Today's absurd prediction:
Donovan McNabb gets offensive player of the week in response to heavy criticism.
Week 1 had some great matchups in which the favorites pretty much won. Week 2 had some lousy-looking games that delivered huge upsets. So who knows what to think about week 3? The matchups are better, for one. And we should get a chance to find out if 2-0 teams like the Lions, Redskins, 49ers, and Texans, and 0-2 teams like the Eagles, Jets, Rams, and Saints, are lying about how good they are. We'll have to wait another week to figure out 1-1 Minnesota and San Diego, as the Vikes still won't have played a good opponent yet, and the Bolts have yet to face an average or worse defense.
Here are my predictions for week 3:
Arizona at Baltimore: Both are 1-1, having lost a game they should have won to division opponents. Like Scott Linehan in St. Louis last year, new coach Ken Whisenhunt hasn't seemed to figure out how best to use his weapons in the passing game, as Leinart/Fitzgerald/Boldin have underperformed. Linehan figured it out in week 3, but Whisenhunt won't against Ed Reed, Chris McAllister, and the vicious Ravens defense. Cardinals 14, Ravens 24. Game MVP: Chris McAllister - 6 tackles, 2 INTs, TD
Buffalo at New England: For the first time in his career, J.P. Losman wasn't on the hot seat at the start of the season. With an 0-2 record and an abysmal showing against the Steelers, he's put himself right back on it. And he has to do it at Foxboro. Best of luck to him. Bills 9, Patriots 31. Game MVP: Laurence Maroney - 18 carries, 116 yds, 2 TDs.
Detroit at Philadelphia: McNabb won't get bashed for not scrambling enough in this game because he won't have to. For the first time all year, his receivers will get enough separation, and he'll get enough time to throw them the ball. After doing a good job containing Clinton Portis and Ladell Betts last week, Kevin Jones and Tatum Bell will be a piece of cake. The problem is handling Detroit's passing game - Sheldon Brown can't cover Roy Williams, Mike Furrey, Calvin Johnson, AND Shaun McDonald. This will be the shootout of the week. Lions 37, Eagles 45. Game co-MVPs: Donovan McNabb - 28 for 39 passing, 388 yds, 4 TDs, 0 INTs; Brian Westbrook - 16 rushes for 97 yds, 2 TDs, 6 receptions for 73 yds, TD
Indianapolis at Houston: I was going to actually pick Houston to win this one. They've done well against the Colts lately, they look better this year, and they're at home. Then I saw the news: Andre Johnson won't be playing. This one's over folks - no way the Texans can win without AJ. Ahman Green won't get anything going, and Schaub won't be able to make any big passing plays. And Manning does his thing. Colts 34, Texans 19. Game MVP: Reggie Wayne - 8 receptions, 148 yds, 2 TDs.
Miami at NY Jets: Finally, someone other than the Pats will have a win in the AFC East. The Jets are at home, and have played tougher opponents thus far. Either Kellen Clemens or Chad Pennington should be able to easily outplay Trent Green in what I'll boldly predict is Green's last game. The Dolphins will soon figure that they're better off playing a young quarterback who's going to suck than an old one who will suck just as horribly. Dolphins 10, Jets 23. Game MVP: Kerry Rhodes - 6 tackles, 2 INTs.
Minnesota at Kansas City - Now I'm not a person who thinks 51-45 is a great game. But this one will be a snoozefest. 2-yard run, incomplete pass, incomplete pass, punt. Over and over again, both sides of the ball. The commentators will probably spend most of the day talking about O.J. Simpson. Vikings 6, Chiefs 0. Game co-MVPs: Pat and Kevin Williams - 12 combined tackles, holding Larry Johnson to 1.9 YPC.
San Diego at Green Bay: This ought to straighten out some power rankings that still fail to understand that the best of the NFC is nowhere near the best of the AFC. Brett Favre throws 3 picks, including his 278th which George Blanda's career record. Tomlinson fails to get 100 yards once again, and Rivers doesn't play great, but the defense wins this one. Chargers 24, Packers 14. Game MVP: Shawne Merriman - 4 tackles, 2 sacks, FF, 6 QB hurries.
San Francisco at Pittsburgh: The Niners barely beat two NFC teams who didn't astound in their other games against average NFC opponents, so it's reasonable to believe that the 2-0 record is misleading. Pittsburgh slaughtered two AFC teams who fought well against other powerful AFC North teams, one of which managed to outshoot Carson Palmer. Their 2-0 record is not misleading. Add that the Steelers are at home, and you've got yourself another heavy beating. 49ers 12, Steelers 34. Game MVP: Willie Parker - 29 rushes, 138 yds, 2 TDs.
St. Louis at Tampa Bay: The Rams' offensive line will be better prepared for its second week without Orlando Pace. St. Louis will resort to the screen pass to counteract Tampa Bay's pass rush, and will do so effectively. The Bucs will crash back to earth after stunning New Orleans last week. Rams 24, Buccaneers 17. Game MVP: Steven Jackson - 21 rushes for 112 yds, TD, 5 receptions for 56 yds.
Cincinnati at Seattle: I don't start crying apocalypse when a division rival upsets a far better team, and that's why I think it's ludicrous to favor the Hawks in this game. Sure, Seattle is historically lethal at home, but I like the Bengals' matchups in almost every aspect of the game. Seattle doesn't have the secondary to stop Chad and T.J., and they don't have the offensive firepower to outscore them. Bengals 31, Seahawks 23. Game MVP: Carson Palmer - 26 for 37 passing, 305 yds, 4 TDs, 1 INT.
Cleveland at Oakland: Ah, the classic land of the Oaks' battle against the invading land of the Cleves. The Browns' utter failure to duplicate last week's offensive attack will have people wondering if Tom Brady disguised himself as Derek Anderson last week to help keep the Bengals out of the playoffs. Lane Kiffin gets his first win as a head coach of anything anywhere, but Rob Ryan deserves the credit. Browns 3, Raiders 10. Game MVP: Kirk Morrison - 8 tackles, FR, INT (which would be his third straight week with a pick - it's a shame this guy doesn't get much attention).
Jacksonville at Denver: One team needed a last-second field goal to beat both Buffalo and Oakland. The other lost to the Titans and only beat the woeful Falcons by six. I can guarantee one thing - this won't be a high score. The Broncos are averaging a combined game score of 36, the Jaguars 21.5. I'll go with the team with a better coach and better wide receivers. Jaguars 14, Broncos 17. Game MVP: D.J. Williams - 9 tackles, 1 sack.
Carolina at Atlanta: Both teams have one-dimensional offenses; the difference is that the Panthers are very good at that one dimension, while the Falcons haven't figured out their run game yet this year. Expect the Panthers to seal an early lead, and own the clock after that point. Panthers 27, Falcons 7. Game MVP: Steve Smith - 10 receptions, 179 yds, 2 TDs.
NY Giants at Washington: The Giants can't seem to handle speed, which should translate to some huge plays for the likes of Clinton Portis, Santana Moss, and Antwaan Randle El. The New York defense has given up an average of 40 points per game, which should decrease a bit due to Washington's conservative offense, but not enough to pull out a win on the road. Giants 24, Redskins 30. Game MVP: Antwaan Randle El - 6 receptions, 143 yds, 2 TDs.
Dallas at Chicago: I like the Bears, but I'll never root for them as hard as I will Sunday night. They're likely to be playing to give my Skins a division lead over the hated Cowboys. But when it comes to predicting games, I'm too much of a realist. While I like the defense's odds of bringing Tony Romo down to earth (literally and figuratively), I just don't trust Grossman and Benson to get anything going without turning the ball over. A few bombs to Bernard Berrian will boost the Bears' backers' bopes--I mean hopes--, but ultimately, Rex will throw this game away like so many others. Cowboys 20, Bears 14. Game MVP: Roy Williams - 5 tackles, INT, 3 PD
Tennessee at New Orleans: Drew Brees will finally get his game going a little bit at home, but the Saints are going to start 0-3 unless they put Jason David on the bench. He needs more time to learn how to cover someone man-to-man. Vince Young will use his 4th-quarter magic to pull out yet another close win. Tennessee 26, New Orleans 24. Game MVP: Roydell Williams - 6 receptions for 111 yds, 2 TDs.
Don't like my picks? Try Josh's! http://www.fannation.com/blogs/post/60714