NFL - Week Three predictions

Sept. 22, 2007, midnight | By Anshul Sood, Andrew Kung, Nitin Sukumar | 16 years, 8 months ago

We're all tied up...except for Nitin

The Ohio shootout last week gave fans a taste of exciting offenses and laughable defenses, New England proved they belong with the NFL elite without a video man and Washington managed to make Donovan McNabb look like a lost rookie. Could a 3-0 beginning for the Skins be possible? We all hope so. Meanwhile on the prediction front, Nitin looks to even up the scoreboard after an embarrassing start to this year's NFL picks that has him looking up at Andrew, Pia and Anshul, who are all currently tied for the lead. Can Week Three turn his fortunes?

Season standings:

Andrew 21-11
Pia 21-11
Anshul 21-11
Nitin 19-13

Sunday September 23, 2007

St. Louis Rams at Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Andrew Nitin Pia Anshul
St. Louis Tampa Bay Tampa Bay Tampa Bay

Andrew says: Sure, they're sitting at 0-2 after two abysmal performances, but I still like the Rams offense a lot, with or without Orlando Pace. How Tampa demolished the Saints last week is still beyond me, and a return to Week One levels (20-6 loss to the Seahawks) is likely.

Nitin says: Jeff Garcia and Joey Galloway face another awful secondary with the Rams. Even if Cadillac is unable to turn on the ignition, the Bucs should be able to pull this one off. Don't get me wrong, Steven Jackson is still one of the top backs in the league, but right now the elite backs are struggling and Jackson is no exception.

Pia says: Jeff Garcia is slowly turning the woeful Tampa Bay team around. After last week's big win against New Orleans, the team should be energized and ready to take on another surprisingly poor performing team.

Anshul says: These are some decent teams and it should be a pretty even match up. However, Steven Jackson isn't having the season that he should be. St. Louis has impressive faces on offense, but with a weaker defense and worse overall offense, Tampa Bay will light up the scoreboard with Joey Galloway and Jeff Garcia. The ground attack will be a factor here, but the Bucs should take this one.

San Francisco 49ers at Pittsburgh Steelers

Andrew Nitin Pia Anshul
Pittsburgh Pittsburgh Pittsburgh Pittsburgh

Andrew says: I'm really impressed with the job Mike Tomlin has done so far in Steel City. The Niners, not so much. Though they're 2-0, their margins of victory (three points in Week One, one point in Week Two) leave much too desire. Big Ben is looking sharp and Fast Willie is rolling, and the Steelers have established themselves as a legitimate contender.

Nitin says: Although they haven't played a legit team yet, the Steelers are looking like gold. Willie Parker torched the Bills and Browns; the 49ers don't pose much more of a threat defensively.

Pia says: Both teams may be 2-0, but the Steelers have outscored their opponents 60-10 while the 49ers have squeaked by 37-33. Look for another blowout at Heinz Field this Sunday.

Anshul says: Pittsburgh is playing like they did in 2005. Roethlisberger is making better decisions and throwing more accurately, while Willie Parker has become one of the premier backs in this league. This combination of air and ground attack, while also taking into account the impressive Steelers defense, poses a big threat. The 49ers don't have much going for them right now. They are coming off a good performance against the Rams, but they still aren't good enough to take out the Steelers.

Detroit Lions at Philadelphia Eagles

Andrew Nitin Pia Anshul
Detroit Detroit Detroit Detroit

Andrew says: Picking Detroit has served me well so far, so I'll continue favoring the Lions. Thanks to some alleged divine intervention, Jon Kitna is one-fifth of the way towards his preseason prediction. Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb has looked worse than Josh McCown and Tarvaris Jackson, the past two signal-callers the Lions have beaten, and unless a quick turnaround is around the corner, it's gonna be a long season in Philly.

Nitin says: It looks like McNabb is still in pain when he plays. With top Philly CB Lito Sheppard fighting an MCL sprain, WR Roy Williams will get another opportunity to shine. Yet another disappointing season lies ahead for the Eagles unless McNabb can get back to 100%.

Pia says: Lions' quarterback Jon Kitna's ten-victories-or-more guarantee during the preseason is beginning to look less laughable by the minute. Many might have guessed that this would be a 2-0 vs. 0-2 match up, but how many people predicted it would be the undefeated Lions versus the winless Eagles?

Anshul says: Never did I think that I would be picking the Lions over the Eagles. But with McNabb still not playing well after his injury and the Lions boasting an impressive offense with the WR combination of Roy Williams and Calvin Johnson, I have no other choice. The Eagles are going to need another couple of weeks for McNabb to learn to play through his recovering injury and for that defense to recover, mainly Lito Sheppard. The Lions are going to win again and be 3-0 to start the season.

Miami Dolphins at New York Jets

Andrew Nitin Pia Anshul
Miami Miami New York New York

Andrew says: Why do I keep picking the Dolphins? Because they're too talented to play this poorly. Trent Green is still a solid QB with an extremely talented underachieving backfield partner, and despite last week's 37-point thrashing, the Miami defense is actually serviceable. Stud linebacker Zach Thomas probably won't play, but it's not like the Gang Green offense sends defenses trembling, with or without Chad Pennington. By the way, is anyone actually surprised that this guy is already battling the injury bug?

Nitin says: Ronnie Brown is killing my fantasy team, but he'll finally show Cam Cameron that the name Jesse Chatman doesn't deserve to be so close behind on the depth chart. Jets QB Chad Pennington is questionable after a Week 1 ankle sprain, and backup Kellen Clemens is still learning the ropes.

Pia says: Backup quarterback Kellen Clemens has shown that he is able to hold his own, so the loss of injured Chad Pennington shouldn't have too much of an effect on the Jets' game. What will is Miami's consistently poor performance on both sides of the ball.

Anshul says: Chad Pennington may not be playing this week, but even if he does not, Kellen Clemens did not look too bad last week. He played impressively throughout for a backup, including a good fourth quarter in which he could have won the game for the Jets had it not been for a couple of drops in the endzone. Miami, on the other hand, hasn't really played up to expectations. They haven't been able to run the ball or stop the run, allowing over 350 yards on the ground total in their last two games.

Buffalo Bills at New England Patriots

Andrew Nitin Pia Anshul
New England New England New England New England

Andrew says: After two extremely impressive performances to start the season, the Patriots have officially earned the Team to Beat moniker. On the other hand, all the Bills have earned thus far are pity and calls for J.P. Losman's head. This will probably be the game Laurence Maroney finally gets rolling (or so hopes my fantasy team).

Nitin says: The pain won't stop for the Bills; they've already played Denver and Pittsburgh. New England absolutely destroyed San Diego without several key defensive players and Buffalo can't get the passing game on its feet. J.P. Losman won't find his receivers and Marshawn Lynch won't be able to accomplish what LT couldn't last week. And did you see 270-pound Adalius Thomas outrun the Chargers' receivers? Another blowout in Foxboro for sure.

Pia says: Love 'em or hate 'em (personally I am of the latter), you have to admit that the Patriots are one good team. It doesn't hurt that they are at home playing against a weak team crippled with injuries.

Anshul says: It should be illegal how good the Pats are. They boast one of the best offenses and defenses in the league. Their offense is second in points and yards and their defense is first in total yards and rushing yards. They're just too good. Buffalo, on the other hand, has just been struggling. Their running game is starting to get somewhere, but their pass offense ranks last in the league with not even 100 yards per game, even with an explosive receiver in Lee Evans. The Patriots are going to steamroll over the Bills.

Minnesota Vikings at Kansas City Chiefs

Andrew Nitin Pia Anshul
Minnesota Kansas City Minnesota Minnesota

Andrew says: I've said this all year: the Minnesota run defense is gold. Considering how one-dimensional the Larry Johnson-led KC offense is, this should be an ugly game for the Arrowhead Stadium faithful.

Nitin says: This game belongs to Larry Johnson. While the Vikings defense is solid, Tarvaris Jackson is playing high school football. Damon Huard will once again have no success in the air, but I think LJ will go for over 125 total yards to go with 2 TDs.

Pia says:Even with their starting quarterback injured, Minnesota has better chance to win this game; that's how woeful the Kansas City Chiefs are. In two games, KC has scored only 13 points, with an average of 250 yards of offense; it doesn't help that they are 2-5 in home openers in the past seven years.

Anshul says: Kansas City needs help at the quarterback position. Their offense has put up only 13 points in their first two games, topping only the Falcons who have 10. They need to get something going offensively, especially through the air. LJ cannot carry that team on his own. Their defense hasn't been too bad, doing well at limiting the pass. Minnesota, on the other hand, is not doing too bad. They're running the ball well and stopping the run, which is really all KC has to look forward too. Minnesota should come out on top here.

Indianapolis Colts at Houston Texans

Andrew Nitin Pia Anshul
Indianapolis Indianapolis Indianapolis Indianapolis

Andrew says: Matt Schaub has officially arrived. It's too bad his only decent target in Andre Johnson won't suit up on Sunday. In the not-too-distant future, the Texans may wrangle with the Colts for AFC South supremacy. Just not today, as the Colts move to 3-0 in a surprising battle of undefeateds.

Nitin says: Andre Johnson is lifting this young franchise with consistent hands, but the Houston defense is still questionable having let Jake Delhomme and Steve Smith connect for 3 TDs. Johnson may not be able to play either, and Matt Schaub's success is based off of his top wideout's presence. I'm hoping for a Texans W but it seems just out of reach.

Pia says: The Colts are just too established of a team for first-year started Matt Schaub and his team to take out.

Anshul says: This Texans team is looking better than last year and clearly bringing in Matt Schaub was a good move. But the Colts have a killer offense alongside a vastly improved defense. The Texans are explosive and should have a good season with a good air attack, but their defense needs to improve in order to compete with high caliber teams. The Colts play effectively on both sides of the ball, so this should be an easy game for them.

San Diego Chargers at Green Bay Packers

Andrew Nitin Pia Anshul
San Diego San Diego San Diego San Diego

Andrew says: A.J. Hawk and the Packers defense have always been talented, but I never expected to be this good, this quickly. That said, they're still not good enough to even dream about stopping LT, who should finally get his season average above two yards-per-carry.

Nitin says: Philip Rivers finally has an average defense to push around after two dismal performances. Similar to LJ, LT is done playing games and Green Bay's pumped up players won't know what hit them. But congrats to Brett Favre after breaking yet another quarterback record (most wins for a quarterback) during his impressive career.

Pia says: The last two weeks haven't been kind to last year's explosive Charger offense. But then again they played against the NFC Champion Bears and the perennial playoff team, the Patriots. This week's match up should finally get the ball rolling for them. The Packers have proved more resilient than anyone expected, but it won't be enough.

Anshul says: Green Bay has taken me by surprise, coming up 2-0 with impressive wins over the Giants and Eagles. But San Diego boasts an offense that is too much for the decent Green Bay defense to handle, even if Philip Rivers has not proven himself at quarterback yet. He has been effective, but needs to make more explosive plays and pass to guys other than Gates and LT. Still, they have LT and Gates and that is enough to put them over the Packers.

Arizona Cardinals at Baltimore Ravens

Andrew Nitin Pia Anshul
Baltimore Baltimore Baltimore Baltimore

Andrew says: For the second straight week, the Cardinals face an ornithological opponent. Too bad these blackbirds will prove to be far more resilient than last week's Seahawks.

Nitin says: Even with QB Steve McNair out of action nursing an injury, the Ravens were no doubt pleased with backup Kyle Boller's performance against the Jets. Arizona RB Edgerrin James has taken the right steps to re-emergence, but the Cardinal's defense is still laughable. Matt Leinart should get some quality time free of charge with Ray Lewis & Co.

Pia says: Baltimore has held its own even with its starting quarterback and tackle injured. Now with both Steve McNair and Jonathan Ogden expected to be back in the lineup, the Ravens should have no problem rolling over the Cardinals in this Battle of the Birds.

Anshul says: Baltimore came off of two very close games so far. One, they were picked off in the endzone in a game-ending drive. The other, they picked off the Jets in the endzone in a game-winning drive. This game however, should be much better for Baltimore. A large portion of their team was playing through injury last week and Steve McNair wasn't even playing. Still, Kyle Boller is not just a backup QB. He has proven himself able to handle the Raven's offense and that offense combined with an amazing defense will put the Ravens on top.

Cincinnati Bengals at Seattle Seahawks

Andrew Nitin Pia Anshul
Seattle Cincinnati Cincinnati Cincinnati

Andrew says: After being Edged out by the Cardinals last week (haha...sorry again), Seattle looks to bounce back against another team that was upset by a laughingstock of recent years. Lofa Tatupu, Julian Peterson and Marcus Trufant form a formidable unit that won't allow 6 TD passes from Carson Palmer, and Matt Hasselbeck and Shaun Alexander are much more formidable than Derek Anderson and Jamal Lewis. Picking against the consensus was gold for me last week in the Arizona and Detroit games, so let's see if my luck can hold. I mean seriously, how can you pick a team that just lost to the Browns?

Nitin says: While the Bengals' D gave up 51 points last week, I doubt they'll repeat that disgusting show again. The game against the Browns was marked by sloppy "tackles" that don't show up too often week after week. Carson Palmer will be gunning his way to the endzone early and often.

Pia says: Let's take a look at last week's performances from these two teams. Cincinnati managed to rack up six touchdowns, 531 offensive yards and 45 points. Seattle could barely score against the Arizona Cardinals, a team not especially known for its tough defense. Sure the Bengals' defense had more holes than Swiss cheese, but if the Seahawks can't score big against the Cardinals, whom can they score big against?

Anshul says: Cincinnati has shown that their defense has enormous deficiencies, particularly in the secondary. They are coming off a shameful performance against division rival Cleveland and new starting QB Derek Anderson. But still, their offense is explosive, matching Cleveland's output before falling short in the end. Seattle needs to make improvements on their defensive side as well and Carson Palmer should be able to exploit that weakness for a huge game.

Cleveland Browns at Oakland Raiders

Andrew Nitin Pia Anshul
Oakland Oakland ClevelandCleveland

Andrew says: Two league doormats duke it out in a matchup that will probably have implications for the top of the 2008 NFL Draft. Both offenses have shown some life, but both defenses have left a lot of room for improvement. Playing at the Black Hole gives the Raiders the edge.

Nitin says: Derek Anderson? What a fluke. Apparently Oakland coach Lane Kiffin is letting Josh McCown start again this week, so Cleveland has a chance of winning this one. But the Oakland secondary will punish Anderson if he tries to take over again. It'll be interesting to watch how Jamal Lewis and LaMont Jordan perform; both have started off very well following disappointing seasons.

Pia says: Oh good. We can finally find out who the worse team in the league is. Since Cleveland demolished Cincinnati's defense last week, I'll have to go with them for the win.

Anshul says: Both these teams have rookie quarterbacks ready to step in as soon as they're given the go. But their times aren't now. Now is the time of Derek Anderson, who played probably the best game he will have in his career. Don't look for that kind of a performance from him again. However, look for a square off of two underrated running backs in LaMont Jordan and Jamal Lewis. These two have put up bigger numbers than expected and should play well against poor rush defenses. Still, Cleveland should have an offensive and defensive edge here and win this match-up.

Jacksonville Jaguars at Denver Broncos

Andrew Nitin Pia Anshul
Jacksonville Denver Denver Denver

Andrew says: The Broncos stand atop the AFC West at 2-0, but honestly haven't played all that well, winning both their games on last-minute field goals. The Jags are coming off a solid win against the horrible Falcons, and David Garrard is looking more comfortable behind center with every snap. Denver's Mile-High run of lucky games may very well end here.

Nitin says: Jay Cutler will probably let Travis Henry take the load of the work against the Jaguars' D. While David Garrard has maintained a 102.8 QB rating over the first two weeks, he's done it against the Falcons and the Titans. It's going to be low scoring and generally boring so don't bother to watch.

Pia says:Maybe Denver should just play Jason Elam on every play, since he seems to be the only man who can win for them, with two final-play game-winning kicks in as many games. It should be easier for the Broncos this week as they take on a Jaguar team with an inconsistent defense, a struggling running back and a quarterback who's been sacked seven times in two games.

Anshul says: The Jaguars have not really shown any explosiveness on either side of the ball. Jay Cutler, however, has shown that he has that explosiveness in him and brings it to that Broncos offense to compliment their incredible pass defense. He just needs to relax a little, make some better decisions, and air the ball out if needed. He has the strength to do it. Look for a close match-up, and the only reason I say close is because neither of these teams should put up a tremendous score.

New York Giants at Washington Redskins

Andrew Nitin Pia Anshul
Washington Washington Washington Washington

Andrew says: After picking two straight Washington losses and being pleasantly disappointed both times, I'm finally going with the burgundy and gold. The Giants have been manhandled thus far by Dallas and Green Bay, and the nightmare should continue for Eli Manning and crew. Maybe my pessimism is good luck. If the Skins lose this week, I'll go back to picking against them.

Nitin says: Could this be the season? Against a suspect NY defense and with home-field advantage, the Redskins will bring down the Giants. It comes down to whether or not Clinton Portis keeps up his running game and if Washington can contain Plaxico Burress. Eli Manning has already connected with his elusive wide out four times.

Pia says: Wow. The Redskins are one of five teams in the NFC with a 2-0 start? I'm certainly not complaining. Better yet, it looks as if they can make the previously unthinkable 3-0 if they can take advantage of a struggling Giants defense and Plaxico Burress's questionable health.

Anshul says: I hope by now people are starting to realize that the Redskins are a legitimate team this year. Looking at their schedule, they have the chance to go 6-0 to start the season before they hit the Patriots. But first they tackle the Giants. The Giants aren't boasting one of the best defenses in the league and the Redskins should be able to take advantage as well as contain the Giant's offense as well. Plus, with the home crowd backing them up, the Redskins are going to win and jump out to 3-0.

Carolina Panthers at Atlanta Falcons

Andrew Nitin Pia Anshul
Carolina Carolina Carolina Carolina

Andrew says: Picking against the Falcons, after everything they're going through, isn't easy. Well, actually it is, considering how badly they've stunk so far.

Nitin says: Steve Smith and Jake Delhomme are working like magic and CB DeAngelo Hall won't be able to stop Smith on his way to another multiple TD, 100+ yard game. Falcons fans will be on their knees praying for newly acquired Byron Leftwich to play in Week 3.

Pia says: Never fear Falcon fans, relief is in sight. Well, on the horizon at least. The season may be salvageable as Leftwich takes over and a one Michael Vick may soon begin to fade from memory. Unfortunately, Joey Harrington is still starting this week, so hang tight fans. This week shouldn't be too painful though, as Carolina's famous D recently struggled against Texans first-year starter Matt Schaub (who, ironically, was traded from Atlanta last year).

Anshul says: The Falcons have now signed Byron Leftwich, who may be a better fit for that offense than Joey Harrington. However, it will be Harrington playing this Sunday and against a Carolina offense that has Steve Smith, possibly the best reciever in the NFL right now, he'll need to perform exceptionally well to win this game. But he won't and the Falcons' defense won't be able to stop the onslaught of Carolina's offense.

Dallas Cowboys at Chicago Bears

Andrew Nitin Pia Anshul
Chicago Chicago Dallas Dallas

Andrew says: Defense wins games, and though the Dallas offense has been nothing short of dynamite against the Giants and Dolphins, playing at Soldier Field against the ferocious Bears unit will be nothing like what they've encountered thus far. These are by far the top two teams in the NFC, but I like the Bears, who have yet to unleash the Devin Hester factor. He'll get more offensive snaps after proving he's still got his explosiveness, returning a punt to the house a week ago.

Nitin says: With TE Greg Olsen possibly returning this week and WR Muhsin Muhammad itching for more work, Rex will be able to look with confidence at his receiving squad. The Dallas offense has dominated in the last two weeks, but the talented Chicago defense managed to stuff both LaDainian Tomlinson and Larry Johnson. Marion Barber and Julius Jones are talented, but not talented enough to make a difference in this game.

Pia says: A preview of the NFC Championship this year? With Tony Romo's explosive offense, Chicago's stingy defense and both team's questionable other halves, this will be the Game to Watch this week. Dallas has the upper hand as if the Chicago-San Diego Week One match up was any indication.

Anshul says: This is tough. Dallas has showed their tremendous offensive output with Romo and T.O., as well as on the ground. But Chicago has shown that they are once again the number one defense in the league. The deciding factor here should be the lack of offensive consistency in Chicago, and more particularly Rex Grossman. If he has a good game, the Bears have a chance here. But if he doesn't, which I am anticipating, then Dallas can muscle out a win off of the former NFC champions.

Monday, Sept. 24, 2007

Tennessee Titans at New Orleans Saints

Andrew Nitin Pia Anshul
Tennessee New Orleans New Orleans New Orleans

Andrew says: The Saints were a popular preseason Super Bowl pick, but honestly they've looked atrocious through two games. Their offensive line is not clicking and their defense as whole is making a sponge look impermeable. Madden curse aside, I've loved Vince Young's explosive athleticism and leadership since his Longhorn days, and though he's still raw and far from the prototypical quarterback, he's playing a Saints D has made all kinds of guys, from Peyton Manning to Jeff Garcia, look MVP-worthy.

Nitin says: Tennessee definitely gave Indianapolis a scare. But Drew Brees will finally take off in the New Orleans home opener and the fans won't give up so quickly after what he pulled off last season.

Pia says: The Saints have been struggling to meet expectations after last year's emotional journey to the NFC Championship. The Titans on the other hand, gave the Colts a run for their money last week and are looking much sharper than last year's performance would have indicated. Nevertheless, the spell cast on the New Orleans offense should break this week as the Saints play their first game at home.

Anshul says: The Saints are 0-2? Really? This was one of the best offensive teams in the league last year, but with a mediocre defense. But this season, it's not just the defense that is causing the losses, it's also the offense that has only put up 24 points these first two weeks. But now they're at home in front of a crowd of fans that support the Saints too much for them to disappoint. Look for a tight match-up unless New Orleans can really get it clicking on offense early.

Anshul Sood. Anshul is a very laid-back person, a real take-it-easy kind of guy. He often burns time listening to music, playing music, watching some sports game, or playing some sport. Recently, he has entered into the world of running, though he is not very good. However, … More »

Andrew Kung. Andrew Kung is a rising Magnet junior who is psyched for a year of Chips Online. He has lived in New York, Michigan, and New Mexico prior to his current residence in Maryland. As a cynical sports fan, he is not often disappointed, but not … More »

Nitin Sukumar. Nitin's middle name is Antonio Gates. More »

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