Poupart's picks: Week 3

The round of byes begins this week Baltimore, Detroit, Houston and Washington having the week off. The marquee matchup clearly is New England at Pittsburgh. Here are the predictions for Week 3.

Sunday, September 25

Atlanta (1-1) at Buffalo (1-1): Tough one to call right off the bat. Two teams with very good defenses but shaky passing games. Michael Vick is nursing a sore hamstring but is expected to play. Atlanta, 17-16.

Cincinnati (2-0) at Chicago (1-1): The Bengals have the top-ranked offense in the league but face a really tough challenge in a Bears defense that is as good as any in the league. Carson Palmer has played well so far, but we're thinking he has a bad game here. Chicago, 23-20.

Tampa Bay (2-0) at Green Bay (0-2): What has happened to the Packers? The Bucs, meanwhile, are playing very good defense and riding the running of rookie Carnell Williams. Still, the Bucs aren't that good a team, are they? Green Bay 24, Tampa Bay 20.

Cleveland (1-1) at Indianapolis (2-0): The Colts have won two games without their offense really doing all that much. It changes in a big way here. The Browns had a great win at Green Bay last week, but it's back to reality this week. Indianapolis, 38-10.

Carolina (1-1) at Miami (1-1): The Panthers showed last week why so many thought they were a Super Bowl contender. It's another tough challenge for the Dolphins, who will have problems against a very, very good defense. Carolina, 16-13.

New Orleans (1-1) at Minnesota (0-2): The Vikings have been nothing short of awful so far, but they could get on track against a Saints team with a suspect defense and coming off a Monday night game. Minnesota, 28-23.

Jacksonville (1-1) at N.Y. Jets (1-1): Don't look for a whole lot of scoring in this one. The Jags showed last week against Indy just how well they play defense, but their offense isn't really that potent. The Jets, meanwhile, have concerns at quarterback and running back. N.Y. Jets, 13-10.

Oakland (0-2) at Philadelphia (1-1): The Eagles were scary good against the 49ers last week and their passing game should have another banner day against a porous Raiders secondary. Philadelphia, 34-17.

Tennessee (1-1) at St. Louis (1-1): The Rams are lucky not to be 0-2 because they really didn't play that well against Arizona last week. The Titans, meanwhile, had a nice win against Baltimore and showed off a pretty good defense. But this game is St. Louis' home opener on the carpet. St. Louis, 33-20.

Dallas (1-1) at San Francisco (1-1): The Cowboys let one slip away Monday night against Washington, whom they dominated for all but the last four minutes. The 49ers were exposed by Philly after their opening win against St. Louis, and there's really no reason to think Dallas shouldn't waltz in this one. But the big factor at play here is the Cowboys going to the West Coast after a Monday night game. Dallas, 20-16.

Arizona (0-2) at Seattle (1-1): It's the same old, same old for the Cardinals, who just can't find a way to win games. The Seahawks have been rather unimpressive this season, except for a second-quarter burst against Atlanta last week. This could be close. Seattle, 24-21.

New England (1-1) at Pittsburgh (2-0): The Steelers have been frighteningly good so far this season, thanks mostly to a tremendous defense and a stellar running game. New England, meanwhile, got handled by Carolina. Pittsburgh, 23-17.

N.Y. Giants (2-0) at San Diego (0-2): The Chargers have lost two close games and need to start getting LT more involved. As for the Giants, they have beaten two mediocre opponents at home and now face the tough task of going to the West Coast on a short week. Eli Manning's first game against the team he shunned doesn't go well. San Diego, 27-16.

Monday, September 26

Kansas City (2-0) at Denver (1-1): These indeed could be new Kansas City Chiefs, you know, a team that actually can play some defense. We already know they have a terrific offense. But the Chiefs always struggle at Denver, and the Broncos are coming off a nice come-from-behind win over the Chargers. Denver, 24-23.

Last week's record: 11-5

Season record: 18-14

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