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NFL Week 3 2009

By: Nick Popyack

[Have a comment? Click the title of this article and go crazy!]

       Man, the people that pick the Sunday and Monday Night Football games really know what they’re doing! Another week has gone by, and teams are starting to earn identities, whether they like them or not. Who would have thought that after the first two games, the Broncos and the 49ers would be 2-0 and the Titans and the Panthers would be 0-2? It just goes to show you how much we don’t know. For more on how much I don’t know, here’s week 3.

Cleveland Browns @ Baltimore Ravens
[Sunday 1:00]

       The Browns are bad. Let me tell you how bad: Their offense has produced less yards than the Rams, Lions, Chiefs and Raiders. Yes, the Browns have the worst offense in the league. I think we all know how this one is going to end, but while I’m talking about Baltimore, let me talk about how much their defense has regressed. After carrying the team in a dominant ’08 campaign, the offense is carrying the team the following year. The Ravens have allowed only 82 rushing yards in their first 2 games, but their pass defense has been shredded for 580 yards. They’re making their opponents think one-dimensionally offensively, but if they don’t do something soon, their offense won’t be able to pick up all the slack. Anyway, I’m sure they’ll get into some sort of rhythm this week.
Baltimore Ravens

Atlanta Falcons @ New England Patriots
[Sunday 1:00]

       Man, has New England been exposed or what? Tom Brady is going to see more blitzes than ever after his offense failed to score a touchdown for the first time since 2006. It’s obvious that Brady is currently off his game with his surgically repaired knee and his offensive line struggling. One of the premiere groups in the NFL will have their hands full with the re-tooled defense of the Falcons. Their offense is doing a pretty good job as well, by the way, and the acquisition of Tony Gonzalez seems to be the best of the offseason so far. While the Patriots are struggling, I expect them to make this a close one. However, I like the undefeated team in this one.
Atlanta Falcons

San Francisco 49ers @ Minnesota Vikings
[Sunday 1:00]

       It’s not often you see a quarterback on a team with the least passing yards in the league have one of the best passer ratings. Yes, Brett Favre really fits into the offense, and is content [it seems] with Adrian Peterson carrying the team. And he hasn’t thrown an interception yet! Things are good if you’re a Vikings fan. Of course, they’ve faced two of the worst teams the league has to offer [Browns, Lions], so they’ll have a more difficult time against a team that has actually won a game this year. And there’s that bent fingernail of Favre’s to think about… Anyway, the 49ers defense shut down the high-flying offense of the Cardinals and have one of the best rushing defenses in the league. Mike Singletary has really transformed this team, and this matchup looks to be one of the best of the weekend. In a defensive match, I like Patrick Willis and the 49ers.
San Francisco 49ers

Jacksonville Jaguars @ Houston Texans
[Sunday 1:00]

       Well, the Texans showed everybody last week that their offense was back in business. They absolutely torched the Titans defense for 34 points and over 400 yards of offense, and the Texans look like they’re back on track, on offense, at least; you need to at least pretend to cover Chris Johnson. The Jaguars, however, are in trouble. Their real problem originates from their defense’s inability to stop opponents and their offensive play-calling. Maurice Jones-Drew needs more than 43 touches in the first two games. 25-30 rushes a game and 5-10 receptions a game are a necessity for the team’s best player. The Jags need to take the pressure off of David Garrard and his not-very-deep receiving corps. This one will be Houston’s second straight divisional win.
Houston Texans

Tennessee Titans @ New York Jets
[Sunday 1:00]

       Chris Johnson had his best day as a pro and it still wasn’t enough to lead the Titans to victory and they lost their second consecutive game by three points. Their journey to their first win might be a little longer than they expect based on how well the Jets defense has been playing. They have yet to allow an offensive touchdown this year. With a banged-up secondary, however, it’ll be hard to keep their undefeated streak going. This will be a physical match, but I’m going with the rookie.
New York Jets

Kansas City Chiefs @ Philadelphia Eagles
[Sunday 1:00]

       Well, it’s the moment we’ve all been waiting for: Mike Vick will play a regular season game for the first time since New Year’s Eve of 2006 [Against the Eagles, ironically]. The Eagles used the Wildcat formation last week with some success, but as the game went on and the points went up against them, they switched to a conventional offense. Who would’ve thought the Eagles would’ve lost to the Saints [48-22] worse than the Lions did [45-27]? While their defense struggled against one of the best quarterbacks in the league, their offense behind Kevin Kolb looked impressive. Against a Chiefs team that has yet to find its stride, I think Kolb [if he starts] will get his first professional win.
Philadelphia Eagles

Green Bay Packers @ St. Louis Rams
[Sunday 1:00]

       The Rams don’t have much to boast. They’ve scored a league low total of 7 points in their first two games. If it weren’t for Steven Jackson, they’d probably have less, possibly none. The Rams offense is just that dreadful. Though they held the Redskins to 9 points, it’s important to note that Steve Spagnuolo, the Rams head coach, spent a lot of time defending against NFC East offenses. Against the Packers, they’ll have a hard time keeping up. Despite their offensive line problems, the Packers have a very capable quarterback in Aaron Rodgers and a ball-hawking 3-4 defense. The only note I have to make is about the two defensive players the Packers haven’t been able to stop: Adewale Ogunleye of the Bears and Antwan Odom of the Bengals. While some may think it is simply the better pass rushers that the Packers can’t stop, I know better. It’s the initials ‘A’ and ‘O’. Look out, Aaron Rodgers. Oshiomogho Atogwe is coming… In all seriousness, though, the Packers should have an easy win here.
Green Bay Packers

New York Giants @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers
[Sunday 1:00]

       Anyone who watched the Giants-Cowboys game last week should be just as ticked as I am about Flozell Adams purposely tripping Justin Tuck. Such an act should be dealt with by a suspension rather than a fine. Adams might actually learn his lesson if he missed out on a game or two rather than a $12,500 fine, an insignificant amount to most players. Anyway, the Giants lose a little depth on their defensive line, so that’s good news for the Bucs. Their offense hasn’t been able to keep up with their opponents’, and they need all the help they can get. The Giants offense, on the other hand, hasn’t lost a single step since Plaxico Burress has left their lineup for prison, and Eli Manning has improved despite having a very young revieving corps. I expect him to put up some big numbers against a Bucs defense that’s allowed 5 receiving touchdowns in its first two games.
New York Giants

Washington Redskins @ Detroit Lions
[Sunday 1:00]

       This may be the Lions first win since 2007. I base this off of how bad the Redskins played against the lowest scoring offense in the league [Rams] and off of Matt Stafford’s first touchdown pass of his career last week. The Lions actually kept the game close for the first half, something they didn’t do in all of last season. In reality, if the Redskins don’t blow the Lions away by 20 points, they should be ashamed of themselves. The Lions defense has started to take on a physical mentality, but their offense is still mightily struggling. Against the Redskins defense, they won’t do much.
Washington Redskins

New Orleans Saints @ Buffalo Bills
[Sunday 4:05]

       Behind an added dimension in the running game this year, the Saints offense has been unstoppable, scoring 93 points in their first two games. Expect more to come to a banged-up Bills team. Their no huddle attack has defenders scared, but can Trent Edwards really win in a shoot-out against Drew Brees? He has by far the best passer rating in the NFL and look to take on every quarterback record ever set. Though the Bills offense has worked, I don’t know how it’ll respond when down by a couple scores, which they very well might be. In an offensive game, I like the team with the best offense in the league.
New Orleans Saints

Chicago Bears @ Seattle Seahawks
[Sunday 4:05]

       The Seahawks had reasons to be optimistic about their team this year. Then, Hasselbeck was injured. With him gone, the Seahawks will likely turn to their running game, something the Bears are quite keen on stopping. With the run game gone, they’ll be forced to turn to Seneca Wallace, and while he is capable, he’ll need to be more than that against a QB like Jay Cutler. It’ll be a telling game for the Seahawks, as they face the first true test against their pass defense. Jay Cutler will continue his precision passing.
Chicago Bears

Pittsburgh Steelers @ Cincinnati Bengals
[Sunday 4:15]

       The Bengals showed some life last week against a team projected to make a run at the division, and the Steelers couldn’t win after two missed field goals. What a backwards week, eh? Carson Palmer was throwing like it was 2005 and looked comfortable for the first time in a while, despite throwing two picks. The Bengals defense also looked good and they might finally have something going for them. Though Ben Roethlisberger has never lost a game in the state of Ohio, I think this’ll be his first. In a close one, I like the team with the better rushing attack.
Cincinnati Bengals

Miami Dolphins @ San Diego Chargers
[Sunday 4:15]

       Wow. How is it possible to lose a game in which you thoroughly dominated the entire game? How can you call a running play against Ray Lewis on a 4th and 2 with the game on the line? Both these teams had chances to win their respective games, just to have them clang off the hands of their receivers [Dolphins] or be stuffed 3 yards deep in their backfield [Chargers]. The Dolphins rushing game was uncontested for the majority of the game, and I expect them to continue their dominance in California. The only problem they might have is if this game turns into a shootout, the kind of game the Dolphins don’t seem capable of playing. With those hands, my pick for this game is easy.
San Diego Chargers

Denver Broncos @ Oakland Raiders
[Sunday 4:15]

       How do you win a game when you only complete 7 passes? The same way the Broncos made it to 2-0: playing a very bad team, or in the Broncos case, teams. The Broncos face for the first time this season a team that’s won a game, which explains their undefeated record. If the Raiders expect to win this game, they’ll need JaMarcus Russell to bring his ‘A’ game. They’ll definitely need to complete more than 7 passes if Brandon Marshall can get his head on straight. In one of the easiest starting schedules, the Broncos will finally have a challenge of sorts. Don’t think they won’t win, though.
Denver Broncos

Indianapolis Colts @ Arizona Cardinals
[Sunday 8:20]

       The Colts were really exposed on national television last week. Though they won the game, they’ll probably end up with the league’s worst rushing defense. The Cardinals will need a multidimensional offense against Peyton Manning, who won his Monday Night Football debut of ’09 by running an efficient offense. That’s what this game [and every game against the Colts, for that matter] will be about: Efficiency. Converting on third downs instead of punting and scoring touchdowns instead of field goals. We all know Manning will beat you if you don’t keep up with him. The Cardinals, however, have the weapons to compete. In a close one, I like the Cards.
Arizona Cardinals

Carolina Panthers @ Dallas Cowboys
[Monday 8:30]

       The Panthers may have lost another game, but they have to be happy about Jake Delhomme rebounding from a terrible performance against the Eagles. They actually kept the game close, and Steve Smith had a good game as well. With their offense back in sync, their first win gets that much closer. Their defense, however, will have a hard time stopping the rushing attack of the Cowboys. Already having a poor run defense going against a team that likes to run the ball is not a good sign. The Cowboys have a good matchup with their offense, but so do the Panthers. The Cowboys are the only team that has yet to record either a sack or an interception. Their defense has simply been torched these first two weeks and things don’t look like they’ll get any better this week. While the Panthers will come close, I’m going with the Cowboys.
Dallas Cowboys.

Last week’s winner: Pat [10]
Season totals:

Pat: 23
Nick: 21
Kavik: 19


       Every week, I participate in 610 WIP’s “Suicide Pool”, in which you must pick a team every week that you think will win. The only catch is you can only pick each team once the entire season, meaning, if you last the entire season, you will have picked 17 different teams. Last week, my pick was:

Week 2 Suicide Pick: Minnesota Vikings

Fantasy Football: The story of Team Nate Kaeding [0-2]

       Dropped WR Lance Moore and picked up RB Fred Jackson. Made a second mistake at the quarterback position; I started Matt Ryan instead of Matt Schaub. Going into the final Sunday game, I was leading by 4 points. My opponent, however, had Marion Barber, who earned 21 points. While this one was closer, I lost my second week in a row, 101-84

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