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Sept. 20, 2012

NFL Week Three Predictions

by Jacob Buchholz, Online Sports Editor, Jack Estrin, Online Editor-in-Chief, Michael Gerbasi, Online Sports Editor and Josh Schmidt, Print Sports Editor
Week two showed that nobody is invincible as the Ravens, Patriots, Jets and Broncos tallied their first loss of the season. The 49ers and Texans appear to be the teams to beat in their respective conferences while the Falcons and Steelers are also on top of their game. Meanwhile in the ongoing rookie quarterbacking competition RG3 took a step down from week one while the other four rookies all took great strides.

The Eagles knocked off the Ravens in the last minutes of their week two showdown. Courtesy of Michael Perez/AP
The Eagles knocked off the Ravens in the last minutes of their week two showdown.
After another dismal week for Michael, his counterparts have taken a convincing lead in the SCO standings.

Standings:
Jack: 19-13
Josh: 18-14
Jacob: 17-15
Michael: 11-21



Thursday, September 20, 2012

New York Giants at Carolina Panthers
Jacob: Giants
Jack: Giants
Michael: Panthers
Josh: Giants

Jacob says:
The Giants and Panthers both came out with wins week two but neither one was very convincing. The Giants needed an incredible late game comeback to take down the Bucs while the Panthers took down the surprisingly weak Saints. I’m going with the Giants on gut alone.
Jack says:
Eli Manning made history last week against Tampa Bay, throwing for over 500 yards and leading the Giants to a comeback victory. Don’t look for Carolina’s mediocre defense to be the ones to stop Manning from having yet another big game. Cam Newton and the Panther’s explosive offense will turn this game into a shootout, but Eli Manning in the clutch will be the difference in the ball game.
Michael says:
The Giants barely pulled of a win against a lesser Tampa Bay team last week. This week they are also without Hakeem Nicks and on defense, the Giants' secondary has been struggling so expect Cam Newton and Steve Smith to give them a headache. Expect Newton to have a good game and lead Carolina past the Giants.
Josh says:
The Giants are going to figure out their stuff before going to Carolina. The Bucs were able to stifle New York for the beginning of their game on Sunday, but Eli Manning and Tom Coughlin will watch the tape and learn how to make better plays. Cam Newton won’t be able to save Carolina here.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Dallas Cowboys
Jacob: Cowboys
Jack: Cowboys
Michael: Cowboys
Josh: Cowboys

Jacob says:
The Cowboys beat the Giants and the Giants beat the Buccaneers. Therefore, the Cowboys will beat the Buccaneers.
Jack says:
The Cowboys were unable to muster any kind of offense last week in Seattle. All that should change when Dallas returns home to face Tampa Bay and quarterback Tony Romo will have a big game to pace the Cowboys.
Michael says:
This week I expect the Cowboys to play more like they did in week one against the Giants. The Buccaneers are tough, but if the Cowboys can put it all together, they should be a force to be reckoned with.
Josh says:
There’s just something about the Buccaneers. They’re not really dominant in any specific area, so I say that Tony Romo and Jason Witten will connect repeatedly as the Cowboys secondary limits Josh Freeman.

Luck outshone the rest of the rookies in week two as he got his first NFL win. Courtesy of Michael Conroy/AP
Luck outshone the rest of the rookies in week two as he got his first NFL win.
Jacksonville Jaguars at Indianapolis Colts
Jacob: Colts
Jack: Colts
Michael: Jaguars
Josh: Colts

Jacob says:
Andrew Luck came out gunning week two with a very impressive performance. The winless Jaguars will not find the cure to their endless list of issues in Indy.
Jack says:
Blaine Gabbert and the Jaguars had a historically bad day last week when they were held to just 117 total yards, a franchise low. Andrew Luck looked like Peyton Manning last game against the Vikings, when he led the Colts on a game winning drive, marching down the field before letting Adam Vinatieri kick the game winning field goal. Luck should improve to 2-1 and have a breakout performance against the hapless Jags.
Michael says:
Andrew Luck was impressive last week but I give Jacksonville the slight advantage. I think Maurice Jones-Drew will settle down, stop worrying about his contract and produce in this game. The Colts' defense has been weak and I think MJ-D will exploit that, leading to a Jaguar win.
Josh says:
Andrew Luck proved his talent last week, while the Jaguars once again reaffirmed their inferiority. The Colts should take this one relatively easily and Jaguar fans will be disappointed for the, seemingly, fifth year in a row.

Buffalo Bills at Cleveland Browns
Jacob: Bills
Jack: Bills
Michael: Browns
Josh: Bills

Jacob says:
The Bills are dynamic, any given week they could put up forty points and the next week they might give up forty. The Browns however, do not have the weapons to exploit the Bills weaknesses.
Jack says:
C.J. Spiller did it again. The third year man out of Clemson rushed for 123 yards and a pair of scores and the Bills took care of the Chiefs to improve to 1-1. The Browns will not stop the explosive Spiller from continuing his hot streak and Brandon Weeden will have to wait another week for his first career win.
Michael says:
The Bills' defense has not shown up yet this season and this week they are facing a Cleveland team that has seriously contended these past few weeks. The Browns' young QB and RB are improving and I expect them to carry the Browns to victory.
Josh says:
The Bills’ offense ran all over the Chiefs defense last week and who’s to say C.J. Spiller will stop. Last week Trent Richardson also ran wild, so expect a big running game here. The difference though will be Harvard grad Ryan Fitzpatrick as he’ll lead the Bills.

New York Jets at Miami Dolphins
Jacob: Jets
Jack: Dolphins
Michael: Jets
Josh: Jets

Jacob says:
The Jets secondary will rip Ryan Tannehill to shreds in an easy week three victory.
Jack says:
Ryan Tannehill played much better last game as the Dolphins got their first win of the season, defeating the Raiders. If Reggie Bush can have even half the game he did last week and Tannehill can once again play turnover free football, the Dolphins might just be able to pull off the upset. If Sanchez puts up another dud, it will only be a matter of time before the Tebow chants will come in the big apple.
Michael says:
Although the Jets had it tough last week and the Dolphins pulled out a surprising win, the Jets are still the Jets and the Dolphins are still the Dolphins. The New York defense is good enough to contain Reggie Bush and without him the Miami offense is next to nothing.
Josh says:
While Reggie Bush had a great game against the Raiders last week running for 172 yards and two touchdowns, the Jets’ defense is significantly better than Raiders’ and Rex Ryan will figure out a way to stop Tannehill and Bush.

Brees is struggling to find a rhythm as the Saints come into week three still winless. Courtesy of Bob Leverone/AP
Brees is struggling to find a rhythm as the Saints come into week three still winless.
Kansas City Chiefs at New Orleans Saints
Jacob: Saints
Jack: Saints
Michael: Saints
Josh: Saints

Jacob says:
0-3 to start the season? Not an option for Drew Brees and the Saints.
Jack says:
Drew will make this game look Breezy. No way the Saints start 0-3.
Michael says:
Neither team has impressed so far but I think the edge goes to New Orleans. Drew Brees is determined to find his groove again and with his great receiving core it will not be too hard to do. Brees is too good of a quarterback and has too good of a supporting cast to continue to struggle.
Josh says:
Here’s the bounce back game for Drew Brees and the Saints. The Chiefs will be beat down for the third game in a row as the Superdome will go wild as the Saints go to 1-2.

Cincinnati Bengals at Washington Redskins
Jacob: Redskins
Jack: Bengals
Michael: Redskins
Josh: Bengals

Jacob says:
Only two teams have given up more points in the first two games than the Bengals and both of those teams are 0-2. The Redskins’ new look offense will explode in front of the home crowd.
Jack says:
Jeff Fisher and the Rams brought RG3 back to reality last week. Andy Dalton was sharp against Cleveland last game, throwing for 318 yards and three scores. The Bengals will remind everyone that they were in fact a playoff team last year, as they will edge out the Skins in week three.
Michael says:
RGIII played well enough to win last week and I think he will continue his excellent play and serve as the key to the DC offense this week. As long as the Redskins' defense does not collapse, look for Washington to win this game.
Josh says:
Without Brian Orakpo and Adam Carriker the Redskins’ defense will be limited in their ability to rush Andy Dalton and stop Ben Jarvus Green-Ellis. RG3 won’t be able to save the ‘Skins here.

St. Louis Rams at Chicago Bears
Jacob: Bears
Jack: Bears
Michael: Bears
Josh: Bears

Jacob says:
The Rams have been surprisingly good so far this season but the Bears are simply better.
Jack says:
The Bears will be hungry for a win after losing to rival Green Bay. Jay Cutler and the Bears stout D will make it a long day for the Rams.
Michael says:
Although the Rams had an impressive win over Washington in week two, the Redskins are not on the same level as the Bears. Look for the Chicago defense to stop the Sam Bradford led St. Louis offense and on the other side of the ball expect Cutler and the Bears to control the tempo.
Josh says:
Jay Cutler will get his Bears into shape as Sam Bradford will be puzzled by Julius Peppers and the Bears’ defense. Cutler and Brandon Marshall will take advantage of a weak Rams’ D and connect for multiple touchdowns.

San Francisco 49ers at Minnesota Vikings
Jacob: 49ers
Jack: 49ers
Michael: 49ers
Josh: 49ers

Jacob says:
The 49ers are the team to beat right now. Big wins against Green Bay and Detroit have the 49ers flying high.
Jack says:
After another strong showing, the 49ers look like the best team in the league. In week two the potent 49ers defense shut down yet another elite offense. With Alex Smith and Frank Gore picking up the slack on offense, San Francisco will coast to their third win of the season.
Michael says:
The 49ers have been the most dominant team as of late and the Vikings have not been too impressive. The 49ers' defense will shut down Adrian Peterson and the Minnesota offense just like they have done the last two weeks and lead San Francisco to the win.
Josh says:
The 49ers' defense is the best in the league. First they shut down Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay offense and for an encore limited Calvin Johnson and the Lions’ offense. Christian Ponder and Adrian Peterson? Easy.

Detroit Lions at Tennessee Titans
Jacob: Lions
Jack: Lions
Michael: Lions
Josh: Lions

Jacob says:
Matt Stafford is yet to play as he did all of last season but a game against the pathetic Titans defense will bring him back to form.
Jack says:
This will be the game where Matt Stafford returns to his form of last season. After two poor showings, Stafford should have a big day and hook up with Megatron for at least a couple scores.
Michael says:
Where has Chris Johnson been? The Tennessee running back had been a non-factor for the first two weeks. I look for Johnson to continue his struggles and for the Detroit offense to come alive.
Josh says:
Chris Johnson threw his teammates under the bus for what he has observed as a poor effort this season. "People need to step up and do their job," Johnson said. He has 21 yards this season for a whopping 1.1 yards per rush average. Chris, I think you’re the one that needs to step up and do your job.

Atlanta Falcons at San Diego Chargers
Jacob: Falcons
Jack: Falcons
Michael: Falcons
Josh: Falcons

Jacob says:
Matt Ryan is playing better than any other quarterback in the league right now. That is including the revitalized Phillip Rivers who will give the Chargers a chance in this one but they won’t be able to overcome Atlanta.
Jack says:
Matt Ryan and the Falcons looked strong in their win over Peyton Manning’s Broncos Monday night. Don’t expect the Chargers, who have yet to face a quality opponent, to stop the Falcons from improving to 3-0.
Michael says:
Matt Ryan looked good but not great against a good Denver defense. Against a shoddy San Diego defense he should light up the scoreboard. The Atlanta defense had also been excellent and should not have a particularly hard time keeping the Chargers' offense in check.
Josh says:
Matt Ryan has proven that he is an elite quarterback. Stellar play in the opening games this year have thrust the Falcons into contention, even this early in the season. San Diego should offer stiff competition, but who can stop Roddy White and Julio Jones?

Philadelphia Eagles at Arizona Cardinals
Jacob: Eagles
Jack: Eagles
Michael: Cardinals
Josh: Eagles

Jacob says:
The Eagles are magically 2-0 with nine turnovers so far this season. It doesn’t make sense but they will keep on winning.
Jack says:
Both teams pulled major upsets last week Kolb and the Cardinals shocked the
world and beat the Patriots. The Eagles are finding ways to win so look for them to
continue the streak and improve to 3-0, winning this battle of the birds.
Michael says:
The Eagles did not deserve to win either of their first two games with Vick throwing way too many interceptions. Kevin Kolb has united this Arizona team and after a win over New England the Eagles should be easy in comparison.
Josh says:
How the Eagles are 2-0 right now is anybody’s guess. With a turnover margin that is so bad it’s funny, no one would be shocked if the Eagles were 0-2. But here they improve to 3-0 to gain a lead on the rest of the NFC East.

Pittsburgh Steelers at Oakland Raiders
Jacob: Steelers
Jack: Steelers
Michael: Steelers
Josh: Steelers

Jacob says:
The Steelers grounded the Jets last week and the Raiders have been grounded for a long time. Easy win for Big Ben.
Jack says:
Carson Palmer and the Raiders showed signs of life in their loss to Miami last week
but the Steelers' D will just be a little much to handle. Pittsburgh will beat up on
Palmer and the Raiders, and improve to 2-1.
Michael says:
The Raiders have failed to impress in many aspects so far. Also, I think either Big Ben or the Pittsburgh defense will find a way. The Steelers win this game.
Josh says:
The Raiders are on a path right now and no one may be able to stop them on. That path unfortunately leads directly to this line: “With the first pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, the Oakland Raiders select Matt Barkley, Quarterback, USC.”

Houston Texans at Denver Broncos
Jacob: Texans
Jack: Broncos
Michael: Texans
Josh: Texans

Jacob says:
Another great matchup for Denver but they will come out on the wrong end of this one. The Texans have the best point differential in the league and they may also be the most complete team.
Jack says:
Don’t expect for Peyton Manning to gift wrap three interceptions for the Texans,
like he did for the Falcons Monday night. Peyton Manning will bounce back strongly
from his poor showing Monday and have a dominant game against a good Houston
team.
Michael says:
The Broncos' defense is simply not good enough for one of the elite offenses in the league. Arian Foster, Ben Tate, Andre Johnson and Matt Schaub are a dynamic core of players to have on offense. The Broncos will lose a tough one.
Josh says:
The Broncos were able to rally on Monday night and get the game against the Falcons close, but I don’t see the Broncos being able to stop Arian Foster and the rest of the Texans’ offense. Houston drops Peyton to 1-2.

New England Patriots at Baltimore Ravens
Jacob: Ravens
Jack: Patriots
Michael: Ravens
Josh: Patriots

Jacob says:
Just like last year the Ravens are struggling on the road while blowing away teams at home. It won’t be easy but the Ravens will use their home field advantage and take down the Patriots.
Jack says:
In this rematch of the AFC championship, the Patriots will again come out on top.
The Tom Brady factor will be too much for a Suggs-less defense to handle and Brady
will make sure that the Patriots do not start the season 1-2. Bill Belichick will have
his team more than fired up for this one after last week’s major letdown against the
Cardinals.
Michael says:
The Ravens lost a close one to Philadelphia last week but were victimized by bad calls. The Patriots will struggle as Tom Brady continues to struggle and I think the Baltimore defense can definitely give Brady a tough time.
Josh says:
Both teams disappointed last week as they lost in the last seconds. Even with Aaron Hernandez out with an ankle injury, Bill Belichick will figure out a way to stop Ray Rice while ruining the Ravens’ defense. Never doubt the dark mastermind Bill.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Green Bay Packers at Seattle Seahawks
Jacob: Packers
Jack: Packers
Michael: Packers
Josh: Packers

Jacob says:
The Packers are the best 1-1 team in the league and they very well may be the best team in the league period. The week one loss to San Francisco was humbling but they are not looking back.
Jack says:
Russell Wilson and Marshawn Lynch will keep the game somewhat close before
Aaron Rodgers and the high-flying Packers offense will pull away.
Michael says:
Green Bay is bound to get into their offensive rhythm sooner or later and I think it will be sooner. The Seattle offense also will not provide a huge struggle for the weak Green Bay defense. This is a good chance for the Packers to regain their confidence and get their rhythm going again.
Josh says:
Russell Wilson impressed against the Cowboys on Sunday. But the Packers are a different animal. The Pack will be able to handle the Seahawks pretty well here.



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