Welcome to Week 3 of the 2011 Season. This week there are plenty of divisional games which could determine later playoff seeding and ignite old rivalries. Our weekly previews will briefly look at each game and I'll pick a winner with a margin. Enjoy this week's preview!
Jacksonville Jaguars @ Carolina Panthers
Current Odds: Jacksonville ( 2.55 ) Carolina (1.54 )
This is only the 3rd time these teams have played since 2001 splitting the series 1-1. Cam Newton continues to prove his #1 draft pick status blasting 854 yards in 2 games.
The Jags look to improve upon last weeks performance with Blaine Gabbert now starting for the Jags.
Carolina have shown some impressive early season form and should win their first game this season.
Carolina by 6
Houston Texans @ New Orleans Saints
Current Odds: Houston (2.65) New Orleans (1.50)
The last time these teams faced each other was 2007 and Houston won 23 - 10. Two years later the Saints were Superbowl champion, four years later the Texans are one of the hottest teams in the NFL. Both quarterbacks have lead their teams with poise controlling the field.
The Over/Under in this week’s game is 53 and I see these teams going way over possibly 30-35 points each. The Saints defense is suspect and the Texans linebacking corp hasn't been tested by a quality quarterback. Playing in the Superdome seems to give the Saints a boost and I expect the Saints to win this home game.
New Orleans by 10
San Francisco 49ers @ Cincinnati Bengals
Current Odds: San Francisco (2.1) Cincinnati (1.77)
This game is interesting. It is a chance for one of them to prove they are for real this season. The Bengals looked like they had the Broncos on a string last week while the 49ers let Dallas slip away. Cincinnati at home for the first time this season shapes up as a bad match-up for a team which has recently struggled playing away. Look for A.J. Green to have a big game for the Bengals: his height should give him a big advantage over the shorter, slower 49er secondary. Cinncinati should get the win at home this week.
Cincinnati by 3
Miami Dolphins @ Cleveland Browns
Current Odds: Miami (2.00) Cleveland (1.83)
Miami play their first game away from home for the year. The Dolphins have lost 11 of the last 12 games at home but have enjoyed remarkable success away. Heading into Cleveland maybe a respite from Sun Life Stadium but the result wont be very different. Colt McCoy is a young, dynamic quarterback who I think will pick apart the brittle Miami defense. Cleveland will win this week at home.
Cleveland by 2
New England Patriots @ Buffalo Bills
Current Odds: New England (1.32) Buffalo (3.55)
This is a new Buffalo Bills team ready to throw bombs and take chances. New England are the opposite: mature, precise and ruthless
. Both defenses are adequate but havent had any stand out performances allowing both yards and points each week. Buffalo will play hard but New England will put them out of their misery in a high scoring game, look for the Patriots to cover the spread in this one.
New England by 10
New York Giants @ Philadelphia Eagles
Current Odds: New York ( 4.25 ) Philadelphia (1.24 )
NFC East rivals clash early on a Sunday afternoon in Philadelphia’s home opener. This story of this game will be determined by how long the Giants can hold on for. The Eagles are loaded with talent at running back, wide receiver and corner back while the Giants are broken and old but will still put up a fight. Look for a closer game then expected but a Philadelphia win at home.
Philadelphia by 3
Denver Broncos @ Tennessee Titans
Current Odds: Denver (3.55) Tennessee (1.32)
Since 2001 the Bronco’s are 3-0 against the Titans but this week will be a different story. The weather is forecast to be overcast with possible showers so look for a run heavy game which is a huge disadvantage to the Broncos. Matt Hasselbeck is proficient at short sharp throws and Chris Johnson should rip through the Denver defense. The Titans will defend their home turf.
Tennessee by 6
Detroit Lions @ Minnesota Vikings
Current Odds: Detroit (1.58) Minnesota (2.45)
The Vikings have spent 10 years beating up on the Lions (17 wins over 10 years). This week the Lions get their revenge. Minnesota have no deep threat and an average quarterback. None of this bodes well against a young, hungry and talented Detroit defense intent on eating quarterbacks. Look for Matt Stafford to have a career day this week as Detroit win easily.
Detroit by 14
New York Jets @ Oakland Raiders
Current Odds: New York Jets (1.67) Oakland (2.55)
Two years ago the Jets crushed Oakland 38-0 in Oakland. This game pits a rejuvenated Raiders against a Jets team committed to proving itself as one of the AFC’s best. If the Raiders running game can keep the Jets offense off the field they can keep this close and steal a win at home.
The Jets defense will have a hard time breaking through the Oakland offensive line but if they can pressure Jason Campbell the Jets will force interceptions. The forecast is for a close game in the Coliseum and a Jet win.
New York Jets by 1 (Oakland +3 look like a steal if you can find it)
Kansas City Chiefs @ San Diego Chargers
Current Odds: Kansas City (6.75) San Diego (1.12)
In the last 4 meetings between these two San Diego have scored 30 + points in 3 of them. Look for San Diego to set the scoreboard on fire. It’ll be ugly for Kansas City. The Charger offense will manage over 550 yards on a soft Chiefs defense. Kansas City have scored a measly 10 points in the last two games and conceded 89. That's not a leak that's a black hole!
The line for this game is -14.5 the Chargers will blow this away scoring 35-42 points on the Chiefs.
San Diego by 24
Baltimore Ravens @ St Louis Rams
Current Odds: Baltimore (1.4) St Louis (2.90)
Both teams are coming off loses in games they should have won. Week 1 brought high expectations for both these teams and while the Ravens reached expectations initially they were hampered by the Titans last week. The Rams have been slowed by injuries to WRs Mark Clayton and Danny Amendola, handcuffing St Louis’ greatest asset in Sam Bradford.
Ravens QB Joe Flacco looked shaky last week and the Baltimore defense somehow gave up 26 points to a average Titan offense. The trademark Baltimore defense will choke the Ram’s offense and walk away with the win this week.
Baltimore by 7
Atlanta Falcons @ Tampa Bay Buccaneeras
Current Odds: Atlanta (2.05) Tampa Bay (1.80)
The Falcons are riding high after a huge win against the Eagles earlier this week. Tampa Bay fought back to overcome a 17 point deficit in Minnesota - thanks to Josh Freeman who has 8 4th quarter comebacks in 26 starts. Atlanta finished last year on a high as Tampa just missed on a playoff spot.
I see Freeman picking apart the Atlanta linebackers with support from LeGarrette Blount as the Bucs stops the Falcons in a tight, high scoring duel.
Tampa Bay by 1
Green Bay Packers @ Chicago Bears
Current Odds: Green Bay (1.47) Chicago (2.75)
Last time these teams met Green Bay walked into Soldier Field as a wild card, this time as Superbowl champions. The fire has to burn inside the Bears facility - it could have been them. On Jan 23 2011 Green Bay won by a touchdown.
This week Green Bay will throw deep on a frail Chicago secondary, but they wont be immune from the deep ball either. The Packers have given up the most yards per game this year and Jay Cutler is known for having a strong arm and can throw a great deep ball. The Packers offence however is too much for the Bears to contain and will give them an early lead that they will hold.
Green Bay by 10 points.
Arizona Cardinals @ Seattle Seahawks
Current Odds: Arizona (1.54) Seattle (2.55)
The battle for the NFC West starts this weekend. The team who wins will have the best quarterback play. This should be Kevin Kolb’s best performance’s of the season as he gets stuck into one the of league's worst defenses. Arizona have given up 500 + pass yards in 2 games while Seattle have limited opponents to only 420. Arizona have Larry Fitzgerald to target and average 8.5 yards per completed pass attempt while Seattle are languishing at 3.8 yards per completed pass attempt. Look for Arizona to rise up on the road this week.
Arizona by 2
Pittsburgh Steelers @ Indianapolis Colts
Current Odds: Pittsburgh (1.20) Indianapolis (4.80)
Clash of the fallen giants.
Indianapolis are having one of their worst seasons in history as Pittsburgh are still recovering from that home beating by Baltimore in week one. I worry for Kerry Collins, imagine having to find a target amongst Woodley, Farrior, Harrison, Taylor and the icing on the cake Polamalu. An average quarterback with average receivers at his disposal will struggle any day of the week. Collins is averaging 2 turnovers a week, look for him to perform poorly this week as well.
Meanwhile a hungry Pittsburgh are looking to tear through the AFC and regain the ground they lost in week one. Ben Roethlisberger must be salivating at the chance to play against Indy but the Steelers best tactic might be to control clock and hand it off to Rashard Mendenhall. If he wants to unload it seems like every play Mike Wallace is open deep down field.
Sit back and enjoy a battle between old AFC foes.
Pittsburgh by 17
Washington Redskins @ Dallas Cowboys
Current Odds: Dallas ( TBA ) Washington ( TBA )
Are there two more dramatic franchises then the Cowboys and Redskins?
Last year these two split the season series 1-1 with each game being decided by less then a touchdown.The Cowboys are yet to win a home opener in their new stadium but this year looks different. Romo was crunched last week and left with a fractured rib and punctured lung but will start hungry Monday night.
Redskins corner back DeAngelo Hall has thrown wood on the fire by saying his troops will be targeting Romo’s ribs: “If you know something’s wrong with an opponent, you're going to try to target in on that.” The last time Washington started 3-0 was 2005 and they made the playoffs, look for the Redskins to challenge the ‘Boys at home but expect the Cowboys to sneak a win.
Dallas by 3
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