In week 3 of the 2013 NFL season, the visit of the Indianapolis Colts to the San Francisco 49ers stands at the center of attention, although the Green Bay Packers trying to get a winning streak at the Cincinnati Bengals or the Pittsburgh Steelers trying to prove this season isn’t lost while hosting the Chicago Bears should be very interesting as well. The champions hosting the Houston Texans is worth keeping an eye on as well, in the who’s for real and who’s not category.
Houston Texans (2-0) at Baltimore Ravens (1-1), 1:00 PM
Last season these two were Super Bowl contenders when the two met in Houston, ending in a huge 43-13 win for the Texans, but the teams went in different directions after that game. This time, there a bit more questions about the ceiling of each club, as the Texans are undefeated, but have a hobbled Andre Johnson and a tendency to rely on comebacks. The Ravens have yet to impress and will be playing without Ray Rice, giving Flacco more trouble as he tries to find his bearings this season, especially when it comes to completing deep passes. Prediction – Texans win because their offense is for real, while the Ravens aren’t that good defensively anymore.
Arizona Cardinals (1-1) at New Orleans Saints (2-0), 1:00
The Cardinals have a big problem with Larry Fitzgerald carrying a hamstring injury. Without him, Carson Palmer, who hasn’t looked great on his new team, will be really out of options to throw to. On the other end, the Saints are getting things done on defense but not so much on offense, averaging only 19.5 points per game so far. That trend shall continue, but it’ll be enough for a win against a team that doesn’t have a running game or a decent passing option aside from Fitzgerald.
St. Louis Rams (1-1) at Dallas Cowboys (1-1), 1:00
The Cowboys are still asking themselves how exactly they lost that game against the Kansas City Chiefs. For now, the problem seems to be the running game, as Tony Romo has thrown only one interception. DeMarco Murray has gained only 111 yards on 32 carries, which is the biggest of their offensive problems. The Rams pose a problem with their front seven, but are just as bad on the ground, and have a bigger chance of coughing up the ball, which will give Dallas their second straight win over St. Louis.
Green Bay Packers (1-1) at Cincinnati Bengals (1-1), 1:00
Maybe the biggest game from the early bunch, the Packers will try and build on the momentum of Rodgers’ perfect game against the Redskins and score big against a team that allows only 17 points per game this season, and does a surprising job on the ground by allowing only 63 yards per game. The key will be putting a lot of pressure on Rodgers, but he’s used to it, and unlike his opponents in the quarterback position, he gets things done in the red zone.
San Diego Chargers (1-1) at Tennessee Titans (1-1), 1:00
One thing the first two weeks have proved is that Philip Rivers is back, as long as he doesn’t implode in fourth quarters, with 614 yards and 7 touchdown passes so far. However, a big problem for them will be the Titan’s excellent pass-defense, giving up only 222 yards per game so far this season. However, the Titans have huge quarterback problems with Jake Locker, and their streak of not beating the Chargers (not winning since 1992) will continue.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-2) at New England Patriots (2-0), 1:00
This should have been a game between teams feeling a bit better about themselves, but the New England Patriots have looked terrible on offense, despite their two wins. The Bucs? Bad all over, losing twice in very close games, leading to somewhat of a social breakdown in the dressing room, that might become a season-ending loss and the end for some people’s jobs on the team. However, the Bucs secondary is good enough to give the Patriots plenty of trouble, especially with Brady having only one target to throw to, and as long as Freeman doesn’t turn the ball over, Tampa Bay come away with the upset win.
Detroit Lions (1-1) at Washington Redskins (0-2), 1:00
The tone of the season has changed drastically for the Redskins; from making the playoffs the expectations now are to keep Griffin III healthy while hoping their horrible defense (giving up 512 yards per game) does slightly better as they go along. Matthew Stafford needs Reggie Bush in the lineup, or he’s stuck with just one option to pass to. The Lions win because they have the front seven to put pressure on Griffin he can’t handle at the moment, and Stafford has the arm and Calvin Johnson to beat that terrible defense.
Cleveland Browns (0-2) at Minnesota Vikings (0-2), 1:00
The Browns have told the world they’re giving up on the season, sending Trent Richardson away for a first round pick. The Vikings still hope there’s something to get out of this season, hoping that Christian Ponder gets his s%^& together, which might mean Adrian Peterson will have some help carrying the load in this offense (193 yards, 44 carries so far). Against the horrible Browns, it means they’ll win for the first time.
New York Giants (0-2) at Carolina Panthers (0-2), 1:00
The Panthers have been doing a good job defensively this season, but continue to lose close games because their offense simply doesn’t have too many options: Cam Newton only has Steve Smith to throw to, and predictability is punished in the NFL. However, the Giants have no running game whatsoever, and Eli Manning has been all over the place, which will continue in Charlotte, giving the Panthers their first win of the season.
Atlanta Falcons (1-1) at Miami Dolphins (2-0), 4:05 PM
Are the Miami Dolphins for real? The Dolphins have done very well on defense to start the season, especially when it comes to reaching the quarterback; they have sacked or put opposing quarterbacks under duress on 38% of dropbacks this season, best in the NFL. However, the Falcons present a much better offense than they’ve encountered so far, with a defense that will force Ryan Tannehill to do things he can’t, ending up with a Falcons win.
Buffalo Bills (1-1) at New York Jets (1-1), 4:25 PM
A meeting between the worst the AFC East has to offer. However, the Bills have a nice pass-rush talent thing going on, which should make Geno Smith very uncomfortable again. The Jets have a decent defense themselves, but no running game to match the Bills, who’ll find themselves above .500 once again this season.
Jacksonville Jaguars (0-2) at Seattle Seahawks (2-0), 4:25
The most uneven matchup of the weekend. The Seahawks are fresh off their win over the 49ers, which might call for some complacency against the worst team in the NFL, but that won’t be the case, as the Jags, who allow 316 yards per game and come up with only 213 yards of offense, are too bad to pose any sort of threat.
Indianapolis Colts (1-1) at San Francisco 49ers (1-1), 4:25
The Colts have finally run out of Luck in the game against the Dolphins, which poses some worrying questions about their game in San Francisco. The 49ers’ ego was bruised, which mean they’ll be more aggressive than ever. However, the Colts have a better rushing game than before, and should be able to take some pressure Andrew Luck en route to a pretty big upset win.
Chicago Bears (2-0) at Pittsburgh Steelers (0-2), 8:30
It’s hard to treat the Steelers as one of the biggest pushovers in the NFL, but that’s what they are at the moment, with no running game and Ben Roethlisberger busy dodging defenses, not finding receivers. The Bears have had close calls, but Jay Cutler is adjusting and will make less mistakes as the season progresses, which should be enough for the Bears to remain perfect.
Oakland Raiders (1-1) at Denver Broncos (2-0), 8:30, Monday Night Football
The Raiders have lost their last three to the Broncos and that trend shall continue as they continue to rely on Terrelle Pryor making magic happen with his running game. It might give the Broncos some trouble, but not enough to actually interfere with the offensive roll they’re on (462 yards per game), keeping them on top of the AFC West and the NFL as well.