Week Number Three Predictions

We did a little better last week going 10 and 5 which give us a 19 and 12 mark on the season. Take note of a very interesting game statistic from the first two weeks of the regular season; Team's that out rushed their opponents, were 14 and 2 in week one and 10 and 5 in week number two. If you can't run the ball and stop the run, it becomes very difficult to win.

Kansas City Chiefs vs Atlanta Falcons – The Chiefs have an estimated franchise worth of a billion dollars and will spend in excess of one hundred million dollars in player salaries, over three million dollars in player development (scouting), another five million dollars plus in coaching salaries and this week against the Falcons, will start Tyler Thigpen at the quarterback position! Enough said. Falcons' rookie QB Matt Ryan really struggled last week in his second career start vs the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but should rebound this week against a Chiefs' club, who along the Rams, appear to be the bottom two teams in the league.

Falcons 24 – Chiefs 9

Oakland Raiders vs Buffalo Bills – If Al Davis is looking for an excuse to deep-six head coach, Lane Kiffin, he will have it on Sunday evening. The one-up and one-down Raiders are led by super rookie RB Darren McFadden, but all is not right with the offense; the progress made by QB JaMarcus Russell has been rather slow and WR, Javon Walker (hamstring) and RB Justin Fargas (groin) have been slowed by injuries. Defensively the Bills have played extremely well, and on the offensive side of the football the progress made by second year QB Trent Edwards (the top QB in the 2007 draft), has been nothing short of sensational. You can also be sure that the aforementioned Davis is very aware that Edwards, who attended nearby Stanford and was the 92nd selection in the 2007 player draft is light years ahead of Russell, the number one selection in the same draft.

Bills 27 – Raiders 16

Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs Chicago Bears – Rookie RB Matt Forte has been the single biggest difference in the Bears' ball control offensive system, while Kyle Orton has shown excellent efficiency managing the offense. As they did last week, look for the Buccaneers to try and put the ball in Orton's hand as often as possible, but I look for the results to be distinctly different in week number three. Orton, a fourth year professional has an excellent understanding of the Tampa-two offensive system, having worked against it in practice on a weekly basis. The Tampa Bay's running game has been better than expected, but look for the Bears veteran defensive unit to make the goings on the ground a bit tougher this week.

Bears 17 – Buccaneers 10

Carolina Panthers vs Minnesota Vikings – The Vikings third year QB Tarvaris Jackson, a personal favorite of mine, is just not ready at this stage to take on the role of a starting QB in the NFL. He has an NFL body, a very live arm and the athletic ability to make time in the pocket, but he misses far too many open receivers and when he needed to make a critical play against the division rival Packers, he just couldn't get it done. Gus Frerotte, management's eyes and ears with the Rams last season, takes over the starting role versus the Panthers. He has experience and know how, but isn't the answer over the long haul. The Panthers are playing very good football on both sides of the ball. The running back combination of Jonathan Stewart and DeAngelo Williams has been outstanding, while Jake Delhomme has shown no ill effects from Tommy John surgery. Defensively, the linebacking crew of Beason, Davis and Diggs have been first rate, but I believe are going to have a difficult time containing Adrian Peterson, the top runningback in the league today. Logic favors the Panthers, but this one is just too important for this Vikings club.

Vikings 31 – Panthers 21

Miami Dolphins vs New England Patriots – I just don't think that this Dolphins squad has the personnel on either side of the football to match up against the defending AFC Champion New England Patriots, particularly on the road. The Patriots in defeating the Jets last week played nearly flawless football and although I still have some questions concerning their offensive line and defensive secondary, this battle-tested ball club is going to be very difficult to beat. I don't expect the Dolphins to be in a position to exploit either concern on Sunday. First time starter Matt Cassel, mis-fired on a couple of throws, but overall past his first test with flying colors. I really liked his athletic ability, movement in the pocket and arm strength.

Patriots 26 – Dolphins 10

The Giants on the other hand, have a three-headed monster in the presence of Jacobs, Ward and Bradshaw at the running back position. Look for them to establish the running game early on and stay with it until the Bengals prove they can shut it down; I don't like their chances. For the fans who enjoy watching the game within the game, keep your eye on fifth year professional Chris Snee, in my opinion the very best offensive guard in the game today.

Giants 34 – Bengals 13

Houston Texans vs Tennessee Titans – Quite honestly, I just don't see how this Texans' lack luster offensive unit is going to be able to move the football consistently versus a very stingy Tennessee Titans squad, particularly on the ground. Kerry Collins, the veteran signal caller is certainly one of the most talented back-ups in the league, but after thirteen seasons in the game, his mobility and escape skills are marginal. I look for the Texans to attempt to pin the Titans' ears back, but those tactics are just going to open things up for the Titans potent rookie offensive weapon, Chris Johnson, a player with excellent speed, catching ability and run skills in space.

Titans 23 – Texans 10

Arizona Cardinals vs Washington Redskins – The Cardinals, who have breezed to two victories over meager competition, gets their first taste of the NFC east competition and may find things to be distinctly different this Sunday. Kurt Warner, has performed like the old pro that he is, but look for the Redskins to apply a great deal of pressure on the veteran QB and force him into some uncomfortable, down and distance situations. The Redskins will attempt to control the tempo offensively with Clinton Portis running the football and Jason Campbell spreading the ball around in the Redskins controlled passing offense. I have a hunch that Chris Cooley just might be the difference in this contest.

Redskins 20 – Cardinals 16

New Orleans Saints vs Denver Broncos – The Broncos are flying high and are particularly tough to beat in their own backyard. The Saints couldn't close the deal last week at home versus the Redskins and in my opinion will have a very difficult time containing the Broncos very potent passing attack. Look for Jay Cutler to exploit the Saints very ordinary but improved secondary, and move to 3 and 0 on the season. If I were the Saints, I would have some very deep concerns about our inability to move the football on the ground, a limiting factor for this potentially high-powered offense.

Broncos 27 – Saints 20

Detroit Lions vs San Francisco 49ers – I'm sure Mike Martz is treating this one like any regular season game, but believe me when I tell you he would like nothing better than to defeat a club that terminated him at the end of the 2007 season. The 49ers are coming off a hard earned come from behind overtime victory over the division rival Seahawks and hope there is a momentum carry-over into week three. The pitch and catch combo of Jon Kitna, throwing the football in the direction of super receivers Calvin Johnson and Roy Williams poses a threat for any defensive game planning, but as in the past the Lions are still a one dimensional offensive unit (can't run the football). Look for Gore to run the football and Martz to pull a few rabbits out of his hat.

49ers 38 – Lions 17

St. Louis Rams vs Seattle Seahawks – The Rams' defensive standings: total, 32nd (481.5 yards per game); rush, 27th (154.0); pass, 32nd (327.5); scoring, 31st (39.5 points). Marc Bulger has been sacked 10 times, the second-highest total in the NFL and has already taken a tremendous amount of physical punishment. The 0 and 2 Seahawks are far from one hundred percent physically and are coming off an over time loss to division rivals the San Francisco 49ers, but couldn't in their wildest dreams find a more suitable opponent than the hapless Rams. Veteran signal caller Matt Hasselbeck has really struggled to this point of the season, but has had good success vs the division rival Rams. It's now fourteen weeks and counting for the boys from St. Louis.

Seahawks 24 – Rams 10

Cleveland Browns vs Baltimore Ravens – Both teams have struggled offensively, but even in victory, I really didn't think much of the Ravens ability to run the football. Willis McGahee, is set to return this week, but is still far from a hundred percent physically. Joe Flacco is going to be a good one, but like all rookies, it's going to take him awhile to adjust to the speed of the game and the nuances of professional football. Browns' quarterback Derek Anderson has struggled to find some rhythm to this point of the season, but the possible return of Donte Stallworth should take some of the pressure off wideout Braylon Edwards and tight end Kellen Winslow. It's not going to be easy, but I like their chances in this one.

Browns 17 – Ravens 12

Jacksonville Jaguars vs Indianapolis Colts – Prior to the start of the season, I looked at this contest as one of the key match-ups of the young season. Due to injuries that have virtually decimated the Jaguars offensive line, the 0 and 2 Jags are now fighting for their football lives on the road versus the defending division champions. They (Jaguars) play hard and their defensive unit is still a very formidable unit, but don't look for the Peyton Manning led Colts to drop two consecutive games in their new home.

Colts 21 – Jaguars 12.

Pittsburgh Steelers vs Philadelphia Eagles – My upset special for the week comes in this battle of in-state rivals being played the City of Brotherly Love. Last week the Eagles took it down to the last series, but were defeated in a shoot out down in Texas while the Steelers defense dominated, in their victory over the struggling Browns. Both QB's have been very effective throwing the football through the first two games of the season, although taking two sacks versus the Cowboys in the last series of the game is totally inexcusable, particularly from a veteran performer like McNabb. I look for this one to go down to the wire, but I like the Steelers on the strength of their defensive unit and special teams.

Steelers 17 – Eagles 13.

Dallas Cowboys vs Green Bay Packers – I really don't like Monday night participants in their following week contest, believing that the one less day of preparation has a profound effect on their performance. I also didn't think like the play of the Cowboys defense, coverage teams and the sloppy play of their offense, but this team is absolutely loaded with talent. Even at home, I don't see the Packers matching up well against this explosive unit.

Cowboys 34 – Packers 24.

New York Jets vs San Diego Chargers – With The Broncos playing as well as they have through this stage of the season, a zero and 3 start would put this Chargers' team in some very deep trouble. In actuality, the Chargers could be two up at this point in the season, but we are talking about reality here and not how thing could have been. The Jets hung around last week against the Patriots, but were unable to make a plays in critical situations. The Chargers lack the discipline of the Patriots and are banged up on both sides of the football (LaDainian Tomlinson, who is nursing an injured toe), but this Chargers squad has real fire power and a quarterback in Philip Rivers who has thrown the ball exceptionally well. This one should be interesting, but I like the Chargers in a high scoring affair.

Chargers 34 – Jets 20

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