Your Week 3 Sunday preview
It’s only Week 3 of the NFL season, but things are already starting to take shape. In the NFC North, the race for the divisional title could go right to the end. Green Bay, Chicago and Detroit are the class of the division and the team that does the best in division play will come out on top.
In the NFC South, many were ready to write off Carolina because of all the players the Panthers lost in free agency. What those people didn’t realize is that Ron Rivera is quickly becoming one of the top coaches in the NFL. As we saw on Thursday night, Atlanta is better than expected and it’s going to be a long season for Tampa Bay. The Bucs looked totally unsettled in the Georgia Dome.
In the AFC, I think that New England is still the team to beat in the AFC East. Yes, Buffalo is 2-0, but we’ve seen that before. If the Bills beat the Chargers on Sunday, than I’m a believer. But I don’t think that will happen.
The big surprise in the AFC is that Houston is 2-0 and Indianapolis is 0-2. As a whole, the AFC South may be the weakest division in the NFL. While the Colts have Andrew Luck, their play calling has been inconsistent and the defense can’t stop anyone.
Looking at the AFC, going into the season, I picked Cincinnati to get to the Super Bowl and after two games I haven’t changed my mind. Right now, they are easily the best team in the AFC North and I can’t see that changing.
Last week I mentioned how bad I am at picking games. Usually if I pick a team to win, it’s a sure bet they will lose. However, I had a bit of a reversal last Sunday and went 3-1 for the weekend. Maybe I’m poised for a hot streak and capable of challenging Fortenbaugh.
San Diego at Buffalo
I was born and raised in Buffalo but I’m sorry, I can’t go with my former hometown team. Yes, the Bills are 2-0 and have played well, but they are playing a San Diego team that is coming off a convincing victory over the best team in the NFL.
Can Rivers and the Chargers follow up last Sunday's upset win with another big performance?
I know all about the trouble west coast teams have when coming east to play in the early game. Still, I feel that the Chargers are the superior team and will win by seven.
Washington at Philadelphia
Yes, Kirk Cousins came off the bench and played an amazing game in last week’s blowout of Jacksonville. I have seen a backup quarterback do that numerous times in my years in the NFL. Jacksonville had prepared to play RG3, not Cousins.
The Eagles have had a week to prepare and Cousins won’t catch them off guard. The game is in Philadelphia and the Eagles have played well at home under Chip Kelly. Still, Philly has to play 60 minutes this week instead of 30. In the first two games of the season, it has taken Philly a half to get going.
My feeling is that Philly will win this game by at least 10, as they will come out strong and not have to play from behind. The magic Cousins showed last week won’t be there on Sunday.
Oakland at New England
This is the pick of the week. The Raiders are a bad football team and, like San Diego, they are coming east and playing at 1:00pm eastern. While I feel San Diego will overcome that disadvantage, the Raiders won’t.
New England played a poor game at Miami in Week 1 but came back strong last Sunday in Minnesota. But Sunday is the Patriots’ home opener and head coach Bill Belichick is still trying to get his team going on all cylinders. This game could be over by halftime and the Pats will easily cover the 14-point spread.
Tennessee at Cincinnati
Dalton and the Bengals should escape Week 3 at 3-0.
Like I said earlier, the AFC South is a bad division and Tennessee is just a little better than Jacksonville. Cincinnati on the other hand is playing solid football. Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton is playing the best football of his career right now and the defense has been solid.
For Tennessee, Jake Locker is too inconsistent and I don’t feel he will ever get the job done. As I write this the spread is Cincinnati – 7. I feel seven points isn’t enough and the Bengals will win by at least ten.
Just remember, I’m a scout by trade, so don’t take my picks too seriously. But then again, I was 3-1 last week, so maybe I’m on to something. Have a great day watching the NFL.
Follow Greg on Twitter: @greggabe