Sean's Sunday Scrimmage: Week Three Predictions
My 49ers let me down as they fell to the Los Angeles Rams in a Thursday night thriller. Here i'll break down my predictions for the rest of the weeks fixtures. Hopefully we can match the success of week one.
Baltimore Ravens @ Jacksonville Jaguars
The Ravens make their first appearance in London against the Jaguars who return for a fifth year. The Ravens defence is legit, recording four or more interceptions in each of the first two games, a feat only two other teams since 1970 have managed. If they can pick off Blake Bortles, who leads the NFL in interceptions since he entered the league, then this one could be a wrap. Baltimore will stack the box to limit Fournette’s effectiveness and make Bortles beat them downfield. Jacksonville’s best hope, is that the Ravens are a little sluggish from the flight as they adjust to the new conditions. The Jags looked great against Houston but were ran over by Tennessee, so they probably lie somewhere in between, but I can’t see this one being close.
Denver Broncos @ Buffalo Bills
The Bills will be looking to unleash LeSean McCoy against the Denver defence after he went from 110 yards rushing in the win against the New York Jets to just 9 yards in the defeat to Carolina. Standing in their way though is a formidable Denver defence that limited last season’s Rushing champion, Ezekiel Elliott, to just 8 yards from nine carries, in the week two 42-17 win over Dallas. Denver also has talent on the offensive side of the ball with Trevor Siemian leading the league in touchdown passes and CJ Anderson racking up 199 yards on the ground through the first two games. Buffalo let a lot of offensive talent go in the offseason and I just don’t trust Tyrod Taylor to get it done. Denver will go to to 3-0 and cement their place as Super Bowl contenders.
New Orleans Saints @ Carolina Panthers
Prediction: New Orleans
Going out on a limb here and backing Drew Brees to get it done as the Saints have to win at some point. It’s a travesty that the Saints management hasn’t provided the future hall of famer with at least an adequate defence, as he constantly finds himself in shoot-out situations. The Saints main weakness has been with plays over 15 yards, and luckily for them, that isn’t the Panthers strength, especially with Greg Olsen sidelined. The Panthers are 2-0 but have looked far from impressive so far as they have struggled to finish numerous drives. They will look to confuse a young Saints defence with miss-directions audibles from Cam Newton and Christian McCaffrey and should have some success that way. This may well come down to who has the ball last, and I’m going to predict a high scoring close victory for the Saints.
Pittsburgh Steelers @ Chicago Bears
The Bears came agonizingly close to beating the red-hot Falcons last week, so will look to build on that performance and learn from the late mistakes. It’s not going to be easy, facing a third ranked Pittsburgh defence, with their best three wide receivers missing. The Steelers defence has been their Achilles heel in recent years, so if the defence can keep it up and the offence kicks in to full gear, then the Steelers are going to be a problem for a lot of teams. I can see this one being close early, with Pittsburgh pulling away late.
Atlanta Falcons @ Detroit Lions
This is all set to be a thriller as former childhood basketball team-mates, Matt Stafford and Matt Ryan, face off against each other in Detroit. Stafford is tied for the league lead with six touchdown passes, whilst Ryan has thrown for 22 touchdowns with no interceptions over his past nine games. Both teams have playmakers on the defensive side of the ball and it could come down to who can make the most plays on the day. Detroit will need to limit Julio Jones as much as they can and if Stafford gets the ball last, with the game on the line, you’d be brave to bet against him getting it done.
Cleveland Browns @ Indianapolis Colts
Something must give here, with two winless teams facing up against each other. Deshone Kizer will be looking to take another step forward and hope his defence can keep Jacoby Brissett in check. Colts receivers T.Y. Hilton and Donte Moncrief will be looking to improve on their performances from last week so look for Brissett to target them early. The positivity that surrounded Cleveland after the draft will begin to wear very thin if they lose to the Colts and I think they are better positioned to pick up their first win here against a Colts squad that desperately misses Andrew Luck and the distant memory of a good defence and offensive line.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Minnesota Vikings
Prediction: Tampa Bay
Tampa Bay are a team with playoff aspirations and they go up against a Vikings squad that is down to their third choice QB. Usually you would think this is a positive thing, but backup Case Keenum is 2-0 against the Bucs over the past two seasons. With that being said, the Bucs have a lot more game changing talent on the offensive side of the ball, and I’m predicting that they end Keenum’s streak.
Houston Texans @ New England Patriots
Prediction: New England
Houston’s defence, led by JJ Watt and Jadeveon Clowney, should give the Patriots some problems and will be looking to get some early sacks to build up the pressure.Tom Brady didn’t show any signs of rust when putting on a show last week, and despute facing a tougher test this week, he’ll still get enouth opportunities that he can make the most of. Belichick has never lost to a rookie quarterback at home with the Patriots and this will be a big test for Deshaun Watson. I expect the former Clemson QB to have some success, but the Patriots will outlast the Texans in this one.
Miami Dolphins @ New York Jets
Miami has won four of its past five meetings against the Jets at Metlife Stadium. Jay Cutler has shown flashes and Jay Ajayi is showing to everyone that last season wasn’t a fluke. The Jets est hope is to stack the box and make Cutler beat them instead of Ajayi. The problem is that the Jets run defence has been sorry so far, conceding 370 yards on the ground through two games. Miami’s defence is also much stronger than the Jets offensive line, with Cameron Wake having seven sacks and four forced fumbles in 15 career games against them. Miami should pull away when they want to, and I think the Jets could conceivably go 0-16 this season.
New York Giants @ Philadelphia Eagles
An offseason full of promise for the Giants had a lot of pundits picking them to win the NFC East, but after two games, all that optimism has been wiped away after disappointing defeats to the Cowboys and the Lions. It doesn’t get easier in week three either, as the G men go up against an Eagles side with a relentless front seven on the defensive side of the ball. The Giants can’t run the ball or effectively protect Eli Manning, so Philadelphia will likely bring some heat early and look to get some points off turnovers. I’m predicting the Eagles end the Giants season here, giving Ben McAdoo a lot of difficult questions to answer.
Seattle Seahawks @ Tennessee Titans
The Seahawks are another team with problems on the offensive line. They have struggled to protect Russell Wilson so far and have had to rely heavily on the defence. The Seahawks defence may be the best it’s been in recent years, giving up only 26 points through two games and allowing just four completions on throws more than 10 yards downfield. Tennessee Are looking to the next step, and a win against the Seahawks would send a strong message to the NFL. A lot will rely on how well Mariota can take care of the ball and how much pressure the Titans D can put on Russell Wilson. If the Seahawks perform like they did against the 49ers then they will get beat by the Titans. I’m predicting a low scoring game, with Tennessee just getting over the line.
Cincinnati Bengals @ Green Bay Packers
Prediction: Green Bay
The Bengals are the only team in the NFL that Aaron Rodgers has not beaten, and that is likely to come to an end today. Cincinnati has not scored a touchdown so far, with their offence in disarray after the firing of offensive coordinator, Ken Sampese. The Bengals defence has performed well so far this season, but if the offense can’t stay on the field, then it will be only a matter of time before Rodgers picks them off. Green Bay will win this one comfortably as Marvin Lewis moves ever closer to the exit door.
Kansas City Chiefs @ Los Angeles Chargers
Prediction: Kansas City
The chiefs look like the best team in the NFL at the moment after the thrashing of the Patriots and a convincing win over the promising Eagles. They also know how to win in their division, racking up 11 straight wins, including six straight against the Chargers. The Chargers have struggled to run the ball all season, and if they can’t keep the Chiefs offense off the field, they could be in for a long day. Kareem Hunt already looks like a star for Kansas City and Alex Smith is playing the best football of his career. The chiefs will have too much for the Chargers and will improve to 3-0.
Oakland Raiders @ Washington Redskins
This is a great match up for the Raiders, who are full of confidence after their first 2-0 start since 2002. Derek Carr has picked up where he left off before getting injured last season, Marshawn Lynch doesn’t look like he’s lost a step and Khalil Mack has eight sacks in his previous nine games against the Redskins. The redskins will be able to move the ball on the Raiders defence that ranks 21st in the NFL, allowing 4.8 yards per carry and 5.3 yards per play. In the ned though, Oakland’s versatile attack will prove too much for the young Washington defence to deal with. The Raiders lead the NFL with 263 yards after contact while the Redskins’ defence ranks 26th in yards after contact allowed.
Dallas Cowboys @ Arizona Cardinals
Dak Prescott Is yet to lose back-to-back regular season games in his career, and he will need some help from Ezekiel Elliott to keep that record intact. The Cowboys quarterback had a poor game against a strong Denver defence, so will be hoping to pick it up against a Cardinals team that is missing key man, David Johnson. Neither team has been impressive so far, but the edge goes to the Cowboys who should control the game clock with their running game.