Dr. J's NFL Outlook: Week 3

<b>Last Week:</b> (7-9)<br> <b>Season:</b> (17-15)<br><br> Hey don't laugh, I'm still above .500!<br><br> A look inside the weekly matchups:

Jacksonville at Indianapolis
The Colts took big strides last week against the Titans mainly due to their defense. Tony Dungy's scheme may finally be clicking with the players and with Edgerrin James looking healthy, they will be tough to beat. Colts win big.

Kansas City at Houston
Chiefs win. It's no doubt. I'd call this the lock of the week, if I were a betting man...

Minnesota at Detroit
Daunte Culpepper looks sharp, Randy Moss looks like he's ready to grow up, and the Vikings offense looks more balanced. The Lions are much improved, but still have a way to go. Vikings win.

New Orleans at Tennessee
The Saints offense took the first 6 quarters of their season off, but finally did decide to play and their very talented skill players like Aaron Brooks, Deuce McAllister, Joe Horn, and Donte Stallworth let loose. If the Titans don't have gusty Steve McNair behind center, their only option is Billy Volek. Scary, huh? Tennessee in a pick 'em game.

N.Y. Jets at New England
Vinny and the Jets are not a hit. New England dug deep and pulled out a big win on the road after getting waxed the week prior. The Patriots finally get to come home to friendlier faces. Pats win.

Pittsburgh at Cincinnati
A game Bengals team hung in there and were on the verge of pulling it out, until fate stepped in again. The Steelers couldn't ground the Kansas City Air Force, but this time, they've got Jon Kitna to defend. Oh, it must be nice to actually have a division foe that you can count two wins against every year. Steelers win big.

Tampa Bay at Atlanta
The champs were shocked in their home opener against a defense that is almost their equal. Atlanta was exposed a bit defensively when the blew a lead late at home. The Bucs had little problem controlling Michael Vick last season, and shouldn't have any against a Vick-less Falcon team. Tampa bounces back and wins.

Green Bay at Arizona
Need a fantasy football tip? Start Brett Farve at QB this week. Lord knows I will. Packers in a romp.

N.Y. Giants at Washington
If not for another special teams brain lock, the Giants would be on top of the NFC East. As it stands, it's the Redskins that are off to their best start since 1991. With the Giants defensive lapses on MNF, what do you think red hot Patrick Ramsey can do? Still, I'm picking the Giants to win. The Skins passed a big test last week, showing that this team is never out of it, but they haven't faced a defense quite like New York's. I think the Giants will not allow what happened Monday to happen again.

St. Louis at Seattle
The Rams were flat out lucky to win last week, thanks to a 49er brain cramp and an OT rule that needs revisiting. Up next, a surging Seattle team that is ready to make a name for themselves in the NFC West. Seattle wins and establishes themselves as a real power in the NFC.

Cleveland at San Francisco
Are you an NFL franchise desparately seeking a winning season? How about paying the NFL Schedule maker more than the crooked 49er front office pays so that you can get their schedule! 49ers win.

ESPN Sunday Night Football
Buffalo at Miami
The best game of the week is between two bitter division rivals. The Bills are off to a flying start, but know in their heart of hearts that they need to test themselves against the best of the best. Beating Miami would be a start. The Dolphins will have to rely on their defense to shut down Travis Henry and blitz Drew Bledsoe into mistakes and disrupt the timing of this pass happy offense. This should be an excellent game, but unless Ricky Williams runs wild, I think the Bills will pull it out.

ABC's Monday Night Football
Oakland at Denver
This will be a test of exactly how far the Broncos have come this season. Can they survive another poor performance from Jake Plummer and will their smaller interior linemen handle the massive Oakland offensive line? As for the defending AFC Champs, they need to shake the Super Bowl hangover and quickly. They are finally starting to show signs of their age. Oakland wins a tough road game.

And last and certainly least...
Baltimore at San Diego
The late John McKay once said after a game that his team "didn't block anybody, but we made up for it by not tackling anyone." That describes Chargers football to a tee thus far in 2003. If they thought Priest Holmes and Clinton Portis were problems for them, what exactly will new record holder Jamal Lewis mean to them? Trouble, that's what. Unless the Chargers improve their run defense and force the Ravens to rely on rookie QB Kyle Boller to beat them, the Chargers will lose this game to the Ravens. This Ravens team has perhaps the toughest run defense they've faced all season. And if the Chargers fall behind once again and become a one dimensional team, this team will be off to their worst start since their 1-15 season in 2000.

Dr. J can be reached at charmeljun@hotmail.com

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