September 24, 2019 by Mike Madden

NFL Week 3

Things are beginning to take shape, but there are a lot of teams at 3-0 and a lot that probably won’t stay undefeated for long. I’ve decided to drop the Bengals and the Eagles from the wildcard picture, replacing them with the Bills (as they have to play the Dolphins twice and host the Jets), and the Seahawks, despite their loss to the Saints. Maybe Bridgewater can keep the Saints ticking over until Brees returns!

The Bengals lost another close one, but at some point they have to start winning those games with or without AJ Green. No excuse for the Eagles, they are a long way from their Superbowl best.

The Giants can only go one way without Barkley, in contrast to the Panthers who seemed to benefit from Cam Newton being on the sidelines. Miami put up a better show, but I don’t expect that to continue!

It seems like a number of teams are determined to get the number 1 draft pick – the Dolphins are still my favourites!

Predictions total of 9-7 again – must do better!

Titans 7 Jaguars 20

Another dreadful Thursday night game – perhaps the NFL should scrap it? The Jaguars showed some strength on defense, whilst Gardner Minshew could be entertaining to watch. They easily saw off the disappointing Titans, negating Derrick Henry and being patient with Fournette. They won’t win every week, but could take some big scalps.

Bengals 17 Bills 21
A late TD gave the Bills victory after a spirited Bengals comeback. The Bills were less than convincing, but in a weak division (except for the Patriots) they have a good chance of the play offs. The Bengals will surprise a few – but not enough to be challengers – and probably not predictably enough to improve my stats.

Dolphins 6 Cowboys 31
The Dolphins showed a tiny bit of resistance, but the Cowboys still ran out comfortable winners. I was only 25 points out in my margin prediction. Prescott and co seemed to take their foot off the gas – perhaps understandably – but against better opposition they will need to play at a higher level. The Dolphins will continue to lose by double digit margins, until they play the Jets.

Broncos 16 Packers 27
Easy enough for the Packers, though the Broncos kept it close for a while. The Packers are yet to put in a complete game but find themselves 3-0. If they start to click they could be Superbowl contenders. The Broncos have a good RB in Lindsay, but an ageing Flacco is not the answer.

Falcons 24 Colts 27
It proved to be close, and I got the wrong side of the coin toss. Brissett and Mack outperformed Ryan and Freeman, though there are signs that the Falcons are starting to get things together. The Colts are coping well without Andrew Luck, but I am not convinced that will last.

Ravens 28 Chiefs 33

The Chiefs did what the Chiefs do, but the Ravens kept them close. In the AFC North the Ravens should have a clear run to the play offs. The Chiefs will be looking beyond that, especially when Tyreek Hill returns.

Raiders 14 Vikings 34
Comfortable win for the Vikings who have big game players in Thielen and Cook. Play offs look likely. The Raiders are heavily reliant on Derek Carr, and more often than not he is not up to the task. There were signs of improvement last week – those have quickly disappeared.

Jets 14 Patriots 30
The Patriots eased off and got a bit of a shock as backup QB Jarrett Stidman threw a pick 6. That might encourage the Pats to protect Brady a bit more. Bell has been a non factor for the Jets, and until he steps up they will struggle. New England have not really faced a challenge yet, and they may not until they travel to Baltimore in Week 9.

Lions 27 Eagles 24
Worrying times in Philly. No standout runner and no standout receiver. Wentz is decidedly average at the moment and they have a tough schedule ahead. Stafford did not even have to be spectacular to pull this one off, though the unbeaten Lions won’t stay that way for long.

Panthers 38 Cardinals 20
Cardinals run defense gave up 153 yards to Christian McCaffrey – and the Panthers were probably helped by an injury to Cam Newton that saw Kyle Allen at QB. Greg Olsen stepped up, but this was a tough loss for Kyler Murray. He will have better weeks, but probably not too many this season. The Panthers get their first win, but its not quite time to call this a revival!

Giants 32 Buccaneers 31
Great start for Daniel Jones, but this was soured by the loss of Saquon Barkley. Although Jones threw for 336 yards and they had three big receivers come good, that won’t happen every week. The Bucs should have taken this one easily once Barkley was out, but as in previous seasons they will struggle to win more than five or six games.

Texans 27 Chargers 20
This developed into a real shootout, and although I expected the Chargers to triumph, the lack of a running game did for them. Melvin Gordon’s contract anyone? The Texans got a big win which should cement their place as favourites in the weak AFC South.

Saints 33 Seahawks 27
I will give the Seahawks another chance because they look to have a weak schedule. Teddy Bridgewater was conservative for the Saints who relied heavily on arguably the league’s best player in Alvin Kamara. They will be counting down the weeks until Brees returns, as surely Kamara cannot be expected to do this every game. The Seahawks lost despite 406 yards from Russell Wilson (and another 51 rushing). They played a sloppy game, turning the ball over on downs multiple times, and they will need to sharpen up for the challenges ahead (something I remember saying after they sneaked past the Bengals in Week 1!)

Steelers 20 49ers 24
The 49ers did their best to throw this away with 4 early turnovers, but the Steelers, without Big Ben, were too inept to take advantage. Long season ahead for both of these.

Rams 20 Browns 13
Surprisingly low scoring game that the Rams deservedly won. Mayfield restricted to less than 200 yards and the hype continues to deflate. The Rams once prolific offense will need to step up to be a serious Superbowl contender – but they should have their division sown up reasonably early.

Bears 31 Redskins 15
Trubisky did enough, helped by Gabriel’s 3 TD catches and a pick 6 to get the ball rolling. The ability of the Bears D is not in doubt! The Redskins are in a tough stretch and it won’t get better any time soon.

Week 4 Preview

The 49ers and Jets get much needed byes

Eagles at Packers
Packers by 12
Ok – I will give Thursday night football one last chance! Rodgers again excels at home, as the storm clouds gather for the faltering Eagles. Expect a much bigger day for Davante Adams, and several turnovers for the improved Packers D.

Redskins at Giants
Giants by 7
Without Barkley I thought the Giants would struggle. However, this week they are only facing the Redskins! A divisional rivalry could keep this one close, but assuming the Giants sign a running back I will take them by a TD.

Chargers at Dolphins
Chargers by 21
Just what Philip Rivers needs after a disappointing home loss to the Texans. The Dolphins brief spark from Week 3 will be buried as Austin Ekeler gets back on track.

Raiders at Colts
Colts by 10
Colts consolidate their good start to the season with a comfortable win. The Raiders are looking up at a lot of teams, and need an all round improvement before they will get any more Ws.

Panthers at Texans
Texans by 8
Texans stay neck and neck with the Colts as Watson puts up another big performance. The Panthers have Christian McCaffery, but if he is shut down they have nothing.

Chiefs at Lions
Chiefs by 14
If Stafford tries to get into a shootout with Mahomes there can be only one winner. The Chiefs continue to roll, as the Lions suffer their first defeat.

Patriots at Bills
Patriots by 10
The upstart Bills get put firmly in their place by the Pats, though don’t think the visitors will be able to give Brady a breather this week. The Bills are potentially good enough to keep this close, but even on an off day the Patriots should win.

Browns at Ravens
Ravens by 7
Another deflating defeat for the Browns, as the Ravens take control of the AFC North. Expect Lamar Jackson to put on a show to remind everyone that there’s more to winning than Mayfield and Beckham.

Titans at Falcons
Falcons by 6
Another tough road game for the Titans, and a must win for the Falcons. Ryan and Freeman outscore Mariota and Henry in a high scoring game.

Buccaneers at Rams
Rams by 17
Rams start to click as the Bucs slip to another costly defeat. Gurley should just about be getting into his stride about now.

Seahawks at Cardinals
Seahawks by 10
Wilson needs a little more help from his supporting cast, and he should get it here as the talented Kyler Murray comes up against a hurting Seahawks team that need to string some wins together.

Jaguars at Broncos
Broncos by 3
Hardest game to call this week – and I’m going with home field advantage in a defensive battle.

Vikings at Bears
Vikings by 7
Huge game that will be even bigger if the Packers have registered a Thursday night win. Dalvin Cook to shred the Bears D, as the Vikings shut down Trubisky.

Cowboys at Saints
Cowboys by 3
Another tough one to call, but the loss of Brees is a telling factor in such a big game Elliott to have a bigger day than Kamara.

Bengals at Steelers
Bengals by 7
So I am not quite giving up on the Bengals just yet. They have a reputation for not being good in primetime, and for not being good against the Steelers. But, with Big Ben missing Dalton can take centre stage and get their first win of the season.

Play Offs