NFL Week 3 predictions: What just happened?

Sept. 25, 2005, midnight | By Abe Schwadron, Josh Zipin, Pratik Bhandari | 16 years, 4 months ago

Okay, so I had the worst week; I'm still beating Phil. But seriously, can anyone make sense out of the first two weeks? I mean, the Giants and the Bucs are 2-0 whereas San Diego and Baltimore are 0-2. Oh well, I can't complain. The Redskins won, remember?

Pratik 14-18-0
Abe 18-14-0
Phil 13-19-0
Josh 15-17-0

Sunday, September 25, 2005
Atlanta at Buffalo – 1:00 p.m.

Pratik's Pick Abe's Pick Phil's Pick Josh's Pick
Atlanta Atlanta Atlanta Atlanta

Pratik says: These teams are basically mirror images of each other. They both have an anemic passing game, a game-breaking running game and they both play good defense. I think Atlanta will be able to pull this one out by making J.P Losman make mistakes with the football as they pressure him relentlessly. I expect at least one pick by super-speedy corner DeAngelo Hall.

Abe says: Atlanta's defense is too quick for J.P. Losman and the Bills, who fell to another top D in Tampa last Sunday. In a battle of defensive-minded teams, the Falcons have the edge because of two words: Michael Vick. The guy is electrifying and is poised for a big game.

Phil says: Both teams are coming off disappointing week two losses. The Bills fell to Tampa Bay, who contained Buffalo to only 47 yards rushing. The secret is out. Stop the McGahee running and you stop the Bills. Jim Mora Jr. will have his Falcons stack the line. This mixed with the production of the teams running trio dubbed DVD will over power the Bills.

Josh says: A game played primarily on the ground and with defense, the Falcons rushing attack of Dunn, Vick and Duckett is too much for the usually tough Buffalo defense. Willis McGahee has a good game but Atlanta's defense gets back on track after a loss in week two.

Carolina at Miami – 1:00 p.m.

Pratik's Pick Abe's Pick Phil's Pick Josh's Pick
Carolina Carolina Carolina Carolina

Pratik says: Carolina just beat the Pats, so I really don't think you can bet against them right now. Miami has played better than expected, but then again, expectations were that this team wouldn't get past 4-12.

Abe says: Ronnie Brown. Haven't heard that name being thrown around lately, have you? That's because the Dolphins' top draft pick has been a disappointment through the first two games of he season, rushing for less than 100 yards. In contrast, Brown's backfield mate at Auburn, Carnell Williams, has rushed for over 100 yards twice. Carolina, on the other hand, is coming off an impressive victory over the Patriots in a rematch of Super Bowl.

Phil says: Carolina showed the teams full potential in week two beating the defending champion Patriots. With a running game lead by Steven Davis and the second option of Jake Delhome and Steve Smith there are very few teams that can stop the Panthers. Miami has a tremendous defense but it won't be enough come Sunday.

Josh says: Carolina rides Stephen Davis' touchdown frenzy and the momentum of a week two win over the defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots to a victory in Miami. For the Dolphins, Ronnie Brown has a breakout game and proves why he was the number two pick in the 2005 draft.

Cincinnati at Chicago – 1:00 p.m.

Pratik's Pick Abe's Pick Phil's Pick Josh's Pick
Chicago Chicago Cincinnati Cincinnati

Pratik says: Call me crazy, but 'Da Bears are actually looking good. And in the awful NFC North, they might actually steal a playoff spot. Minnesota has been playing as if they could get beat by a high school team and playing against the Green Bay defense is pretty much like practice with only the offense on the field. On the flip side, Cincinnati has looked tremendous, but they haven't played a great D like Chicago's yet. If Palmer can lead his team to victory here though, I'm definitely reserving my place on the bandwagon.

Abe says: The Bengals have one of the most potent offenses in the league, and blew out the Vikings last week. But Carson Palmer and friends face a daunting task in week three- the Bears can score on offense, defense, and special teams. The Bears defense has allowed only 15 points to be scored on them, and Brian Urlacher has this team fired up. Chicago's rookie QB Kyle Orton has finally answered the prayers of Chi-town fans hoping for a capable gunslinger. If the Bucs' Carnell Williams slows down at all, Orton could be the NFL's offensive Rookie of the Year.

Phil says: Cincy is my new team. I'm hopping on the Bandwagon and riding it all the way to the supper bowl. With an offense rivaling that of the Colts, lead quarterback Carson Palmer, running back Rudi Johnson and Wide receivers Chad Johnson and T.J. Houshmandzadeh, and a defense running by the genius Marvin Lewis that has allowed only 21 points two games they look nearly unbeatable!

Josh says: Chicago puts up a valiant effort at home with the combination of running back Thomas Jones, wide receiver Muhsin Muhammad and a staunch defense that only gave up six points to a high powered Detroit offense but ultimately is overwhelmed by Cincinnati's brilliant offense. Carson Palmer, Chad Johnson and Rudi Johnson are each among the league leaders for yards in their respective positions and the Bengals' 2005 offense rivals the Colts as tops in the league.

Cleveland at Indianapolis – 1:00 p.m.

Pratik's Pick Abe's Pick Phil's Pick Josh's Pick
Indianapolis Indianapolis Indianapolis Indianapolis

Pratik says: Many things about weeks one and two made no sense, but there will always be this eternal kernel of truth: the Browns are horrible. They should swap conferences with USC, and then maybe we'll have a real game…

Abe says: Cleveland won at Lambeau last week, something that's hard to do for any NFL team, but the Colts have too many weapons. Trent Dilfer will be rushed and hurried, and his age puts his mobility in question. I like rookie WR Braylon Edwards, but if Cleveland can't get the ground game going, they'll be seeing a lot of Peyton Manning and his boys on the field.

Phil says: I loved Cleveland's gutsy win over Green bay last week but there playing they are Colts. For a second lets forget that they have the most prolific offense the NFL has seen in years, and see that their defense has allowed ten points in the first two games. Tony Dungy finally has the defense playing at the offenses level. This combination of stifling defense and unstoppable offense will cruse to a victory.

Josh says: Romeo Crennel is turning the Browns around but not far enough around to beat one of the best offenses of all time. Peyton Manning, Marvin Harrison and Edgerrin James each contribute to Indy's first blowout win of the season.

Jacksonville at N.Y. Jets– 1:00 p.m.

Pratik's Pick Abe's Pick Phil's Pick Josh's Pick
Jacksonville New York Jacksonville New York

Pratik says: I believe in Byron Leftwich and I have no confidence in Pennington. Other than that, the teams are remarkably similar. They both have pretty good running games and defenses. The difference is that Leftwich has no questions surrounding him about his arm strength or toughness, whereas Pennington does. Also, Laveraneus Coles has looked downright awful. He's missed a couple of wide-open TD catches in weeks one and two.

Abe says: Jacksonville's scary defense got a little less frightening this past week, with the loss of hard-hitting safety Donovin Darius. The loss of Darius should make life easier for Jets QB Chad Pennington and his receivers. RB Curtis Martin was overworked last week, getting one carry shy of his age (Martin is 32), so I expect to see a little bit of backup Derrick Blaylock. Unless Jimmy Smith has another monster performance, I like the Jets.

Phil says: The Jaguars lost and the Jets won week two but this really doesn't reflect the way either team played. Jacksonville held it's own with the Colts allowing only 122 passing yards to the Peyton Manning. The Jets on the other hand had their primary offensive weapon, Curtis Martin, held to 71 yards by Miami. The truth is the Jaguars are a better team in almost every aspect but look for their defense that held the Colts to ten points to really set the tempo.

Josh says: One of the closest games of week three, the Jets continue to rebound from an embarrassing weak one loss by winning their second game in a row. Laveraneus Coles has a big game and the Jets defense outplays the highly touted Jag's defense.

New Orleans at Minnesota – 1:00 p.m.

Pratik's Pick Abe's Pick Phil's Pick Josh's Pick
New Orleans Minnesota Minnesota Minnesota

Pratik says: Until Daunte Culpepper can show me that he can play well without Randy Moss helping him out, I am not picking the Vikings.

Abe says: Minnesota is 0-2 to start the season, and still looks to be in good shape to win the NFC North, one of the weakest divisions in the NFL. This is the week the Vikings bounce back against a tired Saints team coming off a draining loss to the Giants on Monday night. Vikes QB Daunte Culpepper needs to find his rhythm and stop turning the ball over, which he has done 10 times in just two games. Forunately, Culpepper will face a lackadaisical defense in the Saints.

Phil says: I'm still in shock about the Vikings dismal start. They finally added to a desperately needy defense and add a few offensive weapons to replace Randy Moss. I guess I underestimated how much he actually meant to the team. I don't know why I keep doing this but I, again, see this as their week to bounce back. The Saints coughed the ball up six times last week and had 13 penalties against them. The Vikings secondary will dominate Aaron Brooks and Joe Horn causing the turnovers that will make the difference.

Josh says: Minnesota. What a disappointment. Is this the week Daunte Culpepper finally gets on track? I believe so. I have to pick Minnesota because eventually they are going to win and get their season rolling. I think Daunte Culpepper (although mistake-prone himself), outplays New Orleans' quarterback Aaron Brooks to lead his team to their first victory of the season.

Oakland at Philadelphia – 1:00 p.m.

Pratik's Pick Abe's Pick Phil's Pick Josh's Pick
Philadelphia Philadelphia Philadelphia Philadelphia

Pratik says: Yeah…sure McNabb was hurt. He only threw for FIVE touchdowns (albeit against San Francisco)…I think the most interesting subplot is going to be which wide receiver, Randy Moss or T.O., will have the best touchdown dance. The Philadelphia defense will be the edge in this battle of offensive juggernauts.

Abe says: Oakland's offensive potential makes this game tough to handicap, but Philly's convincing win over San Fran last week is the deal breaker. Terrell Owens and Donovan McNabb have apparently kissed and made up, and McNabb even got TE L.J. Smith in the mix last week. As for Oakland, the performance of WR Randy Moss on Sunday night was ridiculous. Moss could be the league's top offensive weapon. The Raiders problems, however, lie on the other side of the ball. Oakland might want to just let Philly score each time they touch the ball- hey, at least big Warren Sapp won't get tired.

Phil says: Oakland's secondary is shaky and the Eagles have Donovan McNabb and Terrell Owens. The Eagles defense has given up only 17 points up this year compared to 53 by the Raiders. What is the word for this again, "Blowout!"

Josh says: Philadelphia, led by Donovan McNabb and Terrell Owens each have big games and the Philly defense bottles up Randy Moss and Brian Dawkins batters and bruises Kerry Collins so much he has nightmares for the next week.

Tampa Bay at Green Bay – 1:00 p.m.

Pratik's Pick Abe's Pick Phil's Pick Josh's Pick
Tampa Bay Tampa Bay Tampa Bay Tampa Bay

Pratik says: Green Bay has no defense. Period.

Abe says: Green Bay is an old, slow, broken down team with a weak defense and an unpredictable offense. Tampa Bay is just the opposite- a strong defense with playmaking ability and a young offensive unit (other than QB Brian Griese) that will run right down the Packers' throat. Rookie RB Carnell Williams is a beast, and Green Bay's D will be tired out by the third quarter. As long as the Cadillac keeps rolling, I'm riding with the Bucs.

Phil says: The Bucs are on a roll. They have finally found a running back for Gruden in Cadillac Williams and an acceptable quarterback in Brian Griese. This coupled with their reemerging all-star defense Tampa Bay really has a solid team. The story of this game will be Cadillac Williams once again who will run through and over Green Bay's dismal defensive front leading Tampa to 3-0.

Josh says: Carnell Williams, the NFL's leading rusher so far, versus a defense that has averaged 109 yards rushing against for the past two weeks. Does that seem fair? If Green Bay doesn't figure out how to stop the run soon they will be in for a really long season. Tampa Bay rides its brand new Caddy to another victory.

Tennessee at St. Louis – 1:00 p.m.

Pratik's Pick Abe's Pick Phil's Pick Josh's Pick
St. Louis Tennessee Tennessee St.Louis

Pratik says: St. Louis just has too many offensive weapons for a beleaguered Titans defense to keep up with. There's no way they can beat the Rams.

Abe says: St. Louis hasn't impressed me yet in 2005, and I'm still waiting for Steven Jackson to have the type of breakout game Rams fans have been looking for. Tennessee's defense held tough against Baltimore, and Steve McNair led the Titans to a somewhat surprising victory. But then again, the win was only surprising because we saw the Titans get demolished by the Steelers, an upper-echelon team. Tennessee has the youngest team in the NFL, but they don't play like it.

Phil says: The Titans have settled into Norm Chow's offense and this week we will get to see the what it can do in the NFL. Tennessee will either pile up a lot of points on Sunday or lose. Neither defense can stop the other offense so this should be entertaining game if nothing else's. Steve McNair healthy is still an MVP caliber player and he will lead his team to victory and a 2-1 record.

Josh says: Tennessee showed more than people expected last week, beating the Ravens handily. However, this week they face a much better offense that features the likes of Torry Holt, Steven Jackson and Marc Bulger. The combination of these three players is simply too much for the Tennessee defense to handle and the Rams pull out a win.

Arizona at Seattle – 4:05 p.m.

Pratik's Pick Abe's Pick Phil's Pick Josh's Pick
Seattle Seattle Seattle Seattle

Pratik says: Seattle beat out Atlanta last week and Arizona has looked shaky the whole season, so I'm going with Seattle.

Abe says: Seahawks RB Shaun Alexander rushed for less than 75 yards in week one in a loss to the Jaguars. In week two, Alexander went off for 144 yards and a touchdown against the stubborn defense of the Atlanta Falcons and led Seattle to a victory. Yes, boys and girls, Shaun has got his groove back.

Phil says: Arizona has had a disappointing showing so far this year a trend that will inevitably countinue. Seattle is coming off a victory of the Falcons and should find Arizona to be a cakewalk in comparison.

Josh says: Arizona's wide receiving core is among the best in the league with Anquan Boldin and Larry Fitzgerald on the outsides combining for 406 yards receiving in two games. However, Seattle, led by Shaun Alexander, dominates the Cardinals' weak defense by running the ball down the throat of Arizona and wins.

Dallas at San Francisco – 4:05 p.m.

Pratik's Pick Abe's Pick Phil's Pick Josh's Pick
Dallas San Francisco Dallas Dallas

Pratik says: Hahahaha, Dallas lost last week. But, unfortunately, they play San Fran, so they can't lose this week.

Abe says: 'Frisco is underrated, and despite losing a tough one to the Eagles last week, they get to play an emotionally drained Dallas team with a putrid offense. RB Julius Jones is yet to score a touchdown on the season and the Redskins' Mark Brunell burned Dallas' defense twice in a row Monday night. All this points in one direction- Niner country.

Phil says: So close but so far is what the Cowboys were to 2-0 on Monday night. Bill Parcells won't let them lose two in a row. The team will go back to its bread and butter with Julius Jones pounding the ball 35-40 times. The 49ers do not have a run defense that can stand up to this kind of pressure. Cowboys will scrape it out.

Josh says: Dallas bounces back from a crushing loss to the Redskins and Julius Jones and Drew Bledsoe each turn in quality performances to beat a 49ers team that does not have many skilled players.

New England at Pittsburgh - 4:15 p.m.

Pratik's Pick Abe's Pick Phil's Pick Josh's Pick
Pittsburgh New England Pittsburgh New England

Pratik says: Pittsburgh has been playing in midseason form all year. New England looked confounded and out of sync against the Panthers. I think Pittsburgh's defense will corral Brady and Co. for the whole game. Also, Corey Dillon has looked nothing like the bruising power runner he was last year and so I think the Pats will lose two-in-a-row for the first time in close to forever.

Abe says: Pittsburgh has won two games in impressive fashion, and the Pats stumbled last week against the Panthers. But Ben Roethlisberger just can't beat Bill Belichick. I like Steelers RB Willie Parker a lot (just ask Josh), but he's stoppable. Pats QB Tom Brady has shown the ability early this season to spread the ball around to a variety of receivers, and tight ends Ben Watson and Daniel Graham are reliable and hard to cover. The defending champs will roll into Pittsburgh and get back on the winning side of things.

Phil says: The Patriots were the team to beat this year and they were last week by the Panthers. Pittsburgh will exploit the new weakness unearthed by Steven Davis; running between the tackles. If running back Willie Parkers up to the task it should be a long day for the Super Bowl champions.

Josh says: The game of the week. I really could choose either team and be confident in my choice. Ben Roethlisberger has such a good grasp on his team's offense but I have to go with the Super Bowl champs. Losing two games in a row is simply not an option for a Bill Belichick team that won 21 straight games over a period of 13 calendar months. Corey Dillon finally gets on track and the Patriots take home a win in a very close game.

N.Y. Giants at San Diego - 8:30 p.m.

Pratik's Pick Abe's Pick Phil's Pick Josh's Pick
San Diego San Diego San Diego NewYork

Pratik says: I just don't think that San Diego can go 0-3. There's just too much talent on offense for that to happen. Besides, that reception Eli gets isn't going to be all cheers.

Abe says: Hey Eli Manning, remember the Chargers? Yeah, the team that picked you with the first overall pick in the draft and then dealt you to the Giants because you're a crybaby. Yeah, them, well they'd like to repay you. LT, Gates, and Chargers win easy and begin defense of their division title.

Phil says: San Diego is winless and the Giants are undefeated. Yet San Diego has lost both its games in heart breakers each by just a field goal. The Chargers will finally pull one out at home with the help of L.T., Antonio Gates and a defense that will finally discover their potential.

Josh says: The Giants and stud running back Tiki Barber run past the helpless Chargers who waste another good game from Drew Brees. Ladainian Tomlinson cannot be contained and he continues his NFL record of consecutive games with a rushing touchdown but it is all for naught as the Giants beat the Chargers in San Diego.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Kansas City at Denver – 9:00 p.m.

Pratik's Pick Abe's Pick Phil's Pick Josh's Pick
Kansas City Kansas City Kansas City Kansas City

Pratik says: Kansas City definitely looks like a great contender and Denver is just a middle of the pack team.

Abe says: Denver's defense is simply unpredictable, and K.C. has one of the best offenses in the league. Add those two things up, and you've got a Chiefs blowout. WR Ashley Lelie (isn't that a girl's name?) has been a disappointment for the Broncs, and Rod Smith hasn't done much either. Kansas City running backs Priest Holmes and Larry Johnson make up the scariest one-two punch in the backfield the NFL has seen in a while. TE Tony Gonzalez is a go-to-guy who has a special relationship with QB Trent Green. Show me somethin', Denver.

Phil says: The Chiefs have always had a dominating offense but not till this year did they have also have a complementary defense. The game will be one dominated by running. The tandem running backs Priest Holmes and Larry Johnson will face off against Tatum Bell and Mike Anderson. No comparison. The Chiefs will win a scrappy game with their run blocking and run stopping.

Josh says: Kansas City has been getting a lot out of Priest Holmes and Larry Johnson and the rushing duo pounds the ball against a suspect Denver defense. Trent Green and Tony Gonzalez each do what they do well, and the new and improved Chiefs' defense holds up.

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Abe Schwadron. Abe is a huge basketball, baseball, and football fan that likes to read up on sports in SLAM, Sports Illustrated, and ESPN magazines. Hobbies include streetball, poker and film-making. A sneaker addict, Abe likes to keep his kicks fresh. Abe likes reggae and hip-hop music, … More »

Josh Zipin. Josh Zipin has trouble paying attention for more than three seconds at a time... More »

Pratik Bhandari. Pratik Bhandari is (now) a 5'6" SENIOR who (still) weighs about 125 pounds. He came from India, which could explain his diminutive stature and lived there for three years before moving to Albany, the capital of New York believe it or not, and finally to … More »

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