As Week 3 of the football season approaches, we start to see some trend shaping form for teams. The Vikings appear to be able to survive without their leaders on offense from last year, Teddy Bridgewater and Adrian Peterson. The Chargers seem to finally have an offense that works for Phillip Rivers. Matt Stafford has an offense built around him for the first time in his career. The Broncos defense is still winning them games, literally. Lastly, the Patriots seem to be able to walk away without their starting quarterback week after week. Lets break down what to watch for in week 3.
Lions @ Packers – This game is an interesting one for the realization that the Packers might not be the best team in the NFC North, and they might not be the 2nd best team either. The Lions, as I mentioned above, have some real magic going for them in Detroit. For once, Stafford has an offense of his own, and although they lost in the crunch time last week to an underrated and growing Titans squad, they might be able to spook the Pack and perhaps squeeze away with a win in Green Bay. Regardless of who wins, look out for a close game.
Prediction: Lions over Packers
Vikings @ Panthers – In between the time of preseason to now, the Vikings went from division favorite to lottery pick favorite. After trading for Sam Bradford, the hype was suddenly and 8-8 or “brink-of-the-Wild Card” team, and after last week the hype turned into Super Bowl favorites. I’m joking about the last part, of course, but there’s a lot to applaud from Sam Bradford, who seemed to look like a king after only having 2 weeks to learn the playbook with a shaky offensive line and an injured star running back. Well if the hype is real, we will find out this week against the Carolina Panthers, who unsurprisingly smashed the 49ers last week. A note about losing Peterson; I think the Vikings will be fine. Although the injury timetable is uncertain, I think McKinnon is a solid option at RB. When Peterson was banned from the league a few years back for his whooping-room fiasco, the Vikings actually had statistically one of the best run games in the league in a committee of McKinnon and Asiata (ending up 4th in rushing Defensive-adjusted value over average – an efficiency stat that compares a teams every single play to the league average against said defense based on situation and opponent). Truthfully, the end of the Peterson era is coming to a close in Minnesota, and that’s not a bad thing. Still, I don’t think that means a thing this week against the Panthers.
Prediction: Panthers over Vikings
Broncos @ Bengals – The Bengals are apparently the team to watch at 1:00 on a Sunday, as it’s my 3rd time in as many weeks mentioning them as a game to watch. Both defenses are solid (although one defense is likely to be historical) and both offenses can find ways to create plays. This will be a fun game. Simple & plain.
Prediction: Broncos over Bengals
Steelers @ Eagles – A.K.A. the Pennsylvania bowl. Carson Wentz looks like he’s establishing himself in this league, being the first rookie QB to start 2-0 without any turnovers. It rarely happens, but it seems it’s a good time to be an Eagles fan. Naturally, this also means the Wentz era will end in disappointment. Jokes aside, there’s not much disappointment to look for this coming week, as I believe this will be a solid matchup. The story, clearly, will be the Pitt high-powered offense against what I believe is an underrated and solid Philadelphia defense. The issue, as you readers could imagine, is the Pittsburgh wideouts against a shady Philly secondary. Last week Antonio Brown was held to under 50 yards receiving with Big Ben at QB for the first time since 2012, so I’d expect him to be ready to torch a set of cornerbacks known for blowing coverage. Good luck Nolan Carroll.
Prediction: Eagles over Steelers
Jets @ Chiefs – The Jets are looking like a team to face in the AFC. After winning last week against the Bills, Rex Ryan got so mad he fired his offensive coordinator. Maybe Andy Reid will do the same this week. The Chiefs are a solid team, and I’ve been rooting for Reid-Smith era since it began because of the underdog story, a coach and a playoff QB down on their luck joining forces on a 2-14 team that ended with a player committing suicide. So it pains me to see the team struggle, but I think a tough road is ahead for the Chiefs. Time will tell, but this week is an easy prediction for me. Don’t expect Revis to get burnt this week, not because he lost a step but because I don’t think any of the Kansas City receivers are that speedy.
Prediction: Jets over Chiefs
Primetime Games: Bears @ Cowboys – Honestly I had no idea who to choose between the Sunday night game and the Monday night game, both sound pretty boring. The Bears are a solid team, but they don’t have enough there to really blow people out of the water or make a splash in the NFC North. The Cowboys, on the other hand, have enough where they should be able to stay afloat without their starting quarterback. Perhaps this week Dak Prescott can throw a touchdown and Terrance Williams can learn about stepping out of bounds.
Prediction: Cowboys over Bears