It's time again for me to look deep into my crystal football. The ball is telling me that this is the all important Week 3. This is the week where teams start cementing who they are in our heads. You can have a bad week and then follow that up with a stellar week, but then which team are you? You could also start your schedule off with two weak opponents or two strong teams and that could mislead us as to who you are. But by Week 3, there are no excuses. Nothing like scheduling, injuries, tough road atmosphere, etc, will override our beliefs of who you are based on your record. "You are who we thought you were and we won't let you off the hook. But if we want to crown you, then we'll crown you." Now that I have channeled my inner Dennis Green, let me get back to these game matchup and predictions.
Tennessee vs. New York Giants
Vince Young will show what he is made of in this game. He had a horrible performance last week in Pittsburgh but Coach Fisher is giving him a chance to show that it was just a bad week. Chris Johnson will be ready to get back to his old ways as well. Johnson had his streak of 12 straight games with at least 100 yards snapped last week versus Pittsburgh. The Titans defense played solid, only giving up 4 field goals, even though their offense turned over the ball 7 times.
The Giants are also coming off an embarrassing loss. Eli got a big brother beat down from Peyton. Brandon Jacobs has become a bigger distraction and isn't producing as much. Eli has plenty of weapons to get the ball to as Hakeem Nicks has become a touchdown machine and leads the NFL with 4 touchdowns. Ahmad Bradshaw is also producing as the #1 running back. The defense got toasted last week. This should be a defensive battle but the Giants will give up one too many big plays. Look for Chris Johnson to have a huge day. Titans Win 17-13
Cincinnati vs. Carolina
Cincy surprised me last week by knocking off Baltimore and picking off Joe Flacco 4 times in the process. They have an elite defense that gets overlooked a lot of the times. This team has an equally impressive offense but I'm disappointed in the point production. Can this be the week that T.O. shows up big? Carolina doesn't have the corners to cover T.O., Ochocinco, and Shipley.
Carolina looks really bad, to put it bluntly. They have already turned over the keys to the franchise to rookie quarterback Jimmy Clausen. This team is really young at receiver, outside of Steve Smith. It seems that they just can't find that #2 receiver. They will go heavy on the run to try and take pressure off of Clausen but it isn't going help. This Bengals defense is too strong for a one dimensional opponent. The Panthers defense is talented but young and should get shredded by the Bengals. Carolina is just lucky that the Bengals haven't realized that backup running back Bernard Scott is more talented than the starter Cedric Benson. Bengals Win 38-10
Pittsburgh vs. Tampa Bay
This is the most unlikely of 2-0 matchups. Pittsburgh has thrown out there every washed up quarterback that has ever played football and also an unproven kid, and yet they are still 2-0. This Steelers defense is unbelievable and single handley is winning games. If they go 4-0 or 3-1 without Roethlisberger, the AFC North will turn out to be the toughest conference. Rashard Mendenhall will have to carry the load on offense again this week and hope for some more special teams fireworks as well.
Josh Freeman has been impressive this season going up against garbage teams. Now, he'll be facing the toughest defense he has seen by far this year. He's going to need Cadillac to play well in the running game and out of the back field on check downs. Kellen Winslow will also need to be used a lot if Freeman has any chance of surviving. Tampa's defense should hold their own against the Steelers but I believe that their offense should have them with their back against the wall to start drives, a few times. Steelers Win 10-6
Buffalo vs. New England
I'm looking for a way to be positive about what Buffalo is doing this year, because they will be able to draft Andrew Luck next year. That's a positive! They have their running back of the future and a good receiver...but no offensive line. Their defense actually isn't that bad. Here is my draft strategy for the Bills in 2011...and NO it's not too soon for Bills fans to look forward to the draft. Draft Andrew Luck or Ryan Mallett in the first round. Spend rounds 2-7 drafting nothing but O-lineman. Chan Gailey your offensive line couldn't block Vernon Gholston, it couldn't block Verne Troyer (Mini Me),.. you get where I'm going with this, right?
The Patties looked good out of the gate last week but slammed on brakes. This offense is aging and they aren't as good as most people make them out to be. Their defense is young and will fold against good offensive teams. I do think they have some up and coming talent in Aaron Hernandez. The bad news for Patriots fans...they aren't as good as the Dolphins or the Jets. The good news is...they still get to play the Bills twice a year too. Patriots Win 32-9
Cleveland vs. Baltimore
Jake Delhomme and Jerome Harrison will probably not play in this game. Seneca Wallace has looked like what everyone thought he would, except Mike Holmgren and that's average at best. Harrison should be the 3rd string back on this team, so this injury might actually be a blessing. Expect Peyton Hillis to fight for every yard, against a strong Ravens run D. James Davis will also finally get some reps. He has fresh legs and looked promising last preseason until Mangenius had him taking hits without pads against players with pads which landed him on the IR.
The Browns' defense isn't the Bengals' and they won't pick off Flacco 4 times. They won't have as many chances as either. The Ravens will go back to what makes them great and will beat the crap out of the Browns when they are on defense and give their offense great field position for them to pound the ball with Ray Rice. This week Rice will run all over Cleveland and it will open the passing lanes for Flacco. Ravens Win 27-3
San Francisco vs. Kansas City
Another week, another Mike Singletary meltdown. Is it just me, or does Coach Singletary seem like a cast off from that movie "Enemy of the State". (The phones are bugged, the government has planted a mole inside the 49ers locker room to find out what Singletary will do in his 2 minute drill.) Concussions in football might cause long term mental problems! I'm just saying. His defenses are solid and they looked superb against the Saints. But, I know I say this every week, Alex Smith isn't a starter. He looked good on the last drive to tie the game...who cares. Why are you always playing from behind?
Matt Cassell vs. Alex Smith! Ohhh, I can't wait. Forget Schaub vs. Romo. We have Cassel vs. Smith, YES SIR. This could be a 100 yard passing game..combined. This game is really about Frank Gore vs. Jamaal Charles, if the coaches use them right. Thomas Jones looks good but Charles is a weapon. Also, I think that Tony Moeaki has been the surprise tight end this year so far and could provide fantasy value if Cassel could get him the ball more. KC has a defense on the rise but not the caliber of San Francisco's. Arrowhead is a tough place to win in. I'm torn on this one. Kansas City Wins 17-16
Detroit vs. Minnesota
I really wish that Matthew Stafford was playing in this game. It would be like Brett Favre vs. the new Brett Favre. Call me crazy but I really enjoy watching Detroit play. This is a team on the rise but not with Shaun Hill. This Jim Schwartz defense will be a top tier defense in a year or two. His offense could be great too, if Jahvid can become as good a runner as he is a receiving running back. Also, I would like to see them pick up a strong #2 for Calvin Johnson. Detroit could win this game, if Stafford was playing.
Everyone seems to be enjoying Brett Favre's demise, just a little too much. Am I the only one that feels bad for this man that has given fans of the NFL so much? He still plays with more passion than 99.9% of the NFL. If I loved my job as much as he does, then I wouldn't want to ever quit either. I hope they can get every thing going but I don't understand not making the deal for Vincent Jackson. You brought in a 41 year old quarterback to win the Super Bowl this year. You could have had Sidney Rice's replacement until he gets back and then when he comes back you have Rice and V Jack on the same team. DUMB not to do! The Vikings defense is still playing at the level that could get this team to the promise land. They will be getting 2 corners back this week and that should help to limit Detroit. Vikings Win 20-10
Atlanta vs. New Orleans
I don't know what to think about Atlanta. I want to believe that they can compete week in and week out but that inner voice is telling me that they have too many holes. I think Sean Witherspoon is a future Pro Bowler and has filled in a solid linebacking core. The Falcons secondary is really weak, led by the once promising Dunta Robinson. Robinson hasn't been right since his injury a few years back. Matt Ryan can beat you, but he too needs that complimentary receiver to go opposite of Roddy White. Michael Turner appears just decent after that first stellar year with the Falcons. Tony Gonzalez is washed up and just living off of his name at this point.
Everyone is riding this annoying Who Dat train into the ground. Drew Brees is saying all the right things, but this team isn't as good as last years team. Now, with Reggie Bush going down, they should fall off even a little more as New Orleans doesn't have another guy to fill that role. The defense doesn't impress me as it does the wagon riders. It's a weak division with Atlanta being their only competition. However, it is extremely really hard to win in the Big Easy as a road team and the Falcons secondary is too weak for a high power passing attack. Saints Win 29-21
Washington vs. St Louis
It's always hard to bounce back from a lost like the one Washington just had especially if you have to go on the road. Luckily this week the Redskins play the Rams, or as I like to call them, a Bye Week. Seriously, Steve Spagnoluo shouldn't be a head coach. He doesn't have a clue on how to build this team. Sam Bradford has the talent to be a good starting quarterback but by the time he has a decent football team around him, he will probably be suffering from David Carr syndrome. He lost his #1 receiver for the year when Donnie Avery went out, and he has no #2, just a bunch of 3's and CFL players. The defense has a lot of high draft picks, but not much talent.
McNabb will step up this week and lead by example. He doesn't have much talent at receiver and just an aging running back behind him. That's nothing new to him though, as he has made do with no name receivers for the most part of his career. The Redskins defense gave up too many yards and points last week, but I still believe that it's a good defense. Laron Landry on a side note, has got to be taking something. He looks like Abomination from the Hulk movie. How has he not failed a steroid test? He has been in on almost every tackle and is playing at a level that I've never seen out of him. Deangelo Hall just needs to shut up and prove himself this week and that shouldn't be hard. The Rams are bad - Understatement of the year. Redskins Win 27-10
Philadelphia vs. Jacksonville
It's officially Mike Vick's team. Let's see if he plays with that same tenacity as when he was trying to win the job. It shouldn't be hard to prove your worth against a terrible Jaguars defense. The Eagles' main concern should be the Jags front four against their O-line. Desean Jackson should get over the top at least three times in this game against a weak secondary. Vick has shown accurate touch on the deep ball this year. I expect Brent Celek to get on the same page as Vick in this game as well. The Eagles defense has been giving up a lot of points surprisingly. I can understand the Green Bay game, but 32 points to a Shaun Hill led Lions team. WOW!
David Garrard threw 4 picks last week. It has always left me dumb founded on how he starts for an NFL franchise. Maurice Jones-Drew will get back on track in this game. He has yet to run for a 100 yards in a game in 2010. If he continues to struggle be on the lookout for a stellar running back, MoJo's backup, Rashad Jennings. The Jaguars' receivers aren't worth talking about because Garrard can't get them the ball. Eagles Win 34-16
Indianapolis vs. Denver
Peyton looked like a man on a mission last week. It seems that he has something to prove after being frustrated in Week 1 by the Texans. He has the perfect team to pick on with Champ Bailey being out and the rookie Perrish Cox stepping in. Looked for Manning to try and embarrass Cox all day, like he did to the rookie, Kareem Jackson in Week 1. The Colts would like to get Joseph Addai to be more consistent, but it's not a necessity. The Colts defense was killed in Week 1 but bounced back last week. They catch a break with Knowshon Moreno not being cleared to play this game.
Demaryius Thomas has appeared to be exactly what I thought he was. A big, physical receiver, with great hands. Kyle Orton has an assortment of receiving talent now, with Thomas, Eddie Royal, Brandon Lloyd, and Jabar Gaffney, but Correll Buckhalter will be the starting running back this week. That's a problem. With the game being in Denver, I would have given them a chance if Moreno was in the game. Colts Win 37-28
San Diego vs. Seattle
These 2 teams seem to have multiple personalities. San Diego looked bad Week 1 but stellar in Week 2. Seattle looked stellar in Week 1 but horrific in Week 2. Who will show up in Seattle? San Diego is missing left tackle Marcus McNeil, and now it appears that rookie running back Ryan Matthews may be a no go this week. San Diego still has talent in its receiving group even with Vincent Jackson still out. The running game was good last week but that was against Jacksonville. The Defense picked the Jaguars four times and played well.
Seattle had the score board lit up against them last week. Matt Hasselback looked good in Week 1 while hooking up with the Lazarus man, Mike Williams, but Williams fell off the face of the earth last week, with only 1 catch for 7 yards. The running game is struggling with Alex Gibbs quitting right before the start of the season. He was the one implementing this zone running scheme, just like he did in Denver, Atlanta, and Houston. The defense was annihilated by the Broncos last week. Chargers Win 28-27
Oakland vs. Arizona
Time to change from Jason Campbell to Bruce Gradkowski. The Raiders didn't get what they wanted out of the quarterback that they traded for, so now it's time to see what a career backup can do with the job. Exciting. Darren McFadden has been the biggest bright spot for the Raiders this season. I have been talking up the Raiders defense and so far they have done nothing but let me down. This secondary is one of the tops in the league and that could cause problems for the Cardinals.
Beanie Wells is back and Tim Hightower has been playing solid while he was out. Derek Anderson hasn't been and is fighting to hold on to his job. The Cardinals defense has lost some key pieces like Karlos Dansby and Antrel Rolle. They added Joey Porter but they don't seem as dominant as they were the last few years. Oakland Wins 16-14
"Water Cooler" Games
New York Jets vs. Miami
This is a huge game for both of these teams as this division is going to come down to these two teams. They both have great defenses. People talk about the Jets defense more but this Dolphins defense is just as good. They both have quarterbacks with a lot of questions around them but have good running games. I would give the tilt on the running game to the Dolphins though. Also, if I had to pick between these quarterbacks, I would take Chad Henne over Sanchez without blinking an eye.
This game will be a fight. I think it's going to be hard to move the ball for either team, but I can see Henne throwing the ball up for Brandon Marshall for some big gains and I can also see Ronnie Brown and Ricky WIlliams picking up key yards. It's hard for me to see Mark Sanchez doing well against this Dolphins defense. The young corners for Miami will make him pay if he takes a chance. I also believe that Shonn Greene and LT will find it tough to come by yards. Dolphins Win 10-6
Green Bay vs. Chicago
This will be a fun and exciting Monday Night Football game. Two young gun slingers in the same division. Both teams are 2-0. Green Bay has the better receivers and will cause matchup problems with the Bears secondary. Chicago's defensive lineman, led by Julius Peppers will cause pressure though, due to the weakness of the Packers O-line. Green Bay will have a hard time getting the running game going.
Jay Cutler doesn't have the same caliber receivers as Aaron Rodgers but he does look good in this new Mike Martz offensive scheme. The biggest problem for Cutler is to not get lured in by Charles Woodson and turn the ball over. Matt Forte has been a weapon in the receiving game this year and should continue to be. Clay Matthews should have a field day against this Bears O-line. He's averaging an amazing three sacks a game so far. Packers Win 31-23
Game of the Week
Dallas vs. Houston
This is definitely a can't miss game. The surprising 2-0 Texans vs. the disappointing 0-2 Cowboys. It's a need to have game for Dallas and a want to have game for Houston. Add in to the mix that it's an in state battle for the Governor's cup. The Texans' also beat Dallas in 2002, by a score of 19-10. It was the first time in NFL history that a franchise won their very first game. These two cities don't like each other.
Dallas is the land of the elite and Houston is home to the working class. Both cities are filled with die-hard fans that take losing personal.
Both teams have high powered offenses but Houston leads the league in points per game, while Dallas has had problems turning the yardage into points. Houston has the worst pass defense, giving up 400+ yard passing in both games this year. Houston's starting left tackle was also suspended this week for four games. Rashad Butler, the 5th year player with no game starts in his career, will be stepping in for Duane Brown. He draws a tough matchup against Demarcus Ware. The Cowboys have had their own share of offensive line problems, most notably in the first game of the season, where a holding penalty cost them the game. Cowboy's left tackle Doug Free will be facing Mario WIlliams and this could cause problems for Dallas.
Dallas has struggled in the running game this year and the Texans' have the #2 rush defense. Houston also has been good running the ball, with Arian Foster getting AFC player of the week honors in Week 1. These are two high power offenses and two solid defenses but both gave up 27 points last week. He who scores last, wins the game. Governor's Cup goes to Texans 34-30
It looks like there may be to be a lot of blowouts this week, I hope you are on the right side of them. That's a wrap on this week folks, enjoy the games. I'll be back next Sunday morning week for Week 4 Gameday. Don't forget to check out NFL Rage mid week where I vent my frustrations at some of the dumbest calls and decisions from this week's games. NFL Gameday - It's easy like Sunday Morning! - Jayson Braddock
Jayson appears on Sports Radio 790 AM in Houston, TX once a week as the football insider on the Dylan Gwinn show. He's a graduate of the Sports Management World Wide Football GM & Scouting Course and has been mentored by former NFL player / executive John Wooten and Sporting News.com NFL Draft Expert Russ Lande. His work is mostly appreciated by die-hard fans interested in every little detail about their team and not just watered down mainstream talk.
If you would like to ask Dr. Roto a question, call (646) 915-9367 on Friday nights at 10:00pm EST and ask your question live on the that weeks Fantasy Football 411 Podcast.
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