NFL Week 3 Predictions

It’s already Week 3! Let’s make some predictions!

Jets (1-1) at Browns (0-1-1) TNF

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Photo Cred: 12up.com

The Browns have now gone 19 games without winning a football game. However, if they had a capable kicker, they would be 2-0. These teams are rather balanced on paper, but Cleveland has the advantage for multiple reasons. In what will be an extremely rowdy environment on a short week, Cleveland has the advantage of having an experienced quarterback in Tyrod Taylor, while Sam Darnold will be making just his third start and is coming off of a rough performance in Week 2. Cleveland also has forced the most turnovers in the NFL and should win the turnover battle against the turnover-prone Darnold. Also with a stout pass rush that is 5th in sacks, the Browns should absolutely destroy the Jets’ poor offensive line and will pressure Darnold on almost every single play. With so much working in Cleveland’s favor, they’ll finally get that win they’ve been without for well over a year. Prediction: Jets 13 Browns 20

Saints (1-1) at Falcons (1-1)

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Photo Cred: battleredblog.com

In what is arguably the most important game of the week, the Saints will travel to Atlanta to take on the Falcons in a crucial divisional matchup between two 1-1 teams. However, these two teams aren’t evenly matched at all. Without running back Mark Ingram, the Saints are last in the NFL in rushing and have become one-dimensional on offense. Atlanta’s secondary and pass rush is good enough to limit the Saints passing offense, which struggled versus Cleveland last week. Meanwhile on defense, the Saints’ below average unit may stand no chance against Matt Ryan, Julio Jones, Tevin Coleman, and all of Atlanta’s playmakers. Add in the fact that Atlanta is at home, and this one has the potential to be a blowout. Prediction: Saints 16 Falcons 34

Broncos (2-0) at Ravens (1-1)

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Photo Cred: predominantlyorange.com

The Broncos and Ravens are extremely similar. Both teams have older, mid-tier quarterbacks who are complimented with just enough on offense to succeed. Both also lean on their defense, especially their pass rushes. This should be a very close game, but expect the Ravens to be victorious. They’ve looked better in these first two weeks than Denver, who is 2-0 but barely beat the inferior Seahawks and Raiders at home. This is their first real test and I’m not sure they have what it takes to win this game on the road. Baltimore is also coming off of a 10-day break and will be hungry after losing on Thursday Night Football in Cincinnati in Week 2. Prediction: Broncos 21 Ravens 23

Bengals (2-0) at Panthers (1-1)

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Photo Cred: Bleacher Report

The Bengals and Panthers have had practically opposite starts to the 2018 season. Carolina has been extremely inconsistent, as they won a low scoring game in Week 1 and then lost a shootout in Week 2. Meanwhile, the Bengals won their first two games each by a score of 34-23. However, the Bengals aren’t as sure of a thing as they seem, as they’ll be without running back Joe Mixon for 2-4 weeks due to a knee injury. To replace him, the Cincinnati will rely on Giovanni Bernard for a solid rushing attack against a run defense that has struggled despite having a strong front seven. Bernard should provide just enough of a spark, but even if he didn’t the Bengals would still be fine. Andy Dalton has been terrific this season completing 64% of his passes while throwing for 508 yards and 6 touchdowns in his first two games. With more time to throw with a revamped offensive line, he’s been excellent and should continue to thrive against a weak Carolina secondary. The Panthers, on the other hand, may struggle to find an identity on offense as their weak offensive line should struggle against the Bengals strong pass rush. Because Carolina is the better-coached team at home, this game may be close, but the Bengals match up well against them and will be soaring at 3-0 after pulling out a huge road victory. Prediction: Bengals 27 Panthers 24

Giants (0-2) at Texans (0-2)

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Photo Cred: nj.com

In a matchup of underachieving teams, the Giants and Texans will matchup in a game that each team has to win. Both teams had a legitimate chance of starting 2-0, but each finds themselves at 0-2. It’s hard to trust either team, but the Texans matchup really against New York. Houston’s rushing attack that is leading the NFL in yards per game should dominate against a Giants defensive unit that ranks 29th against the run. The Texans have struggled to protect Deshaun Watson this season, but they’re in luck as the Giants are last in the NFL in sacks. On the other side of the ball, Houston still has an excellent pass rush that should dominate against a Giants offensive line that was exposed last week in Dallas. As Watson continues to get back into a groove, as he looked better on his deep balls last week, the Texans should once again become an explosive team, and that will start this week. Prediction: Giants 20 Texans 30

Titans (1-1) at Jaguars (2-0)

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Photo Cred: titansonline.com

Before the season, I had the Titans winning the AFC South. A big reason for that is that they seemed like they matched up well against the Jags on paper. However, a lot has changed since then. The Titans have been absolutely decimated with injuries, as their offense is lacking identity with tight end Delanie Walker out for the year and quarterback Marcus Mariota dealing with an elbow injury. Tennesee struggled so badly on offense with Blaine Gabbert, that they had to have safety Kevin Byard throw a 66-yard touchdown on a fake punt just to be able to win. It doesn’t matter who is under center, Jacksonville is playing with too much swagger right now to lose to a Titans team that has looked flat. If Blake Bortles continues to be more than a game manager and be a legitimate playmaker, the Jaguars may be the best team in the AFC. Tennesee is just 26th against the run, so the Jags should dominate especially if running back Leonard Fournette is able to play. Even without him, Jacksonville should blow out the Titans in this one. Prediction: Titans 7 Jaguars 23

49ers (1-1) at Chiefs (2-0)

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Photo Cred: gamblingsites.com

No player right now is being hyped up more than Patrick Mahomes. The 23-year-old signal caller has 10 touchdowns in two games for the Chiefs and already has people calling him the MVP. As a whole, the Chiefs are scoring 40 points per game and are in the top ten in passing and rushing. They should continue to dominate this week, as they’ll face a 49ers defense that is just 25th against the pass and is allowing 25.5 points per game. On the other side of the ball, Kansas City is allowing the most yards per game and 32.5 points per game, so there is reason for concern. However, the 49ers offense has also struggled to gain yards through the air, as their offense ranks just 26th in passing as Jimmy Garoppolo hasn’t been able to carry over his success late last season into this season. San Francisco has been most efficient when running the football, but Kansas City has one of the better rush defenses. The Chiefs match up well to the 49ers, who will struggle in the rowdy Arrowhead Field. Prediction: 49ers 20 Chiefs 33

Raiders (0-2) at Dolphins (2-0)

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Photo Cred: silverandblackpride.com

The Dolphins are 2-0. Who would have guessed that? Many had them ranked as the worst team in the NFL, but now they have a very strong chance of starting 3-0. Why? Well, their opponent just happens to be a mess right now. The Raiders lack any sort of identity under head coach Jon Gruden. They have no pass rush, not much of a run game, and have a roster filled with aging veterans. Miami has more team speed offensively, meaning they can advantage of those veterans. The main reason the Dolphins will win though is the turnover battle. Miami’s defense has been an interception machine through the first two weeks, while Derek Carr currently has a 1-3 touchdown to interception ratio. If Carr makes one mistake, Oakland has no shot at winning this game on the road, as the key to this game is to control the time of possession. Doing that would prevent Oakland’s old defense from getting worn down, but it’s almost a certain the Raiders will have at least one to two giveaways in this game. In the heat, the Dolphins will wear down and defeat this team of has-beens. Prediction: Raiders 16 Dolphins 22

Bills (0-2) at Vikings (1-0-1)

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Photo Cred: newyorkupstate.com

This has the makings of a complete blowout. The Bills look like easily the worst team in football, as they’ve lost 47-3 at the Ravens and 31-20 at home against the Chargers in their first two games. That second game looks closer than it actually was, as the score was 28-6 at halftime, but the Chargers played extremely conservative in the second half. Buffalo ranks 31st in total yards, 31st in points per game, and last in points allowed. Meanwhile, the Vikings are a legitimate Super Bowl contender with no weakness what so ever, now that they’ve fixed their kicking woes with one of the most accurate kickers in NFL history in Dan Bailey. Minnesota’s strong defense should absolutely destroy young quarterback Josh Allen, who struggled last week and showed why he is considered a project, as they are amongst the league’s best in sacks and takeaways. Buffalo has allowed eleven sacks already, while Allen is good for at least two interceptions a game. Add in the fact that the Vikings are at home and are hungry after tieing the Packers, and this game is over before it even it starts. Prediction: Bills 7 Vikings 33

Colts (1-1) at Eagles (1-1)

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Photo Cred: mcall.com

Welcome back, Carson Wentz! The 25-year-old signal caller will start under center for the Eagles for the first time since Week 14 of last season. Philadelphia surely needed him back, as with Nick Foles under center they ranked just 23rd in passing yards per game. It’s impossible to predict how Wentz will do in his first game back, but even if he’s shaky, the Eagles should win this game. Lincoln Financial Field will be rocking with Wentz returning and the Eagles will ride that momentum to a win. Philadelphia is proving to be stellar against the run again, while the Colts have struggled to establish any sort of rushing attack this season. Andrew Luck has been extremely efficient so far this season, but he’s also thrown at least one interception in each of his first two games. Indianapolis has overachieved on defense so far, but they still lack enough talent on that side of the ball to disrupt Wentz enough for him to struggle in his debut. With Wentz coming back strong, the Eagles will prove to be just too much for the Colts.                               Prediction: Colts 21 Eagles 29

Packers (1-0-1) at Redskins (1-1)

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Photo Cred: thesportsdaily.com

This matchup between Aaron Rodgers and the Packers and Alex Smith and the Redskins will feature the two top quarterbacks from the 2005 NFL Draft. Rodgers, who is still dealing with a knee injury, is still terrific, but he once again doesn’t have a strong supporting cast around him. The Packers once again don’t have a solid rushing attack and they rank just 24th in total yards given up. Meanwhile, the Redskins pass defense looks strong again and their defense as a whole is just giving up 13.5 points per game in the first two weeks. Washington’s offense is also strong, as they rank 7th in passing yards per game and 14th in rushing yards per game. They’ve been able to put together solid drives, but they’ve struggled to score in the Red Zone. Green Bay doesn’t have a strong front seven, so Washington should be able to convert much better in this game. Neither team will give the ball away, so it comes down to time of possession, which the Redskins should be able to win. With that going for them, home field advantage, and the fact that they need to win this game desperately, the Redskins should be able to pull away with a close victory over Rodgers and co. Prediction: Packers 20 Redskins 21

Chargers (1-1) at Rams (2-0)

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Photo Cred: turfshowtimes.com

In a battle of LA, the Chargers and Rams will meet up in a matchup between two of the NFL’s most well-rounded teams. It’s also a matchup of old versus new, as 36-year-old Phillip Rivers will do battle against 23-year-old Jared Goff. It should be an extremely close game so it would make sense to go with the more experienced Rivers. However, the Chargers are notorious for losing close games, while the Rams are one of the best coached and most disciplined teams in the NFL. These teams are pretty much even besides that, but I trust the Rams more in a close game.                                                               Prediction: Chargers 20 Rams 24

Bears (1-1) at Cardinals (0-2)

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Photo Cred: NBC Sports

The Cardinals have been as bad in their first two games as they possibly could be. They rank near the bottom in every statistical category and have been outscored 58-6 in their first two games. Things shouldn’t get much better this game, as they have to face the vaunted Bears defense. Chicago leads the league in sacks and will absolutely destroy Arizona’s weak offensive line. The Bears are also fourth in the league in rushing, have one of the league’s best defenses, and quarterback Mitch Trubisky has looked improved under new head coach Matt Nagy. Chicago has also scored on each of their opening drives this season, while the Cardinals haven’t scored in the first half. Expect the Bears to take control of this game early, leading the Cardinals conceding and looking defeated. This one could get out of hand early. Prediction: Bears 20 Cardinals 10

Cowboys (1-1) at Seahawks (0-2)

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Photo Cred: Sporting News

In a matchup between two teams in the midst of changing their identity, the Cowboys and Seahawks will face off in a game that both teams need to win. The Cowboys are now a defensive-minded team, as they’ve been dominant defensively but have struggled to gain yards through the air and have scored just 14th points. Meanwhile, the Seahawks no longer a vaunted defense, as they have allowed 25.5 points per game and have relied on quarterback Russell Wilson heavily. Dallas’ strong pass rush should generate pressure on Wilson all game long against an awful offensive line. On the other hand, their offense may not score enough points to compensate for the fact that despite their offensive line issues, Wilson alone is good enough for at least two touchdowns. In order to win on the road, you need to be able to score points in order to gain momentum and take control of the game. The Cowboys offense won’t be able to do that, and they’ll lose a close one as a result. Prediction: Cowboys 16 Seahawks 17

Patriots (1-1) at Lions (0-2) SNF

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Photo Cred: prideofdetroit.com

Bill Belichick will have a chance to once again beat one of his former coordinators when the Pats take on former defensive coordinator Matt Patricia and the Lions. Despite the two being defensive minded coaches, this game should be a shootout. The Lions are allowing 39 points per game, which definitely won’t fly against the Pats offense led by Tom Brady. However, on the other hand, New England’s defense has also been awful and should struggle against Matt Stafford and the Lions’ vertical offense. It will eventually come down to which offense turns the ball over first, and that will definitely be Matt Stafford, who does have turnover issues. This should be a closer game than people expect, but the Pats will pull out with a victory nonetheless.                                               Prediction: Patriots 31 Lions 24

Steelers (0-1-1) at Buccaneers (2-0) MNF

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Photo Cred: Sporting News

Who would’ve guessed that the Steelers would be heading into this game winless while the Bucs looked like one of the most dominant teams in football? Well, on Monday Night Football, the Steelers are arguably playing for the lives while the Bucs look to prove they belong amongst the NFL’s elite. The Steelers have had a lot of drama, but they will be hungry for a victory coming into this game. Furthermore, Ben Roethlisberger and the league’s second-best pass offense should take advantage of the league’s second-worst pass defense. Now make no mistake, the Bucs pass offense could also dominate against a Steelers defense that gave up six touchdowns to Patrick Mahomes last week. However, I’ll still take Ben Roethlisberger over Ryan Fitzpatrick any day of the week, and the Steelers have always been amazing in primetime games. Prediction: Steelers 31 Bucs 26

 

 

 

 

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