NFL Week 3 Preview

I said last week the problems on the Jets’ team were systemic and began with the coach. Then, Braylon Edwards blows a .16 on a breathalyzer while he has four other people in the car with him – including two teammates.

His punishment for the DWI and endangering the lives of two other teammates (not to mention the other passengers and everyone else on the road): the Jets will play him, but not start him against the Dolphins in Wk 3.

I’m sure that Roger Goodell will have a much harsher punishment for Edwards, but this type of nonchalance by the Jets’ management demonstrates once again that they are a team that lacks substance off the field. I’m not going to deputize myself as a member of the moral police, but when Holmes comes off his suspension this team will be a walking violation of the league conduct policy.

What bothers me most about this latest incident is that there were three well-paid, professional athletes in the car with a drunk driver. Call me naive, but one of them should have had the sense to get a cab. I’m sure their wallets wouldn’t have been hurt too badly from the expense.

So, from here on out, I will be rooting against the Jets at all times. I hope Goodell rains down fiery vengeance upon Edwards, Gholston, Ferguson, and the whole organization for their lack of both remorse and respect for being professionals and role models. Remember that Roethlisberger was suspended for alleged wrong-doing because his behavior reflected poorly on the NFL. Right now, the Jets reflect poorly on the NFL, and something needs to be done about it.

My last spiel before getting into the Week 3 games is on a much more sobering topic (no pun intended). The death of Kenny McKinley came as a shock to everyone in the Broncos’ organization. No one thinks that a young man with everything to be thankful for would even consider taking his own life.

He was a record-holder at South Carolina. His teammates and coaches didn’t have a single negative word to say about him. Those closest to him say that there was no indication that he was harboring suicidal tendencies. However, after a recent surgery he had made several comments about killing himself and that he was unsure of his life if the NFL slipped from his grasp.

The young man will be missed in the Denver locker room and everywhere else that his smile brightened up the days of those around him. His death should remind everyone that no one is exempt from depression, and that we need to look out for those around us and care for our friends. Someday, it could save a life.

These are our current standings after two weeks of picks:

Week 2 picks
Picker Wins Losses Push
Steelers 7
8 1
Armando 9
Casey 3

Overall Standings
Picker Wins Losses Push GB
Steelers 15 15
Armando 15 15
Casey 11 19

Here’s a preview of Week 3 (picks to come later):

TITANS (1-1) at GIANTS (1-1)

The Steelers D made Vince Young look foolish. Bad enough, in fact, that Kerry Collins came into the game in the 4th quarter (it didn’t work, he turned the ball over twice). Chris Johnson got a nice beat down as he was held to under 100yds for the first time in 13 games. The defense looked stellar, but this was against a Pittsburgh team that had to resort to their 4th string QB. Still, with 7 turnovers by the offense only leading to 4 FGs, there is reason to believe that this Titans defense is among the NFL’s best.

The Giants looked slightly less than stellar against the Colts. Particularly concerning is that they were unable to run against a defense that gave up over 250yds rushing against Houston. The defense that shut down the Panthers no longer looks solid (after the Panthers got beat by the Bucs). The Giants had a chance to be the only 2-0 team in the NFC Central, but blew it. Eli and Co. need to get things going in a big way this week if they have a chance of beating the Titans.


Despite the loss of Dennis Dixon, the Steelers were able to convert 7 Titan turnovers into 4FG. A TD off the opening kick set the tone, and the defense kept it going for Pittsburgh. They held Chris Johnson under 100yds (the only team in his last 13 games) and have now allowed a 100yd rusher only 3 times since 2007. The offense may be atrocious right now, but as long as the defense is healthy and playing like this, teams will be hard pressed to beat the Steelers.

After a big win against Carolina, the Bucaneers find themselves 2-0 and hosting an offense that hasn’t scored a TD in regulation. If the offense can keep from turning the ball over, this is a winnable game for a team that was underwritten throughout the preseason. Josh Freeman is really coming into his own and looks very comfortable in the offense. He’ll be put to the test against a Steelers defense that has been stingier than their offense.

BENGALS (1-1) at PANTHERS (0-2)

It wasn’t always pretty, but they won it. There isn’t much to say other than that. The defense didn’t even look like the one from Wk 1 as they held down the Ravens with 4 INTs, and the offense didn’t give the ball away. It wasn’t a flashy game, but they did enough to pull off the win.

Jimmy Clausen will be getting the start for Carolina. That can’t be good. A rookie QB will be making his first start against a defense that had 4 INTs in Wk 2. If the running game isn’t going strong, the Panthers will be facing a 0-3 hole with no light at the end of the tunnel.

BROWNS (0-2) at RAVENS (1-1)

After dropping the game to Tampa Bay last week, the Brownies lost another close one to the Chiefs. They didn’t look any better or worse than they did last week, but I will reiterate how long this season will be for Browns fans. Start psyching yourselves up for the top draft pick. This can’t get worse, but it won’t get better.

Is this really the same Ravens offense that we saw last year? Flacco had one of the worst games of his career against a Bengals team that allowed 31 points in the first half against New England. A team can only ask so much of its defense (see Pittsburgh), and it is up to Ray Rice and Joe Flacco to get this team going. I thought it was a fluke against the Jets, but 10pts in each of their two games doesn’t bode well. Luckily, the Ravens will be able to sharpen their talons against the Browns.

COWBOYS (0-2) at TEXANS (2-0)

Wow, that’s all I can say. This only thing offensive about this team was how they lied to everyone about how they would be good this year. Seriously, it is time to throw the emergency switch in Dallas. 0-2 after all the hype. Wow. That’s all I’ve got. Wow.

Houston got off to a slow start, trailing 20-7 at the half. However, they put it together in the second half and held it together in OT. Schaub looked sharp throughout the game and made everyone remember that Andre Johnson is scary good. The defense looked shaky for the second straight week, but if the offense is hitting on all cylinders it won’t matter.

49ERS (0-2) at CHIEFS (2-0)

The Niners came alive Monday night and threatened to beat the defending champs. Frank Gore moved the ball almost at will and the defense looked solid throughout the game. Patrick Willis reminded me why Armondo picked him as a favorite for Defensive Player of the Year with……and if it weren’t for those pesky turnovers I don’t think this one would’ve been close. It was a redemption week for the 49ers, and even though they didn’t win it was obvious why they are thought to be the division favorites.

Expectations were high after a big win over the Chargers, but the Chiefs did not impress against the lowly Browns. A win is a win, but they can’t be excited about squeaking one out in Cleveland. The defense can be proud about allowing only 14pts again, but this offense is struggling early. They need to get into mid-season form quickly.

LIONS (0-2) at VIKINGS (0-2)

The Lions got ripped off against the Bears. They were outclassed against the Eagles. However, this is a GOOD Lions team. I repeat: This is a GOOD Lions team. They never quit, and have been right in it at the end of each game. Jahvid Best silenced any critics of his Wk1 performance with an astounding 3 TD game. The onside kick recovery gave the much needed life, and Shaun Hill looks like a worthy replacement for the injured Stafford. It is a true shame that this team is 0-2. They have played better than that and are better than that.

This Vikings team is for real. Really bad, that is. I was willing to give them a pass for only putting up 9pts against New Orleans, but after two games it is clear that the offensive struggles aren’t going away. Even Adrian Peterson having a 100yd game didn’t allow them to put points on the board. Favre looked desperate for most of the game as the Dolphins kept the Vikings in check. The defense looked solid again, but if the offense doesn’t step it up the playoffs will be a distant mirage in the desert.

If Harvin isn’t ready to go, this one looks like a big upset waiting to happen.

BILLS (0-2) at PATRIOTS (2-0)

Here is a mock phone conversation with the Bills (but I swear it could be real):

“Okay, Buffalo, this isn’t funny anymore.

Oh, you weren’t kidding? That was really your whole team out there?

I’m sorry. You know it’s not getting any easier, right?

Well, then. I guess we’re done here.”

The Patriots got embarrassed by the Jets. They committed 3 turnovers and didn’t score in the 2nd half. Their 5 second half drives ended as follows: INT, punt, INT, punt, Fumble. They get a nice recovery game against the Bills, but with the loss of Kevin Faulk to a knee injury, the team will have to rely on Green-Ellis in the running game. Thankfully, the Patriots don’t run very often.

FALCONS (1-1) at SAINTS (2-0)

This is what we expected of the Falcons coming into the season. Even with an early injury to Michael Turner, Atlanta put up big offensive numbers against the Cardinals. The only question now is whether the defense is as good as these two games would have us think. The Falcons should be a playoff team, and now they are starting to play like it.

The Who Dat nation was holding its collective breath until a Garret Hartley FG sailed through the uprights at the final whistle. The 49ers game them every opportunity and they still managed only 25pts (6 less than the Seahawks against San Fran). Brees looked solid when the wind wasn’t controlling his passes, and the defense always seemed to be where it was needed. However, this was the second week in a row where a powerful runner showed how to move the chains against them before a QB killed the drives. This team is very beatable right now if the Falcons can put the formula together.

REDSKINS (2-0) at RAMS (0-2)

Washington looked really good for 30 minutes, but crumbled late. McNabb looks like he is really ready to lead this team to the promised land if the defense is ready to follow. The Jeykll and Hyde thing makes this team hard to read. They shut down the Dallas offense, but had little of their own in Wk 1. In Wk 2, the offense clicked, but the defense fell apart. One of these days they may put it all together. A game against the Rams is a great opportunity to do that.

They were in it until the end again, but the Rams can’t quite pull out a W. There is reason for optimism, though. No one had any expectations for this team, so even the close games seem like victories. This match-up with the Redskins is winnable if Washington plays like they did in the 2nd half against Houston. The Rams just have to be prepared to take advantage.

EAGLES (1-1) at JAGUARS (1-1)

The chances of Kevin Kolb ever getting his job back are looking slim. Michael Vick looked brilliant, and even though the Lions aren’t exactly a stellar defensive squad, he earned the nod for Wk 3. Defensively, the birds gave up a few big plays and allowed more than 400yds of offense by the Lions. If they get the Jaguars from Wk 1, they could be in trouble. If they get the Jags from Wk 2, it’ll be a walk.

The Jags coughed the ball over 6 times and had to bench David Garrard after 4 INTs. However, they still amassed 350yds of offense despite MJD never getting into a groove. They are still a tough win for anybody if they can eliminate the mistakes and hold onto the ball.

RAIDERS (1-1) at CARDINALS (1-1)

Oakland actually performed quite similarly to the Cardinals in their match-up against St. Louis. The biggest difference was that Oakland committed only 2 turnovers to the Cards’ 4, and forced only 1 to the Cards’ 4. Those turnovers should be key in this game. Neither offense is great, and the offenses aren’t any better. This Raiders team is better than we’ve seen so far, and if they play the way they are capable of, they should be the team that emerges 2-1.

The Cardinals escaped against the Rams, but got steam rolled in Wk 2 by the Falcons. Aside from a huge run by Tim Hightower, there were no highlights for Arizona. Both sides of the ball looked inadequate, which is what they were. There is very little that indicates anything positive for this team. They need to play a great game against the Raiders to win it, and I’m not sure Derek Anderson has it in him.

CHARGERS (1-1) at SEAHAWKS (1-1)

San Diego came back in a big way against Jacksonville, but they will have to continue without the help of rookie RB Ryan Matthews. I wouldn’t consider that too concerning considers that he had 3 fumbles in the 1 ½ games he played. The offense came alive in Wk 2, but it was largely in part to the 6 turnovers caused by their defense. If they can keep from making mistakes with the football, this game should be an easy win for the Bolts.

After an impressive win against the 49ers in Wk 1, the Seahawks looked anything but in Wk 2. They were -4 on turnovers and had no way to make up for the damage. This is not an explosive team, and every mistake is costly. They will have get back to their Wk 1 form if they have any chance against the resurgent Chargers.

COLTS (1-1) at BRONCOS (1-1)

Indianapolis came back in a big way during the Manning Bowl. I won’t analyze the game too much, but suffice to say that they figured out how to stop the run and that the loss of Bob Sanders doesn’t appear to hurt too much.

A co-worker of mine pointed out that the last time Indy lost to Houston, they won the SuperBowl. Also, the last time the two Manning’s faced each other, the Colts picked up a ring. Despite the unfortunate start, it may still be the year for Peyton and Co. to get #2.

The Broncos looked good against Seattle. They were +4 on turnovers and capitalized on the opportunities. Denver will have to repeat that performance if they want to hang with the Colts for four quarters. Oh yeah, that Kyle Orton guy is playing really well this year. That might help.

JETS (0-2) at DOLPHINS (2-0)

Everything I have to say about the Jets was said in my opening paragraphs. I wish them nothing but ill from here on out.

The most telling moment for this Dolphins team was the goal line stand with four minutes left and a four point lead. The defense kept AP from scoring on a 4th and 1, showing more heart and toughness than the Vikings showed all game. If the running game stays strong (and avoids those pesky fumbles that almost cost them the game) Miami will be a force in the AFC East. I’m not jumping on the band wagon yet, but after an 0-2 start for the Jets, the division is ripe for a coup.

PACKERS (2-0) at BEARS (2-0)

Yes, it was against the Bills, but Brandon Jackson answered the questions about whether or not he could lead this Packers’ running game. Couple that with Rodgers looking very comfortable both passing and scrambling, and the Cheese Heads are ready to go DEEP into the post season.

The Bears got lucky in Wk 1, but this was a statement against Dallas. They looked great minus the special teams TD by the Cowboys, and could threaten for a wildcard spot behind Green Bay. The offense isn’t exactly fluid, but after putting up 27pts against a good defense, there is little doubt that the Bears are a solid match for anyone this season.

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