
The Saints’ defense is last in the NFC, giving up nearly 450 yards per game. The Chargers are a few plays away from being 3-0, but are ultimately 1-2 after losing road games to Kansas City and Indianapolis. This should be a good game with two great quarterbacks — and Brees returning to San Diego — and a lot of points. Devonta Freeman dominated on the ground on Monday against the Saints, and now Melvin Gordon should take advantage. However, there’s something attractive about Brees returning to his old team and I think New Orleans wins in a shootout.
Chiefs 14, Steelers 27
No one would have predicted that the Eagles — led by a rookie quarterback– would hand the Steelers a 31-point loss. I think Mike Tomlin will have his team fired up when they host the Chiefs on Sunday night at Heinz Field. I see Alex Smith checking down a lot (because that’s just what he does) and the Steelers’ defense will key in on Spencer Ware and possible Jamaal Charles if he plays.
Giants 16, Vikings 21
The Vikings defense is the real deal. They have shut down Aaron Rodgers and Cam Newton and lead the NFL in sacks with 15. Eli Manning loves to sling the ball around, and I see Minnesota forcing the two-time Super Bowl champion into multiple mistakes. In two wins, Sam Bradford has completed 67.8 percent of his passes for 457 yards, three touchdowns and zero interceptions. If he can not lose games on his own (which he’s done in the past), this defense can lead the Vikings to a second straight NFC North title.
Feature Photo: DenverBroncos.com