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NFL Week 3 Picks And Preview

Michael Green |
September 25, 2010 | 9:27 p.m. PDT

Staff Writer

Every week, Neon Tommy NFL analyst Mike Green predicts winners and breaks down the weekend's biggest games. Last week he was 11-5.

Here are his picks for Week 3.

The Big Three:

New York Jets (1-1) at Miami Dolphins (2-0)

The New York Jets team that everybody expected to see going into 2010 showed up for Week 2 against the New England Patriots. Mark Sanchez passed for more than 200 yards and three touchdowns, the running game tallied 136 yards rushing and the defense held the Pats to 52 yards on the ground.

But a Sunday full of positives was followed by several setbacks for Gang Green. Revis Island was closed for maintenance due to a hamstring injury and receiver Braylon Edwards got in trouble for tossing back a few too many wine coolers before getting in his car. The recent developments leave New York with questions at receiver and cornerback going into Sunday.

With Revis out, cornerbacks Antonio Cromartie and Kyle Wilson will be assigned the task of covering receiver Brandon Marshall. With Edwards’ uncertain availability, Jerricho Cotchery and Dustin Keller are in line to be the primary targets for Sanchez against the Dolphins.

New York’s offense will have to contend with a Miami defense that has given up just 10 points in each of its first two games. Miami ranks fifth in the league for total yards but struggled to stop Vikings running back Adrian Peterson last week. The run stoppers up front will need to do a better job against Shonn Greene and LaDainian Tomlinson when the Jets come to town.

On offense, Miami will need to prioritize protecting quarterback Chad Henne, who hit the deck twice last week against Minnesota. Jets linebacker Jason Taylor will have extra motivation to put on a show in his return to Miami and the rest of the defense will follow suit.

The Verdict: Miami has looked great against two struggling teams to open the season. Even without Revis, the Jets defense is better than anybody the Dolphins have faced so far this season. New York will reclaim the division with a strong road win this week.

Predicted Winner: New York Jets

Atlanta Falcons (1-1) at New Orleans Saints (2-0)

After winning the battle of the birds convincingly against the Arizona Cardinals last week, Atlanta will be looking for similar offensive success against a New Orleans offense that surrendered 417 yards of offense to the San Francisco 49ers on Monday night.

Matt Ryan should find some passing lanes against a defense that managed to make Alex Smith look like a Pro Bowl-caliber quarterback. Matty Ice broke a cold spell in Week 2 with a 225-yard, three-touchdown performance. He has the benefit of going against a secondary that will be without cornerback Randall Gay this week due to a concussion.

The Falcons should have running back Michael Turner back on the field for this game despite a groin injury that forced him out of action against the Cardinals. There is also an outside chance of receiver Michael Jenkins making his first appearance of the regular season as he is almost fully recovered from a shoulder injury.

With the Falcons' offense rolling into New Orleans on a hot streak, the Saints defense will need to show the blitz-happy, ball-hawking ability coordinator Gregg Williams has trademarked in the Bayou. As of now, the unit has jsut one sack in two games, a far cry from the 35-sack pace they set last season.

As a team, the Saints have not played like Super Bowl champions, but they have managed to stumble into a 2-0 record largely because of all-galaxy quarterback Drew Brees. The Falcons have defended the pass respectably through two games but the secondary depth will be tested by New Orleans’ glut of receiving options.

The Verdict: The defense in this game will be about as effective as a deposition given by Ted from “Scrubs.” Ultimately, the Saints will find a way to outscore Atlanta at home and win a close divisional match-up.

Predicted Winner: New Orleans Saints

Green Bay Packers (2-0) at Chicago Bears (2-0)

When Green Bay plays Chicago on Monday night, the league’s highest rated passer will be on display, and his name isn’t Aaron Rodgers. Jay Cutler appears to have rebounded from a 2009 debut that was more disastrous than last week’s premier of “Outsourced.”

Offensive coordinator Mike Martz revamped Chicago’s offense and Cutler has been the primary beneficiary. The Bears’ quarterback has thrown five touchdowns and one interception in his first two games of the season. At this time last season, he was sitting on three touchdowns and four interceptions.

Matt Forte also appears to be back on track in the new look offense.

While he is only averaging 2.9 yards per carry, the third-year running back already has tallied 188 yards receiving. He will go against a Green Bay defense that has been prone to giving up receptions out of the backfield through its first two games.

Meanwhile, Green Bay has become Mr. Rodgers' neighborhood and everybody else is just living in it. The former California Golden Bear has shined early in the season and will face a Chicago secondary that gets beat deep like it’s a hobby.

Rodgers will likely be counted on to shoulder the offensive load with a running game that looked benign against an extraordinarily mediocre Buffalo Bills defense last week. The Bears are currently allowing the fewest rushing yards in the league, so don’t expect much improvement for the Green Bay rush attack this week.

The Verdict:
Look for an aerial show in this game with both teams showcasing two quarterbacks who are dialed in and going against shaky pass defenses. In the end, Rodgers will come out on top thanks to a superior supporting cast of receivers. 

Predicted Winner:  Green Bay Packers


S.H.I.T. (Super Horrible Infinitely Terrible) Game of the Week:

Oakland Raiders (1-1) at Arizona Cardinals (1-1)

This is a very special week for the NFL and its fans. Sunday will mark the highly anticipated return of former Toledo Rocket Bruce Gradkowski to the starting quarterback position. Please hold your applause until the Raiders make their next quarterback change two weeks from now.

Although he looks more suited to play a henchman in the next James Bond film, Gradkowski will be counted on to improve an Oakland passing attack that has been less productive than Peter Gibbons during his Initech tenure.

Gradkowski will go against an Arizona secondary that couldn’t cover a crack in the sidewalk if it were spotted 10 gallons of wet cement.  As a unit, the Cardinals defense was plucked for 444 total yards by the Falcons last week.

Not to be outdone by their comatose defense, the Cardinals' offense only managed one touchdown in the 41-7 drubbing at the hands of the Falcons last week. If quarterback Derek Anderson continues his current level of play, we may see a lot more of undrafted rookie Max Hall in the near future.

Seeing these quarterbacks go head to head on Sunday will make you long for the days of JaMarcus Russell and Matt Leinart.

Predicted Loser: Oakland Raiders


Cincinnati Bengals (1-1) at Carolina Panthers (0-2)

It’s "Free Jimmy Clausen Day" over in Carolina. Cincinnati will look forward to celebrating the rookie’s debut with multiple interceptions and a blowout win.

Predicted Winner: Cincinnati Bengals

Buffalo Bills (0-2) at New England Patriots (1-1)

The Bills have admitted that they made a mistake by benching Trent Edwards in favor of Ryan Fitzpatrick this week. And the NFL schedule makers will soon have to admit that they made a mistake televising what will be a complete massacre at the hands of the Patriots.

Predicted Winner: New England Patriots

San Francisco 49ers (0-2) at Kansas City Chiefs (2-0)

The only thing more painful than watching the 49ers literally fumble away their chance to beat the Saints last Monday was the Mike Singletary interview that followed. Fortunately for everyone, he should be in a better mood after San Francisco plays the Chiefs.

Predicted Winner: San Francisco 49ers 

Tennessee Titans (1-1) at New York Giants (1-1)

Now that the mystery of Brandon Jacobs’ magical flying helmet has been solved, the Giants can move on to investigating the disappearance of their defense last Sunday night against the Colts. Fortunately for New York, Vince Young has recently proved to be an opposing team’s best defensive weapon.

Predicted Winner: New York Giants

Cleveland Browns (0-2) at Baltimore Ravens (1-1)

The “dog pound” has become an appropriate name for Cleveland fans, considering how routinely their team puts them to sleep. Ray Lewis and the Ravens defense may be cited for animal cruelty by the time this game is over.

Predicted Winner: Baltimore Ravens

Pittsburgh Steelers (2-0) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-0)

Charlie Batch wasn’t supposed to make the Steelers’ roster a few weeks ago. Now he’s starting for them. Much like Batch, the Buccaneers weren’t supposed to play in a significant game all season but find themselves 2-0. Pittsburgh will put a dent in that record this week.

Predicted Winner: Pittsburgh Steelers

Detroit Lions (0-2) at Minnesota Vikings (0-2)

Brett Favre will strap on the Depends in preparation for getting the crap knocked out of him for a third straight week. This is a must-win game for both teams but it will be the Vikings who get back on track in Week 3.

Predicted Winner:  Minnesota Vikings

Dallas Cowboys  (0-2) at Houston Texans (2-0)

The Dallas Cowboys continue their 2010 disappointment tour in Houston. Dallas has the second most passing yards in the league, but that is largely because they have been trailing for almost the entirety of their two games. Houston will put the ‘Boys in a similar position this week.

Predicted Winner: Houston Texans

Philadelphia Eagles (1-1) at Jacksonville Jaguars (1-1)

The Michael Vick bandwagon is at maximum capacity after he lit up the Detroit Lions last week. Vick and the Eagles face another soft secondary in Jacksonville. The Eagles will be game planning for next week against Washington by the second half of this game.

Predicted Winner: Philadelphia Eagles

Washington Redskins (1-1) at St. Louis Rams (0-2)

Nothing like a matchup against the Rams to ease the pain of a tough loss. The Redskins were edged by Houston 30-27 in a game they probably should have won last week. There won’t be room for a late comeback by the opposition in this one.

Predicted Winner: Washington Redskins

Indianapolis Colts (1-1) at Denver Broncos (1-1)

The Colts regained their swagger against the New York Giants last Sunday. Now Peyton Manning will get to go against a Broncos defense that might be without an injured Champ Bailey. Whether or not Bailey plays, the Colts' offense will be too much for Kyle Orton and his ragtag group of receivers to keep up with.

Predicted Winner: Indianapolis Colts

San Diego Chargers (1-1) at Seattle Seahawks (1-1)

San Diego recovered nicely from a shocking loss to Kansas City in Week 1 to dismantle the Jaguars last week. Seattle, on the other hand, plummeted back to earth with a stinker against Denver. Look for both teams to continue their respective trajectories when they play each other.

Predicted Winner: San Diego Chargers



To reach staff writer Michael Green, click here.

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