Surviving the upsets
All of our experts had a winning record this week, which can be attributed to how smart we are...or to the lack of upsets that went down. Either way, we're gearing up for a week four that should offer plenty of excitement— Vick vs. McNabb in his return to Philly, Baltimore faces Pittsburgh in a match up of AFC North leaders and the Dolphins go head-to-head with the Patriots on Monday Night Football.
Eli is still in front with Blake on his tail. Melissa is last by a wide margin— maybe she'll learn to stop picking the Lions.
Sunday, Oct. 3
San Francisco 49ers (0-3) at Atlanta Falcons (2-1)
The Falcons have almost double the rushing yards average than the 49ers. Sadly, this week will serve as the fourth consecutive loss for San Francisco.
The Falcons got a huge upset win (correctly picked by yours truly) on the road last week in New Orleans. Atlanta's balanced offensive attack was led by quarterback Matt Ryan (228 yards and two touchdowns) and by running back Michael Turner (114 yard and one touchdown). Meanwhile, San Francisco is reeling after dropping to 0-3 with a loss to the red-hot Chiefs. Atlanta rolls.
The 49ers have been a disappointment this season and are sitting at 0-3. Atlanta beat the reigning Super Bowl champs last week (Saints) and are riding on cloud nine. Falcons got this one.
New York Jets (2-1) at Buffalo Bills (0-3)
The revival of their passing game under quarterback Mark Sanchez will grant the Jets their third win of the season.
The Jets looked great offensively in week three in their 31-23 win over Miami. Second-year Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez is coming into his own, throwing for 256 yards and 3 touchdowns on Sunday night. The Bills, on the other hand, are at the bottom of the AFC East, and they're no match for New York even after scoring 30 points on New England.
Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez has been playing better than ever throwing for three touchdown passes last week and New York's team chemistry seems to be getting stronger by the week. Jets win this one easily.
Cincinnati Bengals (2-1) at Cleveland Browns (0-3)
Bengals have the one of the top pass defenses in the league against an almost non-existent pass offensive in the Browns. Unfortunately for Cleveland, they get nothing but their fourth loss in a row.
Cincinnati is coming off a 20-7 victory over the winless Panthers, while the Browns lost by a touchdown to Baltimore. Ochocinco has played well for Cincy but quarterback Carson Palmer hasn't been able to create any chemistry with new addition Terrell Owens. Neither team has impressed me too much through three games, but the Bengals have the upper hand and will ride Cedric Benson to move to 3-1 on Sunday.
Even with tons of turnovers and penalties, the Bengals were still able to defeat the Panthers last week by making sure Carolina quarterback Jimmy Clausen didn't perform well. Bengals should be able to the same this week, playing against a weak Cleveland team that has been putting up less than impressive numbers.
Detroit Lions (0-3) and Green Bay Packers (2-1)
Although the lions were hyped as being this season's sleepers, they haven't yet lived up to that standard. Lions running back Jahvid Best is doing well but other than that the team hasn't had much of a pulse.
The Pack fell to Chicago last week, but they'll bounce back and take care of a different NFC North opponent, Detroit, in week four. The Lion D simply can't keep up with Green Bay's high-octane offense -- even in the loss, quarterback Aaron Rodgers completed 34 passes for over 300 yards. The Packers will continue to air it out this week with their lack of a solid run game. Green Bay gets the "W” at home.
I hate to do this to the Lions, but the Packers have definitely got this one. Detroit's play has been downright dismal. When their offense is scoring, their defense can't hold the other team's offense back. The Packers defense will be able to stop any kind of offensive attack by the Lions and their offense will take care of the scoring.
Denver Broncos (1-2) at Tennessee Titans (2-1)
Despite injuries, mighty Chris Johnson should be able to handle the Bronco defense. If they want the win, the Broncos will need to find a way to pull it together without running back Knowshon Moreno, who for another week.
After defeating the Giants 29-10 in week three, Tennessee will conquer the ailing Broncos on Sunday. Denver may be without their starting running back, Knowshon Moreno, for the second week in a row. Broncos quarterback Kyle Orton threw for 476 yards against the Colts last week, but that stat is a little misleading -- it was against a bad Colts defense, and he threw 57 passes. I love me some Chris Johnson, so I expect him to continue putting up savage numbers after a 125-yard, two-touchdown effort in week three.
In last week's game, everyone got to see the Chris Johnson we all know and love run over the Giants. Adding to that, the Titans defense forced three turnovers. It should be easy for the Titans defense to do the same against the Broncos, because their quarterback Kyle Orton is known for his inconsistency. Johnson will put on a show and the Broncos won't be able to stop him. Titans win this one.
Seattle Seahawks (2-1) at St. Louis Rams (1-2)
Coming off of their first win, the Rams have a little momentum going. If Sam Bradford can outsmart Seahawks safety Earl Thomas, then the Rams can pull off this upset.
St. Louis beat my 'Skins 30-16 last week, and Sam Bradford showed why he was the number one overall pick in this year's draft, throwing for 235 yards. The Seahawks also won in week three, defeating the Chargers 27-20; however, two of Seattle's touchdowns were kickoff returns by Leon Washington, a fluke occurrence that doesn't mean the Seahawks are a good team. As long as stud running back Steven Jackson is able to play after suffering a groin injury last week, the Rams will come out on top.
Seattle's been playing well this season and is off to a 2-1 start. The offseason acquisition of running back Leon Washington has done them well; in last week's game, Washington scored two touchdowns off kickoffs. The Rams beat the Redskins for their first home win in 20 straight games, but I'm pretty sure that's all the games they're going win this season. Seattle and the twelfth man win at home.
Carolina Panthers (0-3) at New Orleans Saints (2-1)
Panthers rookie quarterback Jimmy Clausen starts his second game in the NFL against a defense that knows how to create pressure. The Saints will jump on his weaknesses and give the Panthers their fourth consecutive loss.
The Saints will dominate the 0-3 Panthers in week four. Brees will put up monster numbers against a bad Panthers defense, and New Orleans will capitalize on rookie mistakes by Carolina quarterback Jimmy Clausen. This one's a no-brainer.
New Orleans has to win this game. Even though they've only lost one game so far, it's pretty obvious that the reigning Super Bowl champions aren't playing at their best level. New Orleans kicker Garrett Hartley has been missing field goals left to right, costing them points and as we saw last week, costing them games. If he plays well, then New Orleans will have one less thing to worry about. The Saints should be able to defeat Carolina.
Baltimore Ravens (2-1) at Pittsburgh Steelers (3-0)
This one's very much up in the air. After disappointment in week two, quarterback Joe Flacco rebounded the next week with one of the best games of his career. If he shows any resemblance to his performance last week, the Ravens should be able to pull out a hard fought "W.”
In this match-up of AFC North heavyweights, Baltimore hands Pittsburgh its first loss of the season in a gritty defensive battle. It's clear that defense is each of these team's strongpoint—the Steelers have given up just 9, 11 and 13 points through the first 3 weeks while the Ravens have given up 9, 15 and 17. However, both teams also looked superb offensively in week three. Pittsburgh quarterback Charlie Batch threw for three touchdowns, while Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco hooked up with receiver Anquan Boldin for three scores of their own. Because their defenses are about the same talent-wise, I give the edge to Baltimore because they have more offensive weapons. Flacco, Boldin, and running back Ray Rice will all contribute to a Ravens victory in week four.
Surprisingly enough, Pittsburgh's 3-0 to start the season and has been playing well on both sides of the field. Sadly, however, I cannot tell you the name of Pittsburgh's starting quarterback because it has changed so many times… On a more serious note, Pittsburgh's defense has been stifling other teams and their offense has been able to rack up enough points to get by the other teams.
Houston Texans (2-1) at Oakland Raiders (1-2)
Both of these teams lost in tough games last week. If the Texans can get the ball to Andre Johnson, it should be an easy win.
The Texans are coming off a 27-13 defeat to the hands of Dallas, but Houston is still a much better team than Oakland and they'll prevail in week four. Rookie sensation Arian Foster has wreaked havoc on defenses thus far, and his success will continue as he faces a terrible Raider defense this week.
Houston has to redeem themselves after falling to Dallas last week—after all, they did lose to the most overrated team in the NFL. Fortunately for them they have both the offensive and defensive power to do so.
Indianapolis Colts (2-1) at Jacksonville Jaguars (1-2)
Even though the Colts don't look as hot as they have in previous years, quarterback Peyton Manning will always be a force to be reckoned with and the Jags don't have the passing game to stop him.
This one's easy. Manning and the Colts win on the road over a struggling Jacksonville squad.
Peyton Manning will do what he does best and throw two or more touchdowns. The Colts' defense has also been playing solidly and will continue to do so on Sunday.
Washington Redskins (1-2) at Philadelphia Eagles (2-1)
Unfortunately, in most recent games, the Redskins passing game has been looking miserable—just in time for Michael Vick's reemergence. I hate to admit it but the Redskins just won't be able to hang.
Oh baby. NFL fans have been salivating over this match-up ever since the Eagles traded Donovan McNabb to division rival Washington on April 4. People are so curious to see how Philly fans react when he steps onto the field that they almost forget that there is a game to be played, too. Speaking of which, the 'Skins will prevail against their division counterpart. Even though Michael Vick has been playing out of his mind and was just awarded NFC's player of the month, something tells me that the Redskins will find the will to win after an embarrassing loss to the Rams last week. In any case, one thing's for sure: you'll want to tune in for this one.
Michael Vick is playing amazingly well for someone who came into the season as a second-string quarterback. With three passing touchdowns and one running touchdown, Vick's performance last week proved that he deserves the starting job. Add wide receivers De Sean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin into the mix and Washington's defense won't be able to stop the trio. Philly wins at home.
Arizona Cardinals (2-1) at San Diego Chargers (1-2)
The Chargers vastly outnumber the Cardinals in total yards per game and Mike Tolbert is looking like a future back.
San Diego sits at 1-2 after shocking losses to Kansas City and Seattle. The Cardinals are 2-1 but their wins are over Oakland and St. Louis. The Chargers just have more talent, and they'll win even though they haven't really clicked yet.
The Chargers lost to the Seahawks last week due to their poor defense. Their defense let Washington score twice on kickoffs and even the strong leadership of quarterback Philip Rivers couldn't help them rally for the win. As long as Rivers keeps his composure (after all, he's been known to cry once or twice), the Chargers should be able to edge by Arizona for the win.
Chicago Bears (3-0) at New York Giants (1-2)
Thanks to their hard-knock defense and Jay Cutler's arm, the Chicago Bears will remain undefeated.
After convincing wins over New England and Green Bay, the Bears are 3-0 and playing great. Chicago quarterback Jay Cutler threw for 221 yards in week three and their defense held the Packers to just 17 points. The Bears will continue their winning ways and stay undefeated when they play the 1-2 Giants in week 4.
Wow. To everyone's surprise, Chicago's 3-0 and looking stronger every week. The Bears' victory against Chicago last week didn't come easily, but they were still able to squeak it out. In all truthfulness, the Bears' offense really isn't that great, but their defense should be able to suffocate the Giants and Eli Manning enough to earn the win.
Monday, Oct. 4
New England Patriots (2-1) at Miami Dolphins (2-1)
This division rivalry is looking to be a good one. If Tom Brady's Patriots can find a reliable back, they should be able to win.
New England will take their talents to South Beach in week four and come out with their third win of the season. Both of these teams have playoff hopes in a talented AFC East, but Tom Brady and his high-scoring offense will solidify a victory for the Patriots on Monday Night Football.
New England is fighting for control of the AFC East with both Miami and the New York Jets. Overall, the Pats are a better team, with Brady at quarterback and Welker at wide receiver; they have one of the strongest offenses in the league. But if they aren't supported by their defense, they won't be able to beat Miami. If the defense can shut down Miami, Brady will be able to lead the Patriots over the Dolphins. In a close game, I'll take the Patriots to win.
Melissa Haniff. Melissa loves music, One Tree Hill, traveling and experiencing new cultures. She is also a diehard Patriots, Red Wings, Pistons and University of Michigan fan...Go Blue! More »
Eli Schwadron. Eli (@eschwad) is a chill guy who likes to play basketball, watch TV and eat. More »
Blake Morgan-Gamber. Blake Morgan-Gamber is a rare specimen with two last names; she woos women and men alike with her fanciful features writing and sumptuous sports editing. But do not be lulled by this siren, though BMG is a creature of beauty, there's many amazing talents inside ... More »