NFL Week 3 - Sunday Preview

NFL Week 3 - Sunday Preview

Arizona Cardinals (1-1) @ Buffalo Bills (0-2) - Orchard Park

Rex Ryan is in the hot seat as he looks to avoid a nightmare 0-3 start as his slumping Bills host the Cardinals on Sunday. The Bills fired Offensive Coordinator Greg Roman after their loss to the Jets last week and promoted Anthony Lynn in his place. The Bills offence has struggled this year with the 24th best ranked running game and the 2nd most 3-and-out series in the NFL.The Cardinals rebounded in style last week after their shock loss to New England in Week 1 with a 40-7 thumping of the Buccaneers at home. Carson Palmer was back near his best last week, throwing for over 300 yards and 3 touchdowns. He is yet to throw an interception this year.

Verdict - Arizona 30 Bills 16

It's hard to get excited about Buffalo right now. The Cardinals are a team expected to make a deep run in the playoffs and they really should handle a team that is in early season disarray. Rex Ryan came into Buffalo with his typical bluster, however a 0-3 start would see him staring the sack right in the face if things don't improve quickly. 

Denver Broncos (2-0) @ Cincinnati Bengals (1-1) - Paul Brown Stadium

Two of the AFC's fancied teams face off in an early season showdown as unbeaten Denver travel to Cincinnati on Sunday to take on the Bengals. This game pits one of the NFL's best offences against perhaps the premier defence in the Broncos. Denver have had 2 straight home wins against the Panthers and Colts thanks to dominant defensive displays and better than expected plays from first year quarterback Trevor Siemian. Siemian has thrown 3 interceptions to only 1 touchdown, but has thrown for over 400 yards. However his first road test will be a whole different challenge against a strong defence and a raucous home crowd. The Bengals play their first home game of the season needing to keep pace with the undefeated Steelers and Ravens in the highly competitive AFC North. 

Verdict - Bengals 26 Broncos 14

I think this game will be a really physical encounter with the defences getting on top. I think Siemian and the Broncos offence will be put under pressure in their first road game and the Bengals can force a couple of turnovers and get on top in this game. The Bengals really can't afford to drop to 1-2 and well behind the pace in the AFC North. 

Detroit Lions (1-1) @ Green Bay Packers (1-1) - Lambeau Field

The Packers take their home bow at their beloved Lambeau Field against divisional rivals the Lions on Sunday. Superstar quarterback Aaron Rodgers is starting to come under pressure after a poor 2015 and a slow start to 2016 by his lofty standards. Rodgers has thrown for just over 400 yards this season in 2 games with a completion percentage under 58 percent. Rodgers looked shaken in the pocket last week, losing a fumble and then throwing an interception on the final drive in the Packers 17-14 loss at Minnesota. The Lions undid their upset win in week 1 at the Colts with a miserable performance in losing their home opener 16-15 to the Titans. Detroit has allowed over 5 yards per carry on the ground this year and will need to tighten-up up front if they are any chance of causing an upset in Green Bay. 

Verdict - Packers 37 Lions 20

Backing the Packers and Aaron Rodgers to race out of the blocks and regain a bit of their swagger at home. Until last year when Detroit caused a high boil-over, the Packers used to regularly beat up on the Lions at home. I think the Packers will be very keen to make up for last year's shock loss and can get their offence going here and rack up several touchdowns. 

Oakland Raiders (1-1) @ Tenneesee Titans (1-1) - Nissan Stadium

The Titans will be looking for back-to-back victories when they return home to take on the Oakland Raiders on Sunday. The Titans have not won back-to-back games since 2013, but they get the perfect opportunity to do that on Sunday against a Raiders' defence that has been awful to start 2016. The Raiders have given up over 500 yards offence in both their opening games against the Saints and Falcons which is an NFL high. On the other hand the Raiders offence is averaging over 30 points per game to start the season.  Derek Carr has racked up over 600 yards and 4 touchdowns in 2 games with only 1 interception, and wide receiver Amari Cooper has 208 yards of receiving. 

Verdict - Raiders 32 Titans 26

I think the Raiders can get back to winning ways here in a high scoring encounter. I just think they have more points in them than the Titans even though their defence is playing extremely poorly. If the Raiders really want to make the playoffs, as many people have been hyping about, then they really need to handle road games like this. 

Cleveland Browns (0-2) @ Miami Dolphins (0-2) - New Miami Stadium

The Dolphins play at home for the first time in 2016 when they welcome the struggling Browns on Sunday. Both teams are winless and will be desperate to avoid the dreaded 0-3 start. Despite the winless start, the Dolphins have been highly competitive in their 2 point loss in Seattle and 7 point loss in New England. The Browns have been been a disaster on the road of late losing 10 of their last 11 away games. Remarkably, for the 5th consecutive game dating back to late last season, the Browns start someone different at quarterback. This time it is Cody Kessler gets the start with Robert Griffin III and Josh McCown both out injured. 

Verdict - Miami 20 Cleveland 17

I don't love the Dolphins here, however surely they can beat the Browns at home with a third string quarterback. Miami are the sort of side that struggle with the favourites tag and I see that being the case for a large part of Sunday's game. However, given it is their first home game and the Browns are really banged up, I think they can edge a win and get their season up and running.

Washington Redskins (0-2) @ New York Giants (2-0) - MetLife Stadium

The Giants get the chance to start 3-0 when they welcome in divisional foe the Redskins on Sunday to MetLife Stadium. The Giants were unconvincing in their 1 point win over the Cowboys and 3 point win over the Saints. However winning the close games has often been a problem for this team. This year, despite the offence playing well below their best, the Giants have managed to grind out wins thanks to their defence playing extremely well. It has been a different story for the Redskins who've started the season winless and out of sorts with back-to-back home defeats to the Steelers and Cowboys. The Redskins have lost their 4 games against the Giants on the road and 7 of their last past 8 at MetLife Stadium.

Verdict - Redskins 27 Giants 24

Going with an upset here and the Redskins to edge the Giants. I thought at the start of the year this division, the NFC East, would be tight and there would not be any team running away with the division. In previous years, just when you thought one team is a clear stand-out, they drop back a peg and I think the Giants could be that team here. Kirk Cousins is a more dangerous quarterback playing without expectations and as an under dog, and I think he might have a big afternoon here. 

Minnesota Vikings (2-0) @ Carolina Panthers (1-1) - Bank Of America Stadium

The Vikings face a real acid test on Sunday as they look to remain undefeated traveling to Carolina to take on the NFC Champions the Panthers. The Vikings have started 2016 playing outstanding defence on their way to back-to-back wins against the Titans and Packers. The Vikings are conceding only 15 points per game and kept star quarterback Aaron Rodgers quiet in last week's huge divisional win. They will have to do without veteran running back Adrian Peterson for a large chunk of the season as he requires surgery on a torn meniscus. The Panthers got back to a winning way last week with a wild 46-27 victory over the 49ers. Cam Newton bounced back from a tough opening night against his nemesis the Broncos, throwing for 4 touchdowns last week.

Verdict - Panthers 30 Vikings 17

Having watched their first 2 games I think the Vikings are for real this year and this will be a really tough and hard fought game in Carolina. I just think given it is in Carolina, Sam Bradford might come under more pressure this week than he was on his debut last week. The Panthers are really hard to beat at home and I see them hanging on for a win here. 

Baltimore Ravens (2-0) @ Jacksonville Jaguars (0-2) - EverBank Field

The Baltimore Ravens will be looking to make it their best start to the season in 7 years when they get the chance to go 3-0 on the road in Jacksonville on Sunday. The Ravens had to come from 20 points down last week to down their rivals the Browns in a wild game on the road. It's the Ravens first 2-0 start since 2009 and, despite the opposition being questionable, they get another chance here to remain undefeated against a telling Jaguars team. Tipped by many this year to improve, the Jaguars lost narrowly on opening day before putting in an awful performance last week where they were routed 35-7 in San Diego. Gus Bradley is now 12-38 as Head Coach of the Jaguars and needs a win fast if he has hopes to retain his job past this season. 

Verdict - Jaguars 23 Ravens 20

Maybe I am a fool here, but I am giving the Jaguars one more chance. I thought they would improve coming into this season and so far they have not lived up to the hype. However, while the Ravens are undefeated, their wins have not been convincing and with the Jaguars being at home and being desperate I think they can edge this one with a late field goal. 

San Fransisco 49ers (1-1) @ Seattle Seahawks (1-1) - CenturyLink Field

Seattle will be looking to break out of their offensive woes when they host division rivals the 49ers on Sunday. The Seahawks have been putrid on offence to start 2015 putting up just 15 points in total in their 2 games. Seattle's offensive line has been a mess so far with Russell Wilson time in the pocket being cut down severely by poor play upfront and some injuries. The Seahawks still have a dominant defence leading the league so far in 2016 for points and yards conceded.The 49ers offense have surprised so far this year averaging over 27 points per game. However their are still question marks over starting quarterback Blaine Gabbert who has been inconsistent in the first 2 games.

Verdict - Seahawks 20 49ers 14

I really think the Seahawks are in some trouble offensively. To only have 1 touchdown in 2 games is very worrying and this divisional match up threatens to be far closer than many people expected at the start of the season. However, the fact that the 49ers have Blaine Gabbert and the Seahawks are still excellent defensively, means they should able to get on top here and strangle the life out of the game. Long term though,I think the Seahawks are in trouble. 

Los Angeles Rams (1-1) @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-1) - Raymond James Stadium

The Bucs will be looking to bounce back in their home opener this week when they welcome in the Los Angeles Rams to Raymond James Stadium. After a hugely encouraging win on the road in Atlanta in Week 1, the Bucs took a step back last week being smashed by the Cardinals 40-7 in Arizona. The Rams bounced back from their embarrassing duck egg on opening day with a 9-3 win in their opening game at the Los Angeles Coliseum. The Rams defence has outstanding last week, however they still have major question marks at quarterback heading into week 3. While Case Keenum was better last week, the Rams offence has still not managed a touchdown this season. 

Verdict - Bucs 27 Rams 6

I think the Bucs can put on a show and blow out the Rams at home here.The Rams were really ramped up for their home opener last week in their return to LA, but I can't see them maintaining that same energy and intensity heading into this game. Their offense is a mess and I think Jameis Winston can bounce back from a tough day last week and throw for a few touchdowns here in the Bucs home opener.