Last Week: 7–9
Last week was tough for my predictions, with my best pick being Minnesota at home over Green Bay; which was not an upset by any means. I warned you though that the Rams and Chargers were dangerous, and that was the case. This week features four heavyweight tilts between teams that posted winning records back in 2015. There may also be increased demonstrations by players during the national anthem because of the tragic shooting of an unarmed African American man by police in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Denver at Cincinnati, Sunday 10 a.m.
Last year these teams met in Denver in week 16. Peyton Manning came off the bench to lead the Broncos to an overtime win. Last week Pittsburgh limited the Bengals ground game and locked down star receiver A.J. Green. The Broncos accomplish this objective but are undone by a late Trevor Siemian turnover to lose in frustrating fashion.
Prediction: Bengals 17 Broncos 14
Minnesota at Carolina, Sunday 10 a.m.
Both teams lost their starting running backs to injury last week. The Vikings though, lost first ballot hall-of-famer Adrian Peterson from a unit that has struggled all season to produce. Their defence has done a terrific job though despite their offensive struggles. The Vikings keep it close but Cam Newton leads a late fourth quarter touchdown drive for the victory.
Prediction: Carolina 20 Minnesota 19
Oakland at Tennessee, Sunday 10 a.m.
Tennessee has momentum after a big win over Detroit last week and the Raiders should be fatigued after bouncing from New Orleans to Oakland back east to Tennessee the first three weeks.
Prediction: Tennessee 31 Oakland 23
Cleveland at Miami Sunday, Sunday 10 a.m.
Josh McCown played well for Cleveland in a close loss to the Ravens. He got injured though and rookie backup Cody Kessler — officially deemed “not ready” by the coaches — is the next man up. This could get ugly against a strong Miami defensive front.
Prediction: Miami 24 Cleveland 0
Washington at New York Giants, Sunday 10 a.m.
Upset special! The 2–0 Giants at home versus the 0–2 Redskins. Washington is in disarray with rumours swirling that the players are frustrated with quarterback Kirk Cousins. The NFC East is a weird animal. The teams always play each other tough regardless of the situation. However, Washington will win this one.
Prediction: Washington 33 New York Giants 30
Arizona at Buffalo, Sunday 10 a.m.
Arizona is travelling across the country to take on an angry and desperate Bills team staring 0–3 in the face. Arizona will not fall to 1–2 against a team of this calibre despite the cross-country trip. Buffalo’s only hope is an early snowstorm.
Prediction: Arizona 28 Buffalo 24
Detroit at Green Bay, Sunday 10 a.m.
The Packers almost never lose to Detroit at home — other than last year. I still can’t pick the upset.
Prediction: Green Bay 24 Detroit 21
Baltimore at Jacksonville, Sunday 10 a.m.
Baltimore is 2–0 with wins over the Bills and Browns. Much like the Eagles, they are not good enough to start 3–0. Jacksonville rebounds at home for the win.
Prediction: Jacksonville 31 Baltimore 28
San Francisco at Seattle, Sunday 1:05 p.m.
This used to be the best rivalry in football a few years ago. Now, not so much. Hawks in a close one.
Prediction: Seattle 24 San Francisco 20
Los Angeles at Tampa Bay, Sunday 1:05 p.m.
Does anyone remember the 1999 playoffs when these teams met in the NFC Championship game? That was eons ago in football time with both teams nowhere near contender status. When in doubt, pick the home team versus a team travelling cross-country with Case Keenum at quarterback.
Prediction: Tampa Bay 26 Los Angeles 16
New York Jets at Kansas City, Sunday 1:25 p.m.
Two good football teams that play unexciting ball clash in this contest with the loser falling to 1–2 on the season. Alex Smith rises to the challenge with a big fourth quarter to lead his team to victory.
Prediction: Kansas City 27 New York Jets 24
San Diego at Indianapolis, Sunday 1:25 p.m.
There’s just something about the Colts I don’t like. Oh yeah, it’s the bad offensive line, lack of a running game, and poor defence. San Diego builds on last week’s throttling of Jacksonville with a solid road win.
Prediction: Chargers 30 Colts 24
Pittsburgh at Philadelphia, Sunday 1:25 p.m.
Philadelphia is 2–0 with wins over the Bears and Browns. Here comes a dose of reality when they meet a true Super Bowl contender. This will be Carson Wentz’s welcome to the NFL moment.
Prediction: Steelers 38 Philadelphia 13
Chicago at Dallas, Sunday 5:30 p.m.
Jay Cutler is hurt and the Bears have played poorly with their much-maligned gunslinger in the lineup. Look for Dallas to take an early lead and grind the Bears into submission.
Prediction: Dallas 24 Chicago 9
Atlanta at New Orleans, Monday 5:30 p.m.
Two dome teams and division rivals clash in what should be a high-scoring affair. New Orleans has lost two very close games to start the season but will finally get in the win column against an Atlanta team coming off a road win at Oakland.
Prediction: Saints 39 Falcons 35
GAME OF THE WEEK:
Houston at New England, Thursday 5:25 p.m.
This game is so intriguing because of New England’s quarterback situation. With Tom Brady suspended, backup Jimmy Garoppolo played lights out until injuring his shoulder last week. It looks like rookie Jacoby Brissett will get his first NFL start with wide receiver Julian Edelman serving as the backup. Houston has played solid football led by their stellar defence and a new dynamic on offence with the addition of free agent quarterback Brock Osweiler and impressive rookie receiver Will Fuller. No way I will pick against New England, even if their kicker has to play QB.
Prediction: New England 23 Houston 19