Once again, Sunday is coming. I have decided that this week, more than the previous three, deserves its own blog. Why? Because of all the compelling storylines. Brett Favre is returning to Green Bay as the quarterback of the Packers' bitter rivals. Drew Brees and the 3-0 Saints face Rex Ryan and the undefeated Jets. The Ravens, my top team in the NFL right now, face off against the Patriots, who look to continue on their success from last week. The Redskins look to rebound from giving the Lions their first win in the last two seasons. Also, San Diego againt Pittsburgh looks like it should be a good game.
New York Jets (3-0) @ New Orleans Saints (3-0)
The Jets, led by their outspoken, but ingenious, head coach, Rex Ryan and their impressive rookie, Mark Sanchez, have been very impressive thus far. Sanchez has looked good and Ryan's defensive juggernaut has been even more impressive. Why has it all come together so far for the Jets? First; Rex Ryan was the best possible choice they could have made, he was a great hire. Second; Eric Mangini trading the #5 pick (and the Jets' quarterback of the future) for scraps.
The Saints are quite the opposite of the Jets. The only thing about these teams that aren't opposites? The records. The Saints' offense has been unbelieveable and, by the way people are talking about him, Drew Brees has the MVP award all but wrapped up. The Saints defense is what has impressed me most. They didn't start off so hot the first two weeks, but they were very impressive against the Bills.
I think this game comes down to the Drew Brees' ability to recognize what the Jets' defense is doing and finding the open receiver. However, I think that Rex Ryan will befuddle the Saints' star quarterback with his overload blitzes. It will be a good game, but, ultimately I see the Jets coming out on top.
Jets Win: 27-21
Green Bay Packers (2-1) @ Minnesota Vikings (3-0)
"Brett Favre blah, blah, blah."
This is all I am hearing as I watch the Miami - Oklahoma game. Really, even during the college football games, ESPN?
Brett Favre faces off against his former team and former back-up, Aaron Rodgers. He needs to beat the Packers, just one win over the Packers, and he will have a win over every single team in the NFL. Would anyone else be surprised if Favre retired as soon as this game ended if the Vikings won? I wouldn't.
The Packers' defense has proven that it is excellent at forcing interceptions, and we all know that throwing picks is Favre's kryptonite. Normally, I would predict Favre throwing two or more picks. However, things are different now. Favre has Adrian Peterson and he doesn't need to throw the ball very often.
Aaron Rodgers will outplay his predecessor at Green Bay, but will he lead the Packers over the Vikings? The Packers' newly-implemented 3-4 has a tough assignment going against Adrian Peterson, the secondary has to come through and take advantage of Brett Favre's gunslinger ways.
If Favre has to throw the ball a lot, the Packers will win, but if the Vikings stick to the ground and stick with AP, they should get it done. I see Peterson taking this game over and Favre getting it done when he needs to and throwing either one or even no interceptions.
Vikings Win: 31 - 21
Baltimore Ravens (3-0) @ New England Patriots (2-1)
The Ravens, led by the sophomore quarterback, Flacco, have been the most impressive team this season, by far. They have a top-five offense and a top-ten defense to complement it. Flacco appears to be the most improved quarterback over last year in the entire NFL.
The Patriots have, as expected, appeared a bit rusty. Tom Brady is still trying to find his groove after missing all of last year, and Joey Galloway has been underwhelming. Wes Welker is a game-time decision thanks to a bad knee. The defense's two best players, Wilfork and Mayo are both injured. Nick Kaczur is also listed as quesionable.
The injuries, the fact that Brady is still returning to his pre-injury form, Galloway's poor play; these are just three of the Patriots' concerns. However, the defense was very impressive in shutting down nearly every aspect of the Falcons offense in week three.
Everything seems to point to the Ravens continuing on to a 4-0 record. Plus, this just hasn't been my week. I'm giving this one to Baltimore.
Ravens Win: 31 - 16
Actual Outcome - Patriots Win: 27-21
Tamba Bay Buccaneers (0-3) @ Washington Redskins (1-2)
Yikes. The Buccaneers are quite possibly the worst team in the NFL. The Redskins are quite possibly the worst team in the NFL, as well. Yes, the Redskins do have a win, unlike the Bucs and the Rams and the Browns, but they are also the only team to lose to the Lions in the regular season since the Chiefs lost to Detroit on December 23rd, 2007.
The Redskins are in a horrible situation right now. The fans are complaining, loudly, about their team. Even the players are complaining about the team! The Buccaneers are in the midst of a heated battle for the 32nd best team in the NFL. I think the Redskins, as a whole, are just too devastated to win this week. The coaches are being criticized, the players are being criticized, Dan Snyder is being ... Well, never mind.
The Buccaneers and Byron Leftwich, despite themselves, manage to avoid starting out with four straight losses and just barely miss being the worst team in the league. One thing is for sure; this game will be hard to watch.
Buccaneers Win: 17 - 13
Actual Outcome - Redskins Win: 16-13
Detroit Lions (1-2) @ Chicago Bears (2-1)
Sticking with the topic of the Lions, let's move onto the Lions at Chicago. Detroit is currently flying high after winning their first regular season game since 2007. Unfortunately for them, Jay Cutler is also flying high after back-to-back impressive performances since his abysmal showing against the Packers.
Cutler has been firing on all cylinders and the Bears have won two in a row. Matt Forte has been a disappointment, but with the Lions shifting focus onto Cutler, lanes should open up for Forte. Matt Stafford had a good game in Detroit's lone win, as did Kevin Smith. Can he keep it up? I don't see it happening.
Bears Win: 35 - 10
Actual Outcome - Bears Win: 48-24
Cincinnati Bengals (2-1) @ Cleveland Browns (0-3)
I'm trying to sneak this one in the middle of the blog here because I honestly don't have much to say about it. The Browns are utterly awful and the Bengals have looked good. Before the season, I predicted the Bengals to finish 8-8 and I was mocked. How ridiculous does that seem now, hm?
Bengals Win: 38 - 14
Seattle Seahawks (1-2) @ Indianapolis Colts (3-0)
Well, this looks like another blow-out this week. Why does it seem like the Seahawks are always banged up? Hasselbeck is injured once again, as are a couple of their cornerbacks. This does not bode well for the Seahawks. An injury-ravaged secondary against Peyton Manning, Reggie Wayne and Dallas Clark? Good luck, Seattle.
One quick note about the Indianapolis Colts; look out for Pierre Garcon. The 23 year-old, sixth-rounder could have a big week. He is filling in for the the injured Anthony Gonzalez and I can see him doing very well. He is #2 on my fantasy sleepers among wide receivers for the week (#1 will come up later).
Colts Win: 28 - 7
Actual Outcome - Colts Win: 34 - 17
New York Giants (3-0) @ Kansas City Chiefs (0-3)
Whoa, whoa, whoa. The Giants are nine-point favorites? Nine?! What the heck were the fools in Vegas thinking? The Giants, the second best team in the NFL right now, are facing yet another one of the NFL's winless teams. Nine? Really? What happened?
The Giants defense has been very impressive, as expected, but what wasn't expected was Steve Smith and Mario Manningham exploding onto the scene. Now, I am not getting as excited as everyone else is about these two, but they did impress me. I'm not saying they are going to keep it up and be top receivers in the NFL. However, they have been a big help for Eli Manning so far htis season.
Giants Win: 21 - 3
Actual Outcome - Giants Win: 27 - 16
Buffalo Bills (1-2) @ Miami Dolphins (0-3)
The Dolphins are a better team than their record shows. They should have won that game against the Colts, no question. That was an embarassing loss. Chad Pennington is out for the season and that is going to hurt them big time, but fantasy owners of Ronnie Brown should be quite pleased as the Wildcat should be used more frequently.
The Bills have looked as expected this season. The hurry-up offense has looked okay, but was shut down last week at New Orleans. Marshawn Lynch returns from his suspension and that will be a relief to the Bills. This reminds me, why do the Bills not use Fred Jackson and Lynch together? I feel like whenever Lynch is out, Jackson does great. Then, once Lynch is back, Buffalo doesn't bother with Jackson anymore.
Don't count on the Dolphins losing their fourth straight, and to the Bills of all teams. Ronnie Brown will have a good game and Chad Henne has his first start this season with a whole week to prepare for it.
Dolphins Win: 14 - 6
Saint Louis Rams (0-3) @ San Francisco 49ers (2-1)
The Rams are terrible. The worst team in the NFL. Write it down.
The 49ers, on the other hand, have shown much improvement. Hill has done a great job of managing games. The running game with Frank Gore and Glen Coffee has been awesome and Coffee should have a huge game with Gore out.
Sorry, but I am going to have to toot my own horn again. I predicted the 49ers would be the best team in their division, too bad I accidentally deleted that blog bedcause it is looking pretty good now. Except for the part where I said the Ravens wouldn't be that great and the Saints would finish third in the NFC South.
49ers Win: 20 - 6
Tennessee Titans (0-3) @ Jacksonville Jaguars (1-2)
I really liked the Jaguars entering this season. I didn't like the Titans entering this season. Well, at least one of those feelings turned out to be right after the first three weeks of the season. However, if any winless team is going to turn it around and finish well, it's the Titans.
Chris Johnson has been absolutely amazing this season, but the Titans, as a whole, have been bad. Just bad. Maurice Jones-Drew had a very good week in week 3, but the Jaguars, all together, have also been bad.
And here it is, my #1 wide receiver sleeper for the week: The Jaguars' Mike Sims-Walker. He is third on the team in targets and the Titans' pass defense has struggled thus far. He should have a good week.
One more thing: If there is another Jaguars' player with a last name including a hyphen (-), pick him up right now.
Titans Win: 17 - 14
Actual Outcome - Jaguars Win: 37-17
Dallas Cowboys (2-1) @ Denver Broncos (3-0)
Not to rain on your parade, Bronco fans, but has Denver faced a team that actually fields an offense yet? Sorry, but they really don't have the best defense in the league.
I don't think either of these teams are as good as their records show. Tony Romo has been getting a lot of heat recently and he deserves it. He had mostly lackluster performances this season, especially in the home opener. The Broncos should have one loss, they got lucky against Cincinnati. Pure luck.
Cowboys Win: 24 - 20
Oakland Raiders (1-2) @ Houston Texans (1-2)
18-25, 236 yards, 2 touchdowns.
Those are JaMarcus Russell's stats from the last time the Raiders played the Texans. What happened to that guy? He appears to be long gone. Russell isn't ready to carry a team that is this bad.
Steve Slaton has been a disappointment so far this season, and I think this is his break out game. Andre Johnson won't have that great of a game, unless Nnamdi Asomungha is, for some strange reason, not covering him. Andre Johnson won't be very productive, but Owen Daniels and Steve Slaton should run rampant over this defense.
Texans Win: 27 - 14
Actual Outcome - Texans Win: 29 - 6
San Diego Chargers (2-1) @ Pittsburgh Steelers (1-2)
Phillip Rivers is doing great right now. In both weeks without LDT, Rivers has thrown for over three hundred yards. Unfortunately for him, he now has to go up against the Steelers' defense. Luckily for him, he doesn't have to face Troy Polamalu.
The Steelers may be missing Polamalu, but the key to this game is getting pressure on Rivers. James Harrison and the Steelers' stellar front seven must get at Rivers if they want to win this game. Also, don't count on the Steelers allowing Sproles to have his breakout game this week.
I think this should be a great game. Ben Roethlisberger and Phillip Rivers are both having very good seasons right now. Tomlinson is out and Willie Parker has stunk. The Chargers' defense is banged up right now and Polamalu is out. These teams are pretty similar.
The Steelers win this close game.
Steelers Win: 17 - 14
Actually, you don't even have to read it, just comment.