We are in the early stages of the 2016 NFL season, with Week 3 set to get underway tonight in the Thursday Night Football Game between the Texans and the Patriots. With some really tough games to call this week, I am hoping to keep myself in double digit wins again to keep my record strong. Last week we saw some upsets and some blowouts, and this week is looking to bring more drama than the last. One of the best matchups to watch will be the much anticipated rematch between Josh Norman and Odell Beckham Jr. in New York. I look forward to that and much more this week, so let’s go ahead and look at my predictions for week 3 in the NFL. Always love hearing your feedback!
GAME OF THE WEEK
Vikings (2-0) vs. Panthers (1-1)
Preview: This game is poised to be one of the best early games of the season. The Vikings go to Carolina to battle the Panthers. Both teams playing great football to begin this season, they look like early playoff contenders and this matchup looks to be a battle. I am going to give the nod this week to Carolina, they are not only playing well, but at home they have been unbeatable. The Panthers have not lost at home since November 16, 2014. Look for the Panthers to jump on the Vikings from the get-go and grab a lead in the first quarter. In a game where we have two top notch defenses battling, the Panthers have the edge because of their weapons on offense. This is also Bradford’s second game in a Vikings uniform, and this time he is facing a tough challenge in the Panther defense. The Vikings were dealt a huge blow last week losing Adrian Peterson for several months with an MCL injury in their win against Green Bay. Other members of the team need to step up in his absence and make an impact on the field. Expect Cam Newton to be the difference in this game. He looked fantastic last week and I don’t see him slowing down in this matchup.
THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL GAME
Texans (2-0) vs. Patriots (2-0)
Preview: This would be my game of the week if it were not for the Patriot injury in Garoppolo. He was a great fill-in option for Tom Brady (suspension) and has led the Patriots to two solid wins to start off this season. The Patriots will be yet another team this week to start a rookie quarterback in Jacoby Brisset, the third round pick out of North Carolina State University. Jacoby was able to lead the Patriots to a victory once Garoppolo went down last week, but in his first start he is going up against a much improved Texans team looking to put together yet another solid win for their 2016 campaign. Look out for the Osweiler to Hopkins and Fuller connection this week against the Patriots. I think that this will be a close game, but the Texans will have enough to edge the Patriots this week in the battle of the unbeatens in Foxborough. The Texans are lucky to catch the Patriots Brady-less and possibly without Gronkowski as he is still listed as a game-time decision in this one. This will be a good game to watch.
Cardinals (1-1) vs. Bills (0-2)
Preview: I think we have our first blowout in the making this week as the Cardinals visit the Bills in Buffalo. The Cardinals started slow against a good Patriots team in week one, and as I picked last week, they came out of the gate firing in week two in route to a 40-7 win against the Buccaneers. Look for more of the same from Palmer and the Cardinals as they take on a Bills team that is in disarray. Rex Ryan is in full on panic mode and he is only two games in this season, the Bills have invested heavily in this team and expect results from Ryan. Last week after the Thursday night game Rex Ryan fired offensive coordinator Greg Roman in order to find a way to get more out of their offense. Unfortunately for Ryan and the Bills, offense is not the issue as they have struggled defensively to start the year and this week will not be any easier as they face a potent Cardinal offense. Look for Palmer to torch this Bills defense in route to another big win for the Cardinals. Larry Fitzgerald will continue his fine form in this one as well as he is my start of the week for receivers in fantasy.
Raiders (1-1) vs. Titans (1-1)
Preview: My first tough call this week comes in the form of a game between the Titans and the Raiders in Tennessee. Both teams have looked good and then bad in their first two games as they search for consistency. Two young quarterbacks square off in what seems to be an offensive battle between the two teams. The edge this week for me will go to the Raiders as they bring a young and talented group to Nashville. Amari Cooper and Derek Carr have been excellent this year connecting for over 200 yards in two games and this week they do not look likely to be slowed down at all. The Titans bring a very good rushing attack into this one with DeMarco Murray (an old favorite of mine) and a newly restructured offensive line to ground it out in this game. The Raiders have the edge because of the amount of weapons they have on offense and their ability to strike through the air as well as run the ball. The Raiders have struggled defensively this season, but their defense has gone up against two of the games best quarterbacks in Drew Brees and Matt Ryan. The Raiders will get their second win of the season this week.
Redskins (0-2) vs. Giants (2-0)
Preview: The re-match we have all been waiting for. Since the explosion last year on the field and the complete meltdown of Odell Beckham Jr. Along with the free agent addition of Josh Norman to the Washington Redskins. Two times a year we now get to watch these two talented athletes go at it on the field. I expect that the Redskins will go about their defensive strategy as usual in this game with Norman sticking to one side of the field until otherwise needed. I doubt he will follow Beckham Jr. the entire game. The key in this game is Kirk Cousins, he shows flashes (very quick ones) of the greatness we saw from him last year, and then bone-headed mistakes right after. If he is able to play a complete game in this one, the Redskins will win. If not, I believe that the Giants will take this game. Now the last thing that I want is Cousins to start playing well, but I believe that his Head Coach putting him on blast this past week in front of the media will be enough for him to get his head right and bounce back in this game. The Giants much improved defense will be a tough match for this Washington team, but I believe they can push through it and take this contest. What we know of NFC East matchups is that they are almost always close, I see the Redskins trying to get out of possibly going 0-3 to start the season and take this game in New York. I predict that Cousins will show up big for his team. Or…he might just crash and burn. We’ll find out on Sunday.
Browns (0-2) vs. Dolphins (0-2)
Preview: I feel bad because of all of my Browns bashing this season, but they are in full re-build mode and do not look like they are going to do much this season. They blew a 20-0 lead last week, and lost their second string quarterback to injury. They bring a rookie quarterback into this game to lead the charge in Cody Kessler out of USC. Then on top of that, they lost top rookie receiver Corey Coleman to a broken hand in practice on Wednesday. Poor Hue Jackson, I like the guy, an old school no nonsense type of coach trying to reboot a broken franchise. He keeps taking blow after blow this season, I just hope that they give him the chance he deserves to try and build his team in Cleveland. The Dolphins, who have struggled both on offense and defense this year will come into this game looking to bounce back and get the offense clicking on all cylinders. Look for the Dolphins to win this game by at least two touchdowns.
Ravens (2-0) vs. Jaguars (0-2)
Preview: This game was another interesting call for me to make, you see, I put my faith in the Jaguars last week against the Chargers and they got blown out, and the Ravens almost lost to the Browns after going down 20-0 so I have my reservations about both teams. I actually see this one being a close game that could go either way. The Ravens look the better of the two, and have actually won a game this season. I am loving the Flacco to Wallace connection that is building up in Baltimore so I look to them to secure this victory. But WATCH OUT, Bortles and co. are due for a break out game, he is too talented and those young receivers are ready to go nuts. This just might be the game that rights the ship for the Jaguars, but I think that the experience of the Ravens will be the difference in this one.