September 22, 2020 by Mike Madden
NFL Week 3
Big improvement at 12-4, and it could have been even better if I had not gone out on a limb with the Jets and Giants! Things may be starting to settle down, though some teams are beset by injuries whilst others can’t shake off penalties. The Packers have impressed in both weeks and they are now my Superbowl pick (I reserve the right to change all rankings up to week 9!) The Saints were on the wrong end of the biggest shock, but the manner of the Vikings defeat is also cause for concern.
Week 3 Predictions
Dolphins 24 Jaguars 27
Two mediocre teams coming off above average performances. Minshew continues his good form through the air against a Dolphins team that gave up more than 400 passing yards last week.
Texans 34 Steelers 27
The Texans finally get an opponent that they match up with. They can give Watson enough protection for him to damage the Steelers secondary. On the other side JJ Watt has a big impact as Big Ben can’t quite manufacture a comeback.
Bengals 31 Eagles 34
Burrow gives the Eagles an almighty scare, but Carson Wentz notches his first win of the season. Wentz may still throw a pick or two, but Miles Sanders figures to have a big day on the ground.
49ers 20 Giants 24
Let’s not forget that Daniel Jones is actually quite good, and the 49ers are battling so many injuries. Although the Giants lost Barkley for the season, all eyes are on his replacement, and if that is Devonta Freeman this could get interesting.
Raiders 17 Patriots 34
Raiders grind to a halt on a long road trip. Expect Newton to have a big game, with the regular cast of Sony Michel and Julian Edelman also contributing. Derek Carr continues to frustrate, but I expect Josh Jacobs to have a big day.
Titans 17 Vikings 28
Last week was an all time low for the Vikings, and although home field advantage does not mean a lot in empty stadiums, Cousins can get back on track against a Titans team that is still overhyped after a narrow win against the Jags. If Gardner Minshew can put up points, so can the Vikings’ QB.
Washington 20 Browns 24
Baker Mayfield and Nick Chubb prove to be too good for Washington, but the visitors D can keep it close.
Rams 30 Bills 24
Significant road win for the Rams as Aaron Donald takes care of Josh Allen. Goff continues to find his targets and Todd Gurley becomes a distant memory.
Bears 24 Falcons 31
Matt Ryan gets a 4 TD day against the Bears as Trubisky struggles. Falcons showed signs of life last week and this can continue with a better showing from their D.
Panthers 17 Chargers 21
Panthers struggle without McCaffery, but Bridgewater keeps them in the game. Austin Ekeler is the secret weapon that puts the Chargers on top.
Jets 10 Colts 28
Rivers finds his rhythm against arguably the worst team in football. Jets outplayed in all phases of the game.
Cowboys 21 Seahawks 38
Cowboys must do better on defense than last week, but as they are in Seattle that is hardly a given. The Seahawks need to defend the pass better, and eliminate penalties, but Russell Wilson has more talent than Dak Prescott, and that decides it.
Buccaneers 32 Broncos 16
Brady starting to feel it now. A mistake free display sees the Bucs record an easy win.
Lions 21 Cardinals 31
Kyler Murray continues to put up the yards on the ground and through the air. The Lions defense has no answer, and its an easy win for the Cards.
Packers 32 Saints 27
Great game to finish off Sunday night, and I would normally go home field advantage. However, the Packers are on fire, and in two victories they have adjusted on D to dominate. Rodgers has been as good as it gets, and even if Adams is out they will still rack up points. Brees could just about be on the way down, but only just. The Saints need to cut out penalties. I expect Aaron Jones to have a good day, but as the Saints D could not cope with Derek Carr, I expect Rodgers to regularly find Lazard and Valdes-Scantling.
Chiefs 33 Ravens 31
What a game to finish the week! I am just favouring Mahomes and the chiefs, with Edwards-Hilaire getting back on track. Jackson will have the freedom of M & T Bank stadium, but the Chiefs will stiffen near the goal line.
Week 2 Results
Bengals 30 Browns 35
(My prediction Bengals 17 Browns 20)
Another step up the learning ladder for Joe Burrow, but the Bengals need to protect him more and find a way to stop the run. The Browns had a good week, Mayfield was on fire with only 1 pick, and the twin headed rushing attack of Chubb and Hunt wreaked havoc. However, this was only against a poor Bengals run D.
Jaguars 30 Titans 33
(Jaguars 14 Titans 27)
The Titans squeaked home against their divisional rivals. This could give the Jags some hope for the rest of the season, but it should ring alarm bells in Tennessee as this was a game that a play off contender should have won easily.
Panthers 17 Buccaneers 31
(Panthers 17 Buccaneers 24)
Brady came good and perhaps the Bucs are not a forlorn hope, with Fournette stepping up for his new team. However, they allowed Bridgewater to throw for over 350 yards, and Brady threw another pick. This won’t do when they come up against one of the elites.
Broncos 21 Steelers 26
(Broncos 10 Steelers 21)
Big Ben passed 300 yards, James Conner topped 100 on the ground, and all is rosy in Pittsburgh, right? Well someone called Jeff Driskel threw for 256 and 2 TDs, and a mediocre Broncos team almost caused an upset at the death. A lot more work to do before the Steelers can be considered genuine contenders.
Rams 37 Eagles 19
(Rams 31 Eagles 20)
Run of the mill win for the rejuvenated Rams who now have a variety of receiving and running threats. For the Eagles, 2 more INTs from Wentz prove that he is not the real deal!
49ers 31 Jets 13
(49ers 17 Jets 20)
Despite the loss of several starters this was easy for the 49ers, but they will find it even harder next week with several more starters missing. For the Jets I gave them a shot at a play off spot before the season started, now I have them in pole position for the number 1 pick.
Bills 24 Dolphins 13
(Bills 31 Dolphins 28)
A monster 400+ yard and 4 TD day for Josh Allen was not quite matched by Fitzmagic who passed 300 with 2 TDs, no doubt feeling the pressure of Tua on the sidelines. However, the much vaunted Bills D must take a look at themselves as they almost gave the Dolphins an unlikely win.
Vikings 11 Colts 28
(Vikings 31 Colts 27)
Anyone who doubts my assessment of Kirk Cousins look away now. Three interceptions did for his team, and probably eliminated them from the play offs! Rivers got an unlikely win with a below par performance that saw a TD and a pick. The big plus was 100 yards rushing from Jonathan Taylor.
Lions 21 Packers 42
(Lions 13 Packers 38)
Aaron Rodgers showed that last week was no fluke, and even with Davante Adams playing only a bit part this was a stroll for the Packers. Once again the D struggled early, but they soon regrouped and simply blew Stafford and the Lions away on the back of a monster day for Aaron Jones.
Falcons 39 Cowboys 40
(Falcons 10 Cowboys 32)
Ok, I may have written the Falcons off too soon, and I may have given the Cowboys too much credit. This topsy turvy contest saw 4 TD throws from Matt Ryan against 1 from Dak Prescott, but Prescott chipped in with 450 yards through the air and three rushing TDs. Clearly both teams need to sort out their D, but there can be a little optimism spreading from the sheer number of points each team put up.
Giants 13 Bears 17
(Giants 24 Bears 17)
The catastrophic loss of Saquon Barkley will affect the Giants for the rest of the regular season, and certainly contributed to the Bears win. Mitch Trubisky did just about enough, despite 2 interceptions, and the Bears are somehow sitting pretty at 2-0. It will be interesting to see if the Giants can activate Davonta Freeman.
Washington 15 Cardinals 30
(Washington 10 Cardinals 28)
Kyler Murray proving to be a dynamic QB with 1 passing and 2 rushing TDs. Washington could not keep up, and it is likely to be a familiar tale from here on in.
Chiefs 23 Chargers 20
(Chiefs 31 Chargers 13)
For a long time this looked like being an upset. The Chargers D stifled Mahomes and Edwards-Hilaire and the injury to Tyrod Taylor gave Justin Herbert the opportunity to show what he can do. Eventually Mahomes broke free for 300 yards, and an OT field goal spared their blushes, but the Chargers might just have shown the rest of the league how to handle the Chiefs’ explosive offense.
Ravens 33 Texans 16
(Ravens 34 Texans 21)
The Ravens looked impressive but still have a few flaws. Next week’s game promises to be a cracker against the Chiefs. For the Texans they can expect things to get easier, though next week it is a tough assignment against the resurgent Steelers. Jackson and Watson continue to dominate their teams’ stats, and if either got injured it could spell the end of their season!
Patriots 30 Seahawks 25
(Patriots 20 Seahawks 27)
An ill disciplined Seahawks team almost gifted this to the Pats, who performed well on the back of a rejuvenated Cam Newton. Perhaps they will make the play offs, but they will need to get their non QB running game into better shape. The Seahawks need to cut out penalties, otherwise they will struggle in a tough division.
Saints 24 Raiders 34
(Saints 31 Raiders 20)
Probably the upset of the week, but this result certainly exposed a few cracks in the Saints armoury. The stats favoured New Orleans, but costly penalties were a feature of their play as they allowed Derek Carr to throw for 3 TDs, and cap the Raiders’ first game in Las Vegas with a win.
Dolphins leapfrog the Jets but neither will make the play offs.
Browns move up a place, but again they will not make the postseason.
No change despite another Texans loss.
Chargers show enough to demote the Broncos to last place.
AFC Play Offs
Ravens beat Steelers
Bills beat Raiders
Texans beat Patriots
Chiefs beat Texans
Ravens beat Bills
Chiefs beat Ravens
If the Giants sign Freeman they can keep their second place.
No change but I am keeping an eye on the Bears, and the Vikings drop out of the play off picture.
I think this might develop into 2 separate races, with a big gap between the Saints / Buccaneers and the Panthers / Falcons.
49ers cannot continue to win with their injury list!
NFC Play Offs
Saints beat Cardinals
Seahawks beat Buccaneers
Cowboys beat Rams
Packers beat Cowboys
Saints beat Seahawks
Packers beat Saints
Packers beat Chiefs