Monday, September 24
It's OK if you are. Bradford was accurate, cool under pressure and ultimately victorious in his first start for the Vikings. These Panthers are a different animal. Start with the fact that, believe it or not, Carolina's passing game has been far more effective than the Packers ' aerial attack so far. The mild trouble Minnesota's defense experienced with Aaron Rodgers getting out of the pocket last Sunday night will be amplified when Cam Newton exits stage left.
Bradford is not one to scramble He is really going to miss the presence of Adrian Peterson , and the respect All Day demands from the back seven.
Panthers prevail over a really tough opponent. I know you all remember that one. Los Angeles bested the Bucs in a defensive slugfest. Tampa Bay starter Doug Williams went 2 for 13 with 12 yards passing and a pick before getting hurt. Meanwhile, the Rams rushed 53 times for yards! Couldn't this game go the same way? Los Angeles should run the football, control the clock and limit the Bucs' ground game with no Doug Martin to defend.
Problem is, I trust Jameis Winston to not turn the ball over this week. You can bet he and his teammates will be fired up after getting embarrassed in Arizona. Did any of you fine readers attend that '79 championship game? Vance McDonald last Sunday. But this week, the Niners draw a ticked-off Seahawks defense. Much concern over the ailing ankle of Russell Wilson this week -- concern that certainly hasn't been tempered by consistent highlights of the O-line stumbling over itself.
The 49ers wideouts don't match up well against this D. Nor does the ground attack. I know, I, too, saw the Jets ' offense in Week 2. At one point, the way Chan Gailey's unit was rolling, I thought Blair Thomas and Laveranues Coles were going to come out and post yard games. Kansas City's defense looked better last week in Houston than it did in the opener , and it should be a step closer to getting back to viability.
Alex Smith also committed uncharacteristic turnovers in the Week 2 loss. In his career year of , Fitzpatrick only posted a plus passer rating in one true road game: The Bolts bounced back with an inspired beatdown of Jacksonville, while the Colts dropped to Indy has problems protecting Andrew Luck , but "See our dominating pass rush" isn't exactly a pinned tweet from San Diego.
Will Philip Rivers ' receivers -- all the not-famous ones -- produce like they did against the Jags? Tyrell Williams is a big kid 6-foot-4, to be exact who made hay last week -- he must step up for a passing game devoid of Keenan Allen and Danny Woodhead.
The problem for the Chargers: Even if Jason Verrett shuts down T. Hilton , Andrew Luck will enjoy many seconds to pick apart a San Diego team flying cross-country like the Jags last week. What makes it more intriguing is that it's Game 3 in the growing legend of Carson Wentz.
Even though the rookie phenom threw for less than yards Monday night , Philly fanatics feel he is the second coming of Norm Van Brocklin the last Eagles quarterback to win it all. Wentz's counterpart in Pittsburgh, Ben Roethlisberger , actually has won a title -- two of them, in fact -- and should exploit the Philadelphia secondary more effectively than Jay Cutler did in Week 2.
The real key to the Eagles ' start: You realize this is only the third time in franchise history that the Eagles have won their first two games by 15 points or more? The last two instances of this: Guess who made the Super Bowl in the campaign? Now I'm buying into the Wentz hype. They aren't stout enough up front.
Their back end is near the back end of the league among secondaries. Dak Prescott should be able to take advantage of the latter. Meanwhile, Chicago's front seven could get mauled by the Cowboys ' offensive line. Now, Chicago's pass rush could get much-needed rest on the sideline if the Bears a were to decide on a running back or b weren't starting Brian Hoyer.
Unfortunately, I think Prescott will have enough time to check his Apple Watch and see how many of those No. The '06 Saints rode the wave of the emotional victory over the Falcons -- and Steve Gleason's thunderous blocked punt -- all the way to their first NFC Championship Game. Ten years later, the Saints must win this matchup against Atlanta. They simply can't afford to go My intro atop this page for some yucky notes on such teams. The Falcons lost in NOLA last year thanks to a botched center exchange, a red-zone turnover and, yes, a blocked punt that the Saints returned for a touchdown.
If that last thing happens again Monday night, the Mercedes-Benz Superdome will explode. The Texans look to be a premier team in the NFL after two weeks, carrying a formidable defense and an offense that appears improved. Rookie receiver Will Fuller has people in Houston more excited than when Mike Scott was scuffing baseballs.
If the Texans are to be top-shelf, they must win this game in New England. It's a rite of passage that the Schaub-Kubiak Texans couldn't bridge.
The Patriots look like their usual selves, save for what's going on under center. Rookie third-stringer Jacoby Brissett is set to line up at quarterback , where he presumably will have to throw passes that travel more than 1 yard in the air. Think this is the game, among the four Tom Brady 's missing due to suspension, that New England loses. NFL Week 3 game picks: Broncos, Eagles each suffer first defeat.
The Bills need a win in the worst way, but I don't think they're going to get it. Placing some degree of trust in the Raiders ' defense and kicking game. With Josh McCown out , the Browns lose someone who sees the whole field. Lions- Packers feels like a low-scoring game, perhaps even as low as Denver has surpassed most expectations early with Trevor Siemian. Are you buying the Sam Bradford hype?
Gabbertmania -- or what's left of it -- gets squashed in Seattle. Can't help but think the Chiefs bounce back this week. A week ago, after Keenan Allen went down, you'd have thought Chargers at Colts would be an easy game to pick. Fun intrastate matchup that only rolls down the pike -- or however you cross Pennsylvania to get from Pittsburgh to Philadelphia -- every four years.
The Bears ' defense can make any offense look sterling. The Falcons will be a stiffer test after unleashing offensive hell on the Packers in Week 2. They're capable of making the Vikings look as bad as they made Mike Glennon and the Bears look last week. Trevor Siemian is playing out of his mind, and defense tends to travel well.
Tremendous credit to the Bills for giving up just one touchdown in two games — none against the Panthers last week. Philly is catching heat for neglecting the run — shocking for a team coached by an Andy Reid protege. If they ease the run game into the offense and move the chains, the Giants can find themselves in trouble early. Do you need a lot of details about this game, honestly? The Dolphins generated as many questions in a narrow win at the Chargers as they would have in a loss — shaky coaching decisions, Lawrence Timmons' absence, the way they left the Chargers in position to steal it.
That might give the Jets reason to believe they can steal one, despite the way they've been dominated in their first two games. If the Jets had any offensive weapons for the Dolphins to worry about … the Dolphins might be more worried about this.
The Saints are desperate to avoid a third straight start, and they will be a challenge for the Panthers, who need to prove their start is legit. So, welcome, horrible Saints defense, and welcome another lousy Saints start.
If Le'Veon Bell has knocked off all the rust, the Steelers could run away with this early and leave no doubt. Marcus Mariota is in the vast middle with the potential to move up. Alert, alert, Andy Dalton rationalization coming: He faced a pair of very tough defenses in his first two games, one on a short week, in Baltimore and Houston. The Packers should not be confused with either defense. On the other hand, Dalton should not be confused with Matt Ryan, who lit the Packers up Sunday night.
If Dalton is to get on track and end questions about whether he should be benched, he has to start this week. Either the Chargers are unlucky, or they still are poor closers. Neither is going to help against a Chiefs team that is off to a smoking-hot start.