Welcome to Week 3 of the NFL season as I try to rebound from the hole I’ve dug myself in. Last week, my record was 4-4 because the Minnesota Vikings and Green Bay Packers played to a tie. My overall record is 8-9, but my winning percentage improved from 44.4 to 47.1%, which still isn’t good. Ryan Fitzpatrick has the Tampa Bay Buccaneers looking great after their huge win over the Eagles. Patrick Mahomes is looking like an early season MVP candidate after his two games. Jacksonville took down the Patriots and Khalil Mack is looking like an early season Defensive Player of the Year for the Bears. This week, we see the return of Carson Wentz for the Eagles as they take on the Colts. This week I’ll be predicting a total of ten games, which will help me rebound or dig deeper in a hole.
We kick things off with Thursday night football as the Cleveland Browns host the New York Jets. The Jets surprised everyone in their opening game on Monday Night Football in Detroit by beating down the Lions. New York fell to the Miami Dolphins last week as Sam Darnold struggled against the Dolphins defense. How will the rookie respond as they face the Browns on the road in a Thursday night game? With Cleveland, it seems like they are finding ways not to win. They had an amazing comeback against the Steelers in the first game to finish in a tie. In the second game, they had the Saints beat on the road before missing a go-ahead extra point and then losing. The eye test tells me they’re a better team and should pick up their first win of the season tonight.
Cleveland Win 31-20
We head to the Mercedes Benz Stadium in an early season NFC South matchup. The Atlanta Falcons will host their longtime rival, New Orleans Saints as both teams try to avoid a 1-2 start. New Orleans haven’t looked like themselves in the first two games. They lost their home opener in a shootout against the Buccaneers where they gave up 48 points. Last week, they barely edged out the Cleveland Browns in the last minute of the game. With the Falcons, they struggled against the Eagles in their opener, but looked much better last week against Carolina. Anytime these two teams get together, expect a lot of fireworks and a highly contested game. I’m going with the Falcons to walk away with the win against the Saints.
Atlanta Win 34-31
We have the Kansas City Chiefs hosting the San Francisco 49ers in their home opener. The San Francisco 49ers rebounded from their opening game loss by beating the Lions. With them going on the road and facing such a dynamic offense, the 49ers defense will need to step it up. Jimmy Garoppolo will have to pass for more than a little over 200 yards to even compete against this Chiefs team. Can they go into Arrowhead and pull of the upset? The Chiefs have looked like the best offense so far this season as they have put up 80 points in two games. Patrick Mahomes looked to be having fun with all the weapons on offense and I expect this will be another great game for the Chiefs.
Kansas City Win 41-27
We head to Philadelphia as the Eagles host Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts. Indianapolis rebounded nicely last week against the Redskins after their opening weekend lost. Andrew Luck has looked great since his long-waited return. We also have a familiar face returning to Philadelphia as Colts Head Coach Frank Reich was very influential in the success of Carson Wentz last year. Speaking of Carson Wentz, he finally makes his long-awaited return to the QB position. Wentz returns to a depleted offense who has its fair share of injuries. The WR core has been decimated, but they signed a familiar face in Jordan Matthews this week. Carson Wentz has always been great friends with Matthews, so it’ll help until Alshon Jeffrey returns. Wentz should give this team a boost and they should edge out the Colts.
Philadelphia Win 31-20
We head to the south and Carolina to be exact as the Panthers will host the undefeated Cincinnati Bengals. Cincinnati beat the Colts and Ravens 34-23 in their first two games, but in very different ways. In the game against the Colts, they used a very physical defense to spoil Andrew Luck’s return. The offense shined against division rival, Baltimore especially A.J. Green who caught t first-half TDs. After a hard-fought defensive win over the Cowboys in the opening week, they fell to the Falcons. Cam Newton looked great and if his guys wouldn’t have dropped passes, they could be 2-0 right now. Christian McCaffrey and the running game will need to take the pressure off of Newton as he’s the leading rusher. Expect this to be a different Panthers team from last week as they’ll hand the Bengals their first loss.
Carolina Win 31-21
This is a battle of the two teams that reached the playoffs from the AFC South. The Tennessee Titans will travel to Jacksonville to face the Jaguars. After an opening day loss against the Dolphins, Tennessee notched a tough win over another division rival in Houston. Blaine Gabbart could be the starter again this week as Marcus Mariota still isn’t a 100%. If so, Gabbart would probably welcome it seeing that he was expected to be the franchise QB in Jacksonville as they drafted him. What can you say about Jacksonville that hasn’t already been said. After shutting down the Giants in the opening week, they proceeded to beat down the New England Patriots last week. Leonard Fournette is still dealing with hamstring issues and could miss another game. Either way, the Jaguars defense will smother the Titans on their way to the win.
Jacksonville Win 30-17
We have a battle between two of the more physical defenses in this game. The Denver Broncos will head to Baltimore to face the Ravens. After beating the Seahawks and Raiders in the first two weeks, Denver face a much tougher challenge in Baltimore. Case Keenum will be under pressure all game as the Ravens tend to get after the QB really heavy. If this Broncos team is going to win, the defense and Von Miller will need a huge game. Baltimore shocked everyone with their 47-3 win over the Bills during the opening weekend. Last week, they fell to the Bengals and they need this win badly because they hit the road the following three weeks. I’m picking the Ravens to leave with the win over the Denver Broncos.
Baltimore Win 31-21
We have the battle of Los Angeles in this one as the Chargers will meet the Rams. This has the potential to be an explosive, offensive game as both teams can put up points. The Chargers were my preseason pick to win the AFC West. Philip Rivers is one of the most underrated QBs in the league and still continues to get the job done. The Chargers are still hurting without their top defensive guy in Joey Bosa. The Rams is one of about 5 teams in the NFC that could make a Super Bowl run. They have looked great in the first two games so far on both sides of the ball. Todd Gurley and Jared Goff picked up where they left off and Brandin Cooks has been a nice addition. With the Rams possessing the much better defense I’m rolling with the Rams to make it 3-0.
Los Angeles Rams Win 34-24
We have the Sunday night game from Motown as the Lions host the New England Patriots. This will be the first time Matt Patricia will face off against his mentor in Bill Belichick. New England is coming off an embarrassing loss to the Jaguars. The team went out and traded for Josh Gordon, who could have a career resurgence playing with Brady and Gronk. Can the Patriots rebound from their loss last week on the road? Detroit is on the verge of a disaster as they’ve started 0-2 this season. They were blown out by the Jets in the opener and the 49ers edged them out last week. Matthew Stafford can’t air the ball out over 50 times a game and expect to win. Either way, don’t expect the Patriots to lose two games in a row because it just doesn’t happen.
New England Win 38-27
We have the final game of the week and of course, it’s Monday Night Football. The Pittsburgh Steelers travel to Tampa Bay to face the red-hot Buccaneers. Pittsburgh was expected to challenge for the AFC crown, but they have had nothing but trouble. First off, the LeVeon Bell situation is still fresh and Antonio Brown didn’t show up for Monday’s practice which drove people crazy. Can they go to Tampa on Monday and beat one of the hottest offenses in the league? Tampa Bay has been one of the surprising teams in the first two weeks of the season. Ryan Fitzpatrick has thrown for 400 yards in those games as this will be the last game that Jameis Winston serves for suspension. If the Steelers lose, they can completely come unraveled, but they’ll find a way to win.
Pittsburgh Win 41-38
Are you ready for another weekend of football? What’s the game you’re looking forward to the most? What do you think about my predictions? Leave a comment below.