Bet On It: Week 3 predictions
Jay Cutler, Jake Locker will rebound; Peyton Manning's struggles will continue
The Ravens and Raiders will both spend a lot of time sacking the quarterback
Arizona's defense will force Michael Vick into mistakes, limiting the Eagles' offense
Each week we'll take our best shot at the predictions beyond the game predictions.
Last week: 3-7 (.300); Season Record: 5-15 (.250)
Once again, the analysis in Week 2 was right on despite my record -- for the most part.
OK, the Chiefs are not good. I get it. Neither is Chris Johnson. The definition of insanity is making the same mistakes over and over again and expecting the same results, so I'm off the Johnson bandwagon. Instead, I'm jumping right on the Jake Locker train, because there's no way the Titans' offense can be this bad. It can't, right?
OK, let's dive into what should be a wild Week 3. The Vegas crowd has noted home teams are 19-12-1 against the spread in the replacement official era, so it's probably wise to lower expectations for road teams this week. Then again, maybe the road teams are due ... just like my picks.
1. Jake Locker gets back on track and throws for over 230 yards.
As mentioned above, the Titans' offense has been terrible so far this season, but the Lions' secondary is suspect. Locker injured his left shoulder in Week 1, but he says it's not bothering him. Wide receiver Kenny Britt should have his legs underneath him after making his season debut last week. The Titans have actually won nine of their last 11 against NFC opponents in Tennessee and will get back to playing like the team we saw at the end of last season. If not, we'll use the same prediction for Matt Hasselbeck in a couple of weeks.
2. Matt Schaub throws more than 250 yards against the Broncos; Peyton Manning throws fewer than 250 yards.
The Broncos will gear up to stop the run against Houston, giving Schaub plenty of opportunities in the passing game. The Texans seem to be more of a run-oriented team, but don't forget Schaub threw for almost 4,800 yards in 2009. They just haven't needed to pass against their first two opponents, Miami and Jacksonville.
Manning, meanwhile, is 0 for 5 with three interceptions in pass attempts over 20 yards. The Broncos aren't going to try many of those plays, and the Texans defense is going to sneak up on short passes. Denver better try to hammer Houston's defense with Willis McGahee runs to neutralize the Texans' impressive pass rush.
3. Andrew Luck has a better rating against the Jaguars than Robert Griffin III has against the Bengals.
The Bengals defense made Browns rookie Brandon Weeden look great last week, so you'd figure RGIII would be in good shape. But Cincinnati's defense has just underperformed, considering its basically the same unit that led the Bengals to the playoffs last season. And pass rusher Carlos Dunlap returns this week after spraining his knee in the preseason. After throwing three picks in Week 1, Andrew Luck settled down at home with no interceptions last week in his first NFL win. He should continue to run the offense smoothly against the 0-2 Jaguars.
4. Arizona's defense holds Philadelphia to 24 points or under.
The Cardinals' defense came after Patriots quarterback Tom Brady from every angle last week and should be very aggressive against Philly's depleted offensive line. The Eagles lost center Jason Kelce for the season and still haven't figured out their left tackle spot after Pro Bowler Jason Peters tore his Achilles in the offseason. The Cardinals have only allowed 3.4 yards per rushing attempt this season, and will be able to put the Eagles in passing situations that spell trouble for Michael Vick.
5. Jay Cutler throws for over 275 yards against the Rams.
After everything that's happened this week, Chicago's offensive line has to step up to protect Cutler. They know everyone will be watching, and they face a Rams defense that has only two sacks so far this season. With a little more time, Cutler will be able to find Brandon Marshall like he did two weeks ago.
6. Cleveland gets its first win of the season.
The Browns almost knocked off the Eagles in Week 1 and were in it on the road against the Bengals. Their opponent, the Bills, looked great at home against the Chiefs last week, but they got blown out when they visited the Jets. And Buffalo could be caught looking forward to the Patriots next week.
7. Ravens sack Tom Brady at least four times.
The Patriots won't be able to run the ball on Baltimore, forcing them to throw often in what should be a fast-paced game. Tom Brady will hold on to the ball in this one to try to make big plays in a very competitive game.
8. Raiders sack Ben Roethlisberger at least three times.
The Raiders have only two sacks on the season, but their defensive line should perform better in a home game in which no one gives them a chance. Roethlisberger has to feel confident after beating the Jets last week, and we know he'll try to make plays last. Despite last week's success, his offensive line is still unproven.
9. Saints beat the Chiefs by double-digits
Both teams appear to be loaded with talent, but we haven't seen it so far. They've both allowed an NFL-worst 75 points through two games. This game will come down to emotion. Drew Brees will have the Saints fired up to reestablish their homefield advantage.
10. Tim Tebow scores a touchdown for the Jets
Rex Ryan said he won't let the media decide how and when he's going to use Tebow. That explains why this same prediction has been wrong the first two weeks. What if we beg? This is a perfect spot for Tebow to get on the scoreboard. Tebow will be in a building full of supporters, and the Jets should be able to get into the red zone more than they did at Pittsburgh against the Dolphins, Jets offensive coordinator Tony Sparano's former team.
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