There was a stampede in the Twin Cities as fans quickly jumped off the Minnesota Vikings bandwagon after their embarrassing loss to the Bills. Many of them rushed over to Hollywood to jump to ride with the Los Angeles Rams, who have been the most impressive team in their first three games. However, in this topsy-turvy league when a team looks its best is the wrong time to back them while teams that are expected to be good, are best to pick when everyone is about to give up on them. Part of the Vikings failure may have been looking past the Bills to Thursday, where they will get a nice bounce-back win.
The Atlanta Falcons have a talented roster that should have won Super Bowl LI, but with several injuries, there are already concerns if the window of opportunity is closing. Atlanta sits at 1-2 through three games, having lost the opener to the Eagles and in overtime against the Saints. The Cincinnati Bengals last week came back to earth after winning their first two games. Both teams have similarities, with Matt Ryan and Andy Dalton often failing to come through in close games. The Bengals also have concern over A.J. Green who is questionable with a hip injury. The Falcons are a strong home team and should get this win. If not it’s time to panic in the ATL.
Jameis Winston’s suspension is over and he is eligible to play in Week 4. However, due to three straight 400-yard games, Ryan Fitzpatrick will remain the starter for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and Winston is happy with that because it means he won’t get run over by a Mack truck. Big Bad Khalil Mack has had three strip sacks in three games for the Chicago Bears, who at 2-1 are first in the NFC North despite, less than stellar play from Mitchell Trubisky. Look for another big game from Mack, as there will not be any Fitzmagic in Solider Field.
The Dallas Cowboys offense has looked out of sync all season, if not for one big offensive play against the Giants, they could be staring 0-3 in the face. The line that two years ago was the best in NFL has been diminished by injury as Ezekiel Elliott has been unable to get it going. Meanwhile, Dak Prescott has looked awful, as Dallas is searching for answers. The Detroit Lions are coming off a stunning win over the Patriots, and appear to have righted some of the problems from Week 1. Look for both trends to continue as the alarms begin to whale in the Metroplex.
Last week, the rain caused lots of pain for Aaron Rodgers, as the Green Bay Packers lost the Redskins on the road. The Buffalo Bills only had the biggest upset in two decades, beating the Vikings out right after entering as a 17-point underdog. Part of the Bills success was they caught the Vikings looking ahead and sleeping. At 1-1-1, the Packers coming home will be focused and ready. Look for Aaron Rodgers to tear up Lambeau Field, as the Packers get a solid win.
At 0-3, the Houston Texans are among the NFL’s biggest disappointments in the early part of the season. The defense has been pushed around, and DeShaun Watson has yet to show any of the fire he had last season. It is clear that the seat is getting very hot for coach Bill O’Brien. If things don’t turn around soon, the Texans will not hesitate to make a move before the season is over. The Indianapolis Colts have always played the Texans well, especially at home, but the desperation of the Texans helps them find a way to win in Indianapolis.a
This just in after making plans for the Super Bowl, the New York Jets 2018 season has officially been cuncelled following a loss to the Browns last Thursday as plans to build a Sam Darnold statue are on hold. The problem is that opening win raised hopes too high. The Jets have many holes to fill before they can truly contend, though they are moving in the right direction. The Jacksonville Jaguars, coming off a disappointing loss against the Titans should bounce back as the Titans always seem to beat them anyway, and the Jaguars pass rush is too much for the young Jets to overcome.
At 3-0, the Miami Dolphins march into Foxboro with house money and a two-game lead in the AFC East. The New England Patriots have lost the last two games, and people seem to be ready to write them off, but we have been here before. The Patriots have risen from the dead more than Dracula, Freddy Krueger, Jason Voorhees, Michael Myers, and the Wolfman combined. To kill them you need a stake through the heart a 100-gallon drum of Holy Water, Garlic, fire cement, and 100 silver bullets to even have a chance. The Patriots come in angry and desperate and they never lose when they are angry. The Dolphins though can earn props just by keeping it close.
Carson Wentz returned last week and led the Philadelphia Eagles to a come from behind win in the rain against the Colts. At times, he looked like the MVP at times he looked rusty, though with a depleted receiving core that is to be expected. The Tennessee Titans meanwhile continued to hold a spell over the Jaguars. The Titans offense meanwhile has struggled as Marcus Mariota deals with an elbow injury. With those factors in place, the Eagles are clearly the smart pick.
The josh Rosen ear is ready to begin, as the 0-3 Arizona Cardinals are looking to get things going with their offense that through first three weeks has been the worst in the league. The Seattle Seahawks got their first win last week, but appear to be a team in turmoil as Earl Thomas is openly asking the Cowboys to trade for him. This one should be close, but look for the Cardinals to get a win at the end as the Seahawks offensive line having its problem has a bad day in the desert.
Why is it a bad idea to ask Jon Gruden for change for the laundromat? Because his Oakland Raiders are unable to give you four quarters. Thus far, the Raiders have lost all three games after leading in the first half, including blow leads in the fourth quarter against the Broncos and Dolphins. The Cleveland Browns meanwhile come in off a win for the first time since 2016. The Browns have looked good so far, and could easily be 3-0, but going into the Black Hole will be a tough task for Baker Mayfield, as the Browns will still experience their share of growing pains.
Even when the New York Giants have been at their best, they have been served as gumbo by Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints. Coming off a win in Houston, the Giants are looking to get back to .500 as the removal of Ereck Flowers seemed to do wonders. Expect the Giants to have another good game offensively, but stopping Brees that could be a tall task from a defense that at times has looked soft.
Remember what the San Francisco 49ers were like last season before they smartened up and started Jimmy Garoppolo. Pepperidge Farm remembers because fans in San Francisco have done all they can to block out how poorly C.J. Beathard played as they started 1-10. Jimmy G is lost for the season with a torn ACL, which means the Niners playoff hopes that looked so bright are gone in an instant. The Los Angeles Chargers have played Charger football, good games from Philip Rivers but sitting at 1-2. This week against a weekend Niners it should be a cakewalk in Carson.
Matchups you are guaranteed to see on Sunday Night each year, Bears-Packers check, Giants-Cowboys check, check and the Pittsburgh Steelers versus the Baltimore Ravens check, check, check. With good reason of course with the latter as the Ravens and Steelers over the last 15 years have been one of the best in the NFL, as they battle each year for the AFC North with most games being decided by a field goal. The Steelers hope with their win over the Buccaneers they got them back on track. Either way look for another close hard physical battle with Chris Boswell kicking the game-winner.
This will be the toughest task yet for Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes as he faces the pass rush of Vonn Miller and the Denver Broncos. The Chiefs have fared well in recent years, against Denver winning their last five meetings, including Week 17 last year with Mahomes getting a bulk of the action. However, in primetime things will be different as the Broncos are able to get enough pressure to keep the rising star under 30, while the Chiefs questionable defense gives up just enough to suffer a Monday Night loss.