So… can we get back to football now? With so many off-the-field issues plaguing the NFL right now, it can be tough to focus on the game. But the beat goes on and we are already entering week 3. There are some very good teams at 0-2 including 2013 playoff teams the New Orleans Saints and Indianapolis Colts. They have quite the uphill climb if they want to make the postseason this season, as just under 12% of teams that start 0-2 have made it in NFL History.
I went 7-9 in my picks last week, and move to 17-15 overall overall. Now here’s my predictions for this week’s slate of games.
Thursday Night Football
- Buccaneers @ Falcons: This is a tough game for me. The Falcons aren’t as good as the team that beat the Saints in week one, and Tampa isn’t very good offensively. So what gives? A strong Bucs defense, or the home fans looking for another big win from their birds? Give me Atlanta in a close game. ATLANTA WINS
Sunday 1PM Games
- Chargers @ Bills: Who had Buffalo getting out to a 2-0 start to the season? Not many. But here they are looking to stay perfect at home. San Diego meanwhile, is coming off an impressive 9-point win over the defending champion Seahawks. I’m not in love with either of these teams, but experience wins out here for the Chargers on the road in this one. SAN DIEGO WINS
- Cowboys @ Rams: Dan Bailey and a solid run game helped Dallas get their first victory of the year. St. Louis found a way to get a comeback road win against a good defense. Tony Romo hasn’t been good to start the year, and with a back injury that has had him miss practice this week, who knows what the Boys will be able to do against an upstart front 7 for the Rams. That’s why I’m going with the home team on Sunday. ST LOUIS WINS
- Redskins @ Eagles: Philly likes to take a half to get things rolling. Washington got going early and often against the Jags in week 2. In this NFC match-up, the Eagles will continue to fly high at home and improve to 3-0. PHILADELPHIA WINS
- Texans @ Giants: The good news for big blue? Eli Manning looked very good on Sunday. The bad news, they shot themselves in the foot to drop to 0-2. Now with JJ Watt and company in town, Manning needs his o-line to protect him better than they’ve done in years. If they can do a decent job of this, I think, despite Houston looking worlds better than last season’s 2-14 squad, the Giants get win number 1 at home. NEW YORK WINS
- Vikings @ Saints: Adrian Peterson is on the exempt list, taking away Minnesota’s best weapon again. New Orleans is a surprising 0-2, despite being in both games til the end. No way the Saints lose 3-in-a-row to open the season, especially with this one in the Superdome. And I’d say this even if AP was suiting up for the Vikings. NEW ORLEANS WINS
- Titans @ Bengals: I think the Bengals are finally primed to advance in the playoffs. It’s a home game. That’s about all I can come up with for this game. CINCINNATI WINS
- Ravens @ Browns: Baltimore knows it can win without Ray Rice. Cleveland knows it can win with Brian Hoyer. So what sways the balance of power in this one? The Browns are banged up at the skilled positions, to go along with missing Josh Gordon. The Ravens have more weapons, and experience, even without Rice on the field. BALTIMORE
- Packers @ Lions: It’s an NFC North battle, and a battle to move above .500 on the young season. Detroit has looked very good, and very bad this year, while the Packers were a badly timed called time out away from possibly falling to 0-2. These are always hard fought games, and this will be no different. And while I think the Lions are finally starting to put things together, I think Aaron Rodgers and company use their winning experience to get the road victory. GREEN BAY WINS
- Colts @ Jaguars: I never thought Indy would be 0-2, but that’s what happens when your defense isn’t very good, and your quarterback looks average. Andrew Luck is anything but average, and that’s the biggest reason I think the Colts get their first win. Sure Jacksonville has an impressive defense, and are the home team, but I’m sticking with the reigning AFC West Champions. INDIANAPOLIS WINS
- Raiders @ Patriots: Charles Woodson called out his Oakland squad for their poor start. Tom Brady hasn’t been very good to start the season and yet the Pats are 1-1. So what gives? Give me the Pats to be the Pats at home. NEW ENGLAND WINS
Sunday 4:05/4:25PM Games
- Niners @ Cardinals: San Fran is coming off a Sunday night collapse, while Arizona is without their running back Jonathan Dwyer as a part of the on-going domestic dispute arrests plaguing the league. The Cardinals are 2-0, but wouldn’t be if not for New York gift-wrapping a week 2 win. Arizona’s defense has been solid, but with Carson Palmer possibly out again, and the 49ers looking for redemption, I think San Francisco can eek out a road win and get to 2-1. SAN FRANCISCO WINS
- Broncos @ Seahawks: It’s a Superbowl rematch as the defending champs look to shake off a loss to the Chargers in Week 2, and as Denver looks to stay undefeated on the young season. I know it’s a home game for Seattle, but I’m taking a leap of faith that the Broncos use the Superbowl loss as fuel. DENVER WINS
- Chiefs @ Dolphins: Kansas City has gotten off to a horrible start as another playoff team that has started off 0-and-2. Miami continues to be an up-and-down team. So what gives? I don’t think the Chiefs are as bad as they’ve looked on either side of the ball as they’ve shown in the first two weeks of the season, so I think Alex Smith finds a way to avoid an 0-3 start. KANSAS CITY WINS
Sunday Night Football
- Steelers @ Panthers: Pittsburgh is 1-1, but after a fast start in the opener, they haven’t looked good for 6-straight quarters of football. Carolina has been very good, led by their vaunted defense, and in spite of a banged up Cam Newton. While it’s hard to win 3 games in a row in this league, I think Carolina does so, to improve to 3-0 on the young season. CAROLINA WINS
Monday Night Football
- Bears @ Jets: The Jets were in a position to start 2-0, if not for a poorly timed called time-out, while Chicago needed a huge 2nd half performance on Sunday night to avoid an 0-2 start. In the end, both enter at 1-1. As much as I loved the comeback from Chicago, I think the home crowd and the knowledge they blew a possible win couple to motivate the Jets to move their record to 2-1. NEW YORK WINS
Hope we can put the off-the-field story-lines to bed, and just enjoy some good games this weekend! Enjoy scoreboard watchers.