Peyton Manning made it look easy against a struggling Cardinals team Sunday Night.

Peyton Manning made it look easy against a struggling Cardinals team Sunday Night.

Week 3 in the NFL is officially in the books, with Indianapolis and Dallas winning their primetime battles with Arizona and Carolina, respectively.  There’s a lot that can be said about all four of these teams so far this year, so let’s get right to it.

On Sunday night, the hotly anticipated matchup between two of the league’s most proficient passing offenses turned into a one-sided affair, as the Colts handled the Cardinals, 31-10.  After the Cards failed to score and extend an early 7-0 lead, it seems like the wheels just completely came off on both sides of the ball.  They gave up multiple big plays to Reggie Wayne, Pierre Garcon, Dallas Clark, and even rookie RB Donald Brown.  The big issue that the 1-2 Cards seem to have right now is that their offense has no balance, with the running game being amongst the worst in the NFL.  Tim Hightower was limited to 9 carries for 22 yards in the game, forcing Kurt Warner to throw 52 times in the game, often under a ton of pressure from Dwight Freeney and the rest of the Indy D-Line, which dominated in the trenches throughout the game, accumulating 4 sacks in the win.  The Cards are going to need to shore up their running game if they really expect to make it back to the playoffs this season.  They get a bye week this week before hosting another disappointing team so far in the Houston Texans.

The Colts have to feel good about themselves right now, moving to 3-0 and already holding a 2 game lead in the AFC South.  Peyton Manning is proving that he can win games with just about any combination of receivers on the field, as the unlikely Pierre Garcon once again looked very good in place of the injured Anthony Gonzalez and Donald Brown looks like a very smart first round pick.  The Colts now head home to take on a banged up Seahawks team before going into Tennessee to take on the 0-3 Titans.

Moving into the Monday Night game, it was another matchup of offenses that never really came into being, as Dallas grinded out a 21-7 victory over the still winless Panthers.  The big story in Big D was just that. Their defense finally showed up the way most people expected them to, pressuring Jake Delhomme, sacking him 3 times, and getting 3 turnovers from the struggling starter for Carolina.  There is some concern as Felix Jones left the game with a knee injury, but Tashard Choice carried the ball 18 times for 82 yards and a TD for Dallas’ lone offensive score. Dallas now looks to move to 3-1 as they head to Mile High Stadium to take on the 3-0 Denver Broncos next week.

As for the Panthers, it might be serious time for them to consider their options at QB.  For the second time in three weeks, Jake Delhomme was terrible, looking lost on the field and not being able to protect the football.  They also need to get back to running the football, which is what their team is built on with DeAngelo Williams and Johnathan Stewart on the roster.  It’s now critical for Carolina to get a win after the bye week, and they get a decent shot, hosting the Redskins in Week 5.

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Cutlers effort in Sunday Nights loss to the Packers dropped me to .500 last week. Guess what team I didnt pick this week?

Cutler's "effort" in Sunday Night's loss to the Packers dropped me to .500 last week. Guess what team I didn't pick this week?

I thought after Sunday afternoon’s games last week that I had finally broken the cycle of incredibly mediocre picks on my part.  I was 8-5 with three games left I felt fairly confident about.  Then Jay Cutler decided to throw 4 picks, the Patriots refused to put the ball in the end zone until the 4th quarter, and the Raiders looked like a competent football team.  So, as I’ve grown accustomed to, I finished a very modest 8-8 in Week 1.  Let’s see if Week 2 is any better. Here’s the picks (Pick in Bold, Home Team listed second):

Panthers at Falcons (-6): I’m a little shocked to see that the Falcons are only getting six points after the way these teams played in Week 1.  Atlanta looked very sharp in a 19-7 win at home over the Dolphins while Carolina looked like a deer caught in headlights in its 38-10 smackdown at the hands of the Eagles.  If Jake Delhomme, Matt Moore, or A.J. Feeley looks that bad again this week, this one could be ugly.

Vikings (-10) at Lions: OK, I made the mistake of picking the Lions last week, thinking that they might be better than expected and come out and play an inspired game.  After their 45-27 loss in New Orleans, they come back and have to try and figure out a way to slow down Adrian Peterson and Co.  Plus the Vikes D is far better than the Saints’ D.  Vikings win this one easy.

Bengals (+9) at Packers: Yes, I’m aware the Bungles only managed 7 points against a very suspect Broncos defense.  Yes, I’m also aware that the Pack looked very good against the Bears on Sunday night.  However, I think that the Bengals were finally starting to find the right mix on offense late in that game and will put up more points.  Also, I think that Cincy’s D is slightly better than advertised.  The Packers will win, but it’ll be closer than you think.

Texans at Titans (-7): After seeing the Texans muster no points on offense at home last week against the Jets D, I really struggle to see how they could possibly do any better at Tennessee, who looked very good in their loss in Pittsburgh.  Tennessee is going to be fire up for this one, especially with all the hype surrounding Houston this year. Titans could win by 2 TD’s.

Raiders (+3) at Chiefs: Both of these teams surprised me last weekend, in spite of the fact that they both lost.  However, the Raiders pushed the Chargers to the brink whereas the Chiefs were allowed to hang around by the Ravens.  Kansas City also might be without Matt Cassel again, leaving it up to Brody Croyle, who still is winless as an NFL starter. Expect it to be an ugly win for whichever side comes out on top.

Patriots (-4) at Jets: The war of words began months ago in the lead up to this one, but the Jets just don’t seem to know when to shut up.  All-Pro safety Kerry Rhodes’ comments earlier today should light quite the fire under a New England offense that really shouldn’t be prodded like that.  It’ll be a hard fought, gritty, old school kind of game, but the Pats will prevail by a TD.

Saints (pick ’em) at Eagles: Not surprised to see that the line is even on this game based off of what these teams did last weekend.  The tipping point for me is solely the uncertainty surrounding the status of Donovan McNabb combined with the fact that the Saints won’t turn the ball over 7 times.  Saints take this one.

Rams (+10) at Redskins:  The Rams are awful.  Just terrible.  Fortunately they go into a place like FedEx Field and play a team that doesn’t light up the scoreboard.  The Rams will keep it close but lose by a TD in one of the more forgettable games in Week 2.

Cardinals (+3) at Jaguars:  The Cardinals are an underdog in this game solely based off of last week’s flop at home against the 49ers.  The Jaguars are not the 49ers and if the Cards D stops Maurice Jones-Drew the way they did Frank Gore, then Arizona should come away with a victory.

Seahawks at 49ers (+2): In a battle for NFC West supremacy in the early season, both teams looked very good last week.  The thing that stands out though is who each team played.  San Fran gutted out a big win in Arizona while Seattle cruised against the lowly Rams.  I’m not sold on the ‘Hawks just yet, but I really like what Mike Singletary has done with the Niners.

Buccaneers at Bills (-5): If the Bills play anywhere near the level that they played at last week for the majority of the game in New England, then this one won’t even be a contest.  The Bucs looked atrocious in their loss at home to Dallas, and the Bills are looking to bounce back after their Monday Night letdown.  Expect to see big numbers from Terrell Owens in this one.

Steelers (-3) at Bears: Both of these teams are like wounded deer coming into this battle without the hearts of their respective defenses.  However, I think as an overall unit, the Steelers are far more prepared to play without Troy Polamalu than the Bears are playing without Brian Urlacher.  If Jay Cutler looks anything like he did last week, Chicago might get shutout.

Ravens at Chargers (-3): Both of these teams were very unconvincing in their Week 1 triumphs, with the Ravens allowing the Chiefs to hang around and the Chargers needing a late drive to stun the Raiders.  I think the Chargers will work out the kinks in their offense and slow down Joe Flacco and the Ravens’ offense enough to win this one by a TD.

Browns at Broncos (-3): I really don’t think much of either of these teams, but the game is in Denver, the Broncos have traditionally owned the Browns, and I don’t see the Browns moving the ball very well in this one.  So, congratulations to Denver for having the easiest first two weeks in the league this year!

Giants at Cowboys (-3): They had to set the line at 3 points.  These games are decided by a late FG way too often, which makes the odds of the one being a push fairly high.  However, I think Dallas pulls this one out and opens up the new Texas Stadium with a fantastic game.  I’m thinking 20-17 ‘Boys on a game winning 40+ yard FG by Nick Folk…as long as he doesn’t hit that Jumbotron, in which case all bets are off and Jerry Jones will have some ‘splaining to do.

Monday Night

Colts (-3) at Dolphins:  A battle between two teams that made the playoffs last year at Dolphin/Land Shark/Pro Player/Joe Robbie Memorial Stadium on Monday Night.  I like the Colts to look a bit more grounded in their offensive strategy in this one and win it comfortably over the Fins.  Look for Dallas Clark to be a bit more involved in the passing game and for Joseph Addai to get some receptions out of the backfield.