Andy Reid the most successful coach in the history of the Eagles returns to Philadelphia, and is likely to receive a hostile reception due to the last few seasons being such a disappointment. Reid will learn quickly these are no longer his Eagles as the frenetic offense of Chip Kelly will have the Chiefs, who are coming off a physical game on Sunday quickly sucking wind. Thursday Night Games are typically harder for the road team, add the emotional return of Reid the retirement of Donovan McNabb’s #5 and the pace of the Eagles offense and the Chiefs have too steep of hill to climb in this one.
Ed Reed returns to Baltimore this week as he faces his old team the Ravens for the first time. After missing the first two weeks with an ailing hip, Reed must be chomping at the bit to make his 2013 debut. The defending Super Bowl Champion Ravens have looked out of sync so far, as it is clearly they are not the same team they were last year. The Texans also have not found their rhythm yet, but they have started 2-0 with two 4th Quarter comebacks and that is sometimes better than blowing away your first two opponents. The Ravens problems are much deeper and real and the Texans should be able to
It may be only Week 3, but there is already a survival game on the slate as both the Giants and Panthers come into this game with record of 0-2. The Giants have just been a mess, while the Panthers have played well and have got nothing to show for it, with last week’s last second heartbreaking loss in Buffalo. The Giants have been plagued by turnovers and just need to hold on to the ball as last year they shredded the Panthers in September. The Giants also play better on the road, and with this game likely to be decided in the final minutes, I like Eli Manning to pull it out with a late score to get the Giants on track.
This may be one of the better games of the early season as two teams with playoff aspirations enter the game splitting their first two games. Both these teams lost in Week 1 on the road and both played well in those losses. They also both have good quarterbacks and receiving corps. However, the Bengals have the edge on defense and their rookie RB Giovani Bernard is coming off a strong game, while Eddie Lacy is questionable with a concussion. With this game in Cincinnati and the Bengals coming off a solid Monday Night win I expect them to be able to contain the Packers just enough to get the win.
Leave it to the Cowboys to follow up a big win against the Giants with a loss to the Chiefs. This has been the problem that has plagued the Cowboys for nearly two decades now, especially in the Tony Romo era. The Cowboys should get a lift by coming home to face the Rams. The Rams have been a bad star strong finish team so far, with a comeback win over the Cardinals and nearly coming back against the Falcons. This slow start plays in the Cowboys hands; when Romo finds an early groove he usually leads the Cowboys to a win, while the Cowboys pass rush should give Sam Bradford problems all day.
How do you go forward if you are on the Cleveland Browns? Again and again they hit the reset button, as they have been stuck in rebuild mode ever since their 1999 resurrection. Every quarterback they have picked has come and gone the latest is Brandon Wheeden who is now benched in favor of Brian Hoyer, while Trent Richardson a franchise running back in just his second season was just traded for a draft pick. This team has already given up and they will play like it as they get their doors blown off in Minnesota.
So far the Patriots schedule has resembled a major top ranked BCS team starting the season with two teams from the Sunbelt Conference and another from the MAC. Thus far they have not looked good, as Receiver Danny Amendola has already missed a game, while Rob Gronkowski continues to rehab his off-season surgeries. The rest of the Pats receivers meanwhile have looked like Venus de Milo catching passes. The Bucs on the other hand are a dysfunctional mess, despite two agonizing last second losses. Tampa should be able to keep it close, but that only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades. Look another lackluster win by the Patriots at home.
A bit of a homecoming for Cardinals defensive backs Tyrann Mathieu and Patrick Peterson who both started at LSU. The two have already made big plays as the Cardinals have been competitive while splitting their first two games. The bigger homecoming though is Saints Coach Sean Payton who has led his team to two divisional wins. While the return of Payton helps QB Drew Brees, the stabilization of the defense, with new Coordinator Rob Ryan has been more important for the Saints. The Cardinals former Tigers should keep the game close, but the Saints are the better team and will win this one by a touchdown.
The Titans have played well in their first two weeks, with a win in Pittsburgh and an overtime loss in Houston. Coming home for the first time they play a Chargers team that has blown leads in the first two games. The Chargers did manage to win last week in Philadelphia, as Philip Rivers got them up the field for a Nick Novak Field Goal as time expired. It is tough for a West Coast team to play an early game, and it is hard to imagine the Chargers can win two straight weeks in those circumstances. The Titans defense has been strong and Chris Johnson should be able to have a solid game for the win.
The last time the Lions won a game on the road against the Redskins the game was played at Fenway Park in 1935. Since the Redskins moved to Washington, the Lions have lost every trip into the capital city, a total of 21 straight losses. The Redskins need a win and after two straight shaky games, I expect Robert Griffin III to get over his early season rust. The big worry however, is the Redskins defense which has been ripped apart in the first two weeks. It will be a high scoring game as the Redskins defense won’t be able to stop Calvin Johnson, but a streak this long must be respected.
The Dolphins have fans in South Beach excited again, as they have won their first two games on the road. The next four games will be tough for the Dolphins, but if they can get through it the schedule gets real soft and opens the door for them to make a run in the AFC East. The Falcons come into this one with Running Back Stephen Jackson likely to miss the game. This should help the Dolphins pass rush which so far has been strong key on Matt Ryan. Meanwhile, the Dolphins offense led by a steadily improving Quarterback Ryan Tannehill takes the energy from the fans to get the Dolphins a 3-0 start.
Both of these AFC East teams have rookie quarterbacks and have split their first two games, with each loss coming against the Patriots. They both have played good defense that has kept them in two games, and enabled them to have their last second wins. The Bills rookie signal caller E.J. Manuel has been much steadier than Geno Smith, whose three interceptions were the difference in the Jets loss last week in Foxboro. The Bills defense and the often negative crowd at the Meadowlands take away any home field edge for the Jets. I think the Bills can get a road win by forcing Geno into a bad throw or two.
Both teams are coming off tough losses. For the Colts second year Quarterback Andrew Luck having a bit of a homecoming, by returning to the Bay Area after staring in college at Stanford. The 49ers Quarterback Colin Kaepernick hopes he won’t raise any more eyebrows after playing the worst game of his career last week against the Seahawks last week. The Colts defense is not as intimidating as the Seahawks and the home crowd at Candlestick won’t get the 49ers as rattled as they were in Seattle. The 49ers defense meanwhile will give Luck problems all day, as the Colts try to work in Trent Richardson.
This may the biggest mismatch of the season as the pathetic Jaguars come into Seattle where the Seahawks never lose. The Seahawks have arguably been the best team in the NFL in the first two weeks, proving why they are a favorite in the NFC, while the Jaguars are undebatably been the worst. If this game was in Jacksonville, the Seahawks would likely win by 20 points, but in Seattle forget about it. The Jaguars offense so far has scored a total of 11 points and going into the loudest stadium on earth it’s hard to imagine them adding much to that total. This one is going to get ugly fast and the Seahawks defense will likely outscore the Jags offense.
Teams get old, no team is able to sustain winning forever these are just facts of life. The Steelers have not had to go through a rebuild in a longtime and with their offensive line decimated and their running game non-existent the Steelers are now a passing team with Ben Roethlisberger leading the way. These are not good things when playing a quality defense like the Bears. The Steelers need help and lots of it and it’s not going to be fixed during the season. The Bears meanwhile have gotten big plays again on defense and should be able to come in to Heinz Field and get an impressive Sunday Night road win.
The Broncos offense has been explosive in the first two weeks as they have scored 90 points in their first two games. This has come despite them sputtering in the first half during each game. Peyton Manning has been just as good as ever starting with a seven Touchdown performance in Week 1. Manning is all-time 12-4 playing on Monday Night Football, having some of his best comebacks, while some of his biggest passing days have come under the lights. Peyton Manning will not need a comeback this week as he has another big game, while the Broncos continue to roll with a big win over the Raiders.