At 1-2 the Bears season is at a potential crossroad, a loss to the Panthers and their playoff hopes are in a hole before Columbus Day, a win and they can get back on track easily. For Panthers QB Cam Newton it is his first tough road test facing the pass rush of the Bears. The Panthers still have plenty of holes and this is a tough game even for a veteran quarterback look for the Bears to win easily.
The Bills are sky high after their back-to-back comeback wins against the Raiders and Patriots, especially against the Pats whom the Bill had not beaten since 2003. It has not felt this good in Buffalo since Jim Kelly. Yeah they are ripe for the upset. Next week the Bills will be home against the Eagles, this week on the road against the Bengals they suffer a setback and lose outright to the Bengals who have played better than their 1-2 record suggests.
Amazingly one of these teams will be 3-1 after this week. The Browns are the home team and should be on a high after their last second win over the hapless Dolphins, without Peyton Hillis. The Madden 12 coverboy should be back this week and should have a solid game, while the Titans offense is stuck in neutral, with the loss of Kenny Britt and the lackluster play of Chris Johnson.
The Lions are one of the best stories in the early part of the NFL season, but are they ready to win in Dallas? It has been a long time since the Lions won in Dallas, and the Cowboys who themselves could be 3-0 have shown signs of having a good defense themselves. Tony Romo has been gutsy and will have to again facing Ndamukong Suh, but in the end the homefield edge gives the Cowboys a third straight win.
Despite losing to the Saints last week the Texans had a strong game, while the Steelers looked sluggish in their win over the Colts. A win over the Steelers would be a sign of growth for the Texans who hope to reach the playoffs for the first time this year. The Texans are hoping to get a boost from RB Arian Foster who missed last week with a sore hammy, but the key will be containing the Steelers offense and Matt Schaub not making the big mistake.
The Jaguars season was over before it began as they released expected Quarterback David Garrard just days before the opener. Rookie Quarterback Blaine Gabbert is now starting and looks like he is far behind where a starter in the NFL should be. Against the Saints the Jaguars are prime to be blown out at home.
Something has to give in this meeting of 0-3 teams. The Chiefs are the first team to give up 100 points this year, while the Vikings have been outscored 67-6 in the second half of the first three games combined. Each week the Vikings have grabbed a double digit halftime lead, only to implode in the second half. This week if they get a lead, the Chiefs will likely roll over and die. Look for a big day from Adrian Peterson returning to Big XII Country.
After two rough losses that saw QB Michael Vick thrown around like a rag doll, the Eagles are in a need of a win. The 49ers who are 2-1 after an ugly win in Cincinnati should be an easy foil playing on the East Coast for the second week in a row. Look for Vick to stay upright and have his best day of the season so far as the Eagles get back to 2-2.
The Rams have gone through a gauntlet in losing their first three games, facing three tough teams. The Redskins themselves have played well and could easily be 3-0, but coming off a tough Monday Night loss and the short week play into the hand of the Rams. Look for Stephen Jackson to have a big impact as Sam Bradford and the Rams get one in the win column.
Last week the Giants secondary had its best game of the year shutting down the Eagles for a road win Philadelphia. On the road again they will have a tougher time covering Larry Fitzgerald as the Cardinals run them off their field in the desert. Look for the Cardinals to win their second home game of the year to get back to even at 2-2.
The Falcons are another team with high aspirations to get off to a rough start. A bounce here and they could be 0-3 heading to the land of the 12th man. The Seahawks play well at home, but the Falcons have too many weapons to lose again. Look for the Falcons to get flying as they have a big day in Seattle with Matt Ryan and Roddy White having a big game.
The last time the Packers won the Super Bowl they faced the Broncos with a chance to repeat, losing a classic Super Bowl XXXII. This year the reigning champs play the Broncos again, but this time the Lombardi Trophy is not on the line. The Packers are 3-0 and look like they can repeat while the Broncos are a giant mess. This game won’t be close as the Packers and Aaron Rodgers win easily.
Are the Raiders for real? They are 2-1 after beating up the Jets last week, and should be 3-0 if they had not collapsed in Buffalo the week before. The Patriots know about collapsing in Buffalo, but they never lose two in a row. This game likely won’t answer if the Raiders are for real as anyone could be torn apart like Tom Brady as I expect to happen, but if somehow they win I will be a believer.
Nobody is better at playing down to the level of their opponents than the Chargers, especially in the early part of the season. The Dolphins come into this game 0-3 and looking like they should start planning for a big rebuild as their offense and defense both have struggled, especially in the redzone. Look for that trend to continue as the Dolphins undersized secondary if torched all day by Phillip Rivers.
Things could really get turned sideways for the Jets if they lose in Baltimore, with a game against the Patriots next week. The Jets have been called out by their own legendary QB Joe Namath who questioned their readiness in last week’s loss to Oakland. Things like this seem to get Rex Ryan motivated and returning home to Baltimore where he spent a decade as an assistant will assure we see the best of the Jets this week. In addition since Rex Ryan took over the Jets have not lost on Sunday Night Football.
Once upon a time on Monday Night Football the Colts staged a stunning comeback against the Buccaneers in Tampa and grew up as a team around Peyton Manning. Now at 0-3 with Manning not likely to play this year the Colts return to Tampa. There is no story book ending here just more pain in Indy as the Bucs make the Colts walk the plank.