Week three in NFL predictions

Jets likely to overtake Dolphins, Bills and Browns a close call

Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Dallas Cowboys

Sunday, Sept. 23 1:00 p.m.

After allowing over 500 yards passing to Eli Manning, Tampa Bay has some work to do in their secondary, especially with Dallas’ receiving weapons coming into town. That is, if Dallas actually comes to play. Last week, they looked disorganized and confused against Seattle. If they have a similar performance, they will lose to the inferior Buccaneers team. Usually for teams of Dallas’ caliber though, games like that do not happen twice in a row. Tony Romo should have a field day.

Prediction: 34–17 Cowboys

Jacksonville Jaguars @ Indianapolis Colts

Sunday, Sept. 23 1:00 p.m.

Blaine Gabbert looked like his old self last Sunday and failed to build on his good start in week one against the Vikings. He threw for just 53 yards and completed less than 50 percent of his passes. Andrew Luck, on the other hand, had a great game in the Colts’ victory over the Vikings, throwing for over 200 yards and two touchdowns. If Indianapolis can contain Maurice Jones-Drew (which is a big if), they should earn their second straight victory.

Prediction: 17–10 Colts

Buffalo Bills @ Cleveland Browns

Sunday, Sept. 23 1:00 p.m.

Buffalo was clicking on all cylinders last week against Kansas City. CJ Spiller did an admirable job of filling in for normal starter Fred Jackson, racking up two touchdowns and over 100 yards. Cleveland’s offense improved drastically from their Week 1 performance, as rookies Brandon Weeden and Trent Richardson showed why they were such high draft picks. Weeden and Richardson also scored their first NFL touchdowns. The Browns will look to keep improving over the coming weeks, but they still have a lot of work to do.

Prediction: 24–20 Bills

New York Jets @ Miami Dolphins

Sunday, Sept. 23 1:00 p.m.

When the Jets scored in the first quarter against Pittsburgh, it appeared that they might be on their way to another impressive offensive showing. That touchdown proved to be the only one of the game however, as the Jets looked flat for the majority of the game. Their running game was nonexistent and Mark Sanchez only completed 37 percent of his passes. Ryan Tannehill managed the game well, throwing no interceptions, and at the same time allowing Reggie Bush to completely dominate the Raiders’ defense with 172 rushing yards and two touchdowns. The Jets defense will pose more of a challenge than the Raiders.

Prediction: 20–14 Jets

Kansas City Chiefs @ New Orleans Saints

Sunday, Sept. 23 1:00 p.m.

New Orleans is in unfamiliar territory. They are 0–2 for the first time since 2007. Although Drew Brees hasn’t exactly been his usual unstoppable self, the Saints have been hurt severely by their awful defensive play. They’ve given up almost 1000 yards over the past two games. Brees should be able to take advantage of Kansas City’s fairly porous secondary, especially if CB (center back) Brandon Flowers is feeling some lingering effects of his foot injury. This should be a shootout, especially on the speedy turf of the Superdome.

Prediction: 41–31 Saints

Cincinnati Bengals @ Washington Redskins

Sunday, Sept. 23 1:00 p.m.

Although Andy Dalton was terrific for the Bengals, there is real cause for concern with Cincinnati’s defense. They are 29th in the league in pass defense, allowing over 300 yards per game. They will need to figure out some way to slow down Robert Griffin, or they could be in for a long game against Washington. Luckily for the Bengals, however, Washington is one of only two teams that are worse in pass defense. This game will be won through the air, and Washington’s offense is simply more explosive.

Prediction: 30–24 Redskins

St. Louis Rams @ Chicago Bears

Sunday, Sept. 23 1:00 p.m.

St. Louis has been turning some heads this season. Picked by some to win the weak NFC West, they came one drive away from beating a very talented Detroit team and actually did beat the Washington Redskins last week. Chicago, however, will be their toughest test yet. Jay Cutler looked out of it last week against the Packers. In a game that received much hype, Cutler and star WR (wide receiver) Brandon Marshall never showed up, and the Bears were dominated on both sides of the ball. Look for them to right the ship this week.

Prediction: 27–17 Bears

San Francisco 49ers @ Minnesota Vikings

Sunday, Sept. 23 1:00 p.m.

San Francisco is the real deal. They thoroughly handled Green Bay, and one week later they held one of the best offenses in the league to just 19 points. The 49ers have been cruising through the season on the backs of their defense and outstanding coaching staff, and this week will be no different. Minnesota was disappointing last week, as Adrian Peterson never got himself going, only amassing 60 yards. It won’t get any easier when San Fran comes to town. The 49ers should win big.

Prediction: 23–6 49ers

Detroit Lions @ Tennessee Titans

Sunday, Sept. 23 1:00 p.m.

Detroit played a fairly good game last week, but they just happened to be playing against San Francisco. They were dominated in the ground game, allowing 148 rush yards, but don’t expect a similar performance this week. Tennessee is not nearly the rushing team that the 49ers are. Chris Johnson has been a complete non-factor thus far this year, racking up a measly 21 yards in his first two games. Detroit should dominate this game.

Prediction: 34-14 Lions

Atlanta Falcons @ San Diego Chargers

Sunday, Sept. 23 4:05 p.m.

Have the Chargers finally figured out the beginning of the season? A team notorious for their bad starts to seasons, San Diego has come out firing, starting out 2–0 for the first time since Norv Turner has been coach. Their success has been mostly due to their suffocating run defense that has allowed only 40 yards per game so far. Atlanta is a tough team, however, especially with Matt Ryan at the helm, and with the dangerous duo of Roddy White and Julio Jones.

Prediction: 30–17 Falcons

Philadelphia Eagles @ Arizona Cardinals

Sunday, Sept. 23 4:05 p.m.

The Eagles pulled out another turnover-stricken nail-biter win Sunday against the Ravens. They will have to play less sloppily at some point if they want to win consistently, as they’ve already turned the ball over nine times in two games. Although the Cardinals shocked the Patriots and put together a great defensive effort, the Eagles should be able to pick Arizona apart with all of their offensive weapons, and QB (quarterback) Kevin Kolb will face off against his old team for the first time since getting traded.

Prediction: 31–14 Eagles

Pittsburgh Steelers @ Oakland Raiders

Sunday, Sept. 23 4:25 p.m.

The Steelers played a typical Steelers football game against the Jets, with Ben Roethlisberger managing the game and controlling the football, throwing two touchdowns and no interceptions. They also had a strong defense against an impressive Jets offense that set a week one points record the week before. Oakland has been disappointing, to say the least. They were dominated by Miami and allowed 263 rushing yards, including a career high 172 to Reggie Bush. If they have the same defensive play this week against Pittsburgh, Jonathan Dwyer will run wild.

Prediction: 27–13 Steelers

Houston Texans @ Denver Broncos

Sunday, Sept. 23 4:25 p.m.

Although they haven’t played against the strongest competition, Houston has looked sharp in this young season. They are getting a lot of production from both of their RBs, Arian Foster and Ben Tate. That’s a dangerous sign for the rest of the AFC. Picking Peyton Manning to win a prime-time game used to be a sure thing, but after his career-threatening neck injury last season, that doesn’t seem to be the case anymore. Manning threw three interceptions against Atlanta, which greatly contributed to their loss.

Prediction: 24–14 Texans

New England Patriots @ Baltimore Ravens

Sunday, Sept. 23 8:20 p.m.

This could be an AFC Championship preview, as two of the most talented teams in the conference face off in prime time. Both teams lost in the waning minutes of their games Sunday, so they will both look to avenge those defeats. For the Patriots, the bad news is that after one of their worst offensive performances in recent memory against a decent Cardinals defense, they must face off against one of, if not the best, defenses in the NFL. The good news is that since the dawning of the Brady/Belichick era, New England has lost back-to-back games only twice.

Prediction: 20–17 Patriots

Green Bay Packers @ Seattle Seahawks

Monday, Sept. 24 8:30 p.m.

This game may be closer than most think. The Packers got back on track against Chicago last week, mostly due to their defense. Their offense, however, still looked week. Seattle throttled Dallas last week as Marshawn Lynch rushed for over 100 yards. They will definitely bring their physical style of play to this game, and they should give the Packers a run for their money as long as Russell Wilson is ready to take Seattle to the next level.

Prediction: 24–20 Packers